Food Rules for Dogs

It’s generally accepted that of all the controversial people food trends out there, the paleo/raw/low carb/low fat rules of ingestion, the one thing everyone seems to agree on is Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, which at its core is this: don’t eat so much processed food, and don’t eat so much food in general.

Agreed, and you can certainly extrapolate this to pets too. However, with over 50% of US pets overweight or obese- a condition with definite and real consequences- I’m more concerned with the latter than the former when it comes to pets.  If you prepare your pet’s food, you’ll be bored with this post. If you don’t, and need a little help, read on.

I feed Brody commercial food, so I won’t judge you for doing the same.

Despite knowing home-prepared foods made from your own organic farmer’s market basket provides the most close-to-nature ingredients, it’s a struggle to do this consistently for our human kids, never mind the pets. So most of us* feed our pets out of a bag and beat ourselves up over it. And that’s where clever marketers get you in the feels: we go into the pet store with this vague and disquieting sense of guilt that oh god I’m feeding my pet processed kibble and I’m a bad dog owner therefore I will compensate by buying the absolute best processed kibble I can afford. (Which, by the way, is my own personal approach, so I’m not knocking it.)


brodydish

As you all know, dissecting thorny nutritional questions could fill a whole book, so this post is limited to current marketing trends. There are plenty of buzzwords out there designed to convince you that this or that new food is the healthiest one, the most wolf-like, light years ahead of all the other ones. But do these trends really mean anything? Based on what I’ve seen hitting the shelves this past year, here are my own personal Food Rules I keep in mind when shopping.

Food Rules for Dogs**

1. The term “natural” doesn’t tell you much.

In AAFCO terms, natural pet foods only means nothing chemically synthesized (except vitamins.) The word natural does not imply better (cyanide is natural!), or even minimal processing. Natural pet food can still be processed and rendered and full of chicken feet from China. Don’t buy a food just based on that word without actually reading the label.

2. Dogs aren’t wolves, they’re dogs.

The venerable journal Nature recently published a study comparing the wolf’s ability to digest starch with a dog’s ability to do the same, which Dr. Huston sums up nicely here. To sum up the summary: dogs evolved to hang around and scrounge off of us, and in doing so changed both their anatomy and their digestive enzymes to better digest carbs like the omnivores they follow around. Which leads me to my next point:

3. Most dogs don’t need a low carb diet.

The general consensus amongst those who know a ton about these things, like DVM/PhD nutritionists who run Iditarods with performance dogs such as Dr. Arleigh Reynolds (he spoke at a great BlogPaws session), is this: performance dogs may benefit from the additional protein and/or fats in low carb foods. For the average dog, the extra calories just tend to make them fatter.

brodydish2

Don’t you look smart.

4. Most dogs don’t need a grain free diet either.

If you want to go grain free for your dog, it won’t hurt them. But ask yourself: why? People usually assume grain free diets are better for dogs based on one of a few ideas: grains are covered in glutens and glutens are bad; or grains are carbs and carbs are bad.

Gluten free diets are all over the place these days because of the incidence of celiac disease, a real and devastating condition in people. But with the exception of one subset of Irish setters, it doesn’t occur in dogs.

Is grain free = low carb? Not necessarily. Potatoes, a common grain free source of carbs, have a higher glycemic index than brown rice and are all over the place in grain free dog diets. Besides, dogs are fine with carbs (see 3.)

Or do you think your dog is allergic to grain?

5. Most dogs aren’t allergic to grains.

Of all cases of allergies in dogs, food allergies only comprise 10% of them. And of those food allergic dogs, the 5 most commonly diagnosed allergies are: beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, and fish. Are grain allergies possible? Yes. Likely? No. If you’re feeding a grain free beef formula because you think your dog is allergic to wheat, consider a food trial to confirm your suspicions.

6. There is no one ideal food for your dog.

Anyone who says ‘this and only this brand/line is all that will ever be appropriate’ is lying. There are always options (even prescription diets are usually available from multiple manufacturers), and unless your dog has a specific medical condition you’re treating with diet I encourage people to try different foods and see what works best. As I’ve said before, I rotate foods all the time. If you try the most pricey food in the store and your dog gains 15 pounds, starts flaking off greasy dandruff, or starts pooping 6 times a day, who cares what the bag or the guy in the apron stocking shelves said? Do what works for you.

7. If your dog’s overweight, get that sorted out before worrying about corn and byproduct meal.

I’m not certain exactly what so many people think corn is going to do to their dog, but they are certain it’s going to do something bad so prescription weight loss food is out of the question for their 115 pound Akita who can barely walk. Then they put the dog down when both knees go out. This is a true story from my clinic, which happened after 6 months of begging the owner to put the dog on a diet, any diet, corn or no.

Don’t focus so much on what might happen that you miss the real danger happening right in front of you.

koadish

Koa lost 12 pounds (non diet food, just portion control) after we adopted her and was all the happier for it.

