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What’s your dog really eating?

  • Cassiopeia (2543 posts)
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    What’s your dog really eating?

    What’s your dog really eating?

    A veterinarian and an engineer dive deep into the dark and confusing world of dog food. Is kibble junk food? Is premium natural kibble any better? Is raw food safe?

     

    “Why do we feed our dogs that food?” I asked my girlfriend Tory, a practicing veterinarian, as we cleaned up after our sick dog, Stevie, at 3 am. “It seems good enough,” she replied. “And I got it for free in vet school.”

    I adopted Stevie four years ago from a shelter in downtown Manhattan. I named her after Steve Jobs, because she has a black turtleneck of fur. I hadn’t thought deeply about her dog food until that night, even though I’m typically one of those obsessive consumer-types. I once consulted my favorite product reviews site, TheSweetHome to find the Best Spatula. But why hadn’t I given my dog’s food the same thought?

    We began to investigate: I armed with the analytical skepticism of a software engineer, and Tory with her years of training and clinical experience as a vet. The first thing we learned was how truly strange and confusing the dog food industry is. There are over 3,000 different dog food brands available in the United States, yet roughly 80% of them are owned and manufactured by just four companies [1]. The largest of which, Mars, the privately held candy giant and maker of M&M’s, not only sells the most pet food — through brands like Royal Canin and Iams, but also owns over 1,800 animal hospitals, employing more than 10% of all companion animal vets [2]. After Mars, there’s Nestle — a $240 billion behemoth, the 10th largest corporation in the world by market cap, which makes Purina and dozens of other brands, J.M. Smuckers — of jam fame, which produces Milk-Bone and Natural Balance, and Colgate-Palmolive — which owns Hill’s Science Diet. Two more multi-billion dollar companies, Diamond Pet Foods and Blue Buffalo, together represent roughly the next 10% of the market.

    Much more at link.  Sources for article also at the link.

    https://medium.com/@michaelwaxman/whats-your-dog-really-eating-3cdf45b7d2fd#.e0h537k4j

     

    Enthusiast, sabrina, DesertRat2015 and 9 othersMagical Thyme, immoderate, HubHeaver, NV Wino, broiles, azurnoir, KarenS, Doremus Jessup, em77 like this
    The only minority we should actually fear is the wealthiest 1%

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16 replies
  • em77 (2507 posts)
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    1. Good article.

  • Totally Liberal Dem (1485 posts)
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    2. I cook for my dog.

    She is a bit pampered…to say the least.  She likes roasted chicken with carrots.  Gets her doggie vitamins with her breakfast.  Oh and she LOVES beef stroganoff!

    THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS HEPBURN!!!! 
  • sabrina (5959 posts)
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    3. We stopped feeding our animals dog, cats, commercial food a few years ago.

    Our puppy developed a condition that seemed like the Mange, but after several vet visits we still had no answer or cure. Then I met a dog groomer who noticed the baldness and she told me that ‘this is an allergy to commercial dog food, I’ve seen it many  times when I worked as a vet’s assistant’. She gave us the name of one food that doesn’t use any of the ‘fillers’ or grain the Commercial food corps use.

    Not really expecting it to work,, we switched over to that food and within a month, her fur began to grow back. I couldn’t believe it. Now we cook their food and use that food as a backup.

    I learned a lot about the Commercial food industry since then, but didn’t know, as this article states, that many of them are owned by those corporations.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Cassiopeia (2543 posts)
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      4. What is your backup food?

      We’re a cat family, but I imagine their food is the same.  It will be interesting to see the follow-up to this article and where they go with it.

      The only minority we should actually fear is the wealthiest 1%
      • sabrina (5959 posts)
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        9. Just answered that below. It is called 'Natural Balance' and isn't much more

        expensive than any of the other commercial foods. I just said below that Petco and now I learned, Petsmart who didn’t have it until recently, carries it.

        We feed it to both cats and dog and all of them (cats are all rescues who were in pretty bad shape when we found them) are in great shape so far.

        I found out that the vets, even our own who I love, will promote the commercial food, Hill’s eg.

        We have a couple of rescues with digestive issues and when we went to the vet, we were told to use Hill’s. When we did, it caused two of  them to ‘projectile’ vomit, a really bad thing since they were both already dehydrated and underweight. I stopped using it immediately and fed them Natural Balance and home cooked food and that solved the problem, both gained weight, stools returned to normal and they gained weight. We gave them lots of moisture, soft food etc.

