Thursday, January 19, 2012

What you need to know about dog food.

I don't know what it is about today, but suddenly several of my facebook friends are very concerned about their dogfood.
It could be the weather, or the moon, or something, but clearly we need to have a chat. So lets tackle this quick and easy like..

"My dog is [pick one: gassy, itchy, smelly, constantly getting ear or yeast infections, fat, etc]"
- The first answer is food. These are all symptoms of poor quality dog food, some are signs of even high quality dog food that your dog is allergic to.
Side note: I can help you isolate allergens. I've done it successfully for several of my friends. Your vet may or may not be able to do this, but it will cost an arm and a leg and will take at least 6 months to a year. I'm better.. and currently free.

"So I'm unhappy with my dog's food - what food should I choose?"Part 1: Yay! You should be. Most dogfood is garbage. Need proof? check out:
Part 2: Well that's tricky.. because the availability of certain foods depends on where you live. In addition, even if you buy the "BEST" dog food on the market, it's completely useless to you if it contains an ingredient that your dog is allergic/sensitive to. But let's assume your lucky dog doesn't have any allergies. Here's what you should do:

Stay away from the grocery store. When I first started out on the dog food discovery tour, I spent HOURS and HOURS in the grocery store reading ingredient lists. It was all garbage. Every bit of it. I never bought dogfood from a grocery store again. Don't believe me? Go look for yourself. Here's a handy dandy guide you can use for reference when you don't know what all those gross words mean:

Also - Avoid pet food corporations. They're expensive. The markup is stupid.. and the markup on any real quality food that you find there is even stupider. Save your dollars. Expensive does not = better. Yes, you'll have to pay more for quality dog food than the sawdust and animal waste you've been buying.. but that doesn't mean you have to sell your soul to do it.

Most importantly - spend some time learning about dog food. Here's a great place to start.

And finally an answer to the question: Taste of the Wild.
Here's why: Taste of the Wild is good quality, but does not break the bank. It can be found fairly easily - use the locator if you have to, and is at the same price point as some crappy foods like Eukanuba. (Oh that's right, that "premium" dog food you thought was worth paying gold bricks for is not so good after all)
Also - It's grain free! Yay!
If you can't find TOTW near you, just try to find an ingredient list comparable to it.

Another fave - The Honest Kitchen. It's dehydrated raw food. It's not cheap - but if I wasn't worried about money, I would pick this.. just be careful to rehydrate it fully before feeding.. or that could be dangerous.

"Why do I care if it's grain free?"Because your dog is a carnivore, and is incapable of really digesting grains. Grains are just filler in dog food, and throw off the calorie:protein ratio, which gets really scientific and technical, but they're a waste of space, and they make your dog poo more, and since they're not digested properly, they make your dog's poo smell worse. When you switch to grain free, the dogs poo less because they are using a higher percentage of their food for ACTUAL nutrition. If you stopped eating fillers and garbage, you would poo less too. There are tons of other benefits, but I'll save that for another post.

"This is like twice as much money as [whatever garbage] I WAS feeding my dog"Well, duh.
That's because this has ACTUAL meat in it. The same thing happens when you eat an ACTUAL cheeseburger compared to the dollar double at the fast food place.
But your vet bills will be cheaper, your dog will live longer, and you don't have to feel guilty about cheaping out on your most loyal and unconditionally loving family member.. and depending on your family, quite possibly your most well behaved family member.

"But, it's just a dog"
I. hate. you.


If you'd like to check out some options for all natural ped foods and other stuff, this website has a pretty sweet spring deal happening now: On Sale at Only Natural Pet Store

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