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What the Right Kind of Dog Food Can Do For You

Updated on February 24, 2012
This a picture of our Golden Retriever and German Shepard.  Bonnie Sue Lue and Einstein Mervin eating their dinner on our porch.
This a picture of our Golden Retriever and German Shepard. Bonnie Sue Lue and Einstein Mervin eating their dinner on our porch.

The Great Dog Food Debate

It's hard to tell who's on the right end of the dog food debate considering the conflicting studies and the fact that dog food manufacturing is not a regulated industry. One thing the sales representatives have often told me is that after switching dog food your dogs won't eat as much. The serving sizes are much smaller with premium food than with regular dog foods. I have never had a customer back that up though. However I have been told by many people that their dogs poop much less or their dogs poop is firmer and smaller. This is very nice if you have to clean up your yard or if you are currently house training.

I have answered the question "Why do Veterinarians recommend Science Diet" many times. Veterinarians use Science diet in Veterinary school so they are familiar with it, plus they get a commission from it. The veterinarians I have spoken to tell me they have reasons other than the quality of the food for suggesting it to customers. Ask your Veterinarian about some other Brands of dog food and see if they know anything about it. I have had people do that and all that did have said their veterinarian only knew about Science Diet and occasionally one other dog food. This goes back to the Veterinary college, I don't believe they teach their students about dog food, I think they have a Science Diet dog food representative do it. There are studies showing corn is a great source of protein! My dogs love corn. They pick it out of my garden! However, dogs can have allergies just like we can and it seems that the source of the allergies in many cases may be corn and wheat or grain related.

I published this hub about 4 weeks ago. Since that time I have found that Science Diet has come out with a Grain Free dog food!! I am so glad they are joining the rest of the world on the right side of the dog food debate!!


A Solution for some Dog Allergies and Aggression

I have witnessed several dogs with allergies, dogs with aggression, dogs that were losing their hair and dogs that were chewing on their feet improve dramatically on premium dog food. By premium I mean an affordable premium, I didn't send people to the most expensive dog food, the dog food I usually recommended was the best quality for the price like Nutro Natural Choice Dog Food, Nature's Recipe, Blue Buffalo and others. A Yorkie I trained was going to the vet constantly, on prescription food and having to get eye drops. His little eyes were so swollen and red, just raw looking. I had his Mamma put him on better food, he had been on Science Diet. After swapping to a better dog food he recovered fully and amazingly fast. She was hesitant to change his food at first because it was our vet that had recommended that the dog be on the Science Diet for allergies. Can you believe that the dog food recommended by the veterinarian, the Science Diet for allergies, was full of ingredients that a dog could be allergic to? It was worth the change for the Yorkie and the owner and for me worth the risk of recommending it. The Yorkie's eye problems have not returned and it has been several years since I had her switch his food from Science diet prescription dog food to a higher quality dog food.


A High Quality Dog Food Can Help With Dog Aggression Problems

A woman brought a black lab to me with allergies and hormone problems and aggressiveness toward other dogs. With training and a better quality of dog food the lab improved immensely. The aggression problems went away and the Labrador was able to get off the hormone and stress medication. This story didn't end as well as the previous story honestly, the veterinarian talked the lady back into the medication and Science diet dog food so the problems came back in about 6 months. Another woman brought a Blue Healer to me with problems similar to the Labradors issues. Both the Labrador and this Blue Healer are female by the way. The Blue Healer was aggressive toward their other dog and any dog nearby. Just like the lab with training and better dog food she improved immensely, started playing with the other dog and became happier all around. I never had trouble with her in the ring, even though she was surrounded by 8 strange dogs.



How to Change Dog Foods

I believe the regular Science diet is as good as any average dog food. I have compared the ingredients many times and they are approximately the same. Science Diet Grain Free dog food however, is a high quality of dog food! I am so glad they joined the rest of the world in dog food manufacturing! I recommend feeding your dogs an affordable high quality dry dog food that has no wheat, soy or corn, no animal byproducts and is gluten free. When and if you ever change your dogs food it may be necessary to do so slowly. I usually recommend feeding what you are currently feeding only cut back by 1/3 and add 1/3 of the new dog food mixed in. If your dogs stool is normal after a couple of days add more of the new dog food and less of the old until you have them swapped over. Some dogs don't need this they can go from one food to another with no problems but some dogs need to be swapped slowly. I have noticed from customer feedback that the more high strung dogs were prone to upset stomachs from switching dog food than the easy going pups but, take caution either way.

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    • eurozulu profile image

      bradley brown 4 years ago from Harrow Middlesex

      Excellent, informative article, great tips and advise some of which i am going to use.

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 5 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      That is very good information for me! I had no idea that there was something that could help with that. Now I have a great piece of advice for my customers with that problem. Thank you!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Excellent, informative article. So many problems stem from dog food. I have a MinPin with anal gland problems and I switched dog foods three times (he's now on Wellness) but nothing helped with that problem until I read about giving Min Pins pure pumpkin. Voila! No more anal problems. But I digress. I voted your hub up. Thanks for sharing.

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 5 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Your Very welcome!! Not to be nosy but, OK I am nosy. I can help ask her if she would like to email me through that link on my home pages here at the Hub. I would love to help you out:) I have much experience with dogs and dog food. I know almost as much about dog food and various problems related to dog food as I do about training.

