Good Dog Food

ilene_in_neokMarch 18, 2009

I thought I'd start a new thread and share my recent experience re a topic that came up in "What Do You Splurge On?".

First let me say that having a pet is not necessarily frugal, but pets do have their uses. I have read that pet owners have lower blood pressures although I don't understand how that works. Pets are good company for the elderly and a dog that barks at everyone that comes around is good too, although annoying at times. Some dogs can be really good companions for children. Cats are great out in the country because they hunt mice. In town, though, they tend to kill birds. My cat does not choose to hunt, though she loves to watch the birds. We got a mouse in the house once and she was the first one who knew. She is 18 years old.

After reading comments about what is in the "cheap stuff", such as euthanized pets, road kill and blood-soaked sawdust from the floor of the processing plant (Ewwwwww), how brands we commonly trust are really not much better than that, and following the link to the Pets forum and reading that, I made the decision to change brands of food for my dog. He is a picky eater when it comes to his own food, but he will lick the cat's dish dry if we forget to pick it up after she's done, and he begs for any and every morsel if any of us are eating anything. I know many pet owners have strong opinions about not giving your dog bits of your own food, but it's hard not to do it when he's standing right there in front of you with those big, doleful brown eyes. He is seven years old and sometimes chews on himself.

I discovered that a feed store just a few blocks from me stocks "Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul". An 18 pound bag of dry was about $18. I got a bag and put a cupful in his bowl and he ate all of it while I was standing there. Usually he just looks at me as if to say, "Is that all ya got?"

Then we noticed the cat, who gets canned food, was eating out of the dog's bowl. This has never happened before. I posted on the Pets forum because I wanted to know if this was harmful for her. My mother fed Bolo canned dog food (cheap stuff)to a stray cat that started hanging out at her house. The cat loved the food but he developed a blockage in his urinary system, kept trying to urinate but could only pass a few drops of blood. I've had a cat that developed this as well, in the past, and it requires medication and several vet visits. The vet told me that cats should not eat certain brands of dry cat food because of this very problem. I was only feeding dry cat food but it was one that was too high in ash. I didn't discuss the dog food issue much with the vet, only mentioning the thing about my mother and I remember that he said he didn't recommend feeding dog food to a cat, but he didn't say if it was something that was in the food or something that was lacking. So what I was asking on the forum was, did this apply to the "cheap food" only and would she be safe eating the new stuff out of the dog's bowl since it's so nutritionally complete? I got lots of comments around the question, none addressing the actual question except for one that said that dog food does not contain taurine, which cats need, but lots of people said their cat ate out of their dog's dish with no problems. So I guess the jury's still out on that one.

Just to be safe, I bought a bag of Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul for the cat. They had it in cans but it was 75 cents for about the size of a tuna can and I just couldn't do that. So even though we've had problems with her throwing up big wads of fur and cat food bits when she was on dry before, I decided to try a bag of the dry for her. So far, and I may be speaking prematurely, we've had no throwing up and she seems to prefer it to the dog's food now. I really hope the dry food works out because it's a lot more convenient to keep her bowl up high where she likes to lounge. It keeps the dog out of it, it's there whenever she wants it and she doesn't have to keep coming to us and asking us to get her food out of the refrigerator.

I was among the many who thought that "any" cat or dog food was OK. I had no idea that "meat byproducts" was such an open-ended term. I thought it just meant things like organ meats and scraps from the butchering process. To think that I might actually be feeding my dog something that contains the body of another dog that was euthanized, or an food-stock animal that was too sick to qualify for human food just appalls me. Not to mention some of the other stuff that is inedible by human standards.

Once my cat and dog have lived their lives out, I don't intend to get a replacement. They are a responsibility and an expense. The vet gets more expensive every year. Last year the dog quit eating entirely and we discovered he had a bad tooth. The bill for the tooth extraction was a shock, as was the cost of the antibiotic he had to take afterwards.

