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Dog Food

dougs
October 13th, 2006, 04:42 PM
Hi. I'm new to this board and have two queries.

1) I'm looking for information that compares different approaches to feeding dogs. I've found one site (www.dog-food-corner.com (http://www.dog-food-corner.com)) that is relatively comprehensive and lots of sites that just seem to have an axe to grind (either they sell dog food, so aren't independent, or they are pro one approach and anti everything else). Where are some good sources of independent information that give a good good overview of different pros/cons of different approaches?

2) For reasons of convienence, I want to stick with eithe mixer or a compete commerical dog food. What are the best ones and why? Is there some independent group that ranks the various commercial dog foods from best to worst?

Thanks for any help.

technodoll
October 13th, 2006, 04:52 PM
I've found one site (www.dog-food-corner.com) that is relatively comprehensive

not really comprehensive IMO, and certainly biased and full of false information: their section on raw feeding is absurd, to say the least. authors should really reseach their material before printing as "facts" when, in effect, they are nothing but slanted, unconfirmed opinions... :cool:

nevertheless, a good site to help you chose a commercial, dry dog foos is http://www.dogfoodproject.com/. On the left menu, read "commercial dog food" and then you'll be better equipped to decipher & judge a food label for yourself... also go through the "dog food" archives of this forum, the more recent threads having lots of information you are looking for.

welcome to the forum! what pets own you? :D

meb999
October 13th, 2006, 05:28 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum!!

If you're looking for how to read dog food ingredients, and which ingredients to avoid this is a good place to start. It's very comprehensive, easy to follow and will give you the basic dos and don't of picking the right food :
http://www.boxerworld.com/feeding/

This is an independant dog food ratings site. It gives you the reasons behind their rating (the good ingredients, the quality of ingredients and why the bad ingredients are considered bad!!) Any food in the top two categories is a good choice...
http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/

dougs
October 13th, 2006, 05:44 PM
Thanks a lot for the information.

Technodoll: 4 horses, 2 goats, 3 dogs (2 Giant Schnauzers, 1 Border Terrier), chickens. Our cat has passed away.

Prin
October 13th, 2006, 05:53 PM
I like the second link meb999 posted. It's a great resource, but keep in mind, it's still based on what the administrator's opinion is (as in, if he feels that high protein is the best, obviously those will be the highest rated).

technodoll
October 13th, 2006, 06:59 PM
4 horses, 2 goats, 3 dogs (2 Giant Schnauzers, 1 Border Terrier), chickens. Our cat has passed away

you know... we WILL pester you for photos :D :rip: kitty...

dougs
October 13th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Having gone through the links, I have a few related questions if I might (or should I do them as a separate post?).

There are a number of sites that are very favourable towards mixers (just add meat to make a complete meal). As I can see, the advantages and disadvantages of a mixer versus a complete dog food are:
- Complete dog food more convienent
- Complete dog food less expensive (fresh meat from the store is expensive)
- A "mixer + meat" means you know that the protein source is high quality
- I'm guessing that a "mixer + meat" has fewer chemicals than a complete dog food (on the basis that the meat & fat in a complete dog food needs more preservatives to keep if from going off). This is just an assumption; is it true?

Am I missing anything?

I've also heard that cooking meat destroys one of the essential amino acids (taurine). However, I didn't see any data on the impact (e.g. 20% destroyed, 100% destroyed, only destroyed if temperature is over xxx). Does anyone have any data?

Also, my dogs like their meat cooked. Maybe just what they are used to. What are the advantages/disadvantages of cooked versus raw?

Prin
October 13th, 2006, 07:31 PM
Well, a lot of food companies add taurine to the food, so that's less of a concern, IMO.

