Note: the information on this page, particularly relating to protein, fat & calcium content pertain to Dachshund Puppies - not to larger breed puppies - which have very different nutritional needs due to their tremendous size and growth rate.
Black Gold Signature Series Ultimate Puppy was our puppy kibble of choice for many years. Unfortunately, it can no longer be purchased online from the manufacturer. They do have a "purchase online" button, but it throws you to the "Pet Food Station" website to order it from them. (Evidently they are one of a number of (supposedly) "wholesale distributors" of multiple pet foods which are popping up on the internet like hotcakes.)
I was dismayed examining the Pet Food Station website. It was everything I caution people to avoid.
The "about us" was full of warm and fuzzies with NO real information at all about the company or the owners.
The location is not disclosed.
There are no names mentioned anywhere.
They give three options for contact:
An 800 number (which I was concerned about tossing me to a generic answering service - which is exactly what happened)
A "form" to fill out and send.
There was a button for "live chat" - but that was simply another form to fill out and send with your email address.
In other words - the folks owning the company had NO wish to let you know who they were, their background or even where they were located. And you couldn't get hold of them directly by phone or even email.
But, since I was running low, I went to the page selling the Black Gold Ultimate Puppy kibble. "Out of Stock" argh.......
I then called the 800 number and got a man with an accent so thick I couldn't understand him. Spanish accent. He was not interested in knowing which kibble I wanted, or indeed - anything at all - the only thing he wanted was my email address. I refused to give it to him. I asked where the company was located and he said "Florida." After several fruitless minutes of trying to understand him, I asked for his supervisor, and he hung up.
The owner of Pet Food Station did call me after I sent a very stiff email, and again, I was a bit dismayed at the answers she gave to my questions. The number of her employees? "6 - 10" She didn't seem sure about the warehouse where the dogfood was stored, ie air conditioning, etc. And had absolutely no clue as to what the Pet Food Station website contained...finally saying that she left that up to her website designer.
I need a steady and reliable supply of excellent puppy kibble which is either sold locally, or available online (from a reputable website), so I'm afraid that Black Gold is no longer an option for me. I'm going to have to switch puppy kibbles and have decided on Merrick Whole Earth Farms Puppy Kibble.
The best price seems to be from Amazon in the 35 lb bags, sold by wag.com - another online distributor of pet food, but at least they have owners listed on their website, and an email address directly to the company. Yes, they do have a PO box, but at least you know it's in NJ.
I ordered several bags from them and at $36 (including shipping) for a 35 lb bag of puppy kibble, it was a great price (especially delivered right to the door). I can't even purchase it locally for that price (our local pet food distributor wanted $42 for the same bag). The expiration date was excellent, and the kibble was virtually indistinguishable from the Black Gold Ultimate Puppy as far as size of kibble, color and aroma; and my kids did super on it. I am also going to try Merrick's other puppy kibble, too.
Nutrition is a huge subject all by itself, and can mean the difference between a happy dog and an unhappy one; and is often the determining factor between life and death. It's really important for any dog owner to be knowledgeable about nutrition - and not to rely on the dog food companies, or even 100% on your vet. "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition" is a wonderful book to start out with, and (I think) should be read by every dog owner.
The recalls for dog and cat food and treats are important to know, so I urge every dog/cat owner to subscribe to the alert information so they can keep track of it. Short emails will be sent whenever there is a recall, with links to a website for further information. You can sign up here:
~*~ ~*~ Contents of page ~*~ ~*~
Life's Abundance Dog Food, NuVet, etc
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Dogs have been domesticated by humans for literally thousands upon thousands of years....estimates range from 15,000 to 40,000 years ago. So long ago, in fact, that humans BROUGHT domesticated dogs with them when they migrated to the new world. They didn't "tame wolves" - they had no need to, they already HAD domesticated dogs - as recent genetic studies with DNA have proven.
Comparing domesticated dogs with wolves is like comparing humans to chimpanzees. Yes they are similar in many aspects - but they are different in many KEY aspects - including nutrition.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The "grain free" bandwagon began in 2005, and I'm dismayed by the false information on the net regarding it.
Dry kibble must contain grains or other carbohydrates to hold it together during processing. Since the idiotic "grain free" bandwagon began - many kibbles are using starches (carbohydrates) to fill up the ingredients, including:
And these are not bad, per se. But by substituting high-starch foods for grain, these "grain-free" foods are way too high in starches (carbohydrates) and it is now being discovered that they are contributing to overweight dogs and (even worse) diabetic dogs. These high carbohydrate foods are creating insulin spikes and creating a diabetic problem in dogs - especially dogs who have been on the diets for years.
Grains and starches, just like protein and fat - are integral components of healthy kibble. Moderation and common sense should be the key words when examining dog foods.
Stop following the bandwagons (which are simply marketing gimmicks) and begin using your common sense.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
A good dog kibble is one of the basic building blocks to good health; and good health means not only a happier, healthier dog, but a happier owner.
You will have fewer problems with a dog who is fed a highly digestible nutrient-rich kibble.
It is important to feed a dry kibble, which will help keep the dog's teeth in good condition. (Note, This is after the puppies have been weaned from their Puppy Mush; also this pertains to dogs in good health. Special soft diets might be necessary for dogs who have a medical problem.)
It is important to feed a kibble that will keep the puppy/dog in good weight and active, and at the same time be enjoyable for him to eat and fulfill his appetite.
It is important to feed a kibble that will keep his coat and skin in good condition, although there are additional products (like yogurt and Mirra-Coat) which I recommend in addition to the good kibble.
It is VERY important to feed a kibble that results in small, firm stools which, by nature, clean the anal glands naturally.
I just received this email from Sir Lancelot's Mom:
Jan, We have been using the "Grain Free Chicken and Split Pea Canine Caviar" kibble. It comes in a green bag. The cost is about $5 for a small bag, maybe 3 lbs. For the Biljac, we buy the 30 lb. bag. It's $55.00 for us here and it is the "Small Breed Adult with Chicken, Oatmeal and Yams." It's a little more expensive than I was paying before we had Lance, but you have done such a good job of educating me about feed. Before we fed Biljac kibble to the dogs, they LOVED "Purina One." We always had problems with Val and Rudy's anal glands. I didn't know enough about dog food to know that the food could be the cause, and the vet never said anything. Why would he? He was charging us nearly $100 every time we had to go in. Since we've been on this food, we haven't had to go once. Thanks for all the education and information, it has saved us hundreds of dollars. I guess a little more on food is worth it.
aka Lance's Mom
Don't think that by feeding a cheap kibble you are saving any money - because in the long run it will cost you - either in veterinarian bills, or in an unhappy, unhealthy dog.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
A BIG THANK YOU to Macey's Mom, Terri Hall, who brought a lot of the below to my attention.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Once in a while you'll come across a Dachshund that is not all that interested in food or treats, we have one - little Sparkle (aka Sparky); but she was the only one we've had. MOST Dachshunds absolutely LOVE food and treats of all kind, even vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, etc. Little Stanley's Mom couldn't figure out why her bean bushes never grew beans to full size until she caught him in the garden daintily picking and eating the half-grown beans.
Dachshunds can be accomplished "beggers" giving you the "starving Ethiopian Doxie" look (as Pixie's Mom describes it) when you're eating. Below are Pixie and Peanut trying it out on their Dad:
(note the carefully planned strategic positions. Dachshunds will often "double team." One Dachshund will lean over to try to snatch a bite, so the person instinctively draws the food away from that Dachshund - right over to the OTHER Dachshund - who immediately takes a bite. The Dachshunds will work alternately, making sure that each gets a proper share...lololol)
(and phooey on the folks who frown disapprovingly at "allowing dogs to beg"- they are usually the ones with the whining and/or ear-splitting shrieking brats in the grocery/department stores "begging" their parents to buy them candy or toys. Funny how those type of people think it's okay for dogs to be kept in cages and believe dogs must be perfect and quiet at all times - while letting their kids run amuck in public places.)
I had a hearty morning chuckle at this morning's email from Pixie's Mom:
"Does Pixie still have an appetite? Heck, that girl would eat till she blew up. She is definitely a foodie. Pixie and Peanut both do a "dinner dance" when I'm making their supper. Pixie loves tomatoes, cucumbers, Pringles and shredded cheese. Both her and Peanut will come running when I pop the lid on the Pringle's can! Peanut has amazing hearing when it comes to food. James will be up late at night and the girls will be in bed with me. Peanut will all of a sudden pop out from under the covers and go running downstairs. James is usually eating fruit cocktail or Vienna sausages. James said he once went into the GARAGE to open a Little Debbie pie and Peanut still caught on!
You can try to fake her out by stopping chewing but she will walk right up on your chest and start sniffing your nose! Peanut is a shameless beggar and has a huge repertoire of begging acts. Peanut is our little ham, she will whine,chirp, scratch the side of your cheek or go into crazy dog mode where she puts her head between her front legs and starts flipping herself around!! LOL Pixie is our silent, soulful beggar."
Treats, in moderation, are FINE for Dachshunds - yes even "human food" treats. There is a TON of misinformation flying around the net by ignorant people about the "toxicity" of human food (see the page "Are Human Foods Toxic") but compassionate and intelligent owners KNOW better.
Dachshunds are the "most funnest" dogs of all to live with, their zest for life (including food) and their antics are a continuous source of joy for their owners. And those owners who honestly TREAT their Dachshunds like family members have incredibly rich and full lives, overflowing with laughter and good times. :-)
Because there is SO much misinformation about "dog food" and "dog nutrition" floating around, this page was created so that folks can become more knowledgeable about the food that they give their wonderful little life companions.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Hands down, the most frequent question I get from dog owners is about dog foods and "allergies" or "sensitivities" to it.
I can't emphasize how wonderful Yogurt is to a dog's digestion, I never realized it until I started using it on a regular basis. And digestion has a DIRECT impact on a dog's skin and coat. (If you look at dogs with digestion illnesses such as pancreatitis, you'll see what poor coats they commonly have.)
Vets and dog food companies are making a BUNDLE of money trying to convince dog owners that their pet is "sensitive" or "allergic" to various dog foods (or the ingredients in them). Baloney. It's BIG business for them, so that's why they are doing it. Dog food companies and "vets specializing in allergies" are making money hand over fist by misleading pet owners.
A highly digestible food made of good quality ingredients is going to be fine. If a dog has a problem with it, it's likely NOT an allergy or sensitivity, but rather the dog's own digestive process which is the problem...and which can usually be easily solved by the addition of a good active culture yogurt given on a daily basis.
