Dogs/Good brand of dog food
QUESTION: I have two dogs, a 7 yr old boston terrier & and 3 yr old daschund. My dachsund is a picky eater who happens to get sick alot (vomit. Vet says its common in this breed.) What would be a good, healthy brand of dog food to use? Is blue buffalo as good as people say?
ANSWER: Hi Rachel,
I think it's great that you are researching the best foods for your dogs. Many people don't and unknowingly, give their dogs a poor diet and most of the time leads to many health problems.
A couple of the most important things to understand about a dogs diet is how they were meant to eat, by nature, and providing them as close to this as possible for your budget and lifestyle.
Dogs, by nature are meat eaters. Their bodies thrive in a high acidic diet where human bodies thrive in an alkaline diet.
Being meat eaters, they were naturally meant to eat a diet consisting of high moisture (meat has around 70% water content) and "live" nutrients like enzymes and probiotics.
Commercial dog foods are cooked, thus killing many of the "live" health benefiting nutrients they need to thrive on. Dry dog food is the worst as it is the highest processed food and of course is "dry" and void of any moisture.
That doesn't mean it can't be a part of a dogs diet, it just should never make up their whole diet. People who do this will have a dog or cat, that will actually live in a mild state of dehydration.
By far the best diet in the world for any dog or cat is the raw food diet. This type of diet provides most everything that nature intended them to have and thus, they thrive.
When you go against nature, bad things usually happen. There are many very good commercially made raw foods for dogs. They are easy to prepare and serve. They come in nuggets, patties, chubs and blocks. Most are very balanced for dogs as they include the ground bone and organ meat needed to make it balanced.
Feeding commercially made raw foods is very easy but some people just don't want to or can't do it. That's fine but then you must supplement their diet with the missing nutrients that have been destroyed by the cooking process. These of course are the enzymes and probiotics. Supplementing with these two vital nutrients are the most important thing anyone can do for their dogs or cats no matter what you feed.
The Blue Buffalo is a very good brand and we carry it in our store. I prefer grain free foods both canned and dry if you are going that route. Blue Buffalo's grain free version is Wilderness. Also, some very good ones are Orijen, Accana, Instinct, The Great Life (one of my favorites) Taste Of The Wild, Core, Merrick's Before Grains, Natural Balance has a line of grain free brands that are good.
I would look for the grain free versions of these foods in the can as that has the higher moisture content. You have smaller dogs so feeding mostly canned is relatively inexpensive.
This is of course how your budget is for dog foods. If you need to add dry food, don't give them any more than about half their meals in dry.
These premium foods are a much higher protein count than cheaper commercial foods like Science Diet, Iams, Beneful and the others. So this means you feed less and your product will go further.
You have to look at the cost of each meal versus the cost of the whole bag. Plus, those other commercial brands have some nasty ingredients in them that are destroying dogs health. These are wheat, corn, soy, by-products, gluten's, animal fat, animal digest, artificial coloring's, and chemical preservatives. If your foods have any of these in the ingredient list, run from them.
As stated above, the most important thing you can do for your dogs right away is start them on enzymes and probiotics. This will help you dachshund from vomiting so much as well. We have a dachshund who is on the raw food diet, he never vomits. And even though we feed a raw diet to our dogs and cats, we still add enzymes and probiotics as this will just aid their bodies that much more in digestion.
You can get powder supplements for these two. A very good one we carry is from Animal Essentials and is there Plant enzymes and probiotics. This is what we add for our dogs. You can get it on Amazon or your local small, independent pet food stores in your area.
Their digestive system is the heart of their immune system. So you want to keep this as healthy as possible. Enzymes work to help break down foods far enough to the nutrients in that foods can be absorbed into the blood stream. Foods that don't get broken down far enough pass through the body and the dog doesn't get the needed nutrients from it. This can also lead to foods sticking in the colon and creating a toxic colon where diseases form.
When a dog doesn't get enzymes from the foods they eat, as in raw, their own body has to produce those enzymes to break down the food. This is called enzyme robbing and will tax certain organs over time. The first to go is usually the pancreas. This causes an inflamed pancreas and can lead to pancreatitis and/or diabetes.
The probiotics are important for keeping a good flora of good bacteria in the colon. This helps balance their internal systems and aids in the transport of vitamins and minerals into the blood stream.
Lots of gas and vomiting are typical signs or poor digestion. Probiotics are very important for us and equally so for our dogs.
If you feed regular dog foods, don't be afraid to add some of your good lean meats, veggies and some fruits for a variety in their diets.
An egg once or twice a week is very good. A little cottage cheese is good now and then. A little yogurt helps provide some probiotics as well.
