Debra Lynn Dadd

Pet Food

QUESTION:

I've been reading about the problems with commercial pet food and how it can harm our pets. I have 3 dogs and 3 cats. What are your recommendations for a safe alternative to commercial pet foods? I don't know which brands I can trust any more. I would like to be able to make some home made food and treats for my pets also. If anyone has any recipes I'd be happy to try them.

POSTED BY DEBRA :: MICHIGAN USA :: 01/13/2009 3:14 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

Readers?

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

In regards to proper type of pet food. Some say home cooked meals are best. Others say use canned or dry dog food. I use both on our two dogs, a female boxer, 8 years old and a Australian Shepherd who adopted us that iis about 2 years old. We feed them a product called Organix. The best advice that I can give is to subscribe to a magazine called "Whole Dog Journal". They do a research of companies that produce dog food and give the recommendations. The companies they recommend use organic food, at least for the most part, and leave out the junk that is in most commercial dog foods that you buy at the local grocery store. the magazine is well worth reading and give a lot of additional helps to those of us who own pets. Mike Z, Ladson, SC

POSTED BY MIKE Z :: SOUTH CAROLINA USA :: 01/16/2009 2:33 PM


Hi, The one cat food brand I fed to 3 homeless cats (a mother and her 2 kitties) was Evolution. It's a vegetarian food, so many folks may not like to try it on their four legged friends. The kitties I rescued loved it, both the kibble and wet food that Evolution sells. (they also sell food for ferrats). Evolution pet food is formulated by a veterinarian. The cats loved it. For me, the downside is its availability and price. I had to order it online, and besides its high price there was the shipping expense, though well worth it. Momma kitty came to me looking patchy and weak, but she left with a stronger body and a full, shiny fur coat. The 2 kittens flourished on it.

POSTED BY REENIE :: FLORIDA USA :: 01/16/2009 2:38 PM


I routinely make a batch of homemade dog * cat food, basically whenever I need to clean out my refridgerator. Typical ingredients include brocoli, carrots, potatoes, garlic, squash/zucchini...whatever veggies look a little spent. Throughout the week I save the peels off onions and whatever vegetable matter I discard while cooking. Then I toss it all into my crockpot with something 'meaty' for flavor...pork neck bones, leftover chicken/bones, turkey carcas---you get the idea. That I let cook overnight. By morning the vegetables and meat/bones are well cooked and I pick the meat off the bones and discard the smaller chicken/turkey bones. Most of the chicken/turkey bones are pliable enough for the dogs to eat since they've been cooking overnight, but this depends on your comfort level. Then with a hand blender I puree the broth so there are no large chunks of vegetables (one of my dogs is old and has no teeth for chewing). Then I add a variety of other items like pearl barley, wheat germ,coucous, beans (dry)--although not too many beans or your pets will be "farty". Again, whatever I have on hand or needs to be used. I cook that in the crock pot until the dry ingredients are soft, and serve. My dogs love it, so do my cats--they think it is a special treat. It really helps with the finances and I'm not wasting vegetables.

For treats, I mix whole wheat flour with water and peanut butter until its rollable with a rolling pin. Then I cut out shapes with cookie cutters. I used to have a large bone shaped one, but that's long gone. I use all kinds of shapes that I've purchased from thrift stores that correspond to holidays. Sometimes I'll put in some walnut pieces (they really like that) before baking. It usually takes 30-40 mins. at 350 to get hard, but I shorten the time for soft 'cookies' for my toothless chihuahua. Viola! Dog treats. Much cheaper than store bought.

POSTED BY CAROL :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/16/2009 2:39 PM


Blue buffalo is a great brand that I purchase often for my dog and cats... try it out.. if you go online they can send you samples and coupons. They are all natural - Stay away from ingredients you cant understand... any thing that says by products and corn of course...here is the link,..www.bluebuff.com/sample/true-blue-results.php

