Prescription dog food – legit or scam?

Prescription dog food – legit or scam?

When you look closely at the ingredients, it’s pretty clear that in nearly every case, prescription dog food is just regular food with a new label and a much bigger price tag. Sure, there are some extra ingredients, but they are WAY down on the label.

Manufacturers are aggressively competing against one another in the lucrative pet food market, by introducing ‘new’ versions of food. Many of these trends parallel our own foodie trends:

  • continued emphasis on protein – including alternative protein sources like quinoa and lentils
  • vegan or vegetarian food
  • low protein food
  • grain-free is now almost half the market in dog food
  • prescription diets
  • food formulated for small dogs
  • breed-specific food such as Royal Canin kibble for Yorkshire Terriers

 Trendy new dog foods are all about PROFITS

These “new” dog foods aren’t really new, and they aren’t designed with your dog’s health first. They’re designed to increase PROFITS for pet food manufacturers.

Before you shell out big bucks for these specialty foods, take a closer look and be sure you’re not being manipulated by this multibillion dollar industry.

 

don't be a puppet to pet food makers

Let’s look at an example of prescription dog food vs regular food

Dana Scott from Dogsnaturallymagazine.com has just written an extensive review of prescription dog food, versus regular store food.

It’s hard to see how prescription dog food, or veterinary diets, are worth the premium pricing. Here’s an example from dogsnaturallymagazine.com.

Here, we compare the ingredients ABOVE the named fat, which represent the bulk of what’s in the food. (Read more about how dog food ingredients are listed in this blog)

PRESCRIPTION DIET

Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Food for Joint Health

Chicken Meal
Whole Grain Wheat
Brewers Rice
Whole Grain Sorghum
Cracked Pearled Barley
Brown Rice
Soybean Meal
Dried Beet Pulp
Chicken Liver Flavour
Pork Fat

So, as you can see, the main ingredients are the same in both foods. What’s different? THE PRICE!

REGULAR DIET

Ingredients from Iams Veterinary Formula Joint Plus Dry Dog Food

Chicken by-product meal
Corn meal
Ground sorghum
Ground whole barley
Chicken (meal or whole)
Chicken flavour
Dried Beet Pulp
Chicken Fat

In most markets, the prescription food is almost TWICE AS MUCH MONEY as the regular food.

As with all my columns, this information is for your consideration. Please do not make changes to your dog’s diet, medication or exercise plan without consulting a professional.

Our pets are getting progressively fatter and sicker eating processed pet food.

 

The best prescription: a whole, healthy diet for your Morkie

Your Morkie is a carnivore and needs quality meat. Yet commercial food can be nothing but empty calories, and stuff like CORN which isn’t what dogs need. Or worse, processed dog food can contain carcinogens, triggering cancer.

Dr. Karen Becker, of healthypets.Mercola.com offers a NEW list of Best to Worst Ranking of 13 Pet Foods.

From the best – Nutritionally balanced raw homemade diet to the worst, an unbalanced homemade diet, raw or cooked.

 

 

Here’s Dr. Becker’s list:

Nutritionally balanced raw homemade diet
Nutritionally balanced cooked homemade diet
Commercially available balanced raw food diet
Dehydrated or freeze-dried raw diet
Commercially available cooked or refrigerated food
Human-grade canned food
Super premium canned food
Human-grade dry food
Super premium dry food
Grocery store brand canned food
Grocery store brand dry food
Semi-moist pouched food
Unbalanced homemade diet, raw or cooked

Do small dogs need special food?

Do small dogs need special food?

What’s the best dog food for small dogs? And do small dogs need special food, or is any good dog food OK? Here are 5 top questions about dog food for small dogs like Morkies.

1. Is kibble or canned better for small dogs?

pick this not that for your dogJust like us, dogs can get bored eating the same thing, day after day. So switch it up with different brands, and don’t hesitate to use both kibble and wet food together.

