Friday, June 26, 2009

vegan is a dirty word to a dog

What is a vegan?
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Most vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool.

What is a vegetarian?
When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians. People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg).
is used to describe a vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.
refers to people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.

What is a dog (canidae/Canis familiaris/canine)?
Zoological categorization of dogs - CARNIVORES - from the Smithsonian.
ORDER CARNIVORA - Suborder Caniformia ("dog-like")
Even if someone doesn't subscribe to that, you HAVE to admit that they cannot be classified as HERBIVORE. So feeding them a herbivore's diet is clearly unnatural.

From Robert K. Wayne:

Dogs do not produce amylase in their mouths which is common for animals who are known herbivores or omnivores. Dogs have dentition and digestive systems designed for the ingestion and digestion of prey animals. Dogs have the psychological/behavioral instinct geared around hunting. Hell, even the social structure of wolves is to facilitate successful hunting of large prey animals. (And before we get into another debate about this, the domestic dog is the closest relative to the grey wolf - so close that they differ by only .2% of their mitochondrial DNA)

Iams did a study comparing animal based proteins to plant based proteins.

They found that compared with dogs fed a diet with 100% chicken protein, dogs fed diets with decreasing levels of chicken and increasing levels of corn gluten meal had

* decreased lean tissue
* increased body fat
* decreased levels of blood proteins routinely used as markers of superior nutritional status

They also found that senior dogs fed a 32%-chicken protein, chicken-based diet had better body composition and a muscle-specific protein pattern identical to that in healthy young adult dogs. Whereas the dogs fed a 16% chicken or a 32% chicken/corn diet did not have the good results.

So, what about your dog? Carnivore's diet? Omnivore's dilemma? Or forced herbivore?
And, most importantly, WHY?

If I'm asked for my opinion I'll provide it, but I'm not about to start a one-woman raw crusade. I'd rather put that energy into doing something positive for my dogs and my relationship with them, personally. To me, that positive thing is a raw, biologically correct diet. And damn, do my dogs look good!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My effort, aborted

I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to get pictures of my dogs while they eat their raw meals. Most times, I'm holding a chicken leg in one hand while auto-focusing with the other and no picture comes out all that great.

Then. I found this - Raw Fed Dogs Recipes. It's everything I was trying to accomplish!
Definitely check it out!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dehydrated Rabbit Feet

They make a good quick treat

Another truly natural, healthy snack. The feet are washed with hot water and dried in the dehydrator. This dries the fur and meaty part of the foot, but does not dry out the bones.

From, where we get our dehydrated bunny feet.

Mmmmm, Tsuki contemplates before her furry, fiber filled snack.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pigs Feet

Need something that will take at least a half hour for any dog to safely chomp and chew?
Need something to clean and polish your dog's pearly whites?
Need something that will give both mental and physical (jaw) stimulation?

Ain't nothin' better than the chewy and bony parts of the pig. Pigs' feet are loaded with bones and tendons, as well as a healthy fat source that a dog converts to energy.

The pigs' feet we find locally are quartered and thus perfect for a 20-25lb dog to gnaw and chew on. For larger dogs, some might want to consider the hocks (raw "knuckles") as an alternative.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Haul

Anytime I see a sale at the butcher, meat distributor or take a trip to the Rt. 107 slaughterhouse is cause for celebration my house! Time to stock up!

This past week our local meat distributor (who specializes in local, grass fed fare) had a beautiful sale on halved fryers, beef chuck and veal patties. Chicken livers hearts and gizzards, beef kidneys, and pigs feet are usually pretty cheap so I also stocked up on those.
Nature's Variety was kind enough to send a few coupons when I requested, so we got to pick up some lamb medallions as well.

What does all this look like?

(complete with labeled zip lock baggies!)

Fryers, halved, then hacked with cleaver to weigh, bag and freeze portions better

And my over full freezer

Life is good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's up, Evangers?

Read Yes!Biscuit's post from yesterday to find out.

Updated: Check out this Dogster Post as well, FDA Suspends Evangers Emergency Permit

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tightening the Belt

In today's economy, finding the best diet at the best price is no easy task. Especially if you are limited to dry dog foods (kibble).

To find an economic solution, one needs to figure out how much food your dog should eat. There are many equations, this will give you a rough estimate (based on a moderately active adult dog)
Desired Weight/2.2 x 30 + 70 = calories per day

So, for instance Tsuki's ideal weight is approximately 18lbs:
18/2.2 = 8.182
8.182 x 30 = 245.455
245.455 + 70 = approx 316 calories per day

Now let’s break down the price of foods. I picked one of the most expensive foods, mid priced foods and one of the cheapest foods just to show how there isn’t that big of a difference in price once you break it down. The prices are regular prices at

Orijen Adult 29.7 lb bag costs $60.49

Blue Buffalo Wilderness 26lb bag costs $50.99

Canidae All Life Stages 35lb bag costs $39.99

Iams Lamb and Rice 40lb bag costs $51.29

Beneful Orignal Adult 35.2 lb bag costs $37.99

Find the amount of calories per pound of the food.

