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telly2_gw

Are ANY of the grocery store dog foods decent ?

telly2
13 years ago

I am a total believer in feeding my pets the best food my money can buy, but times are getting tougher economically, and sometimes I just cannot afford the more expensive brands available at the pet stores. I have read some of the dog food reviews on the web, and I'm aware that even some of the more expensive brands are not necessarily the best, due to fillers, etc., but grocery store brands seem to be at the bottom of the barrel, ratings-wise.

I have 3 big labs that can really put away some food ! I am not against cooking for them if that will help & still be economical.

I would like to have some opinions on this, since I haven't seen it addressed here. FYI, in the past I regularly fed them Ultra Nutro brand, which they ate okay with no problems. Right now they seem to absolutely love Pedigree with chicken, rice & vegetables. They don't seem to care much for the other Pedigree formulas.

One last thing: our local newspaper had an article the other day about the shelters filling up faster than usual because so many people are having money problems right now that they can't even feed their pets. This absolutely breaks my heart, and I cannot allow this to happen to me.

Comments (68)

  • handymac
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've fed Pedigree to our dogs---dry and canned---for years. The last two were 15(Lab/chow mix---had strokes) and 20(Chihuahua/terrier mix, cancer). When I say I feed the dog food, I mean they get NO people food---and the only snax are dog bone cookies(el cheapo since they only get maybe 10 a month) and rawhide bones(Not ones made in China).

    Iams and other so called premium brands are a rip off, in my experience. Corn is the first listed ingredient on most of those. BTW, those two dogs I mentioned---both were allergic to pork and ham. The neighbors would feed them on the sly---cost me a LOT of money treating them after being fed a couple of hot dogs or a half a ham sandwich before I found that out!

    Now, I do not disrespect folks who advocate raw diets---since dogs in the wild do exist on a lot of that kind of food. I don't think folks who use Super foods are wrong either. I just have not found a dog who did not thrive on Pedigree.

  • cindyxeus
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I realize there is alot of bad press out there about corn, however most of it is old and inaccurate with no scientific study in it's basis.Foods given a bad wrap about corn were based on foods that had way too many corn ingredients and different forms there of. Corn meal for example when the entire food is processed correctly can actually be very digestible.
    However being dogs do not need grains in any form many times removing all the grains from a dogs diet will improve all kinds of health issues. One just needs how to supply carbohydrates and fiber in more species appropriate foods.

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  • mazer415
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Try and avoid "by products" and fillers. Like wheat and corn (maize) and veggies. I feed my dog Trader Joes canned dog food (89 cents for a huge can) Natural Balance meat sticks, and hamburger, as well as some "dog cookies" I have learned through the years that just because a dog food is expensive does not mean it is good for your dog. And just because the vet recommends it, does not mean it is good for your dog. Not all vets are looking out for your dogs best interest. Check out the labels, I prefer feeding my dog a higher protein diet, with fewere fillers, he is 10 years old now, has very little grey hair (I think that comes from chauffering him everywhere not what I feed him) and he poops less because he is eating less because the food is fresher and healthier for him. It is like going to a local fast food joint to eat or to a fine restaurant to eat. I always get full faster at the restaurant and I stay fuller longer, because my food is not full of preservatives and additives.

  • sally2_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Iams is not considered a premium brand.

    Sally

  • chickadeedeedee
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Please be aware ... If your dog has allergies they may be food allergies and not just due to corn. ~Fairly~ recent studies have found that food mites are in not only commercial dog treats but dry dog foods too. It has been found that many dogs are allergic to the protein from those food mites and are itchy.

    Some dogs become non-itchy or less itchy with the simple elimination of commercial dog treats.

  • mrs_tlc
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I haven't had an opportunity to read all of the previous posts but I'd like to respond to the cost issue of quality dog food. My sweet Lab Maggie was, as most Labs are, a voracious eater. When I first got her I thought that dog food was dog food. My last dog lived a healthy life of 14 yrs. on Purina.

    Initially I was feeding Maggie purina puppy chow and when she got older I switched to a WalMart brand "premium" food. She gradually started having lots of health problems. Of course the vets addressed her symptoms (with prednisone, medicated shampoos, ear meds, etc. $$$$$$$) but never addressed her diet. I finally changed vets because she suddenly started losing weight and the next vet finally addressed her diet (with food that HE sold) because her protein levels were extremely low, but also put her on cortisone for her "allergies". She was on the cortisone for months and when we tried to wean her off of it she went into an Addisonian crisis and nearly died (4 days in hosp. $$$$), then lived on monthly percorten injections @ $125/ea. for 2 yrs. (more $$$$)

    My point is this. Had I been more educated about dog food my sweet baby would have had a healthier life. As a last act of desperation I finally took her to a holisitc vet and he put her on a food called Petguard. Her skin allergies and fur issues suddenly started disappearing. She grew a whole new coat of fur that was just beautiful like when she was a puppy. And then when we learned of her bone cancer two months after that she crossed the bridge looking like a beautiful healthy girl.

