I have been hearing a lot about the controversy about commercial dog food brands for at least two months now, and have just now watched the documentary “Pet Fooled” detailing the problems within the industry. Honestly I’m now very much questioning what sort of thing I’m giving my own dogs, as I think a lot of people would. While I am following animal welfare blogs and am always striving to know more about animal biology + care, I do not consider myself an expert as I have not gone to any type of college or have any experience in career fields working with animals.
I currently have two large adult dogs, both around the age of 12. For all my life my family has been feeding the Science Diet brand under the recommendation of our vet. Now, I’m wondering how good this stuff is. I’ve read the review on the main site and while I’m sort of comforted that it’s at least recommended, I still don’t know whether it’s the best stuff available to our dogs. I want to know what your thoughts are, as well as any recommendations of brands you may have if you think this particular brand is unsuitable.
I am in the midst of researching different raw food-type brands and am sort of overwhelmed of the choices. I am considering giving raw feeding a shot, despite its controversy, although I foresee difficulties in convincing my mother to agree as she is probably oblivious to this stuff and distrusting of people over the Internet (the reason I must consult her is that I am living with her for life and have no income of my own.) I am aware that a dog’s diet should be meat based and so far, everything is pointing to raw feeding being the closest thing to what a wolf would get in the wild.
Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to read this, add any input and perhaps look past any novice mistakes/statements I make.
That film you mentioned is biased, propaganda being pushed by the raw feeding community and the homeopathic vets.
For science based veterinary medicine go here:
and http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=bones Use the search engine there to look up other topics.
also, this may help https://www.mspca.org/angell_services/choosing-the-right-diet-for-your-pet/ excerpt below, click link for full article, use search engine there to look up other articles/topics
Raw diets are another popular option on the market today. Studies have shown that 20-35% of raw poultry and 80% of raw food dog diets tested contained Salmonella. This poses a health risk for your pet, but also for humans. This is especially true for children or immunocompromised adults, whether exposed to the raw food directly, or the feces of the pet eating the raw food. Additionally, there is increased risk of other bacterial infections and parasitic diseases when feeding raw diets. And the bottom line is there is no reason to believe raw food is healthier than cooked food.
The numerous dietary choices for your pet can be daunting but if you pick an AAFCO approved food made by a manufacturer with a long track record, odds are good that you will find a suitable food for your pet. Most of the large pet food companies employ full time veterinary nutritionists and have very high quality control standards. That is not to say that a small company cannot produce nutritious and high quality food, but you should check out their website if it’s a company that is not familiar to you. Take the time to research, and ask your veterinarian if you have specific questions or concerns.
Please understand that this article is meant to provide basic dietary guidelines for healthy pets. If your pet has specific health issues, then your veterinarian may make specific food recommendations, which may include special prescription diets.
If your dogs are in good condition at age 12 (seniors) you are doing a good job.
I would hesitate to make any drastic changes to their diets.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” 🙂
If it is within your means, a senior workup (labs and exam) would be a good idea, dentals may be needed, you can’t tell by looking. Periodontal disease can cause a multitude of problems (medical), not to mention pain and discomfort.
Hi Honey Bear,
yes your young & have realized pet food companies like Hills prefer to spend all their money on advertising & colourful packaging instead of making better quality dogs foods for our pets…you have taken the first steps to make your dogs healthier & live longer..
are you on Face Book, follow “Rodney Habib” he has over 1 million followers not like Skeptvet with only 1100 followers…
Dr Karen Becker & Susan Thixton were one of the first to reveal all these pet food companies & DFA he set up this DFA site all cause of his little dog called Penny
Dr Mikes story is under “ABOUT” up the top left..same as Rodney Habib he started exposing all these dog food companies like Hills, Royal Canin, Purina etc & all their false advertising saying that their food does this & that when they don’t, it all started 2 yrs ago when Rodney found out his 14 year old Golden Retriever (Sammy) had cancer he was like most of us, we didn’t know to turn the kibble bag around & read the ingredient list instead reading the bull on the front of the kibble bag…same as vets when I went to my vets the other day there’s a new light up big Hills stand all along the wall, with all their colourful packaging etc… Rodney’s said his brain went into over drive day & night doing so much research trying to find a way to reverse his dog Sammy cancer & cure for his cancer & Raw Diets kept coming up over & over again, natural whole foods, healthy foods us humans eat are the best to feed our pet, not a dry processed kibble, they found by just adding 2 tablespoons of fresh whole foods to your dogs bowl of kibble reduces the chances of your dog getting cancer, Rodney has heaps of video’s to watch, the best video is “Maggie the oldest dog in the World” you have to watch Maggies story, she pasted away last year age 30 years old, after watching her story you’ll understand why she lived so long….
