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Friday, 5 April 2013

Is Your Dog's or Cat's Dry Food (Dog Kibble, Cat Kibble) Full of Toxins and Carcinogens - Do You Really Know What to Look For?


Note - the information in this article is applicable to cats as well as dogs. Each of the manufacturers discussed also make equivalent cat food. The examples should be used as both a specific and generic template from which to judge your companion animal's current dry food diet.

The examples provided In this article you will find examples of very popular brands of dry dog kibble to help you assess whether you are purchasing and feeding your dog a food that is going to...

  1. Outright destroy the health of your dog;
    • In which case you are literally paying a dog food manufacturer  to kill your dog - death by toxic loading, acquisition of cancer and organ failure, or;
  2. Not so adversely effect your dog's health - please keep in mind that no dog food is perfect, you will find out why as you read through this article...
    1. However there is a vast difference between ingredients as pertains to species appropriate v.s not; quality, inherit dangers and...
    2. The price you pay for the food is not an indicator of its safety nor quality...
Use the examples provided in this article as a guide to assess the food you are currently feeding your dog - take a look at the ingredients presented and compare them to the ingredients in the food you are feeding your dog - and then make an informed assessment whether you need to change your dog's food or keep it as is.  

I don't mince my words here becasue your dog's health and life depend upon someone speaking the truth...
  • Many consumers have absolutely no idea of how they are being conned by the pet food and pet care industry, and;
    •  Despite the claims of most pet-food store staff (and veterinarians) that they are in a position to expertly advise you as they:
      • Say they 'know about dog food they sell as pertains to appropriate and quality nutrition';
      •  I can assure you that pet store staff know very little fact about the topic;
      • Allopathic Veterinarians (Conventional Practitioners of Modern Veterinarian Medicine) do not study nutrition in their standard university courses;
      • And for the most part, what they (Veterinarians and Pet Store staff) do know they have learned from a pet food manufacturers representative; 
  • Dogs do not have a choice regarding what their human feeds them - a dog's health and well being is dependent on the knowledge of their human.
 To protect yourself and your dog, read on...

Example Scenario One 

This product example is widely available in supermarket stores and pet stores in North America - it is seriously detrimental to your dog's health.
  • It is full of species inappropriate food stuff, including corn and soy;
    • The first and most plentiful ingredient corn and corn derivatives are:
      • Species inappropriate;
      • A very poor source of nutrients, and;
      • Worst of all is carcinogenic - this corn is grown from Monsanto's round-up ready Genetically Engineered (GE) seeds;
      • Monsanto's GM corn is now been proven to cause the growth of tumors; 
      •  Animal feed grade grains (not screened for aflatoxins).
    • Corn is high in carcinogenic and toxic content - in addition to the corn, this product contains soy (another of Monsanto's GMO products, large factory farm produced soy also has other very significant health issues which you can read about here;
    •  Contains unspecified vegetable oils - which indicates that the oils are low quality Omega 6, GMO oils such as cottonseed oil (also has one of the highest pesticide resides of all crops), safflower oil or canola oil (all GMO products);
    • Contains carcinogenic chemical-based dyes;
    • Unspecified animal fats (likely from 4D animals and can also be rendered down fats from euthanized dogs and cats from kill shelters, rancid fats from restaurants and food manufacturing);
  • This dry dog food is a huge threat to your dogs daily health, quality of life and will shorten your dog's life span;
  • And while the upfront cost of purchasing a bag of this food may be relatively inexpensive your long-term cost is high:
    • You must feed your dog larger quantities of this food (than you would a better food) as the nutrition is so sparse;
    •  You will accumulate numerous costs in veterinarian bills over the life-span of your dog to treat the health issues caused by eating this food... 

Example 1.0 (from Pedigree's line of products) 
GROUND WHOLE CORN, MEAT AND BONE MEAL, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH BHA/CITRIC ACID), SOYBEAN MEAL, GROUND WHOLE WHEAT, BREWERS RICE, DRIED PLAIN BEET PULP, NATURAL FLAVOR, SALT, VEGETABLE OIL ([SOURCE OF LINOLEIC ACID] PRESERVED WITH BHA/BHT), POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, VITAMINS (CHOLINE CHLORIDE, a-TOCOPHEROL ACETATE [SOURCE OF VITAMIN E], NIACIN, BIOTIN, d-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT [VITAMIN B2], PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT) MINERALS (ZINC SULFATE, ZINC PROTEINATE, COPPER SULFATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, COPPER PROTEINATE, MANGANESE PROTEINATE), ADDED FD&C COLORS (RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 2). 

