I’m new here so not sure if this is the forum I need but thought I would start here. Over the last 11 years I have read everything I could find about what is the best food for my dogs. It is so overwhelming.
I have a friend that has raised dogs (purebred and mixed) for 20 years. Currently she has five dogs of various ages. All of her dogs are healthy, have beautiful coats, bright eyes, great dispositions and live to be 12 to 15 years old. She also is heavily involved with rescuing which means she sometimes brings dogs into her home that aren’t always healthy. Rarely do her dogs have any health issues.
Because of financial constraints she has always fed what is considered ‘below average’ dry kibble (and very little people food). My question is: if what she feeds is so bad, why have her dogs always been so healthy and lived so long? I would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks.
I have found some helpful information at this site: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/category/nutrition/
Also, I believe that genetics plays a major role in our longevity, animals too.
A homemade diet, some tips in general guidelines you may find helpful:
Unfortunately, we can’t see whats inside our dogs. I’ve heard of people who say their dogs are healthy but they have bad skin, ear infections, overweight/underweight, joint issues, constipation/diarrhea etc. To me, thats not healthy. I don’t know what your friends dogs look like.
For me, I can’t feed a below average food. I just can’t. *I* chose to get my dogs. That means that *I* have a responsibility to them, which includes keeping them as healthy as possible. That means I take great care to choose high quality foods, with an ingredient panel I like, from a company I trust. Maybe mine would be fine on below average food but I’m not going to test the theory.
What right, inkedmarie, do you have to be so condescending, self-righteous and critical? And how dare you imply that my friend is irresponsible! I’m happy that *you* are in a financial position to be able to feed *your* dogs high dollar food. Not all of us are blessed with money. But then again, money isn’t everything.
Apparently you didn’t read all of my post. This is part of what I said – ‘All of her dogs are healthy, have beautiful coats, bright eyes, great dispositions and live to be 12 to 15 years old. Rarely do her dogs have any health issues.’ In addition to this, her dogs have good bowel habits, all are of good weight, and there are no problems with skin, ears or joints. Is there anything else you would like to criticize her about?
One more thing, inkedmarie, I would be HAPPY to send you pictures of my friends dogs. And vet records too.
First of all, you asked for our thoughts; you got mine. If you don’t want to read the answers, don’t ask.
Apparently you didn’t read my post, where I said “I’ve heard of people”; I also then said “I don’t know what your friends dogs look like”. People think they have great looking dogs when they don’t.
Who said I feed high dollar foods? There are plenty of 4 and 5 star foods that are at good price points. You don’t have to spend a ton to get good foods. You said “below average” food. It’d be helpful to know what food]you’re talking about but I suspect you aren”t going to say. I also suspect that you aren’t talking about a ‘friend’ but yourself. Shrug. Again, you asked for thoughts, I gave mine. I don’t think I was self righteous, condescending or critical but, again, shrug.
Yes, I asked for your thoughts. Thoughts as to why dogs that are fed what dogfoodadvisor.com has rated as below average food are healthy and thriving. You never offered any thoughts about this. I wasn’t looking for a critique on owners.
You’re right, you don’t know what my friends dogs look like and you have no idea what my friend thinks (i.e. “people think”). So you had no reason to go there.
You have no clue what kind of person I am and I resent that you ‘suspect’ anything about what I would or wouldn’t say or if I am the kind of person who lies by misrepresenting themselves.
If you have nothing to offer concerning what I am interested in learning about, please leave me alone.
Hi Gwen- I’ve asked myself the same question time and time again, being that I have a dog who has suffered with skin issues. I’ve seen dogs on Kibbles N Bits, Purina Pro Plan, Beneful etc that look better than my dog. I’d say Anonmously definitely has a point about good genetics. I too have felt that is a key factor. I know shiny coats are from high fat content, but why some dogs get violently ill and even die while eating some foods that other dogs thrive on is so hard to say why. It even happens with the “high end” foods. Some dogs are ill on 5 star foods that are said to be the best of the best.
Hey Pitlove, It is so confusing sometimes. Totally agree on the genetics. I guess it just comes down to a case by case basis. I just want to do the best that I can for my best friend.
Love your picture. Is that from a t-shirt? Thanks for your input.
Hi Gwen J, welcome to DFA, and yes, you’re in the right forum.
First of all let me say that your friend is blessed to have so many apparently healthy dogs who live to be 12 to 15 years old 😉
Health and longevity in dogs, like in people, is related to a combination of genes and environment. So, while your friend’s dogs appear healthy and live to be 12 to 15 years old on what you call a below average kibble, I believe that with all other things being equal, those same dogs would have been a little healthier and might have lived a bit longer if they had eaten a less processed, more species appropriate diet than a below average kibble.
That was the easy part, the difficult part is figuring out exactly what a healthier more species appropriate diet is and how you can achieve that within yours or anyone else’s financial and other constraints.
One way is to add approximately 10% lightly cooked meat to a dog’s diet. I would stick to a meat that is already in the food your feeding. Another way is to rotate between 2 or 3 different kibbles that don’t have overlapping proteins. Most companies now have a red meat, a lamb or a venison, a fish, and one or 2 poultry formulas.
The reason for adding only 10% lightly cooked meat is that the kibble is probably balanced as far as vitamins and minerals go, and if you added more than 10% of anything, you could unbalance that diet over the long term. The reason to rotate is that it helps expose your dog to a variety of proteins and nutrients and helps a dog have a more diverse population of healthy bacteria in their gut, and a diverse population of bacteria is very beneficial to a dog’s immune system.
Transition between foods s l o w l y. The longer a dog is on the same food the greater the chance of problems when switching foods. Try a 3 week transition to begin with. Add 10% of the new food to the old food, then every 2 days go up another 10%, so that it takes 20 days to fully transition.
Hopefully things will go well and then every 3 months or so you can switch to a new food until you find at least 3 foods that don’t cause any problems, and that your dog enjoys.
I know I wrote a lot of stuff, but in reality I’ve only scratched the surface. For now I’ve told you about 2 things that I believe will improve the health of yours and your friends dogs.
Good luck, keep us updated, and in the future if someone replies to you in a manner you don’t like, just IGNORE THEM, you’ll have a much better experience here if you do!
Gwen- Thanks! yeah they make t-shirts, sweatshirts you name it with this picture. I forgot the guy’s name but he paints all sorts of pictures of pitbulls like this. I’m getting the sweatshirt for Christmas that looks like my picture here 🙂
I have a shirt with a similar picture on it that says “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself” I’m sure you have seen it (that’s why I asked). Good for you on the sweatshirt. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.
Hi el doctor – Thanks for taking the time to give me so much information. I will be putting this in my ‘keep’ file. One question though, how much longer than 12 to 15 years would one expect a dog to live? I know there have been dogs that have lived longer but thought this was pretty much the norm.
In my experience, small dogs live longer. I had a yorkie that made it to 16, I currently have a peke that is 15 1/2.
When I was a kid we had a shepherd/collie that lived to be 18, he got 1 can of Calo (similar to Alpo) a day, roamed free and received minimal vaccinations.
My corgi that had the best diet, exercise, minimal vaccinations, passed from hemangiosarcoma at age 9.
I think of age 10 for a dog as comparable to age 50 for a human, some are in good shape, some are not. I find the age related ailments start around that time. Hope this helps.
PS: I agree, that age 12-13-14 seems to be the average, that’s not a bad deal.
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