We purchased 2 sisters Rocky & Rusty (pet females, spayed and never bred) and although Rocky never had a problem with digestion or coat, it seemed like Rusty ALWAYS had a problem. Intermittent vomiting, pretty much constant diarrhea and very poor skin and coat. Vets had me try this food and that food and claimed allergies, and I spent a bundle of money trying to find a food that she wasn't "allergic/sensitive" to.
One sensible vet told me that some dogs just have a chronic buildup of "bad bacteria" in their intestines and would periodically put Rusty on metronidazole - which cleared up the diarrhea in a heartbeat, but unfortunately she developed a sensitivity to it and had a horrible reaction once that almost killed her. So that was that as far as using metronidazole.
Then I began investigating intestinal bacteria, and came across information about the enzymes in yogurt. I knew from Hubby's experience that he couldn't take antibiotics without yogurt, so I decided to try it for little Rusty and began researching the various types of yogurt. I like the Dannon brand because they have the natural enzymes and don't base their stuff on starch and/or gelatin. I also knew that dogs love the smell & flavor of vanilla, so I chose Dannon Natural Vanilla yogurt.
WOW - the vomiting stopped, the diarrhea stopped, and for the first time in her life she had perfect firm stools - constantly. And her skin and coat improved also. As she became older and began to put on weight, I switched her to an "adult light" dog food, but was worried because "light" dog foods contain a LOT of fiber - and were very likely to make her stools soft. But they didn't! Her stools stayed firm and small as long as she was given yogurt every day.
I began adding the powdered Mirra-Coat to the yogurt and could not believe the difference in her coat. It absolutely glistened. I now use the Mirra-Coat powder and yogurt for ALL the dogs, and give it first thing in the morning before their morning milk bone.
As an added benefit, little (weaned) puppies after going all night without food sometimes have an upset stomach first thing in the morning (as well as adult dogs with sensitive stomachs), so giving them their yogurt first thing in the morning soothed their little tummies - and kept their stools nice and firm.
And I know that the acidity level is low in yogurt, but also I've noticed that since using it daily, NONE of the young female dogs came down with UTIs anymore. (Urinary Tract infections are quite common in immature female dogs - see the "Illnesses and Medications" page.)
IF you have a dog with a skin, coat or digestive problem, whom vets (or anyone else) are telling you is caused by dog food - give Mirra-Coat and Dannon Vanilla yogurt a try. I'll bet you'll find that it's NOT the food at all, the problem is simply the way your dog "digests" the food; he/she just needs a little assistance from the enzymes in yogurt.
Mirra-Coat is simply the BEST skin and coat conditioner on the market...hands down. I've tried them all. And I much prefer the Mirra-Coat powder, a little goes a long way. It's easy to add the powder to the yogurt.
If you decide to purchase Mirra-Coat powder, get the largest size possible (2 lbs versus 1 lb) Keep it closed tightly and refrigerated and it will last a long time. (I actually purchase the 20-lb tubs of it, and take out only enough to fill a container which I keep in the refrigerator.)
Mirra-Coat is perfectly safe to use on dogs with any kind of medical problem, and it will not affect the glucose level of diabetic dogs. Little Satin lives with an older Lab, Woody (whom she adores). Woody has been severely diabetic his whole life, had eye surgery, has to have insulin shots…the whole nine yards. Because his diet has to be extremely monitored, he is given a kibble that has a lot of fiber in it (to help his diabetes).
High fiber kibbles like that usually have an extremely LOW fat level (since they are often given to older dogs who need to lose weight). And a very low fat level is going to contribute dry skin and coats. Dogs with pancreatitis and diabetes are KNOWN also for having extremely dry skin and coats; as well as dogs who are fed a “Light” or "Senior" or “Weight Reducing” or "High Fiber" kibble. (Note that the diet for dogs with pancreatitis would be drastically different than for dogs with diabetes.)
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
DON'T believe that a food is "excellent":
because of what it contains: it doesn't matter if it contains chicken, fish, bison, venison, pheasant, duck, salmon, anchovy, Black Forest truffles, Caspian Beluga caviar or foie gras imported from France.
because of what it does not contain: it doesn't matter if it's "grain free" or "corn free" or "preservative free."
because of what it is labeled: it doesn't matter if it's labeled "healthy" "natural" "organic" "green" or "holistic"
Dog Food companies are trying to make folks believe that their foods are good because 1) they contain exotic sounding ingredients (like venison, duck, salmon, etc), 2) they do not contain certain things (like corn, grains or preservatives, etc) and 3) they are labeled as "holistic" "natural" "organic" etc.
They conveniently leave out THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of dog food's nutrition - and that is DIGESTIBILITY.
What good is having fresh and wholesome ingredients if the digestibility rate of the dog food is not excellent? Their fancy grain- & preservative-free holistic ingredients are not even going to be digested by the dog! The "digestibility rate" determines how much nutrition is actually absorbed (used) by the dog, versus just passing through the dog and ending up on a pooper scooper.
MOST dog food companies do NOT like to publish or give out information about their digestibility rates because they are not proud of them. Some companies do not even TEST the digestibility rate of the food they sell. They try to steer your focus onto what they do (or do not) put into their food.....they don't care a whit if a dog can actually digest it or not. So you have to get on them and demand the information.
And don't buy into the "our food is 100% digestible" - that would mean that your dog wouldn't have any stool at all.Manufacturers determine digestibility rates from the amount of food that goes INTO a dog compared to the amount they poop OUT. So any dog food company/vet that says their dog food is "100% digestible" is lying.
And don't believe anyone telling you that a kibble who's only source of meat is "by products" has an extremely high digestible rate. "By products" are NOT highly digestible.
WHY don't sites which rate dog foods ever consider the digestibility rates? Not taking "digestibility rates" into consideration is a HUGE oversight by dog food reviewers; because if the food is not highly digestible - everything else is moot.
I spent DAYS calling dog food companies and trying to find out what their digestibility rates were. I was so depressed and exasperated.
Most of the companies hemmed and hawed and said they didn't have that information (or had discontinued testing for it) until I really pressed them.
The high digestibility not only ensures that the puppies absorb the nutrients from the puppy food but have small, firm stools - even after the trauma of being moved to their new homes. That is THE MOST serious issue for a breeder - making sure that the stress of moving does not trigger diarrhea.
Don't believe the hype that the ingredients are the ONLY things that matter in dog food. Don't believe that corn (or grain, or starch, or carbohydrates, or whatever) is "bad." They aren't - not unless they are poor quality and/or overshadow other food.
Bottom Line - Use "dog food rating charts" and "dog food reviews" as a very general guide only...but FIRST - find out what the digestibility rate of the food is. That is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of researching your dog food's nutrition....not the type of meat or vegetable used, not whether the food has corn or grain in it, not whether the food has preservatives, not whether it's called "holistic" or "organic"....focus FIRST on the digestibility. High falutin' sounding ingredients amount to a hill of beans if the food is not very highly digestible.
Don't accept all the commercial propaganda & popular misconceptions - and don't accept the "ratings" and "reviews" as gospel. Don't just be a blind follower of popular opinion. The food you give your dog directly affects his health and happiness, he deserves your research.
Update: 5/13/2012: Please note that a very high digestibility rate is essential for puppies and for adult dogs. However, if dogs are overweight - their "adult light" kibble is going to have a lower digestibility rate - and that's fine - as long as the coat and skin stay in good condition and (most important) that the stools are small and firm.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Fish oil is extremely cheap and is being used by a lot of dog food manufacturers as a primary source of "fat." Also, many vets are beginning to recommend "fish oil supplements" or "omega 3 supplements" for dogs with dry skin or coat.
The problem with "omega 3 supplements" is that most are made of fish oil. And they are NOT the best type of "fat" to help coat and skin - matter of fact - they could be the worst, and here's why:
Fish oil/Salmon oil is often taken from the liver of the fish, and therefore extraordinarily high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an "oil soluble" vitamin - meaning that excess is not excreted by the body, but can build up. Excessive vitamin A can CAUSE dry/poor coat & skin, and it also causes birth deformities.
Unfortunately not only do many skin & coat supplements contain a very high amount of fish oil, but also some nutritional supplements - so it pays to read the label and know the ingredients of anything you purchase for your pet.
Look carefully at the "source" of the fat content in your dog kibble - the best will be from vegetable origin - not fish.
The best coat & skin supplement on the market is called "Mirra-Coat." However, if you cannot afford commercial coat & skin supplements, why not try something the old-timers used to use. A mixture of half corn oil and half bacon grease. The dogs love it and it really helps their coat & skin. Start with a very small amount, though, because if you start with a lot - it could cause diarrhea. I used corn oil & bacon grease for many years before commercial supplements became widely available.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Companies which fill up their kibble with this crap should be fined.
I was asked about Nutro Max for puppies this morning. Although I had contacted Nutro previously to ask about their digestibility rate (which I wasn't too happy with), I had never really looked at the ingredients of the Nutro Max puppy kibble.
One of the first things I saw on their website was the popular claim "we do not use cornmeal" - BUT - looking at the ingredients listed in their Nutro Max puppy kibble - the 4th ingredient (even before the rice in their "chicken and rice" kibble) was "Corn Gluten Meal." Holy toledo!
First - Corn Gluten Meal is NOT Cornmeal...though it also comes from the corn kernel. Gluten (as any bread baker knows) is the rubbery residue remaining once the seed/grain has had most of it's starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Gluten is an inferior grain-based protein, lower in many of the essential amino acids dogs need. However - this cheap plant-based ingredient can significantly artificially boost the total protein content of the kibble.
It's a cheap substitute for meat protein.....period.
Remember the China scandal where dogs died from eating dog food. That was due to the Chinese using "melamine" - which was added to artificially boost the protein content. I say"artificially" - because melamine and corn gluten meal are not digested like real animal protein...but they "boost" the protein level when the food is tested in laboratories by humans.
PLEASE - do NOT take the word of any vet, any breeder (including me) or ANYONE! DO YOUR RESEACH. Know EXACTLY what you are feeding to your precious little puppy!
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Beware of the "all stages of life" dog foods...where the food is the SAME for all dogs.
The brands which claim they are suitable for "all stages of life" are extremely ignorant of dog nutrition, ingredients, digestibility and size of kibble. They claim that small breed adults, large breed adults, small breed puppies, large breed puppies, geriatric dogs, overweight dogs, working dogs, couch potatoes, pregnant & nursing dogs, dogs with sensitive digestive systems, etc. all have the same dog food needs. THEY DON'T.