NOT recommended for your dog - this product IS NOT GOOD for your dog's health!
 

Example Scenario Two

These product examples are exclusively sold in Veterinarian Clinics, Veterinary Hospitals, Veterinary Offices;
  • These products are very expensive and can be detrimental to your dog's health;  
    • They are just slightly better then the example provided in Scenario One above as they do not contain:
      • GMO vegetable oil;
      • Food colouring);
  • These products (example 2.1, 2.2) are much more expensive than example 4.1 and 5.2 which are 'premium' dog foods sold at the better dog food stores, and;
  • Example 5.2 is about as close as one can get to a species appropriate dry dog kibble;
If you are purchasing your dog food from a veterinarian and the ingredients look anything like the examples provided in Scenario 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 should reconsider what you are feeding your dog as these products contain:
  • Species inappropriate food stuff, including corn and soy;
  • High in carcinogenic and toxic content (read the rest of the article below);
    • GMO corn, unspecified vegetable oils, etc.;
    •  Animal feed grade grains (not screened for aflatoxins),
  • Can impact your dog's daily health, quality of life and shorten your dog's life span;
  • And while the upfront cost of purchasing a bag of this food may be relatively inexpensive your long-term cost is high:
    • You must feed your dog larger quantities of this food (than you would a better food) as the nutrition is so sparse;
    •  You will accumulate numerous costs in veterinarian bills over the life-span of your dog to treat the health issues caused by eating this food...
Example 2.1 (from the Royal Canin Veterinary Care line of products)
Corn, chicken meal, brewers rice, brown rice, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried beet pulp, wheat gluten, vegetable oil, fish oil, sodium silico aluminate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, fructooligosaccharides, DL-methionine, potassium phosphate, choline chloride, taurine, L-lysine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid. 
NOT recommended for your dog - you can take a look here to understand more.

Example 2.2 (from the Hills Prescription Diet line of products Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, Mixed Tocopherols added to retain freshness, Citric Acid added to retain freshness, L-Threonine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.
NOT recommended for your dog - you can take a look here to understand more.

Example Scenario Three 

These product examples are widely available in pet stores across North America, these products are seriously detrimental to your dog's health.
  • Full of species inappropriate food stuff, including corn and soy;
  • High in carcinogenic and toxic content (read the rest of the article below);
    •  GMO corn, GMO soybean oil, animal feed grade grains (not screened for aflatoxins), etc.;
  • Can impact your dog's daily health, quality of life and shorten your dog's life span;
  • And while the upfront cost of purchasing a bag of this food may be relatively inexpensive your long-term cost is high:
    • You must feed your dog larger quantities of this food (than you would a better food) as the nutrition is so sparse;
    •  You will accumulate numerous costs in veterinarian bills over the life-span of your dog to treat the health issues caused by eating this food...  
Example 3.1 (from Iams' line of products) 
Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Corn Gluten Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Pork Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols added to retain freshness, Citric Acid added to retain freshness, L-carnitine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract. Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas.
NOT recommended for your dog.

Example 3.2 (from Purina's line of products)
Chicken (natural source of glucosamine), brewers rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), whole grain wheat, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soy flakes, soybean meal, animal digest, glycerin, calcium phosphate, caramel colour, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulphate, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, ferrous sulphate, sulphur, manganese sulphate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulphate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. T-4154-C
NOT recommended for your dog .

Example 3.3 (from Hills Science Diet's line of products)
Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Corn Gluten Meal, Cracked Pearled Barley, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Pork Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols added to retain freshness, Citric Acid added to retain freshness, L-carnitine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract. Dried Apples, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas.
NOT recommended for your dog.


Example Scenario Four

These products are available in better pet stores across North America: This company makes fish-based kibble which they state is ethoxyquin-free. While this is a better product than those provided above they still contain species inappropriate ingredients. This manufacturer does make grain-free products.

