The DOG FOOD TEST & General Dog Food Info

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sara- Feb1993-July- 2009

Purred: Mon Jan 26, '09 12:58pm PST 
Many of us have seen this before ....but I wanted to share for those have not !


rate your dog food
Start with a grade of 100:

1) For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points

2) For every non-specific animal source ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points

3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

4) For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source,subtract 5 points

5) If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. "ground brown rice", "brewerâ?Ts rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points

6) If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

7) If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

8 ) If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3points

9) If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 morepoints

10) If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil,subtract 2 points

11) If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

12) If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isnâ?Tt allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points

14) If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isnâ?Tt allergic to beef), subtract 1 point

15) If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

1) If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or
nutritionist, add 5 points

3) If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

7) If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points

9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than
the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point

13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D

69 = F

Here are some foods that have already been scored. If you don't
see your dog's food here, ask and someone will score it for you.
Dog Food scores:

Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+

Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F

Canidae / Score 112 A+

Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+

Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A

**** Van Patten's Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+

**** Van Patten's Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+

Foundations / Score 106 A+

Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 D

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D

Innova Dog / Score 114 A+

Innova Evo / Score 114 A+

Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+

Nutrisource Lamb and Rice / Score 87 B

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B

Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F

ProPlan Natural Turkey & Barley / Score 103 A+

Purina Benful / Score 17 F

Purina Dog / Score 62 F

Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F

Royal Canin Bulldog / Score 100 A+

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F
Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F

Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+

Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A


Purred: Mon Jan 26, '09 1:01pm PST 
For more info


People across the globe are striving to improve their health - through exercise and proper nutrition. Every day we make informed decisions about the foods we eat. Companies have recognized this trend and have begun marketing low-fat, low-calorie, or low-carb versions of our favorite foods. But with all of this attention to our own health, we may be forgetting the nutrition of our loyal companion pets. Sure, pet food companies have created special formulas for overweight, older, or active dogs; but even these blends do not meet the necessary requirements for your pet's health. In fact, studies have shown that your dog's food may cause illnesses such as skin allergies, stomach problems, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Pet food companies are run in the interest of business first, while disregarding the interests of those who consume their products - your pet.

Pet food is produced and marketed with the owner - not the pet - in mind. Cute shapes, different colors, exotic flavors-these are characteristics that people have come to expect in their food. Think about colored ketchup, the staggering array of flavor choices for potato chips, and even pasta shaped like cartoon characters. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish(r) crackers, as an example, are shaped like fishs, complete with eye and smiling mouth. You can buy the regular cheddar ones or get the colored ones that come in purple, red orange, and green. The flavor-blasted crackers come in cheddar, nacho, BBQ, and even a flavor called "Xplosive Pizza."

Kids love foods with different shapes, colors, and flavors. But what about your dog? The only characteristic that your dog is seeking in food is taste. Colored and shaped morsels are for your benefit, not your dog's.

The whole point of marketing is to convince the consumer to purchase one product among a sea of similar products. Yet the image depicted by a company for their product is not always accurate. We are led to believe that our dogs are eating moist whole chicken, choice cuts of beef, fresh-picked grains, even chunks of real vegetables. Unfortunately, this is just an image
The pet food industry only uses ingredients that are unfit for human consumption. They make a profit from waste that would otherwise be worthless to them. Pet food companies owned by multinational companies include:

* Nestlé - Alpo, Come 'N Get It, Mighty Dog, Chef's Blend, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Kit 'N Kaboodle, Deli-Cat, and Nestlé Purina products such as Dog Chow, Pro Plan, Beneful and Purina One

* Colgate-Palmolive - Hill's Science Diet Pet Food

* Del Monte - 9-Lives, Kibbles `n Bits, Cycle, Gravy Train, Nature's Recipe, and Reward

* Procter & Gamble - Eukanuba and Iams

* Mars - Pedigree, Advance, Cesar, Whiskas and Sheba
Another leading pet food, Nutro, is not a multinational company.*

Multinational companies who own dog food manufacturing companies are in the perfect relationship as far as business is concerned. According to the Animal Protection Institute, the benefits of being a multinational company include:

1. Greater buying power

2. Existing customer base

3. Readily available funds

4. Accessibility to cheap ingredients

Not all pet foods contain poor quality ingredients, but you have to read and understand the labels in order to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, pet food companies use obscure terms to describe the ingredients that go into their products.

One pet food company claims on its web site that "pet foods identified as 100% complete and balanced contain all... required nutrients... in the proper proportions."

While it is true that pet foods must meet certain standards set by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) in order to be labeled as "complete and balanced," there are problems with the quality of the standards themselves.

In "What's Really in Pet Food," the Animal Protection Institute describes how up until the late 1980's, the pet food standards were set by the NRC (National Research Council of the Academy of Science). Their standards, however, required feeding trials for a pet food to be labeled "complete" and "balanced." The pet food industry rejected the feeding methods, claiming that they were "too restrictive and expensive."
AAFCO created the "Nutrient Profiles" testing method as an alternative to feeding trials. Some larger companies still use feeding trials, because they are more reliable at determining the nutritional value of a pet food. Most companies, however, perform a chemical analysis of the food to test if it conforms to the "Nutrient Profiles." The Animal Protection Institute explains that testing does not take into account factors such as "palatability, digestibility, or biological availability of nutrients in pet food."

To compensate for the test's faults, AAFCO created a "safety factor," whereby companies add extra nutrients as a guarantee of achieving the requirements. Many nutrients are lost during manufacturing, especially for extruded (puffed and shaped) foods. Companies add additional vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in order to meet the standards for "complete and balanced" labeling. In her book Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food, Ann Martin notes that in some cases the minerals added are unchelated, meaning they do not readily combine with proteins, so they pass through the body practically unused. In other cases, the excessive amounts are absorbed, which can be dangerous and even deadly.

Another issue with AAFCO standards is the designation of one standard feeding profile for all types and breeds of dogs. William D. Cusick - researcher, author, and self-proclaimed "Animal Advocate" - points out that some dogs shed their coats while others don't. Each type of dog requires different nutrients for their fur, not a diet that is designed for an imaginary "average" dog. Some dogs excrete oils from their skin. These dogs do not require the same amounts of fatty acids as other dogs. Activity levels vary between breeds and even among dogs within a breed. Certainly these pets require different nutrients that cannot be met with one standard nutrient profile.

In addition to these issues with the standards set by AAFCO, there are further problems with the pet food industry's labeling practices. The labels follow a secret code, and consumers do not have the key to decipher it. In fact, most consumers do not even realize that there is a hidden meaning in the label's wording.

The "Flavor" Rule states that a food may be labeled as "Beef Flavored Dog Food" even if it does not contain any beef, as long as the flavor is "sufficiently detectable." This is achieved by using meals, by-products, or various parts from the animal listed on the label.

When a label reads "With Real Turkey," a consumer may assume that he is purchasing quality turkey dog food for his pet. However, according to AAFCO's "Nutrient Profiles," a label may use "with" if it contains 3% of the meat, excluding water.

