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Dog Food
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abbyw
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PostPosted: 09/11/03, 8:34 pm    Post subject: Dog Food Reply with quote

Hi. I was just wondering if anyone feeds their dog Innova dog food. I have a 4 month old GWP and I am thinking of switching her to it. Our vet told us to feed her Science Diet Large Breed puppy, but I heard some bad things about it, and wanted to change her. Any info anyone could offer would be great! I just want to make sure she is getting the best nutrition! Smile
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Anne
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PostPosted: 09/12/03, 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Abby!
Welcome to the "wire club"! You are right on track staying away from Science Diet. The question of course then becomes "What do I feed?" There are a lot of possibilities and a lot to think about. It can really be daunting because there are as many opinions are there are experts so you get a lot of confilcting information and dog food packages are difficult to read and interpret but overall I look for the following:

1. Are 2 of the first 3 ingredients meat?
Corn, and other grains are basically "fillers" because they are cheaper than meat. There is nutrition in them but it is not very usable to the dogs and, in fact dogs need little if any grains in their diet.

2. Is the food "human gradeā€?
Dog food companies are permitted to use 4D meats. These are meats not fit for human consumption. They have a lot of cancer and other diseases on them or are from pregnant animals (too many hormones to be safe), road kill and other things that may have been rotting in the heat for who knows how long.
3. Avoid any brand using fur, feathers, or sawdust as fillers
Obviously...

4. Determine if the company allows AAFCO inspections (It will say AAFCO on the label)
If they don't I wonder what goes on.

The best nutrition IMHO is feeding a raw diet either home made or pre prepared. The next best thing is what the retailers call a "boutique" food. These are generally AAFCO approved, use human grade ingredients and less "fillers" brands include BARF world, Steve's Real, Innova, Solid Gold, California Natural.

Other Resources:
We have a few strings on here about dog food and raw feeding. I think they are all under Health or General Chat.

There is a yahoo group called K9Nuturion
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/K9Nutrition/

My favorite website
http://www.njboxers.com/faqs.htm

Good Luck! Have lots of fun and check in often. We love to talk dog food around here!
Anne
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abbygwp
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PostPosted: 09/30/03, 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why stay away from Science Diet? Our Abby is on the Prescription Diet Z/D and is doing well. If I am feeding her something wrong for the breed please let me know.
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Illona
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PostPosted: 10/04/03, 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You won't get anything from me but wholehearted agreement with Anne on this one, abbygwp.

I've had my almost 2-yr-old GWP out of rescue for 14 months, with constant minor-but-irritating skin conditions, poor coat, smelliness, huge and frequent stools, flatulence, gunky ears, hyperness, you name it -- and ALL of it I can blame on grains. Dogs aren't meant to eat grains -- they're cheap filler that allows the kibble company's to sell you their food at $16, $25, or $35 a bag. And when that bag says 21% protein, a LOT of that protien comes from the grains. Ever seen a wolf eat grain? corn? wheat? soy? Nu-uh.

I spent 10 months with Matea on several different HIGH-quality (an oxymoron to be sure!) kibbles: Solid Gold lamb, Solid Gold Holistique, Innova, California Natural chicken, to name a few.

Matea has been on a raw diet for just over 4 months now, and is FINALLY regaining her health. Mind you, to an unobservant eye, she looked prefectly fine before feeding raw, but these minor irritants were irritating ME because I was spending a fortune on these so-called high-quality foods. Within days of switching her to a raw diet, her coat has FINALLY started to come back, her temperment is excellent (in fact, a week after I started raw, Matea sliced her paw wide open and required 13 stitches and a 6 wk recovery. Now YOU try to keep a highly-exercised, 1-yr-old GWP athlete down for six weeks! no WAY could I have done it with the kibble diet. With raw, she was relaxed, chilled out, frustrated, yes, but reasonable. And she had WAY more fun eating her meals and chewing on her bones.)

Feeding raw is not easy, it requires dedication and time, it requires research and scouting around for good food sources. That's why not enough dogs are on this healthy diet and are being fed from the bottom of the human food industry -- by-products unfit for any animal, let alone our loved pets. A little research on your part will award you with the horror stories that are North America's pet-food industry.

