Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do we really need prescription diets?

From The American Dog Magazine...

Dr. Paula Terifaj, a holistic veterinarian in Orange County, owner of Founders Veterinary Clinic and author of How to Feed Your Dog if You Flunked Rocket Science, recalled being “courted by" pet food companies in vet school: “It was conveyed to us that people are too stupid to cook for themselves,” she says. As most veterinarians do, she utilized “Prescription Diets®” in her practice initially. In 1999, however, she had a light bulb moment when she came across a book written by one her favorite professors, Dr. Donald Strombeck, entitled, Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets: The Healthful Alternative, which is still available today on His advice set her on a journey that changed her practice forever. Today, Dr. Terifaj operates a holistic practice and encourages her clients to cook for their dogs. She feels that the manufacturer of Prescription Diets® uses “substandard ingredients and then fortifies the hell out of their formulas."

...A More Natural Approach
So what is a pet owner to do if their dog develops kidney disease, urine crystals, or any other diseases that these diets would normally be prescribed to treat?

Dr. Terifaj first suggests first verifying that the dog does indeed need a special diet. She feels that often times a dog is “on the fence” and the easiest thing for a veterinarian to do is to suggest a Prescription Diet®. Instead, she often turns to a Web site, This Web site provides recipes at a nominal charge to pet owners interesting in cooking their own food. In addition, vets can log in at no charge and request diets designed to treat specific diseases. She suggests asking your vet to do so for you if he or she is adamant about a specific diet. Not only will this be a cheaper alternative, but Dr. Terifaj feels it is a much healthier approach to feed real “human food.”

...If a veterinarian won’t budge from the idea of a Prescription Diet®, it may be time to locate a holistic veterinarian for  second opinion. Dr. Jasek is a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) and clients often find her using the vet finder on the group's web site,

The next time your veterinarian suggests a diet for your four-legged child that you’re not comfortable with, don’t hesitate to ask questions. A good veterinarian, traditional or holistic, will welcome that discussion and encourage you to look at all the options available.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rate Your Dog's Kibble

First, find the ingredients... either on the food's website or a decent vendor, like K9 Cuisine.

Second, go to Rate Your Dog's Food and answer the 20+ questions.

EVO Herring & Salmon got an A+ (102)

Solid Gold's Wolf Cub got an A+ (105)

Go find yours!

Monday, February 15, 2010

filtered water

I am often asked about the type of water we set out for our dogs.

It's tap water.

I'd like to say that I'm diligent enough to give them the same Brita filtered water that I drink, but that isn't the case. I keep their bowls cleaned and refreshed twice a day at least, but it's all tap water.

A bit about filtered water:
Filtration systems, such as Brita, can reduce (not eliminate) the following contaminants from tap water (click), the most common are:
* Copper
  •  Source - corrosion of household plumbing & erosion of natural deposits
  • Potential Health Effects - gastrointestinal distress, liver or kidney damage

* Mercury
  •  Source - Erosion of natural deposits, runoff from landfills/cropland
  • Potential Health Effects - kidney damage

* Cadmium
  • Source - corrosion of galvanized pipes, runoff from waste batteries/paints
  • Potential Health Effects - kidney damage
* Lead
  • Source -  corrosion of household plumbing systems, erosion of natural deposits
  • Potential Health Effects - Infants and children; Delays in physical or mental development; children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults: Kidney problems; high blood pressure

getting canned

aka - crash course in wet dog foods.

Puppy is not yet on a raw diet. I have been preparing his portions each time I shop for my shibas, but I am waiting for my grinder before I begin him on his new diet. He just turned 4 months old, and still has a mouth full of razor sharp puppy teeth.

In the meantime, I've been feeding him wetted kibble mixed with canned foods... soup really.

A lot of people advise the use of canned foods be the same as kibble (slow transition, etc) - and that is sound advice.
Except, I didn't follow it.

And it turned out OK.

What I do is take his normal portion of kibble and add approximately 2 tablespoons of a canned food, some warm water, mix and serve. Yeah, it is a bit more than his package-printed serving, but he's a growing puppy.
- A basic rule of thumb, especially in raw feeding, is to feed your dog the amount you would feed him at his adult weight. It comes to about 5-8% of his current weight while growing (depending on the weight), which ultimately 2-4% at his adult weight. [eg. a 25lb adult dog will get 0.5-1 lbs of fresh/raw food a day, at 2-4% of his weight. A puppy that may only be under 10lbs at 12 weeks, but is determined to be about 25lbs as an adult should get 0.5-1 lbs of fresh food daily]

Back to "getting canned" - either he has a stomach of steel, or changing cans on a tri-daily basis (a few tablespoons at a time) won't cause stomach upset without transition. If you've had a different experience, post a comment - we all learn from each other!
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A note about consistency:  Canned foods seem to have three different consistencies..
1. Cubed.

