A few weeks ago, one of my favorite
dogs bloggers wrote about a very touchy subject. What you feed your dog(s). The jist of her article was about how divisive this subject is and how so many people get so passionate about their opinions. It’s often too easy to fall into a debate of “if you really love Fido, then you would feed him this.”
Now fortunately, all of the blogs I read are written by people way smarter than I who know their stuff when it comes to all things dog. I also do a bit of research on my own and truly believe that I make the best decisions I can based on the information I have at hand. I once read a quote, “When you choose your advisor, you choose your advice.” Of course that is true. I have my local experts who give me advice on good, holistic foods for my dogs. I also rely on Dog Food Advisor to give me a starting point and a high-level overview of my choices. I talk to people and I see the reactions of Ray and Julius (ok, just Ray. Julius will eat anything that isn’t green.)
I realized though, that while there may be a multitude of people who may try to
bully convince others into spending beyond their budget on food for their canine companions, there are just as many people who truly believe they are feeding a high quality kibble to their dog, though it might be something I wouldn’t really feel comfortable feeding to the boys. I’m of the mindset that if it works for you and your dog, then great! If you ask what I feed, I will tell you. If you want to know why, I will tell you why. When you tell me what you feed, I will say, “great,” and leave it at that, so don’t feel the need to convince me to change.
The challenge for me is when our Vet
pushes recommends a food that I wouldn’t dream of feeding. I’ve noticed at their office a lot of literature supporting why corn is good, why fillers are good, why animal by-products are good and I just cringe. I know that this food company really has an “in” with veterinarians and our vets really don’t do a lot of research on nutrition so I just nod. One of our vets even was recommending a food for Ray to loose weight and said their dog ate it and lost weight but they had to switch because the dog lost too much weight. Do you think maybe because it wasn’t getting any nutrition?
I feed a 5 star rated food to both Ray and Julius, but that is because they love it, I support the ingredients and it fits my budget. Ray is overweight and I know that. He will be sedentary for several weeks, if not months and I know that, too. I’ve switched him to the reduced fat version of his regular food, switched out as many treats as possible with fresh vegetables. I commit to a slow and steady rehab for his leg and by the end of the summer we should both be lean, mean
fighting loving machines again.
So tell us, what do you feed and why? How do you handle the food controversy or have you managed to stay apart from it?
Well being a pig, we can't weigh in but it sounds like you're on a good track!
We feed both of our girls a raw diet. A butcher in the town where I work sells beef scraps for something like $0.30/lb. We do the raw meat in the morning, adding plain yogurt or raw eggs a couple days a week. Then we do a variety of raw/cooked veggies at night with some brown rice and salmon oil. Our pittie's skin issues have cleared and both girls are at a great weight with great skin/coat. It is SO MUCH cheaper than the expensive sensitive skin food we had been buying (~$2/lb) and the dogs love it. I started by reading “Keep Your Dog Healthy the Natural Way” and following the guidelines laid out, then adjusting for what worked best for our girls. I can't imagine ever buying a bag of dog food again. We give them Trifexis for flea/heartworm because it also provides protection from stomach parasites. We see a holistic vet in Kokomo who has helped us with a feeding/vaccination plan, but traditional vets have definitely given us flack for feeding them this way (one vet at the emergency clinic in Ft Wayne was frighteningly ignorant — comparing a raw diet for dogs to eating raw meat herself…guess she skipped anatomy/biology!). They are happy and healthy – so I'm not changing anything!
That's a really great point: someone might think/intend to feed a high-quality food but not know what's truly in the kibble they've selected. That's a whole other can of worms… all the unregulated marketing and promotional claims on bags of dog food (and in vet's office literature) purposefully mislead consumers. I think we're on the same page that you have to do what's best for you and your dog, but I love your point that you have to do your due diligence to make sure that what you think is the best, is actually the best! And thanks for the shout out 🙂
You're right, food is such a passionate subject for a lot of dog owners. What I always like to point out to people is this: Certain dogs do better on certain types of diets be it raw or allergy or reduced fat. There are a lot of diets out there that are just plain crap but there are quite a few others that are really good. It's best to do your own research to educate yourself and get the opinion of your vet, after all the two of you should be the ones that know your dog best!
I'd never choose a food based on a Vet's recommendation or training advice for that matter which I have been given also and I did not dream of following.
Like you, I feed a 5 star kibble which has very few ingredients, no fillers and it keeps my dogs in awesome health which is proof enough for me. It's pretty expensive but I feel it's worth it. I am strict about their portions though. They recently put on a few pounds due to extra treats for training and raw bones so I cute back on their kibble. My mom tried to feed them extra the other night and I flipped out. She claimed they were still hungry but my response is that they'd eat the whole bag if they could. They soon found something to chew on and were perfectly content:)
That being said, I'd love to switch them to raw some day, especially when they're older. I've seen amazing results from it!
I think it's all about the dog. I have a friend who tries various foods and her dogs thrive on the variety. Melvin would implode if I changed his food without an 8 week transition! I think it's about what works and that is different for each dog. While I would probably stop and chat with anyone I saw buying Alpo (sorry if this offends anyone!), I think the decision of what to feed is something you should think about, but make your own decisions. We feed raw — but only because I live with the worlds most allergic dog and there are about zero kibbles he can tolerate!