Discussion in 'Dog Food and Recipes' started by NewYorker, Feb 2, 2005.
Has anyone heard of them or tried their dog foods?
Yup I'm feeding it now. It's pretty good. I'd prefer to buy Innova EVO but I haven't been able to get it out here yet.
The only thing I don't like about them is they use corn. I don't know how they treat their lab animals yet. That reminds me, I was going to email them about that.
eagle makes a few good foods, but not all of their products are equal in quality. i like the "holistic select" varieties and very much respect the detailed research they have done concerning growth and development of large and giant breed puppies.
I'll throw my 2 cents in here being I was an Eagle Pack(National Dog Food-Pro Pac Pet Foods also) Distributor in the early and into the later 90's. By the way I don't feed Eagle anymore but not because its not a good food. I feed a kibble formulated for the nutritional demands specifically for sled dogs that only comes in a 32/20(26% grain in the bag) and 38/25(15% grain in the bag) formula. The corn Eagle uses is grown locally in Indiana and no pesticides or any thing like it is used in any of there grains. Not many companies can say that about there grains. In fact I don't know of any that can make that statement that make there own food at there own plant. Not saying there isn't. Corn is a good beneficial product depending on what company it is and if there source is consistent and of high quality. Corn has gotten a bad rap because of companies using inferior product. Not always there fault either. The supplier is the problem most of the time. Another very important factor is how much of the total diet(in the bag) is actually carbs or grains and what is the TDD or total diet digestiblity. One thing you can say about Eagle is the Dog/Cat nutritional needs comes first and not what the market thinks should be in the bag.
Eagles test animals are sled dogs. These finding from these studies of the hardest working long distant athlete in the world the husky, are used in there other pet formulas for there nutritional benefits. 3 Time Iditarod champion Martin Buser(Alaska) and 3 time Yukon Quest Champion(the other 1000 mile race) Hans Gatt(Canada) are there main test kennels. There newest product on the market is a performance based high caloric diet called Ultra 37/24. Over 500 Me kcals an 8oz. cup. They also have other kennels that test there foods depending on what the kibble is ment for,ie; large breeds,bird dogs and so on. The calories some of these companies claim are in there food are empty calories. The food I feed is a 32Protien/20fat, 431 ME kcals a cup(Eagles Power Pack 30/20 is 376.6 ME calories) and some of the others foods that are talked about here claim they have more calories per cup like Natura/Health Wise and Innova's performance diets. But the real test was when I run some of my dogs on it and it dosen't stack up and falls short as a performance diet. That dosen't mean its not a good pet food. Its just not a top performance food and dosen't have the nutritional punch without supplementation. I don't dabble much in the pet food end anymore but if a company has a performance diet I'll probably no something about them. In my opinion if a companies performance diet dosen't stack up it makes me not so sure about the rest of there line of foods. Why,becuase the performance diet is where the best of the best ingredient they have to offer should be.
Eagle has been a leader in the market and a head of the field in the research department for a long time. Its just now starting to become a major factor and competitor in the pet food retail market and was a true super premium way before 98% of the other foods were and most are still trying to catch up.
I could be wrong and have know to be lots of times. This is just my experiences.
Thank you all for you input
i'd like to address some of the other points Scott LP brought up:
i'd be very interested in the ingredient lists and manufacturing process of these products, since i frankly do not believe that they actually have such a small amount of grain ingredients. i suspect them to have a fairly large amount of gluten tho, since there has to be something in the food to hold the kibble together, otherwise you'd end up with nothing but dust. the actual content of animal-based protein in the products would be interesting too.
first of all - natura doesn't make "performance" foods. their products have higher amounts of calories per cup because the ingredients are more digestible, but this has nothing to do with being a performance food. i'll get back to that a bit further down tho.
a calorie is defined as an unit of energy that equals the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 1 degree celsius. this energy is used by the body in various ways. "empty calories" come from foods that do not contribute much nutritional value as far as rebuilding and maintaining the body is concerned, but nevertheless they still supply energy the body uses to maintain body temperature and sustain metabolic processes.
in human foods, sugary and fatty "junk foods" are considered empty calories. whatever the body doesn't need to meet energy requirements is turned into body fat - which is an easily accessible energy reserve.
