October 31, 2010

Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title.

 Happy Halloween!

Old photos (2007) of Sam & young Josey.
And the one & only time we put our dogs
in any kind of ridiculous costume.
Their expressions - priceless.

Sam:  This sucks. Hate Halloween.
Josey:  Help me!

October 30, 2010

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.

Saturday's weather: Low 60s. Mostly cloudy. Rain sprinkles off and on.
Translation: Perfect Border Collie Weather.

Walked in the rain early morning and ran wild at Kitty Hawk late morning.
Enjoy a trio of BC photos...

zoomin' up the hill

relaxed and happy
hangin' out

October 29, 2010

Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!

Our girl.
wondering what the heck?!
 ticking under her chin is going gray
enough already...where's my dinner?!

October 27, 2010

You cannot open a book without learning something.

There is always something to read, learn and share. So I'm kind of cheating today...passing along something you may have already seen (or maybe not). Balance the tid-bits with what you already know!
Mistakes Humans Make with Homemade Dog Food (1) by Jan Rasmusen
"If you make your own dog food, cooked or raw, and are not supplementing with calcium, your dog's health could be at risk. Read this from Dr. Richard Pitcairn. (Don't add calcium to processed food.)

Another mistake most of you humans make: you feed the same stuff day after day, month after month, ad nauseum. You find a great recipe we like and you feed it forever. Then you're surprised when we start scratching (because we've developed a sensitivity to years of eating chicken) or we get sick (from a vitamin/mineral deficiency).

So, switch around already. Substitute turkey for chicken and lamb for beef or venison. Then change again. If your dog develops diarrhea, that's proof that he or she doesn't have a good diversity of intestinal flora because he's gotten the same stuff for so long.  Jiggy and I rarely have the same foods for more than 2 or 3 meals in a row. Mom varies protein sources and veggies, too. We're lucky dogs.

Another thing: if you add food scraps to kibble, which is a good idea, don't add more carbs. Most kibble has too many carbs to begin with. Add meat, fish, poultry and veggies. Then throw away the kibble!"

Pet Food Recall First Alert (2)
Truth About Pet Food announced a new member of her Pet Food Recall First Alert program - Champion Petfoods. Acana and Orijen are made by Champion Petfoods. First Alert is a pet owner initiated program. Pet food makers who become First Alert members agree to notify pet owners of any product pull or recall through an email notification system. Press releases and FDA food recall notices may not work fast enough to keep pets safe so this program fills an important gap. Find out if your favorite pet food company is a member here and sign-up!

Notes & Resources:  
(1) Permission to reprint granted by Jan Rasmusen, author of Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. Jan has a resourceful blog, too.
(2) Truth About Pet Food is owned by Susan Thixton, The Caped Crusader for Safe Pet Food. She also offers on-line subscriptions to Petsumer Report - a pet food information database on risky ingredients, ingredient country of origin (U.S. only or imports), grade or quality of meat ingredients, list of health promoting ingredients and  recall history for each pet food brand.

October 26, 2010

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Our Secret Place
Took the border collies to Kitty Hawk this morning. 
A recent rainstorm that knocked down, softened the tall grasses + 
temperatures in the 40s = happy dogs. 

Actually, we were here yesterday but cut the trip short because 
Josey and I were stung by yellow-jackets. 
Josey on her flank and me, back of the neck. 
Everyone is okay. 
No life-threatening allergic reactions or swelling (whew!).

A walk with nature - it is our fall & winter ritual to visit Kitty Hawk 
every chance we get, even up to 2 times a day!
Sometimes I drop low to the ground and the BCs scurry around like mad 
but they always find me.
Josey & Lucas love to stalk & chase each other,
flush out pheasants, 
sniff coyote scat,
and eat rabbit poop.
Enjoy the photos!

Oops...too much sunlight...wrong angle
Oh...this is much better. Josey stalking Lucas (he's behind me)
Lucas waiting for Josey to make a move (she's behind me now)
Another stalking attempt
Lucas waiting again...
Run free BCs!
Do you see that goofy face on Lucas? Makes my heart melt.

October 25, 2010

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.

Lucas with a new Jolly Ball - 2008
Lucas loves to play. 
It's his thing and when he gets Josey (or another dog) to join him - watch out!
My husband and Lucas have ball on their minds. 
It is October afterall.
College Football. 
Baseball World Series. 
Basketball starts this week.
Throw me that ball, why don't you?!

Lucas' photo above (along with others) made the 2011 BCRNC Calendar!
He's a handsome boy, huh?
Calendars are large with BC photos galore.
Check them out here and support BCRNC!

October 24, 2010

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

Dry Dog Food - Fish
Fish food for dogs!
Another reading assignment - this time ingredients of seven (7) fish dry dog foods. The BCs eat fish in their rotation and thrive on Acana Pacifica - a grain-free fish formula with 33% protein. I've noticed they do not do well on higher protein fish (40%+) like Orijen, EVO and Canidae. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream and Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Fish are considered moderate protein fish at 25% and 21%, respectively. Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe is 34% protein.

Acana & Orijen are made by the same company Champion Petfoods. According to their website, here are the differences between the two...Meat Concentration: Orijen is made with 70-75% meat ingredients while Acana has between 40 to 65%, depending on the formula; Amount of Protein: Orijen diets range between 38% and 42% protein, while Acana features protein levels of 29-34%; Amount of Carbohydrates: Orijen diets range from 18-22% of carbohydrate, while Acana diets are typically in the 28-30% carbohydrate range; Amount of Fresh Meat: Orijen is made with 28-35% of fresh meats, compared with Acana which ranges from 9-15% of fresh meats; Variety of Fresh Meat: Orijen contains a minimum of 5 fresh meats, compared to Acana which contains 3 different fresh meat ingredients.

Questions to think about if considering fish dry dog foods. Does it contain ethoxyquin (preservative)? Are heavy metals and other toxins tested in fish and fish meals? Is the fish frozen or fresh when the dog food is manufactured? How many species of fish and fish meal are included in the formulas? Prices for fish are the among highest in dry dog foods.

