Nature’s Variety Dog Food (Summary)


Nature’s Variety Dog Food
Reviews and Ratings

The Nature’s Variety dog food brand includes the following product lines:

Nature’s Variety Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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A Final Word

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12/10/2016 Last Update

  • Katherine E Pruitt

    Meant to say 5lb bag. Sorry

  • anon101

    Zignature Salmon or Whitefish or Salmon and Trout.

  • InkedMarie

    I’m very certain that NV does not come in 50lb bags. It’s rare to find a food that does. Natures Recipe maybe but I dont think theirs do either.

  • haleycookie

    I was unaware natures variety had 50 lbs bags. Are you sure you’re not mistaking it for pedigree or something of the sort?

  • haleycookie

    You might try wellness simple. They have a limited ingredient diet that starts with salmon then salmon meal. That is the only meat protein in the food. Also caniae pure sea contains salmon, salmon meal, then menhaden fish meal. Not sure how important that would be to you but it’s mainly salmon based. There’s plenty out there. You’ll just have to look around until you find something you’re comfortable with.

  • Murphs mom

    I switched from Orijen to Instinct Salmon because Orijen began using fish other than Salmon. Well now Instinct has changed its formula and bag. I need a new Salmon based dog food. Instinct now using Salmon first not Salmon meal then goes on with the cheap fish. Any Ideas?

  • Katherine E Pruitt

    Natures variety is an awesome company!! I sent an email about trying samples of their instinct dog food and they replied back the very same day and I had my samples the next day. My dogs loved it. They also sent me several coupons. I bought a 50 lb bag and saved 5.00. I highly recommend this brand

  • Natasha Botyanovskyy

    I don’t like purina, Ekanuba I read the most interesting review, this lady had a Chuaua that was chronically Ill she ate fromm food poor dog was on vitals antibiotics and she died. What food companies do is they add toxic ingredients permitted by aafco and these companies never monitor or add right amounts of these ingredients such as carrogeenan copper sulfate and other I gredients and vets are taught by these companies if your dog or cat is sick of course the vet will tell you to put your fog on purina nutro science diet and other crap brands down the line your pet gets sick both vet and food companies make profit and no one is respondible. It’s up to us yo do right by pets and research the food we give. Becareful what kibble you choose these companies are million dollar profits can care less about pet health.

  • Crazy4cats

    Super cute! Check out the article on how to choose the best large breed puppy food on the left margin of this page. It has some very good and interesting info on raising large breed pups.,

    Looks like you have your hands full. Good luck!

  • bojangles

    Hi Natasha, welcome to DFA 🙂

    Beautiful dogs!

    I just wish that people didn’t mutilate the ears of dogs to make them look a certain way. It’s cruel and it’s sad 🙁

    Dogs are our best friends, they deserve better treatment from their “caretakers” 🙂

  • Pitlove

    Hi Natasha-

    Your two puppies are adorable! I especially love your Corso.

    Just to let you know, protein does not cause any bone growth issues with large breed dogs. It is in fact too much calcium that does! This was discovered 20 years ago through further research on the subject.

    I agree however that Nature’s Variety is one of the better “all natural” brands out there. There are actually a couple formulas within Nature’s Variety that a member of this forum (who is now studying to become a holistic veterinian) found to be safe for large breed puppies. I believe the LID Turkey was one of them. She has the whole list of foods for large breed puppies over on the forums. Most are still accurate even though the list is 2 years old.

  • Natasha Botyanovskyy

    I think that natures variety is the safest of all dog foods. It dies have high amounts of protein if you have a puppy rottweiler or cane corso becareful. Causes them to grow fast and there bonest and ligaments ache.bones can’t grow as fast as the body and muscle weight effects the bones. Low protein kibble for large puppies. Everytime I search other kibble dogs have died from it or had serious health issues. Other than that has great prices for natures variety on top of discounts alot cheaper than store fat 2 day shipping. My cats and pups had been on all natures variety products no health concerns no issues accept growing bones. So far I’m convicted thar this us a great brand I found other recalls for dog food nothing on this one hope it stays that way.

  • InkedMarie

    Hare Today, a raw dog food company, has a rabbit farm.

  • Diana

    I hate that the US pretty much sold out to China, too. What I don’t understand is the people who actually believe that every component in their pet food is sourced some special place and that nothing comes from China. Just TRY getting vitamins that are sourced in the US. And while I’m at it, do you realize how much “fresh, wild caught salmon” would actually cost?

  • Diana

    Why DOESN’T somebody open a rabbit farm? I would love that!

  • barbkohl

    I can say, that I wanted to get some info on Natures Variety, and have had to scroll through an inordinate number of messages about fleas, and personal greetings to each other, amongst other topics.
    I’d like to research more, but am tired of scrolling through inconsequential posts that have nothing to do with that particular food. Maybe there should be a forum for people to chat on? Then the topic about food could be addressed so others can follow them (Just a suggestion)

  • reudicat

    I think they were eating the duck meal formula. I am not sure if it was Texas A & M that mishandled the sample, or if the vet clinic which submitted it just never paid for the testing, and therefor, never got results. I am sorry to hear about your friends dogs. I would make sure they get bloodwork done and consider food poisoning a possibility. Other things were considered in the case of my cats, however, they are indoor only and had no contact with any toxins of any kind.

  • SebastiansMom

    Which formula were you feeding your cats when they became ill? I ask because a friend of mine switched her dogs to one of the NV Instinct formulas in March. Her 6-year-old female became ill and died last week, and now her 10-year-old male has started showing similar symptoms.
    While it certainly could be coincidental, if there is a chance that an ingredient in the food is making pets sick, we would like to know so that we can help prevent other animals from becoming ill as well. She does not have a sample of the food to send in for testing.
    I noticed that you mentioned Texas A&M in your post. My friend lives in North Texas.

  • pitlove

    Thanks Bobby Dog, just filled it out

  • Bobby dog

    Hi pitlove:
    To help speed up the review process fill out this form for the new recipe:

  • pitlove

    Will there be a review of their new “Ultimate Protein” line coming soon? Very curious as to what Dr. Mike and the DFA crew has to say about that line

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Isn’t that the name of Purina’s horrendously recalled jerky?

  • reudicat

    I was feeding Nature’s Variety Instinct to my cats. After 6 months of feeding it to them, 3 of my 5 indoor only cats became deathly ill with liver failure. They had to be hospitalized with IV fluids. All 3 literally almost died. My bill was approx. $3000, after a $4000 discount because I work at the vet (so a normal person would have paid $7000 to save these 3 cats). THe vet and Texas A & M screwed up my pet food testing, so I never got conclusive results. However, I believe that it was Nature’s Variety Instinct that caused my 3 cats to go in to liver failure and almost DIE. Their liver values were normal again after aggressive treatments, so it was not an ongoing issue. All the cats have been healthy since switching foods. When I called Nature’s Variety, a woman answered. She said she had submitted a claim for me, even though she literally took no information from me such as my name, phone number, or even which kind of their food I was feeding. (So pretty much scamming me.)
    Again, I work at a vet, and also have quite a few pet sitting clients. If anyone tells me they feed their pets this, I make them a new customer of Fromm cat food, and make Nature’s Variety lose a customer. Shame on you, Nature’s Variety, for trying to kill my animals and lying about it.

  • Shawna

    Well hello to you fellow Husker 🙂

    Wheaton’s are so adorable.. My next door neighbor has had to rescue Wheaton’s over the years. Intense creatures!!

    Yes, it definitely is a task!! I have one that is quite sensitive to chicken. Causes colitis if eaten more than just a few days in a row.. 🙁 And I too am not fond of canola…

    Good luck!!!!

    PS — almost football season!!! 🙂

  • BoPatia

    Nebraska?! Hello fellow Husker. Transplant to GA here. Looking into NV. Wheaton Terrier we’ve had since living in Omaha 11 yrs ago. Sensative dogs. He ate something that has kept him upset for a week… probably snuck it from the table. Figured I want a food that is easy to digest… so many LID foods are grain! I buy grain-free, but I think it’s time to go away from chicken and watch more closely for the canola oil that is in most things w/o chicken. It’s a task.

  • bman

    I’m guessing the issue here was the grain in the Prairie. I advise ALL dog owners to move their dogs onto a grain free diet to a food that has meat as a first ingredient. Likely your dogs have a grain allergy. The number one ingredient in your food should be meat – not meat meal, and not high protein vegetables. Meat protein as a % of the food is as important as the meat itself being the first ingredient.

  • bman

    Nature’s Variety now sources rabbit from Europe and not China. If you want to make a lot of money in the U.S., open a rabbit farm.

  • LabsRawesome

    I bought it in a pet store called Waggin Train.

  • Pam c

    Did you buy it in store or online?

  • LabsRawesome

    Hey, Yes, it is best to check several stores/websites for prices on food. I picked up a bag of Victor Ultra Pro Grain Free dog food a couple days ago. It was $38.99 for a 30lb bag. Another store wanted $48.50 for the same size bag. Well I know which store I will be getting my Victor dog food at in the future. 🙂

  • Crazy4cats

    I was just doing some online price comparisons. I noticed that the Petco website’s Nature’s Variety dry food is significantly cheaper on line than in the store. I don’t know if it’s a special sale or their regular price. I’m going to see if they will match prices at the store or if I need to order online.

  • Dude

    I don’t see a problem.

  • Melissaandcrew

     Hi John-

    Thank you for the info. I recently(yesterday) started switching my crew over to the Prairie mixed with the Instinct(50-50-I have to do this in order to feed the Instinct due to the fat content being too high for some of my crew) , and since I switch brands every so often, NV was the next in the list. So far, no problems, but its only been three meals. I am using the LID Lamb Instinct with the Chicken prairie(they were out of lamb prairie) so perhaps the Instinct is keeping them firm.

  • John

    letting you know that after using Nature’s Variety Prairie for the past 6
    years, we are changing brands. We have experienced extremely soft stool from
    almost all of our dogs on the Beef (when it was still on the shelves), the
    Chicken and the Lamb. When

    I called Nature’s
    Variety; they asked if I could give them more information. When I tried to call
    them back with additional information about the Chicken, I received no answer.
    I called them back two weeks later, got the same woman on the phone, who told me
    again I needed to provide them with more information. They told me they had no
    one else reporting any problems with the Chicken or Lamb. I told them I knew of
    someone else in Pennsylvania who was having the same problem (we are in

    (Nature’s Variety woman) told me they had not changed their process at all. At
    this point in time I was feeling frustrated and told her, that was the whole
    point. I think they need to change something in their procedure.

    At no
    point was I told I was a valued customer or that they wanted to compensate me
    for the bad dog food we had already bought.

    learned, we will not buy their brand again unless there is a major change with
    their processing.

  • Pingback: Looking for Dog food made in America. - Page 2()

  • LabsRawesome

     Hey Toxed, Thanks.

  • Toxed2loss

    Thank you Labs!!!! Very well put!!!

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Karen G. Dr. Mike reviews and rates thousands of dog foods. Do you really think he has the time to call each individual manufacturer and ask them about each ingredient in every formula that they make? Which even if he could do this monumental task, the sourcing of ingredients may change from week to week anyway. He has done 95% of the work for us. If you want to try a food based on his review and rating, then the other 5% of the work is up to you. Call or email the manufacturer with your questions and then you have to decide on your own if you trust the answers that you get. Dr. Mike will never recommend a dog food to you. He won’t tell anyone what he feeds his own dogs either, people might take that info as a recommendation. You have to be willing to do a little work for yourself/your dog.

  • LabsRawesome

     Hey Shawna, I have some delusions, but not about dog food. Or ingredient sourcing. lol

  • Shawna

    PS — If even remotely possible I would get all my food from Joel Salatin at Polyface Farms..  However being in Nebraska — that’s just not going to happen 😉

  • Shawna

    Yeah Bob K, I know..  Was, without being rude to Karen, just trying to make a point.  Pink slime, meat glue, nitrites/nitrates, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, food colorings, irradiation, pasteurization, BHA/BHT, hormones, antibiotics, waxes, PFOA, BPA plus many more…  I have no disillusions that our food supply is at all safe….

  • Bob K

    Shawna – You are kidding yourself thinking this information is available and accurate.  Foods get repackaged and relabeled all the time.  Often many distributors, wholesalers and bulk breakers are involved and the origin of the ingredients is not adequately tracked.  IF you think the US food supply is special, safe and unique you are kidding yourself.  Just look at all the food recalls in the US, Contamination and recalls.    Where is the chicken from you buy in the store?  Where is the chicken from that goes into Purina ProPlan?  Are you sure? 