the same principle applies to dogs overall, but we can't extrapolate the "empty calorie" thing to them in the same way, since they do not eat candy, potato chips etc. just for the pleasure of snacking and (ingredient quality nonwithstanding) pet foods are designed to be complete meals for them. if a commercial food were full of empty calories, the only thing that would happen to the dogs eating it is they would get fat but still be malnourished and exhibit all the well-known symptoms: poor coat, dirty ears, bad odor from mouth and body, gas, large amounts of very soft stool and so on, up to serious health problems.
the principle behind dry dog food is that dogs can meet the requirements needed for maintaining and rebuliding the body from the relatively limited amount of protein and fat contained in the formulas if they can meet their energy requirement from using the (cheaper) carbohydrates. it's not what nature intended, and not all dogs thrive on this kind of diet, but it's possible. the less exercise a dog gets, the less of a requirement he has for rebuilding muscle cells, so the lower the amount of protein in the food he has to expend for this purpose.
now let's move on to some basics in nutrition. generally speaking, one gram of protein or carbohydrates supplies 4 calories, one gram of fat supplies 9 calories. how much you actually get out of any amount of food depends on how digestible (i.e. available for utilization by the body) it is tho. even tho the chemical makeup may be similar, a pound of chicken meat is more available to the body than a pound of corn gluten, and a pound of rice more than a pound of millet or sorghum.
a lower caloric content per weight unit in foods with the same overall percentages of protein, fat and carbohydrates indicates that the food is less digestible, it has absolutely nothing to do with calories being empty or not. the problem with pet foods is that the protein and fat content is given in "crude" percentage, which does not take digestibility into account at all. on the other side of the coin, a food with a higher fat percentage is always going to offer a much higher amount of calories.
and one very important side note here: you can absolutely not compare caloric content of foods by volume measurement (cup), since density and size of kibble needs to be taken into consideration. think comparing a cup full of rice grains to a cup full of dried kidney beans for example. if you want to compare fairly, you need to compare by weight.
of course it falls short - it has so much less fat and protein, even tho the digestibility may be greater. it doesn't meet the requirement of an extremely active working dog who experiences a lot of stress on the body and expends a lot of energy on a routine basis. we are looking at two completely different concepts here. the difference of a fat content of 14% to say 24% alone is significant - remember how fat supplies 2.25 times the amount of calories than protein or carbs?
and this statement is profoundly wrong. just because the ingredient composition is different doesn't mean that the food uses better quality ingredients. just as an example - if i funnel enough corn gluten into my dog he'll be able to withstand some abuse and have sufficient energy, but it doesn't automatically make corn gluten the "best ingredient". or to take a parallel from the human "performance world", if i pump enough protein drinks and concentrated nutritional supplements into the body, i can expect the desired outcome (muscle mss, endurance etc.) but it doesn't mean that i am doing the healthiest thing in the long run.
performance careers of dogs don't last for all that long. personally i'm more interested in what a food does to a dog long term, and if my 13 year old companion can for example still handle a walk of 3-4 miles on a daily basis, still has most or all of his teeth and no issues with kidneys or heart.
nice meeting you too, scott.
i do not make points for the sake of being argumentative, but when it comes to feeding dogs, i do believe in the benefits of a natural diet rather than on claims made about a product that comes in a bag and is supposedly "complete and balanced".
i don't know what carb loading has to do with the digestibility of corn gluten (or other glutens for that matter), but i can tell you thatthere is no difference in digestibility of food items between working and non working dogs. all their digestive systems work the same, and they both have the short digestive tract of carnivorous animals and not the elaborate ones of ruminants like for example cattle. let's not get the digestibility properties of corn used as a source of carbohydrates mixed up with the incomplete protein corn gluten supplies. i'm not sure about your statement about "fat with a low melting point", as animal fats are the most natural ones for a carnivorous animal to eat.
the fact that healthwise active and innova evo have a high protein and fat content doesn't automatically make them "performance" formulas. notably evo is not meant to be a performance formula, but an alternative to grain filled food products out there.
you can get a detailed analysis of evo, including carbs, ash and other nutrients on their company website:
however, comparing it to standard pet foods is not quite possible, since it is completely grain free and derives almost all of its protein content from animal sources.