ACANA Pacifica (Champion Petfoods)
Ingredients: Boneless salmon (natural source of EPA, DHA), salmon meal, herring meal, russet potato, peas, whitefish meal (wild-caught flounder, halibut and cod), sweet potatoes, salmon oil (preserved with vitamin E), sun-cured alfalfa, boneless herring, boneless flounder, natural fish flavors, pumpkin, turnip greens, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, apples, organic kelp, cranberries, blueberries, juniper berries, black currants, chicory root, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile flowers, lavender flowers, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, zinc proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, iron proteinate, vitamin B6, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, selenium, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 33%; Crude Fat (min) 18%; Crude Fiber (max) 3%; Moisture (max) 10%; Calcium (min) 1.4%; Phosphorus (min) 1.1%; Omega-6 (min) 2.6%; Omega-3 (min) 1.3%; DHA/EPA 0.9%/0.3%; Carbohydrate (max) 27%. Calories: 430 kcal per 250 ml cup. 

ORIJEN 6 Fish (Champion Petfoods)
Ingredients: Fresh deboned salmon, salmon meal, herring meal, russet potato, fresh deboned lake whitefish, sweet potato, peas, salmon oil (preserved with vitamin E), fresh deboned walleye, fresh deboned herring, sun-cured alfalfa, fresh deboned flounder, fresh deboned lake trout, dehydrated organic kelp, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, saskatoon berries, black currants, choline chloride, psyllium, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile flowers, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, sea salt, vitamin supplements (vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin C, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12), mineral supplements (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 40%; Crude Fat (min) 18%; Crude Fiber (max) 3%; Moisture (max) 10%; Calcium (max) 1.7%; Phosphorus (max) 1.4%; Omega-6 (min) 3.0%; Omega-3 (min) 1.2%; DHA/EPA 0.7%/0.3%; Carbohydrate (max) 20%. Calories: 460 kcal per 250 ml cup.

EVO Herring & Salmon Formula (Natura Pet)
Ingredients:  Herring, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Peas, Salmon, Eggs, Herring Oil, Pea Fiber, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Apples, Carrots, Cottage Cheese, Dried Chicory Root, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Minerals & Vitamins [Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Dicalcium Pantothenate, dl-Methionine, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Potassium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin C Supplement (Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement (Alpha Tocopherol), Zinc Proteinate], Direct-Fed Microbials. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 42%; Crude Fat (min) 18%; Crude Fiber (max) 3%; Moisture (max) 10%; Calcium (max) 1.7%; Phosphorus (max) 1.4%; Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Fatty Acid) 1.4%; Omega-3 Fatty Acids (min) 2.6%; Carbohydrates NFE (max) 18%. Calories: 456 kcal/cup.

TASTE OF THE WILD Pacific Stream with Smoked Salmon (Diamond Pet Products)
Ingredients: Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, canola oil, salmon meal, smoked salmon, potato fiber, natural flavor, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces cerevesiae fermentation solubles, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folicGuaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein Minimum 25.00%; Crude Fat Minimum 15.00%; Crude Fiber Maximum 3.00%; Moisture Maximum 10.00%
Sodium Maximum 0.30%; Omega-6 Fatty Acids Minimum 2.40%; Omega-3 Fatty Acids Minimum 0.30%. Calories: 360 kcal/cup.

CANIDAE Grain Free Salmon Formula (Diamond Pet Products)
Ingredients: Salmon meal, potatoes, potato protein, ocean fish meal, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), peas, tomato pomace, natural flavor, choline chloride, suncured alfalfa meal, inulin (from chicory root), lecithin, sage extract, cranberries, beta-carotene, rosemary extract, sunflower oil, yucca schidigera extract, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, cobalt proteinate, papaya, pineapple. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein Minimum 40.00%; Crude Fat Minimum 20.00%; Crude Fiber Maximum 3.00%; Moisture Maximum 10.00%; Linoleic Acid (Omega-6) Minimum 3.70%; Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega-3) Minimum 1.00%; Calcium 1.20%; Phosphorus 0.90%. Calories: 498 kcal/cup.

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato & Fish (Diamond Pet Foods)
Ingredients: Sweet Potatoes, Salmon, Salmon Meal, Canola Oil, Potato Fiber, Natural Flavor, Sodium Chloride, Salmon Oil (a source of DHA), Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Methionine, Choline Chloride, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein Minimum 21.00%; Crude Fat Minimum 10.00%; Crude Fiber Maximum 3.00%; Moisture Maximum 10.00%; Omega-6 Fatty Acids Minimum 2.00%; Omega-3 Fatty Acids Minimum 0.50%; Calcium 1.00%; Phosphorus 0.90%. Calories: No information found on website.

Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe (Hagan Pet Foods)
Ingredients: Whitefish, Whitefish Meal, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potato, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Pea Fiber, Tomato Pomace, Natural Fish Flavor, Flaxseed, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Vitamins & Minerals, Choline Chloride, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Products, Rosemary Extract. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein Minimum 34.00%; Crude Fat Minimum 14.00%; Crude Fiber Maximum 7.00%; Moisture Maximum 10.00%; Omega-6 Fatty Acids Minimum 2.00%; Omega-3 Fatty Acids Minimum 0.80%; Calcium 2.10%; Phosphorus 1.50%. Calories: 430 kcal per cup.

Resources: FDA Animal & Veterinary Resources for You - Pet Food Labels provides additional information on ethoxyquin (scroll down to ingredient lists).

October 23, 2010

Love is the only gold.

Sammy - R.I.P.
Today is the three-year anniversary. 
My very first blog post was a tribute to Sammy. 
Memories of him are still really strong.

Sammy at Kitty Hawk

Four Feet

I have done mostly what men do,
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can't forget, if I wanted to,
Four-Feet trotting behind.

Day after day, the whole day through--
Wherever my road inclined--
Four-Feet said, 'I am coming with you!'
And trotted along behind.

Now I must go by some other round--
Which I shall never find--
Some where that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.

- Rudyard Kipling

October 22, 2010

Learning never exhausts the mind.

More information on frozen raw food

After reading through the ingredients lists of 11 "chicken" frozen raw food products in an earlier post this week, it prompted me to ask: What are the guidelines or regulations, if any, for raw dog food? Warning: The info below is gag-inducing because it discusses animal feed, raw meat sources, pathogens and other creepy-crawly things, etc.