ALL of those types of dogs need different protein, fat, calcium & fiber levels, some need more digestible forms of protein than others, and weaning puppies need a much smaller size kibble.
One type of dog food is in NO way, shape, or form, suitable for ALL of them. These brands, surprisingly enough, include expensive & well-publicized brands like Nutrish (Rachael Ray), Newman's Own (Paul Newman), Taste of the Wild, Dick Van Patten, Evangers, Canidae, Life's Abundance etc. Feed one of those to my precious kids? No way!
And guess what? MOST the above brands are not made by their own company - they are made by "contract manufacturers." (see below) Which is probably why they contain the same poor food. They are relying on their NAMES alone as a marketing gimmick to try to get you to purchase them.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I researched the following popular brands of dog kibble, telephoning/emailing most of them - and this is what I found out.
4Health - A new puppy owner told me that Tractor Supply Company recommended this food. Trying to pin down who actually makes this food is confusing. Actually, I believe that it is trademarked by Tractor Supply Co., and is likely manufactured by Diamond Pet Food. Too many questions about it for me to consider using. It spouts the same "grain free" baloney that seems to be the fad in advertising these days, but no disclosure about important things like digestibility rate.Update: This IS manufactured by Diamond. (Do not buy, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Apex - manufactured by Diamond. (Do not buy, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Beneful - manufactured by Nestle Purina. Their puppy kibble is probably the best example of why I dislike Purina-made dog kibbles. Look at the first 6 ingredients: "Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), chicken." The ONLY good meat is the SIXTH ingredient.
The main ingredient is ground corn - ground corn is not bad...but should NOT be the main ingredient. The only digestible protein in the first FIVE ingredients are "by-product meal." The third ingredient "corn gluten meal" is strictly added to artificially boost the protein content of the food - it tests high in protein in a lab, but it is actually an inferior type of protein for dogs...it's added to fake the protein content. (Do not buy, a very poor kibble).
Best Breed Dog Food (aka Dr. Gary's Best Breed Dog Food). The contract manufacturer for this dog food is Ohio Pet Foods. It contains fish oil, does not contain preservatives - or rather, uses the vitamins as preservatives. The puppy kibble is for all breeds and only 25% protein. I was very leary of them, but honestly after speaking at length with a gentleman from that company, I was quite impressed.
He does say that the digestibility rates "for all their kibbles" are 80 - 82% and expressed distrust at companies who claim 90% rates. He did say that their "puppy kibble" was actually an "all stages of life" kibble, but they lowered the fiber content and called it "puppy kibble." He spent a lot of time discussing how the company came into being, the ingredients they used, the way the kibbles are made and how, instead of bowing to popular opinion and "bandwagons" - they believed in a common sense approach.
I have a bag of their kibble which I'm going to try. I do think that 25% protein is a tad low for growing Dachshunds, and would likely add boiled chicken to up it a bit. But this kibble is now becoming more well known and I'd appreciate other dog owners reviews of it.
Bil-Jac - Baby Penelope's new Dad, Doug, mentioned Bil-Jac dog food. They make a dry kibble now. Back in the day when they first came out, they only made a frozen dog food.
I called Bil-Jac today to ask about their digestibility rates - which turned out to be 92%, both the Puppy Select Kibble, and the Small Breed Kibble. Those are astounding rates, and are nowhere to be found on their website.
The vet I spoke to (in charge of nutrition, evidently) knew exactly what I was talking about and was very knowledgeable about digestive rates, nutrition, etc. Their 26% protein is a tad low - BUT - there is a big difference between the digestibility rate of "good protein" and "bad protein" (remember a sirloin steak and an old shoe are both "protein" - but one is a LOT easier to digest and therefore more nutritious). Since the type of protein they use is excellent - I wouldn't really blink at the protein percentage.
For various reasons, their dog food is rated very low in most dog food review sites, which question the "chicken by products" - but honestly - what humans consider "by products" are EXACTLY what we feed our kids for "treats" (ie; ears, muzzles, skin, etc) the use of corn (which seems to be a faddy no-no nowadays), the use of beet pulp (ditto), and the use of a preservative. ANY of the chemical preservatives can be carcinogenic in large amounts - even those used for HUMAN foods....so I honestly didn't see a whole lot which justified their low rating.
I did like the fact that they spend a lot more money on their manufacturing than their advertising; it's been my experience that the products which are advertised the most - are usually of inferior quality simply because the companies pour more money into advertising than improving their product.
Anyway - Bil-Jac "Small Breed Select" and "Small Breed Puppy" dry kibble is carried by a LOT of pet stores, and I certainly would consider using it.
Blue Buffalo - Uses a contract manufacturer, but sidesteps the question of which one very neatly on their website:
Where is your food manufactured?
We create and develop our own recipes with our staff veterinarians and PhD nutritionists. We work with only U.S. partners to manufacture our products according to our recipes and specifications. Product quality is our #1 priority. We have strict controls in place to make sure that our ingredients meet the highest quality standards. All of our ingredients are USDA-approved and inspected.
I've read that at least part of their food is manufactured by CJ Foods. They also ignored my request to find out their digestibility rate. (would not suggest this kibble)
Canidae - Digestibility rate is 84% - 85%. 24% protein. An "all stages of life" dog food. Contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Canine Cavier kibble - highly recommended by Lance's owner, Sally King - who really knows how to research puppy kibble. Just glancing at the site, I really liked what I saw.
Chicken Soup - 86% digestibility rate. Their puppy food uses salmon oil. Contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Country Value - Contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Diamond - Contract manufacturer is Diamond (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Diamond Naturals - 85% digestibility rate. Contains salmon oil. Contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Dick Van Patten Ultra Premium - the company told me that the digestibility rate is 90% (Note, though, that their protein content is only 23%, also uses salmon oil) (wonder why they don't have that digestibility rate publicized on their website?) An "all stages of life" dog food - do not use.
Doc's Choice - A puppy owner asked me about a kibble called "Doc's Choice."
Their website claims: "Doc's Choice does not use high temperatures to produce its dog food. The kibbling process exposes the dog food to extreme high temperatures that destroy and/or degrade enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, proteins, probiotics, and numerous other nutrients."
This is the exact same reason that Origen had all that problem with radiation. THEY did not process their kibble at high enough temperatures to make it safe - therefore Australia had to irradiate it - which caused further problems.
But even other than that - look at the very first ingredient: key word "by-product"
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed. In a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”. In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
Despite the "warm & fuzzies" on their website, this has got to be one of the poorest quality kibbles I've ever seen. Based mainly on waste slaughterhouse products and cheap corn, and not even processed to a very high degree of heat....sounds like someone is making this in a shack in the back yard....to be honest. (would NOT recommend)
Dr. Gary's Best Breed (see Best Breed Dog Food)
Eagle Pack Holistic Select - "80 - 85% digestibility." (their exact words) Uses fish oil. (would not suggest this kibble) see also Contract Manufacturers
Earthborn Holistic - Earthborn Holistic is not a business/company. It is simply a brand of dog food that is sold by a dog food contract manufacturer called "Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc." The website, pamphlets and bags of food spout the usual “holistic” “natural food” “high quality” “wholesome food” “finest digestible proteins, fruits and vegetables." I called the 800 number on the Earthborn Holistic dog food pamphlet and also Midwestern Pet Foods and left messages.
Spoke to 4 people, none of them had ever heard of a "digestibility rate", 1 called back and said both the puppy kibble and the small breed kibble were both "about 91%" percent. Two other men said that the company did not test for it, and a third man claimed I must mean the "metabolic rate" (which I didn't). So I honestly have no idea, but since there are better kibbles that I know of, I'd use them instead of this one.
Eukanuba - not recommended. See "What is a Contract Manufacturer?" below.
Evangers - Protein content is 24 - 26%. They have ignored my request to obtain the digestibility rate of their dog food. An "all stages of life" dog food - do not use.
Evo - not recommended. See "What is a Contract Manufacturer? below.
Foster & Smith. You're not going to believe this. Macey's new Mom had been emailing me about dog & puppy kibble and mentioned that she purchased her puppy food from Drs. Foster & Smith. She emailed them asking what the digestibility rate was of their puppy food - and here is their (unbelievable) answer!
Thank you for the questions regarding our Drs. Foster and Smith puppy food and a "digestibility rate."
There is no such rate.
We do include highly digestible protein and carbohydrate sources, such as chicken, chicken meal and barley.
In addition, our puppy food meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) profile for Growth in Dogs.
Please feel free to reply with any additional questions or comments.
I am sorry for the confusion.
There is, indeed, a method for calculating the rate of digestion in pet foods. We have not calculated this rate in our foods. We have included ingredients in our foods that are recognized as highly digestible.
The process of calculating the digestibility rate in pet foods requires a very large study group and a controlled experimental setting. We chose not to pursue this value.
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
How do you like that? They (a veterinarian group) do not even TEST for the digestibility rate of their food...so how in the Sam Hill can they KNOW for sure that it has a good digestibility rate? Answer is: They don't know, and they don't care. They only care about blowing smoke if they can get away with it.
Foster & Smith use the contract manufacturer: CJ Foods.
***And just a quick note, although Foster & Smith's online catalog lead you to believe that their rawhide is US made - it isn't. Finding the wording suspicious, I telephoned them, and they admitted that they import their rawhide from China and Argentina. Would not recommend.
Fromm 4 Star - the company told me that their 4-star kibbles average digestibility rates of 89 - 91%. (Note, though, that their protein content is only 24%) (wonder why they don't have that digestibility rate publicized on their website?) Also, Fromm 4-star is an "all stages of life" dog food. For puppy kibble - they refer folks to their Fromm Gold line of food (which has a much poorer digestibility rate) Would not recommend.
Fromm Gold - 85% digestibility rate (they use salmon oil) Would not recommend.
Grandma Mae's - Sir Lancelot's Mom, Sally King called me and told me about a new kibble that was being pushed by the store they usually get their Bil-Jac from. I had never heard of it before - but Sally is really becoming an expert at researching Puppy Kibble and not being taken in by the "warm and fuzzies."
It's owned by a "co-op" of pet retailers....meaning that the pet stores have a very good reason for pushing the food - it puts money directly into their pocket. Although I didn't care for the lack of information on the website - the owner replied to every single one of my questions, very promptly and with a lot of information. I do not care for the All Stages of Life kibble, nor for the low protein content of 24% for growing Dachshund puppies. For adult Dachshunds - you'll have to research them yourself, and perhaps try their kibble. Would not recommend for Dachshund puppies.
Holistic Select - would never use - see Contract Manufacturers.