Rodney Habib found “KetoPet this group of researcher takes dying dogs out of pounds around America that have cancer & were dumped there by their owners after these dogs were put on a KetoPet raw diet these dogs cancer was reversed, these dogs became cancer FREE & then needed to find new homes, its an excellent video showing these once sick dogs acting like young puppies same as Rodney Habibs boy Sammy he’s cancer free now all cause he was feed a healthy homemade balanced raw diet Rodney posted he takes 70mins a day to make his dogs raw meals for the day….
Firstly are your dogs on vet prescription diets, if yes what for? or did your vet just recommend to feed the normal Hills pet kibbles you buy at Pet shops or online pet stores?
Some vets are old school & have been Hills brain washed lol if they’re old school they will say no to a raw diet.. I went thru a Naturopath to put Patch on a raw diet, my vet had recommended I see a vet nutritionist for Patches health problems..
I rescued Patch age 4 yrs old he was in a bad way vets all said the same thing he was feed a poor quality diet probably Aldis or supermarket food, it took me a few years to get his gut healthy again….You need to do it slowly change 1 of the dogs meals say breakfast feed the new cooked diet or raw diet & for dinner still feed the Hills kibble or feed the same Hills kibble & start adding the new cooked or raw food to the meals & take away about 1/4 cup of kibble out of their bowl then the following week increase the new food & take out more of the Hills Kibble till you no longer feed the Hills kibble or just feed the kibble sometimes, have a look at Canidae Pure Meadow Senior grain free kibble http://www.canidae.com/dog-food/products Canidae is a small family run business.
… My boy was just put straight onto a homemade balanced raw diet the next day made by the Naturopath with no bone & no organ meat to start with cause he has IBD he did really well except he would regurgitate up digested water & raw food back up into his mouth about 20-30mins after eating it, cause his esophagus had been damage thru old owner using a choke chain on him, he did the same on wet tin food & cooked foods but now 4 yrs later he doesn’t regurgitate wet food no more….
Keep us informed with what you start to do even by adding some cooked left overs from dinner & take away some of the Hills Kibble is healthy….
“I foresee difficulties in convincing my mother to agree as she is probably oblivious to this stuff and distrusting of people over the Internet”
Listen to your Mom 🙂
Moms know more than you think they do!
Also, you may want to note that the site I referred you to (SkeptVet) is selling nothing there, absolutely nothing! No books, no supplements, no t-shirts…..
And the other link I provided was written by a veterinary nutritionist affiliated with Angell Animal Medical Center, one of the best in the country.
If you are going to go down this path, I strongly urge you to consult a veterinary nutritionist, a veterinarian with advanced training in nutrition.
Ps: Raw feeding is expensive, if you do it the right way.
Here is a cost effective idea, just add a spoonful of scrambled egg (no milk) to meals, or a bite of lean chopped cooked chicken, mixed in with the kibble and a splash of water.
That gives them a bit more protein and makes the meals more interesting.
I hope you are not free feeding (leaving food down) I have found 2 meals per day measured amounts is best. Walks/exercise as tolerated.
Do you have some specific health concerns?
Hi Honey Bar-
Firstly about Pet Fooled. I too watched it, but had a different reaction than probably most did. I’ve spent several years now researching nutrition, the pet food industry and pet food. When I first started out, I read about a lot of the stuff discussed on that documentary and I was outraged. I, like you, swore I would eventually fed my dogs a raw diet I prepared myself and would not “support” the large pet food manufacturers like Hill’s. It took me a while to realize that the vast majority of the voices making the claims like the ones in Pet Fooled were more concerned about their own agenda than the truth.
Anyway, needless to say, I no longer agree with the opinions expressed on that documentary.
As far as your families choice of Hill’s goes. Looks like it has been a good one. 12 years old and still going strong is great for a large breed. If you would like to see what even a huge Hill’s critic like Whole Dog Journal has to say about the company itself here are a couple articles they wrote about their trip to the Hill’s research facility in Kansas back in 2012
Whole Dog Journal is notorious for their slander against the big pet food manufacturers and even they could not say anything negative about the company when they toured the facility and manufacturing plant.