Feeding raw may be a little more expensive, but if you make your own, do a little driving around and develop a relationship with your local butchers, you can feed for far less than the pre-made raw foods. Still, it might be a little more than buying a bag of kibble off the shelf every month, but guaranteed you'll save on the vet bills as your dog busts with health. It costs me approx. $50-80 a month for Matea's food. I can get that down even more as I develop more relationships with butchers and other raw feeders and can share deals. I feed Matea beef, goat, salmon, white fish, turkey, chicken, and wild goose. Elk and deer are joining the menu soon, as will groundhog when my father bags me a few and cleans them for me. She gets pulverized veggies. She gets organ meats. She gets rec bones to chew for entertainment and to maintain excellent dental and gum health, and build neck and shoulder muscles.

All of her food is human quality; most of it is organic -- in fact, we were too lazy to go to the store the other night and BBQ'd up some of Matea's ground beef for our dinner.

If you're interested in finding out more about the pet food industry and the kinds of stuff they REALLY put into those bags, I can recommend several books that expose the truth. I haven't read them myself because I was convinced to make the switch to controlling the quality of my dog's food because of the premature loss of my last dog and because of research into dog nutrition.
And if you're interested in joining a couple raw-feeding groups through Yahoo, I can highly recommend a couple of Yahoo groups. Just let me know.

And if you want an expert's advice, speak with a natural vet -- one that is a proponent of feeding raw. You'll have trouble finding one because -- from my understanding -- vet schools don't spend a whole hell of a lot of time teaching actual nutrition, AND a vet's education and their practice is highly sponsored and supported by the kibble companies. They just don't know, and not enough vets have taken the time to update their education on nutrition.

Having said all that, I can say that when I fed Matea a vet-recommended kibble (Waltham) for less than two weeks, I almost lost her, she became so ill and refused to eat for a week no matter what I put in front of her.
I fed my last dog Innova and he did well on it, but he passed away from lymphoma at the age of 4 1/2. Was it the food? Of course not. I believe it was a result of him being vaccinated only 6 wks after a major surgery. His immune system was so thoroughly compromised. Might the result have been different on a raw diet? I doubt it. But I'm going to give my new girl every last fighting chance she has to live a long and healthy, disease-free life -- and feeding a species-appropriate diet is the ONLY way for me.

Good luck!
Illona
illona@rogers.com
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Illona
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PostPosted: 10/04/03, 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should also add, that you might want to check out the following webiste:

http://www.doberdogs.com/

This site provides an unbiased, educated, and HIGHLY detailed breakdown of almost every dog food available, be it an independent and special order food, or a pet food store brand. I believe he's even analysing raw foods now. DEFINITELY worth a look!

Illona
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maverickdvm
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PostPosted: 10/05/03, 10:32 am    Post subject: just one thing Reply with quote

Hi. I don't want to turn this in to a debate, but I just have to say one thing about your last post. My education or my practice is not the least bit supported by kibble companies. If that was the case I would not have $125,000 left in student loans. That is $60,000 less than I started with. Raw food diets have brought a lot of education to dog owners. Everyone can benefit from more knowledge about nutrition for their pets and themselves.
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Illona
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PostPosted: 10/05/03, 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Maverickdvm. Thanks for your input here. I would love to know more about your views of nutrition and diet, for sure. And certainly not for the purpose of starting some heated and pointless debate, but rather, for the sake of learning.

As for education and practices being supported - in part - by kibble companies, I was very careful to state that it is only "my understanding". I do not have first-hand knowledge of this. I am very encouraged by the fact that you aren't supported, although I'm sure whatever vet school you attended is sponsored in part, no?

I would love to know - first-hand and from a vet - how much concentration on veterinary medicine IS spent on nutrition, since I get the sense it is somewhat ignored in the greater curriculum.

Don't get me wrong, I think the education you have to go through as a vet is ASTRONOMICAL and bordering on Herculean. Because of the sheer number of species you are required to attend to, I can't imagine how much time is left over for the study of nutrition for those individual species. As a result, I believe, that the research required behind developing dog foods is left to those who ARE supported and sponsored by the kibble companies. Things like the nutritional values and needs for dogs are developed by the same people who manufacture those all-in-one bags of 'goodness'.