    Thats my round-about way of saying that the cost of high quality dog food is NOTHING compared to what you will pay in vet bills and the remifications of feeding them cheap garbage. Unfortunately, we learned that the hard way.

    One last thing, Maggie's massage therapist told me that when it says "meat" and doesn't specify what kind that it sometimes contains euthanized dogs and cats as the "meat". That was horrifying to me!

  • Meghane
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow, there certainly are a lot of rumors about pet foods!

    It is highly illegal to use euthanized animals in pet food. If it is done, it is done contrary to the law. Manufacturers use the word "meat" in their ingredient list because the least expensive meat source may change on a regular basis, and it is too expensive to change the package label every time. One week chicken may be cheapest, the next it may be beef. As long as your dog is OK with any meat source, it isn't a big deal. The cheaper foods do list "meat" as an ingredient because they have to adjust to market conditions to keep their prices down. A more expensive diet that lists "chicken" will have to buy chicken no matter how much it costs. Of course, those costs are passed down to the consumer.

    The pet food label is a legal document. Pet foods are regulated by the FDA, including truth in labeling.

    These are the TRUE definitions of what meat, by-products, and meals are:

    Meat: Meat is the clean flesh of slaughtered animals (chicken, cattle, lamb, turkey, etc.). The flesh can include striated skeletal muscle, tongue, diaphragm, heart, esophagus, overlying fat and the skin, sinew, nerves and blood vessels normally found with that flesh.

    Meat By-products: Meat by-products are clean parts of slaughtered animals, not including meat. These include lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, and stomach and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth, or hooves.

    Poultry By-products: Poultry by-products are clean parts of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, and internal organs (like heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, abdomen, and intestines). It does not contain feathers.

    Fish Meal: Fish meal is the clean ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, with or without the oil extracted.

    Beef Tallow: Beef tallow is fat derived from beef.

    Ground Corn: Ground corn is the entire corn kernel ground or chopped.

    Corn Gluten Meal: Corn gluten meal is the by-product after the manufacture of corn syrup or starch, and is the dried residue after the removal of the bran, germ, and starch. It is 60% protein.

    Brewers Rice: Brewers rice is the small fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from larger kernels of milled rice.

    Brown Rice: Brown rice is the unpolished rice left over after the kernels have been removed.

    Soybean Meal: Soybean meal is a by-product of the production of soybean oil.

    More facts on pet nutrition, from Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 4th edition:

    The digestibility of common grains in order from most digestible to least digestible is rice>corn>barley>oats.

    Corn is a highly available source of complex carbohydrates and substantial quantities of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid important for healthy skin. It also provides essential amino acids and fiber.

    Poultry by-product meal provides an excellent source of protein with lower mineral levels than chicken meal, making it an excellent choice for feline foods especially. Higher protein, less ash= better urinary tract health.

    The protein to ash ratio is an excellent indicator of an ingredient's digestibility. The higher the ingredient's ash content, the lower it's digestibility. This is a table of common pet food ingredients:

    Poultry by-product meal 6:1
    Meat and bone meal 2:1
    Chicken meal 4:1
    Lamb meal 2.5:1
    Fish meal 3:1
    Soybean meal 10:1
    Corn gluten meal 25:1
    Rice gluten meal 20:1
    Dried egg product 8:1

    Obviously, rice and corn are both poor protein sources, but they are used in pet foods to provide carbohydrates (yes, dogs need carbs too). In cats, of course non-meat items are completely useless.

    Not only does *what* you feed your dog matter, but *how much* matters quite a bit. Purina conducted a study with 48 Labs, and found that even though they were all fed the same food (I'm not sure which one, but obviously a Purina product), the dogs that were fed ad lib and ate as much as they wanted got arthritis and other chronic diseases earlier and DIED YOUNGER than dogs who were calorie-restricted, EVEN THOUGH THEY ATE THE SAME FOOD. In other words, you can just as easily KILL your dog by overfeeding a high quality diet as you can by feeding it a diet loaded with your typical baddies such as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

  • cindyxeus
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow, there certainly are a lot of rumors about pet foods!

    LOL Meghane, you got that right.

  • olga_d
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Not to start an argument, but I had read in the Merck Veterinary Manual that dogs do not appear to have a dietary need for carbohydrates. I understand that dried foods include them for cost and manufacturing reasons (the extruders that shape the kibble need a certain minimum amount of carbs to be able to operate).