If you’re buying commercial dog food, look for quality ingredients,  whether you’re buying kibble or canned (wet) food.

What makes up “quality ingredients?” Pick food with a ‘real’ source of protein in the first 5 ingredients. For example, beef, chicken or salmon. AVOID food that is labelled “meat” “poultry” or “fish.” AVOID meat by-products (named or not).

AVOID: bone meal, meat meal, corn high up on the label, and food that includes a ‘flavour.’ Why? Because that flavour is usually added to disguise the poor quality of the main ingredients. If a dog food is made with chicken, why would you need to add chicken flavour?

How are ingredients ranked on a dog food label?

Ingredients in dog food are ranked by weight

All ingredients must be listed in order of predominance by weight, including the ingredient’s water. So without a complex formula which removes the weight of the water in the dog food, it’s not fair to compare a dry food with a canned food. However, kibbles can be compared to one another, and canned foods can be compared fairly.

 

  • First 5 ingredients – make up the bulk of the food, and are most important

  • Above the named fat – another way to look at it, is the ingredients above the named fat, are what matter.

  • First 3 ingredients – generally make up the protein of the food

2. Why a high quality food is important for small dogs

Small dogs need all the nutrition a big dog does, but with a difference.

Small dogs actually need to eat more calories for their body weight, than larger dogs. That’s because smaller dogs usually have faster metabolisms and will burn off energy at a faster rate than larger dogs. For example, a Maltese needs more than twice as many calories per pound as a Great Dane.

Since small dogs are, well, small…. they can’t afford to fill up on low-quality ingredients like corn and other grains. Another reason you need the best dog food for small dogs.

 

 

3. Are breed-specific foods worth it?

Spoiler alert: Nope. What matters is that the food is species-specific… that is, it’s made for DOGS.

You might wonder sometimes, when you see ingredients like CORN first on the dog food label. When’s the last time you heard of a wolf breaking into a farmer’s field, shucking a few cobs and feasting on corn? Like never.

This doesn’t stop manufacturers from extending their pet food lines with plenty of silly options, like breed-specific food. Let’s look at two dry foods specifically for Yorkies, compared to a premium brand for small dogs.

Two breed-specific, specialty foods – for Yorkies

Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Food

Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Dry Food

First ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Corn Meal
  • Ground Whole Grain Sorghum
  • Brewers’s Rice
  • Chicken Fat

Chicken as the first ingredient is excellent. Meal is a concentrated version of the meat named, and so delivers excellent protein value; however, poultry by-products are the really ghastly parts like beaks and feet. Corn meal is the third ingredient, and it’s a controversial one. One thing we do know is, that as a whole grain, corn is not easily digested by dogs.

Sorghum is usually fed to cattle and Brewer’s Rice, or broken rice, are the broken bits of regular rice, which are rejected for people. They’re OK, nutrition wise, for pets.

10 pounds – at Chewy.com – $31.49

All in all, a pretty average food.

royal canine yorkie food - kibble

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Yorkshire Terrier

First ingredeints:

  • Brewer’s rice
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken by-product meal
  • Chicken fat
  • Wheat gluten

Brewer’s Rice is an odd ingredient to find first in a dog food. (see Eukanuba description, left)

This is a medium quality food, heavy on the carbs which small dogs like Morkies don’t need.

10 pounds – at Chewy – $38.69

My personal opinion is that this ranks well below the just-average Eukanuba, at left.

A much better choice – 

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

 

12 pounds –  $37.99

      • Deboned turkey
      • Turkey meal
      • Chicken meal
      • Potatoes
      • Peas
      • Dried Ground Potatoes
      • Chicken Fat

      Premium natural ingredients, with no wheat, corn, soy preservatives or artificial colours and flavours.

      Provides energy without all the carbs, thanks to high-quality protein. Complete with probiotics, glucosamine, Omega fatty acids for coat health, antioxidants and more.