  • Does contain  species inappropriate food stuff - grains, which...
    •  Can cause serious health problems due to their species inappropriate nature, and
    •  In addition, if the grains are not human grade they can carry aflatoxins;
  •  On the positive side;
    • It is a much better product than those examples provided in Scenario 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0;
    • There are no GMO vegetable oils in this product;
    • There is not ethoxyquin in the fish meal - Performatrin states that the fishmeal they use is ethoxyquin-free
    •  There are plenty of good ingredients - however do keep in mind that dry dog kibble is a highly processed food;
      • Intense heat is used to cook and form the end-product so much of the great attributes of the foods included in this dog food have lost aspects of their nutritive/health value due to processing, i.e.
        • the antioxidents in the fruits and veggies are negligible;
        • the probiotics are dead and therefor not viable
    Example 4.1 (from Performatrin's line of products)
    Salmon, Salmon Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Chicken Meal, Whole Rice, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal, Dried Egg Product, Potato Meal, Vegetable Pomace (Tomato, Carrot, Celery, Beet, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach), Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Chicken Fat stabilized with Mixed Tocopherols (a natural source of Vitamin E), Dried Whey Protein Concentrate, Extra Virgin Olive Oil stabilized with Mixed Tocopherols (a natural source of Vitamin E), Alfalfa Meal, Fresh Whole Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Whole Carrots, Peas, Lecithin, Brewers Dried Yeast, Sea Salt, Potassium Chloride, Lentils, Pumpkin, Whole Cranberries, Chicken Cartilage (source of Natural Chondroitin), Chicory Root Extract, Dried Kelp, Choline Chloride, Fresh Whole Apples, Whole Blueberries, Flaxseed, DL-Methionine, Whole Blackberries, Spinach, Taurine, Dried Yeast, L-Leucine,  Glucosamine Hydrochloride, L-Carnitine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Fresh Garlic, Green Tea Extract, Ascorbyl Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Caesi, Bifidobacterium Bifidium, Streptococcus Faecium, Zinc Proteinate (source of Chelated Zinc), Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate (source of Chelated Iron), Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ground Ginger, Manganese Proteinate (source of Chelated Manganese), Manganous Oxide, Dried Camomile, Ground Fennel Seed, Dandelion, Rosemary, Basil, Sage, Copper Proteinate (source of Chelated Copper), Copper Sulfate, Dried Lemon Balm, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine, Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Peppermint, Calcium, Pantothenate Pyridoxine, Hydrochloride Inositol, Beta Carotene,Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Cobalt Proteinate (source of Chelated Cobalt), Calcium Iodide, Selenium Yeast (source of Organic Selenium), Sodium Selenite



    Example 4.2 (from Performatrin's line of products)
    Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, oatmeal, whole rice, pearled barley, dried egg product, salmon meal, chicken fat stabilized with mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin e), tomato pomace, sunflower oil stabilized with mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin e), whole millet, whole rye, natural chicken flavor, alfalfa meal, fresh whole sweet potatoes, fresh whole carrots, peas, potassium chloride, lecithin, sea salt, calcium carbonate, flaxseed, chicory root extract, dicalcium phosphate, dl-methionine, pumpkin, whole cranberries, fresh whole apples, whole blueberries, dried kelp, choline chloride, whole blackberries, spinach, taurine, dried yeast, Yucca schidigera extract, fresh garlic, ascorbyl polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus caesi, Bifidobacterium bifidium, streptococcus faecium, zinc proteinate (source of chelated zinc), zinc oxide, iron proteinate (source of chelated iron), ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ground ginger, manganese proteinate (source of chelated manganese), manganous oxide, dried camomile, ground fennel seed, dandelion, rosemary, basil, sage, copper proteinate (source of chelated copper), copper sulfate, dried lemon balm, vitamin A supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, peppermint, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, inositol, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), cobalt proteinate (source of chelated cobalt), calcium iodide, selenium yeast (source of organic selenium),sodium selenite


    If you like Performatrin's products, I strongly recommend that you:
    • Choose their grain-free products as opposed to their grain-in products.