POSTED BY WANDA K :: MIESSENCE :: TRULYPURE.MIONEGROUP.COM :: NEW YORK USA :: 01/16/2009 2:46 PM


I can certainly help you with your cats; less so with dogs because I don't have any and haven't done any research on them specifically. After losing 2 of my precious fur babies to liver failure in 2007, I vowed to ditch commercial cat food and put them on a more "species appropriate" diet. With the blessings and encouragement of my holistic vet, I began making raw cat food with a nutritional powder from Feline Instincts:

www.felineinstincts.com

My cats have rewarded me with glowing eyes, downy-soft fur and in one case, an obese 11 year old kitty who slimmed down and now runs around like a kitten again (at one point he was so fat he couldn't even clean his own nether-regions any more). I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs from Costco 8lb at a time; this makes one dozen 2-cup portions, enough to feed three cats 2 times per day for 12 days (obviously with fewer cats this would go much farther). This takes me a little over an hour once every 12 days; I pop the (reusable) containers into the garage freezer and defrost them a day or two at a time as needed. Once you assemble your supplies and get into a rhythm, it is hardly any more work than popping open cans - honest! (plus now you're not tossing all those cans into landfill). Cost-wise, it works out to be about $2.50 per cat per day, on par with the highest quality canned food.

We supplement the raw food - once or twice a week - with a high quality canned food called Wellness. It's an occasional snack for them, plus it keeps them "used to" canned food for times when we are out of town (raw food must obviously be handled carefully and that's too much of a burden for someone doing us a favor by feeding them when we are gone).

If you'd like to take an additional step beyond a nutritional supplement and make your food completely from scratch, check out this website:

www.catinfo.org

It is owned by a vet and she gives TONS of FANTASTIC advice about raising natural cats and raw-feeding cats. I personally decided against "totally from scratch" mostly because I didn't have the financial wherewithall to invest several hundred dollars into a meat grinder that can grind bones (I grind chicken with the grinder attachment of my KitchenAid stand mixer - $0 investment), but of course you will educate yourself and make a decision that works for you. Even if you don't use her recipe, take some time to peruse the site - again the advice is really fantastic. Good luck to you and know that you will be rewarded with healthy, happy animals.

POSTED BY MARY ANNE :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/16/2009 2:52 PM


We use Wellness brand for both our dogs and our cats. They have several formulations for maintenance, overweight, puppy/kitten, and even a no-grain version.

POSTED BY RZ :: ILLINOIS USA :: 01/16/2009 2:55 PM


There is lots of info over at dogster.com/forum

But basiclly if the ingredient list can't be read (you don't understand what the ingredients are) you should not buy it until you understand what it, usually you won't want that in either your or your pets body!

We are thinking of having a dog again, I have found that for a commercially prepared there is a company called Taste of the wild, seem faily good.

I am leaning real heavy towards raw meat & bones & eggs, the more I read the better it sounds, you never saw a wolf or mountian lion carring around a stove have you? There digestive system is different than our so the bugs don't bother them like us.

There are 100's of recipes for treats on line, just search for "dog biscuit recipe" and find one that uses ingrediend you feel are safe for your pet

POSTED BY SHAWN T W :: ARIZONA USA :: 01/16/2009 2:56 PM


We use Bil-Jac. It is a local company that produces dog food. Our retriever mix is 12 years old and doing great. He has never had any health problems. It is not organic, but is local to us. We can find it at the major pet stores and the local pet shops. Check out their web site for more info... www.biljac.com/store/premium_dog_food.asp

POSTED BY GWEN :: OHIO USA :: 01/16/2009 2:58 PM


Hi! I have four kitties aged 2 to 18 years and am also extremely interested in the health of our best friends, feline, canine, and whatever. I think the best comparison site for finding out what is actually in the brand cat and dog foods is: on the Web at petsumer report. I now buy Wellness cat food from my local Pet Supermarket and have noticed a big difference in their coats, energy, eyes, and more. They do have a charge for the complete report but you will find information here and in a sister blog of same name. Tip: If you see the word "byproducts" in the listing of ingredients, run like the wind. Once you become aware of just what this is, not many of us would want to give it house room, let alone something meant to sustain our beloved pets. There are a number of choices out there that do not include this ingredient. In the case of cats, a preponderance of grains is another "bad" sign. There should be more protein than grains. This topic and many related ones can be found on this site. All I've read in the past about making your own pet foods at home has led me to believe that my pets are better off with a commercial preparation.