The 25% or "Dinner" Rule states that any label that has a qualifier such as "dinner," "entrée," or "nuggets" must contain at least 25% of that meat. If two ingredients are listed, such as "Chicken and Liver Dinner," then the total product weight must equal 25%. The first ingredient listed must contain more than the second, and the second ingredient must comprise at least 3% of the total product weight excluding water for processing.

Very few all-meat commercial foods are available, because they do not provide a balanced diet. Some companies offer canned meats with 95% and 100% of one ingredient as a supplement. To qualify for using "all" or "100%" on a label, a food must contain 95% of that ingredient or 70% of the total weight excluding water for processing. If the label reads "Beef and Liver for Dogs," the food must contain a combined amount of beef and liver to total 95%, and again there must be more beef since it is listed first.

Meat Products

The protein in dog food comes from poultry, cattle, fish, lambs, swine, and other animals. Choice cuts are stripped away for human consumption. This leaves approximately 50% of the carcass including bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments and any other portion not usually eaten by humans, according to the Animal Protection Institute.

Material received from the slaughterhouse is "denatured" to prevent it from being manufactured for human consumption. Denaturing involves covering the raw meat with any number of substances including the federally approved substances of carbolic acid (phenol, a potentially corrosive disinfectant), fuel oil, kerosene, crude carbolic acid, citronella, or creosote (used to preserve wood or as a disinfectant). Dr. Wendell Belfield, DVM, former USDA Vet, stated that as a veterinary meat inspector, he used carbolic acid and creosote, both of which are extremely toxic. Creosote, with its distinct odor, "was used for many years as a preservative for wood power poles. Its effect on the environment proved to be so negative that it is no longer used for that purpose."

At the rendering plant, the meat is shredded and cooked at high temperatures until the fat separates from the meat. This process is seen on a small scale when you boil chicken on your stove. The fat floats to the top; and if allowed to cool, it will harden in a thick layer. The fat is removed to be used later. The water is squeezed from the remaining material to create meat and bone meal. Although rendering kills bacteria, it also removes nutrients and proteins needed for energy.

Meat and bone meal is made of more than just meat and bone. All kinds of things find their way into the rendering pot. In addition to slaughterhouse waste, animals that fit within the 4D Rule are also rendered - that includes animals that are disabled, diseased, dead or dying. Other rendered items include restaurant grease and leftovers, road kill, euthanized companion pets complete with flea collars and the green bags in which they are transported, grocery store items such as meat and baked goods that are past their expiration date (Styrofoam tray and plastic wrap included) and much more.

AAFCO defines meat and bone meal as: "the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices." David C. Cooke writes in his article "Animal Disposal: Fact and Fiction" that it seems hardly feasible that rendering plants would be able "to remove the hair and stomach contents from 600,000 tons of dogs and cats prior to cooking them."
Meat by-products are defined by AAFCO as: "the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves."

No recipe exists for the meat material produced by the slaughterhouses and rendering plants. Meat by-products and meat and bone meals vary from batch to batch creating an unstable source of nutrition for pets.

Although many sources are opposed to the use of by-products in dog foods, Laura Michaels, the owner of Woodhaven Labradors feels differently. She states that just because humans do not consume a particular part of an animal does not mean that part lacks nutrients. People do eat intestines; they're known as chitlins. Grocery stores sell the cow's stomach; it's called tripe. Some people even eat pork brains in milk gravy in their scrambled eggs. These parts are all by-products used in pet food. The owner of Woodhaven Labradors pointed out that in the wild, animals "don't go for the 'meaty haunch', they go for the gut and pull out all that gooey stuff and eat it."


The food that comes from the manufacturing plant is so rancid that no dog would touch it. So why does your dog come running when you open a new bag of commercial pet food? Because that overpowering odor wafting from the bag smells like dinner to him. Fat is sprayed directly on the morsels of food, and that is what you and your dog smell. The fat that entices him to eat is gathered from the rendering plant, restaurant grease, and other sources of fats and oils that are too rancid for human consumption. The restaurant grease is gathered from various establishments and stored in huge drums, sometimes outside for weeks at a time in extreme temperatures. Fat is also used as a sort of glue to stick other flavors to pet food morsels. These flavors and the sprayed fat trick pets into eating the food.

Grain Products

Many dog foods list corn, corn products, or other grains on the ingredient list - usually two of the top three ingredients. The amount of grain products has steadily increased since the first commercial pet foods. The biggest problem posed by the nutrients in grains is digestibility. As much as 20% of the nutritional value of grains can pass through the body unused, however pet food companies still list this as viable nutrition on the label. Some grains are used as fiber and others to make dogs feel full. Peanut hulls, for instance, have no nutritional value but are a cheap form of fiber.

We all know that our pets enjoy meats - especially cats, who are true carnivores - so why are we feeding them corn? It all goes back to the pet food industry focusing on business first. Grains are a cheaper energy source, so grains are better for their bottom line.

Types of grains used in pet foods include wheat, soy, corn, white rice, potatoes, beans, oats, and peanut shells.

Additives & Preservatives

Additives are used in pet food for any number of reasons, but they have no nutritional value. Artificial colors and flavors are added to improve appearance and taste. Emulsifiers prevent the separation of water and fat. Antioxidants prevent the fat from turning rancid. T.J. Dunn, DVM of notes that the exceptional amount of additives in commercial dog foods "simply reveals the trickery needed to coax dogs and cats into consuming such material."

Semi-moist treats are especially full of additives, preservatives, and dyes. Ann Martin writes of a woman who "fed her cat some of these semi-moist tidbits. The cat became ill shortly after eating them, and even professional carpet cleaners could not remove the red dye from the carpet where her cat had been ill."
Pet foods are able to be stored for long periods of time - from manufacturing through shipping to the grocery store shelves and your home. More preservatives are used in dry foods than moist, since canning is a method of preservation in and of itself.

The fats used in pet foods are preserved with either synthetic or "natural" preservatives. Common synthetic preservatives include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin. Little research has been done on these potentially dangerous chemicals. They are used at low levels; however, our pets consume them every day of their lives. According to the Animal Protection Institute of America newsletter, "Investigative Report on Pet Food," ethoxyquin remains in dogs' bodies for months after it is removed from their diets. After the FDA received many complaints regarding pets that ate foods containing ethoxyquin, it required Monsanto, ethoyquin's manufacturer, to perform a detailed study. Monsanto found no major safety issues with its own product, but the FDA requested that manufacturers lower the amount of the antioxidant from 150 ppm to 75 ppm. This was not required of manufacturers, only requested until further studies can be made. API points out that even though ethoxyquin is approved for human use at 100 ppm in spices such as chili powder, it would be quite difficult for one to consume as much chili powder in a lifetime as a dog does dry dog food.