  • Shawna

    Karen G. ~~ which companies get all their ingredients from US sources…  I’d be interested in supporting them.  I don’t have an issue with sourcing from places like New Zealand but if a wholy US, quality product is available….I’d use it..

  • The ratings are based on the ingredient labels only.

  • Karen G.

    Just wondering how you can give 5 stars to a company that sources meat (rabbit), grains, vitamins, minerals, etc… from China and other countries?

    When asked about product sources, here’s how the company replied:

    Thank you for e-mailing! Our
    ingredients are sourced from different locations, depending on the time
    of year and batch. The rabbit protein we use in our raw diet is from
    China. The rabbit in our canned is sourced from Italy and China, while
    the rabbit in our kibble is from France. We employ a U.S. educated food
    scientist in China to oversee our rabbit sourcing. All rabbit protein is
    tested before shipment from China and again after it arrives in the
    U.S. and is processed into our raw diet. We feel very confident in how
    we handle our sourcing from China. All poultry, pork, bison, and beef
    come from the U.S. and our lamb and venison are imported from Australia
    and New Zealand. All of our products are manufactured in the U.S.,
    including the packaging we use. Vegetables and fruits are sourced from
    the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, depending on the ingredients. Our
    grains and starches are sourced from the U.S., Canada, and Brazil –
    herbs and spices from North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our
    pharmaceutical grade vitamins and minerals are from North America,
    Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. We try to source most of our
    ingredients from the U.S. and turn to other locations only as needed. We
    are very stringent on our sourcing and have good relationships built
    with our vendors for quality ingredients.


    Customer Service
    Nature’s Variety

  • sandy

    Instinct has a new product: Raw Daily Boost and Raw Boost Bites treats.  The Raw Daily Boost is a freeze dried raw supplement in course powder form you scoop with a spoon and sprinkle in any food you’re feeding for a little boost of raw food even if you don’t feed raw.

  • DogOwner

    Our puppy loves it. Wouldn’t eat pro plan’s shredded blend unless he was STARVING.

  • Jennifer

    Does anyone have any comments on Natures Variety Prairie Puppy?

  • Gordon

    Thanks, Shawna. I really like you too. Let’s pass love notes across the class tables with out the teacher’s knowledge, lol. 😛

    You’re definitely fun, but be careful as I don’t want to upset other 2 regular male posters here as they think my flirting (It’s not even flirting really) is inappropriate. Is also why I’ve toned down on some of the previous flirting and complimentary comments re Karen Becker, lol.

    Our foods ate mostly GMO or GMF free. However, that is ever so changing, unfortunately. I think I made mention of this under one of the Becker thread on this site, some months ago, when I referred to some of Australia and New Zealand’s harvests being the best in the world. It is shame about GMO foods 🙁

    Toxed2loss – I currently work in a suveillance role. Due to it’s nature, I don’t usually elaborate on that. And no it does not involve internet surveillance so rest assured you’re not targeted, lol. At any rate, I’m currently seeking to change careers back to some technical role that suits my qualifications, and will see me working day shifts only like most normal people, lol. I’m really tired of my current job and night shifts.

    Anyway, nice chatting, and talk some more later. Gots to go, and have a top night to both of you, and anyone else reading.

  • Toxed2loss

    Shawna, no need to apologies! I seriously get it.

    Yes, I don’t/can’t tolerate any printed material. I also don’t do plastic or synthetics. If I sit on them or wear them my skin dies and forms a paste of decomp. I call it death sweat. I was told to go home in ’04 and die. I’m kind of stubborn… I’ve lost count of the near death experiences years ago. I’ve had some pretty freaky stuff happen. Regular doctors kept telling me “that can’t happen!” while watching it. Anyway, I need to read that book! Thanks for the info!

  • Shawna


    I really like you!! 🙂 Mean that – not being a smart —..

    I read a book called “Never Be Sick Again” by Raymond Francis. It was the one book (of many I have read) that had the most impact towards my understanding of what “holistic” really means. Not just alternative but holistic. Mr. Francis feels that disease is caused by two things — nutrient deficiency or toxins (or both). He was chemical sensitive like Toxed and was actually on his death bed (worse then Toxed). He was even reactive to the plastic in his telephone and newspaper ink (I think Toxed is reactive to book ink and therefore newspaper ink too – true Toxed?).

    How is your food compared to US foods? Do they allow GMO foods there? Do you have the same issues with nutrient depletion due to the lack of crop rotation etc? Do they use as many pesticides there? Just curious!!

    I’m seriously tired.. If it reflects in my posts I am sorry!!

  • Toxed2loss

    Gordon, I didn’t mean to imply that I disagreed with your statements about clutter, rather that I was clarifying my comment, incase I’d not communicated it clearly. Yes, regularly washing your pets bedding with borax is a great way to interrupt the flea life cycle.

    Radio-active? LOL, no not that. Thank goodness! It just looks exactly like it. The blistering, redness, massive edema, shiny skin, discolorations. Not fun. Though on bad days I get whimsical and think I should at least get some super powers like Spiderman and Bruce Banner did… (geek on).

    Mine was from pesticide poisoning. Organophosphate followed by a fungicide that uptakes allcellular glutathione, followed by heavy retalliatory spraying for asking to be notified before they spray. The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Regiatry (ATSDR) reported that pesticide poisoning is one of the most under reported forms of injury, often misdiagnosed, as only 1-2% of physicians receive any training at all in environmental medicine. The Region 10 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) office says that people with chemical hypersensitivity are the fastest growing segment of the disabled population. This is a world wide trend. Mainstream people rarely hear about us due to the fact we can’t interact with fragranced and toxic individuals and environments. We are forced into isolation. Many become homeless due to lost ability to access work environments or their houses are toxic. Recognition is growing. Those of us with this condition don’t want therest of you to get it. We’re fighting to raise awareness. 🙂 thanks for reading my spiel!

    Now, you came home dizzy? *ears pricked up* I’m certified by the CDC to take Environmental histories and determine several different types of environmental poisoning. I’m curious. What do you do? GFETE

  • Gordon

    Yeah, I hear you both, but despite your elaboration on your explanation of what you meant about the environment, Toxed2loss, and not that I’m disagreeing about it, it is still a fact that clutter, dirt, dust and general untidiness definitely encourages flea and other insect harbouring, than not.

    I’m actually from Australia, Toxed2loss, and I had only half a night of work last night (my time) due some dizziness, and is why I’m unusually posting around this time (your time). Funny how I feel the need to justify that, lol.

    Anyway, I understand it that the US is more allowing of certain more toxic chemicals to be used in whatever their purpose is, than what Australia permits. Here, our government are much stricter than most countries on what it legislates, and also what it allows to be imported etc. That accompanied with the fact that the US has what..309 million people?…as opposed to 21 million in Australia, hence the much greater mathematical probability in greater pollutant effects on not just pets, but humans as well, in the US, than that over Australia.

    It seems like you’ve done well, Toxed2loss, to contain your toxin poisoning ailment, and from my end, I must say, that I first kind of got the impression that you could be radio-active, the way you explained your history, as I never quite heard of your case. But then I’m not a health professional, but just another lay person, with extra interest like us all, in pet nutrition, general same, and peripherally related.

    I have heard of dust disease cases, asbestos cases, silicon cases, etc and the class actions of those cases by people contaminated and effected. But your case is interesting and it’s good that you decided to study toxicology and the very causes of what made you vulnerable and affected.

  • Toxed2loss

    Gordon, flea dirt is actually a better indicator of the presence of fleas that a sighting. The little vermin are so fast. When I say environment, I’m not talking about clutter. I’m not even talking about dirt. I’m talking about toxic substances. Many allergic reactions are manifested due to environmental factors like fragrance, solvents, pesticide, petroleum products and by-products. Many household cleaning products are extremely toxic. So, some of the “cleanest” houses can actually be the most toxic. These toxins can make a cut, or spider bite respond with an adverse (seemingly hystemic) reaction. Weed and feed products, vegetable dust, even your neighbor applying herbicides can effect how an injury heals. My Pom stumbled and skinned the top of her paw. It was during spray season. If I hadn’t have been right there and seen it happen, I would have thought it was a bite. That’s what it looked like. It’s been months and it’s still not quite healed. Anyway, many chemicals cause rashes and blistering. Even when they are detoxing out of bodies. This is common for TIs. Anywhere you sweat, you an get all kinds of nasty skin reactions. In my case even second and third hand exposures to Arm and Hammer Unscented Deoderant cause me to get a reaction in all the sweat areas that looks like a radiation burn. No exaggeration. I still have the scars. That stuff is nasty! So, when I say environment, think Volatile Organic Compounds, or toxic chemicals, or synthetic substances. Hope that sheds some light. Sorry about focusing on Mosquitos, when the more recent issue was on fleas. Took a hit last night and not functioning on all cylinders. Heh, heh :-}

  • Shawna

    I hear ya Gordan! As far as environment, fleas and my home – I will shamefully admit it has NOTHING to do with cleanliness.. The last two years I’ve been too busy. The last several months, since my daughter and grandkids moved in my house has been so cluttered its hard to walk a straight line. Top that off with a 17 month old and 10 dogs..

    Flea dirt is generally the only way I know the poms have had fleas on them. They usually have a little at the end of the season when the temps start to get cold but I haven’t had to treat them yet..

  • Gordon

    Shawna – I’m not actually claiming that flea bites won’t still occur when under Comfortis. They’ll bite before pretty much getting killed. I think no matter what treatment you use, fleas will still bite if the opportunity is present where a flea finds itself on a dog.

    I should elaborate or actually specify that I actually really don’t know whether my TT’s recent right paw skin allergy and his constant licking of it, was from flea allergy. I strongly assumed so, given what I’d read from Dr. Barbara Fougere’s book, that fleas can even get between paw toes.

    Now having said that, I should also make all aware (that aren’t necessarily aware), the importance of also keeping the environment clean. Toxed2loss made reference to the environment, above, and it is actually a contributor to things like where fleas hang out and live. Now, my dogs are no less healthier than yours, Shawna, if not healthier…just sayin. About 95% of fleas don’t actually live or hang out on the actual host (dog in this example), but rather the “environment”. Now remember, firstly I haven’t actually seen any fleas on my dogs and only assumed that my TT had suffered a flea bite on his right paw. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if, and from my assumption, that my dog’s current environment probably has fleas, for the mere reason that I, as a bachelor, confess that I find it hard pressed time wise to maintain my home squeaky clean….especially my dogs’ kennel and surroundings. This could also be contrary to say, your house keeping ethics/regime, Shawna where you, like many house wives/women are better caretakers of family and house keeping and have a greater sense of keeping areas in a clean state, than that of most men (me no exception, lol).

    Shameless, also swears by her all natural only flea and worm therapies, that she never has her dog ever have any flea problems or flea caused allergies. I never asked her, but could it also be that she, being a woman, and someone’s wife (hence a carer of a family and housekeeping) that she also maintains optimum home environment hygiene? Highly probable. As a bachelor, I don’t have the luxury of time nor a current wife, lol, hence woman….(their more natural drive to keep things cleaner), to maintain a more clean environment in my home. And so, that could also be a significant issue in the control or lack thereof, re fleas.

    My house and my dog’s living area, need a good cleaning up and thorough clutter removal. Yes, I do make sure, though, I clean away their stools on a daily basis, at least.

    So just saying and throwing that out there, that the environment is a huge contributing factor, irrespective of my dogs’ dietary health (Which I stand by believing is at absolute optimum health).

    I’ve also followed Dr. Fougere’s written advice on how to be sure if one’s dog has fleas on it (At least on it’s main body), by placing a wet white paper towel underneath the dog, while one brushes the fur of the dog with a comb and see if any fleas fall onto to the wet paper towel. I never did see any fleas come off and fall onto the towel. Nor have a seen any fleas on my dogs when I’ve put my eyes very close to their fur and stroked against the direction of the fur. So my TT’s current paw skin allergy may not have even had anything to do with flea bites. I said may not have?…as far as I’m aware, based on all that I have said above. It may have just been caused by something that he stepped on while on their daily walks. Just sayin…and who really knows? 🙂

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Shawna,

    It took me awhile to read through all the posts. I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste anybodies time. There’s some great info here and gives plenty of alternatives for different peoples lifestyles and beliefs. I have a coupe of bits to toss out, I’ll preface a little bit so people might understand better where I’m coming from.