I do agree that it's a lot cheaper in the long run to feed your pet the good stuff. I also understand they shed less when their food is more nutritionally complete. Since the dog sheds daily, I'm hoping that will prove to be true. That alone will be worth the extra expense. I want to thank those of you who posted the information on good food vs. cheap food, even though it was "off topic" somewhat on the thread, because you brought this to my attention and taught me something I consider to be very important.

I know some people get very upset when discussions veer off in a direction they didn't intend with their original post, but this is what I so enjoy on these forums. I appreciate what everyone has to say regardless of whether it's on-topic or not. Keep it up and thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences!

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm glad you posted this. I was like you too and just didn't have a clue. I also thought they used all the parts of the animal that people didn't normally eat - which I think is fine - but it's so much more beyond that.
The deception of these pet food companies is criminal and yet most people believe their lovely lying tv commercials.

Your pets are beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:18PM
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I read in the pet section of our local newspaper that pets don't need the high dollar stuff, sometimes it's not as good as the less expensive. He said all you had to worry about was buy a name brand and make sure it is age appropriate, "that is important". When I had pets I would add a little water to a skillet that I had fried meat in and pour it over the dry food, they loved it. One was itching and the vet said to pour some bacon/sausage grease over their food. You might try that with some less expensive dog food.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 4:15PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Hmm, yes, the newspaper is always correct.
There has been a ton of research on proper nutrition and what goes into dog food and what gives long, healthy lives for pets.
I prefer to trust that information for great health.
Excess fat is the main cause of pancreatitis in dogs.

The thing is, is that good food ultimately means a healthy dog and fewer trips to the expensive vet.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 5:24PM
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Yes, good food is just as important for our pets as it is for us. Why have them if you aren't willing to provide the best you can?
I'm not saying to just go buy the most expensive trendy food available. I am saying invest a small amount of time in learning how to read a label and what to look for. Rancid grease is no better for them than it is for us- clean healthy fats are essential.

I watch my pet food bills very closely as I have 175 lb+ dogs, so it adds up very quickly. But I try and get as much quality for each dollar that I can as veterinary problems are much easier prevented than treated.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 8:33PM
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Well I just got a post from someone over on the Pets forum who said the Chicken Soup brand has no quality controls in place and that it contains random inedibles such as chicken feathers. Does anyone know if this is so, or is this just one person's opinion?

I know someone here posted it as being one of the top brands.

Everyone lies to us in order to line their pockets. I really don't trust anyone who stands to profit by a transaction made because of "their opinion". So the advertisers waste their money on me. But it's hard to tell by all these reports and opinions on the Internet just what's what.

Many moons ago when I was a young woman, the mother of one of my friends made her little dog's food out of ground beef, carrots and potatoes. I don't remember what else. I remember how ridiculous I thought it was at the time, because we were living on a Navy allottment and that dog was eating better than we were. But I'm almost at the point now where I'm thinking that would be cheaper in the long run and I may try Dr. Fox's recipe if I can't find a food I can trust.

I have noticed that the cat's breath is much better. While on the canned cat food if I picked her up and she meowed at me, her breath smelled like a dead animal. Now it's not.

The cat adopted us when her owners moved into a rental that was next door. There were children who carried her and her brother around constantly. I would often see them running down the street carrying a cat with their arm across the cat's rib cage, under their forearms, which left the rest of the cat dangling back and forth with every step. It was a nightmare. The cats began hiding under my porch and I fed them and invited them in. The mother cat had another litter of kittens and she hid them under my porch as well but something got under there and killed them before I could get them to safety. Fortunately the people moved and left all their cats behind. The mother was a sleek beautiful black cat and she was adopted by one of the other neighbors. I named the cats I kept "Pearl" and "Spot". Pearl had such a sad expression on her face and was very skinny when I first met her. It was short for "Poor Pitiful Pearl". As she became better cared for, she filled out. Every winter she grows this big "mane" around her neck. She has huge paws and when she walks across you, you feel like you've got a bruise everywhere she stepped. And her meows are more like grunts. Apparently she's part Maine Coon Cat. She took good care of her brother, she hunted mice but would always save them for Spot, who was a white short-hair with big gray spots. When they were fed she would always sit there and wait for him to finish eating before she would eat. They would sleep curled up together and she would lick his head. Unfortunately, when the grandchildren came to live with us, even though I taught them to respect animals and treat them kindly, it was just too much Deja Vu for Spot and he disappeared. I never found out what happened to him.