Hy-Ration - would not use - see Contract Manufacturers.
Iams - would not use - see "Contract Manufacturers" below.
Innova - would not use - see "Contract Manufacturers" below.
Kirkland (Any type of Kirkland food) - Cosco told me that the digestibility rate for Kirkland Lamb & Rice was "in the high 80's", Diamond (the contract manufacturer) told me that the digestibility rate was 85% ....so I'm not sure who to believe. When I questioned Costco about their puppy kibble, I was a bit puzzled because although the protein content is higher (28%) they claim that it is an "all stages of life puppy kibble." (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Life's Abundance - (see also the below section, "Life's Abundance, NuVet"). Refuses to give out digestibility rate of their dog food. Only 26% protein. One of those "all stages of life" dog food." Supposedly their dry kibble is made by the contract manufacturer "Ohio Pet Foods." Would not recommend.
Lotus - (see below "A Big Red Flag") (do not purchase)
Merrick's Classic Adult Toy & Small Breed Real Chicken with Brown Rice & Green Pea - Bonnie Nay, Cooper's Mom, emailed me about Merrick's dog food this evening, and I don't know why I didn't think of researching them before! I love a lot of their treats - especially the Snozzles and Sows Ears (aka Miss Piggy Ears) (not pig ears, and not any of the rib-in-a-blanket or Texas Toothpicks - the latter two containing bones), and
I have contacted the company with questions and they've always answered quickly and knowledgeably. Bonnie asked them about their digestibility rate, and their reply was that it was approximately 87% - which is okay for an adult Doxie (I'd prefer 90% for a puppy). They have a small breed Chicken & Rice kibble that has good ingredients and good analysis.
And ANOTHER puppy owner emailed me about them also! Lisa (Satin Doll's Mom) emailed: I have been feeding Satin the Merrick dry food & she is doing great on it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good kibble. I buy it at the Petco store in Grove City, Ohio. She loves it & has not had one problem, I have been feeding it to her for about 3 months. I use the small breed chicken kibble (not the grain free one). They have a couple of types, but she likes the small kibble best.
I have not tried this particular kibble, but I DO very much like the description of it on Merrick's website. And I've always loved the company - they are more knowledgeable about their products than any other company I've spoken with.
You can go to the above website (cut & paste, not a link) and find out what local and online stores have it available.
Natural Balance - contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Newman's Own - The company told me that their digestibility rate was "between 82 - 85%" An "all stages of life" dog food. I suspect that his dog kibble is contract manufactured by Menu Foods, but can't be sure. Would not recommend.
NuLo - The first ingredient in this dog food is "deboned lamb" "deboned chicken" "deboned salmon" etc.These raw meats contain about 80% water! After processing, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight - so it's very misleading, making folks think that most of the protein is coming from the first ingredient. It's not - it's coming from the other "meat meals" listed.
And remember, fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operation - in other words "cheap junk meat."
An "all stages of life" dog kibble - which is not appropriate (as explained below), many of which straddle the protein & fat contents (higher percentages needed for puppies, lower percentages needed for adults). MUCH better to get a kibble that has the appropriate protein and fat content for the specific puppy or dog.
Not going to do a whole lot of research on this one, because what I've seen so far doesn't impress me at all. Would not recommend.
Nutri-Source - Owned by Tuffy Pet Foods and manufactured by KLN Enterprises (which appears to be owned by the same people).
They do not have a "total digestibility" rate, instead they break it down to "dry matter digestibility rate" "fat digestibility rate" etc. Perhaps they don't test for a "total digestibility rate" (many don't).
I investigated only their "small & medium breed Puppy Chicken & Rice formula" kibble. Gracie's Mom told me that she loves it for her kids. I like the ingredients. The company told me that though the "food ingredients" come from the US, some of the "vitamin ingredients" come from different countries - including China. [I know that even a lot of human vitamins (and even medications) come from China - more than folks realize....but I'm not happy about it.]
Since this company indicates that it uses "natural preservatives" my only caution would be to purchase this kibble in a "climate controlled" store (not in a drive-thru feedstore), and make sure you look at the expiration date on the bag before purchasing.
Nutro Ultra Holistic - 84% digestibility rate (Nutro was acquired by Mars Petcare following the 2007 recalls) Uses fish oil. Made by contract manufacturer "Mars Petcare." Would not recommend.
Old Mother Hubbard Kibble - would not use - see Contract Manufacturers.
Orijen – manufactured by Champion PetFoods in Canada. Personally I’d stay FAR away from anything manufactured by Champion PetFoods – and especially Orijen. You can email if you’d like more information. Would NOT recommend.
Premium Edge - 85% digestibility rate. Uses salmon oil. Made by contract manufacturer Diamond. (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Prism - would not recommend - see Contract Manufacturers.
Professional - Contract manufacturer is Diamond (Do not purchase, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
Purina One - They have a very good explanation of digestibility rates on their website, and explain WHY digestibility is so important. But when I emailed them and asked them point blank what their digestibility rate was, they emailed back wanting to know "why" I was requesting that information (!)
When I told them I was considering switching our kids to a new dog food and was investigating digestibility rates, they only said they would forward my request "to the proper department" and that was the last I heard of them. I take it that their digestibility rate is not good, or they wouldn't be stonewalling folks who are inquiring about it. Usually creates soft stools because it contains a lot of undigestible fiber - bad for the anal glands. Would not recommend.
Rachael Ray "Nutrish" - has also ignored my request for their digestibility rate. An "all stages of life" dog food. Made by contract manufacturer Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Update:
When you call the "Nutrish" 800 number on their website - you get Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, which kinda confirms my suspicion that this pet kibble is solely the idea of the manufacturer and has nothing to do with Rachel Ray (other than likely paying her a royalty fee for using her name on the bag).
Also...and you're not going to believe this... when I asked the perky Ainsworth receptionist what the digestibility rate was of their chicken formula kibble - she chirps back, "Let's see, let me look it up, it's right here...okay - it's 98% digestible! So it's VERY digestible, isn't it?" she says brightly. "Very" I said, "in fact, so digestible that when you feed it to a dog, he only poops out 2% of the amount he ate?" ....silence..... (and I could feel her little brain trying to work out the math) and then...."um.....I'll have someone call you." Yeah - right. (and of course, no one called.) Would NOT recommend.
Royal Canin - Their answer as to their digestibility rate was vague in the extreme. "Our digestibility rate is in the 80's" was all I could get out of them.
They use "fish oil" and "anchovy oil".
Update 4/2012 - had an email from a "Mark Williams" "District Manager for Professional Kennels with Royal Canin" - a typical "hit letter" trying to drum up sales. Claimed they had a program "specifically for breeders" with the perks of; purchasing directly from manufacturer, large cost-effective bags, free shipping, etc.etc. etc. The usual "you'll save money" spiel included, of course.
But when I immediately emailed back saying that I would have to know more specifics about the actual kibble - like the exact digestibility rate, their use of fish & anchovy oils and who their contract manufacturer was -guess what? Dead silence. They never responded.
Royal Canin is a BIG example of a dog food company who spends more time and money on advertising and drumming up business instead of putting it to better use in improving their kibble - or educating their employees about it. Their insistence on drumming up business and complete lack of information regarding the kibble itself is VERY disturbing. I'd never use them and would not recommend them.
Solid Gold - made by Diamond. (Do not buy, very unsafe, involved in several recalls)
Taste of the Wild - different "flavors" - digestibility rate "approx 86%" Kibble is extremely hard and compact, very difficult for weaning puppies, and takes a long time to soak until soft. An "all stages of life" dog food. Contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not buy, very unsafe, involved in several recalls).
The Pride - They have several "types" of dog food, puppy, older dog, etc. though none specifically for small breed adults (or different breed puppies)
The ingredients were so-so, nothing really super, nothing really bad. I'd prefer they use "chicken meal" instead of "chicken by-product meal." "by products" are okay in moderation, but I dislike it when they are the sum total of meat used.
They seem very oriented to the kennel-type dogs, those who are used for working/hunting. They claim to add "dairy products for digestion" insinuating on an enzyme-type ingredient like lactobacillis or acidophilus but there is nothing in their detailed list of ingredients that indicate that the puppy food (anyway) actually includes anything like that.
The number they give on their website leads you "The Hyland Company" in Kentucky. After talking to several people there, "The Hyland Company" is actually a "contract manufacturer" who make up and sell a few different brands of dog food - for themselves ....the names he gave me were "The Pride" "Hunter's Pride" and "Hyland Dog Food."
The man I spoke to claimed that the digestibility rate for the "The Pride Puppy Kibble" was 90.4 percent. I have NEVER, EVER heard of a digestibility rate that was measured in tenths of a percent....never....and find it hard to believe that a digestibility rate that high could possibly come from "chicken by-products."
A few things missing on their website bothers me.....they do not make mention of the "quality" of their ingredients or even whether they are imported from other countries. They do NOT state that they have smaller size kibble for easier digestion for puppies....matter of fact, the "puppy kibble" is for "all breeds."
Claims their puppy kibble is "naturally preserved" which makes me think that they do not use preservatives, or if they do, they are counting on things like "vitamin E" (etc) as preservatives. Which I dislike, because "natural preservatives" can go rancid/bad so quickly - especially if stored in places that are not climate-controlled. They seem pretty much a VERY low-end type of dog food, and one I would never recommend at all. It's probably extremely cheap.
Wee Bits - A cursory glance at the website will tell you they are made by Solid Gold, whose contract manufacturer is Diamond Pet Foods (which are often involved in horrendous and large recalls). But aside from that - look at the ingredients:
Bison, Ocean Fish Meal, Millet, Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Rice Bran, Canola Oil, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (source of DHA), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Parsley Flakes, Pumpkin Meal, Almond Oil, Sesame Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Thyme, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Panthothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin), Riboflavin, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic AcidPet stores are touting this as "soy free" "non GMO" "organic" "grass-fed bison" yada yada yada. BUT the ONLY worthwhile protein is Bison....but hang on - it is not Bison meal - it's the whole unprocessed meat - which can contain up to 80% WATER! So the amount of protein from the actual "Bison" is really very small.Their second ingredient is where they are getting most of their protein content from - and that is "ocean fish meal.""Ocean fish meal" is the rendered (cooked down), dried ground tissue of whole ocean fish or ocean fish cuttings (in other words SCRAP or JUNK leftovers), either or both. "Ocean fish meal" can be any species or a mix of species. It is a "labeling loophole."This is, in reality, a TERRIBLE kibble. But you'd never guess it by listening to the store employees selling it. (Do not buy).
