Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Dog Food Recalls...

... here. I am disturbed by the refusal to name names-- the brand I use contains rice.

Patrick has commented on dog food with his usual curmudgeonly good sense, but I am beginning to wonder if the more sensible versions of the BARF diet might be a good idea, at least for those of us with bulk sources of cheap meat and veggies locally and enough dogs to make the (large) extra effort worth while. I have nothing against Purina except that it uses corn, and I have an old dachsund with sensitivity to corn. (Well, I'm also pretty down on Big Corn and ethanol and such-- see Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma-- but that is another story; besides, I doubt Big Chinese Rice is any more environmentally sound).

Patrick? Any thoughts?

You should also check out his comments on fat dogs. Our ancient Moritz Dachs is overweight as she steals from the others and the bird, and doesn't get the exercise she used to.

But our others stay fit.


Nightmare said...

There are plenty of home made diets out there besides BARF: Levy, Pitcairn, Strombeck, etc. One to fit every comfort level, from raw to cooked and in between. I've been feeding my dogs a homemade diet since '99, it's definitely cheaper than kibble.

Reid Farmer said...

I really liked Patrick's post on fat dogs. Both of mine barely passed his "ribs test"

Steve Bodio said...

Nightmare-- I'd like to know more. Links? Info?

Nightmare said...

A quick caveat before I post links: there is a great deal of dogma surrounding home made diets for pets. A google search will turn up tons of pages on home made diets. Lots of 'always do this' and 'never do that.' I figure I don't need to tell you to take pretty much nothing at face value without doing your own research, since you're not an idiot.

Links to books related to home prepared diets, plus some other interesting stuff:

Kymythy Schultze's diet is probably easiest to feed, it's basic, but she prohibits grains or dairy of any kind. I started with Schultze and Billinghurst and after struggling with poor coats and weight issues I have been feeding Juliette Levy's diet for years and my dogs do well on it. I cook the grains, though. It's a pretty vague diet. Here's a link to her book:
She's cranky and has some strange health assumptions but she raised Afghans on her diet for decades so she must've been doing something right. The Volhard diet is based on Levy but with many supplements and it's been tested for something like 25 years with blood panels. Volhard's Newfies live to an average age of fourteen so she much be doing something right. Lots of new age hocus pocus in her book, though. Link with her basic diet here:

Link to a Borzoi site with good info that is pretty dogma free:

I've also fed Strombeck's diets to dogs with various health issues, his diets are cooked and easy to prepare, plus his book, while expensive, has interesting info on gastro disease and food allergies.

A good read for novices and people who might be idiots:

Even though my dogs have been doing well for years I just recently ordered a book from Monica Segal to balance the diet a little more. She uses the NRC research.

Many repro vets are quite down on home made diets due to the large number of clients they see who are feeding a unbalanced diet and are having subsequent problems. The ultimate test of a diet would be that the dog reproduces easily and has healthy, vigorous puppies. There are diets that are time tested out there. Like kibble, not all dogs will do well on all diets but the beauty of making it yourself is that you can tweak it for each dog. I feed a bunch of dogs, and it's time consuming if you don't have a freezer (I'm off-grid and don't have enough solar for that yet) but I wouldn't go back to kibble. I have Afghans, btw, which are very active, we go out chasing rabbits and sometimes even catch them.

Sorry for being so wordy, but that's a bit of overview for you.

Also, my dogs are not fat:)

H. Houlahan said...

Sheesh folks, it's not rocket surgery. Last time I checked, one didn't need a degree in applied nutrition to feed oneself. Dog feeding is no more difficult.

Mostly meat, edible bone in it, served raw unless the meat is questionable (no cooked bones), some veggies, some cooked grain or bread. A multivitamin, and a few supplements -- same supplements I was using when I fed kibble. If I forget to thaw something, that's a good time for a meal of canned mackerel, or I cook up some cheap frozen fish, depending on how much of a rush I'm in.

Have been feeding this way for a couple of years, and have always fed a fair amount of raw meat, as much venison as possible. My seven year-old bitch is big as a house and due to deliver her second litter in a few weeks. (First litter was ten healthy little landsharks, almost four years ago.) I'll let ya'll know if she meets nightmare's criteria for reproductive health -- she certainly conceived easily enough.

I agree that the hard-core raw feeding zealots are more interested in their respective jihads than in helping people out or being reasonable. That kinda gets cancelled out by the bullshit I've taken from some vets. I've got the same bloody nutrition textbook they got for free in school; difference is, I understand that it was written by the Hills corporation, purveyors of fine profit categories for vet practices, not graven by the flaming finger of the Almighty.

Feeding my dogs this way takes more effort (mostly in buying ingredients), but is no more expensive than a top-quality kibble, often less. I do keep a medium-sized chest freezer just for the dogs' food, but I'm feeding five adult dogs, with pups coming.

I feed a little bit of top-quality kibble too. Last bag I bought had to go back on the latest expansion of the recall. That'll learn me.

the wily marmot said...

"it's not rocket surgery"

I'll have to remember that phrase.:)

PBurns said...

I figure everyone is going to find their own level with dog food. I would note that every time sends me a note about their expensive health food dog food, I seem to find an article saying it's no better than anything else, or a cease-and-desiste order from the FDA about their marketing claims.

On my end, I am OK with Purina kibble, though I swear by nothing anymore. Each to his own. There is no risk-free life, not even for our dogs (or perhaps, ESPECIALLY for the dogs).