Since I work at PetSmart and am a trainer, I have a unique interest in what foods people use for their dogs. One of my training modules is on canine nutrition and I'd love to hear what folks feed and why they chose the brand they use.
Raw meat (because dogs in the wild eat taht as well), here in Holland we have a couple of food brands that make frozen food, witch is raw meat (and everything else your dog would need), but you dont have to mix it yourself. My brand that i always use is Energique. Its very good, and the dogs get a lot of good bacteries in there system, so they dont get diseases that fast.
Your English is excellent! (Better than most high school graduates in Alabama, I'm sad to say!) I've heard good and bad about raw diets. As I'm sure you've heard, we've had some problems with food in the States. There has been salmonella and E-coli found in a bit of our raw foods. I've also had a bad experience with a trainer here who does rescue. She feeds raw and one of the pit bulls she rescued was in poorer shape when taken from her because it had to fight for the food among other dogs. (You know, survival of the fittest.) I'm glad the raw diet has worked for you. I hope that Holland has much better regulation in place to ensure it is healthy.
Well we dont have that many rules for dog foods :( so thats bad here in holland as well.
But we do give our dogs shots (injections) for some diseases, from what i`ve heard is one of the diseases they get shots for, is similar to salmonella, so our dogs wount get sick off that. (on the other hand ive heard that dogs dont get sick off salmonella at all like we do)
I think its just a matter of how fit your dog is I guess. But when we start feeding this raw food, we first have to boil it a bit (for like the first week) so that the dog can get used to all bacteries, otherwise he will get diarea.
And I guess a dog (like this mentioned pittbull) who has to fight for food, is a very bad thing, but i think thats more the owners fault then the food. Because witchever food you would feed, you always have to watch out for fightes like these.
Spider gets two one-cup scoops of Pedigree Adult formula small crunchy bites every day. He's been eating this all of his life, and since he can sometimes get finicky if something he's used to changes, I figure it's best to keep him on it. It may not be the best dry kibble available, but it's better than a generic store brand and was completely unaffected by the recalls earlier this year... so I trust it.
In addition, he gets to lick clean the occasional dinner plate after my fiance or I have finished our meal, and sometimes gets biscuits, some raw meat from the kitchen, cheese or a smoked pig ear to supplement. I used to give him brewer's yeast vitamin tablets, but he refuses to eat them now, so I think I may invest in some of that vitamin supplement food spray that's on the market.
I am another raw feeder :). I don't buy pre made raw diets, i just get my dogs' food from the butchers or grocery store. They are on a "Prey Model" type diet. Meaning they basically get fed an entire animal, including bone, organs, meat, etc.
In regards to E-coli and salmonella:
While there have been foods known to carry these bacterias, you can go to any old grocery store and pick up just about any package of chicken and salmonella will be present there too :(.
BUT! The main difference is that a dog's digestive track is so much shorter than that of a humans that the food isn't in the tract long enough to contract the bacteria, and you can add that to the fact that a dog's digestive enzymes are ASTRONOMICAL!!! Lol!
Freezing also greatly reduces bacteria, parasites, and other "nasties." Also, many organs and other organic foods (like yogurt) contain probiotics that also help digestive enzymes that are capable of destroying bacterias.
I could go on and on about the change in energy, and overall health, but to make it short and sweet, my 11 year old dog is comonly mistaken for a 4 year old.
All the ingredients on pet food labels lists what is in the food and it's concentration BEFORE being processed and heated. And most usually all those "added ingredients" are lost in the heat processing and unavailable to your pet :(.
Hi Lisa! Thanks for your reply. That was interesting info on the raw diet. I'm really interested to know more on the "prey diet." You feed whole chickens?
As to what you mentioned about pet food labels, that's exactly what made me turn to Bil-Jac since they cook their food at a lower temp so it retains nutrition, as well as adds their supplements after cooking so they aren't diluted.
Yes, I feed whole RAW chickens, ducks, turkeys, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I Just bought a 8 lbs salmon yesterday (can't feed it for a while, has to be frozen for some). I also just received my pig head!!!! Hurray! Lol, A bit macabre opening the freezer and seeing something looking back at me though, but it serves as a nice "rec bone" (recreational bone) and the eyes, jaw, and brain will add some great nutrients for him.
I really like Bil-jac, I think that they are one of the few major commercial pet foods that actually want pets to get something from their foods:).
A big problem I have with the kibble is all the extras, like whole vegetables, lol. I think that needs some explaining... while the domesticated dog is an "opportunistic carnivore" some would argue that they need no veggies at all. That is debateable and subject to personal oppinion. BUT! One thing that the pet food industries fail to realize is that dogs cannot digest whole vegetables. A dog's digestive tract is incapable of breaking down the cellulose that is in the cell walls of plants, thus making all of their nutrients unavailable as well. The only way a dog can get nutrients from good old veggies is if the veggies are completely pureed in a blender, food processor, etc.
Wow! Thanks! I was under the impression that, for example Blue Buffalo, includes all of the baccilus and amino acids to make the plant material able to break down for nutritional value. Gotta do some checking on that one. I have to admit, having a hog head staring back at me would make me a bit uncomfortable! "-)
(sorry pet nutrition is one of my favorite topics, and I could go on forever, lol )
Man, even more kudos for bil-jac on doing thier research (and your own!). I always like to see a pet owner investigating WHATEVER food they decide is best for their dog :D.
I think I have heard of other companies doing this too, perhaps wellness, california naturals, and innova maybe? They were what my corgis have been on in the past, really GREAT top of the line kibble.
When these companies say amino acids and bacterias have been added to help break down the veggies, that would mean a few things. Hopefully it means, they just chuck the all the digestive tract of whatever animal into the mixer, and stomach acids contain the special acids and bacterias to break down the cellulose. Or! Since "amino acids" is a very broad and general term they could get those from just about anywhere, be it roadkill, or meat regected by the USDA inspectors (common and popular source for meat in commercial pet foods).
As far as the Bacillus Subtilis (mentioned in BB ingredients list) here is what it is (according to Wikipedia):
B. subtilis is not considered a human pathogen; it may contaminate food but rarely causes food poisoning. B. subtilis produces the proteolytic enzyme subtilisin. B. subtilis spores can survive the extreme heating that is often used to cook food, and it is responsible for causing ropiness — a sticky, stringy consistency caused by bacterial production of long-chain polysaccharides — in spoiled bread dough.
Here is the thing. Dog nutrition starts to get a bit, well, "fuzzy," for numerous reasons. Firstly vets don't know diddle about dog food (example: seeing Science Diet in their lobbies). I was super astonished to learn that vets spend VERY VERY VERY little time in nutriion. And what time they do have is split up amoungst cats, dogs, reptiles, amphibians, etc. AND! (here is the kicker) the presentations, classes, and speakers in these courses are all paid for and presented by varied major pet food companies (like IAMS, Purina, Science Diet, etc). So! All the information that these vets receive is the information teh pet food industries PAY for them to receive. Aye, sad but true......