We got the dog at the SPCA. We were concerned that it might be too much for Pearl, but she held her ground and the dog is totally respectful of her. He was found on a country road with his sister, and the people at SPCA named them "Sonny and Cher". When we arrived at the SPCA, Cher had been adopted and Sonny was quite sad and lonely. His face and ears were full of seed ticks. After we'd had him for a couple of weeks, we discovered he had kennel cough. The SPCA would not help us with the expense of his treatment, but said we could bring him back and exchange him for another dog. We knew that meant euthanization for Sonny. With proper treatment he recovered, but his lungs have been weakened and he has a coughing attack every now and then. From the fact that Sonny does not like men, other than those in our household, we think he had been abused. He is afraid of certain things, especially objects that are new to him, but will put his fear aside if someone he doesn't know comes to the door or into the yard. Sonny has been to obedience school and he is, for the most part, a good dog. He knows a few tricks and will do them all, without request, if he thinks he sees a treat in someone's hand. We live in a small town, on the back of the city park and he loves to go with us into the park in the early morning when no one is around. He will not, however, leave the yard unless we are going with him and tell him it's OK, not even to chase a cat or a squirrel, not even if the gates are left open, and while we are in the park, he runs in big circles like a greyhound, within the area that he knows we'll be in. We can trust him without his leash, but if we see someone come into the park, we call him and he comes to have his leash snapped on, and walks beside us until the "danger" is over. He considers Pearl "his" cat and if one of the neighbor's cats gets into our back yard, Pearl will start to yowl and Sonny will chase the cat out of the yard. Once in awhile there will be a cat who will come into the yard that won't run from Sonny. Sonny will sit there like a Sphinx and give the cat the old evil eye while Pearl will be a distance away yowling, until one of us goes out and shoos the offender out of the yard.

They're a funny pair.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 8:13AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Brutuses is generally respected in regards to her information about pets, I've been around her on the forums for a long time, so I would take into consideration what she has to say.
It can be tough finding a company/product that is not super expensive but is good. But they're out there.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 8:27AM
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I adore your pets. When we adopted Brandy, she wasn't a year old. The Shelter called her lazy, but she was so sweet we took her. At the vets we found she had a broken pelvis and was pregnant. The pups had to be aborted as she couldn't deliver them. Also, her jaw was sore - she either was abused or had been stuck by a car. Anyway, at home I fed her yogurt, scrambled eggs, tuna, and other human foods until she was well enough to eat something crunchy.

Our Lab, Boomer, took to her immediately. Here he watches from his deck post over his realm.
From Untitled Album

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:00PM
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Here's a site that review dog food.

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

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:45PM
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I believe a vet's opinion over any other info and the article was written by a vet. Vets are vets because they love animals and want to take care of them.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 4:12PM
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Stargazer, vets get very little instruction on nutrition, and all of the instruction they do get is given "courtesy" of Hills Science Diet and/or Iams company. Vet students are also given the opportunity to buy Hill's Science Diet food for greatly reduced prices during the time they are in vet school. I have friends who are vets, and this information comes directly from them. In fact, my vet asks me about dog foods, since she knows it is something that I have studied extensively. She has changed her views on dog food in the years she has been in practice, and now is a firm believer in feeding a good quality dog food made with lots of meat protein. I have labrador retrievers and I compete in shows and hunt tests with them, so great nutrition is important for them.

Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul is a good food at a good price. I wouldn't consider it one of the very best foods, but it is certainly of good quality. Ilene, if your dog and cat look better on the food then trust what you are seeing. I would caution you, however, about feeding only dry food to your cat. Current research indicates that cats fare better with some moist food in their diet. You may know that kidney disease is a big problem in cats (I lost my cat to it at age 18) and the latest research seems to point to a diet of dry food as a contributor. My vet suggests giving at least one meal per day of canned food, as cats are meant to get some of their water requirements from their food. If you can get Eagle Pack brand cat food I know that they have large size cans available for about $1.25 or $1.50 per can. These cans are as big as a dog food can, so will last your cat for several meals. Eagle Pack is another good quality brand of dog and cat foods.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 6:21PM
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This topic gets to be a very hot topic for people. Sadly, so many people get a little bit of knowledge and go running off. I spent literally weeks getting information from various sources and learned a lot. By no means do I know it all nor will I ever. But looking at the credibility of the source, what they have to gain on it and a lot of common sense factors into it. I got a lot of good information on from people who have pets and not just a cat or dog now and then, but people who have done a lot of research on the topic. Dogfoodanalysis is a real farce of a source for information with the contradictions and downright misinformation. Take everything with a grain of salt there. Do yourself and your pets a favor and use a variety of sources.

A lot weighs into selecting the correct food for humans as well as pets. Senior citizens and senior pets need a different diet than infants and puppies, but so many of these sites and posters don't seem to realize that.

One of the big misnomers is the ingredients list. There's different ways to present it so things will look better. I got stung on that at first too, thinking just look at the ingredient list and the first item is SUPPOSED to be the highest percentage of the content. Well, when you look into it, there's different ways to present it with combining ingredients and splitting out ingredients so the cheaper quality foods look better than someone being hones about the analysis.

The other issue often overlooked is the guaranteed analysis and the consistency of the product. With all the recalls of foods from pet food to baby formula, you would think people would be less gullible, but sadly, all too often people want to be fooled.

Technically all pet food must be nutritionally balanced. But the best analogy I read once said take a leather boot, a fork and a couple other items and you technically have a nutritionally complete diet for your dog but would you want to feed it to them. I wish I oculd find the exact quote. It was great.

Vets are a source of information, but not the final source. Breeders are a source but not the final source. Forums are a source but not a final source. So take the time to at least start learning.

A friend asked a vet what's the difference between canned food and dry food and the vet's answer? "Water". (sigh) And people trusted their animals to her.

I agree that age appropriate is important, but that's not all. As said, diet appropriate is important too. I have one pet with a sensitive stomach and the other is old iron-guts. So the diets have to be different. Also, whether an animal is indoor or outdoor can often vary a diet. I'm not sure that a "name brand" is super important, but it can help. The reputation of the company, the experience in manufacture and other things weigh into the decision. I do know that my one pet (a rescue) had troubles and a lot have improved since changing from a brand that some here want to argue about so I won't name it nor get into a debate on it. I know that going to a different food has resulted in less pain in eating, much better coat, less fecal matter, less sensitivity to certain things and more. Yes, diet is important.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:53AM
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I give my cat Hill's Science Diet dry and fancy feast canned--mainly because they are foods she likes and they don't make her sick. She is very particular about the texture of the canned food. It has to be minced very fine; if it has chunks, she won't eat it.

All cat treats make her sick. I don't care what brand, what quality. She loves cat treats, but they come right back up.

I've tried other brands of food, but there are only a couple of brands she can tolerate.

She drinks quite a bit of water. I give her spring bottled water in a Petsmate water fountain. When I first set it up, she wouldn't touch it. Now she loves it! Drinks from it several times a day.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 1:02AM
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I really appreciate everyone's posts and it's clear that I have a lot to learn on a topic that I really never paid much attention to before. I'm leaning more and more in the direction of making my own pet food. I'm retired, so I have the time, and it seems like it's not going to be more expensive than buying "the good stuff" is.

I will continue feeding the Chicken Soup brand till it's gone. Stbonner, do you think it would work to mix a little chicken broth in with some of the cat's dry food? She's been eating the Chicken Soup brand now for about four days and so far no throwing up. We keep a water bowl in the house and on the back porch and she does get her drinks.

