What should I look for in a dog food?

hammerslammerOctober 15, 2013

We have two small dogs. One is a mini dachshund. She is four years old. The other is a chihuahua. He is four years old, also. Both are full blooded. Both are primarily indoor pets, but Coco (our mini dachshund) loves the outdoors much more than Otis (our chihuahua).
I normally give them dry food from a bag. I don't choose the cheapest or most expensive stuff. I usually just try to make sure they aren't getting the same exact thing each time. I figure they prefer some variety just like we do. I also try to purchase smaller bags instead of larger ones. I know it costs more that way, but when I buy the large bags, half of it tends to get stale before the bag is empty.
We do give our dogs table scraps from time to time. I've owned many dogs and have always done this with no obvious adverse affects. Again, I do that because it gives them some variety.
We love our dogs like children and we spoil them rotten. I want to provide good nutrition for them without endangering their health or boring them senseless with the same old bland offering every day of their lives.
I would sincerely appreciate any recommendations regarding types and brands of dog food that you feel are good choices. More importantly, I would like to learn more about what to look for in a dog food so I won't be tethered to any particular type or brand.
Thank you in advance for any feedback.

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I always make sure that the first ingredient on the bag is NOT any type of grain, I feed my girl Purina 1 Smart Blend chicken & rice, , I feed her 2-3 times a day & she gets the kibble & some boiled chicken and thats her diet always. I was told by a vet a long time ago to not keep switching brands, its not good for them. I'm sure other will give you more advice.Christine

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Thanks, Christine. I'm afraid I have to plead guilty to switching brands quite often. I know it's important for their food to be healthy and nutritional, but I want them to enjoy it, too. Trying different brands is the only way I know to find what they enjoy most. I often wonder if vets really give their own pets the same exact diet every day.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:38AM
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You can go to the link below to read about different foods and educate yourself further on that website.

If I buy large bags of kibble, half is put in an air-tight container for daily use and the remainder in the package in a freezer bag, tightly sealed. This will keep it fresh until it's needed. Pay attention to the expiration date, even when buying, so you get the freshest. (Dig in the back of the shelf to see if those have a better date.)

Watch it with the table scraps, being careful anything they are offered is safe for dogs. Also watch their weight because those beloved snacks can add up on a little doggie body!

I use Merrick kibble, not saying that's what you should use though. I cook up chicken or turkey with some vegetables (zucchini, carrot, apple) and mix it in, reducing the amount of kibble so it equals an appropriate amount for the dog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog Food Advisor

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:54AM
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socks, Thanks for that great link, I'm going to have to change my brand now that I see it's only gotten 2 stars.

hammerslammer, I wonder about vets advice sometimes too....

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Thanks for the link, socks. I'll certainly check it out. I also appreciate the tip about keeping dog food fresh and checking the expiration date. To be perfectly honest, I never realized dog food had an expiration date. I guess it's only natural that it would have, but it just never occurred to me to look.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 7:39PM
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I feed my dogs royal canin kibble and always have, but the way I keep it interesting is to mix in some canned food with it. My dogs would never eat kibble on its own so the canned food is just to add some interest and I change up the flavour of the canned food each day. sometimes I'll cook up some chicken and mix that in the kibble as a special treat.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:44PM
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Thank you for the tip, Trance.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 7:35AM
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We use the 'Simply Right Exceed' lamb or chicken and rice formula from Sam's Club. It is the equivalent of Purina One and is much less expensive. We have 2 labs (70# and 95#) and they go through lots of kibble and we are on a fixed income. It gets 3 stars on the 'Dog Food Advisor'.

I also give them home made yogurt daily with the probiotic supplement sprinkled on it and make their treats from chicken/carrots/eggs/olive oil/flour. (and sometimes cheese or peanut butter added.)