    Example Scenario Five

    This product is available in better pet stores across North America: The manufacturer makes a complete line of dry kibble including a fish-based kibble.
    • Does not include grains;
    • Is a much better product than those examples provided in Scenario 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0;
      • There are no GMO vegetable oils in this product;
      •  There are plenty of good ingredients - however do keep in mind that dry dog kibble is a highly processed food;
        • Intense heat is used to cook and form the end-product so much of the great attributes of the foods included in this dog food have lost aspects of their nutritive/health value due to processing, i.e.
          • the antioxidents in the fruits and veggies are negligible;
          • the probiotics are dead and therefor not viable;
      • No added water - the manufacturer states that this food is cooked via a steaming process, (as opposed to cooked in water) so you are purchasing a product that has more nutrients.
      • NO added probiotics - so you are NOT paying additional dollars for something that is not viable.
      • This company states that their food is ethoxyquin-free

    Example 5.1 (from Acana's line of products)
    Deboned chicken, chicken meal, green peas, turkey meal, chicken liver oil, field beans, red lentils, whole potato, deboned turkey, whole egg, deboned walleye, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, chicken liver, herring oil, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach greens, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary.

    YES - Recommended as far as dry dog food goes it is one of the healthier products. 
     
    Example Scenario Six
     
    Example 'Now Fresh' and 'Go' Dry Dog food by Petcurean
    These products are available in better pet stores across North America: This company makes fish-based and fish-included kibble products which they state are ethoxyquin-free. 'Go' and 'Now Fresh' are better products than examples one, two and three above. If you like Petcurean's products I recommend that you choose their 100% grain-free food products.
     
    Example of a 'Go' Grain included Product - Salmon Dog Food ( dry food)
    Salmon meal, oatmeal, potatoes, whole oats, de-boned salmon, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), apples, natural flavour, flaxseed, quinoa, kamut flakes, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, dried kelp, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, inositol, niacin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc methionine complex, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, calcium iodate, manganous oxide, selenium yeast), dried chicory root, L-lysine, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, yucca schidigera extract, dried rosemary.