Some manufacturers are switching to natural preservatives, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, because of the publicity concerning ethoxyquin's safety. Natural preservatives are not as effective as synthetic ones, however they are safe. Consumers should be wary of dog foods that are labeled as "all natural," "preservative free" and other such labeled products. Dr. Lisa Freeman, DVM, writes in her article, Nutrition, that there is no legal definition of "all natural," and that "manufacturers define products by what they believe these terms mean." Sometimes a manufacturer may not have added any preservatives, but the meat or other ingredients may have had preservatives added to them by suppliers.

Low quality ingredients, excessive chemical additives, and poor labeling standards all result in problems for your companion pet, from skin allergies to cancer.

The manufacturing processes of rendering and extruding may kill bacteria, but they do nothing to destroy the toxins produced by bacteria. Other toxins that are not necessarily removed during processing include:

* Hormones, such as those used to fatten livestock or increase milk production

* Insecticide from flea collars on euthanized companion pets and patches from livestock

* Condemned and contaminated material from slaughterhouses

* Sodium pentobarbital, the drug used to euthanize pets

Even the grains used in pet food can be contaminated and may cause sickness and disease. Improper drying techniques or storage methods and low quality grains often result in the growth of mold or fungi. The toxins produced can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, liver damage, lameness, or death.

Nature's Recipe was forced to recall thousands of tons of dog food in 1995, and in 1999 Doane Pet Care recalled 54 brands of dry dog food including Wal-Mart's Ol' Roy because of fungal toxins. Twenty-five dogs died in the Doane Pet Care case, and 250 dogs became ill after eating the contaminated Nature's Recipe.
Feeding Problems

Another factor that may cause sickness in your dog is how you feed him. The directions for feeding your pet are not always the healthiest feeding practices. Some puppy or kitten foods recommend moistening the food with water or milk. Leaving the wet food at room temperature is a breeding ground for bacteria. Another common feeding instruction is to feed your pet one time a day. It is better to feed two smaller meals than let the food sit, especially if you use canned food. Adjust portions so that your pet eats as much as he needs without leaving any in the bowl. Feeding only one meal a day has been known to cause irritation of the esophagus from stomach acid. Just as smaller more frequent meals are better for humans, they're better for our pets as well.

Cusick says "the feeding practices listed on dog food packages are written for a hypothetical animal that does not exist: the 'average' member of the sub-species canine." Every breed has different nutritional requirements to meet their various physical characteristics and needs. Feeding the same diet to every dog will cause problems and sickness for these animals. For example the NRC report entitled "Nutrient Requirements of Dogs" shows that a Collie requires 270 IU/kG of vitamin D. However there are other breeds of the same weight that only require 8 IU/kG. Cusick points out that if you were to feed one of these other dogs the correct nutrition for a Collie, it could be toxic; but if you fed the Collie the lesser amount, it would not be sufficient for his needs.

API warns that some companies list higher portions on their labels in order to force consumers into purchasing more of their product. They note that Procter & Gamble took the opposite route with their Iams and Eukanaba brands. They decreased the recommended feeding portions and then claimed that their product was cheaper to feed pets. A competing manufacturer sued Proctor & Gamble after they conducted an independent study that found the feeding levels to be inadequate to maintain health. Jerry Sicherman, president of Nutro, states "Iams is not only being sued by Nutro for false and misleading claims, but they are also being sued independently on the same charges by Kal Kan, and in a consumer class-action suit that has been brought against Iams in California." According to the Wasserman, Comden, Casselman and Pearson L.L.P web site, consumers who have purchased Iams since the label change in 1999 have filed a class action lawsuit. The suit claims that Iams misled consumers by lowering the portion sizes. It also refers to five independent studies testing Iams feeding instructions and statements made by the company. In all five studies, the humane officer terminated the study because of "significant weight loss suffered by the dogs following Iams' feeding instructions."

Ann Martin says if you skip commercially packed foods completely and feed your pet foods you've made yourself, you'll discover that "the amount fed is about half of what is listed on lower grade commercial foods." The reason is that your pet is using all of the nutrition he's getting instead of it passing through his body unused.

API recommends that if you must use dry commercial pet foods, change brands and flavors every three to four months. Change gradually, mixing the old and new so that your dog has a chance to get used to the new food. Also, try to feed canned food, too, because it contains more meat protein than dry dog food. You should also try to supplement commercial pet foods with organic meats and steamed vegetables.

Dr. Jeff Feinman, Certified Veterinary Homeopath, recommends that pet owners feed the freshest food available to their pets, offer a variety, and serve it in moderation. Feinman says that his advice certainly "sounds like how we should eat."

Pet food companies have responded to problems in the past by adding needed supplements to prevent illness and disease. For instance, the amino acid taurine is now added to cat food to prevent blindness and heart disease. Potassium is now added to cat foods, since research showed an insufficient amount in cats' diets was causing kidney failure. In addition, large breed puppy food was created to prevent bone and joint disease caused by excess calories and calcium in regular puppy formulas.

Yet one wonders if continually adding supplements is the answer. Instead of trying to "fix" a poor quality product, pet food manufacturers should work on improving their product - starting with its core ingredients: meat, grains, fat, additives and preservatives.

Pet owners do have options besides paying the sometimes outlandish prices for sub-par pet food. If you must purchase commercial pet food from your local grocery store, try to find one that uses feeding tests rather than the "Nutrient Profiles." Try brands that advertise themselves as "natural," but read the ingredients. Remember that the definition of "natural" is dependent upon the manufacturer's interpretation. Be sure it does not contain by-products or rendered meat and bone meal. API recommends avoiding special formula foods like those touted as "senior" or "light." These may contain "acidifying agents, excessive fiber, or inadequate fats that can result in skin, coat or other problems."

Premium dog foods have higher standards in choosing ingredients and in processing methods. Premium foods still vary from brand to brand, but often the formula does not change from bag to bag like it might with economy brands. The ingredients are better, artificial dyes are not added, but antioxidants and vitamins are, and the food is easier to digest, according to the PETCO Care Sheet on Premium Dog Food. All of these extra touches result in higher quality nutrition for your pet, but with less food consumed.

According to Nan Weitzman and Ross Becker in The Dog Food Book, the main difference between Economy, Premium, and Super Premium dog foods is the clean up. The Economy brands had fewer nutrients per package and the recommended feeding portion was 6 cups a day. The Premium brand had more nutrients than the Economy packages, but less than the Super Premium. The feeding instructions recommended 3-1/4 cups per day. The Super Premium offered the best nutritional value and suggested an average of only 1-3/4 cups of food per day. All measurements were for a 40-lb. dog. "Thus, the big difference," state Weitzman and Becker "is in the poop!"

Super Premium dog foods contain better ingredients than in the Premium brands. Most brands use only human-grade ingredients. They also do not use synthetic preservatives like ethoxyquin, but use Vitamin C or Vitamin E instead. They do not use artificial flavors or colors. Super Premiums may be more expensive, but your pet is receiving concentrated nutrition packed into smaller portion sizes, which can be more economical.