Wellness - contract manufacturer is Diamond. (Do not buy, very unsafe, involved in several recalls.)
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Foster & Smith and most other brands do not MAKE dog food. They have it made FOR THEM by a contract manufacturer.
A "contract manufacturer" is a company which manufactures dog food and then sticks various labels on it - depending upon which company (Foster & Smith, etc) has contracted with them.
Some companies have contract manufacturers make their dog food to very exact specifications, others tell them just to make it as cheaply as possible. Unfortunately, you are not going to be able to find out the TYPE of contracts that companies have with the pet food manufacturers...so you have to do research on your own.
Some of the more common contract manufacturers include Menu Foods (the primary manufacturer who was responsible for all those pet deaths due to importing tainted ingredients from China), Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Diamond, CJ Foods, Mars Petcare, Ohio Pet Foods, Nestle Purina Petcare, and others.
"Brands" are counting on you only looking at the big letters "Drs. Foster & Smith" or "Rachael Ray" or "Paul Newman" etc. to get you to purchase their food. They don't usually tell you that THEY don't make the food at all.
THIS is why you HAVE TO INVESTIGATE YOUR DOG'S FOOD! There is so much marketing gimmick and hoodwinking going on - you cannot trust anyone except yourself to do the research and get the facts.
Be aware that putting different brand labels on the SAME dog food is an extremely common practice. Also be aware that the NAME of a dog food may be bought and sold, and the dog food labeled (for instance, Eukanuba, Iams, Innova, Evo, etc) were originally owned and manufactured by different companies than they are now. The NAME is all that has survived of the original foods - they have new owners, new manufacturers and new ingredients....but the NAME still remains the same. [And by the way, the four brands mentioned above are no longer considered quality kibble since they were purchased by Proctor & Gamble. When owned by their original companies, they were all great dog kibbles, but the quality has gone right downhill - even though their names have stayed the same.]
Some brands, like Rachel Ray, seem to be solely developed by the contract manufacturer who merely pay her a fee so they can put her name on the bag. When you dial the "Rachel Ray Nutrish" phone number - you end up at the manufacturer (Ainsworth Pet Nutrition). Of course the commercials and website make it look like she has a lot to do with the dogfood - she doesn't. It's just a marketing gimmick.Take WellPet LLC, for example. It is a cat and dog food company formed by the combination of Eagle Pack Pet Foods and Old Mother Hubbard, after both had been purchased by Berwind Corporation. Their brand names are Wellness, Holistic Select, Eagle Pack, Prism, Hy-Ration, Old Mother Hubbard, Holistix, and (previously) Neura Meats. The company is a fully owned subsidiary of Berwind Corporation, along with (among others) Elmer's Glue and the National Pen Company. Wellness was hit with a lawsuit late in 2009 for claiming the use of human grade ingredients which they do not use. It turns out that in the court records they use bi-products, feathers and non-human 4-D grade cuts of meat.
You really have to dig deeply to find out WHO actually makes the food, how much they actually KNOW about dog food nutrition, where they get their ingredients and what the digestibility rates are; those things are rarely on the bag labels - so you have to be resourceful and do your own research.
Do not be fooled by the marketing gimmicks (ie this food is "made by" a vet, popular tv personality, movie star, nutritionist, etc.) Baloney. Dig DEEPER!
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and don't be taken in by marketing gimmicks.
And if ANYONE suggests a dog food to you - I don't care if it's a breeder, vet, pet shop employee, feed store owner, whoever - ask them what the digestibility rate of the food is. If they don't know - then you can probably bet your bottom dollar that it's not good AND you know that they are not knowledgeable about dog nutrition since they hadn't researched the digestibility rate themselves.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I knew about pet food manufacturers in Canada importing tainted ingredients from China which led to the deaths of many pets - but had NO idea that the problem was widespread with AMERICAN pet food manufacturers, too. :-(
Sir Lancealot's Mom, Sally King, contacted me about a dog kibble which was being pushed by her local petstore (touted as "comparable to Bil-Jac"). The kibble was "Grandma Mae's" (described above). Finding no useful information on their website (only the usual "warm & fuzzies") I emailed the company directly and asked pointed questions. The owner was full of praise for the pet food manufacturer Chenango Valley Pet Foods (recently newly managed by Ohio Pet Foods) who made their kibble. But then I researched Chenango and saw the below. :-(
"Chenango Valley Pet Foods is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and voluntarily recalling pet foods manufactured with a certain shipment of rice protein concentrate. The company was informed by Wilbur-Ellis that the rice protein concentrate shipped to Chenango Valley Pet Foods may be contaminated with melamine, and instructed Chenango Valley Pet Foods to recall any pet foods manufactured with the rice protein concentrate. Melamine is an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers that may lead to illness or fatalities in animals if consumed."
[Why was melamine added? To show a false reading when the material was tested for protein content - it's sole purpose was to fool the labs into thinking that the stuff had MORE protein than it really did.]
Then I started researching Wilbur-Ellis.....sigh :-(
Founded in 1921, Wilbur-Ellis is a leading international importer, marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. Wilbur-Ellis has continued to grow its business with sales now approaching $3 billion.
345 California Street, 27th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104 U.S.A.
There were 5 - 7 leading pet food contract manufacturers which received the poisoned rice protein concentrate from Wilbur-Ellis - but few of them acknowledged it - let alone issued recalls....Diamond issued recalls, as well as Blue Buffalo - saying that they had melamine-contaminated foods.
I emailed Wilbur-Elllis and asked point blank: "I would like to know if you supply rice protein concentrate to pet food manufacturers, and exactly where your rice protein concentrate comes from -specifically - does it come from China or anywhere outside the US?" (will post their reply if and when I hear anything.)
And I also emailed Grandma Mae's again: "Your contract manufacturer - Chenango Valley Pet Foods - do they still purchase rice protein concentrate from Wilbur-Ellis? and if so, is it used in your company's dog kibble?" Their reply: "We've never used rice protein concentrate in any of our formulas nor anything else from Wilbur-Ellis."
But that got me to wondering. How on earth do the dog food businesses KNOW that the manufacturer of their food is not using products purchased from importers? Chenango Valley was described as a pet food manufacturer that specialized in "holistic" "organic" and "gourmet" pet foods....and yet they used tainted imported ingredients from China! If a dog food business wants rice, or even a certain "protein percentage"...how on earth do they know that the dog food manufacturers are not going to use ingredients which they've purchased from importers? After all, they are in the business to make money, too....even, obviously, at the risk of our pets' health.
"Back I went to Grandma Mae's - and asked them. They responded very promptly, and gave me a lot more insight into the way things work: "
"Here is how we work.
"Our consultants and I tell the producer what the ingredients will be and what countries they are allowed to source it from. I periodically receive lists of companies that are used to supply our food. That is how I know the answers you reference.
"Everyone in our industry knows who is a stickler for ingredients and who is not, and which companies have bosses than tell the staff to buy cheaper ingredients or to look the other way when off-spec ingredients arrive. We and our producers are not among them.
"Hope this helps"
Below I've added some stuff that I found on the net, but honestly - I'm madder than a hornet. Those companies BRAGGED about getting all their ingredients from the US. And technically they did - Wilbur-Ellis is a US company. BUT THOSE US COMPANIES IMPORTED TAINTED PRODUCTS.
It's no longer enough to ask: "Do you get any of your products/ingredients from overseas?" or "Are all your products/ingredients from the US?" because the pet food companies will tell you:
- No - we don't get any of our ingredients from overseas. (but they purchase ingredients from US importers which DO get them from overseas)
- Yes - all our ingredients come from the US. (but, again, those ingredients were supplied from US companies which IMPORTED them).
You're going to have to ask: "Does ANY of the ingredients of this product ORIGINATE in China (or overseas)?" And I wouldn't take their word for it either, I'd contact the contract manufacturer and find out the name of the importer they get their ingredients from, and then contact the importer to find out where it originates. All this because we want to keep our beloved pets from being poisoned by the greedy pet food businesses. It is mind-blowing!
And, by the way, rice protein concentrate was not the only product to be contaminated by melamine, wheat gluten was also. And perhaps more products.
The more I talk and listen to dog food companies - the more I feel like taking a bath afterward. There is NOTHING as bogus as the pet food business - nothing.
Supposedly there are tests in place now which examine imported stuff from China against melamine. But I can well imagine that there are (or will be) other contaminants which have been (or will be) added to fake the protein content.
Melamine.... what's next????
San Francisco, CA -- April 18, 2007 -- Wilbur-Ellis Company is voluntarily recalling all lots of the rice protein concentrate the San Francisco company’s Feed Division has shipped to pet-food manufacturers because of a risk that rice protein concentrate may have been contaminated by melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers that can lead to illness or fatalities in animals if consumed.
Wilbur-Ellis noted that it obtained rice protein from a single source in China and shipped to a total of five U.S. pet-food manufacturers located in Utah, N.Y., Kansas and two in Missouri.
Wilbur-Ellis began importing rice protein concentrate from Binzhou Futian Biology Technology in July 2006.
Wilbur-Ellis has initiated a recall of all suspect rice protein concentrate it had imported and distributed; see http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/wilburellis04_07.html.
FDA investigators have obtained records showing distribution to five pet food manufacturers in seven locations. Investigators are currently inspecting all five manufacturers and collecting additional samples, as appropriate.
FDA initiated inspections at Royal Canin USA and C.J. Foods and, as a result, both companies have voluntarily recalled certain products; see http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/royalcanin04_07.html and http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/bluebuffalo04_07.html.
FDA also has confirmed the presence of melamine in finished pet food products containing rice protein concentrate. Those products, and others within the same product line, are currently under recall by Natural Balance Pet Foods and are labeled as: Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods; Venison and Brown Rice dog treats; and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food; see http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/naturalbalance04_07.html.
In a related development, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) issued a press release on April 19, 2007, stating that CDFA laboratory testing had detected melamine in urine from hogs at the American Hog Farm in Ceres, CA. For further information, see: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/exec/pa/pressreleases/PressRelease.asp?PRnum=CDFA07-038. [the US hogs were obviously fed with melamine-tainted products from China]
Due to the involvement of animal feed, FDA is working with CDFA on this development.
FDA continues to work comprehensively to protect the nation's pet food as well as to conduct a full investigation to determine any impact on the human food supply. The agency is now sampling all rice protein concentrate from China and continues to sample all wheat gluten imported from China, and it is ready to increase its surveillance of other products, if necessary.