    I have no ability to detoxify any toxic substance. I’m severely glutathione deficient due to pesticide poisoning. Glutathione is the number one substance in the body for detoxifying. Its critical for hundreds of known bio functions. It is drawn from all other functions when there is a toxic threat, which causes systemic collapses and many of the symptoms you’ve listed.

    Many substances that are in common use today are in fact toxic. Healthy individuals, people or fur kids, can handle them. However, the old, young, sick, injured and immune system compromised can’t. Which their numbers are increasing rapidly.

    What I noticed that was missing (perhaps already known, just not presented) was any mention of the fact that many toxins bio accumulate and stay active or available for decades. Think about a body like a small boat in a large bay. As long as the water is calm, no water comes over the gunnel. Things start getting rough and water comes in. Water being the analogy for toxins. If the water comes in too fadt or the boat isn’t bailed out, eventually it capsizes. Leaving the analogy, we see that as manifesting symptoms of disease.

    So the first thing to consider in the allergic reaction to mosquito bites is what else is contributing to your dogs state of compromised health? Changing diet is huge, but so is environment. In this country we use over 80,000 consumer product and environmental toxins. (CDC) They accumulate in our bodies and our pets. In random testing for body burden of toxins, for 200 chemicals, every subject positive to the majority of toxins.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is if your doing all the “right” things and it’s not working yet, change your perspective. Keep doing the great dietary practices, but take a hard look at your environment.

    That being said, let’s look at some safer alternatives for mosquito repellent. Because of my condition I am a human guinea pig. If its safe for me and it works, pretty much that’s the best answer. I won’t use neem oil. I tried it on my house plants when I first was diagnosed and it made me sick. Further research revealed that it is a phyto hormone. It kills by effecting the neural activity of the insects. Guys, if it kills insects its really bad stuff!!!! They are the hardest creatures on the planet to kill. Insecticides are poisons. Neem is used as an insecticide, not an insectisafe. It is used as an anti-fungal, anti-microbial and a couple of other anti-s that slip my mind… It is a poison. A safer poison, but a poison non the less.

    I use mint oil. May 2010 my family went to the Oregon coast. I took a spray bottle of Dr.Bronner’s mint oil soap and water. Used it as spray repellent as well as soap. Normally, for Mosquitos I’m the “soup of the day.” This time they didn’t even come near me. Even the people in the camp ground using conventional insecticides were slapping Mosquitos. Not me. I spritzed it over me and my sleeping bag at night, and slept undisturbed. So did the other people in my Yurt!

    I do use garlic for worms. I even use it on my sheep. Just not too frequently. Again allicin, the active ingredient is toxic, especially raw. But its toxicity is so low, that even I can handle it. I started using it on my sheep when we had a sudden rise in parasites due to a neighbor’s test plots for GMO corn being heavily sprayed and it weakening my livestock. The vet prescribed a wormer. Can’t remember which one, too sick to get up and check the records… The recipients (2 lambs and an old cow) died from the wormer, even when given sparingly and according to vets dosage. Their systems couldn’t handle it. Switching to garlic w/ molasses (for sheep) saved my flock…

    That’s probably long enough for one post! GFETE sorry I tend to over whelm.

  • Shawna

    I think Mary Lou and others can attest to the fact that dogs can still have a major reaction to flea bites EVEN while on Comfortis and other flea preventatives.

  • Shawna


    “Residual toxins” and “safe with the right doses”. Is any residual toxins REALLY “safe”? Especially with all the toxins that we can’t control..

    My next statement is of a “holistic” perspective versus an “alternative” perspective. IF your pets are TRULY healthy do they NEED the flea control to begin with (any flea control — allopathic or alternative).. IMO the answer is no. We have fleas in my area (especially with ALL the MAJOR flooding, rain and humidity we had this year). No one of my dogs (all 10) are treated with any flea control products. I have them around just in case but I haven’t treated. No DE, no borax, only use the essential oils if out during dusk for mosquitos. I feed garlic but with all the commotion this year have not but a few times to battle what I believe to likely be giardia in a couple of the dogs. A LOT of people I’ve run across believe this very same thing.

    If a dog reacts to flea bites then, of course, it makes sense to treat but Comfortis even says it is to prevent “infestations” NOT bites.. No where on the website (when I was checking it out a few weeks back for Mary Lou) did I see where it said it prevents bites. Fleas still get on the dog they just die from doing so.

  • Gordon

    Hi Mary Lou – Yeah Comfortis apparently contains spinosad and is apparently very effective, but not with out some minor side effects in some cases. When I recently gave my JRT (My TT who had the flea dermatitis allergy, had no side effects) the Comfortis, she had less appetite for eating for a few days.

    It’s claimed that with Comfortis, some such side effects can occur and becomes non existent after such dog has had a few doses and their system becomes accustomed to the drug.

    Most vets including holistic ones will usually still support such treatments especially because I truly believe they know that whilst some alternative natural therapies, can work, such are not as effective as the veterinary/medical chemical counterparts. Even a Sydney holistic vet who has the alphabet of qualifications, and of who I have one of her books, suggests all of the alternative natural treatments but confesses that they are not as effective as the chemical conventional counterparts which she claims are also actually safe with the right doses. Mind you, she appears to know about many of the links and studies that Shawna sometimes refers to such as ones like from Dr.s Shultz and Goldstein to name a couple, as well as what pub med have on offer. But I guess most good scientists would be aware of international peer perspectives.

    With milk thistle, and most additives including enzymes and probiotics, human ones are safe for dogs as well and the marketed ones for pets are just that…marketing, otherwise the same supplements for humans including milk thistle, are safe for pets. There are exceptions though and it’s best to always make sure with a good holistic vet. I recently inquired with that holistic vet, Dr. Barbara Fougere via email, if it was OK to issue my dogs with a human brand I bought and I asked that I took in consideration the size of my dogs compared to humans and proposed to issue them say a fifth of what dosage a human would get, and her vet nurse replied saying that one of the holistic vets on duty at the time, said that was perfectly OK, and agreed for me to issue my dogs a 5th of the human dose. So I’d suggest when you buy some milk thistle, read its daily human dosage recommendation, and just give your dog (which is about the same class size of my dogs) a 5th of what that dose states.

    I give milk thistle for up to a week after things like worming and flea tablets are given to my dogs, as also suggested by Shawna to me some weeks ago and also backed up by that Sydney holistic vet, as well as I read that Nigel somewhere way above on this thread, said he does too…for a week that is….so it’s likely to be right and effective in helping cleanse the liver from residual toxins from those vet meds. Just keep in mind as a way to ease your mind, that you can’t really overdose on milk thistle anyway. So if you inadvertently miscalculate and provide Dupree an overdose, it won’t hurt because it’s a natural substance derived from plants, and the worst it can do, is cause a little lethargy which doesn’t last long.

    Also, I thought I’d mention that I was giving my dogs a powder form of milk thistle and it would be a hit and miss whether my JRT would eat her dinner that I mixed the MT to (TT isn’t as fussy), as she could isolate the actual smell of the MT from the rest of the food (The dog’s sense of smell is that powerful), and hence she appears not to like the smell and considers the food then contaminated. So I now give a tablet from of MT and pop it down their throat just before giving them dinner. That works better.

  • Michelle

    Mary Lou, LOL. RIP vacuum! 🙁

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks melissa ~ after the DE fiasco, I’m not sure I want to embark on “powders” again. I am still finding DE in various spots. I think I did overkill, and I must have missed the part about not inhaling it. We have a two story house, and I put it everywhere ~ and I mean everywhere. Nuts! I guess I should be thankful we are still in seemingly good health. A lesson learned, and I may still be getting a new vacuum! : )

  • melissa

    Mary Lou-

    The borax powder does work wonders for inside the home flea issues, but remember, its a ‘witch” like anything else to get out of your carpets once its in it-it may also cause color loss on some fabrics or abrade the carpeting changing its look, texture etc. Just like DE, there can be inhalant risks etc, and the link below also discusses documented health issues and risks of ingestion etc-

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I really like the spraying on the bandana idea due to his sensitive skin. I will read up on everything after my granddaughter goes home today. Thanks!

  • Shawna

    Sure Sandy — I’ll email Toxed as soon as I can. I need to catch up with her anyway..

  • Shawna

    Borax is one of the products that Toxed uses so that makes sense aimee..

  • aimee

    I heard of very good results with a borate(?) powder that acts as a dessicant. They will sell the powder directly to you but I heard it is much much better if you pay to have them apply it. I beleive their machines drive it deep into the carpet pile. They guarantee it for 1 year.

    You can get the nematodes for outdoor control from them too. These I think you have to reapply throughout flea season.

  • sandy

    Mary Lou,

    Also someone mentioned that they spray the oils or other natural “stinky” stuff on a bandana instead of the dog. Not sure how effective this is, but just mentioning it.


    If you have the time, I would like to get info on neem. I think the other pug lady uses it alot. I know she recommends it alot.

  • Shawna

    Toxed2loss’ daughter is an entomologist.. Toxed discusses their flea/bug prevention in the thread linked below — Long sorry.. I can’t find her comment on neem but I do have her email and can send her an email if you’ld like.

  • sandy

    I’d be interesting in reading about the neem oil. One of the ladies at pugvillage uses it.

  • Shawna

    Okay, I wasn’t trying to find this… After attempting to search for the neem post I noticed new articles have been released..

    “Prevention is Always the Best Medicine” of course, caught my attention.

    “Other keys to balanced immune function are to avoid overuse of drugs like antibiotics, steroids, chemical pest repellents and parasite preventives. The more toxins build up in your pet’s body, the less effective the immune system will be.”

    I do feel, like in Mary Lou’s (Dupree’s) case preventatives are a necessary evil.. Hopefully Dupree’s immune system will be regulated enough to not NEED Comfortis some time in the future…

  • Shawna

    Mary Lou,

    The Comfortis and an essential oil spray used right before a walk would probably offer little Dupree the most benefits!!! IMO 🙂

    Sandy — do you belong to the forum on Heathy Pets? Toxed2loss is a contributor and a “Toxic Injury Specialist”. She says neem can be toxic if used regularly. Just a heads up. I can’t find her post… grrrr

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks, Sandy ~ I may need to look into those next. We don’t seem to have a problem in our house or yard. I think he sometimes picks up hitchhikers on our walks. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does ~ pure misery.

  • sandy

    I’ve also read on another site that neem oil is another natural remedy for fleas on the dog and can be sprayed on the yard. I’ve used beneficial nematodes in the yard and they are used to control fleas and ants. Didn’t need to put any chemicals on the yard for a whole year and amazingly no ant beds! The mercola natural flea defense is also a combination of oils.

  • Mary Lou

    Hi Gordon ~

    Our poor little guy has flea allergy dermititis. He is so allergic to the saliva. Last week he got bit, which required a trip to the vet. He chewed like crazy and made a terrible hot spot. Anyway ~ I was chatting with Shawna about it, and feeling badly that the vet dermatoligist has him on Comfortis. Shawna made me feel so much better after providing links showing me that Dr. Becker recommends Comfortis to dogs that have flea allergy dermititis. That relieved a lot of my anxiety about using that drug. I now need to find milk thistle.

    I tried the DE in the house, and my vacuum cleaner has never been the same!! : )

  • Gordon

    I haven’t performed my proposed experiments yet, but I’ve decided based on all I’ve read and weighed up, and uncannily or unusually I agree with aimee on some points re DE. As it is dangerous for us to inhale DE due to it’s very high silica content, I can’t see that it would be any less dangerous for dogs to inhale either. And so I won’t be putting anymore of it on their bedding or on their coats either. Not on their coats since I recently treated my TT for a flea allergy between his toes where I didn’t cover with DE. See what I mean? Fleas can burrow anywhere. So I’ve used Comfortis (milk thistle afterwards) for flea control and some tea tree oil to treat his affected toe area where he’d been recently licking and biting.

    I’ll still use DE as an additive to their food for added minerals and worm control to boot, whilst still providing them with conventional dewormers to make certain of better control.

    Whilst I’m not a fan of the use of medically concocted chemicals in any mammal including us, I think conservative use of same in conjunction with natural therapies would work the best. At least, I believe so. I’m still more concerned that a poor diet is the biggest contributor to ailments and diseases and maintain the importance of a close as possible wolf diet for my dogs, being the best medicine and healer of all.