It goes without saying that if we take on the responsibility of owning a pet, we must understand how totally dependent they are on us(even though that's not what a cat wants you to know). Since Pearl doesn't hunt, I know I do need to feed her differently than any cat I've ever had before. Sonny is the first dog I've ever had, actually got him for the grandsons but they lost interest and he bonded with DH instead.

If this food reduces the shedding that the dog does, this will prove to me it's at least better for him that what he WAS getting.

Calirose, your Boomer looks like he is a great watchdog. How lucky Brandy was that you picked her! I shudder to think about how she would've fared if she had had to give birth to her pups with a broken pelvis. When I get an animal at the shelter, I will always pick the one that looks like it needs me the worst.

Years ago, when our children were young, we adopted a cat that was named "CoCo". She was cowering in the back of her cage while the others were actively vying for our attention. My heart went out to her. She had been spayed, so someone must have loved her to begin with. We brought her home and she immediately ran upstairs and crawled under the floor boards where we were doing some remodeling. We set a bowl of dry food, some water and a litter pan up there and left her alone. After a couple of days I managed to catch her and took her to a small bedroom downstairs and closed the door. Every day I went in periodically with food and gradually she allowed me to pet her while she ate.

She became a full member of our family. She was truly neurotic, but we loved her. We discovered she liked vegetables, and she kept chewing on my aloe vera plant and raiding DH's ash tray, carrying the butts crosswise in her mouth down into the basement where she had a hiding place for them. When she felt ignored, she would go down and get one and bring it up as if it was a gift, drop it in front of me, and sit there politely waiting for her recognition. It was just hilarious! Unfortunately, she came outside with me while I was working in the garden, got out in the road and was hit by a car. She had a broken hind leg and after that was scared to death of the sound of a car. After she healed, she was in the habit of laying flat on her back, in a manner that one of my neighbors told me was "somewhat indecent". LOL We needed to move several states away, and I knew CoCo would never make the trip. But I had a friend who I knew would provide her a good home. Helen took her home, and on my advice she opened the carrier and just let CoCo find a place to hide for awhile. She called me the next day and said CoCo had already been in the ashtray but that she'd been offered tuna and wouldn't eat. I told Helen, "open up a can of corn". LOL

I adopted a stray black cat one time that had distemper, about 30 years ago. I took him to the vet who gave me this gummy stuff in a tube and told me that usually cats don't die of distemper, they die of starvation and dehydration. After he pulled through, a young girl appeared at my back fence and said he was hers. I asked her if she'd like to sell him, and she took a dollar for him. She passed my back gate later on and was smoking, so I assumed that's what she bought with her money. Midnight insisted on being outside most of the time and one night woke me up yowling outside. Someone had dipped his bottom half in fuel oil. I shudder to think what they had planned next. At 2am I was downstairs bathing Midnight in dishwashing liquid. He was very cooperative. He was a very affectionate cat and he was forever bringing "gifts" of dead birds and mice and leaving them on the front steps. Unfortunately, Midnight was shot by a police sharpshooter along with several other cats that had congregated on someone's property because they had a female cat that was in heat. People, this is a testimony for getting your male cat neutered, preferably while he is young, before he gets curious about the rest of the neighborhood. He will stay closer to home then. Many people don't neuter their male pets but it does eliminate a lot of problems, such as wandering and spraying.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:58AM
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Ilene, don't really know if the chicken broth is a good idea or not. If you use it I would make sure that it is low sodium broth, although I'm not sure just how much sodium is left in the low sodium type - something to check on, for sure.

Kidney disease is really common in old cats. I lost my cat to it at age 18. Once she was diagnosed she was switched to a prescription canned food and it seemed to help for a while. Dry food is just harder for animals to digest than wet food. I would just try to supplement with wet food as you can, and otherwise continue on with the Chicken Soup dry food.

