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One of the most frustrating aspects of all the research I've done in the past several years is realizing all the things I coulda’-shoulda’- woulda’ done had I known then what I know now.

While I sit here trying desperately to nurse my sweet boy Cooper back to health, it angers me that maybe, just maybe this could have been prevented.

As I told you in my last post, Cooper had stones in his bladder removed a few years ago. There are several types of stones that can form in the bladder or kidneys.  The type of stones he had are called calcium oxalate.  They cannot be dissolved, therefore must be removed surgically.

After the surgery the only thing my vet told me was I MUST give this prescription food to Cooper the rest of his life or else…that was it, I had no choice if I loved my dog.  So I complied, because I trusted that vet and I believed she wanted the same thing I did.

Here are the ingredients in the prescription food my vet instructed me to buy:

Brewers Rice, Corn Starch, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Beet Pulp, L-Threonine, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, L-Tryptophan, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta- Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

This was horrible advice for so many reasons!

First of all, ALL dogs, regardless if they have a problem with stones need much more water then they can ever get eating dry dog food!  But especially a dog who has issues with the bladder MUST keep well hydrated to keep the PH balance in the bladder healthy!

Secondly, a low oxalate diet is advised to prevent kidney stones.  I had never heard of a “low oxalate diet”, have you?  There are foods that you must avoid if you have oxalate stones!  Foods such as Rice and Corn, in any form!  What are the first two ingredients in the food my vet prescribed?  Brewers Rice and Corn Starch!

A low oxalate diet should be based primarily on meat, with the addition of moderate amounts of low-oxalate vegetables.  Where is the MEAT in this “food”??? There is none!!!  Zero, zip, zilch….nada!!!!

This is the part where I get so angry!  The food I thought would prevent the stones from returning were actually encouraging the stones to return

Here are a few things I wish I knew sooner:

Increase water consumption!  No kibble! Raw, homemade diet or quality canned food only!  From what research suggests, calcium oxalate is unlikely to crystallize into stones when your pet’s urine is dilute.

It is important to regularly check the pH of your dog’s urine using urine dipsticks or color-indicator paper.  For the most accurate reading, it is best to test in the morning before you feed your dog.

Stop feeding grains of any kind!

Let your dogs out often!  A dog who is allowed to relieve themselves often are much less likely to form stones then dogs who have to wait all day to be let out!

Allow for small, frequent meals.  The acidity (pH) of your dog’s urine fluctuates during the day. It is usually lowest during the night and then slowly rises after the pet’s morning meal.  Feeding your pup throughout the day will cause the urine to be less acidic and less likely for oxalate stones to form.

Encourage your dog to be active; calcium oxalate levels can rise in a dog that does not exercise.  Also, exercise makes your dog thirsty!

Try to keep your dog’s stress level to a minimum.

If you or someone you know has a pet with bladder stones, please, please, PLEASE do not feed that dry bag of death food your vet prescribes!  Do your research and hopefully you will not find yourself in this heartbreaking situation I am currently in.

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What inspires you?  Maybe I should ask who inspires you.

If I am going to be totally honest, I would have to say it varies from day to day.

What do I mean by “inspire”?  Well, someone or something that causes you to do better, to be better…to sacrifice without really feeling like your sacrificing.  You simply “have to” because, well, they inspire you to do so.

Over the years I have been inspired by God, my husband, my children and friends.  Today, at this very moment, I am inspired by Cooper.  My dog.  Today, at this very moment, Cooper inspires me to be a better person.

Cooper is what we call “broken”.  If there is something, anything that can go wrong with a dog, it will and does happen to Cooper.

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Cooper came into our lives at 8 weeks old.  He was given to us by a friend whose dog had puppies.  All seemed well; however, we discovered during a checkup that his poor little tail had been broken.  We weren’t sure if it was stepped on accidentally before we got him, or if it broke during the birthing process.

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That was just the start of many ailments to come over the years.  At age one he developed Cherry Eyes; age four he went blind.  Once he got so frightened in the backyard by the sound of a truck driving by, he ran into the deck, knocking out several front teeth.

At the age of seven he developed stones in his bladder.  After his two thousand dollar operation to remove the stones, the vet informed me that there was one imbedded into his bladder that she could not remove.  My heart sank, because I knew that was a onetime deal surgery.  We could never afford to do that again, and knowing that there was one still there was beyond devastating.