    • First ingredient is salmon meal. Petcurean states that they use farm raised fish, and when available in season they also use wild-caught fish. If the wild-caught fish used is sourced from deep cold clean waters, and is a fish that is low in mercury it is a good choice - you can read about wild-caught fish here. You can read about the issues with farm raised fish here. Petcurean states that the fish meal used is ethoxyquin-free.
    • The second ingredient is oatmeal, the fourth ingredient is whole oats, a little further down the list quinoa and kamut flakes - all four are grains. Petcurean states that all grain ingredients used in their products are screened for, and do not contain aflatoxins. Oatmeal, whole oats, quinoa and kamut are better quality grains than corn and soy (organic or non-organic). But there is a 'but'. Grains, even the best quality grains are, for canines and felines biologically inappropriate foods - for this reason Petcurean's grain-free products are a better choice over their grain-in products.
    • A dog's species appropriate diet consists of +/- 57% good-source protein, 30% good-source fats, and +/- 13% carbohydrates. This particular product is heavy on carbohydrates - oatmeal, potatoes, whole oats, quinoa, kamut flakes, for that reason I would recommend going with one of Petcurean's grain-free products instead.
    • Canola oil is the 5th ingredient on the ingredient list, the canola oil is not organic. If you are purchasing this 'Go' product in North America, the canola oil in this product is not what I would consider a good source of Omega-3. In North America, canola oil (unless noted as organic), is derived from GMO round-up ready (agent orange) canola crops. GMO canola is subject to the same herbicide residue issues as GO soy and GMO corn. Many pet food manufacturers choose to use canola oil as it is readily available, and inexpensive in comparison to a better quality, lower herbicide residue oil - such as sunflower oil.
    • When probiotics are included in dry pet food products the manufacturer chooses one of the following methods: a) the probitics are added to the food ingredient-mix prior to cooking; or b) the probiotics (liquid, or powder form) are spray-applied to the kibble after it has cooled. Probiotics are heat sensitive. Method 'a)' renders the probiotics 100% non-viable, meaning they have no nutritional or biological value - the probiotics are dead. To remain 100% viable the probiotic ingredients must be kept refrigerated, so even when using method 'b)' it is not possible to maintain full viability, thus benefit derived at time of consumption becomes minimal. Petcurean employs the better of the two methods, but as noted - at time of consumption value or probiotis minimal. You can read more about probiotics here.
    Example of a 'Now Fresh' Grain-free Product - Fish Recipe for Adult Dogs (Dry food)
    De-boned trout, whole dried egg, potatoes, potato flour, peas, pea flour, apples, flaxseed, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavour, de-boned salmon, de-boned herring, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato, alfalfa, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, pomegranate, papayas, lentils, broccoli, dried chicory root, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, inositol, niacin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, calcium iodate, manganous oxide, selenium yeast), taurine, DL-methionine, L-lysine, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, L-carnitine, dried rosemary.
    • First ingredient is de-boned trout. Wild-caught salmon as first ingredient would be preferable. Salmon has a higher nutritional value than trout, for example salmon is higher in protein than trout, and salmon is considerably higher in omega-3. However, trout is still a passable choice if it is a wild-caught fish (as opposed to farm raised fish). Petcurean states that they use farm raised fish, and when available in season they also use wild-caught fish. If the wild-caught fish used is sourced from deep cold clean waters, and is a fish that is low in mercury it is a good choice - you can read about wild-caught fish here. You can read about the issues with farm raised fish here.
    • A dog's species appropriate diet consists of +/- 57% good-source protein, 30% good-source fats, and +/- 13% carbohydrates. This product is grain-free, and for that reason alone is a better product than a grain-in product. Even though this is a grain-free product it is proportionally heavy in carbohydrate content.
    • Canola oil is the 9th ingredient on the ingredient list, the canola oil is not organic. If you are purchasing this 'Now Fresh' product in North America, the canola oil in this product is not what I would consider a good source of Omega-3. In North America, canola oil (unless noted as organic), is derived from GMO round-up ready (agent orange) canola crops. GMO canola is subject to the same herbicide residue issues as GO soy and GMO corn. Many pet food manufacturers choose to use canola oil as it is readily available, and inexpensive in comparison to a better quality, lower herbicide residue oil - such as sunflower oil.
    • When probiotics are included in dry pet food products the manufacturer chooses one of the following methods: a) the probitics are added to the food ingredient-mix prior to cooking; or b) the probiotics (liquid, or powder form) are spray-applied to the kibble after it has cooled. Probiotics are heat sensitive. Method 'a)' renders the probiotics 100% non-viable, meaning they have no nutritional or biological value - the probiotics are dead. To remain 100% viable the probiotic ingredients must be kept refrigerated, so even when using method 'b)' it is not possible to maintain full viability, thus benefit derived at time of consumption becomes minimal. Petcurean employs the better of the two methods, but as noted - at time of consumption value is minimal. You can read more about probiotics here.
    • This product includes synthetic primary amino acids DL-methionine, L-lysine, L-carnitine - synthetic primary amino acids are included when the whole food protein content is insufficient to meet the desired amino acid content requirement.
    Is Price an Indicator of Assured Quality?
    No, absolutely not. Make sure you read the ingredient list - scrutinize listed ingredients and also hidden ingredients - do your research. Don't rely on advertising, pet store staff or stamps of approval - such as AAFCO as an indicator of the ultimate value and safety of a 'food' product. In North America, the FDA and Health Canada allow many ingredients into the human and animal food chain which are not safe for consumption. Big industry pours a lot of money into the lobbying government agencies, leaving ethics to the wayside. Do your research - the truth is out there, but you must search to find it.



    A Few More Basic Things You Need to Be Aware Of

    1.0 Understand the Important Details

    To understand in detail why the ingredients shown above may be good or bad for your dog I recommend that you read this article.

    2.0 No Dry Dog Food is Truly Species Appropriate!

    • A dog's natural species appropriate diet is a raw food diet comprised of about 57% protein, 30% fat and about 13% carbohydrate. Any manufacturer that claims their dry dog food is species appropriate is stretching the truth. 
    • But not everyone wants to feed their dog a raw food diet - though you can readily find per-prepared raw food at the better pet stores.
    • And not everyone wants to feed their dog a home prepared diet (which is what I do for my 10 dogs). If you are interested in switching your dog to homemade dog food you can try this recipe that I developed for my dogs. 
    • My goal is to help you make good chooses for your dog's health that will fit into your lifestyle. So if you want to keep dry dog food in your dog's diet I recommend that you add some real whole foods and/or supplements to your dog's diet to make up for some of the things that even the best of dry dog food lacks...read on below...