    Also, don't the "meal" ingredients have the "unavoidable" disclaimer at the end? As in:
    Chicken By-Product Meal: consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.

    Based on that it's not really true that those ingredients aren't present. It certainly gives the manufacturers a lot more leeway than some folks would have us believe. And based on the recalls in recent years, it appears that manufacturers are not that great at adhering to the rules, nor is the FDA at enforcing them. :(

    Also, most vets and pet foods recommend that we switch between foods gradually, by mixing the old food with the new, in order to reduce the risk of digestive upset. Based on this it doesn't really make sense to use a food where the meat source might be chicken in one batch and beef in another.

  • Meghane
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dogs who eat whole prey get some amount of carbs, but dog food manufacturers do not make dog food out of whole prey. They make dog food on the basis of supplying the necessary nutrients in the most cost-effective manner possible. Since they do not supply enough meat to provide all the calories a dog needs, they add carbohydrates, usually in the form of grains or other veggies. Dogs can get their energy from carbs, or protein or fat, but getting the calories required from protein is expensive. And since most people buy dog food and don't give their dogs fresh whole prey, obviously cost is a very large concern for most people. Otherwise, there wouldn't be anything called "dog food."

    They are pretty good at keeping large amounts of necks, feet, etc. out of the processing. And if dog food has a small amount of the rest of the bird, I don't really see an issue with it. I've given my dogs whole chicken before, and they aren't particularly careful at eating around feathers, intestines, undeveloped eggs, etc.

    I agree that the manufacturers are not good at following the rules. That's beyond the scope of this discussion, as far as I'm concerned, because a premium brand can just as easily lie about what is in the food as a cheaper brand. If that was the point of the argument, I was say just feed whatever is cheapest because they are all lying anyway and all dog food is crap.

    I never understood that thing about mixing foods gradually. A wild canid doesn't mix its prey items in gradually- it eats whatever it can get. I've never mixed my dogs' foods in gradually. Their current food is bison and salmon. When that bag runs out, they might get duck or rabbit or chicken or turkey. I've always done that, and never had a problem. I *have* seen problems where dogs that were fed low protein diets and switched to a higher protein had mild GI upset for a day or 2. I'm sure that a dog raised on grocery store brands would have a day or two of diarrhea if immediately switched to something like Wysong Archetype 1, which is an all meat high protein diet. But nothing serious.

  • pamghatten
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Interesting thread, I certainly learned a lot.

    meghane - what food do you feed? "Their current food is bison and salmon."???

    Pam

  • Meghane
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Right now they are getting Solid Gold Wolf King when I give them dog food. I usually feed them a homemade cooked diet, plus raw bones. But I've been *very* busy lately and they've been getting more dog food than normal :( I also give them Wysong Achetype 1 (beef), and Natural Balance Duck and Potato, switching pretty regularly and immediately. I've noticed some more premium brands in my local Petco and will be checking them out too, but I hope to get "unbusy" and start cooking again (usually chicken, eggs, rice, veggies).

  • Nancy in Mich
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Meghane, I try to switch foods every bag. My thinking is that if there is something wrong with one food, it will affect them less because they are not on it all the time. I also do not want them to develop that finicky stomach that everybody tells me that dogs have - the reason behind switching slowly. The groomer where I take the dogs for nails and butts is certain that I am an idiot because I do this. It is good to hear that you agree with my thinking. I just don't understand the reasoning behind feeding the same thing all the time. Is this a rumor started by dog food salespeople?

  • runsnwalken
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes it is most dog food companies want you to believe their food is the best, when in fact its garbage.

    It might be sad but if you love your dogs maybe you could get a friend who has more money to take one of more of them from you until things improve. You could visit them on weekends and you could get the friends to feed your dog, Innova EVO, Ziwi peak or even raw diet until your money suitation improves. Or maybe find your dogs another home altogether, if you believe in not supporting bad foods that, gulp.... can and sometimes use dead dogs and cats from shelters to make the meat by products we wonder at so much. Ol roy has done this BTW.

    try www.Naturapet.com or www.haretoday.com Urb animal, co owns dog days, a store I go to to buy cat food. They support good pet foods and host dog adoptions. Whatever you do if you do give them up try not to place them into a shelter.

    I hope for you it doesn't come to this. I have mild Autism and like you might be in the same suitation with my cats when I move out from my parents into a group home..

  • jrdown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    runsnwalken ~

    Both you and mrs tlc have made claims that euthanized cats and dogs are "sometimes" used as the mysterious meat source in dog foods.