I talk more about how to decipher food names, ingredients, and what I tell people when they ask me to make a food recommendation in prior posts linked here.

Got your own pet rules? And should I do a cat one?

*If you’re one of those uncommon home cooking owners, awesome for you. That is not said sarcastically. I know it takes a lot of work. And if you’re a raw feeder, I accept that you have researched it and know what you’re doing and disagree with feeding kibble. Go forward and BARF and peace be with you. 
 
** See *. I’m talking to the rest of the crowd.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Simple Woman’s Daybook-June 11, 2013

FOR TODAY Outside my window… It’s quiet….it’s night….there had been sporadic rain showers throughout the day, and it was needed rain, for the plants…for the garden. I think I’m more of a rainy day person, but then again….I wonder if people who feel that way, change their mind if it was raining more than usual?…



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Sunflower Faith

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What is the most effective way to prevent ticks on my dogs?

Question by Mystie: What is the most effective way to prevent ticks on my dogs?
I have two outside dogs and we live in west texas. I spray them with the tick and flea killer yet they seem to get overrun with ticks. I never noticed them before the other day when my collie broke his chain and I had to put him in the bathroom. He shook himself and ticks flew out everywhere, literally hundreds of them. They are extremely small ticks that look kind of lavenderish. If anyone knows what kind of tick or how to prevent them please help. I just applied the monthly otc tick and flea killer by Hartz.

Best answer:

Answer by Adam B
Try out different flea and tick medicines, like Frontline. First talk to your vet, though.

What do you think? Answer below!

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Beautiful Eyes

Does your dog have the prettiest eyes you’ve ever seen? Enter him or her in American Dog Magazine’s 2nd Annual Beautiful Eyes contest. Just “LIKE” their Facebook page for details on how to enter your dog. And send us a copy of your picture, while you’re at it. Good luck!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Oils and Less Allergens in the Diet Can Help With Inflamed Skin, and a Dry, Itchy Coat.

      Some dogs that eat dry food can suffer from a flaky, dry, dull, coat. That skin is not the healthiest it could be. Skin that is dry and flaky or greasy can be prone to yeast infections, mite infections, and bacterial infections like staph. It is also important to find out which “bug” or parasite is causing skin problems. After years and thousands of cases passed through my hospital,I started asking,”Why does the skin of some pets allow these continual infections?”

I have found that many skin and ear problems respond to a better diet free of allergens, a bit more healthy fat, and more omega oils.Allergies cause inflamed skin which can’t fight off invaders like healthy skin can. Vets will use ketoconazole for yeast and cephalexin or clavamox type drugs for continual infections by yeast or bacteria. If a better diet is fed, in most cases, the need for continual treatment may be less or not needed at all. Dietary changes may be as simple as avoiding wheat filled treats, changing to a better dry or canned food, or feeding a raw food, or a homemade food.

    With any of those diet choices,  ingredients have to be considered. I just talked with some pet owners yesterday that thought that a beef based “raw diet” caused blood in the stool, and that is was something in the “rawness” that was bad. Remember, dogs that are fed kibble their whole life may need to transition to a different diet slowly. If you ate “cheerios” your whole life and were fed beef and beef fat all of a sudden, I guarantee that there would be some indigestion, and possibly diarrhea.Perhaps, since the raw food was a beef mix, their dog may have been allergic or sensitive to the beef, causing blood in the stool.

By the way, small purebred dogs often come into the clinic with blood in the stool after eating commercial, wheat filled treats or chews. Colitis, or Blood in the stool can be caused by allergies( Of course, parasites,worms, and parvo virus can also cause bloody stools. Don’t hesitate to get a checkup if your pet has the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or a bloody stool)

So I have found that the ingredients are the most important thing to consider with an allergic dog. I usually recommend going to your local pet store and asking which brands in your area help dogs with allergies. My local pet store sells “Taste of the Wild” salmon and sweet potato, “Natural Balance” limited diets, Merricks canned foods, and orijen for allergic dogs or for people that want to feed a better diet. Less allergens and more healthy oils will help your dog feel it’s best…whether you feed a better commercial food, add healthy ingredients, or home cook using my recipes in “Feed Your Vet to Avoid the Vet”, or those of Karen Becker DVM, Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats or Nutritionist Lew Olson,Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs. I read them both! The main difference is my recipes are easier due to slow cooking and I talk more about allergies. Both the other books talk more about rotating and feeding raw ingredients.

An allergic dog,needs few ingredients in commercial food or homemade food so that you can find out what works for your pet! In “Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet” I teach pet owners to slow cook for their dogs and cats.In Dog Dish Diet I explain how to change commercial food, add human food, or slow cook food to help with medical issues.