        But the article explains why every vet we went to to try to solve these issues, gave us Hill’s, and none of them even suggested that the problems might be caused by commercial food.

        Good article, very informative and only confirms what we learned through trial and error.

    • faultindicator (973 posts)
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      5. Cats are terrible dinner guests.

      Several years ago my sister and I considered preparing home cooked dinner packages for cats. At craft shows everywhere vendors offered food and treats for dogs in endless varieties, but none for cats. After brainstorming what we would like to offer, the costs, prep time, packaging, etc we planned to spend a day talking with those in the business to find out why no one sold cat foods. Needless to say, it took about two minutes to scrap the project. The consensus was that there’s no telling what a cat will like – they’re just too damned fussy!

      A reasonable request: Reduce daily TV viewing time by 1/2 hour starting now. Ask others to do the same, follow through with them, break the media habit. FI - Simple and straight forward, just like this place, solutions without the bullshit.
      • sabrina (5959 posts)
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        10. Lol, yes they can be finicky But I haven't met one yet that doesn't LOVE Baby

        Food.  Only the meat products, and I give them the Baby Rice cereal when they have a stomach problem, rescues often do, and btw, the wild ones are less finichy I found until the become ‘spoiled’ lol.

        Seriously though, when I make something they are not wild about I mix some baby food, beef or chicken with water and mix it in, the smell gets them every time and they eat everything.

        • faultindicator (973 posts)
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          13. Excellent advice, and just in time too

          Beginning yesterday, and continuing for two weeks more, two very spoiled brat animals are in my care as I house and animal sit. Actually one is a wonderful little (ha! fat 8#) chihuahua who eats only people food, the other a cat food eating what looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat. Poor little Ginger stayed up until 2:00 am staring out the front window, waiting and waiting. Her people had been gone since 4 in the morning and my ham handed attempts to comfort her were snubbed. She didn’t eat her dinner, nor would she eat the softy snacks. I may stop at Publix for some baby food as meat isn’t a big part of my diet while it’s almost exclusively hers. It was a big relief when she finally gave up and snuggled into bed. The cat has been my good buddy for a long time, rraaoooow, rraaooow, more temptations is the beginning and the end for her.

          A reasonable request: Reduce daily TV viewing time by 1/2 hour starting now. Ask others to do the same, follow through with them, break the media habit. FI - Simple and straight forward, just like this place, solutions without the bullshit.
    • Rehrucken (62 posts)
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      6. Please reveal

      what your backup food is.  We currently feed him Fromm but continuing allergy problems have us considering a change.

      Great article.  Unfortunately no solution;(

      • sabrina (5959 posts)
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        8. Natural Balance, I believe it is rated as one the best products for animals.

        We are out in the country so it was hard to get, Petco has it but there was no Petco nearby,, that is when I tried feeding her commercial food again. But it wasn’t long before the allergy reappeared. Then we found a Petco about an hour away, and now we can order it from ‘Chewy’ who have a two day delivery service and no delivery charges for orders over $50.00. They really are a good company.

        If you are near a Petco ( and I heard that PetSmart is now carrying it) you can probably find it there. Good luck with your pet, I hope it works for you as it did for us.

  • davidgmills (5682 posts)
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    7. Pre digested cat food.

    French Revolution; not secession.
    • Magical Thyme (2849 posts)
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      11. better than post-digested. mine like post-digested horse and rabbit food

      :puke:

      • davidgmills (5682 posts)
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        15. That is what I meant.

        I apparently don’t know the difference between pre and post.

        French Revolution; not secession.
        • Magical Thyme (2849 posts)
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          16. I thought maybe your cat vomited…

          my dogs are almost as happy eating puke as poop… :puke:

  • FanBoy (7985 posts)
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    12. "yet roughly 80% of them are owned and manufactured by just four companies"

    kind of like that in every product category if one investigates thoroughly.

     

  • Average Gazoo (1472 posts)
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    14. I got 40 lbs of fresh jumbo chicken legs for $15 (Restaurant Depot) last week

    and went back to cooking for my dogs. They got chicken, potatoes, craisins and carrots.  The legs were cut without the back so avoids all those little tiny bones — just three bones (and the pin) to remove for each leg. I braise the legs until they are fall apart tender, then cool and strip them.

    Much cheaper than the kibble they have been on (0.38/pound versus  $1.40/pound for NutriSource). Love feeding them better food but it takes time and lots of fridge space. Thanks for sharing that article. Hope they come up with something great.

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