Orijen has 1909 calories per pound.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness has 1702 calories per pound.

Canidae ALS has 1875 calories per pound.

Iams has 1614 calories per pound.

Beneful has 1674 calories per pound.

Okay, now break it down into price per calorie.

Orijen Adult: 1909 x 29.7 = 56697.3
60.49 / 56697.3 = 0.0010669.
Orijen costs $0.0010669 per calorie

BB Wilderness: 1702 x 26 = 44252
50.99/44252 = 0.0011523

Canidae ALS: 1875 x 35 = 65625
39.99/65625 = 0.00060937

Iams: 1614 x 40 = 64560
51.29/64560 = 0.0007945

Beneful Original: 1674 x 35.2 = 58960
37.99 / 58960 = 0.00064434

Okay, now take how many calories per day your dog needs.

Tsuki needs 316.

Orijen: 316 * 0.0010669 = $0.33701404 per day
0.7229944 * 365 (one year) = $123.06

Beneful: 316 * 0.00064434 = $0.20361144 per day
0.44517882 * 365 (one year) = $74.32

Orijen – Beneful
123.06 - 74.32 = $48.74 per year, or $4.06 per month.

To feed my dog one of the MOST EXPENSIVE FOODS it’ll only cost me an extra $4.06 per month. I understand that some people do not have an extra $4 bucks a month, but those people don’t have to feed one of the most expensive foods either. You can find a great food without ugly chemicals that you can afford!

Use the formula above to find the calorie cost per day/month/year for your dog using foods you currently feed and/or are considering to feed. If you need any help - leave a comment and I'll be glad to assist where I can!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Raw vs. Dry Protein

When I first discovered Orijen I was so excited about the ingredients and nutrients! It was the answer to many a food quandary up until that point. Going grain free really helped pushed me towards feeding a raw diet, as well.

I think it was their "Biologically Appropriate"-ness that had me.

Yet, something always bothered by about the sky high protein analysis of foods like Orijen and EVO, compared to raw foods in the pure form.

Kibble like EVO and Orijen are so high because if you look at the dry matter basis of raw food the protein content is much higher. Since kibble is severely lacking in water that's where you get the high protein numbers. Raw food is mostly water which brings those percentages down.

For comparison:
Orijen 6-Fresh Fish
44% protein (min)
10% moisture (max)

Acana Pacifica
33% protein (min)
10% moisture (max)

EVO Small Meat Red Bites:
42.42% protein (min)
7.50% moisture (max)

Wellness Core Ocean
34% protein (min)
10% moisture (max)

Canidae Grain Free ALS
34% protein (min)
10% moisture (max)

Raw proteins:
Green Tripe (per 1oz):
14.56% protein
81.43% water

Large Raw Egg (per gram):
12.58% protein
75.84% water

Beef Liver (per 1oz):
20% protein
68.99% water

Herring (per 100g):
17.96% protein
72.05% water

Beef Heart (per 1oz):
28.23% protein
65.15% water

Chicken, whole with bone and skin (per 1oz):
25% protein
59% water

Find other protein/water percentages through the USDA calculator

Weight and Nutritional Status

Click here to learn about obesity in dogs, also how to get back to and manage a healthy weight.

Click here to learn about conditions like anorexia, EPI and other issues with very thin dogs.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Protein and Aggression

The JAVMA published a study in August, 2000, entitled:

The prospective crossover study dealt with 11 dogs diagnosed with dominance aggression, 11 dogs with territorial aggression, and 11 dogs with hyperactivity (diagnosis made by a behaviorist on basis of history and clinical findings).
Note: In the descriptions of criteria for these dogs, there is no mention of exercise or mental stimulation in their daily routine. I think this crucial.

They placed each of the dogs on 4 diets, fed 1 week each in random order with a transition period of not less than 3 days between each diet. Minimal total duration was 40 days for each dog.

Two diets had low protein (LP) content (approx 18%), and two diets had high protein (HP) (approx 30%). Two of those diets, 1 HP and 1 LP, were supplemented with tryptophan (trp).

Based on the week of feeding, the dogs' owners were asked to score their dogs daily for dominance aggression, territorial aggression, fearfulness, hyperactivity and excitability.