A quick Google search led me to a document entitled "Guidance For Industry:  Manufacture and Labeling of Raw Meat Foods for Companion and Captive Non-Companion Carnivores and Omnivores" by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Surveillance and Compliance in the Center for Veterinary Medicine. It is 14 pages long and each page is stamped with the words "Contains Non-Binding Recommendations." Below are excerpts from the document specific to ingredients that I find interesting, eye-opening...hope you do too!
  • "All meat- and poultry-derived ingredients should be United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)-inspected and passed for human consumption." (page 5)
  • "We recommend that bones and other hard materials be ground" (page 5) [to mitigate any risks of dental or gastrointestinal trauma] (page 9).
  • "All other ingredients should be suitable for use in animal feeds; that is, the ingredients should be of an appropriate grade that qualified experts [by scientific training and experience to evaluate the safety of substances directly or indirectly added to food] would agree they are safe for use in raw food for animals. " (page 5)
  • "There are generally three sources of animal tissues for raw meat foods for animals: meat obtained directly from human-food processing facilities; meat from animals that have died by means other than slaughter; and meat originally offered, but no longer suitable, for human consumption.  All raw tissues, even those inspected by the USDA and judged acceptable for sale to people for their consumption after proper cooking, pose a risk of being contaminated with pathogenic organisms and USDA requires safe handling instructions on raw meat products intended for human consumption (9 CFR 317.2(l)(3) and 9 CFR 381.125)."  (page 9)
  • "However, raw tissues obtained from mammals or poultry that have died other than from slaughter pose significantly increased risk of contamination with pathogenic organisms.  Even when collected from a USDA-inspected slaughter facility, tissues that are typically not offered for human consumption, but instead are permitted for use in animal feed, may not be subjected to the same rigorous inspection needed to minimize the risk of contamination and disease transmission.  Likewise, tissues that originally passed USDA inspection for human consumption, but that were later diverted for use in animal feeds, pose a risk for increased numbers of bacterial organisms, some of which may be pathogenic.  To minimize risk, we recommend that only sources of animal tissue ingredients that come from a USDA-inspected facility and have passed USDA inspection for human consumption should be used for manufacturing foods that contain raw meat, or other raw animal tissues, for consumption by dogs, cats, other companion or pet animals, and captive noncompanion animal carnivores and omnivores." (page 9)
  • "Manufacturers of raw meat foods for animals should take all measures necessary to prevent adulteration.  Measures that would help minimize contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and prevent the growth of pathogens could include irradiating the product after final packaging as provided for in 21 CFR Part 579, participation in the USDA’s voluntary inspection program (9 CFR Part 355), and practicing GMP’s such as those for human foods in 21 CFR Part 110.  Development and implementation of a HACCP program would be an effective and rational means of fostering food safety through hazard identification and preventive controls.  The desired outcome is to reduce the risk of microbial contamination or other adulteration for raw animal feed products." (page 9-10)

Bottom Line:  If a company or manufacturer did its homework, it would have considered all or some of these guidelines, which I think are rational and reasonable. Information in bullets #1 and #4 were the most thought provoking. Helps me understand why companies may put a lot of emphasis on the terms USDA-inspected or human-grade and that they are actual, allowable terms (so long as they can be substantiated). The document also discusses: food-borne pathogens and food contamination in the context of human health and safety; the long-term history and practice of raw feeding in zoo-settings; labeling requirements; and nutritional adequacy and deficiency of a raw diet. Worth a read (or download for later use). Information is power!

"Guidance For Industry:  Manufacture and Labeling of Raw Meat Foods for Companion and Captive Non-Companion Carnivores and Omnivores" - FDA Office of Surveillance and Compliance in the Center for Veterinary Medicine. Additional copies of this guidance document may be requested from the Communications Staff (HFV-12), Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, 7500 Standish Place, Rockville, MD  20855 and may be viewed on the FDA website.

October 21, 2010

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

For more than 18 months, I've been on this endless road of seemingly small jobs working with companion animals. Each one meaningful but the sum of it all is still shaping itself. I'm hoping by doing the little jobs very very very well, the big one will come. I'm trying to get my foot into the door of an industry that is making genuine, positive differences in the health and well-being of pets.

I'm taking risks and thinking outside the box. I'm out there talking to strangers convincing them that I can help them.  So far, they're listening and asking questions. Now, I need them to believe in me and say Yes! But just how do I do that?

I know that my self-doubts fall away when I'm clear, honest and passionate about my goals. All I can do is stay on course.  


October 20, 2010

Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill; Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.

If you are thinking about taking a special trip with your dog, there is one place you must go...together...Glen Highland Farm in New York. GHF hosts an awesome Camp for dogs and their people in July and from July to October, vacation with your dog(s) on 175 acres of beautiful rolling hills via Country Getaways.

We drove coast to coast a few years back with Josey & Lucas to vacation at GHF. The trip was simply amazing. At GHF, BCs were off-leash on the trails and everywhere else on the property, too.

This photo pretty much says it all - pure freedom and joy....

October 19, 2010

All progress occurs because people dare to be different.

I love to cook and read recipes. So I thought it interesting to collect ingredient lists (1) from 11 frozen raw food chicken products and where I could find it, I pulled guaranteed analysis info, too. Most look just like my grocery list! We can learn a lot from them.

Get the Facts
Do you read human & dog food labels and ask - What does this term really mean? I'm talking about natural, organic, free-range, hormone-free, etc. In college I studied soil science so when I think of organic, it is a sustainable way of producing & harvesting food crops without conventional pesticides and fertilizers, etc. At the moment, I know no one can claim that organic produce is more nutritious than conventionally grown produce. The scientific evidence is just not there yet; but it's coming! Because dog food companies claim to use human-grade food stuffs, the facts below pertain to human foods and may or may not apply to dog foods.

