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Thursday, March 21, 2013


I have been feeding my kiddos raw for about a year now and it's probably the best decision I have ever made for them. Some time ago I posted "Why I will never feed my dogs kibble ever again?", and I meant to write another post to give you the low down on kibble. Unfortunately, due to a number of issues etc, I just haven't had the time to write properly.

So instead, here an article from Dr Karen Becker of Mercola Healthy Pets. While I personally no longer believe that our dogs or cats should consume any grains or even vegetables, this article has alot of useful and important information for all dog or cat owners regarding the ingredients in pet food.

It's High in Protein, High in Fat - But Should You Feed It to Your Dog? 

By Dr. Becker
If your canine companion gets plenty of strenuous exercise or participates in athletic events like agility, flyball or dock jumping, you may have noticed some new products in the pet food aisle: formulas designed for active dogs. It seems a growing number of pet food manufacturers have discovered a new sales niche and are hoping to appeal to dog owners who exercise with their pets or get them involved in canine-oriented activities and competitions.
Very active dogs do have somewhat different nutritional requirements than more sedentary pets, but their need for high-quality, biologically-appropriate food is just as important. In fact, I’m sure most parents of athletic, competitive dogs would argue their pets have a greater need than most for the right kind of excellent nutrition.
Since I’m always curious to learn about new and improved pet foods and whether the quality matches the marketing hype, I took a closer look at three formulas for athletic dogs that were introduced in January, all made by the same pet food company.

Ingredient List Does Not Impress

There are three new products in the lineup, all kibble, ranging in dry matter protein content from 26 percent to 30 percent, and in dry matter fat content from 16 to 20 percent. Since most canine nutrition experts agree very active dogs need more fat and protein than average dogs, on the surface, these numbers might seem reasonable. But let’s take a look at the ingredient lists.
All three formulas list chicken as the first ingredient, but as we know, once chicken is processed for kibble, it slides down the list several positions and is no longer the primary ingredient. The next several ingredients in each formula include poultry byproduct meal, corn gluten meal, and animal fat.
Poultry byproduct meal, according to AAFCO, is comprised of the “ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcasses of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.” Note that “poultry” does not equal chicken, so we don’t know exactly what type of fowl is in the mix. Byproducts are less expensive than chicken meat, and less digestible for pets. In addition, what winds up in each batch can vary tremendously in terms of ingredients, quality, and nutritional value.
The AAFCO definition of corn gluten meal is “The dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.”
The reason this ingredient is used so often in commercial pet food is because it’s inexpensive and contains some protein, which helps to increase the overall percentage of protein contained in the formula. You, as a savvy dog owner, already know that animal-based protein – not grain-based protein – is the most beneficial protein source for your pet.
AAFCO defines animal fat as derived “from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids.”
No animal is specified in “animal fat,” and this fat doesn’t come solely from slaughtered animals. In fact, any kind of animal from almost any source can be used, including “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), rats, roadkill, restaurant and supermarket waste, and even animals euthanized at shelters.

Liberal Use of Inexpensive, Poor Quality, and Grain-Based Protein Sources

All three formulas also contained, among the top ten ingredients, corn germ meal, fish meal, and animal digest.
Corn germ meal is another inexpensive ingredient that’s high in protein, and like corn gluten meal is used to boost the overall protein content of the formula without the need to use more expensive – and biologically appropriate – animal protein. As I discuss frequently here at Mercola Healthy Pets, corn and all corn-derived products are also well known in the holistic veterinary community as allergenic, problematic ingredients in pet food.
AAFCO defines fish meal as “The clean, rendered, dried ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.”
Once again, “fish” isn’t specific. In addition, unless the manufacturer can assure you they use human grade fish or fish meal, it’s a sure bet this ingredient has been preserved with ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is a banned substance in human foods except for very small quantities used in spices. It has been implicated in liver failure and other health problems in dogs.
Animal digest is essentially a cooked-down brew of unspecified pieces and parts of unspecified animals sourced from wherever. As is the case with animal fat, the source can be any combination of slaughtered or 4-D animals, horses, goats, pigs, rodents, roadkill, restaurant or supermarket garbage, or euthanized shelter pets.

How to Feed Your Canine Athlete

Your very active, athletic dog needs a nutrient-dense diet that provides optimum energy in a small quantity of food. The protein source should be good quality and animal-based, and the food should be relatively high in dietary fat, including supplementation with raw organic coconut oil.
The main components of a raw diet for an athletic dog with no health problems include raw meaty bones, muscle and organ meats, a few dark green vegetables, a constant supply of fresh clean water, and appropriate supplementation as needed. As always, I recommend you talk with your holistic vet about the right diet for your active pet’s individual needs.
In my experience, no dog – whether a couch potato or an elite athlete – will thrive on the kind of low quality, biologically inappropriate nutrition found in the new formulas described above. So again I must caution you to look past the attractive marketing claims and beautiful packaging, and go right to the ingredient list to determine whether a newly niched pet food formula is really all it’s cracked up to be.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


As you would know by now, I am against animal testing and am trying very hard to purchase products that are cruelty free. And as such, I am quite excited to learn that the EU has now officially banned Animal Testing.  However, although this is great news, it still means that we need to push for an end to animal testing in the rest of the world! So please do try to purchase Cruelty Free products as far as possible!