no disagreement on that from me, i'm just citing rules and numbers, however you have to keep in mind that the AAFCO is the governing body for the pet food industry and rules and regulations could be changed if only the members of this governing body had any interest in it.
i don't quite agree with that statement. the true problem is not that carbs are "evil" and make people fat. what makes people fat is overeating and not enough exercise. it is very well possible to lose weight and be healthy on the traditional recommendations of a 40-30-30 diet (distribution of calories from carbohydrate 40%, protein 30%, and fat 30%), as long as caloric intake is lower than the daily requirement. no matter which diet plan you follow, the only way to lose weight is to create a deficit in daily intake. when meat was not as cheap and abundant as it is today, carb foods were the main staple of people's diets and people worked much harder and were less sedentary than they are today.
however, for a dog, who is a carnivorous animal and has a completely different digestive tract than humans, different rules apply.
how much a kibble inflates doesn't only depend on its grain content. it also depends on the content of moisture it had to begin with, on the solubility of the source of fiber that is used and the density of the kibble. a big kibble that is very porous will soak up more moisture and inflate much more than a small, dense one. think about the choice of medium you use to mop up a mess of spilled fluid. a handful of crude straw isn't going to soak up nearly as much as it would if you first ground it into a fine powder with a much higher surface area.
i'm going to skip over most of the next paragraph since we are not arguing about the needs of a working dog at all here, but about feeding an average household pet. to go back to the comparison with humans, we are not trying to feed olympic athletes, we are concerned about the everyday needs of the average house pet.
just a few short comments:
"density" and "nutritional density" can not be used interchangeably. the fact that a kibble is dense doesn't automatically mean it is high in nutritinal value, and vice versa. further, a larger kibble doesn't automatically mean it's less nutrient dense. case in point: kibbles that are offered in different sizes, e.g. regular and "small bites". of the smaller kibble, you will get more to fit into a given volume unit since there is less "air space" between the individual kibbles.
bulk is not the problem. neither is too much protein. the true culprit, as has emerged from more recent studies is the phosphorus content, which is quite high in poor quality foods.
i would very well say that for example a food that lists a guaranteed analysis of 30.5% protein, 20.5% fat and 27.99% carbohydrates with a caloric content of 1795 ME per pound falls short of one that lists a guaranteed analysis of 24% protein, 14% fat and 40.6% carbohydrates at a caloric content of 1895 ME per pound, because the second food is obviously more digestible - if the first one were more digestible, the higher fat content alone would increase the caloric content drastically.
let's look at it from an ideal viewpoint where both foods were equally digestible. we will use the basic calculation that one gram of protein or carbohydrates supplies 4 kcal and one gram of fat 9 kcal.
the first food should supply
(30.5*4 + 20.5*9 + 27.99*4)/78.99 = (122 + 184.5 + 111.96)/78.99 = 5.3 kcal per gram (1/1000 kilogram)
the second food should supply
(24*4 + 14*9 + 40.6*4)/78.6 = (96 + 126 + 162.4)/78.6 = 4.8 kcal per gram
as per the data natura has on their website, the first food supplies 3.950 kcal per gram and the second 4.168 kcal per gram. you see that the healthwise is "off" by 1.35 kcal per gram, while the innova is only off by 0.632 kcal per gram. the amount each food is "off" by represents the energy that could not be utilized by the body and is excreted in poop and pee.
if you'd like to post detailed data for the food you feed, you can easily go through the same calculation and compare. what you need to know for this is the content of protein, fat and carbs on an "as fed" basis tho, since AAFCO labels list protein and fat as minimums and not on "as fed" basis.
as someonw who has fed california natural, innova adult and innova evo, i can tell you that the listed caloric content is ME, not GE.
again i'm not quite sure what that statement is supposed to mean. what i can tell you is that fat is one of the more costly ingredients in pet food and is thus used sparingly where it's not needed. in more sedentary dogs, the basic need is for skin and coat health, despite the fact that fat is the most natural energy source for carnivorous animals.
my information is neither "outdated" and i'd like to hear just why exactly the principle "doesn't hold water" when it comes to dogs. so far, you haven't made any statements as to why exactly my information is outdated and doesn't hold water. i don't claim to be above anyone else and believe that there's always something new to learn, but statements devoid of facts don't help in that regard at all.
neither am i arguing that eagle pack is not a good food, which seems to be the issue of your argument here as far as i understand your post. eagle is one of the better foods on the market.
what i'm still missing after all this is any tangible information on the food you are feeding, which you claimed only contains 26% and 15% grains respectively.