    Mrs tlc says that her massage therapist (now there is a reliable insider source) told her this and now you are accusing Ol' Roy from WalMart of doing the same thing. Well, WalMart doesn't make their dog food, it is a generic label, so you need to find out which dog food manufacturer does make it.

    If you have some reliable information that euthanized pets are being used in making the food then you should go to the newspapers, talk shows or talk radio and this would be front page news.

    There is no doubt that there are all quality levels of dry and wet pet foods. It is our responsibility to research and make the best choices we can afford. For you and mrs tlc to make such claims about ingredients without anything to back up your statements is highly suspicious.

    Mild autism or not you sound mature enough to take responsibility for your comments. I suggest that you do a little research and come back to this forum with your documented findings. We would welcome the knowledge.

    Robyn

  • runsnwalken
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It is stated frequently in Foods Pets Die For, by Ann N Martin, she is the author and has much research into he matter. I have the book, and I must say I regret getting it, its not a happy book.

    There's the proof I have to bear witness, Robyn

  • jrdown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    runsnwalken ~

    Thank you for referencing where you get your info with regard to your statements. It will be interesting to see if I can locate it at the library to read what she has to say.

    I have never heard of Ann Martin nor her book. It will be interesting to read if she says that a few, some or most of the pet food manufacturers incorporate the use of euthanized pets. It appears (from the brief notes when I googled info) that some of the meat may be from China.

    So, what food do you offer or cook for your furkids?

    Robyn

  • chickadeedeedee
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    From the link I posted earlier .....

    "...Dogs, cats not found in dog food

    Because pentobarbital is used to euthanize dogs and cats at animal shelters, finding pentobarbital in rendered feed ingredients could suggest that the pets were rendered and used in pet food.

    CVM scientists, as part of their investigation, developed a test to detect dog and cat DNA in the protein of the dog food. All samples from the most recent dog food survey (2000) that tested positive for pentobarbital, as well as a subset of samples that tested negative, were examined for the presence of remains derived from dogs or cats. The results demonstrated a complete absence of material that would have been derived from euthanized dogs or cats. The sensitivity of this method is 0.005% on a weight/weight basis; that is, the method can detect a minimum of 5 pounds of rendered remains in 50 tons of finished feed. Presently, it is assumed that the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses...."

    Here is a link that might be useful: FDA Report

  • jrdown
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    chickadeedeedee ~

    Thanks for sharing that FDA report and it sure does seem that the question of pet food containing previously euthanized dogs or cats as the meat source has been put to rest.

    I would think that if it was proven that furkids were used as meat in pet food the outcry would be so great that companies would shut down if they were found to be at fault. There is no way that any company could continue to sell pet food because we just wouldn't stand for it.

    Robyn

  • carmen_grower_2007
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We always fed our dogs Purina Puppy and Dog Chow and the latest member of our family died at a ripe old age of 16. She was a large dog and was never sick until her last year.

    We are feeding our new puppy Purina One Puppy Chow because we took the "Purina One Challenge' and liked what we saw. The first ingredient is meat, unlike the other Purina product. Also, it is much more expensive than regular Purina Dog Chow.

    BUT -- it is a real bargain compared to the elite brands sold only at the vets and at pet stores. I am not at all convinced that there is much difference in Purina One and other foods that cost almost twice as much!

  • telly2
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I checked the ingredient list of the Maxximum dry dog food that jrdown mentioned, and I decided it really was better than the other brands, so I bought a bag to try. My dogs looked at it, sniffed it, then looked up at me as if to say "Hey, where's that other food ? You know, the one with all the colors & good smells ?" They are eating the Maxximum reluctantly, and I am steeling myself against their lack of enthusiasm. I want them to have what's good for them, not what excites them with flavor enhancers.

    Carmen grower 2007, I have wondered about the Purina One also; I have used it in the past, but I can't recall about the ingredient list. I will check the info again the next time I see it.

  • petaloid
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Our Ralph's grocery store sells Newman's Own brand organic dog and cat food, both wet and dry. I checked the ingredients on the labels and they look good.

    Here is a link that might be useful: FAQs for Newman's Own

  • holligator
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Just wanted to clarify a few points in this thread--a couple related to the euthanized-animals-in-dogfood issue and one about the corn issue.

    First, it is true that using euthanized dogs and cats in pet foods was a little-known, but not terribly uncommon practice as recently as the late 1990s. I know because our local animal shelter and rendering plant were implicated and it was in the papers here for months. The rendering plant supplied two different pet food manufacturers. This ingredient showed up as "animal digest" on their labels. The shelter here now cremates euthanized animals. They didn't stop the practice because it was illegal, though. They stopped because shelter workers complained about their involvement in the process.