As far as searching for crediable information goes, I don’t know that I could, as an intelligent person judge the crediability of the information someone presents based on their number of followers on Facebook… In college and grade school we are taught to use peer reviewed scholorly research articles when writing a paper and doing research. The same applies to the topic of pet nutrition.
Here are the websites of two veterinary nutritionists who are renowned in the field: http://www.susanwynn.com/
The second site even has a function that allows you to ask a question and receive an answer from one of their nutritionists.
To touch on your question about raw feeding. While I am not against the incorporation of fresh foods to any living creatures diet, I have never quite understood this desire to feed a raw diet simply because the owner wants to feed their dog like a wolf. Wolves in the wild do not eat an optimal diet and do not live very long. Yes, other factors like predators come in to play, but in most regions(at least in the US) wolves reign supreme on the totem pole.
My belief is that when an owners sole reason for wanting to feed a raw diet comes from this thought that your dog is the ancestor of a wolf and therefore should be fed like one, this is when problems arise when a deficient diet. You see a lot of folks feeding raw chicken and potato and calling it a day and proudly saying they are feeding a “BARF” diet.
Fed long term, that diet will cause extreme sickness from multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies that could even be fatal.
All that being said, it is important that you discuss your thoughts with your parents as you are living with them like you said. It’s moot to even consider the option of a raw diet before that conversation happens.
Oh and as an aside: Isn’t the pup in my profile picture just simply gorgeous? He eats Purina Pro Plan 🙂
Anon: glad you mentioned scrambled egg. Due to life going to heck, two of mine are on kibble. O’Malley will not eat kibble with the stuff he had mixed in his Raw including egg. maybe i should scramble one for him, see if that works.
I scramble an egg with a slash of water and fry in small frying pan (for a minute) with a drop of olive oil and divide it for two dogs to mix with their kibble
Not every day, but maybe a few tmes a month, they love it.
I could be wrong, but I have read that dogs don’t get high cholesterol like humans do.
He’s used to a raw egg in ground raw 2-3 times a week but he won’t eat it in kibble! I will try scrambled for him, maybe he’ll eat it that way. Pain in the butt, he is; good thing he’s cute!
Hi Honey Bar,
I pick a food based on the company. In my opinion there are two types of companies. Those that have a vested interest in canine health and those that just market dog food. Companies that have a vested interest in health feed the foods they make to animals in their care and follow their health, contribute to the understanding of canine nutrition through research and often reach out in times of needed disaster relief, community shelters etc. Marketing companies in comparison focus on getting the consumer to buy the food and the health of the animal may take a back seat to that goal. I’ve found some marketing companies to be woefully inadequate in regards to quality control, nutritional knowledge and food formulation, others are adequate.
Companies that are vested in canine health and nutrition are generally the larger companies: Hill’s, Royal Canin, and Purina. They invest their money back into research. The bulk of my dog’s diets consist of products from these companies.
Raw diet generally may have a slightly higher digestibility then commercial diets but that is of little practical significance. Of the raw food providers I think Natures Variety makes the best products.
In regard to Hill’s products I utilize them and they are one of the companies that Dr. Susan Wynn, who I think is one of country’s top ,if not the top, holisitc/integrative vet, veterinary nutritionist, and past president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association feeds her own pets. I think you and your vet did fine by choosing these products. That said I do mix it up a bit and feed foods from several companies and add fresh foods as well.
Thank you so much to everybody for their input!
I will check to see what specific diet they’re on when I can. I think I should clarify that I’m not JUST considering doing raw food only, I’m also open to other options like mixing in other things (like the egg some of you have mentioned) or perhaps doing dehydrated foods. I found a brand that had little bits you could mix in with their regular diet and am considering that as well.
As far as health concerns, for the most part I have none but I do remember a few people saying that their dogs’ tumors came on because of a certain diet and my lab has had a large mass removed fairly recently…and now has another that we need to watch. ;_;
Hi another thing I forgot to mention it’s not just a dogs diet that matters also Flea products stay away from all the new flea chews & tablets like Bravecto, Nexgard & Comfortis any flea products that need to be taken orally… cause you have senior dogs your dogs may have under lying health problems giving any of these new oral flea products can lead to major health problems that can’t be reverse, some of these flea products stays in the dogs system for over 4 months…. best not to give any chemicals…
Two years ago Patch made a new friend at the park, she was a 12yr old Border Collie, always at the park every morning 7-730am chasing & rounding up her ball & bringing her ball back to her owner, then one day I saw her owner walking all by himself looking so lost & sad, I said where’s your girl, she not playing ball this morning, he said she passed away, I asked what happened she looked great the other morning, he said, I took her to the new vets on the corner, cause she was real itchy & kept scratching around her lower back & tail, the vet gave her a steroid injection & Comfortis tablet, then that night she wouldn’t eat, she went down hill, he took her back to the vet & she had Liver failure…..this poor dog was so healthy, she was never sick a day in her life…..
