What To Feed My Dog?
Try the fridge! Dog food labels don't list melamine and USDA permits killer ingredients like growth hormones, propylene glycol, and...
May 2015 Update
Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance
In 2007 I warned you about pet foods contaminated with melamine from China. Plastic plates are made of melamine and it causes crystal formation which can lead to kidney failure.
You might think that was a fluke but you'd be wrong. Today the big deal in dog food is sweet potatoes - but damned if they don't cause kidney stones! We hope that officials are watching the human food chain but truth is, the melamine disaster was confirmed in livestock feeds, not by USDA, no, it was the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.
I told you to look in the refrigerator for your pet's next meal but today I'm warning you that what's in some foods can be deadly when eaten every day!
The skyrocketing rate of kidney problems in our best buds is significant. I'm not a veterinarian but common sense and a sharp eye got me home from the jungle so here's the deal. Healthy things you and I occasionally eat can be bad news if your dog eats it every day. Day after day.
Is any pet food safe and if not, what should I feed my dog?
My observation is that it is probably safer to feed your dog those much maligned "table scraps." In other parts of the world, dogs pretty much live on garbage. But hey, table scraps are not just the fat you cut off and shove to one side of your plate. Feed the dog some vegetables and if you don't want to share that steak, give him cooked fish or pork, and raw beef or chicken!
Like the melamine disaster, today I'm telling you about about excess oxalate in pet food. We'll blame it on two things: first, it is cheaper and second, the dog food makers have convinced dog owners that carnivores need vegetables. Yeah, and most of us fell for that! You and I have to depend on ourselves to know when too much of a good thing is too much but your dog depends on you! Too much sweet potato (cheap filler) and stuff that reads good on the pet food label (like beets and parsley) are likely responsible for the increase in canine kidney problems.
Like a lot of gov'ment agencies, USDA and FDA are sadly inefficient until problems are reported and confirmed. Reminds me of car companies passing a new model off the assembly line and letting consumers be the inspector. If they survive the accelerator sticking, fuel line leakage, or faulty brakes, the makers just settle the lawsuit, send out a notice to take your car to the dealer, and everything's cool.
It's the same way in dog food. Cost efficiency. Do we believe that dog food manufacturers are scrambling to ascertain product safety? If they are using quality ingredients and product testing before distribution, then why are dogs dying from what they eat?
We know that the most obvious way to protect your dog from unsafe ingredients is to feed it "people food" and a lot of pet owners and even some dog breeders are doing just that. So I'm not the only one staring into my refrigerator when my dog gives me that look. Writing for a dog publication has taught me a lot and my daughter makes me stay informed. Actually, she informs me all the time, incessantly, and sometimes impatiently.
I get it. I can feed Bozo anything from a structured BARF (biologically available raw food) diet to "healthy" table food. The problem is feeding tasty tidbits of starch, sugar, or fats from the table. And I get it, most dog owners weigh the convenience of dishing out dog food with deciding what to feed and achieving dietary balance on home made pet food.
For the determined dog owner "What to feed?" can be solved with just a little research and applying that to feeding a natural diet of meat, poultry, fish, green vegetables, and eggs. Don't be afraid you'll miss something on the long pet food ingredients list. Most of that unpronounceable stuff is just preservatives or chemical forms of vitamins they had to add to make garbage nutritious. Just kidding, but look, everything your dog needs is in that chunk of beef, drumstick, pork roast, fish and, yeah, I'm going to use that word, hormone-free dairy products.
The key to safe "canine nutrition" is variety!
A note for "indoor dog" owners. Does your dog have access to unpolluted grass? Wild carnivores get vegetation from the stomach contents of their prey. Domestic dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles need fresh grasses and herbs as part of a balanced diet. Provide your high rise pet with a tiny patio garden with fresh non-toxic grass, meaning no recently applied fertilizer or pesticides. That probably excludes a public park. If you're reading this, care about how to keep your pet healthy. Expand your IQ with Instant Information - ii Why Dogs Eat and Need Grass
And take 10 and go to "dog nutrition section" in TheDogPlace.org, the web's oldest and most reliable dog information website.
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