They are both happy and healthy with the exception of the skin problems with the male --- getting better though.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:51AM
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I feed my Akita Orijen. Yes, it's more expensive, but it's a biologically appropriate food high in meats, marrow, organs, cartridge, etc. with no grains - like their natural diet. In addition, it also is enriched with the vitamins, minerals & probiotics that dogs need.
Like tracegemini, I mix dry with canned. I stay with the same dry food all the time, and the same brand of canned, but I buy different flavors in the cans to provide variety.
Whether the vets are right or not, I know personally that when I've switched foods abruptly on my dogs in the past, I've ended up with digestion problems that have lasted many days until they adjusted to the new food. I believe it's important that if you must switch foods, you do so on a gradual basis. Mixing a little of the new into the old & increasing every day. Makes for a much happier belly.
But again - this is just MHO.
I do know that I have a very happy, healthy 11 year old dog - so I will continue to feed her as I have to keep her that way.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Lots of helpful feedback. Thank you all so much.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 7:22PM
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I've never heard of Orijen. Where do you purchase it?

Thanks for the reminder to switch foods slowly.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Orijen is made in Canada, but available in the US. I get mine from www.chewy.com. They have an auto delivery program - along with a free freight program.
you can get more info on the product itself www.orijen.ca/dog-food

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Yeah if you want to go crazy and have your head explode, hop on down to dogfoodadvisor.com! HAHA! There is good information and it really all looks good on paper but not all dogs can eat the same thing and dog food allergies seem to be running a muck! A lot of people are left scratching their heads when their dog can't eat a five star food...there are a lot a strange ingredients they are putting in these foods and not all dogs can handle them. It is made to appeal to the people buying it and not really so much for the dog that's eating it. Grains have become "BAD" and peas and potatoes and tapioca have become "GOOD". I think grains are bad if your dog is allergic to it just the same as peas and potatoes are bad if your dog is allergic to peas or potatoes. A lot of dogs cannot eat potatoes or peas. My dog cannot eat peas or rice but can eat corn just fine although most corn based foods contain rice which means my dog can't eat those either. After seeing my dog's reaction to a food that contained some rice, I believe that rice is a reason why so many dogs are allergic to dog foods these days. They didn't use to have rice on them, just corn. My dog turns into a scratching machine with only a tiny bit of rice.

If you are going to spend a lot of money on dog food, I would suggest to buy Acana or Orijen as it really is the best. They are both made by the same company. It is expensive though but Acana is a bit less.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:50PM
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Thank you, arkansas_girl, for your insightful comments. My two dogs seem to be always scratching despite regular treatments of flea medication and no sign of any pests within their fur. It never occurred to me that all their scratching might be due to food allergies. As I indicated in previous posts, I change their food from time to time to reduce their boredom with it and try to provide them with some variety. How do you determine which ingredients a dog is allergic to? Is it simply a matter of trial and error?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:11AM
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Every dog is different. I have two, a whippet(mix?) and a GSD/Rott mix.

Molly(whippet) has allergies and gets lamb and rice or lamb---dry and canned mix---fed once a day. She gets Purina dry mixed with Alpo canned(three different styles of lamb/rice combos).

Max(GSD mix) gets Pedigree dry and canned. I do get a couple of variates of canned for him.

Their coats are fine, they do not deficate large amounts or often, since the amount is tailored to their daily activity--winter means less activity, so less amount. That maintains optimum weight as well.

I've seen a lot of the 'experts' who say this is best or that is bad---most have no idea how dogs actually have evolved and how they can eat. The same people who maintain meat is the best also say vegetables are good. But grain is bad????

I have used Pedigree for decades and have had dogs live to 20(Chihuahua mix) and 16(lab mix) on that brand.

Oh, our dogs only get dog food---no human food!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 12:21AM
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Yesterday we went to the vet for dog food allergy related issues and annual stuff. I talked to the vet extensively about food and like she said "it doesn't matter how wonderful a dog food is supposed to be, if your dog cannot eat it because he's allergic then that food is the worst food for your dog"...or something like that. I am feeding Dog Chow because so far it is the only food I've fed her that doesn't make her break out in a rash and scratch like mad. It has a very simple ingredient label and does not contain any rice.

OH and if anyone happens to remember my old thread about my dog with the irritated feet that I thought was road ice...it was actually caused by dog food allergies from feeding those great 5 star foods everyone is so high on these days! *SMH* There is a reason why all our local rescues ask that we donate Purina. Because dogs have less trouble on it, it's just that simple!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Arkansas Girl, I am glad that you found something to help your dog.