    Second, it is not true that "It is highly illegal to use euthanized animals in pet food." In fact, in explaining the detection of pentobarbital in pet foods, the FDA report above states that "Presently, it is assumed that the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses." So, although the DNA test the FDA developed detected no dogs or cats, there is clear evidence of euthanized animals being used in pet foods.

    Finally, allergies are not the only issue associated with corn in dog foods. Corn has been associated with increased incidence of diabetes in dogs and cats. Avoiding grains altogether seems to be the best route. Given that they serve mostly as filler or less digestible protein sources, going with a grain-free diet means that your dog can actually use more of its food. Given that the original question was about cost, going for a grain-free food may be the best way to ensure good nutrition and cut costs. My 220-pound dog only eats about 3.5 cups of grain-free food per day. So, although I pay much more per bag, I'm not really paying more per meal, and my dog is a picture of health at 9+ years.

  • lablover4ever
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I tried to cut cost by using the Walmart Maxximum and my dog did not like it at all. He will eat any thing most times but did not like that food. I made him finish the bag then back to the old stuff.

  • Michael P
    4 years ago

    FYI! HEAD's UP!!!!

    My Grocery Store, Ralph's - here on the West Coast (a/k/a The Ralph's Food Store - under the umbrella of the massive Kroger Co.) sells their own brand of "WET" dog food called LUVSOME (the ones packaged in the OVAL foil sealed plastic tubs with colored plastic lids). Surprisingly, this particular version of their "wet" dog food is listed... (in a very tiny font size) "Made in Thailand". Which, as most of you know, is a GOOD thing... (Thailand has the highest rating with exceedingly higher food safety standards than any other country, including the U.S.A.). I believe Kroger's Luvsome "wet" dog food (in the oval tubs) is made at the same processing plant in Thailand as Rachel Rey's "wet" dog food, and Ralph's sells it at 1/3 OF THE PRICE AS Rachel REY'S wet dog food! I've been feeding my two dogs the LUVSOME "wet" food mixed with the DRY Rachel Rey's Nutrish, for many years now and they are both healthy. I will occasionally buy the RR's wet food when they have a sale and I have a RR coupon, but Luvsome's brand (in the Oval Tub) always wins out, 'cause they competitively price their version much less then Rachel's brand. As far as the other Kroger versions of The LUVSOME Brand Dog Food, like their "Dry" food and their OTHER version of their "wet" dog food that's sold in the ROUND containers - Well... it's a total mystery... 'cause I have NOT been able to locate any information on these packages of where these versions of LUVSOME are MADE - the only info listed is their "distibution location". Has anyone contacted Kroger Co. regarding this lack of information on their packages?

  • SaltiDawg
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    "Luvsome is a meat-based wet dog food using a significant amount of meat by-products as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

    Not recommended."

    DogFoodAdvisor re Luvsome

  • dbarron
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I would recommend you try non-traditional routes for pet food (like an agricultural coop site). One that I use is called 'Victor' and is made in Texas. Two vets have 'vetted' it as a good food (based on ingredient label).

    It's not cheap, but it's cheaper than pet food stores.

  • SaltiDawg
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    The Victor Dry Dog Foods do get good reviews.

    Victor Grain Free

    While not necessarily a negative, Victor is VERY HIGH in protein compared to many competitors.

  • PRO
    Gabriel Studios Art Glass
    4 years ago

    Not sure if someone already mentioned it but Costco brand dog food measures up on quality very well and NO recalls. : ) I feed Natural Choice, ground beef or chicken fresh 2x a week

  • SaltiDawg
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Costco's dog food has indeed been the subject of recalls, although it has been years. Costco's dog food is manufactured by Diamond Brand - which has been the subject of numerous recalls.

    Costco food is indeed inexpensive and is essentially a "Grocery Store" kibble - whatever that means.

    YMMV

  • mamapinky0
    4 years ago

    I dont use it but I'm told Purina is a very good dog food, the kibble. I'm told they spend tons of money on research. I've never researched it or used it..just what someone told me. I know its not a store brand but is sold in most grocery stores.

  • SaltiDawg
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    BTW, the Washington Post carried an article 3-4 weeks ago re the value of feeding a dog "Grain Free" food. UC Davis and also Purdue Vet Schools both report there is absolutely no proof that "Grain Free" food provides any nutritional value to a dog's nutritional well being!

    It certainly has become the poster child for current dog food advertising.


    Grain-free pet foods are no healthier, vets say.

  • Nancy in Mich
    4 years ago

    Excellent point, SaltiDawg!

