Diet 1: Dogs

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm doing a series of posts dedicated to the diets of my pets.  I'm starting today with the dogs. This will be a long post.

The foods: Grandma Mae's Country Naturals and Taste of the Wild

The little dogs, Ricky (Chihuahua), Maggie (Miniature Schnauzer), and Ellie (Cockapoo), eat a dog food called Grandma Mae's Country Naturals. When we got Ricky, this is what he was already eating. At the time, we were trying to find a food that Ellie could eat without getting sick. Ellie has several food allergies or intolerances, and it has been a challenge to find a food she could eat. So, when we got Ricky, we decided to try this food for Ellie too. It worked. Ellie doesn't get sick with this food.

There are several things I like about this food. I like that it comes from a small company. I like that they don't use cheap ingredients like corn, animal by-products, or artificial colours or flavours. The food also has no preservatives. I like that the first two ingredients are meat ingredients.

There are a couple of things about it that I don't like. I don't like that the food has garlic in it, even though it is the 20th item on the ingredient list and there is very little in the food. I also don't like the meat to grains ratio. It has mostly healthy grains in it, and Ellie doesn't do well on a completely grain free diet, so I overlook the fact it has more grains than I'd like. I'm also not sure about the sodium selenite that's in it. I'm still researching that.

Overall, I like Country Naturals. It's not the best dog food in the world, but the dogs do well on it, so for now, this is the food they're getting. 

The big dogs, Bella and Jax (both German Shepherds), get Taste of the Wild. They get all of the different dry dog food variations. They have both done great on this food. We tried Ellie on this before we got Ricky, and she did okay for a couple of weeks and then started getting sick. The little dogs occasionally get Taste of the Wild if we feel like giving them something different. Ellie is fine with getting this food only sometimes. Like Country Naturals, Taste of the Wild has things that I like and things that I don't like.

I like that the first (on average) three ingredients are meats. I like that they use meats other than the typical dog food meats. Depending on the formula, the meats include bison, lamb, chicken, duck, quail, turkey, venison, salmon, and "ocean fish" (I wonder what fish that is...). Every formula, with the exception of Pacific Stream food, has more than one type of meat. This might not work for some dogs, but it works well for ours. Another fantastic thing about it is that they do not use ethoxyquin. Most dog foods with fish use this preservative.

I don't like that Taste of the Wild doesn't manufacture their own foods. The food is actually manufactured by Diamond. I'm not too crazy about Diamond Foods or their business practices. I also don't like that Taste of the Wild uses so many preservatives. They also use tomato pomace in their foods. Tomato pomace is controversial. It is what's left after processing tomatoes for ketchup, soup, and juice. Some people say it is perfectly fine and is high-fiber and nutritious, and others say it is just filler.

Despite these things, I find Taste of the Wild to be a great food. I saw improvements when I started feeding it to Bella. Within a couple weeks, she had more energy and her coat was shinier than ever.

Could it be improved? Because the dogs are on a dry dog food diet, there is definitely room for improvement. If I were to feed my ideal diet, I'd feed a raw diet. However, this is not possible right now. I feel that, for now, the dogs are on a good diet. Everybody is a healthy weight and the dogs are healthy.

Things I refuse to feed: I refuse to feed all dog foods you can buy at Wal-mart or any place like that, unless it is an absolute emergency (running out of dog food is not an emergency for me). I won't feed brands like Iams, Eukanuba, Hills Science Diet, and nearly every food you can buy at Petsmart or Petco. There are also the common sense things like chocolate. There is a whole list of foods you shouldn't feed your dog (though I disagree with a couple things on that list).

Helpful things: I read a book called Food Pets Die For by Ann N. Martin. I highly recommend it for any pet owner. If you read the reviews for this book, you will see a few bad reviews where people call her crazy (one of which comes from a vet student...of course they will call her crazy...but I'm not writing about the vet industry right now). I feel the book was well written. There might be incorrect information in it, but I don't think there is. In addition to this book, there are lots of websites. I like Dog Food Advisor and Dog Food Analysis.


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