  • Gordon

    Shawna – Thanks for your “dummy” email address. I won’t email you regularly anyway. Only to touch base and chat on occasion, is all.

    I’m not on day shift permanently. In fact today’s day shift is my last for a while before going back to night shift. But I’ve got tomorrow off, then I’m back on night shift from tomorrow night (my time). I’m actually seeking new employment elsewhere in which I’ll be hopefully working only day shifts.

  • Gordon

    Mike – No probs. The following is a copy of my subsequent reply to you, under that ‘Suggested Raw Dog Food’ thread:-

    “Yeah, no problem Mike. As long as that same message is directed to ‘you know who’ under that Brothers thread who impressed a (IMO) racial connotation as well as presumed character attacks using certain adjectives, of which as you know, sparked my long (and rightful defending) response, of which both his and my response has been deleted and is “toast”, as you said.”

  • Shawna

    Mike S,

    I know you have a ton going on but I have a little issue and it seems to be getting worse… No hurry but wanted to report before it gets really bad..

    Yesterday I was unable to read any of the comments in the “Suggested Raw Dog Foods” thread. Everything else was fine. Today however I find I can’t read comments under “Best Puppy Foods” and “Simply Nourish Dog Food” as well. Thought I would mention before I can’t read any comments :)…

  • Shawna


    Are you on the day shift on a temporary basis – soon to be back on night shift?

    I decided to create a “dummy” email account myself.. As long as it is not abused I will keep it active. Anybody, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. I’ve actually been thinking about getting rid of my normal email as it has HORRIBLE editing features (can’t even change font colors or fonts etc).. If I end up liking Yahoo email I’ll set up a “real” account and give any emailing me at the “dummy” account the new info..

    Thanks again Gordon! I enjoy talking with you as well!!

    Mike — I promise to never discredit you or your hard work or defame DFA :).. Nor will I communicate with others that purposefully do so.

  • Hi Gordon… This comment is a copy of the one I posted for you today on the Suggested Raw Dog Foods article.

    Unfortunately, I’m certainly no expert on the technical side of WordPress, the most ubiquitous software on the Internet that runs most blogs. So, it can take me more than just one comment to confirm and isolate these issues when they occur.

    After all, there are now over 9,000 visitors daily who collectively visit The Advisor and leave more than 100 comments every 24 hours (only to join the 25,000+ comments already posted).

    In addition, I update dozens of previously reviewed dog foods each month and I try to author at least 3 new reviews each week.

    And then, there’s also my Dog Food Advisor Facebook page with already more than 9,000 followers, too.

    By the way, the problem you recently brought to my attention was initially fixed about 4 weeks ago. But it appears to have returned. And I’m not sure why.

    All of your comments are here. Every one of them.

    But when there are more than 50 comments on any thread, the software does not properly “paginate” those comments onto the correct page.

    So, when you click the topic in the Recent Comments section, it no longer takes you to the correct page that comment is actually located on.

    I’m sorry for this. And I can’t seem to find anyone who knows how to fix this.

    But please understand, I’m still trying.

    Like you and much of my readership, Gordon, I have a full time career to which I’ve dedicated my professional life. And which actually supports me and my family. So, many times, it can look to those less informed that I’m shirking my responsibilities and duties here.

    I’m not looking for sympathy, Gordon. I only share these issues with you in hopes you will understand how many hours I spend trying to keep this blog running.

    What’s more, thanks to the information shared by others, I’m also well aware of the underhanded efforts made by those with pernicious objectives and using “private” emails to discredit my hard work and defame The Dog Food Advisor.

    Trolls are a far too common problem with nearly every website. And the best way to deal with trouble-hungry trolls is to not feed them.

    In any case, please know I’m always here to help everyone be heard. No matter their educational level, their socioeconomic background, their country of residence, raw food, kibble or any other opinion.

    No matter what, I NEVER neglect this website. It’s become my baby. I love working on it. And I wish I could respond to each and every comment. For proof, simply look around for the evidence. It’s there if you look. I’m here as much as I can be. Every day.

    That’s because it’s always my goal to provide a reliable place for all who want to to hang out and to communicate. Even (and especially IF) they disagree.

    I know you “enjoy communicating with smart people like” (Aimee and Shawna). But this website will remain open to all, no matter how smart. Or how rich. Or how educated. As long as those who participate do not violate our basic rules of community and good citizenship.

    However, I will continue to “delete any comment that is abusive, rude, mean-spirited, profane or completely unrelated to the topic itself.”

    Yesterday’s fiasco started when I did not read all the way through one poster’s inappropriate comment. And then, while I slept, the discussion grew into a War of Personal Insults.

    That nasty thread is now toast. And I sincerely apologize for not stopping it sooner.

  • Gordon

    You’re welcome Shawna. Nice to hear from (read from) you again.

    I’m only on here for a short time as I’m working day shift again tomorrow (my time) and so will need my sleep, as it’s about 11pm here as I write this. I wouldn’t mind talking to you on occasion via email outside of DFA, if you’d ever like? Let me know and I’ll post a temporary email address on here where you can email me and then I can give you an actual proper email of mine, that we can communicate via from time to time. I too, tried to find another good dog related blog out there, and it’s not easy.

    aimee – I haven’t conducted my proposed experiments yet, lol. I too think that it won’t make much of a difference standing on wet or dry glass. Anyway, I extend the same offer of occasional communication outside of DFA with you as well, if you like. Let me know, and I will post another temporary email if not the same one, depending on if and when you respond at the same time as Shawna?

    I enjoy communicating with smart people like both of you, even though we don’t agree all the time (And we don’t agree at all aimee, as we’re at the opposite ends of the dog food spectrum, lol)

  • Shawna

    Hi aimee,

    Just found something interesting — maybe the reason DE works is not why we all (myself included) have believed. Info may not be accurate but another possible avenue to research.

    “Both silica gel and diatomaceous earth are forms of amorphous silica, and they both kill insects by desiccation,
    not by absorbing water, but by absorbing the oily or waxy outer cuticle layer by direct contact. When the thin
    (about 1/u) waterproof layer of the epicuticle is lost, the insect loses water, then dies. Abrasive damage to the
    cuticle also leads to water loss in some cases, but the effectiveness of silica as an insecticide often depends on
    the amount of oil it can absorb. The ability to absorb oil or wax from an insect, is often, but not necessarily,
    related to surface area of the silica (Ebeling 1961). Silica gel has the advantage of a much larger surface area
    than diatomaceous earth, but the latter is more abrasive. Whether the one or the other is used depends on the
    target insect and conditions (Ebeling 1971).”

    Still not sure, however, how digested DE could “absorb” the oily or waxy layer?? Please do share if anyone finds any data!

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna!!

    Great to see you back here!

    Gordon, How Are your feet after your experiment? : ) I’d think wet or dry there wouldn’t be much difference in the cutting ability of glass or DE.

    My stumbling block is that I read DE’s primary mode of killing insects is by dehydrating them as DE wicks the moisture out of the victim after getting through the cuticle.

    So how can it work it a wet environment? Also when I think how tough the cuticle is on a roundworm I’m not sure DE could do much.

    For those who have used DE have you seen the roundworms pass in the stool as you would when using a conventional dewormer?

  • Hi Shawna… So glad you’re back. We’ve all missed your insightful posts.

    By the way, there are many times I wish I could thank (by name) each and every one of our DFA regulars. For all of you have certainly made a difference to others and deserve recognition for your hard work.

    However, I’m so afraid I might accidentally leave someone out, it’s probably better to simply say “thank you” to all of you as a group.

  • Shawna

    Hi and thank you to many!!

    After my last post I went about finding another blog that might be a better fit for me.. I failed. There are several out there but most, that I found, were newsletter style without any reader feedback. Not what I’m looking for.. You have a good thing here Mike. Thank you!

    Thank you very much to those that emailed me directly and those with supportive comments on DFA. Your support and kind words make it easy to come back :).. I actually would have posted this a little sooner but a private consultation took up a chunk of my free time and family things took up the rest.

    Gordon, your comments are very much appreciated!! Your explanation of my feelings to Nigel is spot on!! In addition to what you wrote, I was/am upset with myself for letting things get under my skin and more so for acting on it. I stand by my posts but could have communicated things better.

    I will do my best to work on my short comings and hope others can do the same as this blog Mike has created is really really a good thing!!!

    Yes Gordon, you have always been nice to me 🙂 We don’t agree on every topic (enzymes in the raw diet ;)) but we remain friends despite our minor differences of opinion. It wouldn’t be any fun if everyone agreed on everything would it..!!??? 🙂 Also GREAT find on the DE.. I really want to pursue this more..

    Thanks again for the wonderful support I received both on and off DFA!!!!!

  • Michlm

    We have found, by feedback from many customers, and with our own 4 dogs that, for whatever reasons, Brothers seems to go further than another kibble with equal or similar calories (I’ll forego a long explanation detailing the reasons I think are responsible for that).

    The feeding recommendations on the bag are just recommendations based on industry standards but I think if you were to start at 4 1/2 cups a day with your 150 lb girl and then adjust from there based on her activity level I think you would be fine.

    Definitely try the Allergy formula and see how it goes. There are digestive enzymes and encapsulated probiotics in the Brothers already and if it resolves the problem in a few days or a week then just stay the course. However, in extreme cases it is sometimes advisable to add some more of each at mealtime to increase the positive bacteria count in the colon more quickly.

  • Mike P

    Michlm I feed my 70lb boxer exactly 2 cups of Brothers a day. I top the food with many different canned food. Maybe topping would stretch out the quantity of Brothers you would use for your IW? My nephew is thinking about Brothers for his 185lb Bull Mastif for poop controll.He likes the results I’m getting . Let us know what you decide.

  • Mike P

    Hi Michelle.sorry for the mix up with the name thing. After your sardine and egg suggestion ( what Jubilee will have for breakfast tomorrow)could you say what other gently cooked meats you feed? What RMB do you use for your big lab? We use thick femor bones from the local meat locker. She can’t splinter those and chops on it forever. I like your ideas.

  • sandy


    There’s also Canidae Single Grain Protein Plus which uses just rice (brown and white) but is has more meat sources. And then there’s Natures Select Lamb and Rice which uses brown rice and millet and has some chicken. I’ve had good luck with using the Salmon & Sweet Potato formula from the same brand on some dogs with sensitive tummies. It is salmon, brown rice, sweet potato and pumpkin. My friend with an IBS dog has transitioned to this from RX food successfully. She also uses probiotics on her dog. Taste of the Wild has a just lamb formula but it is potato based, not rice.

  • monkey

    Michlm, Richard claims that customer’s dogs aren’t needing to eat as much as other foods, so the calories listed may not directly reflect how much you would need to feed. I haven’t tried the food yet but maybe some others can let you know what they have experienced.

    I do have experience with feeding different “listed calculated calories” between some kibbles though. I don’t know exactly why it is though.

  • Michlm

    Yes, me again, I saw the dog food feeding guide on this website and punched in the numbers with Brothers Allergy formula and California Natural formula calories/cup. The California Natural calculation stated to feed my dog 6.07 cups a day–I feed her 7. The Brothers allergy formula calculation stated to feed my dog 6.76 cups/day…so I would need just as much food with the Brothers brand as I do with how I am feeding her now. According to California Natural, I feed her almost a cup too much.

  • Michlm

    I see that you have a beef/bison, fish, turkey/chicken formulas, I was hoping you would have a lamb formula as that is what my dogs have been eating. I am quite interested in the allergy formula and have sent an email for a free sample!

  • Michlm

    Hello Richard–You guessed correctly! She weighs 150 and stands 35 and a half inches at the shoulder. Like I said before, perhaps with a higher quality food she would eat less. The price is still high and I would have to buy online, which I am not fond of. Is there a way that the pet specialty store I use could stock it?

  • Michlm

    What does your dog weigh that eats 7 cups a day? I know the IW can be very tall on it’s hind legs but 5 cups of Brothers a day would likely be plenty for a 150 lb dog.

  • Michlm

    I did check out the Brothers dog food—like what I saw–am not too sure about all the added stuff like alfalfa and such–tried food with that stuff in it and was wondering if that could’ve been part of the problem. I am having chest pain at the cost for a 25 pound bag! My IW eats 7 cups of food a day and at that rate I would probably have to buy 3 bags a month! I do understand that sometimes you get what you pay for too. It sounds like a lot of people feed their dogs this brand and give it high marks.

