What kind of food should I feed my dog?
This is a question that I get asked on a daily basis. When I go into the super market or pet store, there are so many choices nowadays. When I was a kid, we gave our dogs’ gaines burgers, milk bones, and kibble from the super market. Our dogs lived a long time and seemed to enjoy their over processed and artificial space age food. Things have changed immeasurably with dog and human food awareness in the past 35 or so years. We don’t want chemicals and processed food for us, or our animals. Some of us want holistic and organic food for our pets. Some of the dog food out there is human food quality. Unfortunately, that also means human food prices. We now also have to beware of pet food made in China with sub par and or potentially toxic ingredients. Being that most of us aren’t dog food nutritionists, reading the ingredients on the labels doesn’t really help much.
To insure that your pets get the healthiest and purest diet there is a movement to make your own food. There are many great sites that give you step by step guides. Here are a few:
Most folks don’t have the time for this—but there are services out there that will make you holistic/organic dog food, and deliver it. This is a wonderful option, but because of cost, it is not for everyone. This company delivers in LA: https://www.puredogfood.com/. Some folks go with raw food which is becoming much more accessible nowadays. You buy it in frozen patties from the pet store. Not all dogs like raw food, and you have to keep it frozen and defrost it in advance. A newer and more convenient option is to get the raw freeze dried dog food which keeps well, and has very few fillers. This is a bit expensive, but very easy. Four good options are:
There are new freeze dried meat companies popping up every day. If you do use the freeze dried raw food, make sure to hydrate it with lots of water and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. I also tend to add a wee bit of goats milk in with the food. It helps with digestion and dog’s seem to dig it.
Some trainers I know use raw freeze dried meat for treat training since dogs seem to respond well to it. Another option is buying freeze dried dogfood base, like Honest Kitchen and then adding some fresh meat.
Different dog breeds prefer different food. I always try to think of what the dog would eat in its natural habitat and get food that mimics that. For example—if you have a husky– it would most likely be eating salmon in the wild. Some dogs are picky, or have various digestive and allergy issues so you may have to contend with that. You can consult with your vet to see what they recommend. Very often they will recommend something from their office that most likely won’t be an organic choice—but you can always ask which meat protein would be the most agreeable for your breed of dog. I have found that most vets are pretty vague due to time constraints, but once in awhile you get someone who takes the time to give you some solid advice. You can always look online for forums for your dog breed and if you poke around you can find some good feeding tips on there. One thing that is important about dog food is the percentage of protein, fat, vitamins, fiber, and omegas. I got some really good advice from this website: http://www.reviews.com/dog-food/ and have put some of their info down below as well.
If you want to buy your food from a pet store or online here is a handy dandy guide for you.
A GUIDE OF THINGS TO AVOID IN ALL DOG FOOD:
GRAINS AND FILLERS: wheat, soy, corn, and beet pulp (isn’t toxic—but is in a lot of food and is becoming controversial because some dogs cannot digest it well). There are plenty of grain free options out there and it usually says it on the front of the product.
UNHEALTHY CHEMICALS: Propylene glycol, BHA, BHT ethoxyquin, and sodium selenite.
MYSTERY MEATS- When the label just says “Meat-meal”, “meat”, or “by products”. You should steer away from it.
ANYTHING FROM CHINA OR RENDERING PLANTS-These can include mystery meats, weird additives, and other things that you would not want to give your pet. China does not have well regulated plants. You definitely want food made in the USA, Canada, or Europe.
GUIDE OF WHAT YOU WANT IN DOG FOOD:
CERTIFIED ORGANIC-This is a quick way to avoid a bunch of hormones and antibiotics. When something says holistic, it doesn’t mean so much if it isn’t organic. It is worth the extra cost to get good ingredients.
VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS: C and E (natural preservatives), Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin
MEAT: Fish, Chicken, Beef, Duck, Liver, Eggs, Bison, Lamb, Venison
GOOD GRAINS: Oats and Quinoa
GOOD FRUITS AND VEGGIES: Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet potatoes, peas, apples, coconut, pumpkin, and celery. There are a lot more, but these are the ones that you usually will find in high quality foods
There are many high-quality brands of dry kibble available on the market as well. Here is a great list of the top 10 rated dog foods with healthy well balanced ingredients by reviews.com. They don’t include some other smaller brands of dehydrated raw food and raw foods—but if you don’t have time to make your own food or go raw–you can’t go wrong with this list.
3. Eagle Pack
5. Nature’s Logic
6. Stella & Chewy’s
10. Hi-Tek Naturals
Another good thing to try are raw or steamed veggies, instead of high calorie treats for your pup. Dog Camp LA’s mascot Merv’s favorite snacks are organic broccolini, green beans, lettuce, celery, carrots, cucumbers, and apples. I recommend trying a small piece at first to make sure that your pet can digest them. If your dog has a sensitive digestive tract, then it can upset their tummy. Carrots are a good one to start with. Cut your veggies or fruit into thin pieces. Don’t get too crazy with the veggies right away. Just test ‘em out and see how your pooch responds. It is recommended to steam cruciferous veggies first. Veggies are especially good for dogs who have weight problems, but are always hungry. Not all veggies and fruits are good for dogs. Do not give them grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, persimmons, or citrus. Here is a great online list of some veggies and fruits for dogs:
Hope this knowledge helps you to get through the pet store, and helps insure a healthy diet for your little buddy. Most of these companies that are listed make food for cats too. Send us photos of your pet enjoying his/her favorite organic fruits and veggies and we will post it on our blog firstname.lastname@example.org or FB page https://www.facebook.com/dogcamp.la
Over and Out
Dog Camp LA
JulaBell August 26th, 2016
Spring 2014 is starting off as an especially bad flea season all around the globe. It appears that some of the topical flea treatments like Frontline and Advantage that worked well in the past are not doing the trick in some flea infested regions. Here are some natural flea remedies for dogs and cats that you can do at home to help fight these pesky critters. I am giving you two types of advice, “sprouty “and “not so sprouty.”