Add extra omega's like fish oil, cod liver oil, or the best is canned sardines once a week. These whole food source provides a complete set of omega threes and sixes.
Variety is very good for dogs. This helps build up a stronger digestive system.
Our vets are great for what they do and that's medicine. They are typically not trained in nutrition. The vets that are trained in nutrition as well as medicine are the holistic vets. These guys are by far the better vets to go to. So you are doing great by researching this on your own.
To learn a little more about a raw food diet for your dogs, I would start by reading some info fro Natures Variety's website. They make dry, canned and raw food brands. They are at http://www.naturesvariety.com/
There are also many good books on the subject. We are finishing writing one as well.
My wife and I did write a book on dog foods that helps answer basic questions about the types and differences. It's a good reference for this and supplements.
If you have a Kindle or Kindle app, you can download a copy from Amazon for only $2.99. Or there is a paperback version for $9.99.
The link to it is at http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Food-Decoded-Healthy-ebook/dp/B008LX6WGY/ref=sr_1_2?ie
I hope this information helps get you started. I know you will probably have more questions and that is fine. Please just respond back to this same question and I'll try to help as much as I can.
Let me know if I can do anything else for you,
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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your reply. I will have to look into a book because its hard to go from cheap dog food at Walmart to some that actually takes a bit of thinking! haha While reading your reply a question did arrise on how to properly feed a dog? My dogs stay in the house so I just fill up their bowl when it's empty and they eat whenever they choose. Should I create a system that way if I choose to go the raw diet it will be easier?
ANSWER: Yeah, the cheap food at Walmart isn't so cheap when you factor in vet bills from diseases and cancers that dogs are picking up more and more.
What you are doing is called free feeding and that should not happen. Picking at their food whenever they want is causing their digestive system to constantly be working. This is not the way it is designed and takes system resources away from other parts of the body where healing should be happening.
You should feed good solid meals that they will go nuts for when you set the bowl down for them. They should finish eating within a few minutes and you pick their bowls up.
If you have to feed dry, just make sure it is only part of their diet. Add some hot water to get the breaking down process going. Add some premium canned, some lean meats, canned tuna, canned salmon, a little veggies, cottage cheese, yogurt or similar. Make each meal very enticing for them to eat it up.
Again, the biggest thing you can do to begin getting their system ready for some raw foods is the enzymes and probiotics. These will help the transition to any other foods.
Even if you can feed them a raw meal or premium canned a couple times a week is extremely beneficial. The more the better but you half to do just what you can do.
When feeding anything different to them, start real small. Just a teaspoon or two of raw or premium canned foods. Then slowly build it up more and more until it becomes a whole meal for them.
As I also mentioned, the cost of premium foods is equal and sometimes less than the cheap foods when you calculate the cost as a "per feeding cost" and not just by the pound. Plus, you will have a much healthier and happier dog.
Feed your dogs well and they will enjoy a long happy life. So many people don't know this type of information and their dogs are suffering because of it. The vet offices are filled all the time and that's just not right.
Dogs don't need to suffer. People can do more for them with the right information without breaking the bank.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
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QUESTION: I recently switched my dogs over to the Blue Buffalo sensitive salmon food. I think they like it but I have noticed now they have terrible gas! I've read that it could be too much protein for them. If that's the cause what is another good brand to try?
Blue Buffalo is a good food, we carry it in our store. It is NOT too high in protein. Your dog should be able to digest any level of proteins without any problems. As a matter of fact, the grain free high protein foods are best for dogs. Unless you feed the best overall diet and that's the raw food diet.
Blue Buffalo's brand called Wilderness is a grain free food. That would be an excellent one to have her on next bag. The more rotation of foods, the better and stronger her digestive system will be.
Read again my response from before when I talked about the need for high moisture food and make certain you are supplementing with enzymes and probiotics.
We sell a lot of enzymes and probiotics to people who have gassy dogs. It will make a huge difference. Plus, it's a MUST have in their diet.
Animal Essentials makes a good enzyme and probiotic supplement. They are both combined in one jar and you just sprinkle a little on each meal. Your gassy problems will go away. You can find them at most pet food stores as well as on Amazon or Animal Essentials website. It's just called their Plant Enzyme and Probiotic formula.
This is especially needed when switching foods. Their digestive system is not used to the new food and has to adapt. The gassy problems comes from incomplete digestion and this is why the enzymes and probiotics will help.
Be sure you are feeding at least 50% of the diet in canned food. Blue Buffalo makes a good canned food as well as Natural Balance. NB is one of the most economical canned foods we carry. You can find them at most pet food stores.
Let me know if there is anything else,