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Not only does Cooper have physical adversities, he has a few mental ones as well.

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In spite of the fact he has always been around our oldest dog Lola, Cooper has always been very aggressive towards other animals.  He also has separation anxiety and stresses out so much in the car that he loses control of his bodily functions.  Yes, he poops on me.

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The world is a scary place for Cooper, and so much more than before now that he can’t see.

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Broken as he is, Cooper is my best friend; my most faithful, loving and beautiful friend.   Of all three of my dogs, Cooper and I have the most special bond.

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Cooper sleeps between my legs, by my knees, curled up each night in bed.  I cannot go anywhere in my house without Cooper right behind me.  Cooper knows when I’m sad or upset and is right there comforting me.  He is devoted to me.  He is my guard dog, always protective of me.  As anxious as he is, he is always at peace when he is near me.   When I pick him up, he rests his sweet little head on my shoulder and I hear him sigh as he starts to fall asleep.  He loves me.

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He loves me SO much.

I love that sweet boy more than my words could ever express.

He inspires me.

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It’s been years since his surgery and he has had a few episodes of blood in his urine, which thankfully have resolved on their own.   I regularly watch him as he urinates to make sure the flow is good and he has no obstructions.

Through my research I realized the food the vet had prescribed for him was garbage. I started feeding him a species appropriate raw diet and he was doing better than he ever had his entire life.

Until recently.

Last week I came home to find him limping.  I immediately put him on supplements and carried him everywhere to keep him off his legs.  The next day he was doing better, putting some weight on it.  By the third day I thought we were in the clear, he was walking normally!

My relief was short lived.  The other day I noticed a little blood at the tip of his “boy parts”.  Later that day I found two large spots of blood on the floor.

Yesterday I noticed several spots of blood on my white t-shirt.   I had just been holding him.

He’s also limping again.

I’m hoping, praying, that this will all be okay, that he’ll stop bleeding again and that his leg will get better quickly.  He’s not acting like he’s in pain.  Maybe this is just another “something” that happens to be the way things have always happened for my little broken boy.October 2011 162

But the reality of the situation is I might have to say good bye to my best friend.

Contemplating the gravity of the situation has made me realize how this precious boy has changed my life.  How he has inspired me and made me a better, less selfish person.  There are many things I do for Cooper; things to make his life better, happier and less stressful.  Sometimes it gets exhausting and sometimes it gets frustrating, but he’s worth it to me.  He gives me 100 xs’s more in return just by being Cooper.

Every day we have with someone we love, whether human or canine is a gift.

Cherish the ones you love, the ones who inspires you because none of us know when we will have to say good bye to our best friend.

 

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I was at the gym today and this commercial came on for Iams dog food.  I don’t know if this is an old one or not.  I don’t typically watch commercials thanks to TiVo!  (I love being able to “fast forward”, don’t you?) Watching this ad for this dog crap, uh, I mean dog “food” really got my blood boiling! (Which I guess is a good adrenalin boost if you’re working out)  It just makes me so mad when I see they way advertisers make garbage food seem so good!!!  I know, I know, they are just doing their jobs, but the problem is they are deceiving good, honest, pet parents into believing they are actually giving their dogs a great food!   Here is the video and you’ll see what I mean: YouTube

The dog is healthy, happy..thriving and the reality of it is this food sucks!  OK, I guess “sucks” isn't a very technical term so I will be more specific.  Here are the ingredients:

Chicken Broth, Chicken, Water, Dried Egg, Carrots, Modified Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Peas, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sunflower Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Source of Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Beta-Carotene, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Caramel, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Glycine Complex, Manganese Glycine Complex, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Carrageenan, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B1), Magnesium Oxide, Sodium Nitrite (To Promote Color Retention).

The first ingredient is chicken broth.  According to Dog Food Advisors, “Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.”

It bothers me that the #1 ingredient is "nutritionally empty"!

The second ingredient is Chicken.  Good Job Guys!  Thumbs up for putting some real food in here!

Now the third ingredient is Water?  Hmm, why do you need more moisture if the first ingredient is broth? Perhaps it’s cheaper than broth? What's your guess?