  • No steroid hormones are approved for use in poultry (chicken & turkey) and swine (pork). (2)
  • Certain steroid hormones have been approved for use at very low concentrations to increase the rate of weight gain and/or improve feed efficiency in beef cattle. (2)
  • A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. (3)
  • "No antibiotics added" may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the [USDA] demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics. (3)
  • The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people. (4)
  • Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water. (4)
  • Natural does not mean organic. Natural and organic are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can still appear on food labels. However, don't confuse these terms with "organic." (5)

I like these facts because I can balance it with what I already know. They guide me. Helps me decide if that package of organic, antibiotic-free, hormone-free boneless chicken meat is worth buying.
Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!
I respect the companies (below) for daring to be different in the pet food industry. Though frozen raw food, in my opinion, should stay a niche market. It's too unconventional for the mainstream. Each chicken recipe below is unique and we already know there is no right or wrong way to feed raw. Some products appear more homemade looking than others. Some come in commercial packaging and others packed in simple containers. A few with added vitamin and mineral supplements and others without. Read on!

Aunt Jeni's Chicken - Ingredients: Bell & Evans® Chicken; Chicken heart; Chicken liver; Chicken gizzards; finely ground, real, raw Chicken bones; pureed carrots, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and apples; farm-fresh whole eggs (including shells); ground organic flax seeds; fresh garlic; raw, unpasteurized honey; organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar; powdered organic alfalfa and kelp; fresh parsley. Guaranteed Analysis: Moisture 71.0%, Protein 10.0%, Fat 10.0%, Fiber 2.0%, Ash 2.3%, Calcium 1.07%, Phosphorus 0.85%.

Bravo Original Formula Chicken - Ingredients: Antibiotic-free chicken necks & frames, antibiotic-free chicken, antibiotic-free chicken organs (hearts, gizzards, liver), green beans, acorn squash, broccoli. Guaranteed Analysis: Moisture 70.38%, Protein 14.24%, Fat 8.32%, Fiber 0.2%, Ash 3.41%, Calcium 0.96%, Phosphorus 0.60%.

Creston Valley Meats Berry Chicken Mix - Ingredients: ground chicken with bone and organs, Spinach, Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Raspberries, Blueberries, flax seed, honey, salmon oil. Guaranteed Analysis: No information available.

Excel K9 Diet Chicken - Ingredients: Whole ground chicken, including bone and organ meat, assorted fruits and vegetables as season permits, kelp, alfalfa, lecithin, whole egg, organic apple cider vinegar, organic salmon oil. Guaranteed Analysis: No information available.

K9 Kraving Chicken & Vegetable - Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Hearts, Chicken Gizzards, Chicken Liver, Ground Chicken Bone, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Linseed (Flax) Meal, Sunflower Meal, Tomato Pumice (Dry), Carrots (Dry), Kelp (Dry), Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Natural, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin A, Niacin, D Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin, Selenoyeast, Biotin, Vitamin B12, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamine Mononitrate, Cobalt Carbonate, Folic Acid, EDDI (source of iodine). Guaranteed Analysis, As Fed: Crude Protein (Min.) 13.0%; Crude Fiber (Max.) 1.0%; Crude Fat (Min.) 10.0%; Moisture (Max.) 70.0%.

Nature's Variety Chicken - Ingredients: Chicken, Raw Ground Chicken Bone, Turkey, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Chicken Eggs, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Salmon Oil, Olive Oil, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Duck Eggs, Pheasant Eggs, Quail Eggs, Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, Clove. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min): 13.0%; Crude Fat (min): 6.0%; Crude Fiber (max): 2.0%; Moisture (max): 68.0%.

Primal Chicken Mix - Ingredients: Chicken Neck, Chicken Frames, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Dandelion Greens, Mango, Organic Apples, Organic Parsley. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 13.0%; Crude Fat (min) 6.0%; Crude Fiber (max) 1.0%; Moisture (max) 71.0%.

Raw Advantage Organic Chicken Dinner - Ingredients: organic chicken, organic millet, organic oats, organic carrots, organic zucchini, organic kale, organic beets, organic ground flaxseed, organic dried kelp, organic wheatgrass, organic garlic powder and organic lecithin. Guaranteed Analysis: No information available.

SmallBatch Chicken - Ingredients: Free Range Chicken Frames (including muscle meat and bone), Yams*, Egg Yolks*, Kale*, Carrots*, Broccoli*, Squash*, Basil*, Parsley*, Rosemary*, Salmon Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar*, Kelp*, Bee Pollen*, Grapefruit Seed Extract*. (*organic) Guaranteed Analysis: Moisture 72.2%; Protein 12.1%; Fat 9.9%; Fiber 0.5%; Ash 2.8%; Calcium 0.51%; Phosphorus 0.3%.

Stella & Chewy's Chicken - Ingredients: Chicken (ground with bone), chicken liver, chicken gizzard, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic apples, organic blueberries, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, direct-fed microorganisms (Pediococcus acidilactici, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Enterococcus faecium), magnesium oxide, natural tocopherols, vitamin E supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement. Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein min 15.0%; crude fat min 9.0%; crude fiber max 2.0%; moisture max 70.0%.

Steve's Real Food Chicken - Ingredients: Ground chicken (with ground bone), Broccoli, Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Chicken livers, Chicken gizzards, Flaxseed, Egg Shell Powder, Sardine/Anchovy Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Kelp, Sea Salt, Extract of Chicory (FOS), Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Rosemary Extract, Natural Flavors. Guaranteed Analysis: Protein: 10.0% minimum; Fat: 6.0% minimum; Fiber: 1.0% maximum; Moisture: 78.0% minimum.

Bottom Line: Reading through the ingredients, helps me sort out what's most important in a frozen raw food product. Raw is a part of my variety/rotation feeding method and these products make it convenient. At the same time, I'm interested in learning how to make it myself, too. 

(1) All of the product ingredients were sourced from companies’ websites.
(2) Food & Drug Administration (FDA) - Product Safety Information on Steroid Hormones
(3) U.S. Department of Agriculture - Meat & Poultry Labeling Terms
(4) Organic Trade Association - National Organic Standards Board Definition of "Organic"
(5) U.S. Department of Agriculture - Understanding Organic

Notes: This post was updated on October 20, 2010 to include facts on meat and poultry labeling. Other updates were made, too.