Hammerslammer, I also change foods with each bag we buy. I do it for different reasons than you, though. First, I think that feeding the same food all the time and having a dog become so accustomed to that one food that giving it something else can make it sick is a ridiculous and unnatural practice. Unless, of course, you are dealing with allergies or other illness that requires just one food. But for healthy dogs, variety in foods gives me a better chance of getting them the nutrition they need. We do not understand micronutrients for people, and we surely do not understand them for dogs. Changing dog food means that if one brand is missing something, they are likely to get it in the next bag. The other reason I change is that with the problems with pet food recalls, changing every bag means that they are not going to have some bad or poisoned ingredient in their diet for a long time. If we rotate among a few different brands, then the chance of poisoning is less.

We buy the "super premium" brands. I follow the guidelines from The Whole Dog Journal. Meat (whole, not byproducts or entrails) is the first ingredient, and that animal is named (chicken meat instead of poultry) and meat meal of a named animal species can be in the top few ingredients. I look for whole grains and named vegetables and fruits. WDJ also asks what plant makes the food. If a dog food manufacturer will not say, then they do not put that food, no matter how great the label reads, in their recommended list. That way, when there is a problem in X dog food factory, which makes food for companies 1, 2, and 3, it is possible to find out what other brands may be affected because they use the same equipment and sometimes the same source for ingredients. Most of the small brands use one of a bunch of extruder plants that make the kibble in batches. This week they may be making one brand, and next week (hopefuly after cleaning the equipment) they will make a different flavor or make food for a different brand. They also want the dog food manufacturer to know what the source is for their ingredients, as this makes any recall issue easier.

WDJ also looks for what is NOT in food. They do not want to see artificial ingredients like dye or flavoring or preservatives. No added sweets.

This year, for the first time, some of the dog foods from Hills Science Diet and Eukanuba and Nutro Ultra have made the list. The old-fashioned grocery store brands that we grew up watching commercials for do not generally make their list at all. At our house, we tend to move between Merrick, Dick Van Patton's Natural Balance, Pinnacle, Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul, and Blue Buffalo dry food. We feed pills in canned food that is high in meat and not sloppy, plus mix in a spoonful of wet with their dry. Our dogs have switched to frozen veggies for their evening treats. They love carrots, green beans, cauliflower, and broccoli stems frozen.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:54AM
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Yes Nancy, all that WDJ stuff looks good on paper. It's the practical application that begins the problems for many dogs. When you read a lot at DFA you will see countless people post after post that are complaining that their dogs are sick either with skin issues or digestive issues. Problem is, these foods look great to the human that's feeding them but our dogs aren't little people and don't digest all these people foods. Some dogs don't have a problem with them but there are a lot of dogs that cannot eat these but people continue to feed thinking "but this is a 5 star food it has to be good". Poor dogs!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 7:45AM
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If people are unable to see that their dogs are not well, that is the problem! Poor dogs!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 10:41AM
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You just can't believe how many times I've been reading at DFA and people will say that their dog has been having such and such problem ever since they switched to...oh let's say Orijen and they just don't know if they should change foods or what? They are searching for alternative reasons why their dog is vomiting or having diarrhea when the answer is right in front of them. A LOT of dogs simply cannot handle those ingredients such as peas, potatoes, tapioca and rosemary etc etc. I know people will say that dogs weren't meant to eat corn so they don't want to feed a corn based food BUT and here's the big BUT is that dogs weren't meant to eat peas, potatoes, tapioca or rice either. I believe that of those binder ingredients of hard kibble, dogs have less problem digesting corn than any of those other fancy ingredients. That is the reason why corn was used for 50 or so years without question. Don't you all remember how dogs never used to get sick and lived to be 17 years old with only a yearly visit for annual shots? I never had any health issues with my dogs in the past and never even considered spending $20 for a 4 lb bag of food. It wasn't until I did that I started having problems.

Feed what you want but look for the signs that your dog cannot handle the food and don't be brainwashed by people trying to get you to spends an outrageous amount of money on dog food.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 11:39AM
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A lot of people do not realize advertising is aimed at humans. Animals do not buy their own food, their humans do.

I watched a video a couple of years ago about a company (I think it is in California) that makes dog food. Their only ingredient is cow stomachs. Period--and the fresher the better.

