Diet - What to feed & why
Updated November 12, 2010 - After gas went so high and the economy crashed, we couldn't go an hour each way for Pro Plan Sensitive every week. Here's what we feed now to adults, 2 parts:
And rotate 1 part of the following grain-free kibbles:
Mostly the Pacific Stream for the fish, occasionally the other three if the fish is not available.
For pregnant/nursing moms, either of the following:
All puppies are weaned onto Euk LB Puppy and kept on for the first year. Seniors who do not maintain weight on the adult mix above, are put back on the Euk LB Puppy.
Dogs get raw bone-in, skin-on chicken quarters or raw whole hens 1-3x/week. And fish oil capsules 3-5x/week.
I used to feed Pro Plan Sensitive, but since salmon has water in it, the actual ingredients would put salmon way down the list and push rice, canola and oats to the top of the list - grains as the top ingredients is NOT what this formula used to be, or should be for $40/34#. There are much better foods for the same money.
This rambles. It's not organized enough to publish. But these are my thoughts on dogfood...
Before I go to what I feed and why, how about -- how is dog food created? There is an RDA for dogs (Recommended daily allowance) and the AAFCO guidelines mentioned on most kibbles follows the RDA through testing. However, the research that goes into the RDA was not looking for nutrient levels for THRIVING, but merely for SURVIVING. So if the food says it was tested by AAFCO guidelines you can rest assured it doesn't kill many dogs to eat it. If that's your concern, you can find any food "tested by AAFCO guidelines" (not "using AAFCO recommendations" which is a different thing -- you want the word tested in there. But you also have to know that the average feeding trial, and Purina is famous for them, lasts 18 months.......... I personally would like to know what my choice of dogfood does for 15 years or so.
We did very very surface feeding trials and looked at short-term results -- you can see some of that research on Feeding Trials.
Let's think about what a dog is built to eat. From teeth to tail, their digestive track is identical to a wild carnivore like a wolf or a coyote. There have been NO evolutionary changes (and nor would you expect there to be) since man domesticated the dog. The argument as to when the dog was domesticated doesn't matter, there are no changes. So what do wild carnivores eat? Anything basically. They are opportunistic scavengers. But that does not mean we should feed them junk. Surviving on junk is not what we want for our pets, we want them to THRIVE and flourish and be as healthy as possible, don't we?
Malamutes are not wolves, and I wouldn't presume to say they were. But of the domesticated dog breeds, Malamutes, Canadian Inuit Dogs, Greenland Dogs, and Siberian Huskies are the dogs that closest approximate the wolf -- a large canine that was developed to survive in the arctic. What do wolves eat? Well David Mech, the world's authority on wolves, says they eat meat, bone, organs, and an accidental amount of grasses found in the stomach of large ungulets like deer. Occasionally he has found wild berries in their scat (poop), and just about every other thing you can imagine. But by and large, they eat meat and bone and organs.
(Farley Mowat has retracted his published data about wolves eating mice, and has admitted he not only stole the data, but embellished it.)
There are schools of thought that feed just that -- meat and bone and organs. Their dogs appear to thrive. There are no tests of course because a homemade diet by definition varies from home to home, area to area, budget to budget. But looking at these raw fed dogs, they glow, they appear healthy, they have small firm stools, and they have pearly white teeth... all things critical to deciding if your diet is a good one, wouldn't you think?
Good digestion (the ability of the body to digest what is given to it as fuel) would logically seem to indicate that the body was reaping the rewards of that food. White teeth are a necessity because wild animals didn't have dentists (or the need) because the chewing and gnawing action of eating large pieces of meat and bone scraped the teeth clean.
But not many want to go to the trouble to prepare spreadsheets with all the known requirements for a healthy dog and then formulate their own food... I have, and for 3 years I fed raw, with the occasional kibble meal. However, its expensive and a pain in the neck to find sources, buy food, store food, and prepare it every day.