Also, left over lean meats without gravy or oil added can be added easily to your dog or cat food. That may be an easier way for you to get some moist food into your cat - you know, just pick the meat off the bones of a roasted chicken or something like that. My husband is a hunter, so I brown venison hamburger every now and then for my pets.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:36PM
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Ilene, I always think that the dog(s) pick us!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:19PM
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Calgal, your pets seem to have the same problem with food that I have with pain meds. All of them come right back up except Ibuprofen. LOL

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:56PM
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I make my own chicken broth and I don't add salt. Many times I will boil a chicken, and then boil the skin and bones again in clean water to make a second batch of broth. You'd be surprised how much chicken flavor you can still get out of just bones and skin. I chill it in the fridge so I can peel the layer of fat off the top and throw it away.

I will keep trying things until I get it right. Thanks all. --Ilene

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 6:07PM
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oth your pets are cute. All I can add is I feed my 17YO cat Fancy Feast canned. I truly believe it is "keeping her alive" as blood tests show she has failing kidneys, thyroid and liver. My dog eats Beneful dry. They readily eat from each other's bowls.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:14AM
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I heard part ofa program on the radio tonight before the batteries died. It was some call-in show with a woman expert on animals a call came in from someone who asked several spca places what they did with animals they had to euthanize and one said a truck picks them up another one said a RENDERING truck picked them up the caller asked the shelter if he knew what rendering meant. The discussion that followed was to beware of the words bone or bone meal were on a product since it could mean ground up dogs and cats. The consensus of the show was not to feed their pets anything but natural food prepared in their own kitchens.
I wonder how we could tell what products are using this type of "filler".

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 1:22AM
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My cat will eat that dry food that is for indoor cats. I do get canned but mix the can with a can of water and make a gravy she will lap up most of the gravy and leave the rest. I do give her some Tyson white meat strips (for adults and precooked) The free-loading neighbor cats eat what is left

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 1:26AM
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Yeah, Minnie, finding out that they put euthanized pets and roadkill into pet food is what really upsets me.

Mad Cow Disease was caused by putting the by-products of cows into food fed to cows. When mammals are forced to cannibalize, that's just ASKING for trouble. I also wonder how I would be able to tell from the ingredients list whether or not a particular brand of pet food contains the bodies of other pets. I was glad to see that the brands of food I was feeding my pets during the Melamine incident were not on that list, but once again, I wouldn't have been able to tell by the list of ingredients. So apparently they might as well not list their ingredients at all since they're leaving so much information out.

Since my dog prefers "human food", switching him over to something I make in my kitchen would be easy. The cat, Pearl, is so picky and only eats a few bites at a time. I went to Petmeds and they sell a supplement for cats in a soft chew that contains taurine. According to a site I found about taurine deficiencies in cats, the minute you cook meat it reduces its taurine content immensely. Somewhere I saw that it was recommended that a cat be given the wing-tip part from a raw chicken periodically, especially if they don't hunt. Does anyone here do that?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:30AM
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Both my dogs and my cats eat raw meaty bones, ilene, I have fed raw since 1996.
Cats can be difficult as they seem to prefer whatever they were raised on and are reluctant to switch. I started all mine on raw when they were quite young and now they regularly eat raw, dry, and wet foods.

If you can convince your cats to chew on a bone at least weekly they will never need a dental again in their lives.
Be aware that all bones must be raw- no cooked bones ever.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 9:51AM
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I just did a contct us email on this site and asked this question
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.Friskies Fancy Feast

Do you put euthanized pets and roadkill into your pet food
An honest answer please

Maybe if we all did this it would alert them to the fact that we do know it is being done

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Cearbbhail....I would say a raw meaty bone is quite different than eating ground up euthenized dogs & cats! And capitol letters are considered to be an emphasis--in this case I think it is yelling.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:39PM
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I would be very careful about feeding homemade diets. They can be great or they can be terrible. Cats and dogs need lots of calcium, for instance, and if you are just feeding meat and rice and vegetables, for example, they are not going to get the calcium that they must have.

As far as knowing what is in your pet food - you just have to know how to read the ingredients lists. I won't feeding anything that lists "meat and bone meal" or "meat byproducts". Either of these could be from any kind of animal. You want to see a specific meal listed, such as "chicken meal" or "lamb meal". The same goes for "animal fat" you want to know what kind of fat is being used, so look for "chicken fat", etc. Personally I don't feed food with byproducts at all, as byproducts are very loosely regulated, and can include parts of the animal that are not of much value nutritionally, so I choose not to feed them at all.