In 2007, a pet food recall was initiated by Menu Foods and other pet food manufacturers who had found their products had been contaminated and caused serious illnesses or deaths in some of the animals that had eaten them. In March 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration reported finding white granular melamine in the pet food, in samples of white granular wheat gluten imported from a single source in China, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology as well as in crystalline form in the kidneys and in urine of affected animals.Further vegetable protein imported from China was later implicated.
In April 2007, The New York Times reported that the addition of "melamine scrap" into fish and livestock feed to give the false appearance of a higher level of protein was an "open secret" in many parts of mainland China, reporting that this melamine scrap was being produced by at least one plant processing coal into melamine.Four days later, the New York Times reported that, despite the widely reported ban on melamine use in vegetable proteins in mainland China, at least some chemical manufacturers continued to report selling it for use in animal feed and in products for human consumption. Li Xiuping, a manager at Henan Xinxiang Huaxing Chemical in Henan Province, stated, "Our chemical products are mostly used for additives, not for animal feed. Melamine is mainly used in the chemical industry, but it can also be used in making cakes." Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group, the company reported by the New York Times as producing melamine from coal, produces and sells both urea and melamine but does not list melamine resin as a product. Another recall incident in 2007 involved melamine which had been purposely added as a binder to fish and livestock feed manufactured in the United States. This was traced to suppliers in Ohio and Colorado.
2008 Chinese outbreak
In September 2008, several companies, including Nestlé, were implicated in a scandal involving milk and infant formula which had been adulterated with melamine, leading to kidney stones and other renal failure, especially among young children. By December 2008, nearly 300,000 people had become ill, with more than 50,000 infant hospitalizations and six infant deaths.In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that melamine exposure increased the incidence of urinary tract stones by seven times in children. Melamine may have been added to fool government protein content tests after water was added to fraudulently dilute the milk. Because of melamine's high nitrogen content (66% by mass versus approx. 10–12% for typical protein), it can cause the protein content of food to appear higher than the true value. Officials estimate that about 20 percent of the dairy companies tested in China sell products tainted with melamine. On January 22, 2009, three of those involved in the scandal (including one conditional sentence) were sentenced to death in a Chinese court.
In October 2008, "Select Fresh Brown Eggs" imported to Hong Kong from the Hanwei Group in Dalian in northeastern China, were found to be contaminated with nearly twice the legal limit of melamine. York Chow, the health secretary of Hong Kong, said he thought animal feeds might be the source of the contamination and announced that the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety would henceforward be testing all mainland Chinese pork, farmed fish, animal feed, chicken meat, eggs, and offal products for melamine.
As of July 2010, Chinese authorities were still reporting some seizures of melamine-contaminated dairy product in some provinces, though it was unclear whether these new contaminations constituted wholly new adulterations or were the result of illegal reuse of material from the 2008 adulterations.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Ready for another jaw-dropper?
Sir Lancelot's Mom was investigating "Blue Diamond" kibble and emailed the company asking what their digestibility rate was. Here was the reply:
From: Melissa Brookshire, DVM <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: * Diamond Pet Foods Info Request: Product Concern
Thank you for your inquiry. We do not do any animal testing on our products, which is where we would obtain digestibility values for the food. However, based on the nutrient levels and the ingredients in the Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy formula, I would estimate the digestibility to be between 85% and 87%.
(the email was followed by the the usual threat that the email could not be shared with any other person or made public because it contained "privileged/confidential information.")
Yeah...I can imagine they don't want anyone to know that they don't test for digestibility rates (!)
The above was news to me. I've contacted Diamond SEVERAL times regarding numerous brands they produce - "Chicken Soup" "Diamond Naturals" "Canidae" "Premium Edge" "Taste of the Wild" etc. I was puzzled by the vagueness of their answers - NOW I know the reason for it. The "digestibility rates" they gave me were fictitious. Diamond doesn't even TEST for digestibility rates.
And I love how they defend themselves by saying "we do not do any animal testing" - as though testing for digestibility rates is on par with the horrific practices of animal testing done by hospitals and medical research. It isn't. To test the digestibility rate - the amount of food fed is measured against the amount of food eliminated (ie pooped out).
Lemme tell you - NOTHING is as bogus in the pet industry as pet food (or treats).
THIS is why you can't rely solely on the "dog food review" sites on the net.
THIS is why I demand that ALL the folks who apply for a puppy from us DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH! I DO NOT place puppies with folks who believe whatever is written on dog food bags or who blindly follow whatever their vet tells them. Once you start REALLY INVESTIGATING pet products and vet procedures - you'll honestly drop your teeth.
But, of course, the majority of folks really don't WANT to know....they are just content to be blind followers. After all, blindly following something is a LOT easier than doing your own research and investigating, isn't it?
The trouble with that is (of course) you are jeopardizing the health and welfare of your beloved pets. Not with my puppies <shaking head> no way!
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
A puppy owner just emailed me and said she had read an article about Lotus who made a nice-sounding dog kibble, and asked if I had heard about it.
I went to the website of Lotus and they said all the things to give you the "warm & fuzzies" - holistic ingredients, good nutrition, proper protein percentages, etc. How the recipe was 2 years in the making, how much time it took to do it right....etc...etc...etc... Plus saying (without giving names) that "they were a group of devoted pet owners who also owned a chain of pet stores Centinela Feed and Pet.
On the surface they looked ideal, but a bare scratch has me extremely concerned.
Lotus doesn't look as though they have any store at all, and although their "locate retailer/distributor" has a map with dots all over, including Columbus, there is nothing within 75 miles of my zip code. (and we live about 20 miles from Columbus).
SO...I tried calling the number which was on Lotus' website. Got an Indian lady with an accent so thick I could barely understand her. She said she would take a message and have someone call me. I asked her if she were in Lotus' Building right at that moment. She hesitated and said yes.** I told her I "would wait." THEN she said she "could not transfer calls on the telephone she was on." I told her she could flag someone down in the building and I'd speak to them. She told me she couldn't do that - and offered to give me the phone number of the company "where I could be transferred to the appropriate person."
[**my fat fanny she was in A's building.....not unless the building was located in New Delhi.]
I called the number she gave and was greeting with an obvious generic recording service that merely said. "You have reached customer service" (didn't say name of company) and "please leave name and number and your call will be returned in 24 hours." Odd, because this WAS during normal business hours in California (where the company was said to be located).
SO I looked at the website again. On Lotus' website, they claim "We are a group of pet lovers with our own pet retail stores called Centinela Feed & Pet in Los Angeles." So I looked THEM up on the net. I picked Centinela's main store in LA and called them. Talked to a salesperson that said "Lotus" was merely a brand of dog food (one of many) that they carried. I asked if "Lotus" and "Centinela" were owned by the same people. Two other folks got on the line before I was put on with the manager. "Oh no," she said. "Please do call our head, Mr. _______ - here is his number."
Guess what? The number she gave me was ONE digit off the number which the Indian lady gave me for Lotus' "corporate number." Although the recording identified the number as "Centinela" ("welcome to Centinela's customer service, to better serve you, choose from the following options) - no matter WHICH option you chose....a recording came on to "leave a message and your call will be returned in 24 hours."
Obviously "Lotus" and "Centinela" use the same commercial answering service for ALL their incoming calls. There is probably no "corporate building" or "corporate office" at all. And I'll eat a bag of their dog food if it's REALLY owned by a "group of devoted pet owners." It's likely owned by one slick marketing-savvy guy who keeps things VERY close. The employees at the pet store he owns doesn't even know that he owns the dog kibble "Lotus" which they sell.
And there is more.
The BBB (Better Business Bureau) has never heard of "Lotus" but they HAVE heard of "Centinela". Problem is, the BBB has contacted Centinela TWICE requesting company info - and both requests were ignored. (another big red warning flag)
I could do further research and try to pin down the name of the owner of "Centinela" (who also owns Lotus) but these "one man businesses" that pretend they are corporations, and do not list any physical company address (many are run out of the person's home) can be difficult and time-consuming to track down.
IF you cannot reach a company during normal business hours....IF they insist you leave a message and that your call will be returned - That's a HUGE big red warning flag. Stay away from their products.
So don't just believe what you read, and don't settle for just filling out a request form on a website, and don't settle for "leaving a message." A legitimate company, during proper business hours, should allow you to talk to SOMEBODY on the phone - right then and there.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I would not recommend freezing - for a couple reasons. Freezing might change the flavor and perhaps the consistency (I don't know, I've never frozen kibble), and I would be afraid of condensation developing during the thawing which might contribute to mold, bacteria, etc.
There are three (possibly four) things which destroy the freshness of dry kibble - that is Air, Heat, and Humidity (and possibly Light), and you can guard against all of these by using a vacuum sealer (they are not terribly expensive and will be worth their weight in gold). You can vacuum seal packets of kibble (how much or how little will be left up to you), and simply store them in a pantry or cupboard - away from heat and humidity and light, and I believe you should be good to go.
I would however, make a note on the bags the date they were sealed and the product serial numbers, just in case that particular bag is ever recalled.
IF you decide to break up large bags of dog food and store them, it's probably a GOOD thing that the dog food has preservatives in it. (see below)
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
There is a current "fad" being used as a marketing gimmick by dog food manufacturers, and that is "preservative free." As usual, they are trying to keep consumers from focusing on the important things like digestibility by sidetracking them with the nonsense that "preservatives are bad."
They called their "natural preservatives" "Mixed Tocopherols" - which is a fancy word for saying that various ingredients of their dog food contains vitamin E and they consider that that is good enough for a preservative.....it isn't. Vitamin E can go rancid - especially if stored in hot, humid conditions.
Humans eat preservatives every day - look at the labels of everything you eat. Preservatives keep food from spoiling. Human foods which do NOT contain preservatives are very meticulously stored in climate-controlled conditions..... unfortunately, dog foods are not stored that carefully. If you think that dog foods without preservatives are stored any differently than those with preservatives....think again.
Excellent quality dog foods are going to be careful to put quality preservatives in their food, and just enough to prevent the food from easily spoiling. I'd MUCH rather they do that, then have my dog get sick (or possibly die) from eating spoiled food.
Do you know how LONG the manufacturer, warehouse, distributor, feedstore, petstore, etc. has kept YOUR dog food stored? Do you know if ALL those places were climate controlled? Would it surprise you to learn that most are NOT climate controlled - particularly the manufacturer, warehouse, distributor and feedstore?
Most folks have NO idea how old the dog food is that they purchase - it could have been hanging around for quite some time in the above mentioned places. I SHUDDER to think of dog kibble that has NO preservatives being kept during hot & humid summer months in places like drive-thrus, un-airconditioned warehouses/barns/storage sheds, etc. Talk about feeding a dangerous product!
