Hardly a day goes by at my office without a client asking us what is the best food for my dog or cat, because everyone knows most of the pet foods are terrible. They have things like grain, BHA, by-products of some sort, preservatives, and who knows what else. Why I have even been told by clients that most of these foods cause cancer, weaken their immune system, cause skin disease; have ground up tires, soybean oil, tocopherol, and many acids like lactic, phosphoric and citric. I was horrified to learn that all these pet food companies were trying to harm our beloved pets. It would make sense then that all of the diseases I deal with every day are caused by the very food we use to try to keep them healthy. Could that mean that unscrupulous veterinarians would recommend these toxic foods, to cause diseases and increase their bottom line? What a horrible conspiracy.
I therefore made it my mission to find out who has the best pet food out there.
After very intense research, pulling out my old nutrition notes (from 1982), and asking Dr. Google I feel much better now. It turns out things aren't as bad as I was led to believe. Why Science Diet brand alone has 77 different types of food to feed your dog and 46 products for your cat (not including the list of prescription diets for diseases). Every single one of them has wonderful nutrition facts, for healthy skin, heart, coat, etc. They even tell you how each product works and better yet, they have testimonials too. How can you beat that?
Well guess what: Royal Canin has "Innovation Inside." NOW you have my attention. They actually have foods for every one of my breeds at home. I can have Yorkie Diet, Shih Tzu Diet and Bulldog Diet. Why how perfect is that!? They even have a Giant Junior Diet and a Mini Aging Care diet. These dog food companies can't be all that bad when they make diets for all my own breeds.
But just when you think it can't get any better, along comes a new upstart to take center stage. The Blue Buffalo Company's line of Blue products is all the new rage. They are holistic and have "LifeSource Bits" that have been cold-formed for greater potency (They said it on TV). They have Life Protection Diets, Longevity, Wilderness, and Basics; more than 20 products to choose for your dog or cat.
I was very impressed with one company who had a feline-maintenance, a feline-maintenance-indoor, a feline-maintenance-indoor-hairball, a feline-maintenance-indoor-hairball-sensitive-skin, a feline-maintenance-indoor-hairball-sensitive-skin-mature. But I only wanted the feline-maintenance-indoor-hairball-mature, which they must have been out of.
If I was going to make a dog food, I would make one product. It would be called Remi's ('cause we have to name it after a cool dog like our English Bulldog) Healthy Skin, Bone, Muscle, and Stomach Optimal Care for all stages of life, Longevity, Decrease Flatulence, with Super Dee Duper Nutrition and Smarter Dog Bits. I think that covers it all.
Please tell me everyone that you are feeling it. Do you get what is going on here? It is us crazy pet owners that have encouraged all the (yes, call it what it is) MARKETING. We buy into the slogans, jargons and fancy talk. For Pete's sake, we do it to ourselves: Natural, Holistic, Organic, Free Range. I read in a business magazine the new phrase is Harvest and Natural Harvest, which is proven to immediately increase sales of any product. Why??? Things used to be so much simpler. I remember growing up with my first dog Char, a wonderful black lab mix. I fed him what everyone fed their dog at the time, Purina Dog Chow for 12 great, healthy years. It was $15.00 for 50 pounds.
So, what to do with all this intense research and technical data? This is where I go really crazy. I tell my clients to make their own best dog food with all these productsliterally. Pick three or four name brand foods that you like and mix them together in a bin and - viola! - there you have it. All the best of the best foods. If one food is better for skin, another better with fatty acids, another with protein, you get the best of all of these. The body takes what it needs and excretes the rest anyways. We call it a "Dog Food Stew." We start with one food that agrees with your pet (i.e. no vomiting, diarrhea etc), then very slowly mix in food number two into the bowl over a week or two. When you are at half food one and half food two, dump the entire bag of food two into the bin and mix. Then do this again with food three, etc. You now have "Dog Food Stew."
There's a bonus to this method also. Some dogs over years get dependent on one brand and flavor of food and will get horrible vomiting and diarrhea if a client wants to change foods. Their gut has been "trained" to digest only that food. By feeding a mixture of foods, you slowly "train" their gut bacteria to digest any food you might want to feed them. This is a great benefit especially when a company changes their products or discontinues a line.
By the way, one of the best sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber you can give your dog is fresh fruits and vegetable. Most dogs will readily eat apples, bananas, pears, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. (stay away from grapes and onions which can both be toxic in high doses). Bags of frozen vegetables and canned green beans are cheap, fill your pets up and are very healthy for them.
But be careful if you own a boxer or bulldog with the greens, as you may be ordering Remi's Flatulence Free Fortified Fiber Food.