As far as the melamine issue goes, if you feed a food that does not include corn gluten meal or any other type of gluten then you should be okay. Foods that add gluten meals do so in lieu of meat meals, as a cheap way to boost the protein of the food. Melamine is used to boost the protein levels of gluten. Dogs and cats need lots of protein, but the best and most usable type of protein for them is meat and meat meal - not protein from gluten.

The best foods will list meat meals as their first ingredient, and often as a second and third ingredient too. Meat meal is probably a better bet than just a meat (chicken meal versus chicken) listed first, as meat meal has the water removed and meat does not. Some high end foods will actually guarantee that their food has a certain percentage of meat - most do not. You just have to read labels carefully.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:08AM
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Oh, gosh, if I put things in capital letters I do it for emphasis. I would never be so boorish as to yell at someone on a forum. So if I have offended anyone I apologize.

My mother was a squabbler and it was really embarrassing for me as a teenager because she would take anybody on and run her mouth till she figured she'd "won". But my best friend had a mother who always said, "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all". I really respected that woman for her restraint and her good manners.

So you won't find me being obnoxious on a forum, on purpose, anyway. I appreciate everyone's input. Even if you don't all have the same opinions, it still gives me lots to think about. And, knowing that some things sound more harsh when they are written than the writer may have meant, I try to take everything other people say at face value. I love these forums and feel like I have learned so much from them.

Cearbhaill, I'm going to offer Pearl a raw chicken wing tip today and see what she does.

Stbonner, I will watch out for gluten on the ingredients list from now on. And also "meat by-products" or "meat and bone meal". Thanks for that information. Those who use blood-soaked sawdust from the floor, what would they call that? Does that fall in the "meat by-products" category?

Minnie, I think that's a good idea you have there. I think it would be good to e-mail all these pet food producers who have the above items on their lists of ingredients and tell them we know what that is and we will not be buying their products as long as those ingredients are on the list. If they are just asked "if" they include euthanized pets and roadkill in their food, they'll just find someone who works there that doesn't know about "anything" that they put in the food, who can then truthfully tell you "I know of no such ingredients in our brand".

Here's the ingredients list on the Chicken Soup brand of cat food:

chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols, ocean fish meal, white rice, potatoes, oatmeal, millet, natural chicken flavor, salmon, turkey, duck, flaxseed, sodium bisulfate, egg product, methionine, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dried chicory root, taurine, kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flakes, yucca schidigera extract, L-carnitine, Enterococcus facium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation solubles, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganese oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

I had never heard of Eagle Pack. I checked the price and it runs about $2 for a 13-oz can of cat food, if ordered from I have sent an e-mail to a distributor 35 miles away to see what their price is. For that price, though, I'd think it would be cheaper to feed raw chicken if she will eat it. Would there be calcium in the cartilage that's in the wing? When I had cats as a child we always fed them milk and table scraps, and they supplemented it by hunting. Then people started saying cats couldn't digest milk and not to feed it.

My dog, Sonny, has gotten so that he doesn't want to eat the dry Chicken Soup dog food. So to about a cup of dry food I've been adding about a half cup of leftovers from our most recent meal and some water that had sausage cooked in it (fat removed), or water with dry milk powder added, and he has been cleaning the bowl.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 9:24AM
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This is an interesting topic for a forum group that is generally pretty frugal on most things. I only have had cats and they have only gotten middle of the road brand name foods. They appear healthy and have survived 18 years. I've always assumed animals or people will seek or crave foods they are deficient in. I rely on these behavior cues, plus keeping an eye on the other general indicators of health to assess their nutritional status. It reminds me of a story of some people trapped at sea on a life boat. They could catch fish readily and after a week of sushi, they craved the eyes and organs of the fish (presumably for some nutrient)and would forego the flesh.