In all fairness there are some decent ingredients in this particular food from Iams.  There are also some inferior and potentially dangerous ingredients as well.  There are lots of things that are just fillers and are completely void of nutritional value.

What is my point?  If a food is not necessarily awful then what’s the big deal?  The big deal is that everything you feed your pet should improve their quality of life!  Not just sustain them.  It should provide for every biological need they have so they can thrive, not just survive!

I want my dogs to live a good, long life.

I want them to feel good!

To have lots of energy and take pleasure in life!

I want them To Thrive!!!

I hope the next time you see a commercial about some "great" dog food you'll realize that's just advertising shenanigans!!!

 

 

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Here is a fantastic article I just read on Dogs Naturally website!  I would encourage you to read it in its entirety, but here are a few excellent tips on raw feeding:

 

RAW FEEDING GUIDELINES

The key points to remember with a raw diet are:

  • Balance over time
  • The calcium and phosphorus ratio should be 1:1. Meats are high in phosphorus, bones are high in calcium and whole prey, fish, eggs and tripe have a balanced ratio.
  • Organ meat should not exceed 15% of the diet. Feed liver once a week (or several small servings per week) and try to find an organic source if possible because the liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body.
  • Feel free to feed ‘weird and icky things’ such as chicken feet, beef trachea, tails, lung, kidney, testicles and pizzles.  Beef trachea, trim, chicken and turkey feet are loaded in natural chondroitin and glucosamine which help to build healthy joints.
  • If feeding pork or salmon, be certain to freeze the meat for two weeks before feeding to reduce the small risk of parasites.
  • NEVER feed cooked bones of any type. Raw bones are soft enough to bend and digest easily. For optimal safety, meal times should always be supervised.

Try to find grass fed animals that are not given hormones or medications if possible. Younger animals in general will have accumulated fewer toxins to pass on to your dog.

 

The article goes on to discuss What to feed, How much to feed, and when to feed.

Lots of GREAT information here folks!  Check it out for yourself!

 

About the author

Dana Scott is Editor In Chief for Dogs Naturally Magazine. She also breeds Labrador Retrievers under the Fall river prefix. She is an advocate for natural health care for dogs and people and is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Consumer Center for Homeopathy.

 

 

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I have a question for you.

Why are you feeding your dog kibble?    I’m just curious what your reason is.    Here are a few of my guesses as to why:

Cost?  That is a very valid reason.  I live in the real world; I know times are tough for lots of people.  Heck, some people have a difficult time putting food on the table for the people in their families, let alone the dogs.  However, if you can afford to spend a little more and feed your dogs a species appropriate diet you will in fact save money in the long run!  A healthier dog means less vet bills!

Convenience?  Well, it’s pretty hard to argue with that!  Rip open bag, dump into bowl, BAM!  Done!  That is pretty convenient.  We live in an age of making everything easier for us.  The faster the better!  We are, after all, Very Busy!  However, faster and easier is not better for the health and vitality of your dog.  Just think about this, if you ate fast food every day, your entire life, how healthy would you be?  Sure it would be convenient to drive through and get your food, but you most defiantly would suffer the consequences of a highly processed unhealthy diet.

Your Vet Says You Should?  I fell into this category once upon a time.  I believed that everything my vet said was the gospel truth.  I asked what to feed my puppy and they told me kibble.  Brand A, B or C-all of which I could conveniently purchase right there in their office!  I know that I already discussed why your vet should NOT be giving nutritional advice but here it is in a nut shell:  Most veterinarians do not know any better; most vets receive on average only 8 hours or less education on pet nutrition (the entire time they are in school).  Much of their nutritional education is sponsored or even administered by pet food companies!  Crazy, right??!!

It cleans your dogs teeth? Here’s another one I thought to be true for a long time.  I would betcha that a pet food company started that rumor ages ago!  And since those same pet food companies are educating veterinarians’ wanna guess why they are telling us this too? It’s just not true.  I wonder how much money vets make each year on dental cleanings.  I know they cost a fortune!  If this kibble is so great at keeping teeth clean, why are dental cleanings necessary?

Well, those are a few of the reasons I believe people feed kibble to their dogs.  Do you have another reason?  If so, let me know, I would love to discuss that with you!