    3.0 No Dry Dog Food is Nutritionally Complete!

    Over the years I have seen many different types of dry dog food and despite manufacturer's claims not one I have seen is 'nutritionally complete'.

    To-date I have not found one nutritionally complete dry dog food. Even the most expensive brands of dog kibble include some ingredients that cut corners to save the manufacturer money while  posing health risks for your dog, for example;
    • Using whole white fish which may be high in mercury, rather than using salmon. 
      • And BTW if you live in the USA genetically modified (GM) salmon has just been approved for use - not good!
    • Using a cheap source Omega 6 oil (i.e.) sunflower oil rather than a good quality oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. 
      • Even worse when for example safflower or canola oil is used as these are both derived from GM crops.
    So even if you feed your dog:
    • The best dog kibble available you are going to need to supplement your dog's diet in order to ensure optimal health;
    • The same is true if you feed your dog a commercially prepared raw food diet.  

    5.0 Supplement Your Dog's Diet With Real Whole Food

    Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    Many commercially made dog food products (kibble and treats) contain poor quality fats;
    In addition commercial dog kibble and commercially made raw food preparations do not provide a safely balanced ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 fatty acids. For this reason it is important to supplement your dog's diet with Omega-3 fatty acids.

    Probiotics
    Pre-biotics and probiotics in dry dog kibble are not viable. Your dog's GI tract forms a very important part of his/her immune system - if your dog does not have enough healthy flora your dog's health is at risk. Supplement with real probiotics found in real food or use a good supplement. Find out about what makes a good probiotic and why probiotics are essential to your dog's health by reading here

    Fresh Whole Food
    Ever here people say 'People food is bad for dogs' ? Well that is not actually true. Prior to the 1950's a well looked after domesticated dog lived twice as long as the typical dog of today. Read more about that here.

    Back then, commercially prepared dry dog food did not have the presence it does today - dogs ate people food. As well, back in the 1950's about 80% of the 'people food' found on grocery store shelves did not exist. People ate real food, fresh whole foods. Highly refined processed foods are bad for people and they are also bad for dogs.

    Real 'people food' i.e. fresh whole foods are good for people and as, well for dogs. People food is after all animal food - people are animals. 
    • The only difference is that there are some foods that are ok for people and pose a threat to dogs - you can review a comprehensive list of those foods here
    • Find out what real foods are good for dogs - you can find a wealth of information on that here.

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    Wednesday, 3 April 2013

    DIY Natural, Herbal Treatments for Dogs with Environmental Allergies - Honey, Mullien, Nettle, Rooibos






    In this article:
    Reduce and remedy your dog’s environmental allergies with DIY natural, herbal treatments…
    • Local Wild Flower Honey, Mullein, Nettle, Rooibos Tea and by;
    • Supporting your dog’s immune system with a good diet to enable the body’s natural ability to offset/fight allergies.

    Part 1 Healthful attributes, benefits of honey, mullein, nettle, rooibos tea in treating allergies;
    Part 2 DIY treatments for allergies using honey, mullein and nettle;
    Part 3 Boosting you dog’s immune system in tandem with the DIY allergy treatments.