That means some of the resulting dog food is grass---or whatever was in the cow stomachs when removed from the cow.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 12:00PM
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If you really want to feed your dogs the best--go to a prey model raw diet, bones and all. Yes, even small dogs will do well on such a diet. I am still working up the gumption to go all raw, but my dog handles Stella and Chewies raw medallions just fine.

Yes, all those other ridiculous ingredients are dumb in dog food. Wild dogs don't go around eating blueberries, carrots and sweet potatoes!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 11:47PM
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Something else to consider when thinking of raw feeding is that my vet warned me that dogs absolutely can get salmonella poisoning even though you will read on the web that they cannot. She said "believe me YES they can and do get salmonella poisoning, we have seen it many times!" I don't know why the raw feeding fanatics have decided to tell everyone that dogs don't get salmonella? So my vet said that if I decided to feed raw that I needed to be very careful where I get my meats from. She did suggest that cooking is OK but I needed to be careful with that to make sure she wasn't lacking in nutritional requirements.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation on the web reguarding dog foods.

This post was edited by arkansas_girl on Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 8:16

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Hi Handymac! I could not tell from your post if your thought that the cow stomach food was good or bad. As for the grass, I do believe that predators often eat the contents of the stomach. The digestive enzymes are working on the food in the cow, making the otherwise indigestible cow food at least somewhat useful to the predator. Depending on which stomach we are talking about, I suppose! I think I remember reading that this is an important source for nutrients for predators.

I always thought that dogs are omnivores, like us. They can get benefit from plant foods. Cats, on the other hand, are purely predators and cannot benefit from undigested (by others) plants.

My dogs do not live the life of a predator, stalking prey and running for miles daily. They are couch potatoes like I am. With the new dog flu going around and causing deaths, I am afraid to take mine out of their yard at this time. My Toby has always loved veggies. To give him the treats he craves psychologically and to help fill his belly when we have lowered his kibble and canned meat rations a bit, he gets his very favorite treat each night. He goes nuts for frozen veggies. They have not affected his digestion by causing extra gas or bowel changes. Not even the broccoli stem chunks, one of his favorites. He actually eats more veggies than I do! Little Lizzy also enjoys these treats.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 11:24AM
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The whole carnivore or omnivore varies depending on who you ask. To say an animal is an omnivore because of the content of an animal's stomach in which they are consuming would be to say that we could safely assume all animals(except hermivores) to be an omnivore because they will all consume the animal wholely which would mean they consume whatever is in that animal's stomach. Plus they will eat all parts, fur and all from head to tail. I go with the side that votes a dog is supposed to be a carnivore. They really don't eat much other food than meat besides some grass and even cats eat grass.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 2:50PM
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" As for the grass, I do believe that predators often eat the contents of the stomach."

Have heard the same thing and that it is an important part of their diet, they not only consume the meat of animals but also the guts which often contain plant matter. However, I suspect by now domestic animals have adapted to the more modern diet too

" Plus they will eat all parts, fur and all from head to tail."

I doubt if animals would be keen on eating the bones and fur etc, they would simply tear the meat off, eat the insides and leave what they don't want behind. They would only likely even eat bones if they were small enough

This post was edited by trancegemini_wa on Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 15:15

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 3:10PM
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You are totally wrong, a dog or cat would not simply eat the meat off the bones. If a cat eats a rat, they will eat it's entire body. Do you really think they strip the hair off? Seriously! HAHAHAHA! A dog, if it caught a squirrel, it will eat the entire squirrel. I've seen my dog scarf down feathers that were left on the ground after a cat/bird fight.

This is where people begin to think of their animals as if they act like people or would eat as a person would eat. They do not eat yummy foods like us people do...HA!

Edit to add: I'm sure excess amounts of fur and feathers would probably not be eating if it's a larger animal. You do know that raw feeders give the dogs whole bird/chicken carcasses(minus the feathers) and they eat all the bones and meat, beaks and feet if available. If you feed a dog a beef soup bone, a dog can razor through the bone easily in minutes. That's the difference between raw bones and cooked bones. Never feed a dog or cat cooked bones, they are brittle and sharp where as raw bones are soft and eatable and easily digested.