If you do feed your dog kibble, remember your choices are the same as with canned dog food.  Human Grade, Veterinarian recommended, or Grocery Store Brand.  Read the labels, always, for everything you feed your dog and choose wisely.  Your dogs deserve it!

 

 

 

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photo courtesy of Maggie Smith at freedigitalphotos.net

Human Grade:

Human grade ingredients in dog foods are considered to be legally edible for humans.  So next time you open a big ol’ can of dog chow get yourself a spoon and dig in!   Okay, maybe you don’t want to eat your dogs’ food, but if its human grade you could!  The FDA and USDA conduct regular inspections of facilities producing food for people.  Only pet food made in human-grade facilities, subject to the same inspections can be considered human grade.

Veterinarian recommended:

Typical brands are Science Diet, the Purina veterinary lines, Royal Canin and Waltham.

The list of ingredients on these should make any vet who recommends this food ashamed.  Take a look for yourself:

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary

Water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, corn grits, pork by-products, chicken, chicken by-products, corn starch modified, vegetable oil, powdered cellulose, natural flavors, sodium tripolyphosphate, guar gum, potassium chloride, fish oil, carob gum, salt, carrageenan, calcium sulfate, taurine, DL-methionine, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, potassium phosphate, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), biotin, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals (zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), magnesium oxide, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.).

Hills Science Diet Canned Food

the first ingredient here is WATER??  Really?  Not to mention corn grits, pork by-products, AND chicken by-products?!? Disgusting!!!

Grocery store brand:

This food (and I use the word “food” loosely) is just as bad as the former, it’s just not recommended by your vet.  It is full of meat-by-products, grains and words you cannot pronounce.

I recommend looking up the brand and type of food you think you might want to buy here:  BEFORE you buy it.

Here is one example of a great can of human grade dog food!  In fact, this is what my dogs ate before I switched them over to raw:

dog food

Ingredients
Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Organic Blueberries, Organic Tomatoes, Orgainc Pumpkin, Orgainc Yams, Orgainc Chia Seed, Guar Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin B3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B1 Supplement, Lecithin, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hyprochloride, Riboflavin), Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium)

The first three ingredients are beef, beef broth and beef liver.  Then organic fruits and so on.  Check out the review and a detailed explanation of all the ingredients on dog food advisors  website.

 Great Life Pet Products

Dog Food Advisors review of Great Life Essentials canned dog food

 

*this is not a paid sponsored post,  just keepin' it real!

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For those of us (ME) who are intimidated by the process of making your own raw food diet for your dog at home, there is the option of commercial raw food. This is great because it’s convenient, easy to prepare and well balanced.  You just thaw the daily portion of food in the refrigerator the night before.

Easy Peasy!

There are so many different brands on the market today, and each brand offers different proteins.  This is especially helpful if you have a dog who gets bored with the same food easily!  There are many health benefits to offering a variety of proteins as well.  Rotating several protein sources in your dog’s diet provides a broad nutritional base and reduces the risk of food sensitivities by providing lots of variety.

However, just like anything else you purchase for yourselves or your dogs, you must remember to read the labels!  There are some pretty big differences between brands.  You have to be diligent about reading not only the ingredients but the source of ingredients.  If there are added vitamins and minerals, where do they purchase those from?  Is the protein antibiotic and hormone free?  What country is it sourced and processed? If it is unclear on the package you will need to contact the company and ask.  Avoiding anything made OR processed in China is VERY important!  I will get into greater detail on that subject soon!

I have tried several brands and so far I like K9 Natural Dog Food the best.  I like it because it’s not too mushy like some thawed raw can get.  Some raw food gets so pulverized together that you can’t distinguish the ingredients.  With K9 Naturals you can see chunks of the food and bits of ground bone.  This seems more “natural” to me.  The other reason I pick this brand is they do not add any synthetic vitamins to the food.  They add real food to meet all the nutritional needs of my dogs.  The veggies and fruits are all organic and the meat is raised and sourced organically in New Zealand.

So now you see you have the option of homemade raw or commercial raw.  Next I will explain all the amazing benefits of raw whichever way you choose to provide it!

 

*The makers of K9 Naturals Dog food did not pay me to say this.

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Number one on my list of what to feed your dog is a Raw, homemade diet.