Not taking into consideration what is defined as dominance or territorial aggression, fearfulness, hyperactivity or excitability, and not taking into consideration an outlet, physically and/or mentally of the dogs involved in the study - the results showed that dogs fed the HP diet without Trp supplementation had the highest (least manageable) dominance score for all above issues. Dogs fed the LP without Trp diet had the highest territorial score. Hyperactivity and excitability were not significantly altered by either diet.

As Trp is a known "natural serotonin solution", I believe the use of it during the protein study should remain seperate from results of just feeding the non-supplemented food. Obviously, if Trp is used as a mood regulator, and said to help children with ADD, it logistically will help calm and or regulate certain behaviors in dogs at appropriate dosages.

The above study was funded by Hills.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bloodthirsty Hounds..

When asked what we feed our dogs, the reaction is usually "aren't you afraid your dogs will try to eat you while you sleep?"

No. Not even a little bit. Mostly because they aren't even 25lbs, but also because that is a myth.

My dogs have a truly impressive prey drive, always have and I suspect they always will.
This hasn't changed since feeding them raw.

My dogs have always had a knack for treeing, chasing, and subsequently catching all sorts of things from bugs, lizards, birds to squirrels... they play with them until they are just about dead, then roll on them.
This hasn't changed since feeding them raw.

My dogs were well socialized with other dogs, they never have been 'dog aggressive'.
This hasn't changed since feeding them raw.

My male has always had some issue with resource guarding around other male dogs.
This hasn't changed since feeding him raw.

My dogs are young, vibrant, and energetic.
This has been enhanced, in a balanced way, since feeding them raw.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Couple to Plead Guilty for 2007 Pet Food Recalls

ChemNutra, owners agree to plead guilty in case of melamine-contaminated pet food

DAVID TWIDDY, Associated Press Writer
7:15 AM PDT, June 3, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A company and its owners have agreed to plead guilty in connection with melamine-tainted pet food that may have killed thousands of dogs and cats in 2007, according to a court document.

An attorney for Stephen S. Miller, co-owner of ChemNutra Inc., said his client had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and would plead guilty plea at a hearing June 16, according to the papers filed in court last week.

Miller's wife, Sally Miller, and Las Vegas-based ChemNutra also plan to plead guilty, the filing said. Attorneys did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Don Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, said the office couldn't discuss any plea agreement until it had been approved by a judge.

The Millers and ChemNutra, along with two Chinese companies, were indicted in February 2008 on charges alleging they imported wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine, which was then sold to pet food makers. Thousands of cats and dogs reportedly sickened or died after eating the tainted food.

ChemNutra, which imports ingredients from China to the U.S. for the feed and food industries, and the Millers were charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce, 13 misdemeanor counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce and one felony count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. and Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products Arts and Crafts I/E Co. were also indicted.

The indictments alleged that Suzhou Textiles, an export broker, mislabeled 800 metric tons of tainted wheat gluten manufactured by Xuzhou to avoid inspection in China. Suzhou then did not properly declare the contaminated product it shipped to the U.S. as a material to be used in food, the indictment said.

According to the indictment, ChemNutra picked up the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City, then sold it to makers of various brands of pet foods. The indictment alleges that Xuzhou added the melamine to artificially boost the protein content of the gluten to meet the requirements specified in Suzhou's contract with ChemNutra.

Prosecutors said adding the melamine, which would allow it to pass chemical inspections for protein content, was cheaper than actually adding protein to the gluten.

They added at the time that prosecutors weren't alleging that the Millers and ChemNutra knew that the product was toxic, only that they were aware the product had been shipped into the U.S. under false pretenses and failed to notify their customers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Raw Green Tripe

Whole Dog Journal said it best in their July 08 article "How Green is Your Tripe":
"Ewwww! What's that awful smell? If your dog thinks it's the most exciting thing you've ever put in a bowl while you gag and hold your breath, it's probably green tripe..."
But what is raw green tripe? Tripe is the stomach of ruminating animals. The food this animal eats goes through an incredible digestion process that creates an ample amount of gastric juices, amino acids and digestive enzymes. Essentially - it opens the door for your dog to fully benefit from the food he eats.

We try to incorporate raw green tripe/organ blend 3-4 times per week into our dogs' diets as their muscle meat and organ portion of their raw meal plan. Stinky? Very much. Beneficial? Even more than the stinky!

Teeth, digestion, jaw muscles, coat, eyes... raw green tripe promotes total health!
See: Nutrient Breakdown

More information and ordering:
Green Tripe
Healthy Paws
A Place for Paws
Eat Wild
Momo Food
Healthy Pet Diet
Raise a Paw for Raw
True Carnivores

Solid Gold
Wholistic Paws
Ziwi Peak
Pet Kind
Free Range Dog Chews
Best Bully Sticks