Premium dehydrated dog foods offer excellent nutrition because the process of dehydration removes only the water content from the product, while the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phyto-nutrients remain. Dehydration is considered to be one of the best methods to preserve food because it is a gentle, time-proven process. Many of the ingredients in dehydrated dog food are considered to be raw because the process of dehydration uses moderate temperatures, but meat and egg ingredients are dehydrated at higher temperatures that will kill any bacteria that is present in the food.

Many premium dehydrated dog foods are made with all-natural, human-grade ingredients. The process of dehydration concentrates the nutrients in the food, so manufacturers don’t need to add any vitamins or minerals to make it nutritionally balanced, as in most commercial foods. Additionally, this type of dog food is lightweight, easy to store, and simple to prepare.

Organic or natural dog foods are becoming more common as people begin to focus on their own health and the health of their pets. AAFCO defines a natural product as "a feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources" that may be altered through processing, including rendering, as long as it has not been "subject to a chemically synthetic process" or contain additives or preservatives that are synthetic.

Organic dog food offers diets of human-grade ingredients without dyes, additives, or synthetic preservatives. Some brands offer baked food for a great taste and aroma as well as improved digestibility. These brands return to the basics, giving your dog the best nature has to offer.

Holistic diets treat your whole pet - from nutrition to environment to all-around well being. The foods are all natural and chemical-free. The holistic approach offers many treatments that were formerly for humans only, such as herbology, acupuncture, homeopathy, and chiropractic.

The BARF diet - Bones And Raw Food - returns your dog to his wild roots. This regime recommends feeding your dog raw, meaty bones and finely ground vegetables. It is important not to cook the food, but serve it as your pet would find it in the wild. The vegetables should be chopped into very tiny pieces - like he would find it in the gut of his prey - so that your dog's body will be able to process the nutrients.

Some experts claim that the best food for your pet is the food you make yourself. Advocates of a raw food diet recommend feeding your pet fresh meals instead of prepared foods. This requires some planning and preparation, since you cannot buy fresh dog food in a bag. With a little foresight, however, you can prepare enough food for several days to compensate for those days that you are running a little short on time.

Pros for homemade dog food include:

* Fresh, natural foods

* More meat for your "almost-carnivore"

* Less illness and disease

* Healthy, shiny coat

* Higher energy level

* Reduction in body odor, including fresh breath and odorless stools

* Strong, clean teeth

* A happy, healthy dog

Many recipes are available for homemade dog food. They vary in ingredients, suggest different proportions of ingredients, and some offer supplements. The trend in recipes appears to lean toward raw meats as opposed to cooked ones. Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health, recommends raw meats "because heat destroys the amino acids a dog needs." Debbie Tripp and Peter Brown, Breeders of Bernese Mountain Dogs, agree that raw is best. They feed their dogs the BARF diet and note that cooking "changes the bones' makeup, and it is not a useable product to the dog anymore." They also point out that cooked bones tend to splinter, which could seriously injure your pet.

Suggested meats include beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. You can also use meats such as buffalo, venison, elk, rabbit, or goat if it's available. Carol Gravestock-Taylor writes that lamb and rice should not be used often. Dr. Maxwell, DVM, states: "It was meant to be introduced as an alternative protein, but if dogs are eating it every day, it is now worthless to us for use as an alternative food. Owners of allergic pets will have to go to exotic protein/carbohydrate combinations like Ostrich and Millet, or Duck and Potato."

Organ meats such as kidney, liver, and heart are also recommended on an occasional basis - approximately once a week. You may also blend organ meats in with other meats, but should not exceed 20% according to Dr. Olson.

As to the question of Salmonella or E. coli, Tripp and Brown state that "many cases of food poisoning have been traced to careless handling of raw meat and poultry around... kitchen surfaces. These problems are more of a health risk for the humans in your family - not your dog." They also point out the canine's high concentration of stomach acid, beneficial bacteria within the digestive tract, and short gastro-intestinal tract. All of these characteristics make it difficult for harmful bacteria to affect dogs.
Raw, meaty bones are another ingredient in many homemade recipes. Although most suggest a large, meaty bone for chewing as an occasional treat, some recommend smaller bones as a part of your pet's daily diet. The BARF diet, for example, suggests bones - especially raw chicken backs and necks - to fulfill your pet's calcium and phosphorous requirements.

In addition to the nutrients that bones supply, they also clean and strengthen your dog's teeth. And dogs love them. You've never seen your dog enjoy commercial dog food the way he enjoys a good meaty bone.

Although some experts recommend bones, others are just as adamant that bones - raw or cooked - are not healthy for your pet. T J Dunn, Jr. DVM of posed the question of the benefits of bones to several experts in the field, including veterinarians, researchers, and biologists. The responses overwhelmingly vetoed bones as a regular source of nutrition. One of the main concerns of feeding bones is splintering. Many of the responses that Dr. Dunn received mentioned that in the wild, canids eat the hide with the hair along with the bones. It is the hair that protects the animal's systems from the bones that they devour. Debra Davidson, a wildlife biologist who helped raise captive wolves at the International Wolf Center, states that when the animals defecate after eating a whole carcass, "hair can be seen in the feces actually wrapped tightly around any bones that are passed through. This seems to protect
the organs/passageways as the bones are eliminated." Dunn performed research of his own by placing a large, raw, meaty beef bone in a vice and tightening it until the bone cracked open. The result was bone fragments, large and small - many of them with sharp points. Dunn recommends finely ground bone, if you must feed bones for nutritional content. He believes that the nutrients that raw bone proponents are seeking are "mostly derived from the meat, fat and connective tissues attached to those raw bones more so than from the actual bone itself."

Dr. George Collings, an expert in pet nutrition at Sunshine Mills, addressed the issue of using bones as a source of nutrients, pointing out that "nutritionally, the extra calcium and phosphorus to the diet is an issue." Dr. Collings reports that excess calcium impedes digestion and interferes with the absorption of some nutrients. Extra phosphorous can cause kidney disease. Dr. Collings also mentions the protective attitude that dogs adopt when fed a bone, often growling, even at their owners.

The experts queried by Dr. Dunn recommend feeding an occasional large bone "for enrichment purposes," however they recommended using bones with little or no meat on them. Susan Lyndaker Lindsey, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center, believes that feeding bones reiterates a dog's natural behavior and "the gnawing helps in development of musculature," however there is no nutritional value in feeding bones as a part of a domesticated dog's regular diet.
Eggs and eggshells are other ingredients that often appear in homemade dog food recipes. warns not to feed raw eggs too often, since it can cause a loss of biotin, a B-vitamin. The site recommends that "eggs should be soft-boiled to kill the avidin, which is the cause of the biotin problem." Eggshells should be dried overnight and finely ground before mixing it with the meat.

Your dog needs vegetables in his diet, as well as meat. The vegetables should also be raw in order to maintain all of their nutrients, but you should chop them until they are very fine. Use a food processor, blender, or if necessary, a hand grater, in order to make the vegetables as small as possible. Dog's bodies are unable to process whole vegetables. In the wild, they get their vegetables in the bellies of the animals they eat, so it is already broken down for them. You can use any number of vegetables. Switch often to see what your dog likes and use a wide variety. recommends that if you use squash, you should cook it first to soften the rind.

