When you shop for dog food for your Morkie, your head might be spinning when you read labels. I believe the pet food manufacturers – a multi BILLION dollar industry – purposely confuse consumers. Why would they do that? So they can pass off sub-par food (made with the cheapest possible ingredients) as high priced, quality food.
There are many, many ways dog food makers can do that, and I’ll be reviewing them over the next few weeks. Let’s start with dog food names.
But first, who regulates the pet food industry?
Meet the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials)
This is the group that regulates the pet food industry. You’d expect this to be an unbiased, third party group. Possibly a government organization or agency.
AAFCO is a private corporation. It is made up largely of PET FOOD COMPANY EXECUTIVES, business insiders and some elected officials in the United States and Canada. They set standards for their industry that are not very high, to state it mildly. The Association believes foods that are made up predominantly of ingredients like these, are just fine for our dogs:
Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, and corn syrup.
What’s corn syrup doing in dog food?
It covers up the putrid taste of processed food, to the point where your dog will find it reasonably palatable.
The role of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration ) is one of oversight. They check that what’s on the label, is in the food. That, and whether or not the manufacturer’s name is correct on the label. They have no input or insights into what constitutes healthy pet food, and their recommendations to the AAFCO are generally considered ‘suggestions’ only. And generally ignored.
Unethical and shady: dog food names
That is what allows the industry to label dog food like this:
- “Beef for dogs” then at least 95% of the product must be beef (or 70% when counting the added water)
- “Beef dinner” requires the product to contain at least 25% of beef
- “With beef” means the product contains at least 3% of beef. Buying a product that says “now with real beef” and you get only 3%!
- “With beef flavour” means the flavour itself is detectable (from beef meal or beef by-products for example), there doesn’t have to be any actual beef meat present in the product
Don’t buy foods that are labelled as dinners, entrees, meals or anything along those lines: it means the food contains just 25% of the named meat.
“With beef” or “with beef flavour” are even worse so avoid them too.
Go for the simple animal protein name, such as Beef for dogs, Chicken or Lamb.
For our U.S. neighbours, Thanksgiving is just the start of the busy holiday season, with plenty of delicious food and drink, socializing and late nights.
(In Canada, our Thanksgiving has come and gone – October 10th, so it’s not as connected to the Christmas season).
All that partying can be hard on a Morkie! Especially richer foods. Here’s what you can do to keep your dog healthy and happy over the holidays.
Rule number one…Don’t leave any food out where you dog can get it. And don’t make an exception to give him fatty, hard-to-digest foods.
Avoid all rich foods
We like to indulge our babies with treats, but just a few bites of turkey for example, can send your Morkie running with diarrhea. Not fun for either of you. Because they’re so small, even small amounts of the wrong food can have a dramatic effect on your Morkie, so be careful feeding him:
Fatty meats, gravies and side dishes – irritating to your Morkie’s digestive system, and can be stimulate mild to severe pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas, a vital organ in digestion. For more about this painful condition, please visit Doctors Foster and Smith’s excellent site.
Bones and other scraps – dogs can’t, of course, have cooked bones. Even poultry tendons can give him a real pain in the stomach or cause choking. Although dogs CAN eat raw bones as part of a healthy RAW diet, you’ll want to carefully explore that option first.
Alcohol, chocolate and caffeine – You know that uncle who thinks it’s funny to see your Morkie drink a beer? Not funny. At all. Alcohol of any kind, chocolate and caffeine are strong enough to make literally kill your small dog!
Stick with healthy foods for your Morkie over the holidays.
Most types of nuts, all sweet baked goods and chips, pretzels, crackers and chips are not good for a dog. Again, they contain high levels of fat, far too much sodium, plus some types of nuts (notably Macadamia Nuts) are actually extremely poisonous to dogs.
Other party foods to avoid for your Morkie:
- anything citrus
- grapes & raisins – very poisonous
- Salt and salty snack foods
- Xylitol — used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste and VERY toxic to dogs.
Yes you CAN give your Morkie a small amount of Pepto-Bismol for stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
Did you know you can give your Morkie Pepto-Bismol for a simple upset stomach? If he’s vomiting or has diarrhea, try this: 1 teaspoon of liquid Pepto-Bismol for every 5 pounds. Administer every 2 hours.
If there’s no improvement after 3 rounds (6 hours), contact your Veterinarian.
PLEASE NOTE: Pepto-Bismol is not for cats.
The Great Escape
Small dogs can easily run outside before anyone notices, and be gone. With guests coming and going, and lots of confusion in the foyer, your Morkie can slip out and his absence might not be noticed for many hours.
By then, he could be grabbed by a stranger, picked up by your local humane society, or be hit by a car. So while your guest are coming and going, why not keep your Morkie in his crate / cage, or close him up in a room far from the front door. Even if he barks while locked up, it is worth it.
Deborah Gray, Small Dog Expert, is not a veterinarian. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your pet’s veterinarian or any other … or to replace the recommendation or prescription of your pet’s veterinarian.
What’s your best tip for happy holidays with your pets?