Someone mentions a "preservative free" dog kibble to me - and I run the other way - fast. The ONLY way I would even consider feeding a "preservative free kibble" would be if I knew the exact date it was made (not the expiration date), and WHERE it had been stored and HOW LONG it had been stored in every location between the manufacturer and myself - AND if all the storage locations had been climate-controlled.
This "bandwagon" of things like corn, grain, preservatives being "bad" for your dog is just a marketing gimmick - nothing else. Don't fall for it. RESEARCH the quality and source of what is used (meat, vegetables, grains, protein, fat, fiber and preservatives), and how much is digestible - THAT'S the bottom line.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Have you checked the expiration dates of the dog food and dog snacks/treats that you have bought? MANY stores do NOT go through their inventory and get rid of expired dog food. Even distributors have been known to deliver expired bags of dog food to retail stores.
Always, always, always, check the expiration date before you purchase anything that you will feed to your beloved pet. This is especially important if you buy in quantity, and plan to store the food until it's needed. If you plan to store the food, be SURE to look at the expiration dates and get the bags/cans which will last the longest.
Folks have found dog food that expired YEARS ago sitting on the shelves to be sold.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I can't tell you how many times I've been contacted by companies like Potty Park, Life's Abundance dog food, and NuVet vitamins. Those type of companies scour the net, scarf up breeder addresses and then send the same generic email over and over, "love your website" "love your dogs" yada yada yada, THEN start in with "how would you like to make a lot of money" promising various referral fees if you suggest (or insist) that your puppy owners use their products.
Even though I politely decline, sure enough, a few months later - I get more emails from the same companies. They are counting on generating sales by spamming breeders and trying to convince them to hawk their products.
Potty Parks are an MLM (multi-level marketing) racket, and discussed on the "Housetraining Your Puppy" page.
NuVet vitamins try to convince breeders to put in their puppy contracts that the puppies MUST be fed NuVet, or the puppy's health guarantee will be void. They do this by offering a "commission" on the breeders' sales of NuVet vitamins.
This gimmick, in my opinion, is a very unethical marketing technique by the company - and an extremely unethical practice by breeders.
By bribing breeders to put that clause in the contract, they are hoping for higher sales. Why spend the money marketing your item, if you can convince breeders to market it for you?
The only reason breeders insist on NuVet vitamins being fed to their puppies is because they get a kickback for selling the vitamins. If they TRULY loved the vitamins - they would merely recommend new owners feed the vitamins - they would not threaten to void the health guarantee if the puppy was not fed the vitamins.
By clicking on the NuVet icon on the breeder websites, the breeder makes a commission for each sale. NuVet vitamins are not anything special at all. If you feed an excellent kibble with an excellent digestibility rate, you really don't need any other supplements. If you want something to boost the coat and skin, the best way to do that is to use a bit of Mirra-Coat powder with yogurt.
Life's Abundance Dog Food:
"Life's Abundance" tell breeders that they can make up to $1 for each bag of dog food their puppy owners purchase. Folks have had a real problem getting off their mailing list (and I can't seem to get off their email list, either); they have an "auto-ship" arrangement - where they automatically send you the food (which you have to pay additional shipping for); and it's very difficult to put a stop to it once you start.
I did ask them which contract manufacturer they used, and also their digestibility rate - which they refused to answer, so I'm not confident in them at all; and would certainly never use them or recommend them. (There has been mention on the net that their food is manufactured by Ohio Pet Foods, a contract manufacturer of various dog foods.)
Okay, I just had to do it. The statement made by "the creator" of Life's Abundance, a Dr. Jane Bicks reads "....dogs and cats should live into their 20's" & 30's....and the reason they don't is because of what they are fed..."
Holy Carp! That is a ghastly statement - especially if made from an honest-to-goodness veterinarian.
I have no idea if she owns the company that makes the dog food, or is a stockholder, or on their board, or was just the creator or developer or what - or even if she is a real vet (she certainly doesn't sound like it - what kind of vet would make a statement like that?)
This dog food company evidently has multiple websites. Besides healthypetfoodsusa.com, they also have healthypetslife.com and healthypetnet.com and WHOA - take a look at these:
Boy, this just smacks of a real MLM scam. Horrible! I'd trust them to create good dog food as much as I'd trust one of my little Dachshunds to safely deliver a piece of cheese to their Daddy.
Good Gravy! These people have absolutely flooded the internet, their sites (besides the above) also include ultrafreshpetfood.com, safehealthypetfood.com, healthypetproducts.com, foods4dogs.com, happypetstop.com, petfoodforlife.com, ilovehealthypets.com, healthfoodsforpets.com, petfoodpremium.com, healthypetfoodsusa.com and more and more and more. I don't know if these are all sites by the dog food company itself, or spinoffs from the MLM marketing people who sell it....makes no difference, and I don't feel like wasting my time trying to find out. They ALL say the same thing, while dancing around any real information such as digestibility rates and who their contract manufacturer is. If that doesn't send up a red warning flag, I don't know what does.
So just because something is hawked on a breeder's website - don't assume it's good - DO YOUR RESEARCH! And especially find out if the breeder benefits monetarily by suggesting/demanding that it be used for their puppies.
And just for the record, I am not affiliated in any way with any of the products I recommend, and don't receive any kind of commission or referral fee. The only possible money I make from the website is a small 4% referral fee (from Amazon) on some items that are offered in our Waggin' Tails Associate Amazon store. All the items in our store are sold and shipped directly from Amazon - our store is merely a portal.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Kibbles & Bits and cheap food like Ol Roy everyone knows are bad. But as far as the other foods - Rachel Ray, Paul Newman, Dick Van Patton, Taste of the Wild, etc. - I don't believe they are "bad" but I know (because of their digestibility rates) they are nowhere near as good as they claim to be.
They are not going to kill your dog, but they do not provide optimal nutrition, either (like they claim). They MIGHT be appropriate for a medium to large breed adult dog with no health issues and with a very hardy digestive system - (though the dog is not going to be able to digest 90% of the nutrients). However, for a growing small breed puppy, or even young adult Dachshund - their protein level is WAY too low.
They are usually expensive, and it really ticks me off because I believe they are taking advantage of folks by not delivering everything they claim. In other words, people are NOT getting what they think they are getting, they are not getting value for their hard-earned money.
Bad? No. Unethical - yes. And I don't like my puppy owners to be taken advantage of. If they are PAYING expensive prices for their dog/puppy food - I'd like to see that the dogs/puppies are being able to digest 90% of it....in other words....I'd like to see that the dogs are getting the nutrients that the owners are paying for.
Update 5/12/2012 After the latest pet food (of NUMEROUS labels of dog food all manufactured by Diamond, I have to swallow my words above. I take it back - those foods are not just a ripoff - they are DANGEROUS.
Pay the bucks, get a GREAT dog kibble. Not only will your dog be healthier (and therefore happier), but you'll have fewer vet bills and you won't have to worry so much about "recalls."
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I can't say much more than I already have above. But, I can promise you this...this MORE you do actual research and the MORE "experts" & "companies" you speak with, the more you will realize that 99% of them are handing you a line of baloney - particularly if they try to push a popular (and expensive) line of dog food, but have no REAL knowledge of who the contract manufacturer is (which is probably NOT the name on the bag) OR the digestibility rate.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I like the puppies to stay healthy and chubby and prefer them to be fed a special "puppy mush" made up of softened kibble and Goat's Milk. They should stay on that, with dry kibble to munch on, until they are over 12 weeks of age. That way they stay healthy, hydrated and nice and chubby during those important first few months.
I think breeders are weaning baby puppies much too early - forcing them from the 100% milk diet of their mother - to a completely dry food in 2 - 3 weeks. That is awfully hard on their digestive system and contributes to dehydration and inability to cope with stress.Our puppies go home with a small tub of mush (already made up, so the new puppy owner can see what the consistency is like), plus enough dry kibble and Goat's milk for a week or two. Goat's milk can be purchased in any grocery store, and there are several brands of good quality kibble available.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Whenever you have a dog whose digestion is upset, for any reason (old age, illness, weaning), etc. you really can't go wrong putting them on a Chicken & Rice diet....I've raised Dachshunds thru Danes from puppyhood to old age on it exclusively, and they were healthy as could be.
I used to use the huge 20 lb bags of rice that you can get at places like Sam's Club, but I was feeding 10 - 20 dogs. For one or two dogs, the easiest rice to use is the Success Rice (boil in a bag). Takes 10 minutes and is just as good.
I use both chicken and chicken liver, and I prefer the chicken thighs which has nice dark meat and good bones (for the gelatin). Boil up a bunch because then you can make up little baggies of meat and freeze them, taking out only what you need.
1. In a big pot put 9 chicken thighs and 1 container of chicken livers. Put water in - about 2 - 3 inches higher than the meat.
2. Put on very low heat, cover and let it simmer until the meat is falling off the bones.
3. Let cool and then separate onto 3 paper plates - meat on one plate; skin & bones & the hard cartilage at the end of the bones on the 2nd plate, and chicken liver on the 3rd plate.
4. Throw out the plate that has the skin, bones and cartilage.
5. Take sandwich ziplock baggies and divide the meat and chicken liver equally between the baggies - putting both chicken meat and liver into each bag.
6. Put those baggies into a larger gallon ziplock baggie and put in the freezer. (To thaw, just take out a small baggie of the meat & liver, and leave out overnight on a paper towel on a paper plate. In the morning it will be thawed. Refrigerate.)
7. Take the remaining juice & goodie bits that are in the pot and pour into plastic container (I use Glad containers), and put it in the frig. As soon as it's cold, the fat will solidify on the top and you can skim it off with a fork and throw away. What is left is a treasure trove of nutritional gelatin goodness. Keep refrigerated and use as a gravy over the chicken & rice.
8. For meals, take some rice and chicken & liver and mix together. Pour over a little of the gelatin gravy and microwave until it's nice and warm and aromatic. Dogs love it, it's highly nutritious and very easily digestible. (And regarding liver & kidney disfunctions, it's not so much leaving OUT the protein, as using a little protein - but high quality protein - which this is.)
You can mix the rice, chicken, liver & gravy together into a large container and feed it out for meals over 2 - 3 days.
OR - you can cheat a little and do it a very easy way:
1. Purchase an already-roasted whole chicken from the grocery store (they are only $4 or $5 each around here)
2. Put the entire chicken in a big pot of water and bring to boil. Turn down and simmer for several hours. Then remove the lid and let cool.