This post was edited by arkansas_girl on Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 17:56

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 5:14PM
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ugh, this thread is becoming excruciating to read. have at it :)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 3:09AM
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Yeah definitely don't ever decide to feed raw if you are that squeamish about what a dog or cat would eat if left to their own devices. Back just over a hundred years ago, wildlife was plentiful and dogs were not locked up in a house or fence. They were mostly free to roam at will and mostly their diet consisted of whatever they killed to eat or they got left over slaughter from their owners. It hasn't been very long in history that we've had kibbles or canned food to feed our dogs.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 7:40AM
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Yes, the bones, skin, etc...are actually an important part of the raw diet. Chewable bones are excellent for cleaning a dogs teeth, and provide needed nutrients. Even the feathers are good for them. Really you have to look at it as "what and how would he eat if he was on his own". We are so programmed to feed our dogs sterilized, dry kibble, that a "real" diet seems quite foreign to us.

Dogs are carnivores, the contents of the stomach really are quite minimal.

Improving my dog's diet has made him (and his poop!) smell a whole lot better, and that is just with a better quality kibble. He is handling the raw food just fine, and I'm anxious to see how he will change with the new diet.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:41AM
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Raw! That is if you want your animals to be truly healthy. Cooked meats (even organic) are not what they need in terms of digestion and nutrient absorption. A study done on two groups of foxes given meat from the same source, but one group being fed raw and the other cooked, showed marked behavioral problems in the group fed the cooked meat. This was just the beginning of their health findings. Plus, it makes sense. Dogs come from wolves and wolves don't eat cooked meat.

In addition, the meat used in almost all dog foods is terribly nutrient deficient due to the way we farm it. There are no omega 3's in the meat, b/c none of it is grass fed beef, lamb, etc. A balance in Omega 3 & 6 is what retards the development of osteoarthritis in both dogs and humans. Hence all of the arthritis seen in both dogs and humans these days due to our not eating high omega 3 grass fed meats and oily fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, menhaden, etc). Just avoiding arthritis in your pooch is a major feat. You already know this if you've ever had a dog in pain from osteoarthritis.

In addition, you avoid all of the grains and fruity/veggie carbs (not a needed part of a carnivores diet), which are believed by most vets and canine experts to cause serious skin allergies along with organ deterioration.

Most importantly for you though, it's easy! I just buy the meat (hormone and antibiotic free/organic if affordable) on Sunday and mix it all up in a big bowl with a couple of organic eggs and about a half cup of frozen, non-gmo peas. Then I divide it up and put it all in the freezer only removing one at a time to the fridge for the next meal. No cooking-super easy and my puppy girl's crazy itching is going away. She's less hyper too!

*Raw Proportions: 75-80% full fat ground meat or cuts, 10% organ like liver & speen, and 10-15% bone.

*2% of dogs weight should be fed each day. For example, a 100 lb. dog should get 2 pounds of food a day!

Hope this helps and hope you choose raw for your good buddies. They deserve it!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Hi, back Nancy!

I have raised several dogs and used either Pedigree or Purina(and sub brands like Alpo) for every dog.

All have lived to ripe old ages(lab mix to 15, chihuahua mix to 20 as examples) on those diets.

Dogs are omnivores---they will eat whatever is available.

The cow stomach food is a gimmick idea---probably not bad for the animals, but gimmicky.

After all, humans buy animal food, the advertising is aimed at humans and the ideas have to be palatable to the buyers.

If people feel good buying raw---versus the folks who cook every meal for Fido---get decent food---who am I to demean them.

I think it is silly sometimes, but I also think it is silly for a human to be a vegan.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Hi Stellabee!
I am going to point out a couple of logical flaws in your post. Please don't take it personally. I have absolutely nothing against feeding raw. I just want to give you feedback on your reasoning as posted in your reply to this thread.

Foxes (wild animals related to dogs, in the Family Canidae and Sub-Family Caninae, but in a different Genus and Species) do better on raw meat. Cooked meat gives them illness. Therefore, dogs (descended from wolves long ago, so in the same Genus and Species as wolves) should not eat cooked meat. That is:

Fox + Cooked = Illness
Dogs = Wolves
Therefore Dogs + Cooked = Illness

See the problem with the logic? There is nothing to connect Foxes with Dogs. This is not a logical argument.

