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Dog Files Viewpoint: Let's Not Kibble

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Lets Not Kibble

By KatyBeth Jensen For The Dog Files

Since I rarely cook, I was surprised when I was sent a recipe that started out like this:

“This is a fun, easy recipe. From start to finish, it will take about 2 hours. It has 16 ingredients, and serves 12.” The sender then writes, “Well-worth the effort for the joy you will see in your pup when she is eating her loaf.” My PUP?!  This is a recipe for my dogs?  Are they nuts?? In no way do I want to add that tidbit to my son’s overflowing therapy folder: “My mom spent two hours cooking for the dog, but ordered pizza for me.” He already wonders who I love best and why the dog has a later bed time.

After reading this 2 hour, 12 ingredient recipe, I wondered … have we gone over the cliff when it comes to feeding our dogs?  Ah, now I have your attention! I feel you bristling, fingers poised to thunder across the keyboard, comment section overflowing with, “OH MY GOD! IS SHE REALLY going to cross over that line into our relationship with our dog’s food?” Uh, well, yes I am.

Recently, a dog mom brought her pup to camp, with a twitch in her eye and shaking hands holding the leash. She shared with me she was spending about 15 hours a week preparing a fresh diet for her very large breed dog. Both the dog mom and her grocery budget were overwhelmed.

I remembered back to when my son was a baby and ready to try solid foods. Several mom suggested I was nothing short of irresponsible for feeding him Gerber’s baby food. They admonished me to bake and mash or grind fresh organic squash, green beans, turkey and then freeze it in ice cube trays. The flashback immediately had me reaching out with empathy to this dog mom.

This poor women had fallen prey to the dog park foodies. Up until that point, her pup had done beautifully on a high end dry dog food which will remain nameless because I’m smart.  The dog park foodies set upon her, scaring her silly with stories of chemicals, dead animals and toxins mixed into her dog food. Food preparation quickly morphed from opening a bag of dog food to a series of steps that now included a blender, choppers, frying pans, boiling, straining, and extra trips to the store. And worse yet, her pup did not even like his fresh diet, so additional energy was consumed playing “open wide” and “here comes the airplane” with her 90 pound pup. With my encouragement, she went back to buying her dog food, and her relationship with her dog, family, friends, and full-time job improved.

If you enjoy cooking food for your pups, by all means do so. Why not?  However, terrifying other dog owners by comparing store-bought commercial dog food to rat poison is just not nice.

Speaking of poison, there is no humor in the recent dog food scandals that rocked the nation, resulted in several pet deaths, many animals falling ill, and the nationwide recall of dog food products. We do need to care about what we feed our pets. However, when dog owners pontificate on the evils of commercial dog food, I wonder how the dog I grew up with every grew old on Special Cuts. Think back, do you ever remember your mom taking to the neighbor mom about what she fed the dog or what ingredients were in Buddy’s food? Of course, dogs did not have strollers, diamond earrings, or planned play dates back in the olden days, either. We have evolved.  Well … maybe.

After listening to several pet food enthusiasts discuss the awful ingredients in ALL commercial dog food, I was very relieved to check and find out my dog food did not fall within the ALL COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD category (I am still not telling you what food it is!). My pup`s dog food ingredients included chicken, cracked pearled barley, white grain brown rice, oatmeal, carrots and peas. Tip: if you are cornered by the dog food police for admitting you buy dog food at the grocery store instead of a dog food boutique, inquire nicely where they buy their family`s food.

Ok, enough kibbling about the best way to feed the family pup.  Roughly 17 billion dollars* was spent in 2008 on dog food. It seems to me those dog food billions leave a lot of room for a lot of different dog food options, both commercial and homemade, so go forth and make your choice and I will make mine. After all, I may say kibble, you may say sweet potato, but our pups just say, “Is it dinner, yet?”

Source: APPA Industry Statistics and Trends.

Pats for your Pups,
Katybeth

KatyBeth & Rascal
KatyBeth & Rascal

Katybeth is a professional pet spoiler, living in the Chicagoland area, running her own business, Camp-Run-A-Pup. Camp Run-A-Pup spoils other people’s pups, and they do it really well. Katybeth lives with and loves three dogs of her own, Rascal, a Parson’s Terrier (AKC recognizers her as a Parson’s; you might recognize her as a Jack Russell), Skippy, a Schipperke with a personality disorder, and Scooby, a beagle that might belong to a neighbor. Katybeth’s newest family star is Soquel’s Last Souvenire, or as they like to call her, Trinket, a show-stopping Doberman pup. Katybeth co-owns Trinket with her mom because she likes being on the winning side of the dog show arena and wanted the rights to tell the real unabridged stories of the oddities of dog showing. the movie Dog Show did not even come close to telling. Katybeth also enjoys writing her blog — My Odd Family. Dogs, dog people, dog shows and owning a dog business combined with hearth, home and family never leaves her at a loss for material to write about.