Some dogs enjoy fruits in addition to vegetables. Take clues from your pet. Offer a variety, and chop them up as you would the vegetables.

Other optional ingredients include cottage cheese, yogurt, finely ground seeds and nuts, oils, and garlic, which is a natural flea repellant.

Dr. Olson suggests feeding your dog twice daily at 2% to 3% of his body weight (i.e. a 100 lb. dog would get 2 to 3 lbs. of food per day). recommends feeding mature dogs 50% meat and 50% vegetables, but puppies should get a higher ratio of meat. The site also recommends adding hot water to the mix just before feeding. This fulfills several functions. "The hot water takes the chill off the food, replaces the water naturally found in prey, and volatizes the odour [sic]." Please remember that these are only guidelines.

Pet food companies will continue to sell to consumers what barely passes as food as long as the sales are good. Remember, they play by a "business first" philosophy. Boycott inferior pet foods. Tell your family and friends. Tell your co-workers and neighbors. Tell the grocery store clerk and the bank teller. And by all means, write your legislators. The pet food companies are living in a lawless land where pets become pet food. Cusick writes, "We are not being truthfully informed as to what is going into a food and are unable to read a pet food label to know what is in the food." He tells of a former AAFCO President, Herschel Pendell, who when asked if euthanized pets were in pet food replied, "If the ingredients list meat or bone meal, you don't know if it is cattle or sheep or horse... or Fluffy." Write to your legislators and demand that labeling laws be made for the pet food industry. Pet owners do not knowingly feed their pets other companion pets or foods that may cause liver damage, cancer, or any number of other illnesses.

Your pet is not just an animal. He's a member of your family. Take the time to protect him. Read the ingredients on his food, or better yet, give him food made with human-grade ingredients or fresh food you've made yourself. Force the pet food industry to realize that sometimes a "business first" philosophy is the worst thing for a business.

cody Aug- 1992 - May 2009

I love my- daddy!!
Purred: Mon Jan 26, '09 1:14pm PST 
This info is from the whole dog journal ! I couldn't get the list of approved food to copy , but this info is important also !


Whole Dog Journal's 2009 Dry Dog Food Review

How to select superior dry dog foods (note the plural: foods).

By Nancy Kerns

What’s the best food for your dog? It’s a question that only you can answer - because you are the only one who is in a position to gauge, on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, how your dog responds to what you feed him.

That said, we can give you some tips to guide you into the right section of your local pet supply store - that is, past the lowest-cost, lowest-quality foods; past the higher-cost but still low-quality posers; and into the area where the top-quality foods are found. Take note: They are expensive, perhaps prohibitively so,
Dry Dog Food
The aisles go on and on. So how do you pick a good food (or two or three!) for your dog? Ignore the pictures and adjectives and look for quality ingredients, instead.
especially for families with several large dogs to feed. But you can’t expect to pay hamburger prices for filet mignon, and it’s the quality (and thus price) of the ingredients that set the top-quality foods apart.

Before we tell you what attributes to look for, though, we need to make a few points about the quest for the world’s best dog food:

• Dry food is not the healthiest diet for your dog. If you want to provide the very best, most natural diet possible for your dog, you’d feed a well-researched, home-prepared diet comprised of fresh foods. Or, next best, a well-formulated, commercially made frozen raw or dehydrated diet. Next best would be a top-quality wet food; even poor quality wet foods usually contain a higher percentage of animal protein (and a much lower percentage of grain) than good dry foods.

Of all of these forms of dog food, kibble is probably the least natural for the dog. But its popularity is mainly based on three factors: It is relatively stable and therefore very convenient for the owner to buy, store, and feed. It’s usually less expensive, calorie for calorie, than other forms of food with comparative ingredients. And most dogs do fine on a dry food diet.

Just keep it in the back of your head that if you want your dog to eat the ideal, evolutionary canine diet - because he’s got persistent health problems? because he’s a show or sports competitor and you want an edge? because you’ve lost your last three dogs to cancer and you want to know you did everything possible to give this dog the very best? - you’ll need to look to something other than kibble, even the highest-quality kibble available.

• No food is best all dogs. There is no single diet that works best for all humans, or every individual of any other species, so why people think there might be a single ideal food for every dog is beyond us!

To find the best foods for your dog, you have to try a lot of foods, and make it a point to observe your dog for signs that his diet is or is not agreeing with him. If he has chronic signs of compromised health, such as persistently goopy or runny eyes; infected or smelly ears; inflamed, itchy skin; severe gas; or frequent diarrhea, and these conditions improve, well, hurray! If these things worsen, try another food.

We strongly recommend that you keep some sort of diet journal - at a minimum, with notes on the calendar - to keep track of what foods you feed your dog, and what his response to each product has been. We keep a journal of health- and training-related events in our dog’s life, and note the date each time we open a new bag of food. We store dry food in its original bag until it’s all consumed, but once it’s empty, we cut out the ingredients list, “guaranteed analysis,” and date/code from the bag and tape these bits of packaging into the dog’s journal. This sort of journal can help you identify foods or even individual ingredients that are problematic for your dog; in case of a pet food disaster, it can also help prove what your dog ate, and when he ate it.

• Switch foods regularly. We know; you heard that you shouldn’t switch your dog’s food, or his stomach will get upset. If you ate only one food every day for weeks and months, and then ate something else, your stomach would get upset, too. But very few people eat a diet that never varies from day to day. Human nutrition experts agree that a well-balanced, varied diet is critical for human health; so why do so many people believe that variety is bad for dogs?

Say your dog eats one food, day after day, year after year. And say that food contains a little more of this mineral than is ideal, or not quite enough of that vitamin, or an unhealthy ratio of this nutrient to that one . . . Over time, lacking any other foods to help correct the excesses, insufficiencies, or the imbalances, these problems can contribute to the development of disease.

When you switch your dog’s food, do it gradually, over a couple of days. Start with 75 percent of the old food and 25 percent of the new food at one meal; slowly increase the amount of new food (and decrease the amount of old food) over a few days, until he’s eating only the new food. Try different varieties, as well as products from different companies. If you change foods often, your dog will adjust more and more smoothly.

One more thing: Don’t feed foods comprised of exotic proteins (such as rabbit, kangaroo, bison, pheasant, etc.) if your dog does well on the more common proteins (such as beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey). It’s extremely useful to have a few completely novel proteins held in reserve for use in an “elimination diet” (in which you feed him a diet comprised of, usually, a single novel protein and a single novel grain) in case your dog ever develops a food allergy.

What to look for
Keeping the previous principles in mind (kibble is not the most ideal diet; no food works for all dogs; you should switch foods regularly), you are now ready to look for a few good foods for your dog. Top-quality dry dog foods can be identified by the following hallmarks of quality on their ingredients panels:

• Animal protein at the top of the ingredients list. Animal proteins are more palatable and are of a higher biologic value to dogs than plant-sourced proteins. Ingredients are listed by weight, so ideally a food will have one or two animal proteins in the first few ingredients.

