What I Feed My Dog and Why I Feed What I Do

< A version of this article was published in the August 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 11DEC20 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/WhatIFeedAndWhy >

At least once a week, someone asks me, “Don, what food do you feed your dog?” Based on experience, they expect me to say, “I feed my dog brand X because it is the best food for all dogs!” Sadly, that is the response they hear far too often from other pet care professionals.

I tell them, “I feed Muppy a variety of different types and brands of foods. Every time I purchase food, I switch the primary protein source. I also mix additional water in with whatever food I am feeding. I do not believe that there is a single brand of food or formula that is or ever will be the “best” for all dogs.”

When I got my first puppy, Trivia, in 1975, I was a teenager. I knew nothing about dogs except that I liked them. I fed her dry food based on the recommendation of her veterinarian. When my wife and could afford our first home in the early ’80s, we continued to feed our dogs kibble.

In 1991 Paula was a vet tech, and we had just purchased our second home and a Cairn Terrier puppy we named Gus. Paula’s boss taught us that not all kibbles were the same, so we started Gus on a premium kibble. However, Gus soon developed health problems that led to his becoming the catalyst for our continuing education on pet nutrition. [ FMIhttp://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition ].

We learned dry food or kibble was developed during World War 2 when steel for cans and meat for dog food was in short supply. Today kibble is the type of food most commonly fed to dogs. Dog food companies promote kibble as if it is the best source of nutrition for a dog. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Kibble exists because it is cheap to manufacture, convenient to feed, has a long shelf-life and is less expensive for the consumer than higher-quality foods. Kibble meets the minimal nutritional requirements so that your dog will survive. It does not provide optimal nutrition that can help your dog thrive.

In 1998 we learned about the benefits of raw diets. We traveled to San Diego to attend a seminar with Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian advocating for the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet for pets. Based on what we learned from Dr. Wysong and Dr. Billinghurst, both veterinarians, we started to explore feeding fresh, whole food to our dogs.

In 2002, we started selling commercially prepared, frozen, raw food in the store. At the time, we had five dogs, so economics dictated that we fed a raw meal once a day and kibble once a day. When we were down to two dogs, we switched to feeding 100% raw. Since then, other options such as freeze-dried, and lightly- cooked diets, have also become available, and they are vastly superior to kibble. While we still sell mostly kibble, we also sell nine different food brands in the non-kibble category.

Just like you, my budget plays a role in what I choose to feed my pets. That’s why we fed a mixture of fresh food and kibble when we had five dogs. We knew that feeding a raw diet only a few times a week would be beneficial. One of the reasons we choose to limit our home to one small dog is so that we can afford to feed her the best.

I believe the best diet for a dog is composed of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone. The food should contain little or no soluble carbohydrates. Such a diet represents what a dog is designed to eat. Even the best kibble contains carbohydrates, and some formulas are over 50% carbs.

As much as possible, ingredients should be human-grade, but that is rare in kibble. When you see chicken on the ingredient list of a bag of dry dog food, you may envision a whole roast chicken, but what is probably in the food is a chicken frame. A chicken frame is the bones and cartilage of a chicken, containing the meat that was not removed for use in human products. Chicken frames are also often used in frozen raw diets. There is nothing inherently wrong with a chicken frame, but it is not what most consumers think is in their pet’s food when they see the word “chicken” on the label.

When Muppy joined us in 2013, we started feeding her various types and brands of food. Today, one meal every day is raw or lightly-cooked food. Her second meal may be the same type of food but is a different brand and protein. It may also be a freeze-dried or canned food, or even a very high quality, low carbohydrate kibble.

In the past 12-months, Muppy has eaten ten different brands of food composed of ten protein sources (beef, bison, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, salmon, sardines, turkey, and whitefish). To learn more about why I believe dietary rotation is so important, go to http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19.

You will note that the above image includes a water faucet. That is because I always add water to Muppy’s food. If she were surviving on her own, she would be looking for living food sources, like mice and other rodents, that are mostly water. If kibble, freeze-dried, or dehydrated food were are fed without adding water, they could be dehydrating.

So that is how I answer the question, “Don, what food do you feed your dog?” What I recommend for your dog will depend on their nutritional needs, your concerns, and your budget.