Katybeth Jensen,PPS
Professional Pet Spoiler
http://www.camprunapup.com/
http://www.deerantlersforpups.com/
http://myoddfamily.com/


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Jenna's Mom
Jenna's Mom
12 years ago

I find your thoughts on dog food to be rather ignorant. I agree, not all commercial dog food is bad (I feed a high end dry kibble that you have to either buy online or at a specialty store), however, there are MANY dog foods that do not meet the nutritional needs of a dog. Dogs for one are primarily carnivores, there are many foods out there that leave you wondering along the lines of the old Wendy's commercials, “Where's the meat?”

In addition to that, some of your big box generic brands are priced around .25 cent a pound. I can't even buy fresh veggies at that rate with a high moisture content! Just what quality of material are you getting processed,delivered, and shelved at your local convenience mart for that price?

Most dogpark foodies (like myself) could care less if you feed kibble, raw, or homecooked. However, we want every pet parent to provide the best they can for their dogs. This comes from educating yourself, something that we all must do regardless of what or how we feed. An improperly balanced homecooked or raw meal can be as detrimental to our pet as a low quality kibble.

If you want to know the basics of what to look for, here you go.
1) First ingredient is a named meat source that you recognize (i.e. says chicken). I like to see two meats in the first 2 ingredients. I'm not going to diss by products too much, by products can include many good things as well as bad things. However, make sure there is more better quality meat in the food than by products. Also, recognize that chicken meal (not byproduct meal) is basically dried chicken flesh and is just as good as 'chicken' I like to see both chicken and chicken meal listed in the first two ingredients (by product meal is dried byproducts). I say chicken, but it can be any named meat.
2) Avoid foods that list a grain in multiple ways (i.e. says whole ground corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal e.g. a lot of corn ingredients). That could mean there is more corn in the food than meat. Food ingredients are listed in labels by their weight. The more of an ingredient in the food, the higher in the list it appears. To make a food appear to have more meat, some companies list their grains by fractions instead of the whole grain.
3) Finally, avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sugar, especially Menadione, BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, and Propyl Gallate.

Be aware that corn, wheat, and soy are common allergens. Many people say avoid it all together, but if your dog doesn't have a problem with them it's not as important. Though, I don't want a lot of grains in the food either.

Avoid vague references like animal fat, meat and bone meal, etc. If you can't identify what the ingredient is sourced from, it's probably the cheapest thing available.

For more information, visit the Food and Nutrition Forum on Dogster.

C.J.'s Dad
C.J.'s Dad
12 years ago

For a “dog spoiler”, these comments are incredibly naive and one-sided. Do I buy my dog food at the supermarket? Hell no, or the same reason that I don't buy food for people at the pet store: supermarkets tend to stock crap to make money and so people can have the convenience of buying everything in one place. I don't feed my kids OR my dog crap. If you want to, go ahead, but it's a shame that you are encouraging your readers to do so.

katybeth
katybeth
12 years ago

@Jenna's Mom you make some excellent points. It is really important to understand what the ingredients are in the dog food you are buying, so you can make the best choice for your dog. I think educating yourself the best possible advice you could give a new dog owner. There really isn't just one right way is there?
Thank you for your thoughtful and informative reply.
Katybeth

katybeth
katybeth
12 years ago

Hi C.J's Dad!
Its clear you really care about what you feed your family (human and pup) and that you have made thoughtful choices for both. Just like you have already done, I'm encouraging Dog Files readers to make thoughtful food choices for their pets based on what they are most comfortable with and to become educated and aware that there are many “right food choices” available to pet owners.

Marcie Jensen
Marcie Jensen
12 years ago

My dogs and I compete in Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Tracking so they not only must look their best but their energy level is important too. I feed dry dog food right out of the bag and occasionally add yogurt. I am constantly asked how I keep their coats so rich and shiny. A few people have asked if I put oil on them!
Marcie

Jenna's Mom
Jenna's Mom
12 years ago

I find your thoughts on dog food to be rather ignorant. I agree, not all commercial dog food is bad (I feed a high end dry kibble that you have to either buy online or at a specialty store), however, there are MANY dog foods that do not meet the nutritional needs of a dog. Dogs for one are primarily carnivores, there are many foods out there that leave you wondering along the lines of the old Wendy's commercials, “Where's the meat?”

In addition to that, some of your big box generic brands are priced around .25 cent a pound. I can't even buy fresh veggies at that rate with a high moisture content! Just what quality of material are you getting processed,delivered, and shelved at your local convenience mart for that price?

