Is the food you are feeding your dog cutting their life short?
Remember, that the waste from a dog should be fairly small, solid and brown, anything else, unless you are aware they have issues, they probably need their food addressing. If you do decide to change food, this should be done over a long period of time. As I have had some dogs with very sensitive tummies, I usually start by mixing 25% of the new food in with their old food, feeding this for a week, then adding another 25% etc, the whole process takes me a month to adapt their stomachs and their tastebuds. I know a lot of people are feeding Raw currently and getting very good results from that. I personally prefer the dry food as I find it is much easier to keep and feed, with Raw, getting the 60/20/20 or 80/20 balance is very important to keep it nutritionally balanced and often not succeeded. I have fed my dogs the Healthy Options Salmon and Rice for the last year, supplemented with Yumove as I have a 13 year old German Shepard and his back end is not as strong as it was, but their coats are glossy and clean, their breath is good and their stools are small and solid!
One frightening little additive that seems to be in some well known brands of dog food is Propylene Glycol. You may have heard of it before, it is an additive in antifreeze, the stuff you put in your car! It has now been banned by the FDA from being added to cat food due to its proven ability to cause a serious blood disease in some animals, yet it is still used in many dog foods as it is claimed it is harmless in small doses! However, due to the fact that dogs do better on a continuous, unchanging diet, they will be fed constantly on the food that includes the harmless in small doses additive, however, they will be getting fairly large doses! Purina and Bakers (both by Nestle) are very well known dog food makers who still use this in their foods.
Some foods that are toxic to dog in large doses are thought to be harmless and some believe may be beneficial in small doses, so they are added to some dog foods, such as garlic.
Most of the poor quality foods use cheap grain to fill the dog up, however, dogs cannot effectively process it and it just comes straight out the other side with no benefit to the dogs and a lot more poo bags to use. Whole grain, such as Rice, oats and quinoa are good in small amounts.
Even though dogs do not require any, sugar is often added to the poor quality foods as they taste so bland the sugar makes them tasty, adding a hyper buzz to the dog and rotting their teeth. These dogs often end up in rescue homes or being euthanized as the owners cannot cope with their hyperactivity caused by the food!
You often find that many of the brands offer Puppy food, senior food and breed specific foods. It is my opinion that many companies use puppy formulas mostly for marketing purposes. There is no corroborating evidence that shows that dogs actually benefit from specialised diets. Plenty of evidence shows that, as long as they are a good quality food, most adult formulas also can provide ample nutrition for the growth of puppies. Foods such as Healthy Options and Eden do not offer a puppy food (Healthy options do offer a “Small Bite/Puppy” which is just a smaller size).
When dogs fall ill due to a bad diet, the vets will often suggest a diet change. This is great, change to a high protein/low carb diet, but if the vet suggests you get a prescription diet, ask why it is better than any other high protein, low carb diet? Are they sponsored by the company that they are promoting? You can buy most prescription foods online for a much cheaper price, as they are just ordinary foods and require no prescription to get them.
Hill's Prescription Diet i/d is possibly the most popular veterinary diet in the UK. Vets often recommend it to their patients for all sorts of gastrointestinal disorders from IBD to bloat, colitis to pancreatitis. Hill's make claims it is ideal for these sorts of problems because of its high digestibility, low fat content and its high level of fibre. It also contains electrolytes to help replace losses caused by vomiting and diarrhoea and antioxidants to neutralise free radicals. Excellent you may think, but actually there's really nothing exceptional about it. The market is awash with digestible, low fat, high fibre foods. Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate) are found in great quantity in any complete dog food and antioxidants have to be added to dry dog food to stop it going rancid immediately after production.
Below is a list of popular dog foods, from the cheapest to the most expensive with some basic info ingredients, links and rough cost per day of feeding a medium sized dog.
Sainsburys Basic Complete Dog Food, if you have very little to spend, this, in my opinion the best of the supermarket own, value brands. (less than 20p a day for a medium size dog) but if you can afford a better quality food, you are likely to be saving money in the long run with less vets visits.
Composition - Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives, Oils and Fats, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Minerals, Yeasts (0.1%). See more at: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/sainsburys-dry-complete-dog-food--basics-25kg
It is worth noting that Iron Oxide is mentioned in the additive, this is the scientific name for rust, and is added to give a red colour to cheap, grey foods.
Wagg, a typical low budget food but honest in their ingredients, with added vitamins and well priced. It contains Wheat and artificial additives. At half the price of Bakers, for a very tight budget this would be my preference. (about 25p per day for a medium size dog)
Composition -Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives (20%, including 4% beef in red kibble), Oils and Fats, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Vegetables (4% peas in pea kibble), Minerals, Yeasts (MOS 0.1%), Citrus Extract (0.04%) & Yucca Extract (0.01%). – See more at: http://www.waggfoods.com/dogs/wagg-complete-dog-food-with-beef-and-veg#ingredients
Again, Iron Oxide is mentioned in the additive, this is the scientific name for rust, could this be the reason that Wagg fed dogs typically have very red poo?
