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The Healthy Dog Gourmet

Now that you have a dog the most immediate concern will be to decide what to feed your new pal. You'll want it to be healthy and your dog will look forward to food that is tasty and palatable people, dogs have their own sense of taste and  can be in fact, dog gourmets :)

Norma Bennett Wolf wrote an excellent article based upon studies done at Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition,  Leicestershire, United Kingdom. Much of the information below is taken from her fine essay which you can read oncanine nutritionhere and an article by Ron Hines DVM PhD

So Many Choices...                healthy dog

1) Home made dog food- this is probably the best solution. If you have the time to prepare your dogs food click here for a few suggestions for a  healthy natural homemade diet from Dr.Richard Pitcairn, DVM. If your dog has special nutritional needs you may want to buy special commercial foods nutritionally designed to meet those special needs.  Some helpful recipes can be found by clicking here

Many people prepare their dog food in much the same way that food for the family is prepared. If planned properly, enough can be made and packed in freezer safe containers to last a week or more. We have done this only after carful;nutritional planning

Commercial Dog Food

Commercial dog food is a frequently misunderstood. Some of it is terrific. Some of it can kill your dog You have to review the ingredients. 

A new development is that in conjunction with Stephen R. Blake, D.V.M., Holistic Veterinarian, and a founding member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association a newRaw formulais being introduced by Natural Balance which is an important step in the goal of holistic, healthy and nutritious commercial dog food menus.

My current prefernce in commercial dog food is for Great Life, highly rated by The Whole Dog Journal.  The creator of Great Life is the author of The Healthy Wholistic Dog. Click the link and you can read my review. I met the author, not knowing he was the creator of the food I was using for my dogs. The junk that is found in commercial dog food is one of the main concerns that any dog owner should become familiar with. Loaded with industrial waste, fillers, toxins and carcinogenic substances, many dog food brands should be used as landfill and nothing more. See what's in your dog food in a movie by clicking here

There are good to excellent brands and we'll discuss them on this site and in our newsletter. But, before making a selection it's important to know what a good dog food is and how to avoid the less healthy ones. Whatever you decide you'll have a better idea of what to look for once you leave this site.

Types of Commercial Dog Food    See the Eye Opening Video Now !

Kibble- like all commercial dog foods the ingredients are critical. Many lesser priced and even popular national brands found in grocery chains contain a high degree of filler, preservatives and additives. Beware of claims of being all natural and pictures of healthy happy dogs running after  broccoli...take a look at the ingredients before you fill your dog's bowl full of kibble.  Holistic or better brands such as Natural BalanceEagle Pack,Canidae, Solid Goldand others are available at pet stores everywhere. As the dog food recall widens and now has tainted Natural Balance we will be watching their response and re evaluating our approval of them in the near future.

Canned- high in flavor yet predominately consists of water dry grains, meat and meat by-products, fats, mineral and vitamins.Natural Balance  has canned products that are good and should be considered if you buy canned foods. Their ingredients include quality meats from USDA approved plants (no by-products), as well as carrots, potatoes and brown rice.  If you are buying dog food at the local supermarket, big box store or discount outlet, you are probably feeding your dog junk food or worse...much worse.

Semi-moist- a lot of additives. My least favorite. Avoid wherever possible. 

 The 2007 dog food recall has affected more than 100 brands of commercial pet food.  Dogs eating these brands have contracted kidney failure and death. Picking the right diet for your dog can be a matter of life and death. Sadly, the dog food industry has done a good job of pulling the wool over people's eyes, convincing them that commercial dog food is a must for their dog's health and longevity.

As a discerning buyer I believe that the best brands and highest quality should win out in the marketplace. The best way for that to happen is through education. We'll try to help a bit here with that.

In the United States, several agencies and organizations are responsible for regulating the production, marketing, and sales of pet foods. The most influential and important of these agencies is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Their regulations require that the labels of all cat foods made and sold in the U.S. contain the following information.

  • Product name
  • Net weight 
  • Name and address of the producer 
  • Guaranteed analysis 
  • The words "dog food" 
  • A statement of nutritional adequacy 
  • A statement of the methods used for substantiating nutritional adequacy 

Unfortunately, they have little or no regulatory powers and their tests are very limited and incomplete..

A good explanation of how to understand this information can be found in an article by Dr Margaret Muns DVM. Click here to read the article

What do they really put in dog food? click and see the video

Dr.Richard Pitcairn a renowned DVM, PhD. and a specialist in nutrition reports that many commercial foods are lacking in adequate proteins, fats vitamins and minerals and DO contain slaughterhouse waste, toxic products from spoiled foods, non nutritious fillers, heavy metal contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, drug residue, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

In fact some reports show that carbohydrates have been introduced from leftover donuts, fats are sometimes rancid and fiber may include newspaper, fillers, hair and peanut hulls.

While all commercial foods are by means means bad...some are pretty good in fact, you should look out for a number of red flags.

Be wary says Dr. Pitcairn of labels that offer ingredients such as:

  • Meal and bonemeal

  • Meat by-products

  • Dried animal digest

  • Poultry by products

  • Liver glandular meal

  • Chicken by products

  • Fish meal and fish by products ...to mention a few

The Pet Food Institute has argued for the right to include "least cost mix" of products that could open the door for almost any type of garbage to be included in your dogs 's food. And it frequently is.

Stories and news reports are more red flags in this regard. A former employees at a chicken slaughterhouse witnesses diseased parts of dead chicken shipped to a pet food plant and other studies read by the owner of this site have reported that roadkill and euthanized animals have also been sold to rendering facilities for dog food. Imagine the corpse of a euthanized animal, which has the chemicals administered to instigate death, in a plastic bag being dumped into a rendering bin to be processed for your dogs next meal! A  recent dog food recall is widening public concern about dog food that can actually kill their dogs.

Aside from the obvious emotional distaste, this type of waste has been reported to increase the likelihood of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Chemical additives-

  • Propyklene glycol-used to maintain moisture, this additive is known to cause illness in dogs

  • Propylgalate- used to retard spoilage is suspected of causing liver damage

  • Ethoxyquin- used in rubber production , suspected in causing severe health problems in dogs

  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)- preservative suspected in cause of liver damage, stress, fetal abnormalities,  cholesterol problems

  • Sodium Nitrite- a preservative suspected in producing carcinogenic substances

To fight the effects of these negative additives your dog may naturally see a depletion in energy and nutrients necessary for good health and toxic accumulation wearing down the dogs natural defences and immune system.

3) A blend of commercial andhome made foods.This is a viable option for those who select a top quality commercial dog food and wish to supplement it for additional nutritional value.

 For more information see

There are differing views as to the appropriateness of raw diets vs. kibble, home made diets and a combination. Be a selective dog parent and get as much information as you can, speak to your vet and read as much as you can. A few articles pro and con can be found by clicking here.

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