The animal protein source should be named - chicken, beef, lamb, and so on. “Meat” and “animal protein” are examples of low-quality protein sources of dubious origin. Animal protein “meals” (i.e., “chicken meal,” “beef meal,” “lamb meal,” etc.) should also be named; “meat meal” could be just about anything.

Whole meats do not contain enough protein to be used as the sole protein source in a dry dog food. Whole meats contain as much as 65 to 75 percent water and about 15 to 20 percent protein. When a whole meat appears high on the ingredients list, generally another source of protein is also present, in order to augment the total protein content of the finished food. We prefer to see animal protein meals, rather than plant proteins, fill this role.

An animal protein “meal” is essentially cooked and dried (rendered) muscle meat, although a certain amount of bone, skin, and connective tissue is included. Animal protein meals are dried to a moisture level of only about 10 percent, and contain about 65 percent protein.

• Whole vegetables, fruits, and grains. Fresh, unprocessed food ingredients contain wholesome nutrients in all their naturally complex glory, with their fragile vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants intact. They are also less likely to be adulterated with impurities of any kind.

That said, formulators often use a concentrated (processed) constituent of a grain or vegetable to accomplish a specific task in a dog food. For example, beet pulp is frequently used in dog food for its ability to concentrate the dog’s solid waste (resulting in smaller and firmer poop). We’d rather see whole ingredients used for this purpose, but one or two food fragments won’t make or break the quality of the food, especially if they are lower on the ingredients list. The more of them there are in the food, and/or the higher they appear on the ingredients list, the lower-quality the food.

• Organic ingredients; locally sourced ingredients. Both of these things are better for our planet. Organic ingredients may be especially appropriate for dogs with cancer, chemical sensitivities, or other serious health problems, but holistic practitioners recommend them for all creatures.

What to look out for
Here are some of the things a top-notch food should not contain:

• Meat by-products or poultry by-products. Some non-muscle parts of food animals (i.e., the internal organs) are highly nutritious - in some cases, higher in protein and fat, as just two nutrient examples, than muscle meats. But there are many other parts of food animals that have much less nutritional value - and are worth so much less (in dollars) to the processor, that they are considerably less carefully harvested, handled, processed, and stored.

Poorly handled meats (which contain fat) and fat sources can quickly become rancid. Rancid fats not only smell noxious and taste bad, they also speed the destruction of vitamins and other nutrients in a food. Worst, rancid fats are carcinogenic. ‘Nuff said?

In contrast, whole meats are expensive - too valuable to be handled carelessly. Their cost doesn’t rule out poor handling and resultant oxidation (rancidity), but it makes it less likely. So, for all these reasons, we suggest avoiding foods that contain by-products or by-product meal.

• Added sweeteners. Dogs, like people, enjoy sweet foods. Sweeteners effectively persuade many dogs to eat foods comprised mainly of grain fragments (and containing little of the animal protein that would be healthier for them).

• Artificial preservatives, such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin. Natural preservatives, such as tocopherols (forms of vitamin E), vitamin C, and rosemary extract, can be used instead. Preservation is necessary to keep the fats in the food from oxidizing and turning rancid. Natural preservatives do not preserve the food as long as artificial preservatives, however, so owners should always check the “best by” date on the label and look for relatively fresh products.

• Artificial colors. The color of the food makes no difference to the dog; these nutritionally useless chemicals are used in foods to make them look appealing to you!

Representative “top foods”
Starting on the next page is our “top dry foods” list for 2009. All of these products meet our selection criteria - including our newest criterion, that the company discloses the name and location of its manufacturers. There are certainly more products that both meet our criteria, as described above, and whose makers are willing to answer questions about their manufacturers. Rest assured that any food that you find that meets our selection criteria is just as good as any of the foods on our list.

What if your favorite dog foods don’t meet our selection criteria? It’s up to you. If you have been feeding what we would consider to be low-quality foods to your dog, and she looks and appears to feel great, good for you! She’s one of those genetically lucky animals who can spin straw into gold, digestively speaking. But if she has allergies, chronic diarrhea, recurrent ear infections, or a poor coat, we’d recommend that you try some better foods.

Please note: We’ve listed the foods alphabetically, by the name of their manufacturers. Some companies make several lines of food. We’ve listed each line and each variety that we found that meets our selection criteria. We’ve highlighted one variety from each company as a representative product, to show what sort of ingredients and macro-nutrient levels (protein, fat, fiber, and moisture) are typically found in that maker’s foods. Be aware that some companies offer dozens of different products with varying nutrient levels and ingredients. Check the company’s website or call its toll-free phone number to get information about its other varieties.

cody Aug- 1992 - May 2009

I love my- daddy!!
Purred: Mon Jan 26, '09 1:18pm PST 
Same thing with this one ....can't copy list , but this info is great !


Whole Dog Journal's 2009 Canned Dog Food Review

We have confidence in wet foods, despite the 2007 recalls.

By Nancy Kerns

We like canned food for dogs. It’s more expensive than dry, but good varieties of canned food are arguably healthier than comparable dry foods, due to the higher inclusion of animal proteins and the higher moisture levels. Both of these things are closer to the dog’s evolutionary diet than dry diets that contain a lot of grain. Some dog owners stopped buying wet dog food following the spring 2007 recalls of foods that contained melamine and/or cyanuric acid. Given the fear and lack of information in the early days of the recall, this made sense. Now, however, we know more about the factors that led to the recalls, and we feel more certain than ever that wet foods offer health benefits to many dogs - and that our recommendations for choosing wet dog foods can help owners identify
Whole Dog Journal's 2009 Canned Dog Food Review
These are some of the best canned dog foods we’ve found. Plus, their makers share info with dog owners – what a concept!
the safest, healthiest products available.

Wet foods offer your dog a few advantages over kibble:

• At levels of 70 to 80 percent moisture, canned foods are beneficial to dogs with kidney ailments.

• All that moisture can help a dog who is on a diet feel full faster - as long as you choose low-fat products. (Most wet foods are higher in fat than their kibbled counterparts.) High-moisture foods are also much healthier for dogs with kidney problems.

• Preservatives are not added to canned or “pouched” foods. Their oxygen-free packaging helps them retain their nutrient value longer - two years or more. Artificial colors and chemical palatants are also rarely used in wet foods.

• High-quality wet foods contain far more animal protein (the dog’s evolutionary diet staple) than dry foods (which contain a high proportion of grains and other non-meat ingredients). More of the amino acids required by dogs are naturally supplied by animal proteins than plant-sourced proteins.

• Many dogs digest high-quality wet foods with fewer problems (such as gas, vomiting, and diarrhea) than dry foods.

• Wet foods with a high meat content are generally highly palatable, which helps when feeding thin, sick, or picky dogs.