An easy way to add healthy oils is to give canned sardines twice weekly,eggs twice weekly, olive or canola oil on the food twice weekly, and a piece of cooked or raw chicken a couple times a week(That’s what I do!)  Fish and eggs are two  of the healthiest ingredients you can give your pet!

Many people write to say that their vet really didn’t know what other nutritional options there were. Why don’t most vets talk about this stuff? That’s because we weren’t taught nutrition…just kibble-ology.Many nutritional books tell you to visit your vet for advice about the diet. Many vets admit to not knowing much about nutrition other than advising which prescription diet to feed. Don’t blame your vet! It’s how we were educated! I had to relearn nutrition from the animals point of view. What do we feed our domesticated predators with their allergies to help them feel their best!

A reader of “Feed Your Pet” recently wrote,”

Michelle Lawrence commented on your post.
Michelle wrote: “Love this book! Currently cooking for my cats. They love it!”

 

Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet

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THE ROCK: Chapter 9 The Fabulous Fuzzybutts

I am absolutely unafraid of anything.  That’s what got me and my boys cross country safely.  But don’t confuse that with courage.

Suffering is such a selfish thing and I couldn’t see my way through it after I lost Malcolm to cancer.

Murphy was all fucked up about losing Malcolm and maybe even worried about losing me and I remember waking myself up one morning, “Luke, Luke, Murphy needs a brother.”  I was yelling inside my head.

And the very next day Hudson came into our lives.

He was encaged in a hog wire containment system that stunted his growth I can only suppose.  I saved him but not his sister.

——–

After losing Malcolm I was done with dogs and this story should’ve ended here.  With all the powers in the universe I wanted it to end here.

But Murphy needed a brother.

Hudson was a lil feller and I named him as an homage to the woman who brought Malcolm into my life.  Lindsey had moved to New York so the name choice was clear and simple.

Willful, undiscouraged, and absolutely unafraid, Hudson is his father’s son which if you take a look at the pic, I think you’ll see.

2 Dogs 2,000 Miles

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Dog Toilet Training


Dog Toilet Training

 

dog toilet trainingUnless you have a sixth sense you can’t predict when and where your dog is going to do the toilet, that is why dog toilet training is necessary. Dogs need to learn to “hold it” and go where he is supposed to as they don’t know any different. In the wild dogs can go when and where they please, but this is not the wild and they need to be taught the difference.

 

Dog toilet training can be something of a difficult task. Every day needs to be the same and you need to give him constant attention when you can; this will make the toilet training procedure a lot easier. Your training process will take longer if you are working out of the house quite often as your dog will need to go and the house is the only place that he can.

 

When you start out dog toilet training you need to give him a place of his own, maybe a corner of your back room. That should be where you put his food and his bed and his toys and cover the whole floor in newspaper. When you leave the house make sure he is in that room and can’t get out.


 

When you are gone he will obviously need the toilet and will go where he is standing, but over time he will pick a place and start to do his business in the one place, when he starts to do that you can then start to remove the paper from the area furthest away from his chosen spot. Gradually continue this until it is only a small space available for him to go, if he misses the paper then you are moving a little bit too fast and need to go back a step or two until you get to as little papers as possible. When he gets older he will be able to control his bladder movements a lot easier.

 

When you are at home spend as much time with your dog as possible. Dog toilet training will be much easier if you do. Every 45 minutes or so take your dog outside and whenever he does the toilet outside make sure he is praised very happily and excitedly with lots of enthusiasm, and do this everytime that he “goes” outside. He will realise that this is where he needs to go to the toilet and when he can control his bladder a little better he will wait until you come to let him out. It does take a lot of time and patience though.

 

Never scold your dog for doing the toilet in the house as he does not know any better. We did the toilet in our nappies until we were potty trained because there was nothing else we could do about it, when we needed we went, well dogs are the same. No dog is properly toilet trained until he is about 6 months old so it is a lengthy procedure but a great one when the end results start to show!


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How effective are dehumidifiers at preventing dust mite?

Question by Spoon: How effective are dehumidifiers at preventing dust mite?
Have a bit of a problem with dust mite allergies in my new accommodation. Would buying a dehumidifier provide a noticeable improvement?
Also hoe about an air purifier, HEPA seems to be the most likely candidate?

Best answer:

Answer by clock
Hi Spoon,

By asking this question you would have saved yourself money and feeling foolish. People would not believe you if you told them that you bought a dehumidifier to reduce the dust mite.

The dust mite lives in you bedding most frequently. It is also found on sofa sets, carpets and arm chairs.

If you want to reduce the dust mite you need to wash your bedding frequently, use a plastic mattress cover, cover your sofa sets with plastic etc.

A dehumidifier will not reduce or prevent the dust mite. It will make the air that you breathe less humid.

I hope you have not bought a dehumidifier to prevent dust mite. The dust mite which causes

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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Dying veteran united with his missing Chihuahua

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Dog walkers versus drug dealers

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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