You can read more about that at Raw Feeding. And no, dogs don't die from eating chicken bones. COOKING chicken bones is dangerous because cooking changes the temper or brittleness of the bone and leads to shards and splinters -- shards and splinters are the dangerous part of cooked bones, not the bone itself. My dogs ate RAW chicken quarters 3x/week for 3 years. You know the kind at Wal-mart in the 10lb bag? No problems. Because the bones were RAW. Did we die of salmonella poisoning? Not yet. If you can handle raw chicken for your own family, why can't you for your dogs? Wash your hands, wash your utensils, wipe down your counters and don't worry about it. Do dogs get sick from salmonella eating raw chicken? Stop and think a moment. Wild dogs don't have cooked food, in fact they frequently eat ROTTEN food with no problems. Why? Because the digestive track of a wild carnivore is short and extraordinarily acidic and they are BUILT to eat rotten bacteria-laden food -- just like their domesticated cousin the dog. So if you are interested in learning about a BALANCED raw diet, ask me privately and we'll discuss it some more.
But what about the owner who wants to feed the best they can afford -- but wants the convenience of a bag? Well, there are lots and lots of brands. I'll tell you what I feed in the end, but let me show you how I decided to feed what I do...
Free range meat/bone/organs -- that's what wolves eat. Plus a few bits of greens and maybe a little fruit in season. (None of the meat, bone, or organs came from factory farms, feedlots, or was topped off with antibiotics and grains. And research is very clear that non-grain, non-antibiotics, non-feedlot meat/bone/organ have a different chemical and protein analysis over what we generally can find in supermarkets.)
No wolf ever ate grains -- nor any meat source animal raised on grains. Not corn, wheat, barley, rice, or any other grains. Just meat and bone and organs.
Anyone know how dog food was originally created? Cereal manufacturers had all this excess stuff laying on the floor and during the world wars meat and bone and organs were in short supply, so they invented dog food in a bag. It had to be cooked and mashed to be extruded through their machines to make the tiny little similar-shaped pieces. And grains are cheaper than meat/bone/organs. So if you start to read dog food labels, you'll discover that the diet of a wolf would never be satisfied by ANY kibble.
Are kibbles evil? No, of course not. But most of them are disasters when it comes to feeding dogs. Read the labels. I have. Its sad what most people consider dog food. You should look for ingredients that make sense.
-- “Salmon” means whole salmon, not by-products, not flavoring, but the whole fish. This is good. But it is farm-raised fish and
you have to know how it is preserved as some preservatives BANNED for human
consumption are still AOK for dog food. Also, when looking at the label,
salmon, chicken, lamb -- this is by weight and unless it says salmon MEAL,
chicken MEAL, lamb MEAL the ingredient has about 80% WATER. When
reading dog food ingredients, "salmon meal" gives the dog more salmon
than "salmon" does.
OK, so we have this little horror in cheap dog food. What about the good dog food, what about the expensive stuff. Is it better?
Good grains, if you're going to have grains, are things like
oatmeal, whole grains like brown rice.
1) I can get it locally without having to drive an hour every
time I need food.
Note: 3/2009 - can no longer get Premium Edge locally, or
After trying many many ways of raising puppies, I fell back to the old standard because it WORKS to raise strong, muscular, heavy puppies who are not fat.
Nupro is a great supplement if you're going to feed one.
Here are the ingredients:
Here are the ingredients for Premium Edge adult Chicken, Rice, & Vegetables (which I can no longer get):
Chicken is the first ingredient and contains about 80% water, so nutritionally chicken meal is the first ingredient -- that's OK, that's meat, as is ocean fish meal. Rice is next, but it's whole grain brown rice and one of the best grains if you're going to have grains, then cracked pearled barley, white rice (mostly filler in this position), oatmeal is another nutritional grain, then chicken fat -- which is not something you really want to eat. Potatoes have lots of nutrition in them, tomato pumice is a filler and fiber, egg product could be better if it were whole egg, flaxseed is a good EFA. Natural chicken flavor is not a great thing, chicken would be better, but there you go. The rest of the ingredients are very minor additions, but some of them are whole fruits (even tho the amount is miniscule this far down the list). All in all, it's the best food I can afford and find locally.
Here are the ingredients for Pro Plan Salmon (Sensitive):
The dogs are thriving! The raw chicken quarters help clean teeth -- I stopped them for 2 months and am appalled at the formerly white teeth now yellowed. Yuck. Back to raw chicken quarters to fix those gunky teeth.
But the most important things about which food you feed are:
~ Back to Top ~
Wayeh * 423-365-6039
* Spring City, (East) Tennessee
Temperament, health, structure, working
ability, and then type --