       AND, IT’S CHEAPER PER POUND THAN THE BREED-SPECIFIC FOODS.

       

      4. Should I pick a food that’s specially made for small breeds?

      Some kibble comes in smaller sizes for smaller dogs, like the Wellness Core, above. That’s not a bad idea, as long as the food itself is high quality. Other than the size of kibble, there’s no reason small dogs need a different recipe than their big friends.

      cesar dog food commercial

      A frame from the latest Cesar Dog Food commercial.

      Pulling the heartstrings of small dog owners

      cesar dog foodSome foods are specially marketed to small dog owners. Cesar Savory Delights is a good example. Ads feature a  single man or woman, alone with their soulmate, a tiny dog. These ads are targeted at the GenX/Boomer pet parent, who is lonely, but thankfully, has his fur baby for company. So naturally he wants the best for that dog – and the implication is, that’s Cesar! 

      This food is one of the poorest quality on the market. Why?

      After water, the top 5 ingredients are:

        • beef by-products – which is industry-speak for slaughterhouse waste. This isn’t meat, it’s the leftovers, rejected for hot dogs. Can include lungs, brain, intestines, even tumours! 
        • animal liver – the animal isn’t named, so it could be anything, including any combination of pigs sheet, goats and horses. 
        • chicken – good!
        • meat by-products – slaughterhouse waste again, but from what animal??? Could even roadkill!
        • bacon – the cured fatty meat from the belly of the pig. Hmmm.

        5. Can small dogs handle a RAW diet?

        Yes they can. But RAW diets are about more than slicing off some sirloin before you toss that steak on the barbie…

        It’s important to handle raw meat carefully; especially for YOUR health. Your dog may love it, but raw meat is still full of potentially harmful toxins, bacteria and even parasites. Dogs are more resistant, but they’re not immune to some of these dangers.

        A RAW diet isn’t without digestion problems either, especially when you get started. Launching a new feeding regime can be tricky.

        And the number one issue: ensuring your Morkie gets the right nutrition. For a RAW diet, this takes a lot of planning and knowledge to balance the ingredients, and ensure all the micronutrients and vitamins and minerals are delivered in a RAW diet.

        Next: 'Prescription' or Veterinary Diets - Scam or Solution?

        Homemade dog treats

        Homemade dog treats

        Want to make your own homemade dog treats? As we saw in the last post, commercial dog treats and jerky snacks can be sketchy. And rawhide bones are really dangerous! So make your own and you can count on quality dog treats for your Morkie.

        Over the holidays, you might get a chance to make your own homemade dog treats.

        Here are my favourite recipes, in handy downloadable format.

        Plus a template you can download, if you want to make your own cookie cutters too.

        Morkie puppy

        Make your own cookie cutters

        It’s easy, and there are 3 ways to do it:

        1. Cut up an empty pop can, into 1″ wide strips. Bend the top edge over about 1/4″ or cover with masking tape to protect your fingers. Shape, tape it and voila – cookie cutter!

        2. Use a disposable foil baking tray to cut 1″ long strips of foil, and bend them to your design.

        3. Simple tin foil, folded 6 times into a 1″ wide strip.

        Three ways to make your own cookie cutters

        Be careful of the tin edges; they can be sharp.

         

         

        make your own cookie cutter from stuff around the house

        Grain-Free Peanut Butter Dog Treats

        These are very healthy and high in protein. Plus, they’re grain free – perfect for the Morkie with allergies.

         

        1 Medium Banana
        2 large eggs
        1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
        1 cup chickpea flour (try Bulk Barn or similar store)
        1/2 cup coconut flour
        1/4 teaspoon baking soda

        Preheat the oven to 350.

        Mash banana, then beat in eggs and then peanut butter. In a separate bowl, combine chickpea flour, coconut flour and baking soda.

        Gradually add the flour mixture to the banana/peanut butter mix.