October 18, 2010

It is not down in any map; true places never are.

Kitty Hawk - 2004
Josey when she was 6 months old at Kitty Hawk, 
where we exercise during the fall & winter seasons.
There is comfort and joy watching Josey 
take the same route to the fence line year after year.

October 17, 2010

Every exit is an entry somewhere.

The other day I blogged about the foster BCs that have come through our home. I'm happy (and sad) to tell you that Juno found her Forever Home today! In the rain we drove to the mega dog park at Point Isabel to meet J & S. Immediately, J was smitten with Juno but sensed that S (the wife) had hesitations. Juno was a sweetheart the whole time at the busy dog park with the rain and all. She charmed them for sure. When it came down to making a decision about whether or not Juno would go home with them, S burst into tears. She was not sure if she was ready to let go of "Kira" (her BC mix that died 5 months ago). We were all quiet; but that's when Juno jumped into her lap to say, You're ready. I pretty much lost it after that, seeing that little gesture from Juno. I cried when I said good-bye to Juno (and I had not cried for Jim or Maddie). It just came pouring out...still not sure why. Juno will get a lot of love with her new family (and they plan to add a second dog later on). I'll feel better once I hear from Juno's Forever Home in a few days.

Hey Juno!  Lucas looked for you when I came home from the road trip. The first thing Josey did was pick up and play with the last toy you touched as if to reclaim it. I'll be missing you June Bug.

October 16, 2010

The art of reading between the lines is as old as manipulated information.

Innovation is at an all time high in the dog food industry. Take something we already know about human health, diet, exercise and weight management and apply it to dogs. Ta-dah! A new product that claims it will forever change the way consumers feed their dogs. It's called Proportions by SmartPak Canine. Proportions? Are you kidding me? Say proportions 3 times! In a nutshell, SmartPak combined 3 of their existing products PortionPaks (of dry dog food), LiveSmart Hearty Stew and LiveSmart Harvest Mix into this new snazzy product called "Proportions Whole Food Program." Are you snickering yet? According to this website: "Proportions program touts itself as a healthy alternative to the conventional canine diet & works by:
  1. Reducing carbohydrates and starches by feeding a reduced portion of high quality dry food;
  2. Increasing healthy, natural proteins and vegetables via a “stew” portion; and
  3. Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet with a “harvest mix” portion."
More from Proportions' website: "Proportions has created a convenient, easy way for anyone to feed a whole food diet.  Simply pour the 3 separate pouches of Hearty Stew, Crunchy Blend and Harvest Mix into his bowl and stir. Because of the delicious pumpkin soup, there’s no need to add water!"

Here's a snap shot from the SmartPak catalog - a "thought provoking" write up called 
"Four ways to you can build a better bowl of dog food."
1, 2, 3, 4 read more about each below
Here are SmartPak's products that make-up the Proportions Whole Food Program (though I'm not sure if the 4th product is included). We love to read labels and ask questions here at Around the Dog Bowl

Take a look for yourself, too!
BTW LiveSmart does not make a grain-free dog food
LiveSmart Chicken and Brown Rice Adult Formula (dry food)

"A high protein (24%) formula made with wholesome, high quality ingredients." [You can choose any dry food they sell (I think) for this component of the feeding program.]
Size: PortionPak (you specify amount per pak); 15 lb. and 30 lb. bags. Price: PortionPak prices vary;  15 lb. bag $22.95; 30 lb. bag $43.95. Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oats, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat (Naturally Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Vitamin E), Dried Eggs, Natural Flavor, Whole Ground Flaxseed, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Whole Carrots, Whole Apples, Herring Oil, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Garlic, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium longum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Lecithin, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate (source of Zinc), Iron Proteinate (source of Iron), Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate (source of Manganese), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Cobalt Proteinate (source of cobalt), Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Proteinate (source of Copper), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Rosemary Extract, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide (source of iodine), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein min 24.0%; Crude Fat min 14.0%; Crude Fiber max 4.0%; Moisture max 10.0%. Calories: 408 kcal/cup.

LiveSmart Hearty Stew (wet food)

"Hand-carved, human grade white meat chicken comes in a rich pumpkin soup with carrots and peas. Size: Small (3 oz/85 g), Medium (5.3 oz/150 g), Large (7 oz/200 g); 28 individual pouches per box. (Small replaces approximately 1/4 cup of dry kibble; Medium replaces approximately 1/2 cup and Large replaced approximately 3/4 cup.) Price: Small $24.95, Medium $39.95, Large $49.95 Ingredients: Boneless Chicken, Water, Pumpkin, Carrot, Pea, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Source of Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein min 12.0%; Crude Fat min 1.2%; Crude Fiber max 0.5%; Moisture max 84.0%. Calories: I could not locate info on calories (kcal/cup).

LiveSmart Harvest Mix (dehydrated raw fruits & vegetables)

"Human-grade dehydrated fruit and vegetable mix includes carrots, spinach, apples, blueberries and more, as well as enzymes that aid your dog’s digestion."  
Size: 8 oz. jar or 0.5 lbs. (approximately 56 servings for dogs up to 50 lbs, 28 servings for dogs 51 lbs and over) Price: $14.95 Ingredients: Dried Carrots, Freeze Dried Broccoli, Freeze Dried Spinach, Freeze Dried Peas, Dried Apples, Freeze Dried Blueberries, Freeze Dried Bananas, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Dried Pancrelipase. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein min 14.8%; Crude Fat min 2.5%; Crude Fiber max 22.0%; Moisture max 5.0%.