In my perfect world, vets would specialize in one species -- i.e. a dog vet who can focus on the medicine AND the huge science involved with the nutrtion of that species.

Illona
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maverickdvm
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PostPosted: 10/10/03, 6:47 pm    Post subject: more on nutrition Reply with quote

Okay here it goes,
My opinion on nutrition is that it is a very underutilized resource in health care overall. Also, for anyone getting offended while reading this, that is not my intention. Also realize that typing/thread wording can take a unnecessary "tone". I am much more open minded than parts may come across, but I do feel very passionate about my dogs and my profession.

Yes, much of the nutrition research is sponsored by pet food companies. But all professionals in any field are trained to weed through that and pull out any valuable information. It is the same as that most drug studies are only done by the drug companies. You don't just recommend a food or a drug based on the "pitch". And besides who else would pay for it? There is very limited financial resources in the veterinary profession.

No, prior to about 5 years ago, nutrition was not extensively incorporated in curriculums. It has been within about 10-15 years that nutrition was even recognized as an important field. How many of you have been thinking about it longer than that in your own dogs? It is a very new and expanding field. I think of it a lot like pain management in small animal, how many people didn't even think about needing perioperative pain injections, etc. 5-10 years ago? Not that nutrition or pain management was maliciously ignored, it just wasn't recognized as important for health, longevity, and healing.

As for nutritional education, my field of view is from Michigan State University. Many pet food companies did sponsor nutrition seminars and education to the students and clinicians. Many of the companies even came together about 3 years ago, and there is even a DVM nutritionist on staff full time with a pet food formulating "kitchen" and a full service nutritional consult service. Yes, it was paid for by kibble companies, but with state funding, that was the only way it could be sponsored. It is non-biased and now that it is set up, the salaries are paid by the university.

Here's the part I have a problem with. Yes, diet is central to the health of an animal. But, for the effort that is put out to blame nutrition for skin disease, seizures, cancers, etc., there is one factor often left out- Genetics!!! So many dogs are bred with skin allergies, and many malodies, that it is ruining breeds. I get very irritated in hearing that they "are such great dogs" simply because of their titles, etc., but a littermate might have had to be put down with cancer at 3 years old and another one can only be managed on prednisone for their skin allergies.

Another thing is that "dogs should eat what they did in the wild"...Dogs in the wild have short lifespans, horrible coats, you can see their bones, and their stool wouldn't come out of the carpet well. Not anything that would put up in a breed ring.

There are amazing benefits in knowing about nutrition. Home formulating and raw foods can have a lot of merit. There is not one food or one company that is best for every dog. Understanding nutrition alone will solve many problems for individual dogs, but will not solve so many of the health and behavioral problems that are plaguing the breed. That is one reason I have a GWP, I couldn't think of a common health problem as a vet. I really like the breed and do not want to see it ruined like so many others.

Just my opinion
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Illona
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PostPosted: 10/10/03, 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your response, Maverick! I appreciate and respect your time and wisdom, and wholeheartedly agree with your words.

I'm enheartened to hear that nutrition is playing more of a role in the study of veternarian science, and I hope to find more and more vets who are willing to explore better nutrition for individual pets along with their owners. After spending the past year researching on dog nutrition, kibbles, cooked and raw diets, I can't imagine putting the preparation of my dog's meals in the hands of unknowns - -namely kibble companies. Bit of a control freak probably, sure, and a little paranoid and mistrustful of society, I'd prefer to know exactly what goes into my dog's gut each day. And I would LOVE to have a vet to work with hand-in-hand in delivering the absolute best nutrtional balance. Alas, there aren't enough vets who are willing to work with a conscientious owner in this regard.

Don't get me wrong... I've been on raw-feeding lists and groups, and I know there are many who are going about it willy-nilly. I feel a little that way myself, sometimes, with no 'professional' to guide me. However, today I found a new vet who is working with me toward my goals. It's a long drive, but she's worth it, as she embraces the health and wellness I strive for my GWP girl.