        When well blended, roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick and use your favourite cut outs to make cookies.

        Bake for 14 minutes until treats are golden brown.

        Remove and let cool completely. Store in a sealed container.

        Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies

        This recipe, from Blue Pearl Vet, looks good enough for us to eat. In fact….

         

        dog treats homemade

        ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree – canned. Not the pie filling; just pure pumpkin.
        ½ cup plain peanut butter
        1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour

        Preheat the oven to 325º F

        Mix all three ingredients together and knead. Add extra flour if the mixture is too sticky.
        Roll out to about ⅓” thick then cut into squares with pizza cutter.


        Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crunchy and golden.

         

        Crispy Apple Treats

        from Blue Pearl Vet

        It doesn’t get any easier!

        Slice fresh apples very thin, carefully removing all seeds and stem.
        Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 150º F for about 5 ½ hours.
        Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

         

         

        Please download your free recipes, and cookie cutter template.

        sweet potato chews for dogs

        Sweet Potato Chews

        from Blue Pearl Vet

        Slice a sweet potato into pieces of inch thickness. Cut the sweet potato crosswise for smaller, round coins.

        Lay the slices onto an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 250º F for 2 or 3 hours until they are dry with crispy edges.

        Flip them halfway through baking to ensure they cook evenly.

        Cool and serve to your dog. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

         

        Got a favourite recipe you’d like to share? Please post below.

        Can dogs eat turkey?

        Can dogs eat turkey?

        It’s that festive time of year, and you might be wondering can dogs eat turkey? They can… but it’s not that great for them. That’s because turkey skin and dark meat is fatty. And of course, turkey bones are really bad for dogs.

        If you want to make your Morkie a holiday treat… 

        …try one slice of turkey white meat

        • no gravy
        • remove the skin
        • no bones
        • no added fat or juice
        • no dressing or cranberry
        • just plain, white meat

        The dangers of too much turkey

        Turkey isn’t dangerous for dogs, but depending on how it’s cooked, it’s not easily digested by dogs. Plus, it can be fatty and can cause stomach upsets for a small dog like a  Morkie. 

        High-fat table scraps and meats can cause pancreatitis in dogs — the Pet Health Network advises that “Even if your dog doesn’t normally eat a high-fat diet, the introduction of a large amount of fatty food all at once can cause acute pancreatitis.” That’s pancreatitis that comes on suddenly and is unexpected, and it can be very painful for your Morkie.

        Symptoms of pancreatitis: loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A swollen abdomen is another symptom, along with lethargy and diarrhea.

          Can dogs eat turkey? Some Q&As

          Does turkey cause diarrhea in dogs?

          High fat scraps and meats can cause pancreatitis — the Pet Health Network advises that “Even if your dog doesn’t normally eat a high-fat diet, the introduction of a sudden fatty meal and be painful AND dangerous.

          Can my dog have the stuffing?

          Not a good idea; dogs cannot eat ONIONS, and should avoid large amounts of garlic and other spices.

          Stick to a small piece of white meat, with no gravy or trimmings and your Morkie will thank you in the long run (maybe not, but he’ll be healthy)

          Does turkey make dogs sleepy?

          The stuff in turkey that causes us to get sleepy is Tryptofan. It’s possible that Tryptofan in turkey can have a mildly sedating effect on dogs too. If your Morkie conks out early, it’s either that, or all the excitement!

          Can I give a turkey neck to my dog?

          You can – but only if it is RAW.  If the turkey neck is cooked, the bones will shatter, and could pierce your Morkie’s digestive tract. Never give your dog cooked bones. Raw is perfectly good – if your dog is used to whole raw meaty bones. If not, the holidays may not be the best time to try feeding RAW.

          Can dogs have turkey bones?

          No, no, no.  Unless they are uncooked. Cooked bones will turn into shards when a dog bites into them, causing long-lasting damage to the digestive system, and even DEATH!