Eagle Pack is made locally in my hometown. All of our shelter dog's are on Eagle Pack (most of it is donated by them) and it's now what I feed my own dogs and cats. I think it's great. The ingredients and grade seemed comparable to Nutro, but cost wise it was cheaper.
Their website gives you information on which brand is best for your own dog. I don't think their Holistic Select brands contain any corn, for those that are concerned about that. Most of them contain glucosamine and omega 3 fatty acids. http://www.eaglepack.com/pages/which_dog.html
I would hope their ingredients and grade are much BETTER than Nutro - which has really slick packaging.
eagle pack is way, way out of the league of anything nutro has ever made. nutro is a popular food but not a particularly great one.
those shelter dogs are lucky to be eating good stuff.
scott, with all due respect, i take offense to your talking down to me the way you did in your last message. what i can tell from your posts is that you obviously have a reading comprehension problem, since you seem to misunderstand quite a number of my statements and then go on harping on those misunderstandings, making false assumptions, belittling me and questioning my education. i don't usually communicate with people on such a level, but for the sake of the other folks who are following this thread and might be interested in correct information, i'm going to try explaining some things in a little more detail.
i never said i didn't know anything about the melting points of fat - in one of your posts above, you made a comment about the importance of fats with a "low melting point". fact is that the most natural sources of fat in the canine diet do not have a low melting point because they are fats from animal sources with a relatively high content of saturated fatty acids, which have a higher melting point than unsaturated ones. what is much more important in the canine diet than "fat with a low melting point" is a correct ratio of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. maybe you'll want to read up on the topic a bit instead of making condescending remarks.
no, just because a food has a higher protein and fat content that doesn't make it a performance food by a long stretch, but it does show that the pet food industry has learned enough in recent years to understand that even for more sedentary animals it is healthier to eat more of what they were designed to eat (protein and fats) and less of what's cheap and convenient (carbs mostly in form of grains).
my reference to standard pet foods vs. evo was in relation to the fact that you can't compare a food that has only 12% carbs and is 100% grain free to more mainstream products, regardless if "super premium" or not, that still contain between 30 and 60% carbs derived mostly from grain sources.
i don't understand what your comment about "grazing" has to do with the difference in digestive tracts between carnivores and herbivores, and which of them you are referring to when you refer to "wild or domestic animals". please be a little more specific, it's hard to follow your posts with the way you are generalizing but never getting to a concise point.
if you are referring to dogs eating grass at times, that does not necessarily have anything to do with them "missing something in their diet". also, carnivores do not eat their prey animals "from the butt in". you might be interested in reading some material on the feeding habits of wild and captive carnivores, such as dr. david mech's work, or the research of neville buck at howletts and port lympne zoological parks in kent, UK (ref. appendix B in dr. tom lonsdale's book "raw meaty bones") .
exactly, 40lbs is 40lbs, but one cup (by volume measurement) of kibble A isn't equal to one cup of kibble B, which is exactly my point as i have said twice before - to compare fairly, you need to compare by weight unit and not by volume. a pound of lead and a pound of feathers weigh the same, but a cup full of lead weighs a lot mroe than a cup full of feathers.
i agree that the bulk is a problem, but again, that is not a problem of the protein or fat content of the food, but the high amount of fillers used in poor quality products. these fillers are not very digestible and cause problems in the digestive tract of a carnivore, which is, again, designed to digest primarily protein and fat, not some concoction of grains with a little meat and fat - regardless if you are feeding a working dog or a household pet. in a working dog the effects are going to show up so much earlier and more severe, since more food mass is processed than in a more sedentary animal. but that doesn't mean the food that is digested better should be reserved for performance or working dogs.
