What’s for dinner?


Mimolette on our honeymoon

A question I get often is “what do you feed your dogs”.  My answer has been different over time, as I become more educated and as I watch my dogs, it changes.  They will always dictate what is correct.  Today our mastiffs get Canidae and our French Bulldogs get raw food. My preference is a Raw Diet.  I believe the less you add the better it is for them.  I strongly believe that the reason we have seen such an increase with dogs suffering from allergies, autoimmune diseases and cancer is a direct relation to how we have changed feeding our dogs.  There are a number of cases where dogs had allergies and by going on the raw diet the allergies cleared up.

I remember as a kid, Susie ate whatever we ate.  It was very simple, she received our leftovers and she was as healthy as a horse.  She lived to be at least 14 years old and never had an issue, except for an ear infection.  We would also feed her raw extras, such as fat trimmings and any organs not being cooked.  We didn’t use dog food.  My vet also agrees with me on this.  He has seen a sharp increase in these diseases and he even followed up with the observation that “how are all these foods sitting on shelves for months at a time and never expire”, he said, “the preservatives can not be good for our dogs”

So I prefer raw, but it can get pricey. There are several ways to feed raw.  There is the Prey method, where you mimic as close to prey as you can.  This is also known as BARF, bones and raw food.  Feeding a whole animal when possible.  For the large dogs it can be a skinned rabbit, or plucked chicken with all the innards intact.  For a smaller dog you would choose a portion, like chicken backs or necks.  Due to our food laws, you would either have to butcher your own animals, or find a farmer who sells food  for human consumption and feed it fresh.  In order to feed the bones, they must be a fresh kill.  The majority of  raw enthusiasts are against feeding bones that have sat in a dead animal for a long period of time.  There is also the ground method.  In this method everything is ground up and mixed.  With this method you would grind up beef, chicken and so on and add fresh vegetables and/or supplements.  The ground method is nice because you can mix everything, weigh out your portions and freeze them.  Then you can take out the proper portions as you need them.  With both of these methods you figure the dog will need between 2-3% of their body weight.  But I find that this differs with each and every dog.  Not even the breeds, but the actual dog.  The most important aspect of feeding raw is to watch your dog.  If your dog is looking lean, then he/she will need more food.  If your dog is gaining weight, then you will need to lessen the amount. For recipes on ground method click here.  Make sure you get to know your local butchers and make friends with them.  Ask them to let you know when they have fresh trimmings and organs that you can go pick up.

If you choose to feed a raw diet make smart choices.  If you have a 2 pound Chihuahua, don’t give him/her a beef bone.  You can give her a chicken wing and some liver, or better yet use the ground method.  There are also vendors who sell prepared raw food.  My favorite raw pre-made food is Primal Pet Food.  This eliminates much of the guess work, but it does drive up the cost.  If I only had one dog, this is the method I would use.  It’s so easy all you need is some freezer space.  When working with raw meat, you must also always be diligent about washing your hands and work station.  Raw meat can cause several health issues for humans.  Make sure you wash your dogs food bowl with hot water and detergent after every use.

A major reason why dogs digestive system respond best to raw meat are the natural enzymes found in all raw food.  Think about when you leave a piece of meat or vegetable out, they start to decompose over time.  These are the natural enzymes found in raw food.  If you leave dry dog food out, it’s not going to break down on it’s own.  These enzymes help dogs break down the food in their stomach AND helps them absorb more nutrients.  Kibble tends to just work it’s way through their system and less is absorbed.  I believe if you are going to feed them dry dog food, supplementing with natural enzymes will help them absorb more of the nutrients they need and it will help them digest their food.  There are many products out there I personally prefer NZymes.  They even carry supplements for us humans too.

If you find that raw food is too much work or it’s just plain confusing. You may choose to use dry dog food (kibble) there are many to choose from.  I strongly believe when you feed dry dog food, you should find the best dog food you can afford.   So how do you know if the food you are using is the best you can buy for your dog?  You must read the label very carefully. But as most of us know, the labels can be very confusing.  So I have found a worksheet that can help anyone decide if their dog food is a good one or not.  The Elks County Animal Shelter has done all the work for us, I will post their findings below and the link to their site if you want to download the actual worksheet.  Thank you Elks County Animal Shelter for making this easy on us!!!

I hope this will help you make an informed decision for your dog(s).

How to grade your dog’s food: (Some brands are done at the very bottom)

Download a Form to Compute your Brand

Start with a grade of 100:

1) For every listing of “by-product”, subtract 10 points

2) For every non-specific animal source (“meat” or “poultry”, meat, meal or

fat) reference, subtract 10 points

3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

4) For every grain “mill run” or non-specific grain source,subtract 5 points

5) If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five

ingredients (i.e. “ground brown rice”, “brewer’s rice”, “rice flour” are

all the same grain), subtract 5 points

6) If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats

in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

7) If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

8 ) If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points

9) If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points

10) If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2


11) If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic

to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

12) If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to

wheat), subtract 2 points

14) If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn’t allergic to

beef), subtract 1 point

15) If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

1) If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or

nutritionist, add 5 points

3) If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

7) If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points

9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than

the first one; count “chicken” and “chicken meal” as only one protein source

but “chicken” and “” as 2 different sources), add 1 point

13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free

add 1 point

94-100+ = A

86-93 = B

78-85 = C

70-77 = D

69 = F

Here are some foods that have already been scored. Dog Food scores:

Dog Food scores:

Alpo Prime Cuts / Score 81 C

Artemis Large/Medium Breed Puppy / Score 114 A+

Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+

Authority Harvest Baked Less Active / Score 93 B

Beowulf Back to Basics / Score 101 A+

Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F

Blackwood 3000 Lamb and Rice / Score 83 C

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice / Score 106 A+

Burns Chicken and Brown Rice / Score 107 A+

Canidae / Score 112 A+

Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+

Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A

Diamond Performance / Score 85 C

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice / Score 106 A+

Dick Van Patten’s Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+

EaglePack Holistic / Score 102 A+

Eukanuba Adult / Score 81 C

Eukanuba Puppy / Score 79 C

Flint River Senior / Score 101 A+

Foundations / Score 106 A+

Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 B

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D

Innova Dog / Score 114 A+

Innova Evo / Score 114 A+

Innova Large Breed Puppy / Score 122 A+

Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+

Member’s Mark Chicken and Rice / Score 84 C

Merrick Wilderness Blend / Score 127 A+

Nature’s Recipe / Score 100 A

Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison and Rice / Score 116 A+

Nature’s Variety Raw Instinct / Score 122 A+

Nutra Nuggets Super Premium Lamb Meal and Rice / Score 81 C

Nutrience Junior Medium Breed Puppy / Score 101 A+

Nutrisource Lamb and Rice / Score 87 B

Nutro Max Adult / Score 93 B

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice / Score 98 A

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B

Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Wheat Free / Score 86 B

Nutro Natural Choice Senior / Score 95 A

Nutro Ultra Adult / Score 104 A+

Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F

Premium Edge Chicken, Rice and Vegetables Adult Dry / Score 109 A+

Pro Nature Puppy / Score 80 C

Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach / Score 94 A

Purina Benful / Score 17 F

Purina Dog / Score 62 F

Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F

Purina One Large Breed Puppy / Score 62 F

Royal Canin Boxer / Score 103 A+

Royal Canin Bulldog / Score 100 A+

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F

Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A

Solid Gold / Score 99 A

Summit / Score 99 A

Timberwolf Organics Wild & Natural Dry / Score 120 A+

Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+

Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2013 by in Dogs, Editorial, Feeding and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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