Bakers Complete Dog Food (Nestle along with Beta and Purina amongst others), a low quality, not
so low priced dog food. Contains Propylene Glycol (one of the main components in ANTI FREEZE) as a preservative and lots of sugars, making it very addictive and tasty, like you eating MacDonald’s for every meal! Very low meat content and lots of artificial additives (going up to 60p per day for a medium size dog)
Composition- Cereals (wholegrains 54%), Meat and animal derivatives (15%* in the chunk), Derivatives of vegetable origin, Oils and fats, Vegetable protein extracts, Minerals, Glycerol, Vegetables (1% dried chicory root (natural ingredient), clover and coloured disk: 0.6% dried vegetables, equivalent to 4% vegetables), Propylene glycol. - See more at: https://www.purina.co.uk/dog/bakersdogfood/what-we-make/adult#sthash.yxSSStH2.dpuf
Low meat content, high in sugars and low in protein, pretend to be a quality dog food, making claims such as “Complete with Tasty Bacon and liver” and the bacon is flavouring and no mention of liver! Most dog foods that are brightly coloured have colourings to make them this way to disguise the nasty grey colour they are originally.
Healthy Option Salmon & rice. The main store is in Bradford. It is wheat and Gluten free, so
suitable for most dogs (about 70p per day for a medium size dog)
Composition- White & Brown Rice (min 55%), Salmon (min 20%), Maize Peas, Chicken Oil, Seaweek, Sunflower oil, Vitamins (A, D3 and E Alpha tocopherals as acetate), Antioxidants (natural mixed tocopherals) and pre-mixture yucca extracts. See more at: http://www.healthyoptionpetfood.com/shop/dog-food/healthy-option-salmon-rice/
It contains no artificial colours or preservatives. No wheat, pork, beef or Dairy. In my opinion, a great dog food at a great price.
Eden 80/20 Fish Cuisine Dog Food A high meat content, hypoallergenic and natural. 80% from Animal sources, 20% from veg and 0 from grains. (about 80p per day for a medium size dog)
Composition- Salmon 23%, Herring 21.5% (from Dried Herring), Sweet Potato 13%, Fish 8% (from dried fish) (including seasonally available* Cod, Haddock, Hake, Plaice and Pollock *dependant on the “Catch of the Day”), Salmon 8% (from Dried Salmon), White Fish 6%, Trout 6%, Salmon Oil 6%, Chickpea 5%, Pea Fibre 2.5%, Salmon Stock 1.5%, Lucerne, Minerals & Vitamins, Carrot, Spinach, Apple, Rosehips, Camomile Powder, Burdock Root Powder, Aniseed & Fenugreek, Seaweed, Cranberry, Fructooligosaccharides (461 mg/kg), Glucosamine (341 mg/kg), MSM (341 mg/kg), Chondroitin Sulphate (240 mg/kg), Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Sage. See more at: http://www.edenpetfoods.com/products/eden-80-20-dried-food/eden-80-20-0-catch-of-the-day-fish-formula.html
An exceptional quality dog food, you get what you pay for.
James Wellbeloved Fish & Rice (By Mars, along with Pedigree and Royal Canin) Possibly the biggest
Natural Dog Food Producers in the UK. It is Hypoallergenic and natural. Rice/Meat mix is easy for most dogs to digest but due to grains, may not be suitable for dogs on a gluten free diet. (about 90p per day for a medium size dog)
Compostition- Fish meal (28%) Brown Rice (20.5%) White Rice (20.4%) Barley, Whole Linseed, Fish Stock(3.8%) Olive oil,Peas, Fish oil (2.2%) Alfalfa meal, Chicory pulp, Seaweed(0.5%) Sodium chloride, Potassium chloride, Chicory extract (0.1%), Calcium carbonate, Yucca extract (0.02%) – See more at: https://www.wellbeloved.com/products/dog-food/adult-dog-food/
A good dog food, but a very high price tag with too much salt.
Hills Prescription Diet i/d Canine (Colgate-Palmolive) A prescription food often sold by vets, clinically proven to settle digestive upset in as little as 3 days in dogs. (about £1.50 per day)
Composition- Maize, brewers' rice, dried whole egg, chicken (16%) and turkey meal, digest, minerals, maize gluten meal, dried beet pulp, animal fat, soybean oil, flaxseed, psyllium, vitamins, trace elements and beta-carotene. With a natural antioxidant (mixed tocopherols)- See more at: http://www.hillspet.co.uk/en-gb/products/pd-canine-prescription-diet-id-with-chicken-dry.html
Brewers rice is a very low quality grain and a by-product. Animal fat is generally a term used for a fat of unknown origin, including fat left over from restaurants. Dried whole egg is used for a low quality protein. Maize gluten meal is also to top up the protein, a cheaper alternative than meat, but it is not as easy for dogs to digest and can lead to skin problems and hyperactivity.
Remember, the pricing is not as simple as the £ per pound, the better quality foods can be fed less to get the same amount of nutritional value, also leading to less waste at the other end!!!! Bonus. Also, the higher end foods tend to result in less illnesses, less trips to the vets, healthier coats and nicer smelling dogs, so spending more money on food can end in less money in the long run and much longer lived dogs.