What Are the Advantages of Preparing Your Pet's Food?

You have complete control over what goes into your dogs food.

You KNOW that it’s fresh

You KNOW that it’s organic

You KNOW the country of origin

You KNOW how it’s prepared

You can save money by buying larger quantities when it’s on sale.

What are the disadvantages of preparing your dogs food at home?

You can do more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing.  Just because you toss together meat and a vegetable or two, this does not provide a well balanced diet.  Dogs are carnivores and require a certain percentage of meat, organs, blood and bones, as well as fruits and veggies.

If you don’t provide all the vitamins and minerals they require with the food they eat, you will need to add supplements.

You will need to purchase something to grind the meat and bones with.

You will need extra freezer space.

This also requires the commitment of time.

 

There are plenty of great resources out there that offer specific guidelines, recipes and “how to’s” if you decide this is right for you and your family.

 

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/05/26/three-major-reasons-to-feed-your-pet-a-homemade-diet.aspx

 

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I used to feed my dogs dry kibble because I thought that was what dogs were “supposed” to eat.  I even bought the more expensive brands at the big box pet supply stores because my dogs deserved the best!  My vet told me as long as it was AAFCO approved then it was a “perfect diet” for my dogs.

I will get into exactly who the AAFCO is and what they do and do not do later.  That is a can of worms I prefer to open on another day.

Back to the issue of kibble.  Yumm, doesn’t little dry nuggets sound delicious?  Don’t you want to eat that everyday for the rest of your life???  Oh, boy!!!

I could never understand why my dogs were never really excited about meal time.  Oh, I am sure that some of you are saying that your kibble fed dogs devour every bowl like its steak tartare, but some dogs will eat anything, like socks and rocks and action figures.  Does that mean it’s good for them?

I realize that not all kibble is created equally.  There are some that aren’t so bad. There are TONS that are terrible.  And just to be clear on a HUGH LIE that vets and pet food companies spread like crazy….DRY KIBBLE DOES NOT CLEAN YOUR PETS TEETH!!!!!!!!!!  I Promise you that is a MYTH, LIE, SCAM, CON….whatever you want to call it, call it not true.

Alrighty, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system (for the moment) as I was saying, not all kibble is terrible, it’s just not great either.  One of the biggest things missing from kibble is moisture.

“High moisture content is required in order to prevent organ dysfunction, including kidney failure. Dogs and cats are designed to eat food that is about 70 percent moisture, which is what a diet of mice and rabbits would provide if your pet hunted his own food.

If you feed your pet dry food only, he's getting only about 12 percent moisture instead of the 70 percent his body demands. This is especially unhealthy for cats, because they don't supplement their moisture intake by drinking large amounts of water like dogs do.

Pets on dry food diets live in a state of chronic, mild dehydration that over time can cause significant stress to their organs.”  Dr. Karen Becker

As you can see, even the best quality dry dog food money can buy does not give your dog everything he needs.

Now that I have somewhat sufficiently shared my views on kibble, what now?  What is a good food to feed your dogs vs. a great food to feed your dogs?

I will get into details on each, but for now here is my list starting with the best:

  1.  A balanced, raw, homemade diet
  2. Commercially available raw diet
  3. Cooked, balanced homemade diet
  4. Human-grade canned food
  5. Human-grade dry food
  6. Super premium canned food
  7. Super premium dry food
  8. Veterinary-recommended canned food
  9. Veterinary-recommended dry food
  10. Grocery store brand canned food
  11. Grocery store brand dry food
  12. Semi-moist pouched food
  13. unbalanced, homemade diet – raw or cooked

 

 

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Sounds like a stupid question doesn't it?  Well, I guess the obvious answer is so they don’t die? Perhaps you would say because living things need food?  Maybe you would answer because I love them and  want them to be healthy and happy.  All good answers, but I wonder if you ever really thought about it.  I didn't   I just fed my dogs because I knew they needed to eat, duh.  What I didn't realize was what I put into those sweet, precious bodies would make all the difference in the world to them.  