    I have used the Whole Dog Journal criteria for years. They are clear and make sense, don't have any trendy ideas and stick to nutrition. They also insist on companies telling you what manufacturing place makes their food if they want to be on their "recommended " list. WDJ Dog Food Criteria

    BTW, the only dog I ever had to test for food allergies was allergic to potatoes. Imagine where she would be in today's grain-free world where potatoes are a cheap filler?

  • SaltiDawg
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Based on extensive trials, the ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous is critical in a dog and absolutely critical in a lactating or pregnant female.

    What is the ratio of Ca-Ph in your home brew diet?

    Assuming that you do not know, does that imply that you do not consider that balance critical? Or does it mean that it is simply too difficult to determine that ratio in your feeding without conducting trials, as the commercial dog food community has done with their feedings?

  • veggiegardnr
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Speedigres, your homemade dog food is not nutritionally balanced. I don't even even need to run an analysis to tell you that you've probably got at least 15-18 deficiencies and your calcium:phosphorous is undoubtedly awry, as the previous poster mentioned. Nutritional deficiencies are insidious. They often take many years to show up and, when they do, the signs are often vague and deficiencies are often not easily diagnosed. You're doing your dogs more harm than good by feeding them in this way. If you want to cook your dog food at home, either get a consult with a veterinary nutritionist to get recipes specially made and then balanced for your dogs or use something like the balanceit supplements, along with one of their recipes. You might want to visit the website balanceit.com and use their autobalancer (enter what you're currently feeding your dogs) to see how many nutritional deficiencies your current homemade dog food has.

  • nannygoat18
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Speedigres, I feed my dog "homemade" food that is prepared by Just Food for Dogs. All their food is human grade AND meets AAFCO and NRC standards, which reports directly to the FDA and is the most up-to-date authority on nutritional guidelines. The meals contain all the necessary components that canines need to ensure complete nutritional support. They offer free demos so people can prepare their own food at home for less cost (no thanks!) If you have a similar local business, you may want to drop by and get some tips.

  • Villain Rose (Zone 11 Qld Australia.)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Just thought I would answer to this thread too!

    All you guys are so lucky that you can pick and choose what dog food you can feed your dogs.

    I have read everything on the back of every dog food container, that I get my hands on, whether it is in the grocery store, or pet store.

    Meat by products is not a good food to feed your animal. Google what ingredients are on the packet that you don't know!

    We have had ongoing problems with our dog since he was 5 weeks old. He is now 7 years. We had problems with diarrhea, really itchy, bright red feet, constant scratching, and then the outer edges of his eyes went red raw! Our poor boy!

    We were quizzed by our vet what plants we have in our garden, as dogs are allergic to some garden plants. We had some but the dog has no access to them.

    He was 4 years old and we had blood drawn from our boy for an allergy test. It wasn't cheap. Results came back with desensitization injectable medicine for allergies to the plants and insects he is allergic to, he went through that for a year.

    Food allergies report, he is allergic to beef, chicken, duck, fish, yeast, rice and eggs. These ingredients are in most dog foods. The vet calls him a very special little boy!

    We feed him Prime dog rolls from the pet shop. Kangaroo and potato or kangaroo and pumpkin, Turkey and flaxseed is a fairly new one. It is a single protein diet. Lamb bones on the weekend. I don't have much choice on what to feed him, but he is now happy and healthy.

    Feed your animal the best diet you can afford. But as I said google the ingredients that you don't know. You will be surprised. Good luck with it all!!

  • dbarron
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    There's a site 'dog food advisor' that may help, I've found it accurate on brands before: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ This is mentioned earlier in the thread, but I thought putting it in again was a good idea.

  • Villain Rose (Zone 11 Qld Australia.)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Thanks so much Dbarron for that link. It is a good website to look at. I think it will really help me as I do try to give him some sort of variety with his diet. I must have missed that earlier on this thread, I did skip through some of it though.

    I have gone back and looked through this thread and Meghane your list is excellent and so is everything you have written.

  • spedigrees z4VT
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    "I feed my dog "homemade" food that is prepared by Just Food for Dogs. All their food is human grade AND meets AAFCO and NRC standards, which reports directly to the FDA"

    Unfortunately all the brands of commercial pet foods (which incidentally are all owned by Mars inc and perhaps one or two other parent companies) were also proclaimed safe by the FDA in 2007 when Chinese ingredients (found in ALL pet foods BTW) when they poisoned 40,000 North American pets. I just say no to commercial pet food. The manufacturers (and the worthless FDA) burned their bridges with me on that day in history. I watched the Senate hearings, waited for action to be taken, and when it was not... I was out...forever.