          Can I give my Morkie the turkey liver?

          Most turkeys come packed with a little gift bag – giblets, which include the liver, kidneys, heart, gizzard and neck. Cover with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until giblets are cooked through. Your Morkie will LOVE it!

          Here’s a great recipe from CanineJournal.com for a dog-safe treat made from leftover turkey.

          Realizing that his dog ate the Christmas turkey, David Barrett posted:  “There’s the culprit, she can’t move.”

          Funny / not funny

          Bubba, a dog in England, snuck into the kitchen on Christmas Eve and ate an entire turkey!  Luckily the dog survived, even though the owner, David Barrett, says she could not MOVE, and just crashed out on the carpet all Christmas day.

          We hope that feast was worth it for Bubba, since her family has now said the plump pooch will be put on a New Year’s diet.

          Here’s the dog’s normal size

          Best dog food brands for your Morkie

          Best dog food brands for your Morkie

          What are some of the best dog food brands you could pick for your Morkie? It’s important that you get the best dog food for small dogs, because there’s no room for fillers and empty calories. Morkies are tiny, so every bite they eat should be nutritionally sound and balanced.

          But deciperhing reports, labels and marketing B.S., is a lot of work. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, with a list at the bottom of the post, that you can download. It features 10 best dog food brands for your Morkie and 10 really horrible choices – and why.

           

          When you’re shopping for commercial dog food for your Morkie, check the label — at least the first 5 ingredients.

          PICK THIS

          Food that has lots of real, named protein at the top of the label – things like beef, chicken, salmon, lamb and so on.

          Food whose source of fat is named – beef fat, poultry, fat. etc.  Unnamed fat can be anything, including used restaurant grease

           

           

          NOT THAT

          Definitely AVOID any food with what’s just called “meat” or just called “poultry.”

          AVOID meat by-products (named or not); and AVOID generic fat, such as “animal fat.” Instead, opt for a NAMED fat such as “beef fat.”

          Don’t pick a dog food that has added sweetener listed on the label. This includes sugar, sucrose, molasses, corn syrup and fructose. It’s only in the food to disguise the putrid flavour of the food itself.

          Avoid foods that include corn, corn gluten, wheat, and other cheap fillers, in the first 5 ingredients.

          Beyond the first 5 ingredients, reject food that contains:

          • preservatives like BHA, BHT, TBHQ, propyl gallate, ethoxyquin
          • sugar, corn syrup, propylerne glycol, sucrose, sorbitol, cane sugar
          • artificial colourings, flavourings, MSG, caramel colour

          Here’s the label from popular Kibbles ‘n Bits

          Is this a leading dog food, or cattle feed? Corn is the main ingredient, which has little useful nutrients to dogs. Soybean meal is a by-product of the soy oil industry. And beef & bone meal is processed and dried slaughterhouse waste!

          Ingredients: Corn, soybean meal, beef & bone meal, whole wheat, animal fat (BHA used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, peas, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), choline chloride, sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin), dl-methionine, calcium sulfate, carrots, green beans, wheat flour, titanium dioxide (color), yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), blue 1

          The first 5 ingredients:

          1. corn
          2. soybean meal
          3. beef & bone meal
          4. whole wheat
          5. animal fat (BHA used as preservative)

           

          And #6 ingredient is corn syrup!


          Is this a leading dog food, or cattle feed? Corn is the main ingredient, which has little useful nutrients to dogs. Soybean meal is a by-product of the soy oil industry. And beef & bone meal is processed and dried slaughterhouse waste!

          Download the one-pager

          Get this handy summary for shopping:

          • Top dog food brands and horrible dog food  brands.
          • Why some foods are not recommended.