What you feed your dog is probably the MOST important part of having a healthier dog.  Seems logical, right?  Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the garbage that is in a lot of commercial foods.  If the packaging looks pretty or there are words like “Natural”, “healthy”, and of course the sweet, happy dog on the front of the package it must be good.  Maybe you are paying a little more for one brand, or your vet sells in their office?  It must be the BEST for your beloved dog, right????  I mean there is NO WAY your vet is going to recommend a diet that is lacking in things your dog needs, or could be potentially dangerous?  Right???  Hmmmm, well I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but this whole pet food industry thing is more motivated about how rich they can become then how healthy the food is going to make your dogs. 

 

If I step back for a moment and try, TRY to be open minded, so to speak, and see both sides of the coin I do understand this is America and people have all sorts of opportunities to start business and make millions of dollars.  Pet food companies have the right to make money.  We as consumers, and dog parents need to get smart and start reading the labels of the food we are giving our dogs.  I mean, there are lots of unhealthy things for all of us on the market.  We eat the wrong sorts of things, or smoke, or drink too much…however, we are not being told by our DOCTORS that it is GOOD and that we should just eat fast food and processed foods and smoke to our little heart’s content, right???  If your doctor told you that wouldn't you run out the door, maybe report him?  Certainly you would assume he or she was crazy!!  Why is it acceptable for veterinarians to try to persuade, sell and even prescribe food for our dogs that our nutritionally deficient? Veterinarians we trust to have our pets best interest at heart?   We all know how healthy foods makes us feel good and garbage food makes us feel sluggish and gross?  Our dogs are no different!

Here is an article I read that discusses why vets should NOT be selling us dog food:

IS YOUR VET QUALIFIED TO DISPENSE NUTRITIONAL ADVICE?

This is a sensitive issue that is guaranteed to offend some people, particularly those in the profession.  Nevertheless, for the sake of your dog’s health, the subject must be addressed. Should people fully trust the nutritional advice dispensed by their vets?

Most veterinarians are highly qualified individuals and are good caring people that want to help your pet; however, their qualifications are for surgery, conventional disease diagnosis and treatment, and conventional drug prescription, NOT for nutrition (although holistic vets are more aware of the importance of fresh raw foods in keeping animals healthy).  When your dog is suffering from a condition that is caused by poor nutrition, how helpful is your vet going to be?

While veterinarians perform much-needed services for our pets, these services should not include a) selling pet food, and b) administering nutritional advice. Veterinarians receive very little nutritional training. The training they do receive is often advocated by or even administered by the pet food companies. Their nutritional training comes from the incorrect view that dogs can safely be maintained on a grain-based diet that is overly processed, all cooked and filled with cheap ingredients and synthetic chemicals masquerading as nutrients.

These foods are recommended even when scientific research has proven that dogs do not thrive long term on these types of diets.  Perhaps that is why pets today are soft, doughy, and suffering from a variety of ailments linked to grain-rich, processed food (cancer, diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, seizures, liver problems, bladder problems etc.)  – virtually every degenerative disease.

Veterinarians are invariably linked to the commercial pet food industry. They advocate and even market commercial foods, receiving substantial revenue and kickbacks. The pet food companies make sure of this by promoting programs in the universities and by giving FREE FOOD to the up-and-coming vets to sell in their practices. For example, Colgate-Palmolive, the company that manufactures Hill's Science Diet, spends:

"hundreds of thousands of dollars a year funding university research and nutrition courses at every one of the 27 US veterinary colleges. Once in practice, vets who sell Science Diet and other premium foods directly pocket profits of as much as 40%" (Parker-Pope, T. 1997. For You, My Pet. The Wall Street Journal. 3 November 1997. In Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. p266).

The veterinary profession is tied closely with commercial pet food companies at every turn. A tour of veterinary teaching hospitals or vet clinics shows equipment, products, and posters sponsored by and endorsing commercial foods and pharmaceutical companies.  Due to this influence, vets are hardly in a position to offer sound nutritional advice.

They are in direct violation of the oath and creed they swore to uphold: "First do no harm."

In spite of their oath they are promoting foods detrimental to animals' health, advocating a product that will harm their patients and ensure a returning clientele and source of revenue. This is likely and hopefully unintentional.

But the biggest blame is due in large part to the great lack in the education the universities have administered to them!  Nothing but commercial pet food dogma is being repeated in university after university after university; these are institutions of higher learning where people are supposed to be thinking critically and evaluating things analytically, yet in reality are being told to shut off their common sense and ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence against commercial pet foods.