  • spedigrees z4VT
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    "Speedigres, your homemade dog food is not nutritionally balanced. "

    The natural diet of a dog or cat is meat and bones, period. This is what wild dogs in Africa eat, what wolves eat, and what wild cats eat. Canines and felines are very resilient and resourceful and can survive on human handouts of grain products and the like although this is not what nature designed them to eat. That is why dogs and cats were able to be domesticated, and why cats and dogs can subsist on corn or rice if they have to. It is not however healthy or judicious to feed a carnivore such a diet.

    Meat and bones of wild prey supply calcium and phosphorus in the correct proportion, and adding calcium carbonate in the correct proportion to meat achieves exactly the same thing. You have no idea of the proportion of calcium I add to my home cooked food because I didn't state it, yet you proclaim to know that my "calcium:phosphorous is undoubtedly awry." You can tell it to my cat who died a year ago at the age of 22 after eating my home cooked diet for nearly half of her life. Or you could follow the money to discern why the FDA and Mars Inc want you to believe that feeding a commercial pet food is healthy and advisable.

  • spedigrees z4VT
    4 years ago

    "BTW, the Washington Post carried an article 3-4 weeks ago re the value of feeding a dog "Grain Free" food. UC Davis and also Purdue Vet Schools both report there is absolutely no proof that "Grain Free" food provides any nutritional value to a dog's nutritional well being!"


    Think about this for a moment. Who do you suppose funded this research? Who funds scholarships for veterinarians? Just follow the money.

  • spedigrees z4VT
    4 years ago

    To answer the OP's question: grocery store brands are no better or worse than high end brands. They all contain fillers (by fillers I mean anything that is not meat, meat by-products, bone meal, vitamins, or preservatives) and most of these fillers are imported from China. In fact an increasing number of American companies now manufacture pet food in China. When melamine was discovered in pet food in 2007, the same tainted rice gluten and wheat gluten was found across the board in grocery store brands and high end brands alike.

  • veggiegardnr
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Yes, spedigrees, your homecooked food is not nutritionally balanced and it has multiple deficiencies. Your testimonials of your animals living xyz years eating it mean nothing. Talking about what you think animals eat in the wild...also meaningless, for multiple reasons.

  • SaltiDawg
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago


    Somebody woke up "spedigree" and he/she has posted numerous incorrect things above in multiple instances.

    She has distorted the facts as in "most of these fillers are imported from China" and "were also proclaimed safe by the FDA in 2007 when Chinese ingredients" and "They all contain fillers (by fillers I mean anything that is not meat, meat by-products, bone meal, vitamins, or preservatives)..."

    There is an agenda at work and I am concerned that readers that don't check on her postings may do harm to their dogs.She doesn't know how to read and understand the Nutrition Panel on dog foodand obviously does not understand the relationship between the FDA and the trade organization AAFCO .

    "Think about this for a moment. Who do you suppose funded this research?
    Who funds scholarships for veterinarians? Just follow the money."

    So you think the food manufacturers funded studies to support that their highly touted "grain free" foods were not of nutritional value? Both UC Davis and Purdue Vet Schools concluded that "grain free" was hype and not an indicator of a better food.

  • veggiegardnr
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    "Who funds scholarships for veterinarians?"

    Veterinary school is very expensive. The average veterinarian owes around $170,000-200,000 (often more) when they leave school. Pet food manufacturers aren't giving these students a bunch of scholarships or paying for their education in some other way. That's a nasty rumor that got started by people who want to discredit veterinarians for their own purposes. Most veterinary students actually receive very little in the way of scholarships.

  • Nancy in Mich
    4 years ago

    One of the reasons that Whole Dog Journal will not put a dog food on their "approved" list without the manufacturer freely giving out the name of the manufacturing plant when asked by a legitimate inquiry is that such full disclosure helps guard against the kind of accident that occurred in 2007. Many of the small dog food companies have their foods made at plants that manufacture for many different companies. Knowing that the precise ingredients that the individual manufacturer specified for their food were used in the manufacture of it is part of the trust that small companies must have in these "batch" manufacturing plants. At least one pet food plant used ingredients not specified by the pet food manufacturers whose food they were making, according to Wikipedia's article on Protein Adulteration in China Having the name of the plant that manufactures your food easy to look up in case of a food contamination event allows consumers to decide whether to buy other foods made at that plant.

    Given all of that work that WDJ does to get this info for us, it is pretty obvious that the plants that are making these foods are right here in the US and Canada. The protein supplement that was imported from China was criminally poisoned with the addition of melamine plastic in 2006 and 2007 and there is evidence that there was a similar outbreak in 2005 (see the Wikipedia link below). Chinese companies who participated in this in 2006 and 2007 that poisoned our pets were not immediately sanctioned, and the milk industry went on to commit horrific poisoning of baby formula and milk products in China that was not discovered until May 2008 and not made public until August or September. Milk products from China shipped all over the world were found to have melamine in them even into 2009.