I can understand the use of euthanized animals can be an emotional subject, but from a practical perspective, it doesn't feel heinous or an outrage to me. The rendering process is a useful method of recycling. What should be done with the 5 million shelter animals destroyed each year? I tried to find some numbers, 24 million tons of product is rendered each year, so these animals can only be a very small percentage of the total. Interestingly, pet foods are estimated to consume ~25% of the protein and fat produced by rendering. So these industries are very important to each other. While looking around for some numbers, I found an interesting report for the national renderers association on pet food. They seem to be moving into having animal specific products now, such has beef meal, pork meal, etc, to help with consumer acceptance. I found it to be a more informative report than most and included references to peer-reviewed research.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pet food renderers POV

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 5:07PM
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Think about this for a minute - euthanized animals are full of the drugs that are administered to facilitate the euthanasia. This alone is enough for me, but add to that the fact that euthanized animals are often diseased and that is plenty of reason for me to avoid feeding any such thing to my pets.

This is a forum about saving money, but I personally believe that feeding the absolute best quality food to my pets is a good use of my money, and will probably save me money over the long run. As with people, eating a good diet with high quality ingredients gives the best chance for a long and healthy life.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:30PM
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"Cearbbhail....I would say a raw meaty bone is quite different than eating ground up euthenized dogs & cats! And capitol letters are considered to be an emphasis--in this case I think it is yelling."

Excuse me?

I don't know what post you are reading, but I did not post in caps nor did I mention rendered animals.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 9:43AM
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Well, I tried a raw chicken wing tip and while Pearl was certainly interested in it and licked it dry, she did not attempt to chew on it. She just sat there and looked at me as if she didn't know what to do next. So I guess it's just a little late in the game for her.

I can attest to the fact that taking good nutritional care of your pet -- and of course, yourself, is cheaper in the long run.

I guess the reason why I'm feeling outraged about finding out that euthanized pets and roadkill are in pet food is because of those reasons stbonner listed -- and I do believe many of the animals who are euthanized are sick and their bodies are full of drugs that have been administered in an effort to make them well, as well as whatever they administer to kill it. Going back to mad cow disease here, I've seen how those cows act when they have the disease and that is a pitiful thing to watch. I really don't want to see my pet go through something like that. Nobody ever heard of mad cow disease twenty years ago and I'm sure the producers of the feed thought they were being pretty innovative, recycling dead cows and feeding them back to other cows. We don't know what's liable to develop down the road with "animal by-products" in pet food. Animals are just not meant to cannibalize. I don't guess I'd be nearly so outraged at wild animal roadkill, except that you don't know how long it's been out there or if it was diseased. If using euthanized pets and roadkill is such a good idea, ecologically, then at least the pet food producers should be more up-front about it so we can make an informed decision about whether we want to feed that to our pet. I have only had to have a pett euthanized once, and that was several years ago. Pooky had feline leukemia. When the vet asked if I wanted her body, I said no because I just didn't want to see her dead. Now I know I should have taken her home and buried her regardless. Maybe I'm overly sentimental, but I had grown to love that little girl and it really hurts me to think that her body might've been processed. It's my fault for being so stupid so if anyone's reading this and thinking that, I'd really appreciate if you didn't point that out to me.

I do think that something could be done with euthanized pets and roadkill that would be ecologically sound, but I don't think processing them into pet food is it.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 8:02AM
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I got an answer to my question about the animals

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company carefully designs its products to be nutritionally sound and promote pet health. Products are thoroughly evaluated to ensure that pets can maintain their normal health and vitality when fed diets composed entirely of Purina food.

With regards to the use of cats or dogs, road kill, or the use of euthanized animals in our food; we do not utilize cats, dogs, road kill or euthanized animals in our food.

We hope that this information is helpful and encourage you to contact us if we can provide further assistance.

Again, thank you for visiting our web site."

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 6:35PM
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all IAM`s bisquits,canned, and dry the vet recomends it, no complaints from the dog. cant say how the taste of the canned or dry is, but he he likes me to pre chew the bisquits for him, they dont taste too bad.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 1:18AM
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