LiveSmart Canine Health (all-in-one supplement)

"Contains wellness ingredients that support the health of digestive, immune, joint and other systems. Helps keep dogs in peak condition with enzymes, pre- and probiotics; omega fatty acids; bioflavonoids and other antioxidants; plus glucosamine and MSM for strong bones and healthy cartilage."  
Size: bottle of 240 tablets (26-50lbs = 4 tablets daily) Price: $37.95 Ingredients: L-Glutamine, Glucosamine HCl (shellfish) 240 mg, Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) 131 mg, Taurine, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) 70 mg, Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) 31 mg, Pine Bark Extract, Fish Oil Powder supplying Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA), and Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA), N-Acetyl Cysteine, Arabinogalactan, L-Carnitine, Calcium Pantothenate (B5), Pancrelipase supplying Amylase, Protease, and Lipase, Quercetin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Oat Beta Glucan, Ginger Root Powder, Magnesium, Curcumin Extract, Green Tea Extract (decaffeinated), Bromelain 2400 GDU, Oleic Acid (Omega 9), Alpha Lipoichylsulfonylmethane (MSM) 70 mg, Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) 31 mg, Pine Bark Extract, Fish Oil Powder supplying Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA), and Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA), N-Acetyl Cysteine, Arabinogalactan, L-Carnitine, Calcium Pantothenate (B5), Pancrelipase supplying Amylase, Protease, and Lipase, Quercetin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Oat Beta Glucan, Ginger Root Powder, Magnesium, Curcumin Extract, Green Tea Extract (decaffeinated), Bromelain 2400 GDU, Oleic Acid (Omega 9), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lactoferrin, PrefloratinMF Plus®(a proprietary blend of Mannanoligosaccharides, Fructooligosaccharides, L. acidophilus, and B. longum). Dried Liver (porcine), Isomalt, Magnesium Stearate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Stabilized Flax Seed Oil Powder. 

Bottom Line: Am I right? Clever? Anyway, informed dog owners and enthusiasts will not be fooled by this innovation. Okay, I give Proportions' website credit for having educational materials entitled "How to Read a Label" and "Good and Bad Ingredients" in their Canine Nutrition University. It is a starting point for the masses to change how they feed their dogs. Who is their target audience? I imagine people who typically buy dog food at Wal-Mart, Target or their grocery store and those who would be drawn to pretty websites like Proportions. Because of the convenience, lazy people would like it too. I could not locate a price per box of Proportions on their website - that is odd! They are providing free samples but you have to enter data about your dog and yourself.  

So...what do you think?

Disclaimer: See right side bar.

October 15, 2010

The meeting of two eternities, the past and future....is precisely the present moment.

Updates on Juno, Maddie and Jim

If you've been following us, we opened our hearts & home to foster border collies for BCRNC. It's been an amazing, surprising experience so far. Below are updates on these BCs. New to the blog? Click on each name for previous posts. Enjoy!
Juno patiently waiting for dinner
Juno - current foster BC
She is foster BC number 3. Been with us since Monday and tonight (finally), she and Lucas wrestled each other! They've been dogzoomin' daily but the wrestling-style of play lets me know that Lucas is having fun with the new dog. Josey hates the chaos (Miss Fun Police) so we keep her away to keep everyone safe. Juno is the most challenging because her energy is crazy high, almost uncontrollable. But she's figuring out our routine helping to ease her worries. She's more relaxed after heavy exercise; we walk on leash, run off leash and play with toys. A few days ago, she'd still be panting and pacing. Juno is exercised twice a day right now because it still feels like summer around here; it's just a hot mess. Two applications came in for Juno already but we immediately rejected one and the other applicant is looking at another dog too. Depending on that outcome, Juno may or may not have her Forever Home this weekend. Meanwhile, I'm relying on Lucas to help me teach Juno to play and relax, too!

When BCs find Forever Homes, I keep in touch during a two-week period. It's not standard protocol but I think follow through is important. The lives of these adopted dogs have changed once again and being there helps them, new owners and me, too. I'm surprised that I think of them as often as I do.  Updates are always fun. Here are email excerpts from their new owners...

Maddie - adopted (fostered Sept-Oct)
"Within minutes after you left, Maddie started running laps around the house at top speed with Lacey on her tail. She made the pond a stop on one of her laps and dove in like she's been doing it her whole life. She is a VERY powerful swimmer and has absolutely NO fear of water. Her and Lacey now make regular trips to cool off and of course chase a toy if I throw it in. Her and Lacey became immediate friends and were rolling around and play biting. Maddie looks to her like a big sister and tags her around everywhere and they play constantly. She also gets along great with our little 14 yr old Holly. No playing for the old lady of course but Maddie never bothers or chases her. We'll be inviting other play friends over after she gets settled in.

Maddie has got to be the best snuggler as you know. She never hesitates to make herself a space on the couch or the bed. You've taught her well on kenneling because she immediately took to her dog house and will wait there until her food is served. Also, kudos on the obedience and leash training, you made it a snap for me to continue. She sits, lies down, heals and is getting better every day with a stay. She's very smart! Oddly I didn't hear her bark until yesterday. Of course she does the "woo woo" greeting which is most endearing, but is almost silent otherwise. I truly believe she must have some Basenji in her.

I could go on and on. We are so incredibly happy with Maddie and thank you for everything you've done and for allowing her into our lives."

Jim - adopted (fostered July-Sept)
Jim's new owner is the worrying-type. She was anxious about taking him to the dog park because she just adopted him but I reassured her that his social skills are rock-solid. In fact, Jim and I went to the dog park half a dozen times and there was never an issue. He was Velcro the first time but once he figured the place out, all was well. Here's a happy progress report on Jim:

"I took him to the dog park in Roseville this morning. He was a little scared, which I anticipated, and kept his tail tightly tucked between his legs. We walked around the park for at least 1/2 hour, so he could smell and investigate everything. After about 45 minutes, I began to see a change in his demeanor. He started gaining confidence and his tail came out from between his legs, he became curious about the other dogs, and the next thing I knew he was racing out to the middle to herd a black Lab who was chasing a ball. He suddenly started having so much fun, and would run with the other dogs, but always mindful of where I was and returning periodically to check on me. It was a little disconcerting having a couple of Great Danes, a Pit-bull, and a Boxer who weren't exactly well-behaved, and he looked really little compared to all the other big dogs. I was worried for his safety, but he had a blast and got to expend some energy! He was one fast little runner and his speed really surprised me! He was a tired pup when we returned home, and I figured this would be a good time to try and leave him for a bit. When I returned, there were a lot less drips on the floor by the window, so I think he napped and hopefully, was less anxious about my leaving."

October 14, 2010

Always pay attention to very quiet people because they are usually a triumph of mind over chatter.