This is Merrick Wilderness Blend. Buckley was actually less inclined to chomp the cubes in an amongst his kibbles, but ultimately he did.This type of food comes packed with gravy, which helps when mixing with kibble.

2. Semi Solid.

This is Nature's Logic Venison Dinner. Buckley can't get enough of this food! It has the perfect consistency to mix in with kibble.

3. Spam-Solid.
I don't have a picture of this, but if you've fed anything like Tripett's Green Tripe you'll know what I mean. It is s-o-l-i-d in the can... that you have to scrape it out (and with Tripett specifically, its just. not. pleasant!). Like a stinky carving station..
For this consistency, I think its actually better to serve it separately from the kibble, lest a choking hazard should present itself.

Friday, February 12, 2010

raw recall | Nature's Variety CHICKEN

Nature's Variety has initiated a voluntary recall of their Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet for dogs and cats with a "Best If Used By" date of 11/10/10 because these products may be contaminated with Salmonella.  The only products affected are limited to chicken medallions, patties, and chubs with a "Best If Used By" date of 11/10/10.  No other Nature's Variety products are affected.
The affected products are limited to the Nature's Variety Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet packaged in the following forms:
  • 3 lb chicken medallions (UPC# 7 69949 60130 2) with a "Best If Used By" date of 11/10/10
  • 6 lb chicken patties (UPC# 7 69949 60120 3) with a "Best If Used By" date of 11/10/10
  • 2 lb chicken chubs (UPC# 7 69949 60121 0) with a "Best If Used By" date of 11/10/10
If you are a consumer and have purchased one of the affected products, please return the unopened product to your retailer for a full refund or replacement.  If your package has been opened, please dispose of the raw food in a safe manner by securing it in a covered trash receptacle.  Then, bring your receipt (or the empty package in a sealed bag) to your local retailer for a full refund or replacement.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

puppy kibble | solid gold wolf cub

Almost three weeks ago, I got a call first thing on a Sunday morning that I'd be fostering a puppy that afternoon. A 13 week old puppy.
At first, I was like ok.... then the panic set in that I was SO NOT prepared for a puppy! Especially nutritionally.

I ran out to find a decent kibble that I could feed, and also some wet foods (will describe in next post) to make into a sort of 'soup' to make sure puppy was also getting some real meat and proper hydration.

Once at Petco, I settled on Solid Gold Wolf Cub (even though he is a smaller breed of dog, the analysis is OK for all dogs) for his base kibble. Why? Well the ingredients are good enough, as I have been told "you have to be careful not only with the calcium & phosphorus levels but also an appropriate amount of DHA" and this line by Solid Gold has all these covered.

Most dog feeders have 'heard' that the problem you face with feeding a puppy (specifically of a larger breed) is the high protein levels in most of the better puppy foods. It is actually the calcium, and its ration to phosphorus, that is more of a growth concern. Puppies cannot regulate calcium like adults can and too much can cause them to grow more rapidly than nature intended. This has been said to cause problems such as dysplasias, HOD, OCD etc.

The Ingredients:
Bison | Salmon Meal | Brown Rice | Millet | Cracked Pearled Barley | Rice Bran | Canola Oil | Tomato Pomace | Flaxseed | Natural Flavor | Salmon Oil (source of DHA) | Choline Chloride | Taurine | Dried Chicory Root | Parsley Flakes | Pumpkin Meal | Almond Oil | Sesame Oil | Yucca Schidigera Extract | Thyme | Blueberries | Cranberries | Carrots | Broccoli | Vitamin E Supplement | Iron Proteinate | Zinc Proteinate | Copper Proteinate | Ferrous Sulfate | Zinc Sulfate | Copper Sulfate | Potassium Iodide | Thiamine Mononitrate | Manganese Proteinate | Manganous Oxide | Ascorbic Acid | Vitamin A Supplement | Biotin | Calcium Panthothenate | Manganese Sulfate | Sodium Selenite | Pyridoxine Hydrochloride | Vitamin B12 Supplement | Riboflavin Supplement | Vitamin D Supplement | Folic Acid |

According to, the guaranteed analysis is as follows:
Protein, Min 26%
Fat, Min 12%
Fiber, Max 4%
Moisture, Max 10%
Calcium, Max 1.5%
Phosphorus, Max 1.2%

According to the label on the bag of kibble, Salmon Oil is the source of DHA

So, he likes it. He will be switched to raw once the grinder is up and running ;) 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

treats | nature's logic venison

I've always said that I pick out treats based on their ingredient list, and for me - named products and a super short ingredient list are the best. I love picking up something like wagger's champion chips where the ingredient is simply "100% beef lung".

