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Is Your Dog Food Killing Your Beloved Companion?

Many of you have seen the news item that came out this week with Purina and their dog food brand, Beneful, being sued for killing a man’s three dogs in California (CNN News Link).

“Beneful contains propylene glycol, an auto antifreeze component, and mycotoxins, toxins produced by fungus found in grains,” the lawsuit says.

While the attorneys and court system will battle it out, here are a few quick tips to selecting an appropriate  and healthy food for your pet.

Tips to Selecting the Right Food:

  • Always try to select a plant based food (example would be chickpea) with organic and free range meat and/or wild caught fish.
  • Avoid corn, wheat, and soy. Sub standards of these items are generally used as cheap fillers. (Most dogs have allergies to corn - and it is the number one ingredient in most cheap dog foods.)
  • Avoid propylene glycol. In other countries (especially European countries) propylene glycol is banned as a toxic substance for both pets and humans! The FDA has ruled propylene glycol as not safe for cats, however food companies are still allowed to use this substance in dog food.
  • Consider adding in a can of tuna or sardines with the dry food every so often. I love the 365 Whole Foods Brand of Albacore Tuna no salt in water. The Trader Joe's brand of Sardines in water is also excellent!
  • Be very picky about what you feed your pets. Read ingredients, try to find out where they are sourced from, ask questions, and decide from there.

Upgrade Your Dog's Commercial Diet:

Remember when adding in these healthful additions to also cut back on the dry food so there is no added weight gain.

  • Eggs. Great nutritional impact with high quality protein and fat along with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Can be served raw, soft-cooked, hard-cooked, or scrambled. 
  • Yogurt. Wonderful probiotics. Be sure to use plain low-fat or non-fat with NO sugar. 
  • Quinoa. Known as the mother of all grains, it is a highly nutritious seed and full of fiber and protein. It's also easy for dogs to digest.
  • Sardines, Salmon, Tuna. Loaded with good essential oils which help with everything from the brain to the joints. 
  • Vegetables and Fruits. Berries, Apples, Bananas, Melon, Carrots, Green Beans, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, and Zucchini are all safe to give to your pet in moderation. Be cautious on the cruciferous vegetables as those may tend to cause gas. 

Here’s a quick tip on food and your dog’s digestion.

Better brands will cost more, however usually you will see less food is needed to maintain an ideal weight (the serving quantity will also be listed as less on the side panel). Remember that many of your very well advertised commercial brands like Purina and Science Diet are built on promotions and kick-backs to those who recommend the foods (Always follow the money trail!).

When your pet has good food, their stools will generally be smaller, more compact, and firmer in nature. They also will be with less frequency. As one of my veterinarian friends very bluntly stated:

Put simply, if your dog shits a lot, and it’s not firm… then your dog food sucks. If your dog gets fleas (aside from the occasional one here or there just from being outside) or repeat dry skin – your dog food sucks. Parasites don’t inhabit dogs with strong, healthy immune systems. Good food is the base to helping ensure proper immunities.

Keep in mind the serving size of dog food is set by AAFCO based on it's nutritional value - the more you have to feed your dog, the less nutrition is actually in the food.

Trust this helps! Let us know what you have found to be the best diet for your cats and dogs along with any other tips and suggestions!

- jenn