  • Michlm

    I am the one with the IW and have changed my name so as not to cause confusion. 🙂

  • Michelle

    Hi Mike P. No Dude, that is some other girl named Michelle. I don’t have an Irish Wolfhound. I have 2 dogs, a Lab and a Springer Spaniel. And my Lab is my pic. Anyway, glad to hear that Jubilee is doing so well on Brothers. And with less waste too…that’s awesome! Also, you know I always give my dogs added protein like eggs, sardines, gently cooked meats, and some veggies thrown in for color. lol And don’t forget the fish/salmon oil! Also I have taken Gordon’s advice and give rmb’s….. 🙂

  • Michelle

    Oh, and to Mike S—I took the IW to the vet and he did a whole work up on her—cost a small fortune—and he found nothing out of the ordinary so I assume it’s the food.

  • Michelle

    Hello Mike P and Mike S- No, Mike P I do NOT feed either of my dogs people food. The IW has a hard enough time with dog food! I am starting to believe maybe it is something with her breeding perhaps. My other dog, a Bichon, has no problems whatsoever. My vet told me the same thing Mike S–to put her back on what she did fine with–so, with my vet’s advice–I will do that. It is difficult not to freak out over company’s merging and possibly changing the formulas….I admit I did just that! Like most dog lovers I just want the best for my dogs and I thought maybe a higher end dog food would be better. Well, not every dog food works for every dog the same, like I said, my bichon could eat any food withoout issues. I have never heard of Brothers dog food but will research it online. Thanks!

  • Mike P

    Michelle, is this the same dog you give the scrambled eggs and sardines to? I think I would go back to what works JMO. Jusst keep a eye out for any changes and follow the thread for reader comments. Have you given Brothers any thought? Beginning my second bag now after the first one was really great. My dogs poop has been great lol and alot less I might add. She poops like clockwork every evening walk. I went to do my weekly poop pickup in the yard and didn’t find much at all. I would think about Brothers for a bag or two.

  • Hi Michelle… Proctor and Gamble acquired Natura Pet back on May 5, 2010. And based upon P&G’s history, I can understand your concern. However, in the spirit of fairness to all (including pet food manufacturers), it’s unreasonable and unscientific to assume the merger will automatically produce inferior products.

    In any case, we try our best to intentionally ignore the never-ending barrage of unverifiable rumors and pet food industry politics. And we focus on the only source of information we feel we can reliably trust… government-regulated pet food labels. To see why we ignore almost everything else, you may wish to visit our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“.

    Of course, I’m not privy to any factual inside information about P&G (or any other company, for that matter). And since so far, I’m not aware of any changes to these recipes. So, if California Natural was working well for you before, you may want to reconsider whether to subject your dog to so many unhappy issues based upon rumors and Internet gossip only.

    By the way, have you considered the possibility that maybe your dog’s issues have nothing to do with her diet?

  • Michelle

    OK–Here it goes, I have a soon-to-be four year old Irish Wolfhound that has a food tolerance issue. I had her on limited diet dog food–California Natural, lamb and rice–which she actually did fine on. I did switch her as I heard that that company sold out to Proctor and Gamble and I was sure the quality would go way down. I have tried Solid Gold, Orijen, Natural Balance, Nature’s Variety, Blue Buffalo and Acana with NO success. She had so much diarrhea I took her for massive tests at vet and they found nothing wrong. I switched foods extremely gradually by the way as I know that that could have caused the problem. This is NOT the first dog I have owned–quite the contrary–owend many in my 40 years but have never had a dog this adversive to so many different foods! Please don’t even mention raw as I have tried that also with the most disastrous of results! Should I just stick her back on California Natural and hope they don’t change the formula? Sorry this is so long!

  • Mary Lou

    I trust Shawna will be back! : )

  • We do miss you, Shawna. Please come back soon.

  • Gordon

    No Nigel, you’re not the reason that Shawna stopped commenting on here. It’s sometimes a collective cause as in the efforts to put well meaning opinions forward, only to have them counteracted in a not so polite and seemingly hostile manner. In other words, when one disagrees it would behoove one to convey such in a style that doesn’t feel like it has a patronising connotation to it. It’s hard to explain what I mean, but anyone can get that inclination of when they’re being patronised and I think Shawna felt she was being such, more often than not, with certain people.

    No me though, hey Shawna? I’m nicer to you 🙂

  • Nigel


    That’s a yes that milk thistle & St Marys thistle are 1 and the same thing. I prefer to call it St Marys from the plant. Gosh I hpe Shawna doesn’t not return because of me.

  • Gordon

    melissa – Yeah I understand your need to keep face and maintain that appearance of being cool etc. You’re starting to grow on me. It’s OK if I’m not growing on you. I couldn’t care less 🙂 But please don’t scare away Shawna. I really liked her wealth of knowledge and valuable input she always has to offer.

    “Come back Shawna”, shouts Gordon. lol

  • melissa

    I think it’s just her way of expressing herself and her blatant and unwavering opinion. We’re all guilty of that in some levels.


    Glad you added that last sentence Gordon, because I was juuuusssstt about to say “Pot..Kettle..Black.. Lol

    You are correct-Even in “real life” my opinions are often don’t ask me ‘do these pants make me look fat?” ..

  • Gordon

    Shawna – Just reading some of the latest above. I hope you come back with your great inputs and references to Bexter etc.

    Don’t allow what others think and say, bother you. I used to let melissa get under my skin as well, but not anymore. She has that condescending ability. But I don’t even now think that she is intentionally seeking to be condescending. I think it’s just her way of expressing herself and her blatant and unwavering opinion. We’re all guilty of that in some levels.

    Nigel – St. Mays thistle is milk thistle, right?

  • Gordon

    aimee – When sharp edges or shards, whether of microscopic size or bigger, has some of the sharpness dampened by the moisture’s layer, I’m assuming, would therefore would make the cutting or puncturing a little less imminent? Anyway, I can always perform 2 types of physical experiments myself to see what happens.

    First, I propose to mix some DE with water in a sprayer and spray some on a designated area. Then I plan to purposely place say a beetle, or cockroach over that area whilst the DE is still wet, then follow the progress of the bug’s travels afterwards.

    Second, I plan to break some glass and crumble it as much as possible, then separate 2 groups of the broken glass, then place such on 2 different designated areas, and thoroughly wet one of the groups of crumbled glass.

    Then I propose to slowly place my feet in a walking motion on the crumble glass not made wet, and see how much pain and cuts to my foot there might be. Then with my other foot, I plan to walk over the crumbled glass that is wet, and see how much less, if any change or effect might be in comparison with my first foot.

    Of course, I will have disinfectants and bandages on hand, after the experiment is complete. But I don’t plan on placing full downward pressure on the glass.

    See what happens. Though the wet glass I anticipate will have some stuck on my foot thanks to the adhesiveness of the moisture. In this instant, unlike the exoskeleton of an insect, my foot’s skin with the added moisture would naturally have greater adhesive properties until such dries. So I think my first suggested experiment would be more accurate.

    However, that brings me to the next question. Could that same experiment bring a decisive conclusion to whether it could suggest success or lack of, when DE is traveling through our or an animal’s moisture ridden digestive route, to cut through the various worm parasites. I guess to be absolutely sure, I’d have to purposely have one of my dogs, be contaminated with worms, get a fecal test to prove this positive, then apply DE to its meals for say one week, and have a fecal test repeated. I may do that to, to really see for myself the results then to rely on various and somewhat differing literature.

  • Nigel

    Yes Shawna you are correct! I do use St Marys thistle after medication for my dogs & do for me too when I ever use meds for whatever reason. It’s great for liver detox. I was just being objective so hope you will be okay?

  • aimee


    You have stumbled upon the very same question I had regarding DE and intestinal parasite control. If it kills by scarifying and desiccation, how could this possibly occur in a wet environment? The few studies I found have not convinced me that it works in any real capacity against intestinal parasites. (Fecal egg counts were the same between treated and untreated ruminants) I do think it could contribute to overall nutritional health as a mineral supplement and decrease parasite load in select circumstances.

    I personally would hesitate to use it on animal or in bedding as I’d be concerned about inhalation, and eye irritation. But I have never worked with it to know how airborne it can be so maybe overly concerned.

    I found this to be a good resource on heartworm. I realize Dr. Becker questions the heartworm society motives as they get funding from “Big Pharm” but I see it as these experts have reached an independent opinion and pharm wants to support them in spreading a message that benefits themselves.

    The idea of microenvironments allowing for continued development while airborne temps are below temp is valid. And as I understand it when temps dip the larva development is suspended/delayed but it doesn’t kill them. So I’m also thinking that the larva overwinter with the adults and if there are warm spells mid winter/early spring the mosquito can transmit HW immediately when active. I also wonder if one dose of preventative post exposure is effective or are repeated doses better.
    I did note that the thinking is changing in regards to HWP.

  • Gordon

    Wow…can’t believe my and Shawna’s recent discussion about worming and effectiveness of remedies has flared into a flurry of subsequent posts.

    I see it’s healthy though and with out real bitterness. So it’s OK.

    I’ve been doing some further research during my days lately as I’ve been off night shifts in recent days, and found that DE is actually noneffective when wet and has to dry before being effective against insects. This being when mixing DE with water in a spray and spraying lawns and outside areas where insect control is required. However, this beggars the question, that if DE is noneffective when wet outside, how is it effective when mixed in food and fed to animals, where it gets wet inside the animal’s stomach and digestive processes? I’m still seeking an outright reseach answer on this.

    I’ve come to my own conclusion that DE is still effective as a powder topical treatment on pets’ coats and bedding etc in dry form, and still can be fed for deworming, but not so much effective against the species of tapeworms as Shawna stated. In this case, I’ve decided to use it as a dewormer in conjunction with Virbac tapeworm tablets, which the latter only contains praziquantel for the eradication of only tapeworms. So at least that minimises the chemical that I’d be issuing my dogs.

    As for heartworm, I use Valuheart. A generic of Heartgard and which contains ivermectin as opposed to moxidectin, which I’m lead to believe is a little more controversial than the aforementioned, and is used in the Proheart injections. Ivermectin was started or approved for use in 1987 and won fame for being able to be given once a month instead of daily such as chemicals such as diethylcarnamazine.

    Anyway, there is just too many varying literature, and opinions on all this, that it’s mind boggling. That’s why I’m following my own gut instincts based on my own research and what I think I’d be comfortable using on my dogs.

    At the end of the day, I think a combination of conventional and natural alternative preventatives, are a good idea.

  • Hi Shawna… I (and I’m sure most regulars) appreciate your knowledge as well as your holistic approach to dogs. Yet others might be more comfortable with more traditional methods and approaches. Unfortunately, as a 4 decade veteran of human medicine, I can assure you it’s not unusual to have to explain and defend your opinions to your colleagues.

    All of us need to be more tolerant of others. Scientific tolerance and respect for the opinions of others is one of the true marks of a “professional”.

    Because of my own admitted bias favoring meat for dogs (and my distrust of carbs), I myself have been repeatedly criticized in these very same pages. Yet the majority of this criticism hasn’t moved me from my personal beliefs. I do know (however) the very best way to promote my point of view is to return here and participate (which I’ve now done every day for more than 3 years).

    Even though it can be taxing (as you say) to share and defend your heartfelt opinions, please try to overlook the passions of others. We’d love to see you stay.

  • Shawna

    It was a question (Are you…?) not an accusation melissa. I’m sorry you took it as otherwise.

    I seem to constantly have to defend my approach to health, a holistic approach, on this blog.. Maybe this isn’t the best place for me to discuss my opinions. Its very taxing to constantly have to defend rather then discuss my opinions here..

  • Hey Guys… It’s OK to discuss even off topic material here. No problem. And admittedly, it’s sometimes difficult to avoid expressing the passion of our beliefs. However, please tone down the personal rhetoric so we can all enjoy each other as friends. Thanks.

  • melissa

    “Are you really so arrogant as to believe that your way is the ONLY way? I’m not trying to be rude but I do think that is arrogant.