You talk about genetics, and boy, I couldn't agree with you more on that one! I LOVE GWPs because they are so authentic. Their genetics have yet to be mangled by over-breeding, and I love the 'naturalness' of this dog. An interesting point that came out of the session with our new vet today was that Matea does not do well with salmon or salmon oil. I'd been trying to nail down the culprit to her slightly increased odor, and this vet believes that although a lot of breeds do well on fish and fish oils, perhaps a GWP does not...being a bird dog. Who knows? But the theory certainly gels with what I've been experiencing with her since starting salmon oil.

She also does best on more wild game (not chicken and lamb), and this again gels with the notion of the GWP being close to its ancestors. I can't imagine having another breed at this point. Well, okay, I adore Spinones.

I'm sorry if I'm rambling, it's been a long day of driving. But I also wanted to agree with you, Maverick, on your point about mimicking the diet of a wild dog or wolf. I know too many proponents of this kind of approach, and I simply don't agree with it. I think genetics and centuries of domestication have toyed with the dog's biology and chemistry enough that each breed and each individual must be considered separately. I have no patience or time for those who throw their dog a whole rabbit or whole chicken (feathers and all) every couple days and call that 'diet'. I put far more thought, preparation, and research into my dog's daily meals. I do not feed the high percentage of bone that others feed because I feel that only a starving wolf will resort to eating the ribs of a deer, etc., and it is not my goal to mimic the diet of a starving wolf. There certainly are raw-fanatics out there, and I hope for the day that more research is invested into home feeding, and more vets come onboard to guide the zealots.

And let me say last, my hope is with yours, Maverick...I dread the day that GWPs become popular household pets. I see more and more of them in rescue each month, and it breaks my heart.

Illona
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 10/12/03, 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illona wrote:
There certainly are raw-fanatics out there, and I hope for the day that more research is invested into home feeding, and more vets come onboard to guide the zealots.
Illona


I am proudly one of those "raw-fanatics", with my degree from a recognized veterinary school.
Raw feeding does not consist in throwing a rabbit or a whole chicken to a dog. As I had express in a prior post, an excess of meat gives rise to very serious diseases in dogs, which may lead to very serious illnesses such as a lack of proper calcification and spontanuous fractures in the young dog. Raw food does not mean RAW MEAT. It means raw meat, raw vegetable, raw fruit, raw grains... Basically, most of the same ingredients used in kibbles, without the processing and the chemicals.

As to research, Italy, which enjoys a huge budget for veterinary research, has published on many occasions the findings of researches as well as comparative reseaches on raw food, all pointing on the many benefits of such a diet. The Bernese Mountain dog, known for his predisposition to cancer at an early age show dramatic improvement when fed a raw food diet. One study showed a reduction of occurence by 72% and another by 68%. Furthermore, other studies have shown that older dogs, when on a raw food diet, started developping arthritis much later than those on commercial food (an average of 2 years), including a control group fed exclusively glucosamine enriched commercial dog food.
Having said that, I totally agree that some food are better suited to some dogs, and that a diet should not only reflect the need of a particular breed, but also of particular age, health problems and level of activities.
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Butterfly
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PostPosted: 12/30/03, 5:22 pm    Post subject: dog food Reply with quote

If you had a choice between feeding your dog Sensible Choice, California Natural or Pro-plan which one if any would you choose?

Thanks
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 12/30/03, 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

California Natural would be my choice, no doubt!
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superedhawk44
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PostPosted: 02/13/04, 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question is this"why stay away from science diet" I havent seen anyone say why,and i'm curious ? my last GWP(male) lived to be 16 years old,never any cancer,no tumors,no hip or bone problems,his coat was nice,great muscle development and had all the energy one could ask for up until around 14,and even then he still loved to go afield and hunt up some grouse. sure the hunts were short,but they were for him,his desire was overwhelming when the hunting vest and shotgun came out,you can't leave an old dog home then,lol

he was fed science diet for most of his life,and i never had a problem with it, I'm waiting for a new pup and after reading this about science diet,I must ask this" Why stay away from it"?

mike
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Eric
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PostPosted: 02/13/04, 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting thread. I was wondering what people think about TechniCal. Years ago my vet told me it was the best food so I have been feeding it ever since. My dogs seem to do very well on it. Lots of energy, nice coats and healthy BM's.
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 02/13/04, 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tecnical is one of the few canadian foods, and probably one of the best.
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