Most dogpark foodies (like myself) could care less if you feed kibble, raw, or homecooked. However, we want every pet parent to provide the best they can for their dogs. This comes from educating yourself, something that we all must do regardless of what or how we feed. An improperly balanced homecooked or raw meal can be as detrimental to our pet as a low quality kibble.

If you want to know the basics of what to look for, here you go.
1) First ingredient is a named meat source that you recognize (i.e. says chicken). I like to see two meats in the first 2 ingredients. I'm not going to diss by products too much, by products can include many good things as well as bad things. However, make sure there is more better quality meat in the food than by products. Also, recognize that chicken meal (not byproduct meal) is basically dried chicken flesh and is just as good as 'chicken' I like to see both chicken and chicken meal listed in the first two ingredients (by product meal is dried byproducts). I say chicken, but it can be any named meat.
2) Avoid foods that list a grain in multiple ways (i.e. says whole ground corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal e.g. a lot of corn ingredients). That could mean there is more corn in the food than meat. Food ingredients are listed in labels by their weight. The more of an ingredient in the food, the higher in the list it appears. To make a food appear to have more meat, some companies list their grains by fractions instead of the whole grain.
3) Finally, avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sugar, especially Menadione, BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, and Propyl Gallate.

Be aware that corn, wheat, and soy are common allergens. Many people say avoid it all together, but if your dog doesn't have a problem with them it's not as important. Though, I don't want a lot of grains in the food either.

Avoid vague references like animal fat, meat and bone meal, etc. If you can't identify what the ingredient is sourced from, it's probably the cheapest thing available.

For more information, visit the Food and Nutrition Forum on Dogster.

C.J.'s Dad
C.J.'s Dad
12 years ago

For a “dog spoiler”, these comments are incredibly naive and one-sided. Do I buy my dog food at the supermarket? Hell no, or the same reason that I don't buy food for people at the pet store: supermarkets tend to stock crap to make money and so people can have the convenience of buying everything in one place. I don't feed my kids OR my dog crap. If you want to, go ahead, but it's a shame that you are encouraging your readers to do so.

Jenna's Mom
Jenna's Mom
12 years ago

I find your thoughts on dog food to be rather ignorant. I agree, not all commercial dog food is bad (I feed a high end dry kibble that you have to either buy online or at a specialty store), however, there are MANY dog foods that do not meet the nutritional needs of a dog. Dogs for one are primarily carnivores, there are many foods out there that leave you wondering along the lines of the old Wendy's commercials, “Where's the meat?”

In addition to that, some of your big box generic brands are priced around .25 cent a pound. I can't even buy fresh veggies at that rate with a high moisture content! Just what quality of material are you getting processed,delivered, and shelved at your local convenience mart for that price?

Most dogpark foodies (like myself) could care less if you feed kibble, raw, or homecooked. However, we want every pet parent to provide the best they can for their dogs. This comes from educating yourself, something that we all must do regardless of what or how we feed. An improperly balanced homecooked or raw meal can be as detrimental to our pet as a low quality kibble.

If you want to know the basics of what to look for, here you go.
1) First ingredient is a named meat source that you recognize (i.e. says chicken). I like to see two meats in the first 2 ingredients. I'm not going to diss by products too much, by products can include many good things as well as bad things. However, make sure there is more better quality meat in the food than by products. Also, recognize that chicken meal (not byproduct meal) is basically dried chicken flesh and is just as good as 'chicken' I like to see both chicken and chicken meal listed in the first two ingredients (by product meal is dried byproducts). I say chicken, but it can be any named meat.
2) Avoid foods that list a grain in multiple ways (i.e. says whole ground corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal e.g. a lot of corn ingredients). That could mean there is more corn in the food than meat. Food ingredients are listed in labels by their weight. The more of an ingredient in the food, the higher in the list it appears. To make a food appear to have more meat, some companies list their grains by fractions instead of the whole grain.
3) Finally, avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sugar, especially Menadione, BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, and Propyl Gallate.

Be aware that corn, wheat, and soy are common allergens. Many people say avoid it all together, but if your dog doesn't have a problem with them it's not as important. Though, I don't want a lot of grains in the food either.

Avoid vague references like animal fat, meat and bone meal, etc. If you can't identify what the ingredient is sourced from, it's probably the cheapest thing available.

For more information, visit the Food and Nutrition Forum on Dogster.

C.J.'s Dad
C.J.'s Dad
12 years ago

For a “dog spoiler”, these comments are incredibly naive and one-sided. Do I buy my dog food at the supermarket? Hell no, or the same reason that I don't buy food for people at the pet store: supermarkets tend to stock crap to make money and so people can have the convenience of buying everything in one place. I don't feed my kids OR my dog crap. If you want to, go ahead, but it's a shame that you are encouraging your readers to do so.

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