    The only one getting arrogant and offensive is you Shawna- For some reason you read things into peoples postings and “accuse” them of behavior that they are not indulging in-I think your last “victim” was Nigel.Show me where I have ever said everyone has to do anything, or where I specifically respond to a query about locations. YOU brought up Ginger and Garlic for treatment-You never brought a specific state into the equation for comparison until now(when I disagree with you) Suddenly, I am “making statements” that I have not made.

    For others reading about heartworm and “natural” dewormers, see the link below-

    This link has interesting quotes from holistic vets-Who would have thought that some of the “natural” deworming agents are toxic in the quantities need to deworm for parasites??

  • Shawna


    So what you are saying is that becuase those in Texas are at high risk, those in Arizona or the mountains of Coloardo also MUST use conventional heartworm? That makes absolutely no sense. I chose to take a more individual approach — those that need it should use. I have clearly stated that I would recommend it when the situation calls for. Others have options. Are you really so arrogant as to believe that your way is the ONLY way? I’m not trying to be rude but I do think that is arrogant.

    Here’s another effective option (or, at least, this vet has had success) “Dr. Gerald Wessner in Summerfield Florida “In my holistic practice, heartworm nosodes ( a homeopathic vaccine) are used as a preventative, on a monthly basis after the initial protocol period, and have proven to be extremely effective. Unfortunately, no statistics are available, but our records indicate no active infestations in any animal tested for heart worms in the past 8 years at our clinic who were protected with the heartworm nosode.”

    You obviously, once again, did not read any of the material that was presented. I actually did end up reading the three studies on the dogaware link. Might wanna give them a read.. 🙂

    I have presented a good case. Those that chose to read it and decide for themselves which treatment may be best for them at least have options (if they haven’t heard this information before).

    The other thing that I want to point out — to possible readers.. If you live in a state that has colder months (below 57 degrees consequtively) you do not NEED to give heartworm protection year round if you don’t travel..

    This, really this time:), is my last post in this thread on this topic. We’ve presented both sides.. We agree to disagree. Those reading can decide for themselves.

  • melissa


    The “slow kill” method has been widely used by poor shelters and rescues for years, but it is far from the preferable method. Obviously if the cost of immitricide is beyond the shelter or rescues reach, then this treatment is preferable to no treatment. What you don’t quote in your quote above is the fact that the slow kill method and use of Doxy has to be used for AT LEAST A YEAR or until the dog no longer tests positive. I fail to see how giving doxy twice aday for at least a year, coupled with the ivermectin would be any safer to the dog then simply giving the once a month to begin with.

    Also, the slow kill method allows the heart and circulatory damage to continue on until the dog is in fact negative. As a result(and quoted from the article you linked) one must remember that any activity increasing your dog’s heart rate will increase its risks. With Immitricide, you have to keep the dog quiet for 6-8wks(usually) and then normal activity can resume-with this method, one can expect, imo, to severly compromise the dogs quality of life(no running, playing, leash walks only) for at least one year.

    Nope, for me it would seem the lesser of the evils is to do the preventative rather than put the dog through dealing with an otherwise preventable disease. : )

  • melissa

    “1. the right kinds/sex of mosquito and standing water for the baby mosquitos to become adults”-Very easily acomplished and not a rarity. Standing bodies of water can be found just about everywhere- a drainage ditch will suffice quite nicely!

    2. an already infected dog with L1 stage larvae for the female mosquito to bite

    Perhaps not as common, but probably more so in warm/humid states-which most states have at least 6mths a year.I would also guess that dogs owned in poor areas are carrying it at a higher rate than those in affluent communities where prevention is given.

    3. temps above 57 degrees for most day and nights (the larvae can’t mature from L1 to L3 if the temps drop below 57.

    Again, even in good old NY, this would easily start in April and run through October in some years.

    “Mosquitos don’t have long life spans — if the temps are not high enough to sustain maturation even an infected mosquito is no threat to your dog”

    If the temps and conditions are right, a mosquito can go from egg to adult in as little as 4-10 days. The male mosquitos average lifespan is 10-20 days and a female from
    3-100 days(yes, three months) During her lifetime, its been estimated that a single female can lay somewhere in the range of 1-3,000 eggs(thats a whole lotta squitos maturing under the right conditions in under 7days!)
    4. humidity has to be right for the larvae to swim to the bite (otherwise they dehydrate)

    Again, not a huge issue-humidity seems to come hand in hand with temp etc in most parts of the world

    My point being, making the “conditions right” is not a huge accomplishment. Dr Goldstein also admits that one of the three cases he did treat was with Immitricide, and the dog had no lasting health issues as a result of the treatment.

  • Shawna

    I even took a huge in/out breath preparing for the back lashing I was about to get when I saw you had posted !!! 😉

  • Shawna


    THANK YOU for the clarification… I was worried that I had ticked you off :)….

  • Nigel


    Im not being agitated at all. I’m being objective is all.

  • Shawna


    A dog doesn’t sweat through their skin but I have to assume they skin ‘breaths’..

    If this website “petmd” is correct then carbon dioxide is emitted from the skin so I would be left to assume that garlic odor could too — even if undetectable to humans. “Ticks are attracted to hosts for the warmth, presence of carbon dioxide on the skin, and other associated odors that the host gives off.”

    Dr. Goldstein states that 98% of his clients — so those few that live in “southern Florida and Bahamas” that he receommends a modified conventional treatment really don’t make up a large percentage of his clients (or the US population). However, if me, I would recommend most in the southern states use conventional preventatives not just southern Florida and Bahamas.

    The group of animals that became extinct — it states mange was an issue. If demodectic, that is a sure sign that there was some serious immune system issues going on in that species/group. Of the others, interesting finds by the way, I have to wonder how many of those were non-productive infections — only worms from the initial bite present?

  • Shawna

    Sorry, that was the Nebraska extention office (I apparently want to be in Colorado (where I grew up) right now)…

  • Shawna

    Hi melissa,

    I’m not worried about Mike.. But I’ve seen other posters get upset and voice complaints.. Nigel seemed to be getting a bit agitated as well.

    I’ve actually recommended using conventional preventatives to those living in the south and those that have out door dogs etc.. I just don’t think it is the only option for every situation and every dog.. This whole conversation started because I said “I prefer” not I recommend or I suggest..

    There are a lot of things that have to go right for heartworm to happen.. 1. the right kinds/sex of mosquito and standing water for the baby mosquitos to become adults 2. an already infected dog with L1 stage larvae for the female mosquito to bite 3. temps above 57 degrees for most day and nights (the larvae can’t mature from L1 to L3 if the temps drop below 57. Mosquitos don’t have long life spans — if the temps are not high enough to sustain maturation even an infected mosquito is no threat to your dog 4. humidity has to be right for the larvae to swim to the bite (otherwise they dehydrate) 5. the larvae develop under the skin from L3 to L5 for 3 to 4 months then enter the bloodstream and make their way to the lungs or heart (the immune system can kick in at this point) 6. And the dog can test positive BUT there has to be both male and female worms or there is no mating and the worms die of old age (I think a significant amount of positives are due to this and not really full blown (cause death) heartworm — possibly the case with the wild canids aimee linked to 7. Even if there is a male and female the pup has to be bitten a second time by an infected mosquito for the cycle to be complete (for the offspring of the original worms to grow to adulthood)..

    It takes about 6 months for the cycle to complete (the larvae mature under the skin for approximately 4 months). So for those that don’t use conventional preventatives (and in higher risk areas) testing every 6 months will allow for few worms to actually develop to the point of damaging the heart.

    If a test comes back positive — it is well known (and used in our and other local rescues) that the “preventative” can actually “treat” the infection (slow kill method). And if doxycycline is given (for those that don’t trust garlic) to kill the wolbachia the treatment (slow kill or normal) is even more effective. I haven’t read the studies but I trust the author of this quote (she links to 3 studies) “Now, new studies published in late 2008 clearly indicate that treatment with a combination of weekly ivermectin and daily doxycycline given intermittently will sterilize the heartworms, prevent the dog from being infective to other dogs (via mosquitoes), speed up the death of the worms prior to (or in place of) Immiticide treatment, limit inflammation and damage caused by the worms presence, and reduce the chance of serious adverse reaction from Immiticide treatment. All of these effects are greater when the two drugs are used together than when either is given alone.”

    There is a significant community of people that feel the preventatives (flea/tick and heartworm) weaken the immune system themselves. Even Nigel says he gives St Mary’s Thistle (I know it as milk thistle) to detox the liver after a heartworm treatment is given..

    I know the risks involved in getting infected and I know the possible risks of the prevenative. I haven’t chosen to do nothing but rather I decided on alternatives (especially for Audrey). A vet in Florida has had GREAT success with nosodes alone — the quote/link is on the Mercola page I linked to earlier.

    I give garlic, strive for a strong immune systems (by giving probiotics, enzymes, raw food, glandular supplements, limit toxins in my homes etc). I also live in Nebraska and mosquitos (I’ve read) don’t like wind. Its windy here a good deal of the time. Dogs live inside and don’t go out during dusk and dawn (unless a quick potty break). Our mosquito season (most years) is about 4-5 months long as it is too cold (we still have mosquitos in the cooler weather but the maturation form L1 to L3 won’t happen so the mosquito is no threat). We use outdoor citronella lanterns. And if out when mosquitos are present use a spray on the dogs..

    The Colorado Extension Office states that lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective mosquito repellant but needs to be applied more frequently then deet.. Other essential oils (besides citronella and l/e) are said to be effective too.

    Sorry to all who hate off topic posts — I know this was a LONG one!!!!

  • melissa


    I don’t think Mike S has a problem with slightly OT subjects as long as they remain civil-

    As for the comment saying “an otherwise healthy dog should be able to tolerate a parasite load”…Why? Why should a dog be left with a parasite load at all? Sure the immune system will respond and even potentially “fight” some of the intestinal worms, but that in and of itself causes the system(imo) to be weaker to fight those exposures that really matter. I can not imagine a system fighting worms for numerous months being able to fight off a parvo exposure as effectively as it should. Just my opinion of course.

    As for heartworm medication not being as effective-probably true, as all medications seem to loose some of the effectiveness with time. But, if its the best we have, then that is what I will do.

  • Dave M

    I don’t like the idea of putting the chemicals on my dogs but I do…I have been using Revolution heart worm/flea treatment for the last 5-6 years and I recently switched to Sentinel Spectrum which is a heart worm flea treatment that is like a beef chew like heartguard. I like the idea better than the topical chemicals. I will try that through winter and spring and see how that works. I also purchase my treatments from an online store (Equine Mega Store) in Australia and I buy 6-12 months at a time for both my dogs. They ship to US and it only takes about 5-7 days to arrive.

  • Shawna


    I didn’t see your posts before I left my last post.. I am standing by my word as I don’t want Gordon or others to get bent out of shape at this (what appears to possibly be escalating) topic..

    However, if you want to continue this on Mercola or some place else, I would love to!! 🙂

  • Shawna


    I think I said I had (and linked to) research regarding garlic and heartworm not fleas. I think garlic does work for fleas but fleas are even easier to prevent/treat. DE for one. And this research paper states that certain essential oils are effective insecticides — (like lavendar — citronella is a common one used to keep fleas and mosquitos at bay)

    I doubt you will trust much if any of what I say from this point forward — but, I don’t purposely treat any of the 10 dogs in my house for fleas. They don’t need treatment. Fleas don’t bother them.

    There is no doubt that modern medicine saves lives!! NO DOUBT. However it is our lifestyles that necessitate the need for much of modern medicine OR alternative medicine for that matter. Ever studied the Hunza’s?

    It’s my understanding that “sanitation” is a primary reason for the current longevity we now see.

    Michelle — from one peon to another, that was pretty funny :).

    I have a feeling we all are going to get reprimanded for this off topic, escalating conversation any time now so I am taking the lead by making this my last post on this topic in this thread.

  • aimee

    In regards to wild canids, I’d think the grey wolf’s remote habitat in areas of low incidence plays a role. According to this site, heartworm was felt to be a player in the decline of the red wolf and this document lists heartworm along with lyme and parvo as factors which may determine the outcome of surviving eastern timber wolf populations.

    A survey of coyotes in Arkansas in 1984, found over 65%, infected with heartworms and a survey in the 90’s in Ca the incidence was 91%. A more recent survey in Arizona, an area considered heartworm sparse had pockets up to 34 percent!

    In nature, as long the reproduction rate outpaces the death rate the species survives.

