Healthy Living – Dog Food

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A friend of mine just got a new puppy and she posted on Facebook that she was going to start making her new pup’s dog food.  The reason:  she said that after doing some research on the best brand to use, she found that most were bad.  Most commercial dog foods contain “meal” and other harmful chemicals and preservatives that are deemed unfit for human consumption.  “Meal” just means that it is all of the scraps and waste product left behind.  An example would be corn “meal”, meat “meal” and bone “meal.”  Meat “meal” can be anything from ground up road kill to all of the scraps and fat left on the processing floor of a meat manufacturing facility.  The same goes for corn and bone “meal.”  Bone “meal” can be more than just bones…it includes teeth, hooves and fur.  If the animal was diseased, guess what…he gets ground up into the meal as well.

Add to this that there are a bunch of chemicals, preservatives and additives that dogs may be allergic to in the product.  Dogs are allergic to soy, but what do you find in a lot of dog foods?  Soy.  Any nutrients that might have been gained from the food is virtually sapped out in the manufacturing process.  These allergies and nutrient deficiencies manifest themselves in dogs in the form of skin irritations (excessive licking of fur, paws, hind parts, etc), behavior changes and excessive shedding.  A dog may not form an allergy immediately.  In doing my own research, I learned that sometimes these allergies do not take form for several months or years.

Apparently, there are not any strict regulations on these meal products that go into dog food.  Most of the commercial dog food brands are owned by large food corporations that make foods for us to eat.  Dog food (and cat food) is just a way for these large conglomerates to make a profit off of their waste.  They can take the waste and by products from their plants that manufacture other products such as corn (high fructose corn syrup is an example) and meat (the waste from chicken nuggets and hot dogs are an example) and make dog food.  Ewww!  I thought making homemade dog food was just another excuse for people to pamper their pets.  After doing this research, it just seems like the responsible thing to do.

My dog sheds A LOT!  Recently, I’ve noticed that he licks his paws more.  It’s not incessant, but when I inspected them, I didn’t see anything that could be stuck or bothering him.  Plus, he licks the top-side and not the actual pads of his feet.  When I started Googling his licking them, several sites came up in my search relating this to a food allergy.  That kind of sealed it for me.  I realized if I watch what goes into and on my own body, and he’s my so-called “buddy,” then I need to pay more attention to what goes in and on his body.  My dog has now entered the healthy revolution that is my home.  As of last week, he has been eating homemade dog food.  I am even debating putting him on the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) diet, which is like a raw foods diet for dogs.  It’s meant to mimic the type of diet a dog would have if he were wild.

Since he’s really not getting the juicy chicken and savory beef that is pictured on the front of his dog food bag, I feel that this is the best route.  Any comments from the peanut gallery?

 

If you are interested in learning more about how pet food is made and what ingredients to look for, check out the following sites:

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=359

http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=badingredients

 

If you would like more information about the BARF diet, check out these links:

http://www.barfworld.com/html/barf_diet/barfdiet_specific.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding

 

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  • Kris J

    When I got Perseus from the breeder he had scabs over his body. When I did research I found something similar to what you found so I knew I had to switch what he ate. I didn’t think he was going to like the food but he took to it very well. I mixed ground hamburger & turkey, Brown rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and apples. I also add supplements such as “The missing link” vitamin powder and a calcium tablet. He LOVES it. I am planning to take a class as the Viking Cooking School to learn to make doggie treats! I’ll send Pete a bag of treats for Xmas! ;-)

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