Lots of food questions.

Discussion in 'Dog Food and Recipes' started by Prangus, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. Prangus

    Prangus New Member

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    Right now, Chief is on half Natural Balance Ultra dry food and half freeze dried Nature's Variety Prairie. Ideally, I’d have him on a homemade raw diet, but I’m afraid I would do it wrong, and I don’t really have the freezer space to store much meat. In the interest of getting on the best diet I can manage, I have a lot of questions.

    I’d like to switch him to an all human grade food, but can’t find any available locally. I’m really impressed with the information The Honest Kitchen has on their site, and am considering ordering some of their “force.” Does anyone have an opinion on or experience with their foods?

    I also think that variety is important. I would like to continue to use Nature’s Variety Prairie as part of his diet, and also rotate things like raw meats, yogurt, and eggs. Does this sound doable, or am I risking throwing the nutritional balance off if I mix and add things regularly?

    I also have a question about feeding raw bones as treats. How do you keep it sanitary? I live in an apartment, so I can’t easily feed him outside. How can I keep him from dragging it around on the carpet? He isn’t crate trained and I wouldn’t want to crate train him just for this.

    Last but not least, what’s the real deal on processed foods? What’s the difference in feeding fresh foods vs frozen vs freeze dried vs dehydrated? Which processing method keeps more nutrients intact? All the websites I’ve read say it’s all just as good as fresh.
     
  2. bogolove

    bogolove New Member

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    Have you thought about tryin the Innova EVO? It is about as close to feeding a raw diet as you can get out of a bag, plus added nutrients, so if you don't really know what you are doing in feeding raw, it is a much better way to go. I will find the link for you to read about.
     
  3. bogolove

    bogolove New Member

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  4. Prangus

    Prangus New Member

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    I've looked at Evo, but it isn't available in my area (Arkansas). I only found one or two places online that would ship it. It does look like a great food, but I think processing a food in a way that requires heat kind of defeats the raw aspect of it. Surely more nutrients remain intact with freeze drying or dehydrating, right?
     
  5. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Not necessarily. You'll need to get Mordy's know-how on this one. She can explain the ins and outs to you.
     
  6. Saje

    Saje Island dweller

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    I don't know as much as Mordy but the way the EVO is processed, I believe, is with extremely low heat and not everything is added while it's cooked. Someone explained it to me when I was first looking into it. I'll see if I can find something about it. I'm sure Mordy will stop by soon.
     
  7. Mordy

    Mordy Quigleyfied

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    hi prangus :)

    all the brands of food you listed are of good quality.

    if you want the best processed food currently on the market as a basis for your dog's diet, i can't recommend innova evo highly enough.
    http://www.naturapet.com/display.php?d=product-detail&pxsl=//product[@id='1246']
    its main advantage is that it contains lots of meat and is grain free. the honest kitchen has nice products, but they still contain a lot more non-meat components in amounts that are really not needed.

    adding in fresh, whole foods is always a good idea. "nutritional balance" is a very arbitrary thing and the phrase is mostly used by pet food companies to scare people into feeding nothing but products "especially formulated for dogs". not every single meal needs to be balanced in itself, working towards a "balance over time" in a 1-2 week time frame is absolutely fine.

    one thing that is very important tho is the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the diet, especially in growing puppies. meat on the bone is more valuable for dogs than boneless meat, not only when it comes to nutrition but also oral health. in that regard it would be better if you added raw meaty bones instead of a freeze dried meat product like nature's variety.

    if you don't want to crate train your dog (which is too bad, since it comes in handy in many situations), you can at the very least "towel" or "blanket" train him. believe me, it doesn't take long for them to understand the principle of "i get yummy stuff when i lie down on my blanket". personally i use an old cotton mattress pad and old towels for my dog's bone feedings and replace them frequently. then i wash them on the hot cycle with laundry detergent and a booster of oxy clean.

    as for processing - freeze drying definitely preserves more nutrients than any other processing method, since they aren't destroyed by heat. most high-end kibbles are extruded at comparatively low temperatures, and during dehydration food is exposed to heat as well. if you look closely at the ingredient descriptions for the honest kitchen's products, you will learn that their meats are also processed to a point where they are regarded as "cooked".

    fresh, live foods are the first choice, since they have not been processed, or only minimally. bones and meat are the most important part of a dog's diet, so this is the component you'd want to feed as much as possible in its least processed form. coincidentally meat is also the most costly ingredient to process, e.g. in freeze drying or dehydrating, so in the end you'll be saving money if you buy as much of the meat (and bones) fresh and rely on booster products (e.g. essex cottage farms, amixx, urban wolf) that contain freeze dried or dehydrated veggies and herbs only to create a "complete" meal if you don't want to go the "do it yourself" route yet.

    hope this helps. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2005
  8. gaddylovesdogs

    gaddylovesdogs no touchy

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    If it's not possible for me to feed raw bones outside, I let my dogs eat them in an area with a easily-cleaned flooring, like tile or wood. After they're done, I mope up the floor, and if necessary, wipe off their paws with a little warm water.
     
  9. Prangus

    Prangus New Member

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    That was very helpful. I guess I developed a bias against dry foods after reading so much about them. I may have misjudged. I'd love to try Evo if I can manage to find a place that will ship it to me. Everywhere I've seen it online says they can't ship it out of their state.

    I have a guinea pig with chronic bladder stones, so I know balancing the Ca/Ph ratio is very important. Part of what I like about Honest Kitchen is that they claim meat (with or without bones) can be added without throwing that ratio off. Just to clarify, I never intended to use HK alone. Their "Force" is about 30% meat, which is enough according to AAFCO standards, but I wouldn't feed it without adding more meat/bones.

    The blanket training sounds great. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I'll start teaching Chief to eat on a towel or blanket in the kitchen (where there's linolium for easy clean up) and see how that goes.

    I've thought of two more questions.
    1. Are eggs okay to feed raw? and what about the shell? It seems like it would be dangerous to eat something so sharp.
    2. What's everyone's opinion on supplements? Assuming you have a good basic diet, are they necessary or overkill? I mean anything from a general multivitamin to a specific fish oil.
     
  10. gaddylovesdogs

    gaddylovesdogs no touchy

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    Yep. I give my dogs raw egg and shell all the time, but make sure you crush the shell. Egg shells provide calcium.
    My dogs get glucosamine chrondroitin, fish oils, and alfafa powder. The oils and powder are apart of our vet's raw diet (eggs too).
     
  11. Prangus

    Prangus New Member

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    Do you mean crush as in getting it close to powder texture, or just crunch it up a bit?
     
  12. gaddylovesdogs

    gaddylovesdogs no touchy

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    Either. My dogs usually won't eat it when it's in larger pieces and unless it's got some egg on it. I usually just stick the eggs in a power chopper with some already mushed-up vegetables and garlic and turn it on. It mixes everything together, and it's ready to serve pretty quickly :).
     

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