    • Jessica Setz profile image

      Jessica Setz 5 years ago from Philipsburg, Netherlands Antilles

      Thank you for this information. Gonna send the link to my sister, she's having problems with some brand of food.

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 5 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Awww that is so awesome! I know what you mean, I love my puppies too! I was surprised to learn sometime ago how important teeth brushing was I am so glad your dog has such a great Mom. You really have your stuff together! Dogs really are our best friends and I don't care what anyone says they are like furry people.

      Thank You,

      Laura

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I do brush my dog's teeth, especially important since her food is moist. I also give her a Nylabone to chew on to keep her gums healthy.

      Everyone who knows me teases me because I'm so devoted to my little furry girl, but she brings such joy to my life that she's worth anything I do for her.

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 5 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      Yes I have used Johnson and Johnson on my pups with my Conditioner. I have found (as long as your dog has no allergies) that whatever I use on my hair makes their hair look awesome! SO soft and silky the best part is that it lasts and does not turn into stiff and greasy hair Regardless of the amount of time since their last bath. With the dog shampoos I would have had to wash them every 2 weeks. Human shampoos and conditioners maintain such a beautiful and natural skin and coat. Your very welcome I aim to help!

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 5 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I am glad your dog has such a great home! Feeding your dog home cooked meals is a wonderful thing just keep those teeth clean:)

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York

      It's important to realize that no kibble is perfect, since dogs were never meant to eat kibble. All kibbles contain some kind of carbohydrate to bind the pellets together. That's why it's important to try to feed real food as often as possible..that same logic should go with humans. Ideally, we would eat it all the time, but I realize that this won't happen overnight with most people. We still mostly feed dry food, and I've recently switched to Orijen.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Have you ever tried baby shampoo (no tears) and a mild conditioner for bathing your dogs? No medicinal smell, either! Thanks for the tip....Jaye

    • Laura Matkin profile image
      Author

      Laura Matkin 5 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I know what you mean, I have had people tell me that with a certain dog food their dogs actually ate the food but picked out what the dog food company referred to as the 'life source bits' or the part of the dog food with the vitamins and minerals. That is so funny because they are so small and the other part is large. It makes me think of people spitting out watermelon or popcorn seeds:) lol.

      Here is another tip I was saving for another Hub. The dog food industry is not regulated as you may know. Did you know that the dog hair product industry is not regulated either? I have found and recommended to people with good feed back that you use people shampoo and conditioner on your dog.

      Have you found that your dog's hair is stiff and greasy within a couple of weeks of washing them?

      I did and it's not over washing I wash my dogs about 5

      times a year.lol. When I started working at the store I

      used several of their products and all of my dogs hairs

      were stiff and oily within a couple of weeks so I used

      what I had been using. My Shampoo and Conditioner.

      I recommended this to people and it worked as well for

      them as it did for me. Long lasting shine, softness and

      no bad smell along with a much healthier coat that lasted

      much longer then even the most expensive dog shampoos

      and conditioners. I would caution people about using

      this on a dog with allergies but honestly I would try it

      along with the better quality of food.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      It's not completely accurate that Nature's Recipe contains no byproducts, although it may say so on the package label and it doesn't contain any chicken feet or beaks (unless they're pulverized into the ingredient called "chicken meal.")

      By the way, I'm not writing this just to be argumentative. I'm really concerned because companies selling commercial dog food use a lot of marketing hype to make their products seem safe and healthy. Their motivation, of course, is to make money, not keep dogs healthy.

      If you read the review of Nature's Recipe grain-free kibble, Chicken/Sweet Potato/Pumpkin recipe on DogFoodAdvisor.com (which they awarded 3 stars of a possible 5), they describe all the actual ingredients of the formula, including this statement:

      "The ninth ingredient is chicken digest. A digest is a chemically hydrolyzed brew of slaughterhouse waste. Animal digests are usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry dog food to improve its taste."

      That "chemically hydrolyzed brew of slaughterhouse waste" sounds like a very nasty by-product to me, which I wouldn't want to feed my dog.

      The review on that site adds this statement: "And lastly, this Nature’s Recipe product contains menadione… a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells."

      I no longer trust any commercial dog foods to be safe or of high quality. That's why I cook my dog's food myself from human-quality ingredients so I know what it contains and that it's prepared and stored under sanitary conditions.

      I keep enough of her freshly-cooked food covered in the refrigerator for three days, freezing the remainder in daily allotments. (She eats twice per day.) A daily canine multi vitamin and mineral supplement plus probiotics for dogs ensures she's getting all the nutrients she needs to stay healthy.

      Her annual wellness exam this past November got a "Great condition!" from her vet, who also approves what I feed her.

      I've noticed from my reading on the Internet that more people are cooking their dogs' meals at home since all the recalls of contaminated commercial dog food. It's very rewarding to me to do this for my beloved dog. I encourage other people to give it a try. There are many good home-cooked dog food recipes available on the Internet.

    • penlady profile image

      penlady 5 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      I love dogs and this article too! Very valuable information for dog lovers to know. Thanks for the hub.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

      You know, the aggressiveness and poor diet being related makes so much sense. How many times are people irritable when they don't feel good! Why not dogs?

      We tried the highest quality foods and our dogs went on a hunger strike...really. So, we returned to the medium priced brands (meats first on the list, of course--and no by products) and they gobbled it all up.

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