  • aimee

    I’m with Melissa in that I choose conventional HWP … but you knew I would right: ) I don’t see that garlic would be an effective mosquito repellent in the dog as they don’t sweat. Garlic breath enough to keep them away??? Additionally, as garlic itself damages RBCs I won’t feed cloves of it to my dogs and I don’t see smaller amounts working as a dewormer. In conclusion I don’t see that there would be any effectiveness of garlic either as a preventative or treatment of heartworms.

    I did read the article on ginger but don’t see it applicable as it is demonstrating only a microfilarial effect when a concentrated form was repeatedly injected. Not sure how this relates to oral ingestion as a preventative so again not something I’d embrace.

    I see it as a choice of using a conventional preventative or electing not to use prevention at all. I do think that people whose dogs are not on preventative may benefit from a herd health effect form those dogs in the area that are on preventative.

    I read Dr Goldstein recommends twice yearly heartworm testing for dogs. So it seems to me he embraces early detection vs standard prevention. I also noted he recommended adding in conventional preventatives if in a heartworm endemic area. Do you know if now that daily DEC isn’t available anymore he now recommends once a month prevention for dogs in those areas?

    In the end it is always risk vs benefit and where each person’s comfort level is may differ.
    I personally could never forgive myself if any of my dogs became heartworm infected which factors into my decision to use conventional preventatives.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,
    I meant to get back to you sooner but ended up flying across country to help an elderly relative and have been “off the grid”

    I hope Audrey continues to do well for you. My little guy also feared vet visits so my heart goes out to Audrey. Still not his favorite thing but using a “calming cap” and DAP when at the vet has helped a lot along with a lot of handling exercises at home.

    I’m hoping your baby lives to be an old age like my baby did.. she’s already beaten the odds!

  • Michelle

    Nigel, since you seem to have boundless knowledge, on every topic, and already know everything, and your mind seems closed to anyone’s opinions, why are you even conversing with us peons? 🙂

  • Nigel


    We’re not seeing a mass die off of wolves nor did we die off before medical science because we then, and wild wolves & alike always, had always a stonger immunity than domesticates, But we then, and wld wolves always lived shorter lives. Why are we living longer & longer lives if medication, MSG (granted that it could be done without), processed foods etc are so bad for us? A question all you pro nature everything advocates can’t dispute.

    I’m not talking about isolated cases of alternative this or that successfully treated this or that, over conventional this or that. I’m talking about majority of lives & modern conventional living sees a rise in longer living over the last 100 years. Don’t give me that its the quality of life over the quantity either that I read all the time form you minority pro nature evrything advocates. Theres also not scientific study proving garlic keeps fleas off dogs either.

  • Shawna

    Dr. Jeffrey Levy “I concluded from this that it was not the heartworms that caused disease, but the other factors that damaged the dogs’ health to the point that they could no longer compensate for an otherwise tolerable parasite load. It is not really that different from the common intestinal roundworms, in that most dogs do not show any symptoms. Only a dog whose health is compromised is unable to tolerate a few worms. Furthermore, a truly healthy dog would not be susceptible to either type of worm in the first place…. For what it’s worth, I never gave my dog any type of heartworm preventive, even when we lived in the Santa Cruz area where heartworms were very prevalent. I tested him yearly, and he never had a problem.”

    “A truly healthy dog would not be susceptible to either type of worm in the first place….” Is it possible that this is the reason wild canids don’t have heartworm issues?

  • Shawna

    I wouldn’t agree with that statement Nigel however I have no idea how that relates to heartworms..

    If heartworm (a type of roundworm) is carried by mosquitos (which we know it is) and wolves etc are not protected from those mosquitos then why aren’t we seeing a mass die off of heartworm infected wild canids? If medical intervention were the only way that is.. For that matter how could man have made it to modern age if medical (conventional medical) intervention were the only way?

  • Nigel

    Shawna wrote “PS — if heartworm infection could kill healthy animals then we would have no wolves, coyotes and fox… Food for thought”

    Not really a true statement. Wolves live shorter lives in the wild than in captivity. That’s a well known fact. Wolves, coyotes, foxes & what ever alike, die off much earlier because of lives with out veterinary medication or care. The die early because they only have their own immune systems battling parasites, and not medical aid. Medication for thought.

  • Shawna


    I was trying to say the same as you about heartworms in the heart. My only point was they don’t “burrow” — causing holes in the heart. Otherewise we are saying the exact same thing.

    Many, if not most, of us that don’t use conventional preventatives DO focus on prevention — just a less toxic prevention approach. That’s all I’m saying. There is not juse ONE approach to heartworm that should be used by all..

    PS — Dr. Goldstein treated two of the three dogs infected under his care (“less then a handful”) with alternatives (like wormwood and vitamins) and states “all three are clinically normal” after treatment — no lasting heart, or otherwise, related issues.

    Certainly you must know that older conventional heartworm preventatives are not 100% effective any longer – if they ever were?.. Heartworms are supposedly developing a resistance to the older medicines — per and other references. How long will it be before that same resistance is discovered in the newer preventatives?

    “June 10 2011, Dr Steven Garner DVM, DABVP writes. There is growing concern that the class of heartworm preventions that have been used for the past 25 years are losing their effectiveness – if only slightly.”

  • melissa

    Mary Lou-

    I use Frontline here in NY during the flea season(we have never had a problem with fleas, but we do have ticks, which seem to be around until about a month after the snow flies) so not sure what would be best for a dog with skin issues : )

    Trifexis is a combination of Comfortis(spinosad) and milbemycin oxime(interceptor) What I found interesting is that it has a warning on the main brand website that it may not prevent heartworm completely unless three complete doses are given BEYOND the transmission season. For you, that is year round, but in NY some people stop when its too cold for mosquitos to survive(November -ish) Interceptor must be given 1 mth after transmission season, so not sure why the difference? There are also some cautions about using in dogs with epilepsy, which I have not seen on the Interceptor website, so it must be a spinosad issue)

    I never use any flea medication that must circulate the bloodstream to get to the skin as I feel that if it needs to be on the skin, put it there, lol. BUT, if my dog were too sensitive to the frontline or other topicals, I guess I would have to rethink that position.

  • melissa

    No, the worms cause damage beyond simply “hanging out there” .Ever see a heart infested with heartworm on necropsy? I have and its disgusting. The worms can grow up to 12 inches in length -, in the right side of the heart, lungs etc and cause blockages resulting in severely diminished quality of life.

    They can die from a large and sudden kill off of the worms themselves, which is usually a heavy parasite load and one of the risks of treatment.

    Glad for Dr Goldstein that he has only treated a handful of cases resulting from his suggestion of no preventative. As long as its “someone else’s” beloved pet and not mine, I am okay with that.

    It is a matter of perspective and belief system w/out a doubt. I prefer to prevent a disease that is very preventable rather than risk putting one of my crew through treatment. It comes down to whether or not the owner believes the greater danger lies in getting the disease or the preventative.

  • Shawna

    Hi melissa,

    The “risk” is a matter of opinion.. I thoroughly evaluated the risk before I ever made a decision like the one I made.

    Some vets (and lay persons alike) feel there is more, or as much at least, risk in the preventative then in the mosquito/heartworm.. Obviously others disagree. Just like dog foods — preventatives aren’t right for all dogs in every situation.

    We’ve had this conversation on Mercola often.. Here’s a few of the many vets I have quoted in the past. The caps in the first quote are the authors not mine.

    “Dr. Gloria Dodds “PREVENTION IS ALWAYS THE BEST CURE BUT DRUGS GIVEN AS HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE ARE ALMOST AS BAD AS THE PARASITE ITSELF. Think about it, giving the insecticide drug to a dog to poison his blood to kill any microfilaria that may be deposited by an infected mosquito is poisoned blood! That toxic blood touches every organ in the body. I have seen clinically ill animals by this procedure- always involving the liver and kidney because the liver is the detoxifier of all chemicals, and the kidneys excrete the toxins.”

    Dr. Martin Goldstein “To judge by your local veterinarian’s stern insistence on regular heartworm pills for your dog, you’d think we’re in the midst of a brutal epidemic, leaving piles of the dead in its wake. I think there’s an epidemic, too, but of a different sort: of disease-causing toxicity instilled in our pets by heartworm preventative pills.

    In the last decade, 98 percent of my patients, on my recommendation, have not been given heartworm preventative. In that time, I’ve seen less than a handful of clinical cases.” This data is in his book but quoted on the following website

    More vet comments can be read at the following link or found online June 24th @ 4:36 pm

    It’s all a matter of perspective..

    From my understanding, the worms don’t actually burrow through the heart. Just set up shop there and eventually overwhelm the valves cutting off blood supply etc. The coughing is due to this congestion as well as when the worm is traveling from the skin (where it matured from L3 to L5 stage) through the bloodstream (sometimes diverting through the lungs) to the heart. The dog can cough at this point to try to expel the worm.

    Again, from my understanding, death is usually not form the infection itself but rather from a massive die off that that blocks blood flow. It takes a large infestation (not just a few worms) to cause that kind of blockage.

  • Mary Lou

    melissa ~ Poor little Dupree has flea allergy dermatitis as one of his highest allergens. They ended up putting him on Comfortis because his skin is sooo sensitive to topicals or spray. He also takes Heartgard. I am wondering what you use for fleas? Since we are in FL, he needs protection year round. I know Shameless lives here in FL, and uses nothing, but I cannot take that chance with Dupree. If he gets bit by one flea, he is miserable for two weeks from the saliva. This dog is beyond high maintenance. : ) I went to get his license renewed on Friday, without him. I don’t want him to go to the vet until I get his diet worked out without interference. Anyway ~ they are recommending a flea/heartworm combo called Trifexis. Do you know anything about it?

  • melissa


    Sorry, I would rather not risk my dog’s life on speculation. Heartworm disease can and will kill a dog, otherwise healthy or not if the dog gets infected and remains untreated. Those that do survive adult infestation would certainly have a weakened cardiovascular system due to the large holes burrowed into the heart-hence why one of the most common symptoms of advanced disease is coughing.

    I am not sure about garlic as a mosquito repellent, but we once used it for the horses hearing it worked for flies-I ended up with an Italian kitchen smelling barn that appeared to draw more flies than we had to begin with, lol

  • Shawna

    “conventional alternatives ” should read – conventional preventatives..

  • Shawna

    melissa and Nigel,

    I must admit I didn’t read the entire study. But the first paragragh says ginger “killed all the test worms” (I think there were 6) “within 2 hours”. That is from the second link. Garlic was equally effective but not as quickly.

    In my opinion garlic works in several ways. I have Colorado University Extention Office article (plus others) that says garlic is relatively effective as a mosquito repellant. Then, if the mosquito does bite and there is a subsequent bite to foster infection (both having bitten another dog with heartworm), the garlic can kill the worm — if the immune system doesn’t get the larvea first (in a healthy dog of course). It is now known that the heartworms have a little bacterial hitchhiker, called wolbachia, that must be present for mating (pending a male and female have both infected the dog) to happen. Since garlic is such an amazing antibiotic (even known to kill MRSA – the antibiotic resistant superbug) I am speculating that it is also effective at killing wolbachia. Which would mean even tho infected, the worms can not mate and will, after a while, die of old age without harm to the pup..

    I would never suggest to someone not to use conventional preventatives. But, for those that want an option, options are out there. One example – google Dr. Martin Goldstein heartworm.. Dr. Goldstein is a well respected alternative vet and has treated Oprah’s dog Sophie and has a talk show on Martha Stewarts network. He’s only one of many vets that recommend alternatives and feel preventatives (heartworm and flea/tick) are more toxic then helpful. Just another opinion though… We each have to do what is right for us.. Because of Audrey’s kidneys I didn’t feel conventional alternatives were right. However, I haven’t used them in the 20+ years I’ve had dogs of my own so it was an easy choise :).

    PS — if heartworm infection could kill healthy animals then we would have no wolves, coyotes and fox… Food for thought ;).

  • Nigel

    I agree with Melissa on this one. I don’t risk natural alternative when it comes to my Lab. I too give him Interceptor for worms and heartworm. Sometimes I will mix St Marys thistle with his food post dosage for about a week. But these types of conventional medication are usually in the safe limits if used accordingly. Don’t chance it me say : )

  • melissa


    I don’t know that I would trust ginger for heartworm disease. I read the study(and can’t remember the exact number right now) but it was not 100 percent effective in killing the microfilaria and the adults-The longer the adults remain, the more damage done. While everything has its risks, I personally would go with the conventional treatment to eradicate the worms in a timely manner.