    Part 1 – Attributes, Benefits of Honey, Mullein and Nettle

    Honey

    If your dog suffers from allergies caused by pollen in the environment you can use locally produced, unpasteurized natural honey to inoculate your dog against locally occurring pollen.
    • Honey contains minute amounts of pollen;
      • The amount of pollen contained in honey is negligible enough that when consumed in a proper dosage will not cause an allergic reaction;
      • Honey, when ingested in the proper amount acts as an antibody or vaccine, inoculating the system against pollens that cause allergies.
      • When your dog ingests a small amount of the honey over a period of time your dog’s system builds up a tolerance for the pollens that arrive in allergy season.
    The honey must be:
    • Locally produced by bees within a 50 mile/80 km radius of where you live;
    • A wild-flower blend;
    Do not use:
    • Processed, pasteurized, mass produced commercial honey as it does not have the health benefits of locally produced natural honey.
    When to start: 
    • It is best to start a regime of daily dosage at least one month prior to the start of allergy season. 
    • This allows time for the development of the natural inoculation provided by the honey. 
    • Honey, unlike sugar - does have health benefits for your dog, but it should always be used within a safe dosage as provided further below.
    Cautions:
    • Make sure that you read section 10.0 of this article - it will provide you with cautions for the use of honey.
    Make sure you read this article as it provides complete information on honey, including...
    • History of Honey - As a Food and Medicine
    • Health Promoting Properties of Honey
    • Health Benefits of Honey - Prevent, Treat, Remedy Illness
    • Defining and Understanding the Different Types of Honey
    • How to Select a Quality Honey
    • How to Store Honey - Retaining Quality
    • How to Add Honey to Your Dog’s, Cat’s Diet
    • Daily Dietary Dosage for Honey
    • Cautions and Interactions
    Mullein

    Mullein inhibits some specific body processes which cause inflammation and can sooth inflamed mucous membranes thereby helping to provide relief from respiratory discomfort associated with environmental allergies – runny nose and eyes, difficulty breathing, etc.
    • Mullein is useful in reducing the symptoms of allergies due to its qualities as an:
    • Anti-inflammatory;
    • Demulcent (soothes inflamed skin or mucous membranes);
    • Expectorant.
    Cautions
    • Mullein leaves - no side effects or interactions;
    • If you are harvesting the mullein leaves yourself:
      • Be aware that the little hairs on the leaves and stem of the plant can cause temporary stinging and irritation via dermatitis (inflammation of the skin);
      • You may want to wear gloves while harvesting.
    • Mullein seeds are the only part of the plant that are toxic (the seeds contain rotenone – a natural pesticide) – do not allow any of the seeds to be mixed in with the leaves you are harvesting.

    Nettle (Stinging Nettle)

    Nettle is nutrient dense and a great immune system booster; nettle is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

    Commonly used as a relief for pollen related allergies...
    • Nettle inhibits the release of histamine.
    • Nettle root increases production of T cells – which is vital to controlling allergic reactions;
    • Nettle mimics the action of anti-histamine allergy medications (such as Benydryl);
    • Nettle provides respiratory relief without the side effects of conventional chemical based anti-histamines;
    • Skin conditions such as eczema and hives;
    • Nettle is also used to relieve the inflammation of arthritis and aid digestion.
    If you are harvesting your own nettle leaves:
    • Make sure to pick the leaves in the spring before the plant flowers;
    • After flowering the content of silica in the leaves rises, making the leaves difficult to digest. Nettle root can be harvested in the fall;
    • Wear gloves when harvesting the leaves as touching the spine (stem) of the Nettle plant causes temporary stinging via dermatitis (inflammation of the skin – hence the name ‘stinging nettle’).
    Nettle is an:
    • Anti-inflammatory;
    • Astringent;
    • Diuretic;
    • Nutrative (Nettle is high in calcium, chlorophyll, iron, and vitamin C which increase the body's red blood cell count).
    Cautions
    • Bacteria needs iron to spread;
      • Nettle is high in iron:
      • So do not give your dog nettle when your dog has a bacterial infection;
    • Nettle may interfere with prescription medications for: diabetes, high-blood pressure and NSAIDs.



    Part 2 – DIY Allergy Treatments/Remedies - Honey,
                  Mullein and Nettle

    Honey

    You can simply add a little local wild flower honey to your dog’s food once a day or you can prepare an infusion using honey, mullein and nettle. 


     To Use the Honey Straight-Up

    You can:
    • Add the honey directly to your dog’s food once a day, or;
    • Mix the honey with some plain yogurt or cottage cheese, etc.;
      • Add the resulting mixture to your dog's food once a day.
    Daily Dosage of Honey:
    • ¼ tsp for every 20 pounds of body weight
    Add Some Cinnamon
    You can also sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the honey, or;
    Add some cinnamon to the infusions listed below;
    Among its many attributes, cinnamon helps to boost the immune system and is good for dental care.

    Daily Dosage of Cinnamon
    • ½ to 1 tsp/day
     
    Use the Honey in Combination with Mullein and/or Nettle

    While local wild flower honey builds-up your dog’s resistance to  pollen, mullein and/or nettle can be effectively used to reduce the symptoms of environmental allergies…

    Infusion of Mullein 

    You can use pure mullein tea bags or prepare an infusion using dried or fresh mullein leaves and flowers. This infusion can be made with or without honey.