Extracted from Go Cruelty Free

The EU Animal Testing Ban

The BUAV, founder organisation of Cruelty Free International, and its partners at the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments have been instrumental in achieving a European ban on animal testing for cosmetic and toiletry products and ingredients. However, after the ban comes into force on 11 March 2013, the Leaping Bunny continues to be the only way consumers can be sure they are buying truly ‘cruelty-free’ beauty products.

When the ban takes effect, companies will not be able to animal test new cosmetic products and ingredients on sale in the EU. However, companies can still carry on animal testing cosmetics outside the EU where these cosmetics are also sold outside the EU.

There are a number of issues for companies selling their products on the global market. For example, at present, before new products can go on sale in China, they must be submitted for testing to the Chinese authorities, which normally involves a range of animal tests.

The Leaping Bunny, however, is a global standard and applies to all of the operations and sales of companies, not just those for the EU. It is an explicit condition of Leaping Bunny certification that companies do not export cosmetic products to sell on the Chinese market unless they can demonstrate an official exemption to animal testing.

There are also a number of outstanding issues with the EU’s Cosmetics Regulation text, which are yet to be clarified.  Until full guidance is given, it is sadly likely that many companies that have not yet joined the Leaping Bunny programme may continue to use animal-tested ingredients in some circumstances.

Until Cruelty Free International achieves a meaningful, global ban on animal testing, the Leaping Bunny continues to be the only guarantee that animals are not still being used to test the cosmetic ingredients in a company’s products.

Friday, March 08, 2013


So you're thinking, is there a need to give your dog supplements if she is fed raw?

Well as a general rule, there is no real need to supplement your dog if she's healthy, (i.e. not suffering from any problems or diease etc), and if you're feeding your dog a good variety of meats, bone and organ in the appropriate ratio of 80:10:10 over time. So she should be getting all the nutrition that she needs.

However, the other exception to the rule would be where the majority of the meats that are being fed to your dog are your regular grocery store variety, i.e. not organic/free range, whereby the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is completely out of balance.

100mg Salmon Oil & 100mg Fish Body Oils

If you have a healthy dog and you're concerned that your dog may need some supplements to her raw diet, then consider getting a good quality Fish Body Oil or Wild Salmon Oil (both referred to as Fish Oil hereafter). Please note that this is quite different from cod liver oil.

Fish Oil is used to supplement or balance Omega 3 fatty acids which are usually lacking in commercially produced meats.

Cod liver oil, on the other hand, contains a high amount of Vitamin A & D (which your dog should get from the 10% organ meat esp liver in her raw diet) which your healthy dog does not really need; and usually has a much lower EPA + DHA content per gel cap. So you will need to give a lot more cod liver oil gel caps to achieve the required EPA +DHA content, but it will also mean that you will be giving your dog way too much Vitamin A & D.

Please check the EPA + DHA values and not just the dosage of the fish oil!
For fish oil, a maintenance dose (to balance the Omega 3:Omega 6 ratios if you're feeding commercial meat) is 100mg of DHA+EPA per 10lb of dog. Most gelcaps contain 300mg DHA+EPA. 

You need to make sure that you refer to the information/supplement facts on the back of the bottle. This is quite different from the dosage of the oil as indicated on the front label of the bottle. 

Also, please ensure that the Fish Oil or Salmon Oil that you get is free from unnecessary additives such as soy, corn, sugar, colours etc.

Another important thing to look out for is Vitamin E or Tocopherols in the Fish Oil that you have purchased. These are almost always derived from soy. So if the Fish Oil that you have purchased contains either of these, do not feed it to your dog because we know our dogs are carnivores and cannot digest grains. 

So for example, if Cleo (who is about 66 lbs) was perfectly healthy, she would get about 600mg of DHA + EPA daily, which means about 2 capsules per day based on the 1000mg Fish Oil that we have from GNC.
Dogs who are suffering from certain diseases or is recovering from illness should take a therapeutic dose instead. For example, heart problems, skin problems, ear problems etc. A therapeutic dose would usually be three times the normal dose. So my Cleo used to take about 6 capsules a day to get her 1800mg of DHA + EPA as she has a severely enlarged heart and a few other problems. (Update: She is now back to 2 capsules a day as her condition has improved significantly since. She also takes CoQ10, Hawthorne, Coconut Oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B12 for her heart condition).

*Note: You will need to monitor the bowel tolerance of your dog when giving high doses of fish oil. If you find that it causes your dog to have diarrhea, reduce the dosage gradually till her tolerance level. Then after a few days or a week at the level, try to increase the dosage to the recommended therapeutic dose. 

I will write a separate post later on about other supplements that you may want to consider for your dog if she has health issues. 

**Note: This post is intended as a guide or reference and is not meant to replace veterinary advice. The information on this post is based on conclusions that I have made after extensive reading, advice from other raw feeders in particular the Raw Feeding and Raw Chat Facebook groups, and on my experience with my own dogs. Please consult your holistic veterinarian for advice on supplements for your dogs.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013