However. We are now raising a puppy. Who is picky when eating. And needs to be trained, socialized.

So I went out to find a treat that was like a meal (think protein bar) but was also nutritious and its protein source named. I found Nature's Logic Venison Treats.

It has a monster list of ingredients, but all of them pretty good (yes, there is a grain - millet):
NGREDIENTS: Venison Meal, Lamb Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat, Montmorillonite, Brewer's Yeast, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Spray Dried Chicken Liver, Pumpkin Seed, Animal Plasma, Kelp, Natural Flavoring, Cottage Cheese, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Egg Shell Meal, Avocado, Chicory Root, Tomato Powder, Almonds, Spray Dried Cod Liver Oil, Apple Powder, Blueberry Powder, Apricot Powder, Carrot Powder, Pumpkin Powder, Cranberry Powder, Broccoli Powder, Spinach Powder, Parsley, Artichoke, Rosemary, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Bifidium Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Pineapple Extract, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachtium Fermentation Extract, Mixed Tocopherols.
Nature's Logic Natural Venison Meal Snack Recipe Canine Treats are intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. 

For my purposes, feeding puppy while training throughout the day, this treat will do. If I were feeding him raw, perhaps I wouldn't use this treat because of the grain and extensive list of ingredients - but most are what some raw feeders supplement anyway (like alfalfa, brewer's yeast, spinach, etc).
Plus, they look decent in our 'doggie treat' jar:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chews | Salmon Skin Rolls

Snack 21 really has a good thing going with all their dehydrated fishy chews.We've been trying the different varieties as I come across them. sells them!

From their website:

Salmon Skin Rolls

An alternative to rawhide and a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids with
no digestion issues.  Made of 100% dried Wild Pacific Salmon skin, the chews
contain no additives, preservatives, colors or artificial flavours, and are ideal for use
with rubber treat toys

How a raw feeder spends her tax return...

By purchasing a meat grinder, y'all.

I am officially one of the weirdest people I know. Instead of going out to dinner or whatever normal people do, a portion of my tax return is going towards something I've wanted for almost two years.

Cabela's® Heavy-Duty Meat Grinder
The powerful 400-watt/120-volt motor in the Cabela's Heavy-Duty Grinder is capable of grinding more than 2 lbs. per minute to make quick work of a lot of meat. And unlike most grinders, it has an all-metal head and tray, instead of plastic, for greater durability. Metal cutting knife and grinding plates in three sizes (3mm, 4.5mm and 8mm) produce coarse- or fine-ground meat. Forward add reverse. Imported.
Protect your grinder with this tough canvas cover. It will keep dust and dirt from collecting on your appliance.

Look out veal shoulders! Watch your back, pork necks! I'll be grinding you soon.  

(**A word about grinding.. I do not believe grinding size appropriate bones for your dogs beats letting them rip, tear, grind and crunch raw meaty bones on their own.  For my shibas [18 & 24lbs] I will not, not, not be grinding anything they handle themselves [chicken cuts, turkey necks, lamb cuts, fish, goat, et al] but I will be grinding cuts I wish they could handle, but cannot [veal shoulders, pork necks]. I plan to grind more for the puppy @ 14wks old until his adult teeth come in, then he will be able to tackle meaty bones on his own)

Monday, February 1, 2010

the most disgusting thing I've fed. yet.

was from a can.

Tripett New Zealand Green Vension Tripe. I have seriously never thought I would vomit from feeding something until I opened this can. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous!  And I've fed some pretty gag-worthy things before... organs, brain, tongue, feet, etc. But nothing - and I mean NOTHING - smelled this putrid.

But wouldn't you know... the dogs LOVED it. Ate every little morsel they could find.

The Tripett Beef Green Tripe wasn't as bad, still the 'tripe-y' smell, but not nearly as horrible as the venison. And the dogs also enjoyed it. I enjoyed the limited ingredient list (as compared to something like Solid Gold's version)

From Best Bully

Tripett Pure Green Venison Tripe is from venison raised and fed on the grasslands of New Zealand. Like the lamb tripe, venison tripe is easy for puppies to digest and is a great alternative for your pooches who are allergic to beef. Green Tripe (Green simply means the tripe is pure and unbleached) contains the partially digested grasses in an animal's stomach and is rich in digestive enzymes, gastric juices, taurine, amino acids and essential fatty acids which are important to all aspects of your pets' health. Tripett is intended to be mixed with dry or raw food. It is not a replacement for your pooches current dog food.
Ingredients: New Zealand Venison Tripe, Water, Garlic, Vegetable Gum  

Ingredients: Beef Tripe, Water, Garlic, Vegetable Gum