What are you feeding your dog?
You are what you eat. This is true regardless of species; human or dog. Feeding your K9 poor quality dog foods can be directly related to:
1. Gastrointestinal problems
2. Hot spots and other skin problems
3. Ear infections such as chronic yeast
Human Grade Vs. Feed Grade
- Human grade ingredients are those that meet standards for human consumption and undergo stringent testing protocol to ensure quality and the absence of anything not fit for human consumption.
- Feed grade ingredients are those deemed not fit for human consumption. They include expired, moldy, and defective products.
Reading the Dog Food Labels
1. Dog food manufacturers are required to list all of the ingredients in their foods. Each ingredient must be listed in order from highest to lowest by weight.
2. Some commercial manufacturers bypass the above standard to cover up less desirable elements. An example would be when a reader groups all of the wheat components together and they become substantially more than the meat product, such as lamb. Now the wheat becomes the primary ingredient.
3. Good protein sources are:
1. Bad sources of protein are:
- Unspecified by-products
- Unspecified meat and bone meal
- Fish digest
- Animal digest
Animal digest is a cooked down broth that might be from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. These creatures can be collected from almost any source and there are no quality controls in place. Dead, dying, diseased, and disabled, (known as 4-D) protein sources that are banned in human food can legally used in dog food. Unspecified by-products often times are an element of a larger product; e.g. waste elements such as hair, feathers, feet, claws, beaks, etc. These byproducts are not part of a healthy diet. **Meat byproducts such as the heart and liver are perfectly acceptable byproducts Dry blood meal is an inexpensive source of poor quality protein in some foods and it is completely indigestible.
Preservatives and Ingredients
For the most part, pet foods are overcooked and their nutritional value is often compromised. Things have to be added back in to the mix to make it more palatable. These ingredients are fall under the GRAS guidelines, (Generally Recognized as Safe). This does not necessarily mean they are good for your dog.
1. Good Preservatives
- Tocopherols (Vitamin C and E)
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
1. Bad Preservatives and ingredients
- BHT- Used to retard spoilage. Some research has linked BHT to immune deficiency syndrome, spleen, stomach, and liver cancer, chronic diarrhea, liver and kidney damage.
- Ethoxyquin- A known carcinogen that some studies have shown creates numerous other major health issues.
- BHA- Some studies have shown this to be harmful to kidneys.
- Corn syrup- This is pure sugar and can create picky eaters.
- Mono sodium glutamate (MSG)- Used to disguise inferior food quality
- Propyl Gallate- Spoilage retardant
- Sodium nitrate- A possible carcinogenic preservative for red coloring
- Sodium lauryl sulfate- A caustic detergent
1. Whole grains
1. Corn gluten meal
Good fruits and vegetables for your K9
- Green beans
Georgia K9 National Training Center is committed to K9 health. We believe that there are three levels to proper health and they are all interconnected:
The means to this end starts with a good diet. Without a properly functioning body working at peak capacity, our dogs can never truly reach their full potential. We recommend to all of our clients to choose a body healthy diet for your K9. Yes, good dog food costs more than the average grocery store variety, but large vet bills due to food related problems or illness generally cost lots more. On the same note, quality foods are generally thoroughly digested, translating to less waste and feeding less with each meal. There are quite a few excellent dog food products available at most pet stores and at your local Animal Clinic. Here at Georgia K9, we use and stock two of them. It is important to understand that the two foods we use are not the “be all, end all” of the dog food world. They are simply foods that fit our K9‘s lifestyles. We recommend that our clients always seek out professional veterinarian advice for the specific needs of their own dogs. As the majority of our personal dogs are working K9’s with incredibly active lifestyles, we have found the following foods to work best for them:
- Orijen and Acana Diets
- Canine Caviar (Grain Free)
- NutriSource Grain Free diets
- Pure Vita Grain Free Diets
- Biologically Appropriate raw diets
We stock Orijen , Acana and Honest Kitchen in 30 LB bags for our customers. However, for those out of the area, repeat purchases might be best through one of our affiliate pet professionals in their particular neighborhoods. Please ask for a referral.
For those of you who prefer raw diets, we stock:
- Blue Ridge Beef Raw Foods
- Honest Kitchen
We are also proud to feature Omega QD, the absolute best Omega fish oil supplement on the market. Ask a Georgia K9 Trainer for a custom designed diet for your dog.