3. Remove the bones, gristle and skin and throw away.
4. Strain the remaining liquid into another large pot (to remove the smaller bits of bone, gristle, etc.
There you have it, a plate full of beautiful chicken meat and a big container of broth.
You can distribute over dry kibble for a treat, or mix with Success Rice for an easy-to-digest meal for a puppy/dog with a digestive upset.
That's fully enough for several meals of "special broth" for all of our kids. If you can't use it all up in a few days, freeze it, and take it out as needed.
If you are using this for a growing puppy, I would also supplement with either Nutrical or Pet Drops, etc.
Digestion is extremely important - because EVERYTHING stems from it. Stabilizing digestion (and you can use this recipe to do that) should be the first thing you do. If you want to wean the puppy/dog onto another form of dog food (ie kibble), just add it slowly to the chicken & rice meal. If the stools begin getting loose, discontinue that kibble and try another one. But you can keep the dog on this for his/her whole life and they'll do fine. I have.
This recipe is also outstanding as a "flavor enhancement" to dry kibble. If your dog is on a dry kibble that agrees with him (ie, he has firm stools, skin & coat is good, activity level is good, etc) but he dislikes the flavor of the kibble - add some of this chicken, liver, rice & gravy mixture to it - and he'll scarf it up - and it won't interfere with his digestion :-)
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
"Dogs' ancestors ate raw meat" So what???? Our ancestors (yours and mine) ate raw meat, too. Does that mean that YOU eat it, too? If not - why not?
"Wolves in the wild today eat raw meat." So what???? There are primitive human communities on earth today which eat raw meat, too. Does that mean that YOU eat it, too? If not - why not?
Why not? because it's dangerous - for both you and your beloved pet.
"Wolves and the ancestors of dogs ate a raw diet - that's how they survive/survived" Um....sure - some of them did/do survive, but do you have any clue about the survival rate? Animals are sometimes forced to eat things in the wild to prevent starvation - that doesn't mean that what they eat doesn't make them sick - or kill them.
It tickles me no end to hear folks comparing dogs to wolves. If they had studied the history of canine domestication (spoken a little bit on the Great Dane pages on the website) they will see that dogs have been domesticated (and their diet therefore changed) for literally THOUSANDS of years. Yes, they are genetically similar to wolves....just as we are genetically similar to chimpanzees. You think your dog should be fed raw food because wolves eat raw food? Then why don't you eat like a chimpanzee? The comparison is apt.
I won't go into detail here about the problems of parasites, bacteria, viruses and internal damage due to bone ingestion. Besides, zealots who have jumped on the "raw diet" bandwagon don't want to read the information; and sensible people don't need to read it :-) But for those who wish to learn more about it - the links below are excellent: (click on them to be taken to the sites)
"Barfers" (as they like to call themselves) have, from the beginning, been a cult-like group that panics and over-reacts if you don't agree with them. They operate on myth and misinformation and are more interested in "converting the masses" and destroying anyone who disagrees with them than actually researching the nutritional needs of dogs.
For instance, barfers tell folks to kill parasites in meat it only has to be frozen first before feeding. Nope - they're not telling you the whole enchilada. Fish, for example, must be frozen at minus 10F for at least 15 hours to kill any parasites that might be present.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Absolutely not! Dogs need to have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1 (twice as much calcium as phosphorus). Cottage cheese contains the opposite - more than twice the amount of phosphorus as calcium. Because the puppy's body will try to balance the ratio, it will compensate for the high phosphorus in cottage cheese by pulling calcium right out of those growing bones, cartilage and teeth. (And, by the way, many organ meats have a calcium to phosphorus ration of 1 to 15! - another reason the BARF [raw] diet is unsuitable.)
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
That's like asking "What is the best diet for 'a human being'." A LOT depends on the age of the human, where they live, what they do, what is available, what their nutritional needs are, etc.
The question can only be answered by knowing the following:
What are you trying to achieve? (weight loss, weight gain, stabilize digestion, assist in illness/injury recovery, etc.)
How old is the puppy/dog? (a puppy needs more protein & fat and more nutrients like calcium, than an adult dog)
What is the lifestyle of the puppy/dog? (working dog, energetic puppy, couch potato, etc.)
What breed is the puppy? (Big dog puppies like Great Danes have very different dietary needs than small dog puppies like Miniature Dachshunds)
Does your puppy/dog have any illnesses or concerns that needs a specialized diet?
And how about the following generalizations:
"Changing foods will make my dog picky." Only from personal experience, it never made my kids picky, in fact it made them look forward to each meal. It certainly doesn't hurt to try different types of kibble and see if your puppy/dog does better on a particular one.
"Not changing foods will make my dog bored." If your dog is overweight, "bored with his food" might not be so bad, yes? Have a good quality food available, and when he is hungry enough, he'll eat it! If you have a dog that is doing well on his food and you are worried that he is "missing out" by not being able to enjoy different foods, make him a nice "Sunday dinner" - chicken & rice, (or something similar) and let it be a special once-a-week treat.
Discussion about nutrition, whether human or canine, is FULL of controversy, contradictions, myths, truths, misinformation, and you could spend 24 hours a day studying it and never sorting it all out.
Basically, after the above questions are answered, all you need to know is:
1) Is the digestibility 90% or better for dogs, 94% or better for puppies
2) Are the ingredients of good quality?
3) Does it make the stools small and firm? (indicating high digestibility)
4) Does it make the coat & skin look in good condition?
5) Does it give my dog enough energy? (either to compete in a Track & Field Event, or stay awake long enough to watch his favorite soap opera)
6) Does it keep my dog in very good weight (puppies should NOT be thin, lean or slender for the first 6 months - they should be slightly chubby.)
Do NOT adhere to the "feeding instructions" on the back of dog food packages, or even your vet (if he says your puppy needs to be slender). It is very important for your puppy to stay chubby and hydrated for the first 6 months. You wouldn't limit the amount of food fed to a growing child, would you? Of course not!
YOU are the best judge of whether or not the food is good, and how much to feed your baby. Dachshund puppies are very energetic, and they NEED a lot of food to keep up their energy level. A puppy can lose weight and dehydrate quickly if ill or under stress, by giving them a little "something extra to fall back on" it will give you some measure of insurance that they stay healthy.
It's not brain surgery, it's not rocket science; it's basically common sense.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
First, you have to determine if the dog is basically healthy. Has he been literally starved almost to death (which can cause drastic and terminal organ failure)? Does he have a medical issue such as liver or kidney disease? Had he had drastic gastro-intestinal surgery? ALL that has to be taken into consideration when deciding what is the best food to help him gain weight.
Some breeders feed raw, fried, or boiled ground beef with Vanilla Ensure either by itself or added to a dry puppy food (puppy food contains more calories than dog food). Sometimes just switching to a high quality puppy food can do the trick.
But my favorite diet for putting weight onto a puppy or dog, particularly one who has been severely starved or has a drastic medical problem is this:
Boiled chicken (along with the gelatin boiled from the bones - as described in an earlier paragraph), boiled white rice, Vanilla Ensure and Pedialyte. You can substitute boiled hamburger for the boiled chicken, although chicken is easier to digest. This diet is very nutritious, extremely digestible, and is "easy" on the dog or puppy's system.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Fresh, aromatic food can be very stimulating for a dog who is refusing to eat. Aromatic foods like chicken and beef are good. Warming food up enhances the aroma - and taste is 90% aroma (as anyone with a head cold will tell you).
Oftentimes a dog who refuses a plate or bowl of food, will take a few bits from your fingers. With dogs are should eat, but are reluctant too, I plop down on the floor and feed them tiny bits at a time. You can have another dog nearby as a "teaser", to encourage the reluctant dog to eat "just so the other dog doesn't get it." (But make sure that the dogs are separated by a baby gate or exercise pen.)
When really desperate to get a dog to eat, I'll make a sandwich of white bread and Gerber strained chicken and pretend to eat it, breaking off small pieces and offering it to the dog.
Vitamin B is said to be an appetite stimulant, and you can try oral or injectable. Personally, I would plump for human Polyvisol drops with vitamin B. Many folks claim it's just the B12 or some other isolated "B" which is the actual stimulant - but B vitamins work better if they are given in a complex (or group). B vitamins are water soluble, so they will need to be given every 24 hours.
Prednisone has the very well known effect of increasing appetite. I have never used it to encourage a dog to eat, but if push came to shove - I would.
Our little Mama Dogs can have very finicky appetites during their last week or so of pregnancy, and we try everything under the sun. First trying to enhance their puppy food with chicken & chicken broth, then perhaps switching to chicken, chicken liver & rice. Sometimes dogs will eat canned food (which we normally do not give) and Beneful is flavorful and contains a lot of rice which helps prevent the diarrhea that canned food can sometimes cause.
Sometimes we offer a nice chicken, rice & egg frittata; a cheddar cheese omelet; French toast with maple syrup and ham; hubby even fed lobster dipped in a bit of butter to his beloved Dane Chablis when she was reluctant to eat.And for some extremely older dogs we made regular runs to McDonald's for plain hamburgers on buns.
First, find out WHY a dog is not eating. Is she pregnant? Does he/she have kidney or liver failure? Is he/she older? Has he/she a rescue which has been starved so much they just don't have an appetite anymore? Is the dog recovering from gastro-intestinal surgery? Does the dog have pancreatitis?
All of the above must be taken into account to determine the best nutrients & ingredients to use for enticing them to eat. Dogs with kidney/liver problems should not be fed foods high in protein (though, actually, it's the quality of the protein which is just as important), dogs recovering from surgery or a gastro-intestinal upset should be fed foods high in starch with just a little very highly digestible protein. Pregnant dogs should be fed foods high in protein and calcium (rather than giving them concentrated calcium supplements).
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Eggs are an integral part of any natural diet – they are nature’s most nearly perfect food and contain vitamins and minerals that are not easily available elsewhere. They are high in both protein and fat and are easily digested by the dog. For many years common practice has been to cook eggs, because there is an enzyme in the egg white which binds with biotin and makes it unavailable to the dog.
Recent research has indicated that this is a problem only if the dog is fed more than two eggs per day, every day. Although less than this amount is safe (from the Biotin standpoint) to feed raw, I do worry about salmonella in commercial eggs.
In order to inactivate the enzyme in the whites, it only needs to be cooked until it is milky – it does not need to be thoroughly cooked. The easiest way to do this is to put the eggs in a dish and pour boiling water over them. Let it sit for a minute or two and then mix it into the food.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~