           

          Acana
          Blue Buffalo – all canned and dry
          Eagle Pack (beef) – canned
          Freshpet (rolls and pouches)
          Fromm Family Gold (canned)
          Fromm Four Star Nutritionals (canned)
          Go! Daily Defense (dry) and Go! canned
          Horizon (dry) call sub-brands
          Orijen (dry and canned) all sub-brands
          Primal Raw Frozen Mixes (Raw Frozen)
          Simply Nourish Source (Dry)
          Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixer Superblends (Freeze-Dried)
          Wellness Core (all dry and canned)
          Whole Earth Farms (canned and dry)

          Alpo (dry)
          Beneful (dry)
          Cesar Savory Delights (wet tubs) – includes Angus Beef Flavor , Filet Mignon Flavor, etc. Cesar (dry)
          Gravy Train Dog Food (canned and dry)
          Hills Science Diet (canned and dry)
          Kal Kan Dog Food (dry)
          Kibbles & Bits (dry)
          Ol’ Roy (canned and dry)
          Pedigree Dog Food* (dry)*This label includes 11 sub-brands such as Pedigree Small Dog Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak and Vegetable Flavor (plus other flavors)
          Purina Dog Chow (dry)
          Purina Moist and Meaty (semi-moist) 
          Purina One (canned and dry)
          Royal Canin Lifestyle Health Nutrition Urban Life (Dry)
          Science Diet – see Hills.

          The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on the website wwwaboutmorkies.com represent the views and opinions of the author.

          What is the best dog food for your Morkie?

          What is the best dog food for your Morkie?

          Your Morkie deserves the best dog food, but with more than 5,000 varieties of commercial dog food available on the shelves today, how can you pick healthy dog food brands from the garbage? Here’s the scoop, plus 12 top quality foods you can buy.

          There's only one way to pick a healthy dog food brand: Read the label. Very carefully.

           

          First, look for foods that do not contain dangerous or toxic ingredients.

          Next, look for healthy ingredients.

          I’m not going to lie – this is not food we’d ever like to eat. But it’s clean, pure and unadulterated. And it’s perfect for dogs.

          Avoid all dog food that lists any of these ingredients: 

          MEAT. Just generic or unnamed meat can be from almost any kind of animal you can imagine. It could be road kill, euthanized pets, or spoiled grocery meats complete with styrofoam trays and plastic wrap. Look for food that NAMES the species. For example, beef, lamb, salmon, chicken, etc. 

          OTHER GENERIC NAMES such as animal fat – or is it used restaurant grease? Could be.
          Is Meat and Bone Meal listed? The problem is, you don’t know meat and bones from what animal??!!  Horse, goat, donkey??

          Foods with ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS including the preservatives BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin and propylene glycol.

          • BHA is a preservative that’s linked to cancer in laboratory animals by the World Health Organization. It’s banned from use in human food in Europe and Japan, yet we feed it to our dogs.
          • BHT is also believed to cause cancer.Propylene glycol is a food stabilizer. It’s a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food.

          I want better than that for my dogs and I’m sure you do too.

          Look for foods with healthy ingredients

          Healthy dog food brands go beyond excluding bad ingredients. They actually contain GOOD stuff for our dogs.

          Here’s what you want to see:

          • named animal protein – near the top of the list and plenty of it
          • whole veggies, fruits and grains
          • a ‘best by’ date that is at least 6 months away

          The sad story of Kibbles ‘n Bits

          A food with both hard crunchy kibble and soft chewy pieces, Kibbles ‘n Bits was introduced in 1981 by Big Heart Pet Brands. It was later sold to H. J. Heinz and then Del Monte.

          Today, it is the 5th largest dry dog food brand in the USA, churning out about 1.7 million pounds a day or almost HALF A BILLION pounds a year!

          Here’s the ingredient list, exactly as it appears on the package of Kibbles ‘n Bits:

          Ingredients:

          Corn, soybean meal, beef & bone meal, whole wheat, animal fat (BHA used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, peas, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), choline chloride, sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin), dl-methionine, calcium sulfate, carrots, green beans, wheat flour, titanium dioxide (color), yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), blue 1.