also make sure they’re getting daily exercise…. add foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids like tin sardines in spring water, tin salmon, almonds a dog can have 3 almonds a day, berries are great, green lipped mussels, I buy the K-9 Natural green lipped Mussels freeze dried & the Ziwi Peak air dried formulas are great….
google foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, sardines are excellent for their joint’s, bones, brain, heart & eyes…
It is not unusual for dogs (certain breeds like labs) to develop benign fatty tumors, I would guess it was more genetic than related to diet. What did your vet say?
Flea/tick/ heartworm prevention is important, discuss what would be best to use with your vet. There is an increase in Lyme disease (humans and dogs) and tick borne disease.
We already feed HeartGuard once a month. 🙂
Heartgard s for heartworm prevention. What about flea/tick prevention………
I’m actually not sure, I’ll ask my mom when she gets home!
That’s okay. I assume that you are using something.
Honey Bar; please, don’t take that propaganda movie to heart. I don’t doubt the producers honestly believe much of what that video contains, and mean well, but take it from someone who first came across those scare-mongering websites & videos about commercial dog foods around 2001 – the old adage that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions has never been more accurate then when it comes to the controversy surrounding certain dog food brands/ingredients.
The first thing you should know is that Science Diet is not harming your dog. Tumors are mainly genetic. I even have one older dog who developed a fatty lump in the exact same spot that his mother did. I have also had Beagles with cancer eating different brands of canned, dry foods and the raw diet.
Another thing you have to realize is that movies like the one you watched are propaganda films produced by people who have an ulterior motive. That means, they deliberately tell you half truths and play on your emotions, while hiding the fact that the main reason they are against certain companies is because they are large corporations making more profit than those people deem acceptable. They’re called anti-corporation. And some of the big dog food manufacturers, like Iams and Science Diet, feed the formula to dogs and take blood tests periodically to test the results before it is put on the market. Often, this is confused with animal vivisection, and so you will find people who don’t care if the food is good or bad, it’s just that they don’t like the company’s practices.
There are people who would rather your dog fell apart on a “holistic” food (these are all marketing gimmicks) with no such testing behind it, than something sold by one of the larger corporations. I call them Dog Food Social Justice Warriors, because science and facts go out the window, while emotional appeals and propaganda are all they have to offer. They bash ingredients known to be used in certain brands, and hope people will blindly believe that if they say corn will make your dog have allergies, it magically will, or that Ingredient X will cause cancer, then it will, with no scientific proof whatsoever.
I don’t doubt dogs do well on all different kinds of foods, from raw to grocery store to home cooked to high dollar “holistic”, but none of these methods are wrong if your dog is doing well. It sounds like your dog is VERY well taken care of. Twelve years old is great for a Lab, and if I were in your shoes, knowing today what I didn’t know in 2001, I would leave the dog on the food he’s been eating, and maybe add some small amounts of home cooking or replace a meal here and there with a home cooked substitute if you’re worried. Because switching foods for older animals can definitely do more harm than good. High protein diets like raw can also place a strain on the kidneys, liver and affect the immune system of an older dog in a very bad way 🙁 The raw fed sister of one of my show champion dogs also developed a chronic ear/eye infection which was not treated with conventional medicine, and eventually, after about two years, caused infective endocarditis. basically, the infection traveled to her heart and caused a murmur. So yes, even raw has its risks.
I have lost dogs to cancer on several types of diets, RAW INCLUDED, but one thing they all had in common, from canned to dry to raw, was that they were high meat/high protein diets. Older dogs may need *slightly* more protein than adults, but we tend to feed adult dogs far too much protein as it is, and keep in mind that most of the small company owned holistic diets have no research behind them and have dangerously high mineral levels due to the high protein content. When I said that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions was that by switching a dog doing well on one feed for so long, you might wake up a problem that was lying dormant or cause problems feeding a diet geared more towards marketing trends than what your dog actually needs. Good luck with your dog, and maybe take a look at other sites like the Science Dog Blog or SkeptVet to hear the other side of the story.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by HoundMusic.
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