i see you aren't getting it and i'm giving up because i can't explain the principle of importance in digestibility of all components to you any simpler than i did in my last post. there is a difference between the overall content of energy in a food and how much of that energy can actually be utilized by the dog. you can put all the "crude" fat and protein you want in a food, as long as the dog can't digest and utilize it well, it comes out in the poop undigested. there you have the principle of GE (gross energy) vs. ME (metabolizable energy) in a nutshell.
now that statement is just plain ignorant. if a food has, say, 4.8 kcal per gram, it has 4.8x1000 = 4800 kcal per kilogram, since one kilogram equals one thousand grams. it doesn't matter in the least bit if you compare a lower or a higher number, or if you feed the food in question to a chihuahua or a mastiff, because the end result is the same. and calculations like that have everything to do with practical application. you have even said it yourself in your recent posts, when commenting on taking ME into consideration instead of GE, so i really don't understand why you are trying to twist my words now. do you suddenly not like your own statements anymore?
you've stated crude content of protein and fat and some arbitrary number about grain content. i'd like to see a brand name, manufacturer and an ingredient list, otherwise your statements mean nothing at all. and even that "couch potato" dog has the digestive tract of a carnivorous animal and will do better on more protein and fat and less carbs.
i left out healthwise because i haven't fed it myself. nevertheless, it is made by the same manufacturer and you don't have to take my word for it, email the manufacturer yourself and get the facts from them. the reason why healthwise falls short is because it is overall less digestible than the other natura foods - it's their budget line! in "eagle pack speak" that would be comparing their lower end line of prism to their higher-end line of eagle pack. i've addressed that issue so many times in my recent posts and i'm not going to repeat myself again since it's obviously useless.
oops, poost too long again, continued below
again you are making generalized statements here, lacking any real facts - like you seem to do quite a lot when you can't dig up anything to back up your positions. please point out where exactly i am wrong and give me references to sources to back up your words. otherwise, as i said above, they mean nothing at all. your statement about me being outdated on working dog life spans is extremely funny, since i never even mentioned any numbers.
AAFCO is the regulating body of the pet food industry and if you want to understand that industry, you have to be aware of the rules. however, i never said that i agree with what they are doing or that i use their materials as the only source of information on canine nutrition. please don't make assumptions like that, it doesn't make you look very credible.
um, sorry... what's "not right"? again, empty words. please be more specific, don't just make baseless statements.
first of all, the comments in my product listings aboutcertain products not being true lamb and rice diets refers don't state "they aren't true lamb and rice formulas" - they state they are not "lamb only" formulas. meaning they also contain animal ingredients other than lamb, which can make quite a difference in an allergic animal. if a dog is for example allergic to chicken and the owner picks a food that lists lamb as a meat source but then down the ingredient list shows chicken fat as an ingredient, it's not a true lamb diet and the food is useless to that particular dog because it can still cause an allergic reaction. people need to be aware of that, and sadly many aren't. they pick a bag that says "lamb and rice" but don't look at the ingredient list closely. it doesn't matter if these foods "were meant to be" used for the purpose or not.
as for eagle listing the caloric content as ME per cup, that may be true, but the numbers on their website differ drastically from the numbers in their new, printed brochure which i happened to pick up from an eagle rep in person. so either the website hasn't been updated yet, or the brochure lists the wrong numbers as ME. care to fill me in on that, since you obviously know everything?
that's funny coming from you, a person who doesn't even know enough about nutrition to be aware of the fact that mineral content in a product isn't changed by cooking. next, those "mainstream, market driven" ingredients happen to be the same ones used in "performance foods", just in different proportions. let's leave it at that, i'm not going to step down to your level.
then you need to look closer. besides that, you need to be aware of the specific uses certain natura foods are formulated for, such as for example california natural being allergy formulations designed for food sensitive animals.
sorry, you've lost me there again, with your vague statements that don't really contain any facts. you stated you won't follow up on this thread anymore, which shows me you aren't really able (or even interested in trying) to back up all those statements you made, since they all fall apart under closer examination.
i just hope that anyone else who bothered to read this far has been able to take something useful away from this thead, even if it is just the understanding that some people have to write up a storm to defend inferior ingredients used in many (i'm not sying "all" ) commercial dog foods.
My breeder just recommended Eagle Pack. We bought the Hollistic Duck Meal and the dogs Loved it. Its been a hit for the last week.