    To prepare the infusion using fresh or dried Mullein
    • Take a handful of dried or fresh mullein leaves and flowers;
    • In a pot, simmer the mullein in one quart of water;
    • Cover the pot and heat the mixture for about 35 minutes;
    • After 35 minutes filter the solution twice:
      • First through a sieve and, then:
      • Through a piece of clean cloth;
    • While the infusion is still warm, (optional) add two tablespoons of the local honey;
    • Allow the infusion to cool;
    • Add the cooled infusion to your dog’s food once a day in accordance with the dosage provided below;
    • You can mix the tea with some plain natural yogurt, cottage cheese, olive oil, etc.
    To prepare the infusion using pure Mullein tea bags
    • Boil water and then steep the tea in a teapot as you would normally prepare tea;
    • While the tea is still warm, add two tablespoons of local honey;
    • Allow the tea to cool;
    • Add the cooled tea to your dog’s food once a day in accordance with the dosage provided below;
    • You can mix the tea with some plain natural yogurt, cottage cheese, olive oil, etc.
    Daily Dosage for Infusion/Tea
    • Small dog 1/8 cup
    • Medium dog 1/4 cup
    • Large dog 1/2 cup
    If you Prefer to Add the Infusion to your Dog’s Water Bowl;
    • Simply mix 1 part of the infusion to 8 parts of water;
    • Provide a fresh bowl on a daily basis.

    Infusion of Nettle

    This infusion can be made with or without honey.

     
    To prepare the infusion using fresh or dried Nettle leaves…
    • Take a handful of dried or fresh Nettle leaves;
    • In a pot, simmer the mullein in one quart of water;
    • Cover the pot and heat the mixture for about 35 minutes;
    • After 35 minutes filter the solution twice:
      • First through a sieve and, then:
      • Through a piece of clean cloth;
    • While the infusion is still warm, (optional) add two tablespoons of the local honey;
    • Allow the infusion to cool;
    • Add the cooled infusion to your dog’s food once a day in accordance with the dosage provided below;
    • You can mix the tea with some plain natural yogurt, cottage cheese, olive oil, etc.
    Daily Dosage for Infusion/Tea
    • Small dog 1/8 cup
    • Medium dog 1/4 cup
    • Large dog 1/2 cup

    Infusion of Nettle and Rooibos Tea

    Rooibos Tea contains anti-allergy properties and can be real aid in treating allergies and related skin problems, asthma, etc. To understand more about the many benefits of Rooibos Tea here

    • Take a handful of dried or fresh Nettle leaves;
    • In a pot, simmer the mullein in one quart of water;
    • Cover the pot and heat the mixture for about 35 minutes;
    • After 35 mintutes, add two Rooibos Tea Bags to the heated mixture; 
    • Then filter the solution twice:
      • First through a sieve and, then:
      • Through a piece of clean cloth;
    • While the infusion is still warm, (optional) add two tablespoons of the local honey;
    • Allow the infusion to cool;
    • Add the cooled infusion to your dog’s food once a day in accordance with the dosage provided below;
    • You can mix the tea with some plain natural yogurt, cottage cheese, olive oil, etc.
    Daily Dosage for Infusion/Tea
    • Small dog 1/8 cup
    • Medium dog 1/4 cup
    • Large dog 1/2 cup
    If you Prefer to Add the Infusion to your Dog’s Water Bowl;
    • Simply mix 1 part of the infusion to 8 parts of water;
    • Provide a fresh bowl on a daily basis.
    You can also add a few dried nettle leaves directly to your dog’s food once a day.

    Part 3 – Boosting your Dog’s Immune System in Tandem
                  with DIY Allergy Treatments

    Your dog’s allergies will be more acute if:
    Choose wisely for your dog as he/she cannot choose for themselves!

    Get your dog on a species appropriate diet and consider adding immune system boosting and allergy fighting items to your dog’s daily diet, for example:
     If you would like to add any of the above food stuffs make sure you read the articles in order to understand the benefits, preparation and correct dosages.


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