Other types of raw dog food 

Raw dog food is not always frozen. It comes in other more convenient forms like dehydrated, freeze-dried and "air-dried." Hmm...isn't air drying dehydrating? All of these manufacturing processes remove water from food to preserve or reduce loss of certain nutritional properties. Ok, basic science but let's look into it more......(reader beware this is a ridiculously long post so grab a cup of coffee or tea!)

Definitions  As a starting point, I found several resources on-line to differentiate these terms in the context of human food science and technology (see below).
  • Drying is traditionally used for thermal removal of water to about 15-20% moisture at ambient (atmospheric) air conditions (1). 
  • Dehydration is traditionally sued for drying foods down to about 2-5% moisture (1). 
  • Freeze drying is a slow and expensive process. The frozen material is subjected to a pressure below the triple point (at zero degrees C, pressure: 610 Pa) and heated to cause ice sublimation to vapor (gas phase). This method is used for high-quality dried products, which contain heat-sensitive components such as vitamins, antibiotics and microbial culture. The virtual absence of air and low temperature prevents deterioration due to oxidation or chemical modification of the product. It also gives very porous products, which results in high rehydration rates. Rehydration is a process of moistening dry material (2). 
  • High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a method of food processing where food is subjected to elevated pressures (up to 87,000 pounds per square inch or approximately 6,000 atmospheres), with or without the addition of heat, to achieve microbial inactivation or to alter the food attributes in order to achieve consumer-desired qualities. Pressure inactivates most vegeta-tive bacteria at pressures above 60,000 pounds per square inch. HPP retains food quality, maintains shelf life. The process is also known as high hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP) and ultra high-pressure processing (UHP) (3).

Keep in mind dog food companies will use marketing terms like “low” or “gentle” heat to describe their manufacturing processes and to make their products appear superior to traditional processes or other brands. Think about this: we use heat to cook our fresh foods, we eat heat and cold processed foods, and human food manufacturers do not claim or make a big deal that their processes preserve vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals, etc. [the way dog food companies do]. This is a perfect example of balancing the information you read on dog food labels to reality. By doing your homework (or reading my blog!), you decide what to do with the information and prioritize what is most important to you.

Reading between the lines  Here are excerpts from three companies describing their processes:

Whole foods minus water. The Honest Kitchen’s foods are made using a technique called dehydration. This is a slow, gentle method of very minimally processing the food, which removes the moisture from our raw ingredients. Dehydration takes several hours, and uses warm air to ‘blow away’ the moisture (mostly at temperatures below 104 degrees, except for our meats and eggs, which are dehydrated at over 120 degrees in order to kill any pathogens that may be present, and make the food completely safe even for an immune compromised pet). Dehydration is much gentler than canning or extrusion, which generally involve very high heat and pressure, and are used to manufacture most types of pet food including most kibbled diets. Canning and extrusion involve such high temperatures, that many of the natural nutrients in the raw ingredients are actually destroyed, meaning the manufacturer must replace them with dozens of artificial vitamins and minerals, in order to make the finished product meet the AAFCO nutrient profiles.” - from The Honest Kitchen website

“Hydrostatic High Pressure (HHP) is a technology that ‘puts the squeeze’ on food pathogens without cooking out vital nutrients or changing the natural taste. It’s based on the discovery that bacteria cannot survive at pressures five times those found at the deepest sea level. To date, HHP is the only scientifically recognized pasteurization process that does not use heat or irradiation to accomplish this. But that’s just one of the steps we take to protect the health of your family and pet...When you freeze-dry a product, it starts out frozen. The ice crystals turn directly into water vapor, skipping the liquid stage. Through this process, practically all the nutritional value of the raw meat and produce is retained. In contrast, dehydrating a product requires high temperatures to evaporate the water. Since dehydrating is similar to cooking, many of the vital nutrients are lost.” - from Stella & Chewy’s website

"Raw without the thaw - the raw ingredients are gently air-dried to maintain the highest nutritional integrity.  Available in air-dried pouches. The gentle air-drying process delivers a high quality diet while maintaining the nutritional integrity of the natural raw materials. Air-drying is a sterile and safe food processing method, carried out under controlled conditions. Food is best used within 30 days after opening and can be stored in the freezer. - from ZiwiPeak website

Just a brief list of brands for each type of raw food:
  • The Honest Kitchen 
  • ZiwiPeak
  • SOJOS by Sojourner Farms
  • Dr. Harvey's
  • Happy Dog
  • Nature's Variety
  • Stella & Chewy's
  • Grandma Lucy's

Show & Tell  Don't know about you but I like to touch, smell and inspect my dogs' food especially if I want to try new products. So I'm saving you the trouble....below are three raw food products by The Honest Kitchen (dehydrated), Stella & Chewy's (freeze-dried) and ZiwiPeak (air-dried). They are considered "complete & balance" by AAFCO guidelines but depending on your dog's condition, additional supplements may be a good idea.

The Honest Kitchen
Free 1 oz. sample. Powder form + water turns into soup and later into oatmeal like texture.
Product: Embark Ingredients: USDA hormone-free turkey, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, spinach, carrots, organic coconut, apples, organic kelp, eggs, bananas, cranberries, rosemary, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate. Guaranteed Analysis: Protein 29%; Fat 16%; Moisture 7.8%; Calcium 1.6%; Phosphorus 1.0%; Magnesium 0.18%; Sodium 0.5%; Folic Acid 1.6% mg/kg. Calories: 524.64 kcal per cup (dry); 243.75 (as served, hydrated). Don't you agree that this calorie information is confusing? 