FMI – On a recent Woof Meow Show podcast, Kate and I talk about what we feed our pets with animal nutritionist and author Linda Case. – https://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatWeFeed-11JUL20

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Things I Wish I Had Known… The Importance of What I Feed My Pets – – WWM-MAR2019 – http://bit.ly/Things-Nutrition-1

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus – Maine Dog Magazine – Winter 2017 http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? http://bit.ly/What-Should-I-Feed-My-Pet

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog? – WWM-JUN2016 – http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourDog

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? http://bit.ly/ShouldIFeedMyPetARawDiet

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton with link to 1 hour video http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

Pet Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense http://bit.ly/DietRotation

Pet Nutrition – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 1 http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19

Pet Nutrition – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 2 http://bit.ly/DietRotation2

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

Podcast – What We Feed Our Pets and Why, with – Don Hanson, Kate Dutra, and Linda Casehttps://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatWeFeed-11JUL20

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Pet-Fooled

Green Acres Pet Nutrition Resources Page
( http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Home )

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Pet Nutrition – Which Companies Are Behind Your Pet’s Food?  – http://bit.ly/PetFoodComp

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©11DEC20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Which Are the Best Treats for Dogs?

< A version of this article was published in the December 2020 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< Updated 06DEC20 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/WhichTreats >

There are three typical reasons people give their dog treats. In order of importance, they are: 1) as reinforcement or rewards for desired behavior when training, 2) to keep them busy and occupied, and 3) “just because.” These treats are all used for different purposes, so things that will treat “best” will vary depending on how the treat will be used. However, since all treats are meant to be ingested I look closely at that as sources of nutrition. I recommend looking for these essential qualities in all treats.

All Treats Must be Healthy and Nutritious

When I give my dog something to eat, I want it to be healthy and benefit them nutritionally. That means I need to be an informed consumer and review the actual ingredients list on a package of treats and not let myself get seduced by the name or images on the packaging. Just like pet food, ingredients for treats must be listed in order by weight. When selecting treats for my dog, I want at least one of the top three ingredients to be a specified meat source. It should say something like turkey, chicken, or beef. Ingredients I avoid include; unidentified meat, poultry, by-products, sugar, propylene glycol, chemical preservatives such as BHA, artificial colors or dyes.

I also want to know the number of calories in each treat. Calories are typically reported as “kcal/treat.”

Over 50% of the dogs in America are obese, which is the definition of unhealthy. The average 50-pound dog only needs 700 to 900 calories per day. Some dog biscuits are equivalent to a third of a dog’s daily caloric intake and typically include low-quality ingredients, and are mostly carbohydrates. I prefer to give my dog high-quality calories in their food bowl rather than as a low-grade snack. Calories matter.

What I Look for in Training Treats

My treat bag always contains a variety of five or more different training treats. Some are high-value, meaning they are very palatable and usually at least ninety-percent meat. Freeze-dried meat treats are ideal in this category. I also include many lower-value treats and many treats that fall somewhere between the two. However, all meet my standards for healthy and nutritious, as noted above.

While training treats must be highly palatable, they must also be small, about the size of a pea, so the dog can rapidly consume it. Training is all about rewarding the dog many times for the desired behavior. In a training session, I will typically try to get multiple behaviors per minute. If I need to wait for the dog to consume the treat, it decreases efficiency. It also increases the probability of the dog becoming distracted. Since I may reward the dog ten to twenty-five times in a 5-minute training session, I want the treats to be small to minimize caloric intake. One of the meat treats I frequently use comes out of the package as a 0.75” by 1” rectangle that contains 5 calories. Because the treat is soft, I break it up into 6 to 8 pea-size pieces, limiting calories to 0.6 to  0.8 calories per behavior. Treat companies would love it if I told you to use the entire treat because you would buy more, but you don’t need to.

What I Look for in Treats Used to Keep My Dog “Busy”

Treats used to keep a dog “busy” should be thought of as snacks. Unlike a training treat, we want these treats to keep our dog engaged so that we can do something we need to do. I still want these treats to meet my healthy and nutritious standards noted above. I will always look closely at the ingredients list. Products in the snack category include; bully-sticks, pigs’ ears, beef tracheas, and a wide variety of freeze-dried products like chicken, duck, and turkey necks, cod, and salmon skins, and more. Smoked bones and frozen bones are also great, long-lasting snacks. Since all of these products are meant to be consumed and made from natural, non-manufactured ingredients, your dog needs to be supervised until you are confident that they will safely consume these snacks.

Also found in this category are No-Hide Chews, a long-lasting, easily digestible chew far safer than rawhides. And a Kong toy stuffed with some of your dog kibble and a dollop of peanut butter can also keep your dog busy. When Tikken was a puppy, a Kong would keep her occupied for up to an hour, after which she would take a long nap.

What I Look for in Treats I Give My Dog “Just Because”

Some of you might think I’m stingy, but it’s rare I give a dog something edible for no reason at all. There is almost always some level of interaction with me, which makes it a training exercise my dog loves. The treats I use in this case are often in the snack category described above.

For many, “Just Because” treats are often dog biscuits or other products made of questionable ingredients. Biscuits can often be too high in calories and carbohydrates, both of which contribute to dog obesity.

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

 Green Acres Pet Nutrition Resources Page – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Home

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop – http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Pet Nutrition – Which Companies Are Behind Your Pet’s Food?  – http://bit.ly/PetFoodComp

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

Podcast – What We Feed Our Pets and Why, with – Don Hanson, Kate Dutra, and Linda Case  – https://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatWeFeed-11JUL20

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). Don is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. He serves on the PPG Steering Committee and Advocacy Committee and is the Chair of The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©6-Dec-20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Pet Food – Why We Like My Perfect Pet

< Updated 23FEB20 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/WhyWeLikeMyPerfectPet >

We discovered My Perfect Pet at an industry tradeshow in September of 2019. After doing our due diligence and evaluating My Perfect Pet we test fed it with some of the Green Acres staff pets as well as some clients who volunteered to give it a try. As a result of that process, we knew the My Perfect Pet blends and the company and people behind My Perfect Pet represented the type of product we wanted to offer to you. In a recent press release, Green Acres co-owner, Don Hanson stated:

Common sense, as well as science, tells us that fresh, minimally processed foods offer the best nutrition for us, as well as our pets. The My Perfect Pet blends provide pets with excellent nutrition, whether fed exclusively or as part of a rotation diet and Muppy and Boomer find it delicious! When we add a brand of food to our offerings, we also want to know about the company and the person making the decisions. When My Perfect Pet owner, Karen Neola, told us ‘My Perfect Pet is an independent family-owned business founded with a mission to improve pet health through education and nutrition and to put pet health over profits’ I knew we had found exactly the type of partner Green Acres can count on and can support.

What We Like Best About My Perfect Pet

  • The quality of the ingredients – All of the ingredients used in My Perfect Pet blends come from suppliers who exclusively sell human-grade food, the same companies that supply restaurants and high-end grocers. The protein sources used in My Perfect Pet include eggs and quality cuts of muscle meat and organs; beef (round & liver), turkey (breast, thigh, & heart), chicken (breast & thigh), lamb (shoulder), and wild salmon (filet). A variety of fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots, celery, collards, green beans, kale, potatoes, spinach, & yams), cranberries, and kelp contribute important micro-nutrients and vitamins and these ingredients are also fit for human consumption. Lastly, My Perfect Pet incorporates freshly baked whole grain brown rice in their blends instead of adding artificial supplements. Whole grain brown rice provides a wealth of natural vitamins and minerals essential in the dog’s diet, along with fiber and a number of antioxidants, and phytochemicals to promote a healthy digestive tract, cardiovascular system, liver function, and immune system. Antioxidants including vitamin E, tocotrienols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid are available in immediate-release to slow-release forms and thus are available throughout the gastrointestinal tract over a long period after being consumed.

Look below and you will see images that show you exactly what the raw ingredients and finished product look like.

    • Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, and all are from the USA with the exception of the lamb which comes from New Zealand or Australia and coconut oil from the Philippines.
    • No ingredients are purchased from companies that sell “animal feed-grade” ingredients” or ingredients not fit for human consumption.
    • All ingredients are Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and free of preservatives.
    • All food ingredients and vitamin supplements are natural per AAFCO guidelines. Ingredients are purchased only from qualified human food suppliers in their fresh, whole or raw state. Raw meats, poultry and fish have been skinned and deboned, but not subjected to any rendering, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, fermentation, chemical or synthetic processing. Natural vitamins are derived solely from plant or animal sources. Minerals are chelated or otherwise compounded to improve bioavailability and absorption
    • During our Woof Meow Show interview with My Perfect Pet owner Karen Neola, she told us that when they are making the food, it was not unusual for her and her staff to make themselves lunch from the exact same ingredients used in My Perfect Pet blends. [ FMI Click to listen to our podcast ]
  • The minimal processing – My Perfect Pet blends are cooked per FDA food and safety guidelines to eliminate pathogens, removing the concern some might have about feeding fresh food. My Perfect Pet is cooked at much lower temperatures than either kibble or canned food, making it more nutritious, digestible, and delicious. While we still recommend raw diets and feed them to our own pets, in addition to My Perfect Pet blends, we believe that My Perfect Pets gently-cooked process makes sense, especially for anyone uncomfortable feeding raw.
  • The variety of proteins – We recognize and recommend the importance of dietary rotation for optimal health, and My Perfect Pet makes that practice easy with a wide variety of formulas. [ FMI – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 1 – http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19 ]
  • Transparency – If you know me, you know the lack of transparency and intentional deception in the pet food industry really annoys me. For example – there are kibble and canned food products that display prime cuts of meat on their packaging and when you read the ingredient labels you know that is not what is really in the food. When you look at the My Perfect Pet images (below) you know that those cuts of meat really are in the food. But transparency is about more than images. Pet food companies are required, by law, to publish AAFCO Dry Matter Nutrient Profiles; however, that is only half of the story. My Perfect Pet goes one step further than what the law requires and publishes the “As Fed” nutrient profiles, including carbs because they believe that is the right thing to do. Thank you!
  • Formulated By Experts to Meet All Regulatory Requirements – My Perfect Pet works with a wide variety of nutritional experts to formulate their blends and verifies that they meet all AAFCO and NRC requirements and confirms that they meet the nutrient profiles published on the label. They have 13 years of proven results.
  • Realistic – Due to the high quality of the ingredients in the My Perfect Pet blends, it is going to be more expensive than kibble or dry pet food. Like Green Acres, My Perfect Pet recognizes that not everyone will be able to feed My Perfect Pet at every meal; however, even if you can only feed your pet fresh food on an intermittent basis, your pet will still benefit.
  • Karen Neola, Founder & Owner of My Perfect Pet – As Karen explained in our Woof Meow Show interview and as she does on the My Perfect Pet website, Karen started cooking for her own dogs after losing her Labrador Retriever to contaminated commercial dog food.
    • “I vowed never again to buy commercial pet food and started making my own, using only fresh whole, natural and safe ingredients – the same quality I trusted for myself.  I immersed myself in research on dog and cat nutrition and worked with nutritionists, veterinarians, universities and health care experts to create the perfect blend of all-natural high-quality ingredients that provide maximum nutrition for dogs and cats with the least processing and highest safety.  I did not start with any intent to build a business, it just kept growing.”
    • My Perfect Pet is an independent family-owned business founded with a mission to ‘improve pet health through education and nutrition’ and to put pet health over profits.   We didn’t start with a business plan; we started with a mission to teach pet parents how to make healthier choices for their pets and to deliver the same whole food nutrition to their pets that we know is best for the rest of the family.  We don’t answer to equity investors, only to our conscience. As long as my name is associated with My Perfect Pet, we will never compromise on the quality or integrity of our products.”

Nutrient Profiles – Cat Blends –

https://www.myperfectpetfood.com/store/assets/pdf/PROFILES_Cat_Blends.pdf

Nutrient Profiles – Standard Dog Blends – 

https://www.myperfectpetfood.com/store/assets/pdf/PROFILES_Std_Adult_Dog.pdf

Nutrient Profile – Buckaroo Puppy Blend – 

https://www.myperfectpetfood.com/store/assets/pdf/PROFILES_Puppy_Blend.pdf

Nutrient Profiles – Personal Care Dog Blends

https://www.myperfectpetfood.com/store/assets/pdf/PROFILES_Personal_Care_Dog_Blends2019.pdf

Images of My Perfect Pet Blends

Cat Formulas

Dog Formulas

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Our Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense http://bit.ly/DietRotation

The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 1 http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19

The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 2 http://bit.ly/DietRotation2

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©23FEB19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Things I Wish I Had Known… The Importance of What I Feed My Pets

< A version of this article will be published in the March 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News >

< A short link to this article – bit.ly/Things-Nutrition-1 >

When I brought home my first puppy in 1975, I bought the dog food recommended by her veterinarian. When I got married, and both my dog and Paula’s dog came to live with us, our only thought about dog food was budgetary. I now know that feeding the food that costs the least per pound can have significant hidden health costs.

In 1991 my wife and brought home our first puppy as a couple. On the advice of Paula’s employer, a veterinarian, we fed him a premium pet food. Within a year Gus developed a chronic urinary infection which his veterinarian believed was related to how he processed food.  Thus begin our journey of learning about pet nutrition. Late in 1995, we relocated to Maine where we became the new owners of the Green Acres Kennel Shop. Gus was still struggling with urinary and bladder issues, and we were committed to learning all that we could about the best nutrition for our pets and those of our clients. Eventually, we found a food that helped Gus, and we also begin to look very critically at every pet food we sold.  (FMIhttp://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition).

I am often asked by clients how they can learn more about their pet’s nutritional needs, something I encourage every pet parent to consider, and these are the resources I recommend.

Books

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack, by Dr. Richard Patton. While very technical, I believe this book does the best job of explaining the science and rationale for feeding our pets a biologically appropriate diet. ( FMI – Podcast –  http://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast, Videohttp://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton, Book reviewhttp://bit.ly/RuinedByExcess-BookReview ).

Dog Food Logic – Making Smart Decisions For Your Dog In An Age Of Too Many Choices, by Linda Case. A good review of dog nutrition, the pet food industry and what dog parents should look for and even more importantly, look to avoid.

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet, by Kymythy Schultze.  If you want to learn how to feed your pets a raw and natural diet that you make, from ingredients that you choose, this is the best place to start. NOTE: I specifically recommend against anyone feeding their pets a homemade diet if they have not done adequate research. If you fail to formulate an appropriate diet, you can harm your pet. This book provides sound advice.

See Spot Live Longer, by Steve Brown and Beth Taylor. By the founder of Steve’s Real Food for Pets, this book is an excellent introduction for anyone considering feeding a raw diet. Steve’s second book, Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, is also another excellent book for understanding the benefits of feeding raw, even if it is not for every meal. ( FMI – Podcast http://bit.ly/WfMw-SteveBrown-2010 ).

Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, Ph.D. This book was the one that initiated our search for natural healthcare and nutrition alternatives for Gus. The recipes for pet food are sound, but a bit biased towards grain and carbohydrates.

The Truth About Pet Foods by Dr. Randy Wysong. This book by Dr. Wysong dramatically changed my view of the pet food industry. It went from my naïve presumption that all pet food companies must be trustworthy to one of “buyer beware. A veterinarian and the owner of a pet food company, Wysong’s approach is very non-conventional. In this book, he states “It seems that the ideal would be for people to make their own pet foods.” Wow! The owner of a dog food company suggesting that pets will be healthier if their owners make their food from fresh, whole ingredients instead of feeding commercial dog food. Dr. Wysong is someone I can respect and trust. He was also the first person to help me understand the importance of rotating what we feed our pets and the reasons not to food them the same food day after day. (FMIWhy Rotating Diets Makes Sense http://bit.ly/DietRotation ). (FMI – download the book for free –  http://bit.ly/WysongTheTruthAboutPetFoods-pdf )

Videos

Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry is a 2016 documentary film about the pet food industry. Everyone I know who has seen Pet Fooled has a new attitude about what they feed their pet. The film is available on Netflix and other video-on-demand services listed at the Pet Fooled web site ( https://www.petfooled.com/ ). The filmmaker also maintains a Facebook page with valuable information on the pet food industry (

https://www.facebook.com/petfooled/ ). You can listen to an interview with Kohl Harrington, the director of Pet Fooled at  http://bit.ly/WfMw-Pet-Fooled

The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – This is a video of a presentation that Dr. Patton did for Green Acres Kennel Shop in April of 2016. ( http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton )

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©04MAR19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Blog Post – Ask Your Pet with Dr. Patton – Is Your Pet Obese?

Our friends at Vital Essentials have started a new video and blog series with Dr. Richard Patton, author of Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack and one of my favorite resources on pet nutrition. The first in this series addresses pet obesity.

Check out this video and blog post at https://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/blog/is-your-pet-obese/

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by LackThe paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/RuinedByExcess-BookReview

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? http://bit.ly/What-Should-I-Feed-My-Pet

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog? – WWM-JUN2016 – http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourDog

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? http://bit.ly/ShouldIFeedMyPetARawDiet

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus – Maine Dog Magazine – Winter 2017 http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttps://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast

Podcast –What do you feed your pets? http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourPets-Podcast

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellotti https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

 

Podcast – An Eastern Approach to Pet Nutrition with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncture

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from May 19th, 2018, Don learns about the Eastern or Chinese Medicine approach to nutrition from Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncture.  Last year Dr. Munzer completed a certification program in Chinese Food Therapy from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. He discusses the critical differences in the Chinese Medicine approach to nutrition as compared to what he learned in veterinary school where the approach was what is the bare minimum of nutrition necessary to sustain life. Chinese medicine looks at food more deeply for each individual patient. This can make the method better suited for treating specific health issues. Tune in and learn about this interesting approach to feeding your pet for optimal health from Dr. Michael Munzer.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Contact Info

Address: 77 Main St, Bucksport, ME 04416

Phone: (207) 956-0564

Website: http://www.allcreaturesholistic.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/allcreaturesholistic/

 

©19MAY18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Shared Blog Post – Gail Fisher’s Dog Tracks: Stop the pudgy pet trend with portion control

Gail Fisher’s Dog Tracks: Stop the pudgy pet trend with portion control – A great article from my friend Gail Fisher of Gail Fisher’s All Dogs Gym​ on the importance of measuring what we feed our dogs and not allowing them to get overweight. – http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20171015/NEWS01/171019603

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Shared Blog Post – Pet Obesity, Is there a Genetic Connection?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/27/shared-blog-post-pet-obesity-is-there-a-genetic-connection/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 What do you feed your pets?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/22/podcast-encore-what-do-you-feed-your-pets/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/06/podcast-pet-fooled-a-look-inside-a-questionable-industry-with-kohl-harrington/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Kymythy Schultze Author of Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/31/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-kymythy-schultze-author-of-natural-nutrition-for-cats-the-path-to-purrfect-health/

Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry – Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/24/podcast-pet-obesity-with-dr-chris-barry-kindred-spirits-veterinary-clinic/

 

 

Podcast – Zignature Limited Ingredient Pet Food

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show on June 17th, 2017, Kate and Don chat with Karen Shanahan and Matt Munzer from Pets Global, the company that developed Zignature dog food. Zignature is a line of limited ingredient, low glycemic foods ideal for dogs suffering from food allergies and tolerances or those that are overweight.

Topics covered include:

  • The origins of Zignature dog food.
  • Limited ingredient diets and why they are essential for many dogs that are allergic or intolerant to certain food ingredients, like chicken.
  • The premise behind Zignature – foods free of chicken, as well as grains and potato. These ingredients can cause allergies, yeast infections, and weight problems in many dogs.
  • Why meat is the first two ingredients in all Zignature foods which provide more protein and increased palatability.
  • Ingredients and Zignature’s commitment to sourcing what goes in their food from its most natural source. The non-meat ingredients used by Zignature vary from formula to formula. These ingredients include peas, chickpeas, sunflower oil, flaxseed, alfalfa meal, blueberries, carrots, and cranberries. We discuss how these ingredients are processed to ensure optimal bioavailability.
  • Why Zignature uses no chicken at all. Chicken is not used as a protein source nor as a source of fat. Chicken is not inherently a bad ingredient but is has been used extensively in pet food for decades and hence, some dogs have grown intolerant to it. Also, Zignature believes in truth in advertising. There are other pet foods that might be labeled as being “duck” or “venison, ” but they also include chicken.
  • Why Zignature is free of potatoes, tapioca, and grains. These ingredients often contribute to yeast (Candida) outbreaks in dogs, which can cause ear and skin issues.
  • Why sourcing of ingredients is important to Zignature. The quality of the ingredients determines the quality of the food. Some ingredients used in Zignature come from outside the USA because the USA is not always the best source for high-quality For a list of the benefits of the ingredients used in Zignature dog food, go to – http://zignature.com/?page_id=624&lang=en
  • Why Zignature does extensive testing on ingredients both before they are used and after the manufacture of the Zignature product. Testing is completed internally and by an outside independent laboratory before any product is shipped. They test to make sure the food contains the ingredients that it is supposed to contain, in the proper amounts, and that the food is not adulterated with any unacceptable ingredients.
  • Where Zignature’s dry formula food is manufactured. Zignature has contracted with Tuffy’s, the company behind NutriSource, PureVita and Natural Planet to manufacture their dry dog food. Tuffy’s is a family owned company in Minnesota that Green Acres knows and trusts.
  • Where Zignature’s canned formulas are manufactured. Zignature’s canned products are mad by Performance Pet, a certified organic facility located in South Dakota.
  • The importance of the Glycemic Index when selecting pet food ingredients. All food items consumed are broken down in the body. Carbohydrates are converted into fats and sugars. Foods higher on the glycemic index contain more sugar. Too many dogs are obese, and the incidence of diabetes in dogs is on the rise. Zignature selects ingredients that are lower on the Glycemic index, like peas and chickpeas. This helps combat obesity, diabetes, as well as the overproduction of yeast (Candida) which is responsible for ear and skin conditions and itchiness. Ingredients (white potato, brown rice, tapioca) used by many other companies are much higher on the glycemic index. This allows Zignature to be certified as a low glycemic dog food, which makes it an excellent choice for dogs that are overweight or diabetic.
  • Zignature’s novel approach to fiber content. Zignature products have higher amounts of fiber than many other dog foods, approximately 4.5 % to 6.5% fiber, on average, as compared to 4% in other foods. Zignature uses higher quality sources of fiber (alfalfa meal and flaxseed), as opposed to some food companies that use powdered cellulose (sawdust) or peanut hulls. The fiber in Zignature is beneficial for anal glands and acts like a fishermen’s net, clearing the colon of non-digested material, which keeps it out of the blood stream.
  • Zignature’s many adult formulas; Catfish, Duck, Kangaroo, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout & Salmon, Whitefish, and Venison and how they make it easy for you to rotate your dog’s

FMIhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

  • The benefits of Kangaroo as a protein source.
  • Zignature’s canned foods and why they are gum-free. Zignature uses no carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum, or locust bean gum in their canned foods. These food additives, often used in canned pet food, can contribute to inflammation and irritable bowel disease.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Pet Nutrition – Zignature Limited Ingredient Dog Food http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/19/pet-nutrition-zignature-limited-ingredient-dog-food/

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 2 – In the Spring 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 3 – Look for this article in the Summer 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/06/podcast-pet-fooled-a-look-inside-a-questionable-industry-with-kohl-harrington/

 

©3JUL17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
<Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – ENCORE: What do you feed your pets?

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

In this encore presentation from June 4th of 2016, Kate and Don answer the question “What do you feed your pets?” Because they work in a pet store, it is a question that they get frequently. Their answers may surprise you. They discuss what they look for in pet foods, what they avoid in pet foods, and what they feed their own cats and their dogs. Tune in and find out what two people who love to talk about nutrition feed their furry family members.

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Nutrition – Determining True Pet Food Costs – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Patton – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Food – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 What do you feed your pets? – http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellotti – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foods – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shubert – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Pets – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Pets – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Books

Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow <Click here for a free download>

Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of your Cat – Lynn Curtis

Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purr-fect Health – Kymythy Schultze

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

 

Films and Videos

Pet Fooled: A Look Inside A Questionable Industry by Kohl Harrington – http://www.petfooled.com/

 

©22APR17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
<Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus

< A version of this article was published in the Winter 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine>

In this series of articles on pet nutrition, I will start by discussing myself, my pets, and why I am so passionate about this topic. I will follow that with an article discussing the fundamental nutritional needs of both dogs and cats along with my opinion on the pros and cons of various type of diets; kibble/dry, canned/wet, homemade, frozen raw, freeze-dried raw, dehydrated, and others. Next, I will review the many myths circulating about pet food and the facts that refute those myths.  Lastly, I will discuss what to look for in a pet food and a pet food company and what to avoid.