          Experts say the first five ingredients tell the story:

          1. corn
          2. soybean meal
          3. beef & bone meal
          4. whole wheat
          5. animal fat (BHA used as preservative)
          6. corn syrup

          Corn? Corn? How is corn dog food? (And I’ve shown item #6 since it is corn syrup; yes, that syrupy sweet stuff they used to pour on our toast at camp!)

          And it gets worse…

          Kibbles ‘n Bits was recalled

          by the FDA in February, 2018*

          Sodium Pentobarbital was found in Kibbles ‘n Bits. Sodium Pentobarbital is a drug used to euthanize pets and small animals. It is NOT used to slaughter cows, sheep, pigs or any other food you’d expect your dog to eat.

          The amount found is negligible as far as health goes, but that’s not the point.

          Where and how in the supply chain does this drug get into dog food? 

          Many pet food companies buy raw goods from rendering facilities that process animals euthanized at animal shelters.

          That means that some pet food is made from a variety of meats that humans wouldn’t eat, including diseased livestock and cats and dogs containing lethal doses of sodium pentobarbital.

          In other words, the body of a stray dog killed in a shelter may be ground up into dog food. Whether the Kibbles ‘n Bits recall is related to this practice is unknown. But logic says, there can’t be any other way it got there. 

          * see the story in Newsweek magazine, or here on CBS

          If we can’t trust a major, internationally-popular brand

          like Kibbles ‘n Bits, where do we turn?

          We read the labels ourselves. Very carefully.

          In the meantime, here are some choices I've checked out for you.

          What is the best dog food? Here are some healthy dog food brands.

          There are many good, reputable dog food manufacturers out there. I’ve picked a very small sample to show you.

          DRY FOOD – KIBBLE

          Acana Heritage Free Run Poultry, Red Meat, Meadowland –  all Acana is good for your dog.

          Go! Daily Defence

          Horizon Complete or Horizon Legacy

          Merrick Backcountry

          Origen Original

          Wellness Complete Health

          Here’s the kind of ingredients you want to see

          Acana Heritage Dog Food

          Fresh chicken meat (12%), chicken meal (12%), turkey meal (12%), red lentils, whole green peas, field beans, chicken fat (5%), fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart, kidney) (4%), herring meal (4%), fresh whole eggs (4%), fresh whole flounder (4%), herring oil (2%), sun-cured alfalfa (2%), green lentils (2%), whole yellow peas, pea fiber, fresh chicken cartilage (1%), dried brown kelp, fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole parsnips, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh mustard greens, fresh turnip greens, fresh whole carrots, fresh red delicious apples, fresh bartlett pears, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, fresh whole cranberries, fresh whole blueberries, chicory root, turmeric, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rose hips, Enterococcus faecium, supplements: zinc chelate, vitamin E (preservative)

          WET FOOD – CANNED

          Fromm Grain Free varieties, including grain free chicken and duck pate; shredded beef in gravy, etc.

          Go! Fit + Free variety of flavours that sound pretty darned good – turkey and trout stew anyone?

          Holistics Select Grain Free Beef Pate, Chicken Pate, etc.

          Merrick Grain Free and Chunky Grain Free canned foods including flavours like Pappy’s Pot Roast Dinner, Cowboy Cookout and more.

          Nature’s Variety Instinct – chicken and beef formulas are available.

          Wellness Core canned products including homestyle grain free beef stew with carrots and potatoes.

          A good canned food

          sample label, from

          Go! Fit + Free

          Chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, chicken liver, turkey, turkey liver, potatoes, dried egg whites, potato starch, carrots, peas, trout, sweet potatoes, salmon, herring, red peppers, guar gum, flaxseed, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, apples, calcium carbonate, minerals (zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, potassium iodide), salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tricalcium phosphate, Yucca schidigera extract

          be a label reader and save yourself some grief

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