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About Dog Food

What are we feeding our pet??

Pet Food  

In a world of Dog food recalls we all have to wonder,  "What dog food is best for our dogs?" I have included the following information to help everyone make educated decisions on their pets nutrition. 


I fell into the dog food dilemma and after much research found that feeding my dogs a holistic diet was better for my dogs health and saved me money. I want what is best for my dogs but I also want to be reasonable about the expense involved. I don't eat filet mignon every night so obviously my dogs cant either.



I think you will find the following information very helpful


How to read dog food labels


  • Locate the first fat source on the label. animal fat, chicken fat, turkey fat, etc ( animal fat is vague. It does not tell you the source. Animal fat can include the 5 D animals. Dead diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter.)

  • The ingredients located prior to the first fat source generally make up the majority of the food, the first ingredient 

  • All ingredients are required to be listed in order of predominance by weight.

  • The ingredients after the fat are important as well:

  •  soy flour, sugar, phosphoric acid, sugar, sorbitol, "animal digest" and colorings are all BAD! These ingredients are considered eye candy to make the food look nicer for humans and more palatable for dogs. Just because they like it does not mean it is good for them. My kids love sweets but they do not get them for diner. 



Definition of commercial dog food ingredients?

Virtually all artificial diets are heavily based on grains and cereals. But dogs are not cows. A dog has the large stomach and short straight digestive tract required to digest meat. A cow has several small stomachs and the long winding digestive tract required to digest fibrous grain. The two are not interchangeable!

Even worse, many dogs are allergic to corn and soybean and wheat. They develop chronic digestive problems (loose stools, spitting up, gassiness) or itchy skin. You'll see them licking their feet or rubbing their face against the carpet. You might never think to associate these problems with the grain in your dog's diet, but that is often the case

Finally, the quality of this grain is suspect. 

The good grain is reserved  for the human market. 

What goes into the pet food bin is deemed unfit for human 

consumption. Mold, rancidity, contaminants 

The grain included in a lot of commercial pet food is not whole grain, but grains not considered fit for human consumption, the sweepings from farm silos. It can include disinfectants, metals and fungus. Grains that are condemned for human consumption by the USDA due to chemical residue may legally be used, without limitation, in pet food.

By-product meals:

The "by-products" -- a catch-all term, made up mainly of parts of the animal that are left over after the meat is removed for human consumption. These parts include: intestines, feet, heads, etc., which are ground together and rendered. 

Chicken by-products are cheap and generally less digestible than the muscle meat we eat.

Another source of meat that isn't mentioned on pet food labels is pet byproducts, the bodies of dogs and cats. In 1990 the San Francisco Chronicle reported that euthanized companion animals were found in pet foods. Although pet food company executives and the National Renderers Association vehemently denied the report, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the FDA confirmed the story. The pets serve a viable purpose by providing foodstuff for the animal feed chain, said Lea McGovern, chief of the FDA's animal feed safety branch. Because of the sheer volume of animals rendered and the similarity in protein content between poultry byproducts and processed dogs and cats, rendering plant workers say it would be impossible for purchasers to know the exact contents of what they buy. In fact, Sacramento Rendering cited by inspectors five times in the past two years for product-labeling violations.


Animal Fat:

Animal fat is made up of The "5D" meat that didn't make the cut for the human market, which means it came from livestock that was drugged,  diseased, disabled, dying, or already dead when it arrived at the slaughterhouse. 

Processing does not remove heavy chemicals, like sodium pentobarbital that is used to euthanize animals.

Many dogs gobble up their kibble, because it's sprayed with greasy fat to make it smell yummy. 

           "The relish with which a dog eats doesn't indicate whether

                           something is "good" for him."

Preservatives are  used in artificial diets so the bags and cans last longer. That's convenient for the manufacturer, yes, who can leave it sitting in his warehouse for a long time. Convenient for the retailer who can leave it sitting on his shelf for a long time. Convenient for the owner who can dish it out for a long time. Many Holistic diets do not have a long shelf life or are vacuum packed for this reason.

The most common pet food preservatives are:

  • Ethoxyquin -- which is actually manufactured by the giant chemical corporation Monsanto as a rubber preservative. The containers are marked POISON. The Department of Agriculture lists it as a pesticide. OSHA lists it as a hazardous chemical.
  • BHA and BHT -- both of which cause liver and kidney dysfunction, and bladder and stomach cancer.

These chemicals are all banned in Europe.

Most pet foods list these preservatives right on the bag or can, but even when it doesn't say so, it's usually in there, anyway

A legal loophole allows manufacturers to only list what THEY themselves put into the bag. Some buy their ingredients from a supplier who has already added the chemical to those ingredients, the pet food company does not have to disclose that information on the bag.


Every day, pets are taken to the vet by unsuspecting owners for ailments including:

  • itching
  • hot spots
  • dandruff
  • excessive shedding
  • foot-licking
  • face-rubbing
  • loose stools
  • gassiness

In Many cases the food is the cause of these and so many more deadly ailments over the life of our pets. 



The best dog foods:

  • contain pure meat as the TOP ingredients
  • contain MINIMAL grain (preferably brown rice) and NO corn or soybeans (difficult to digest and cause allergies in many dogs)
  • contain NO "by-products" or "animal digest" whatsoever
  • contain NO artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin)
  • contain NO "fillers" such as rice flour, or brewer's rice


Holistic food expense:

Some of you may be saying, "This food is much more expensive."  What the majority of pet owners fail to understand is that by feeding an all natural & holistic food to their dog they will actually be saving money in the long run. You feed much less food (20% to 40%) You feed less because the food is all natural with no fillers and by-products.

Second, there are enormous savings to be made by not having all those vet visits and harmful medications to fix your pets' allergies (the #1 reason why pets are seen in the vet's office) and immune disorders (which can lead to chronic and serious conditions that require careful treatment.)


Home-Prepared diet:

I have had many emails about feeding home prepared diets and have decided to address this here. I believe a home-prepared diet is probably the best way to go as long as your pet is getting all the required vitamins it needs. I strongly caution anyone who is considering this option to do a lot of research and ask a veterinarian. I found a link that might be helpful to anyone considering this path, click below.

Canine owners share their home-cooked dog food recipes


Foods I use or have used with success. This is only a small list of great foods. There are many wonderful grain free foods on the market now.  

I feed Grain free. I have tried many dog foods over the years. 

My requirements for a staple dog food is a quality food for a good price. It is paramount my dogs get proper nutrition to provide longevity as well as keep them in top condition for the ring and whelping box. 

For the last three years, I have been feeding Pure Balance "Salmon & Pea", "Superfood, Trout & Lentil",  & Bison, pea & venison (this food is too rich for puppies) The fish foods are my favorite for the Tzu to keep faces white and skin nourished.


Merrick grain Free puppy is awseome for growing puppies.


Zignature Trout and salmon

Natural Balance Fish and sweet potato grain free

I have used Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream with great luck. It is a little more pricy but a great food. 


Natural Balance roll food is great for adding weight and dogs LOVE it. Great for finiky eaters.

Nutro Ultra is a good food for adding weight. It does have grain but is a decent all around dog food I will use temporarily for weight gain. 

For picky dogs or elderly dogs that are difficult to please, Stella and Chewy have a great freeze dried food. 




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Bailley's Blog - Bailley was diagnosed with Cushing's in November of 2014. We lost Bailley 8/15/17

This is a record of our journey and how I chose to treat her. It is my hope others will find comfort and answers.



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Revised: April 29, 2018