Stella & Chewy's 
6 oz. bag (12 patties) $10.99. Serve as is or rehydrate w/ 1/4 cup water per patty
Product: Freeze-Dried Dinners Duck Duck Goose. Ingredients: Duck (ground with bone), goose, turkey liver, turkey gizzard, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries, organic spinach,organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic apples, organic blueberries, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, direct-fed microorganisms (Pediococcus acidilactici, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Enterococcus faecium), magnesium oxide, natural tocopherols, viamin E supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, vitamin D3 supplement. Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein min 40.0%; crude fat min 28.0%; crude fiber max 4.0%; moisture max 5.0%. Calories: 55 kcal per  patty. I could not find information on the size (oz.) of each freeze-dried patty.
Another free sample. Texture is like bits of chewy jerky.
Product: Daily-Dog Air Dried Cuisine Lamb. Ingredients: Lamb - Meat (min. 65%), Liver, Tripe, Heart and Kidney (min. 19.5%), Chicory Inulin, Green-lipped Mussel (min. 4%), Fish Oil, Lecithin, Kelp, Vitamins and Minerals, Parsley, Naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, Additives: Vit. D3 592 IU/kg, Vit. E 7.4mg/kg, Copper (copper proteinate) 9.8mg/kg. Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein min 33.0%; crude fat min 27.0%; crude fiber max 1.5%; moisture max 15.0%; ash max 8.0%; calcium 2%; phosphorus 1.1%. Calories: 4,250 kcal/kg; 518 kcal per cup. I could not find any specific information about the company's air-drying process.

Bottom Line  These dog foods (and the list of brands) presented here are all excellent types of raw food products.  Clearly, all three companies are doing something different than the mainstream. They are making better dog food! Period. Sticker shock will keep typical dog owners away from these foods. Who is feeding this stuff to their dogs? I think there are two types of people: 1) people who want only the absolute best for their dog and willing to pay top dollar and 2) people who are cognizant, who want to add variety to their dog's diet, rotate different forms of dog food but are cost-conscious. Me? I'm #2. Stella & Chewy's is marketed for small breed dogs under 30 pounds. S&C's freeze-dried patties are special, high-value treats or toppers for my BCs. The Honest Kitchen mixes are expensive so I get the free 1 oz. samples for toppers (there are also handy 4 oz. travel sizes, too). THK may give some dogs bulky poop. Also, there are high mark-ups on a 4 lb. box of Embark; prices ranges from $35.95 to $53.99; THK sells it for $43.50.

Resources  (1) Handbook of Food Processing Equipment by Saravacos & Kostaropoulos; (2) Handbook of Food Preservation by Rahman; (3) High Pressure Processing Fact Sheet for Food Processors by Ohio State University. 

Disclaimer  When I blog about dog foods, supplements, treats, etc., my sole intent is to share information & experiences based on my own research and condition of my dogs. It may or may not pertain to your dog and it does not replace your vet's protocols. I am not a veterinarian, vet tech or canine nutritionist and I am not trained in any medical field. 

Notes  You made it to the end! Thank you! Very much appreciate that you read the entire post. I already blogged about frozen raw foods and now, other types of raw foods - all of which will be included in Favorite Things soon! In case you are wondering, I do not receive products, product samples or any financial incentives from companies & manufacturers. Free samples were picked up at independent retail stores (get to know your favorite store's owner/manager and they'll be happy to give you samples),

October 13, 2010

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.

What's for breakfast?

lip smacking goodness
dry food (Acana Pacifica)
raw ground turkey
celery (fresh, sliced)
sweet potato (baked, cubed)
banana (fresh, sliced)
joint supplement (NUPRO)
green food supplement w/ plant enzymes (Solid Gold Seameal)
fish oil

Josey & Lucas approved!
Yum Yum

October 12, 2010

Make decisions from the heart and use your head to make it work out.

For informed dog owners and enthusiasts, raw food is the number one choice for feeding. I've fed frozen raw food to Josey & Lucas for the past two years as part of my variety & rotation diet but never exclusively for extended periods. The packaged brands of frozen raw food are too cost prohibitive. However, I keep going back to it! Like I did this past weekend. Purchased a trail size of Nature's Variety Frozen Raw Chicken (0.75 lb. bag or 12 medallions @ $4.99). A 3 lb. bag or 48 medallions @ $13.99.

Bought frozen raw food + picked up free samples of dry food, too
Each medallion is 1 oz. and 65 calories.
Medallions as a topper on dry food with yogurt & supplements
Does the 'pasteurization' of this product result in its pale color? I love the idea of feeding my BCs raw food more often and exclusively (so long as it is affordable). Wanting to find out if I can make it work, I researched the large and small companies/brands:

Frozen Raw Food
Some of these brands are available at my independent retail stores or via raw food co-op. They offer the convenience of feeding raw without the mess, hassle of making your own. The major question is, as I understand it, do I choose a complete or incomplete raw food product?  Basically, complete (meat-M, organ-O, bone-B, vegetable, fruit, whole food, supplement, etc.) is considered "complete & balanced" by AAFCO guidelines and you can feed it solely; and incomplete (M-O-B only or M-O-B with some vegetables) means you still need to add fresh foods and supplements etc. Some brands make both complete and incomplete products. For each brand and its product, I collected the following criteria (detailed in a spreadsheet):
  • Complete or Incomplete
  • Price per Pound
  • Form (chub or patty)
  • Amount (pound) to feed per day
  • Price per day for 2 dogs
  • Availability
  • Ingredients
  • % protein and % fat (for complete meals)
  • % meat et al and % other (for incomplete meals)
  • calories (as kcal per cup)
All of the information I sourced directly from the company's website. To compare apples to apples, I tried my best to calculate the price per pound ($/lb.) because that is how much I'd feed each BC - one pound per day. What am I willing to pay price per pound?

Bottom Line: After careful thought and dose of reality, I came up with a frozen raw food product to try on the BCs.  Oma's Pride (incomplete). Sold at the raw food co-op, In the Raw K9 Grub, who claims to have the best prices. There is no annual membership fee, no minimum order and no delivery fee (if you pick up at designated location) but orders are placed every 15th of the month for once-a-month delivery and they charge state tax plus a local county tax.

To feed my BCs frozen raw food every day for one week, I would need approximately 15 pounds. Each BC would get 1 lb/day (split into 2 meals). Example prices:
  • 15 lbs of Oma's Pride (combo of 1 lb. chubs in Chicken, Turkey, Beef and Lamb) @ $28.33
The math works out to $30/week to feed frozen raw food. There would be additional expenses for feeding incomplete because of factoring in supplements, fresh foods, etc. but I always have these on hand anyway.

Only one week out the month? It's a good starting point and fits well into my variety and rotate feeding for Lucas & Josey.