Next you say that modern meat is deficient in nutrients because of the way it is farmed. Lack of nutrients causes arthritis. Therefore feed your dog raw meat.
Modern Meat = Lack of Nutrients
Lack of Nutrients = Arthritis
Therefore feed your dog Raw Modern Meat

You don't specifically say to feed Modern Meat, but I don't see any directions on what else the Raw Meat is to be made of, so I must assume it is Modern Meat. Again, the logic does not follow. You tell us to feed the dogs the deficient meat, simply Raw. How does this help with arthritis? You do not say anything to explain why feeding Raw contributes to the nutritional value of the Modern Meat. You state that the Modern Meat never had the nutrients.

Next, you tell us that carbs are not needed in a carnivore's diet. I wondered about this, given that many carnivores eat fruits and berries when available. So I went to Wikipedia:

"A hypercarnivore is an animal which has a diet that is more than 70% meat, with the balance consisting of non-animal foods such as fungi, fruits or other plant material.[1][2] Some examples include the big cats, dolphins, wolves, eagles, snakes, marlin, most sharks. Virtually all members of the Canidae and Felidae are hypercarnivores in their natural state, including the domesticated dog and cat."

There is also a subdivision of hyper carnivores that must eat only animal-based food. They are called "obligate carnivores." Cats are considered obligate carnivores, but dogs are not. As you point out, dogs are descended from Grey Wolves. Again from Wikipedia:

"Wolves supplement their diet with fruit and vegetable matter: they willingly eat the berries of mountain ash, lily of the valley, bilberries, blueberries and cowberry. Other fruits include nightshade, apples and pears. They readily visit melon fields during the summer months."

So carbs are a natural part of the wolf diet. This is research that disagrees with your contention that wolves do not eat carbs. Peas are carbs. If you don't want to give your dog carbs, why the peas? Another logical issue with your reasoning. That does not mean you should feed your dog something that it has developed an allergy to, though. I would never advocate for that. You simply need to figure out what the dog is allergic to.

It may not be so much a reasoning problem as it is a writing problem. Take more time with writing to make sure you are saying what you intended to say. Using the logical breakdowns like I did above will help you ensure that you are getting your message across in your writing.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Thanks Nancy -- that makes so much sense but those who want to mess with a raw diet will not be convinced by logic. Domesticated dogs live very long lives and are far removed from the wild species. They have adapted.

My two labs can't be kept away from the mulberries that are all over the ground in the spring and the hickory nuts in the fall. (Still can't figure out how they get through the tough shells and am amazed that they eat the nuts, shells and all!)

The only raw meat they eat is the animals they find on our farm --- I don't encourage it because of worms, but they still get a good amount before I catch them at it.

I wonder how many vets would recommend the raw diet --- I have not found a single one in my 70 years of owning dogs. Most of the vets I have been associated with highly recommend Purina over the pricier brands.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Hi Handymac. Your experience with commercial (non-premium) dog kibble shows that it is certainly not bad for your dogs, since they live to ripe old age on that food. I can't imagine you let them suffer with crippling arthritis in those later years, either. You would be merciful and practical with your dogs and have them euthanized if they were suffering. So grocery-store brands are perfectly fine.

I agree that there is a huge spectrum of "adequate" and "nutritious" diet options for dogs. It is when we start talking about "optimal" diets that we get into disagreements. At that level, the individual animal's needs are really the determining factor, I think.

One thing I learned when researching for the above post is that the classifications "carnivore" and "omnivore" are not set in stone. There is no agreement where the cutoff is between the two. If they use the prefix "hyper" (over, beyond, or high) on "carnivore" to indicate that the wolf eats mostly meat, yet there is still up to 30% vegetable matter in the definition of "hypercarnivore," then an omnivore must be closer to 50/50! Interesting, and not how I imagined the terms were used.

I never found anything about wolves eating the contents of prey's stomachs, though.

Even my DH, a vegetarian for maybe 25 years, does not go fully vegan anymore. Vegan eating makes life quite difficult when you socialize with omnivorous friends or travel. He can aim for vegan at home, but be flexible when eating away from home. Not having foods from India, yogurts in Middle Eastern food, or an occasional slice of Tres Leches Cake would make us quite cranky. He has even relaxed at Thai restaurants and stopped asking if there is any fish sauce in the dishes. Life is so much easier now!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:34PM
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