I have recently been using food grade diatomaceous earth for flea treatment.
It is very inexpensive and natural. It is a silica product from dry lake beds made of tiny hard algae fossils called diatoms. These fossilized diatoms naturally kill negatively charged pests by piercing their exoskeletons which inadvertantly dehydrates them. You can spread the food grade diatomaceous earth all over your yard and you can even dust it in your house (I don’t recommend this because it is very messy, but it’s a good solution if you have a very bad infestation. It also kills bedbugs.). You need to wear a mask when you distribute it because even though it is non toxic–the particles are so tiny that it isn’t great for your lungs to breathe when it is floating in the air like a little dust cloud. It will settle in once you put it down–but be prepared to get the stuff all over you. It is very dusty to use and can be a bit drying to the skin; but it is non toxic and washes off easily. It is very light like talcum powder and you can shake it out of a pastry shaker to get the most even coverage. You can also take an old coffee can–pour it in there and pierce the top with lots of holes so you can shake it out.
You can buy DE online or at a local feed store. Stephens Hay and Grain in Glendale sells a 40 lb bag for $21.99 and a 4lb bag for $4. http://www.yelp.com/biz/stephens-hay-and-grain-glendale. Since they use it for horse corrals and domestic animal farms, almost every feed store carries it—so you can call around to get the best price. It is better to buy it locally to avoid shipping charges. Make sure you get the food grade type and not the industrial type. Diatomaceous Earth is also an excellent dewormer for dogs and humans. For instructions on how to use this natural solution for flea abatement/pet deworming consult these sites:
A lot of gardeners use DE to get rid of aphids and unwanted pests in their garden. This is powerful stuff.
Another thing that we use at Dog Camp LA/Ventura is orange oil.
It is completely natural and is produced solely from oranges. Often referred to as cold pressed orange oil, it is the very first capture of the oil found in the peels and rind of oranges. Orange oil is comprised mainly of d-limonene, 90% or greater. The remaining components are all found in the peel naturally (see Wikipedia orange oil for more definitions.) In addition, orange oil, or more preferably, d-limonene, has natural and proven pesticidal efficacy and is used in formulating flea dips and sprays. You can buy Citrus King orange oil online from Citrus depot at http://www.citrusdepot.net/shop/orange-oil/. Buy a Hudson sprayer and be prepared to use the a full gallon of solution on your yard. The yard mix consists of orange oil, 20% white vinegar, water, and dish soap. Fleas and other pests do not dig this stuff. It is also a good weed killer if you need to get rid of some stubborn weeds naturally. If you are feeling ambitious you can spray this stuff undiluted directly onto the exterior of your wood house. (It kills termites and other wood boring pests–and I read that this is what the exterminator’s do–but they charge a pretty penny for it.)
If your pet has a healthy coat and a good immune system, very often fleas will not infest them. There are many options for natural external flea abatement in books and online. Some vets will tell you about them and others will shake their heads because they aren’t all FDA approved. People like to take the easy way out when it comes to pests and unfortunately that can mean administering poisons to your pets and your environment. Some of the things you can try are:
Purification Flea Free Recipe
Place in a spray bottle and shake. Spritz daily to stay flea free!
Even though they are not so great for your pets—Advantage and Frontline have always worked well to treat fleas. You don’t want your pets to get fleas not only because you and they can suffer from the bites—but also because the fleas can carry worm larvae so when your pet eats a flea, they can end up getting some nasty internal parasites. As prefaced earlier, in some regions there are fleas that are becoming resistant to certain topical flea med formulas. If what you are doing works for you—no need to change it up–but you might want to try other options if you are having flea trouble and the natural ways are not cutting it for you. The natural methods take diligence and patience. I personally use a combination of the natural flea remedies and the topical or oral meds because when you run a camp for dogs–you can’t really take any chances. I used to recommend Advantage and Frontline to my clients, but lately I have been recommending these other products for people who need more than the natural methods of control:
Topical solutions that seem to work well: Revolution (get it by prescription from your vet) and K9Advantix (available online and at pet stores)
Oral meds that work fast: Comfortis and Trifexis (Only available by prescription from your vet)
Some of these treatments will also protect your dog from heartworm, ticks, and other parasites.
If the natural stuff doesn’t work—these meds will kick those fleas to the curb. Some people use these products during high flea season, and then switch to the natural remedies when it gets cold and the fleas are not a problem.
Most of the methods I have mentioned above, I have implemented myself. I am not a flea abatement specialist–just a concerned environmentalist and animal lover. Some of these treatments are potentially hazardous for dogs, cats, and humans if done incorrectly or in excess. Please use these methods with caution and do some research them before you try them. Please let us know your results. I found very little directives on the internet on how to use these remedies; but hopefully my research will benefit you and help to send you in the right direction.
For more flea remedies and tips check out:
JulaBell May 23rd, 2014