    As for worms, well, I give the Interceptor once a month and have no issues with them. However, when we get a new rescue in, we simply give them a dose of conventional wormer and the issue is gone.(Depends on the type of worms found in the fecal test) Honestly, I prefer the conventional treatments for time and ease. No one wants to adopt a dog that is wormy or that they have to continually feed DE or pumpkin to : )

  • Shawna

    Tapeworms are segmented and pieces can break off while the worm survives. The segments are described as looking lide rice grains. If tapeworms can get as long as they get there has to be a lot of little rice grains making up the whole worm. I did look after posting and the head is hook shaped and does hook in to the intestinal wall. My thoughts — and I admit I could very well be wrong — is that the enzyme gets into the worm and can be carried in its fluid — possibly to the head…

    I’ve talked with and read accounts of/from quite a few people (can’t give an exact count) that didn’t have much success with DE. However, they may not have used enough for long enough..

    I grind the pumpkin seeds in the coffee grinder being careful not to heat them — pulse instead of turn on and leave on. Then just add scoops to their food with each feeding. However, I really can’t confirm that it is the pumpkin seeds, the garlic or their own immune systems that are the primary factor in worm erradication… 🙂 I generally only give the seeds when I have a confirmed worm case in one of my foster dogs… I give the oil (good source of omega fatty acids, chlorophyll and certain vitamins and minerals) a few times a month if not more often.

  • Shawna

    I have a feeling I’m going to get called out on ginger and garlic for heartworm. So for any interested —


    This test was done on 4 extracts — ginger was the most effective and garlic came in second.

  • Gordon

    Actually, she does elaborate in another chapter. She still believes conventional wormers are the best and are safe, but does also support garlic, cucumber juice, pumpkin seed tea, paul d’arco, certain bach flowers, chenopodium, filix mas, granatum, biochemical salts, etc etc.

  • Gordon

    Thanks for your clarification, Shawna. Yes I know exactly how feed grade DE works and where it comes from and how it is refined. Sources I’ve read say it is very effective against tapeworms. But I confess that I personally don’t know exactly how tapeworms look and how they reside in the intestines, to be able to know if the physical principles of DE would actually work. So I’ll do more reading on tapeworms.

    Dr. Barbara Fougere also states that pumpkin seeds can be effective against tapeworms. She states, to use 60 grams of crushed fresh seeds and add to oat gruel and honey, and issue it 3 times a week. But then states that there are far more effective worming preparations than using pumpkins seeds, but then doesn’t elaborate on what? I hate that, when authors do that! That information may just be elsewhere where I haven’t as yet read.

    How do you prepare, feed, and how often, re the pumpkin seeds?

  • Shawna

    PS — I agree with you on DE not being effective for heartworm. I like garlic and ginger for that :).

  • Shawna

    Hi Gordon,

    I should have said not “as” effective. The reason DE works is because it cuts the body or exoskeleton of the intended victim and causes dehyration. Because tapeworms are segmented DE has to come into contact with segments near the head to damage much of the worm.. I’ve also heard that the head buries into the digestive tract wall which would, imo, make it quite difficult for DE to make contact..

    I like garlic and raw pumpkin seeds better for tapeworms. Actually better for any worms.. However I do use DE as a supplement once in a while on rotation.

    RAW pumpkin seeds have an enzyme called cucurbitin that paralyzes tapeworms and roundworms. Also quite nutritious and the dogs like the taste. IMO from sources I have read it seems to have a better chance of making contact closer to the head. The allicin (if used fresh) in garlic seems to be quite potent against parasites (all) as well as all its other benefits. (I also give pumpkin seed oil which is highly nutritious.)

    I haven’t had experience with tapeworms so this is simply inforamtion I have read online and in different forums I belong to. I do believe it to be accurate however. I have very successfully used raw pumpkin seeds and oil and garlic for roundworms.

    Just my opinion!! 🙂 I should be more careful about stating that…

  • Gordon

    Yes I’m still on line because I have an extended shift at work.

    Did you mean heartworm instead? Because DE definitively has no effect against heartworm.

  • Gordon

    Shawna – You stated, “Diatomaceous earth is used for flea prevention and the “food grade” DE is quite useful for parasite control (except tapeworms) in both humans and dogs.”

    Now I know and use DE myself for about 5 months now, ever since Shameless brought it to my attention, but why do you say it is not effective against tapeworms? I ask, because I read internet sources, to the contrary. I’m not saying you’re wrong. I would just like if you could elaborate as to why you say that.

  • Stacey

    I have been feeding my weimaraner the raw product for 4 years with no problems. He suffers from a malabsorption disorder in his GI tract and this is the only food he can tolerate without getting diarrhea and losing weight. It has kept him a very lean, muscular, 90lbs and he is georgous. I don’t feed the chicken because it gives him gas but all other varities he tolerates well. I recommend this product to anyone that has a pet with GI problems, it seems to be a cure-all.

  • Shawna

    Hi Nat,

    Lots of items are used for various purposes. Doesn’t necessarily make them bad however.

    In the holistic community — many use clays to detoxify the body. Diatomaceous earth is used for flea prevention and the “food grade” DE is quite useful for parasite control (except tapeworms) in both humans and dogs. It is also high in minerals and many see improvements in their dogs coats afte the inclusion of DE in their food.

    Montmorillonite clay is just another detoxifier and is particularly good at removing heavy metals so I’ve read. It can be a source of a particular contaminant (can’t remember off the top of my head what it was).. I contacted Nature’s Logic, who also uses montmorillonite clay, and they confirmed from their supplier that the clay they used was tested to be free of the contaminant. The owner of NL used to work with NV so I assume (may be bad on my part) that NV’s clay is from the same supplier.

  • nat

    Anyone can come to this website and tell about their dog never getting sick after eating such and such.
    The user “Christine” above states that Nature’ Variety is great yada yada yada.
    I found this about montmorillonite clay:
    “Montmorillonite is used in the oil drilling industry as a component of drilling mud, making the mud slurry viscous which helps in keeping the drill bit cool and removing drilled solids. It is also used as a soil additive to hold soil water in drought prone soils, to the construction of earthen dams and levees and to prevent the leakage of fluids. It is also used as a component of foundry sand and as a desiccant to remove moisture from air and gases.”

    Doesn’t sound that appetizing. Not feeding food with that ingredient to my dogs.

  • sandy

    Maybe the weight loss if from less high calorie chicken fat versus low calorie tapioca.

  • sandy


    I found that I did write down the chicken formula and it has changed slightly.

    It was: chicken ml, chicken fat, pumpkinseeds, fish meal, alfalfa…

    Now its: chicken ml, tapioca, chicken fat, pumpkinseeds, M fish ml, alfalfa…

    I did not write down the previous calories, but the calories stayed the same on the Salmon formula with the changes.

  • sandy


    The order of ingredients might have changed. I had written down the Instinct Salmon ingredients and it is slightly different now.

    It was: 3 fish meals, tapioca, canola, pork liver, coconut oil,…

    Now its: 3 fish meals, canola, tapioca, peas starch, pork liver, coconut oil.

    So the other formulas might have had a slight change as well…I don’t know. I didn’t write all of them down.

  • sandy

    Wilma’s Orphans,

    There is a post regarding ingredients on the Instinct review dated June 10, 2011.

  • Hi Wilma’s Orphans… This report is just a summary page. Click on the individual links listed here to read the actual reviews. There you should be able to find the answers to your questions. Hope this helps.

  • wilma’s orphans is a small rescue with 15 dogs, 3 of whom have allergies of undetermined origin. going on the assumption that at least one allergen comes from food i was looking for a grain free/gutton free kibble and came across
    “instinct” limited ingredient diet turkey meal. i like the idea that the number of ingredients was practically half that of the other grain free brands but i questioned the inclusion of “montmorillonite clay”. my research tells me it has many uses [see none that seem to be food related. this raised red
    flags for me. i know you mentioned in a previous post you were adding this item to your “to do” list i am curious to hear
    your comments.

    i am also concerned about ingredients coming from china as mentioned in a previous post. i will be contacting the company directly concerning these issues. the cost of this product [over $2/lb for a 25 lb bag] should guarantee 100% USA ingredients and of the highest quality.

  • Hi Debi… Assuming you’re referring to NV Instinct, I’m not aware of any changes to the recipe. Tapioca is not really a filer but a legitimate complex carbohydrate (starch) made from the root of the cassava plant. My complete opinion about this food can be found in the NV Instinct kibble review. Hope this helps.

  • Michelle

    Debi, I’m not aware if there was an ingredient change or not but, Tapioca is a natural plant derived ingredient, it is mainly used as a binder, to help hold the other ingredients together. It is gluten and grain free, and is used in many grain free / potato free dog foods. In my opinion it is better than potato.

  • Debi

    Can you tell me if Nature’s Variety has changed the composition of it’s kibble in the last 6 months? My dogs started losing weight on the amounts I have been feeding them over the last couple years so I had to up their intake a bit. I noticed today that tapioca is the second ingredient in the chicken kibble and don’t recall seeing that before. Is this a new ingredient? It is a filler with no nutritional value that I know of, so I was not sure what to think of this.

  • sandy

    There is a post about this under Instinct on June 10 7:29 pm by amanda.

  • Gordon

    I understand it that some of certain minerals and amino acids are sourced from China, and unfortunately is in even some of the otherwise best dog foods, but when it comes to meat such as rabbit, I’m in total concurrence, Linda, and if what they told you is the case, then I would give it a miss with out a second thought.

  • Linda

    I spoke to a customer service agent ot Natures variety about the source of the rabbit that they use in there foods. I was told that it comes from China.. Enough said

  • I was just reading a pet publication where Nature’s Variety “Introduces a Customer Referral Program.”

    They launched a program that rewards customers who refer the company’s pet food to friends and family. The Transform a Life program invites customers to recommend NV products to their friends & family via a special email message available at The email will include an offer for a free sample of NV Prairie dog food. Customers whose friends/family respond by accepting the free sample, will be rewarded with up to $5 in coupons for any NV product.

    I’m not endorsing this brand since I never fed it to my guys. This is only a fyi.

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks, Mike ~ I will wait for your review. I was surprised to see it today; so grabbed a bag. Our little guy only gets kibble for a lunch time snack in his kibble ball; so I am in no hurry to introduce it. Thanks again!

  • Hi Mary Lou… This looks like a very interesting product. It appears to come in 2 flavors. Thanks to your suggestion, I’ve added NV Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet to my To Do list. I’ll try to get to it as soon as I can. Thanks again for the tip.

  • Mary Lou

    Hi Mike ~ Picked up a bag of the new Instinct Limited Ingredient Turkey. Will you possibly be adding this new variety to your never ending list to review? Thanks!

  • Hi Barb… Please see our FAQ page and look for the topic, “Dog Food Ingredients”.

  • Barb

    methionine – is this a item we dog owners should be looking out for in dry kibble?

  • Barb

    is methionine dangerous if listed in the minerals ingredients for a canine? thank you

  • amanda castillo

    Best. Dog food. ever.
    Dog’s are meant to eat raw meat as 90% of their diet. The NV medallions and patties make it convienient. Get it.

  • Hi Jose… Green tripe (portions of an animal’s stomach) is not a specific “brand” of dog food. But we have reviewed some product lines that contain this nutritious ingredient. For example, ZiwiPeak, Canine Caviar and Solid Gold. We’ll be reviewing others as they come up. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • jose

    When are you going to make a review on green tripe?

  • Hi Curious… I’m not sure why a commenter called the company liars. But I believe the reference to “plastic” in dog food may have been the infamous melamine dog food recall of 2007.

  • curious

    What “plastic” are you referring to regarding cats and dogs dying from? And why is one person calling this manufacturer “liers”?

  • Effie Clark

    My Chihuahua has been eating the frozen medallions ever since all the dogs and cats died from the plastic in the food (what was that, five years ago?) After trying all the different forms of raw, she prefers the chicken and the beef. We haven’t had any issues with bugs and I’m not sure what cate is. I do give her a break from the raw and feed her canned food for a few days every once in a while; usually Candadie. On occasion I will feed her Orijen kibble.

  • betajules

    DONT BUY THE FROZEN!!! there was a huge black bug frozen in the meat. these people are liars! they put no cate into their food

  • Donna Plummer

    My dogs love this food!! Dry or frozen.