You just have to do what works best for you and your doggy.:shrug:

technodoll
October 13th, 2006, 07:44 PM
There are a number of sites that are very favourable towards mixers (just add meat to make a complete meal). As I can see, the advantages and disadvantages of a mixer versus a complete dog food are:
- Complete dog food more convienent
- Complete dog food less expensive (fresh meat from the store is expensive)
- A "mixer + meat" means you know that the protein source is high quality
- I'm guessing that a "mixer + meat" has fewer chemicals than a complete dog food (on the basis that the meat & fat in a complete dog food needs more preservatives to keep if from going off). This is just an assumption; is it true?[QUOTE]

it will always come down to who makes the "mixer" (quality of materials used, process (dehydration? cooking? etc), what are the ingredients, do they make sense, are they human-grade, is it balanced, etc... it's a job to do the homework but hey it's also fun and while the learning never stops, once you have the bulk of the knowledge under your belt, it gets easier and faster to "analyse" a food as time goes on... :) if you post a few "mixers" that interest you, we will help you break it down so it makes sense. Also yes meat is expensive, so you will need to scout for great sales, make friends with the butcher, find cheaper cuts of meat (beef heart comes to mind), etc. Factoring in the prep & cooking time... you have to be devoted :o

[QUOTE]Also, my dogs like their meat cooked. Maybe just what they are used to. What are the advantages/disadvantages of cooked versus raw?

among many things... cooking destroys the live enzymes contained in raw meat, and alters its structural composition, ie the dog's body metabolizes it differently and creates by-products that it works hard to get rid of .. (as for bones... raw = digestible, cooked = mostly indigestible and dangerous to feed). you also lose the starting water content. since you cannot feed cooked bones with the cooked meat to balance the calcium/ phosphorus ratio, when feeding cooked meat you have to make sure to add an absorbable form of calcium in the proper amounts.

exciting, ain't it? LOL :D

dougs
October 14th, 2006, 12:49 PM
Technodol

After your last post, where you mention "calcium/ phosphorus", I've been reading up on this. Something I had never heard of before. There certainly seems to be a lot of things that need to be included, in the right amount, and in the right ratios to each other.

When I was trying to get my head around all the requirements, one of the things I came accross on different sites was the AAFCO requirements. They are listed on a number of site, but the information was some years old, so I tried to find the current information on th AAFCO site. NOTHING. So I sent an EMAIL to AAFCO and got a very nice response saying that the information was copyrighted but that they would be happy to sell it to me. I replied that I wanted it for non-commercial reasons and likely couldn't afford their fees. That, unfortunately, was the end of the discussion. Considering that the AAFCO is a goverment organisation set up to promote quality in animal feed, this seems a bit sad to me.

Anyways, going back to the original topic, I've been doing some research. Appears that meat doesn't have the right ratio so I need to add bone (as per your EMAIL). However, I'm very uncomfortable with that. We used to feed raw bones to our dogs, until one day Hamish (our Giant Schnauzer) started some internal bleeding. Not serious as it turned out, but really scared us. I'm not willing to risk that again. Maybe I need to buy some calcium supplement?

rainbow
October 14th, 2006, 03:16 PM
You said you wanted convenience so I would just feed a top quality premium holistic kibble.

technodoll
October 14th, 2006, 03:19 PM
Maybe I need to buy some calcium supplement?

yes, you can do that :) but i suggest a safer, easier and cheaper way... keep all your eggshells, and when you have a bunch just dry them for a few minutes in your toaster-oven on low heat, then pulverize them into a powder in a cheap electric coffee-grinder.

for every pound of boneless meat, add 1 tsp of this eggshell powder to balance out the calcium phosphorius ratio and you will be fine :) also your mixer certainly contains calcium, since it is made to be fed with meat, you shouldn't have to worry...

i suggest getting Dr Pitcairn's book for great information on feeding your dog a home-made diet, cooked or raw, also has info on kibble supplementation, recipes, etc: http://www.amazon.com/Pitcairns-Complete-Guide-Natural-Health/dp/157954973X

:dog:

Prin
October 14th, 2006, 08:08 PM
btw, the AAFCO is VERY, VERY vague in their specifications. It's very hard to get something useful out of things they say because everything is ambiguous and can be interpreted however one pleases.:frustrated: