Question of the Week
When we started in Alaskan Malamutes more than 50 years ago, we became friends with long-time breeders Silver Sled Kennels. They not only had 20-plus Mals, but also dogs that were dropped off at their home that they continued to feed. They had a large stew pot that contained food and bakery goods that they picked up from local stores. The dogs all seemed healthy, so I started my own dog stew using a crock pot and putting in all our leftovers: meat, vegetables, fruit, bakery, even eggshells, as they are a good source of calcium. This stew goes over their dry dog food, 30 percent protein/20 percent fat; then about half their ration is raw meat. Thanks to my local hunter friends, this winter they are getting elk and venison. When I run out of that I buy chicken legs and thighs. My dogs can eat anything and never get upset stomachs or diarrhea because of this varied diet. If it does happen, it is off to the vet, as I know it is not something they ate. They also get a raw bone about once a week, and this keeps their teeth free of tartar. My 12-year-old has a beautiful set of white teeth and has never had any dental work.
I feed Pro Plan exclusively ... and have for about 30 years. I bred Gordon Setters, Irish Water Spaniels and Field Spaniels for show mostly, but have done performance, too.
My dogs were generally healthy, living from 10 to 16 years with great weight management and were very active and energetic. There were no issues with appetite or not eating unless there was an outside issue.
Recently the pricing has responded to our general price increases in meats, etc., but otherwise, the cost was doable ... and worth every penny saved in vet bills!
I feed a combination of high-quality dry (Victor) and some slightly cooked ground beef, organ meats, soft-cooked eggs and/or cottage cheese. I also like to add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
I breed and show Dobermans. I feed raw, my own homemade so I know exactly what they get.
I feed clean meat, no antibiotics or steroids, steamed veggies, bone, organ, and kefir or organic Greek yogurt.
Organic raw egg with shell every third day, one whole thread herring fish every five days. I like to feed heads or feet as snacks (chicken, duck, goose) a few times a week. Clean water source is critical, too.
I feed commercial and canned food. Iams dry and Pedigree cans. Tried raw several years ago and my dog had complete systems failure and had to be euthanized. I wouldn’t risk it again.
Madeira Beach, Florida
I am having great success with Dr. Marty's freeze-dried raw food as a base with dry-food Bil-Jac large-breed puppy. I use a third Dr. Marty’s soaked in warm water to two-thirds dry Bil-Jac. Mix together and feed. I have four boys, and I feed my 6-month-old pup to my 8½-year-old champion the same food.
I have fed Science Diet since 1975. I have used many of their different age-related or dietary needs foods — I have had EXCELLENT and CONSISTENT results! I cook chicken for the dogs with about 1/8 to 1/4 cup added to their meal. I have also used Royal Canin on occasion, again with excellent results.
In choosing a food, ask yourself these questions and do your research: 1. Is the food made in that company's own facilities? 2. Do they buy their own base product for that food? 3. Do they have their own veterinarians constantly researching and studying nutrition? 4. Can you call in and speak with a veterinarian? 5. Do they stand behind their products with replacement? 6. Are their foods delivered by their own company vehicles?
There are very few companies that can answer "yes" to all these questions, but these should at least be a starting point for choosing your food. Do your research! No food is the best for every dog, and due diligence on your part is paramount. I have a fairly large boarding kennel, with 40-plus years of observation as to many foods coming in with the dogs, and the results. The other side to all this is understanding ingredients, their ratios, and guaranteed analysis and feeding guides. Bioavailability is another matter!
Morgantown, West Virginia
I have fed Purina Pro Plan for over a decade. The majority of my adults eat 30/20 Sport, and I switch protein sources every few bags. My seniors eat Focus. I generally keep between four to seven dogs here at the house and I supplement with protein from our family table scraps and occasional scrambled eggs.
Jo Anne Mittelman
We have tried various foods over the years for our Cavaliers. We are currently feeding Open Farm Turkey with Ancestral Grains. Grains based on the DCM study, as heart is an issue in Cavaliers. We do a prebiotic and probiotics. We have fed Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach (salmon) when our Cavaliers were with handlers being campaigned. We have tried raw in the past, but find the Open Farm, which says it is naturally sourced, is the best for their digestive system and coat.
For 35 years I owned a chain of high-end pet-supply stores. I learned a great deal about dog food and the dog-food industry.
As soon as the "grain free" movement came along, after the international recall due to tainted wheat gluten in 2007, I saw a marketing ploy for what it was.
When the huge "grain free" scandal came along, a few years later, I had no problem helping my clients with other foods. Many said they wished they had listened to me and my employees about "grain free" being a big scam. A few of their dogs were really sick, and some died from lack of taurine in most of the newer boutique foods that suddenly came along to capitalize on the trend.
Lesson here is to trust old and established food lines. New and shiny isn't always better.
I have fed a food called Nature's Logic for more than two decades. I changed to it after Iams/Eukanuba sold to a big corporation and changed the formula, so they could make more money.
I trust this food, and my dogs love it year after year, generation after generation. They inhale it served with warm water, added canned or dry. This brand used to have a raw category, but after Covid, the supply chain became too much to deal with. (It was the best raw food I ever fed.) There are numerous protein varieties and canned as well. I can reach the owner on the phone.
It's expensive compared to the Pro Plan Performance I have used a couple of times: $61 wholesale for 25 pounds for NL compared to $54 from Amazon for 50 pounds of PP.
Yes, I like to experiment sometimes, as everyone I know feeds Pro Plan. So I held my nose and gave it a try. Twice. I couldn't tell any difference in their appearance other than stools twice as big, and some of my dogs didn't like the taste and would leave it sometimes. I don't like the ingredients because I know too much about the industry, and Purina has had recalls on some foods for dangerous Vitamin D levels.
The ingredient list on NL can't be beaten, and they have never had a recall.
Brookville, New York
That’s an age-old question going back to my childhood … and believe me, I’m old. As a 7-year-old with a beautiful Irish Setter puppy I really couldn’t understand why I was handed a can opener and a spoon, being told that is what I was to use to dole out my puppy’s food from the can. From that moment forward, I realized the food I ate would satisfy my dogs as well. All my dogs (Rough Collies and eventually Norfolk) throughout the years have been fed homemade food. Each gets a daily vitamin, two brewer’s-yeast tablets and a sprinkle of wheat germ in their food. My Norfolks’ food bowl each day includes a quarter of a hard-boiled egg, a little cooked sweet potato, a heaping teaspoon of pumpkin, two cooked baby carrots, a heaping teaspoon of low-fat cottage cheese, cooked chicken and cooked beef, to all of which I add warm broth saved from the cooked carrots and stored in the fridge until I need it. Sometimes I’ll add cooked string beans or left-over baked potatoes without the skin. And each gets a scoop of Health Extension kibble in their bowl. Each diet is adjusted to the needs of the dog. I admit if once in a while a dog gets a bit of diarrhea I turn to Science Diet canned WD stew. In reading the ingredients it’s really no different than my cooked diet, but I guess scientifically it’s measured correctly. I’m proud to say my Norfolk live long, healthy lives thanks to that can opener and spoon I was given when I was seven.