Whole Dog Journal’s selection criteria
How do we determine whether a wet food is a high-quality product? First, we look at the label. Not the front! Not the pictures, colors, cute names, or pretty logos! We look at the ingredients list for the following:

• We look for foods with whole meat, fish, or poultry as the first ingredient. This means that by weight, there is more of this ingredient than anything else in the food. Wet foods are generally around 78 percent to 82 percent moisture.

There are some good wet foods with water (or broth) first on the list, but since fresh meat is so high in moisture, most top-notch foods list an animal protein (fresh meat) first on the list, and water or broth (required for processing) in the second or third position. The point is to look for products that contain as much meat as possible. There has been a resurgence of popularity of wet foods that contain nothing but meat, water, and a vitamin/mineral supplement; many of these are labelled with a “95% meat” claim. And yes, they are complete, balanced diets. (Remember; dogs have no dietary requirement for carbohydrates!)

• If grains or vegetables are used, we look for the use of whole grains and vegetables, rather than processed fragments. This means we prefer foods that contain “rice” rather than “rice flour, rice bran, brewer’s rice,” etc. Also, if grains are used in a wet product, we sure don’t want to see a lot of them! Even a product with an animal protein first on its ingredients list may contain more grain than meat if it has several grains or grain “fragments” on the label, too.

• We reject foods containing fat or protein not identified by species. “Animal fat” and “meat proteins” are euphemisms for low-quality, low-priced mixed ingredients of uncertain origin.

• We reject any food containing meat by-products or poultry by-products. There is a wide variation in the quality and type of by-products that are available to pet food producers. And there is no way for the average dog owner (or anyone else) to find out, beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether the by-products used are carefully handled, chilled, and used fresh within a day or two of slaughter (as some companies have told us), or the cheapest, lowest-quality material found on the market.

There is some, but much less variation in the quality of whole-meat products; they are too expensive to be handled carelessly.

• We eliminate any food containing sugar or other sweetener. Again, a food that contains quality meats shouldn’t need additional palatants to entice dogs.

• We eliminate foods containing artificial colors, flavors, or added preservatives. Fortunately, these are rare in wet foods!

Other ingredients
Some ominous-sounding chemicals in a dog food turn out to be a source of a particular vitamin or mineral. Generally, all the vitamins and minerals on a good label are grouped together at the end of the ingredients list.

Wet foods sometimes contain some sort of thickener or binder. Various types of “gum” (such as guar gum, from the seed of the guar plant, and carrageenan gum, from seaweed) are common thickeners. Whole grains, potatoes, and sweet potatoes also can be used to thicken wet food. Sometimes a carb fragment serves a dual role as a thickener or binder and a low-cost source of protein; think wheat gluten. Ahem.

What about products that contain a long, long list of vegetables and herbs and nutraceuticals? They make a food sound so appealing! Just keep in mind that the more of all this stuff there is in a food, the less room there is for meat - the main reason to feed a wet food, and the main thing your dog will find delicious.

Other criteria
In 2007, we required pet food companies to disclose to us their manufacturers, for publication, in order to have their qualifying dry dog food products appear on our “top foods” lists. This is the first time we’ve asked them to disclose the makers of their wet foods - which was asking a lot, in the aftermath of the wet food recalls of spring 2007.

The last time we asked for this information, a few companies whose products had been on our “top foods” lists for years took exception. Only one was openly hostile! A couple had reasonable explanations for why they made it a policy to not disclose this information. (We discuss these in “Why We Want Disclosure; Why Some Won’t Disclose,” on the next page.) A few others simply did not respond to our requests for information. We suspect that some simply didn’t care enough to be included in our reviews to bother responding.

If you don’t see one of your favorite wet dog foods on our current list of “top wet foods” (which starts on page 8), don’t assume anything. Look for their toll-free number on the label of your dog’s food; is it there? Or not? Call them up. Did a human answer - or at least call you back within a day? If you reach a human, ask him or her a few questions about the company’s manufacturers, its ingredients, and its quality control program. This interaction (or lack thereof) will tell you a lot about the company’s commitment to quality.

Our list of “top foods”
Starting on page 8 is our “top wet foods” list for 2009. These are all products that have met our selection criteria and answered our query about their manufacturers. There are certainly more products that both meet our criteria, as described above, and whose makers are willing to answer questions about their manufacturers. Rest assured that any food that you find that meets our selection criteria is just as good as any of the foods on our list.

What if it doesn’t meet our selection criteria? It’s up to you. If you have been feeding it to your dog, and she looks and feels like a million bucks, we’d be the last ones to tell you to switch. If she has allergies, chronic diarrhea, recurrent ear infections, or a poor coat, we’d recommend that you check out something from our list. An improvement in the quality of his food could (and probably will) work wonders.

We’ve listed the foods alphabetically, by the name of their manufacturer. If you are looking for California Natural or Evo, then, you have to look under Natura Pet Products, their maker. Some companies (like Natura) make several lines of food. We’ve listed each line and each variety that we found that meets our selection criteria. We’ve also highlighted one variety from each company as a representative product, to show what sort of ingredients and macro-nutrient levels (protein, fat, fiber, and moisture) are typically found in that maker’s foods. Be aware that some companies offer dozens of different products with varying nutrient levels and ingredients. Check the company’s website or call its toll-free phone number to get information about its other varieties.

Some companies also offer foods that are not “complete and balanced,” but are intended for “supplemental or intermittent use” only. We’ve listed some of these products, too, but only for use as described - not as a sole source of your dog’s food.

Rather than try to list all the ingredients in each food we highlight, we’ve listed the first six ingredients. Why six? No specific reason, other than that six ingredients gets you through the major contributors to the food, and gives you a good idea of what it mostly consists.

Remember, quality comes with a price. These foods may be expensive and can be difficult to find, depending on your location. Contact the company and ask about purchasing options. Some companies sell directly to consumers, or recommend mail-order outlets that will ship products.

Using the selection criteria we have outlined above, go analyze the food you are currently feeding your dog. If it doesn’t measure up, we encourage you to choose a new food based on quality, as well as what works best for you and your dog in terms of types of ingredients, levels of protein and fat, local availability, and price.


Mom Mom
Purred: Mon Jan 26, '09 2:01pm PST 
big grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grinbig grin Where eating this big grinbig grinbig grinbig grin

And don't see a rating. big laughbig laughbig laughbig laughbig laugh

Beef, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Meal, Soybean Meal, Animal Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Corn Gluten Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Dried Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Dehydrated Alfalfa, Dried Peas, Dried Tomatoes, Dried Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Olive Oil, Iron Oxide, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Dried Parsley, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Mixed Tocopherols, Niacin, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Folic Acid


You may- approach.
Purred: Mon Jan 26, '09 5:54pm PST 
Anypup heard of Harmony Farms Natural Dog Food? It is made by Sierra Pet Products, LLC. Mom's given it to big Abby a few times. It got a rating of 106. Last year in April they had a voluntary recall of their canned dog and cat food and some treats. Unkown to them, their manufacturer put in some kind of rice isolate, but no pet illnesses were linked to their foods.