MSU Presents Partnership Award

"Topeka, Kan. - Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine recently presented the 2004 Partnership Award to Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

"The award recognizes the working relationship between MSU and Hill's."

"Hill's provides financial and educational support to nearly every veterinary college in North America, as well as to veterinary students attending those institutions. This commitment to the profession includes Hill's sponsored teaching programs, residencies and faculty programs in veterinary schools and teaching hospitals all over the world."

“‘Hill’s is incredibly responsive to anything students or faculty have asked of them,' says Dr. Lonnie King, dean of the college of veterinary medicine at MSU.’Their steadfast support, generosity and collaboration in advancing the college's mission is recognized as a vital part of our veterinary medicine program.’

"Hill's has shown its commitment to the partnership with MSU by providing support to many student groups and student activities; covering costs for students to attend the SCAVMA Symposium; providing students with the textbook Small Animal Clinical Nutrition and other various handouts; providing employment to student representatives; and by supporting the awards banquet for seniors graduating from the program."

--DVM News Magazine, August 2004

Let us stress once again - your vet is a good person.  But simply put, vets are not educated on proper nutrition.  What do you do when your dog has a condition that is directly tied to a lack of proper nutrition like a liver shunt, poor liver health, bladder stones, bladder infections, pancreatitis, kidney problems etc – the list is almost endless?  Is the taking of medications going to allow your dog’s body to heal these conditions on the cellular level and create a lifetime of health OR are the medications just taking their symptoms away?

Dog Liver Hunt

Does this make you angry?  It makes me very angry!  I trusted my vet for YEARS and in doing so I failed to give my dogs what they needed to have the best quality of life possible!

I hope you stick around and let me teach you what I have learned.

 

1 Comment

I've always been the kind of person who speaks her mind.  I believe that's a good thing, others may not agree with me.  My husband tells me he never has to guess how I’m feeling.  That is probably a combination of knowing me for the past 25 years as well as the fact that I'm pretty much an open book.  Like they say (whoever "they" are) "What you see is what you get".

So what’s this have to do with dogs, and dog’s health?  EVERYTHING.

 

Here’s my story.

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I got married at the young age of 21 to my sweet, wonderful husband Rob.  On our first anniversary we celebrated by bringing our first child, our daughter Alex into the world.  Within the next several years we were blessed with our two boys, Tony and Joey as well.

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Just about the time I started thinking it might be time to add to our crew, my husband thought a puppy would be a better choice!  After all, it would satisfy my need to nurture….and I wouldn’t have to be pregnant again! (I was not very good at the whole pregnancy thing)  He, on the other hand was thinking how much cheaper it would be!

 

One afternoon, while out running errands with the kids, we decided to stop at a local pet store to look at the puppies.  This is where we saw her.  The little girl we would fall madly in love with.  She was The ONLY dog for me.  None other would do.  She weighed a pound and a half and looked like a little ball of fluff.

My husband surprised us the next evening and brought her home to me….my fourth child was home.

Her name is Lola.  It is true, whatever Lola wants’, Lola gets.

*since then I have learned about puppy mills and I would NEVER advocate buying a puppy from a pet store!Iiphone 2013 296October 2011 001

(Puppy picture of her soon!  I have to go through my thousands of photos to find them)

 

That was almost 15 years ago.

 

Since then we've added two more to the bunch, Cooper a 12 year old Maltese mix, and Orson a Shih Tzu Bichon mix.

 

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Just like the day we brought our daughter home from the hospital with us, when we first became dog parents, we had no clue what we were doing.  I was completely unprepared to take care of our new puppy.  I knew the basics.  Food, water, exercise, love.

 

I have learned so much since that day.

 

I wish I knew then what I know now.  I know the quality of all my dogs’ lives would be better.

 

This is why I have started this blog.  Because I want YOU to know everything that I've learned so that YOUR dogs can have the BEST QUALITY OF LIFE POSSIBLE!

I believe if you know something that can help someone and you don’t share it, it is just wrong.  What that person does with that information is up to them.

I cannot change anyone; I can only do my best to educate them.

 

That’s my mission.

 

Are you up for it?