POSTED BY SUSAN C. :: CARE2 :: MY.CARE2.COM/BANANA55 :: FLORIDA USA :: 01/16/2009 2:59 PM


For the kitties, look at catnutrition.org , holisticat.com, www.catinfo.org I go to Whole Foods to get whole chickens (skin, bones, giblets, and the rest of the chicken) ground 2-3 times (until there are no bone chips left), then add the rest of the ingredients. It ends up being about half the cost of good canned food, e.g., Wellness.

POSTED BY KATHRYN HARGREAVES :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/16/2009 3:05 PM


Hello,

I also have three dogs and then four cats. The cats are outside cats and I haven't found an alternative for them, but they are mostly long lived and I don't worry about them as much. The dogs are different as they don't supplement their eating as much as the cats do, (I live in the country). I have bought soup bones with meat on and pork hocks cooked them up overnight in a slow oven in a stock pot. You can add oatmeal and veggies. Depending on the size of dogs, a stock pot will last a week or so and the dogs seem to thrive on it. I sometimes add fat from other meats I cook for myself, left overs and soup stock etc. If you find a really good commercial food that you want to use, this same stock can be used to extent the food you buy. Dog treats are easily made from recipes you can find on line. Hope this helps.

POSTED BY SUZANNE :: WISCONSIN USA :: 01/16/2009 4:38 PM


I looked into this a couple years ago, and while I don't remember getting a specific recommendation from anyone, I did mark this article as very helpful: www.bengalcathome.com/Cat%20food%20information.htm .

I ended up using petsmart brand cat food. And like the article says, I give them something different every couple months.

-Dennis

POSTED BY DENNIS KERTIS :: PENNSYLVANIA USA :: 01/20/2009 7:37 AM


Wow! Thanks to all of you for your information. I can't wait to try your suggestions, check out the web sites, and the Whole Dog Journal. I've used some ground beef, canned veggies and rice to make some food for the dogs, but I want to be sure of what they need nutritionally. You all have given me plenty of information to continue my research. Thanks again! :-)

POSTED BY DEBRA :: MICHIGAN USA :: 01/20/2009 8:00 AM


I feed Casey (Sheltie), California Natural Dry food, and EVO canned food. He get Zukes, and Solid Gold treats. And a little bit of safe people foods with no corn, soy, harmful additives or preservatives. No onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, xylitol or other foods that are harmful for dogs. I keep his diet as natural and safe as possible.

POSTED BY DONNIE :: MICHIGAN USA :: 01/21/2009 10:10 AM


ooo! Carol! Don't use the onions!

Chocolate and onions are two foods that are poisonous to dogs. (I don't know about cats, but definately not good for dogs).

POSTED BY P :: MARYLAND USA :: 02/17/2009 5:52 AM


I use Pet Promise for my cat. It is available in wet and dry forms for either cats or dogs. Pet Promise is recommended and endorsed by Dr. Weil and contains natural safe ingredients without animal byproducts. My cat loves the food and his Veg gives him high marks for overall health and a healthy coat. www.petpromiseinc.com

POSTED BY KS IN SACRAMENTO :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 02/24/2009 6:16 AM


Evolution Petfood IS NOT formulated by a Veterinarian. Eric Weisman IS NOT a veterinarian. See this link www.oah.state.mn.us/aljBase/602015383.FDG.htm or this one www.oah.state.mn.us/aljBase/602015383.FDG.htm. Please don\'t be fooled.

POSTED BY SKYE :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 03/30/2009 8:36 AM


Hi Carol,

Cooked bones can splinter and puncture the intestines, so you should avoid them. Raw bones are OK.

Also, yes (as someone else pointed out), onions are not good for either cats nor dogs. Garlic is also not good. Both cause Heinz Body Anemia. I don't feed Wellness all that often (unless it's the 95% meat to which one has to add their own supplements), because it has garlic in it. It\'s a small amount, but why mess with it?

holisticat.com has some canned food suggestions. What you want is 95% meat (not meal), no by-products, no grains, no onion or garlic, no preservatives, etc. See the website for more guidelines.

I've found Natural Balance's Venison and Peas at Petco for a very nice price. If I couldn't feed raw (see my last post), I'd feed this.

The best thing about feeding raw is that the poops don't stink so much (except at first, when they are adjusting to it).

Hope this helps,

Kathy

POSTED BY KATHRYN HARGREAVES :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 03/30/2009 9:42 PM


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