    From Wikipedia: "Two people were executed, one given a suspended death penalty, three
    people receiving life imprisonment, two receiving 15-year jail terms,[6] and seven local government officials, as well as the Director of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), being fired or forced to resign.

    Yes, all that had to do with the poisoning of babies and others who drank the milk in China. It only came to light because a New Zealand affiliate of the Chinese milk company kept insisting that something was wrong and had to be investigated.

    Melamine can be manufactured from urea (a concentrated part of urine), coal, and other sources. Urea and other nitrogen sources are added to the feed of ruminants (multi-stomach animals, animals who chew a cud) to increase the nitrogen level because they can get protein's nutrition from these non-food sources due to their unique digestive processes. THAT is how melamine started being put into food - the waste from making it was used in cattle feed. when it was made from urea.

    A crude way to measure how much protein is in a food is to measure the nitrogen level. Melamine, urea, and some other non-foods increase the nitrogen level without adding to the nutritional level (except for ruminant feed). So now, they have to use more sophisticated testing methods to test foods for animals and people. Because people cannot be trusted, in capitalist or socialist countries, not to poison each other for profit or to make their expected output!

    This all goes back to my sneaking feeling that this planet can only healthily sustain a very tiny fraction of the people we have living here. If we can't eat whole foods, or feed whole foods to our meat livestock and pets, then we are going to have this kind of thing happen. I have been discussing the need to change our diets to "no processed foods" with my fellow chronically ill friends online. Most of us had no children. It is turning out that this is a good thing.

  • handymac
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I know this is an old thread, but I have found , in the 50+ years I have been feeding animals(cats/dogs/horses/snakes/mice) pet food is marketed for human owners in most cases, not the animals.

    There is a dog food company in California that used only cow stomachs in their product. The entire stomach, contents and all. Customers swear this product is the best possible.

    I found Kirkland(Costco) is the best premium(they say super premium) dog food for the price on the market today. It is less expensive than the name brands at the grocery store and had the meat(lamb/turkey/chicken/beef/etc) as the first ingredient. Plus, I use less amounts and get better pet health.

    The cheaper the food, the more fillers are in the product. The more fillers, the less nutrition and the more solid waste---meaning more to pick up.

  • spedigrees z4VT
    4 years ago

    "Given all of that work that WDJ does to get this info for us, it is pretty obvious that the plants that are making these foods are right here in the US and Canada. "

    You are wrong about that. Companies are not required to list where their products are manufactured or where the food products they use originate. They can list a distribution plant in the USA while the food itself is being packaged overseas.

    "Melamine can be manufactured from urea (a concentrated part of urine), coal, and other sources. "

    The melamine that poisoned pets in 2007 was scrap from plastic manufacturing.

    "Chinese companies who participated in this in 2006 and 2007 that poisoned our pets were not immediately sanctioned, and the milk industry went on to commit horrific poisoning of baby formula and milk products in China that was not discovered until May 2008 and not made public until August or September. Milk products from China shipped all over the world were found to have melamine in them even into 2009."

    Absolutely true and beyond outrageous. The fact that we granted permanent normal trade relations status to China above the objections of all our European trading partners is testimony to greed over safety. I do not know about Canada, but here in the USA, neither the FDA or USDA has authority to conduct a mandatory recall, and this was not changed by the Senate hearings.

    Feeding 100% human grade meat eliminates the need for measuring protein. (I wish I could afford to feed my dogs entirely on meat from the pasture raised, organically fed animals that we buy for ourselves, but economics plays a role.)

    As to calcium/phosphorus ratio:

    Meat contains phosphorus and bones contain calcium carbonate. The USDA recommendation for cat & dog food is 1 1/2 teasp calcium carbonate per 6 cups of meat. It isn't rocket science. (Adhering to this ratio is one of the few things that the commercial pet food industry does right.)

    "This all goes back to my sneaking feeling that this planet can only healthily sustain a very tiny fraction of the people we have living here. If we can't eat whole foods, or feed whole foods to our meat livestock and pets, then we are going to have this kind of thing happen. I have been discussing the need to change our diets to "no processed foods" with my fellow chronically ill friends online. Most of us had no children. It is turning out that this is a good thing."

    I agree with you 100%. I wish I could like this statement 100 times. Overpopulation is the root cause of most of the planet's woes, and is going to lead to worse problems when Mother Nature decides to control our population for us.