What we are eating right now, VeRus Canine Life Advantage Chicken Meal, Oats and Brown Rice got a 110 rating.

♥- Tucker- ♥

GSPs Rock!
Purred: Tue Jan 27, '09 11:43am PST 
Hi, Jan.

From what I've heard, Rachel's food is pretty new to the market; so maybe they haven't gotten to it yet. Did you check other food products with similar ingredients in that order? You could probably get some idea till they actually rate her products.

I will say, however, the first five food sources are the most important in terms of nutritional transferance to the pup - and I'd be concerned with the ingredient list provided. Unfortunately, canines can't digest corn - so that's an empty food for your pup - the food looks like it's filler heavy and not as nutritionally balanced as you may want.

Do you give wet food, too? Veggie supplements?


Purred: Sun Feb 1, '09 5:19pm PST 
Thank you to Lacy for this info

According to Nan Weitzman and Ross Becker in The Dog Food Book, the main difference between Economy, Premium, and Super Premium dog foods is the clean up. The Economy brands had fewer nutrients per package and the recommended feeding portion was 6 cups a day. The Premium brand had more nutrients than the Economy packages, but less than the Super Premium. The feeding instructions recommended 3-1/4 cups per day. The Super Premium offered the best nutritional value and suggested an average of only 1-3/4 cups of food per day. All measurements were for a 40-lb. dog. "Thus, the big difference," state Weitzman and Becker "is in the poop!"

"Dogs and cats euthanised at clinics, pounds and shelters are sold to rendering plants, rendered with other material and sold to the pet food industry. One small rendering plant in Quebec was rendering 10 tonnes (11 tons) of dogs and cats per week from Ontario. The Ministry of Agriculture in Quebec, where a number of these plants are located, advised me that "The fur is not removed from dogs and cats." and that "Dead animals are cooked together with viscera, bones and fats in 115 C (236 F) for twenty minutes." One large pet food company in the U.S., with extensive research facilities, used rendered dogs and cats in their food for years and when the information came to light"claimed no knowledge of it."
- Ann Martin, Natural Pet Magazine

Difficult as it may be to believe, millions of these dead American dogs and cats are processed each year at plants across North America. Eileen Layne of the California Veterinary Medical Association states "When you read pet-food labels and it says meat meal or bone meal, that's what it is - cooked and converted animals, including dogs and cats

Road kill, slaughter house rejects, animals that die on their way to meat packing plants - all are acceptable ingredients for pet food under the "4D" rule - diseased, disabled, dead and dying. Steroids, growth hormones and chemicals used to treat cattle for infestations - including insecticide patches - again end up mixed into the final product. Meat from grocery stores past its final due date is also added to the mix, as are the Styrofoam trays and plastic wrap they were packed in.

♥- Tucker- ♥

GSPs Rock!
Purred: Sun Feb 1, '09 7:28pm PST 
Oh gosh, Pups!!

My Mom just put on her to-do list to find and provide the link for a recent FDA ruling that provides for the low rate, bottom-line -oriented pet food manufacturers special preference for advertising pet food. I'll try to post it tomorrow - have to search; but it's really disturbing and essentially reverses the previous mandates inacted after the pet food recall.

If my memory serves me, the FDA mandated that pet food companies comply to more specific guidelines when acquiring and divulging their food sources and products.... Well.... you guessed it - the special interest groups fought the FDA and won citing an unfair market environment, I believe.

Due to the above win by the bottom feeders (oops, sorry - that slipped out), an ammendment was passed that banned the higher standard feed producers from stating "human grade quality" and like language on their packaging. Essentially, they were unable to market their products based on inclusion of superior, wholesome ingredients, etc. It was the big dog food companies' opinion that they would be at an econmic disadvantage, because they can't meet and were unmotivated to comply with the qualititative feed producers.

A feed company, "The Honest Kitchen" filed suit against the ruling because they would NOT be able to promote their superior product or their qualitative ingredients (human grade meats, veggies, etc.) - so they fought the ruling and won smile And, if I recall correctly, only The Honest Kitchen has been given special consideration and may continue to advertise their 'human grade' ingredients.

Does any pup know of this ruling? I'll really search the FDA website tomorrow, because that's where I found it. Gosh - I hope I'm recalling it correctly naughty


Purred: Mon Feb 2, '09 8:13pm PST 
From DR Martin Goldstein

What should I feed my pet for best health?

Aim for the Ideal
Diet decisions are not a matter of right or wrong. If you understand what is ideal, you can then create a feeding program that will help move your pet closer to the healthiest diet options. In general, the more real food your dogs and cats eat, the healthier they will be.

The chart below outlines how our feeding choices for our pets (companion carnivores) can affect their health. The closer to the upper level choices, the better the chance for optimal health. You will likely be in the middle ranges most of the time. That is fine, as long as you always press toward the ideal.

Ideal - Healthiest

1. Hunted, raw prey (not realistic in modern society)

2. Fresh raw meats, bones, organ meats with very small amounts of fresh vegetables. Include a well-rounded vitamin/mineral mix and omega 3 essential fatty acids (salmon oil). You can prepare your own raw diet using meat/bone pieces and parts, or you can use pre-prepared ground products such as Bravo! and Nature’s Variety.

3. Fresh cooked meats, calcium, organ meat, with very small amounts of fresh vegetables. Include a vitamin/mineral mix, and omega 3 essential fatty acids (salmon oil). There are several books on the market that help you create your own home-cooked diet. It’s best to follow the recipes in these books.

4. Ultra Premium commercial canned foods and augmented with some fresh, raw foods. Canned foods, which are lower in carbohydrates, are much better for your pet than dry kibble. Some of the brands I like are Nature’s Variety, Merrick, and Evanger’s. These products are mostly meat, are usually grain-free, and very low in carbohydrates. The meat they use is human quality and they do not use by-products or chemical preservatives.

5. As in #4 above, but adding fresh cooked foods

6. Ultra Premium canned commercial foods WITHOUT fresh raw or cooked foods added

7. Super Premium canned foods are very much like the brands above, but they use more grains. They still use good quality meats and don't contain by-products. Brand examples: Solid Gold, Innova, Pet Promise.

8. Super Premium grain-free dry food (kibble) like Instinct by Nature’s Variety

9. Premium canned foods. These brands use substantially less meat. Water is often the number 1 ingredient (in the Ultra Premium brands meat is the number one ingredient), they use meat by-products (poor quality waste parts) and they usually contain significant amounts of grains and chemical preservatives. Often, if all the grains are added together, they would equal or exceed the meat. The meat quality is OK, but just barely.

10. Super Premium kibble like Innova, Prairie, Canidae, and Timberwolf

11. Grocery store brands – canned or dry. These contain very little meat, are made with substantial amounts of meat by-products, and primarily consist of grain and grain by-products. The rendered meat used in these products came from condemned animals, ie – animals that were deemed unfit for human consumption. These products normally contain artificial colors, flavors and chemical preservatives.

Worst - Unhealthy

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