The first four things I tell my clients and students about pet nutrition are; 1) Quality, wholesome nutrition from fresh, whole foods is fundamental to good health, 2) all pet food companies and pet foods are NOT the same, 3) there is no single brand or formula of pet food that is the “best” for all pets, and 4) Be wary when seeking advice on pet nutrition, as the pet food world can be a deceptive place. Considering the latter, you are probably asking yourself; “Why should I trust what this guy has to say about pet nutrition?”  So I will start with some background on why I am so passionate about this topic, and hopefully, you will find that I am worthy of your trust.

I became interested in pet nutrition long before I knew I would become a pet care professional. My interest was not driven by choice but by necessity. My wife and I adopted our Cairn Terrier Gus, in 1991. Before Gus had been with us for a year, he started to have chronic urinary tract infections (UTI). Our veterinarian tried all of the conventional treatments, and without fail, the infections kept coming back.

Crystals are often present in the urine when a dog has a UTI. Gus had two types of crystals in his urine; calcium oxalate crystals which occur when the urine is

Gus

acidic and triple phosphate or struvite crystals which occur in urine when it is alkaline or base. If you remember your high school chemistry, you will recall that acid and base are opposites. Measured on a numerical pH (Hydrogen potential) scale, seven is neutral, less than seven is acidic, and more than seven is base.

The pH of Gus’ urine could swing between 5 and 8 in a 24 hour period, going from base to acid and back. This variation in pH was just one more conundrum in determining what was going on with him, but our veterinarian was convinced it was a nutritional issue. As a result, he had us purchase several bags of different brands and formulas of pet food and to feed Gus x number of kibbles of one brand and y number of kibbles of another brand while monitoring his urinary pH and keeping records of our results. We did this for several weeks, and there was still no significant change. The infection cleared up, but the crystals remained, they continued to be an irritant and Gus continued to have accidents and infections. We kept trying different foods and measuring pH to no avail, and Gus eventually had to have a bladder stone removed.

In the summer of 1994, we vacationed in Maine, and while we were here, my wife purchased a copy of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats by Dr. Richard Pitcairn. After reading the book, Paula started preparing Gus’ food from scratch, based on recipes in Dr. Pitcairn’s book. We tried different recipes, measured Gus’ urinary pH, and there were still no significant, lasting improvements.

We moved to Maine in the fall of 1995 when we purchased Green Acres Kennel Shop, and Gus’ UTI’s remained a part of our lives. In the spring of 1997, a pet food distributor walked into the store trying to convince us to sell his brand of pet food. We were not looking for another food at the time, but as we chatted, we started sharing dog stories. We told him about Gus and his UTI’s, and then we realized we had something in common; he also had a dog that had had crystals in his urine. He told us his dogs UTI’s resolved when he started feeding his brand of food, supplemented by a probiotic and a pH supplement also manufactured by the company he represented. He offered us a six week supply of the food and supplements at no charge saying “Try it and let me know what you think.” At this point, we had been dealing with Gus’ UTI’s for over five years and thought what have we got to lose. Before we had used the six-week supply, we saw marked improvement in Gus’ urinary health and decided we needed to learn more about this pet food and supplement company.

We started feeding this brand of food to our pets and selling it in our store. This company has a strong belief in education, so we started reading the books written by the company’s owner, a veterinarian. His approach to nutrition was very different from other pet food companies. When asked “Why shouldn’t we feed our pets only dry pet food, even if it’s a quality brand?” he responded “For the same reasons people would not eat the same tired old packaged product at every meal for a lifetime. We intuitively know variety and freshness are linked to health. 100% is not known about nutrition, and it is therefore absurd to claim one can fabricate a 100% complete diet. It seems that the ideal would be for people to make their own pet foods, but many people are too busy for this. The critical thing is to know the ideal, and for pet carnivores that is their natural prey diet–fresh, whole, and raw. Since it is never possible to achieve the ideal at all times, compromises must be made. By keeping the diet as close to the ideal as possible, one makes the fewest compromises and thus has the best chance at health.” [emphasis added]

Wow! The owner of a pet food company is saying that fresh, whole food prepared by a pet’s guardian is a better choice than any commercial pet food. That is not something I ever expected to hear from the owner of a pet food company, but at a common sense level, everything he said makes perfect sense. This prompted us to start reading everything we could on pet nutrition as we wanted to feed our pets as best as we could afford while helping our clients do the same.

We have been on this pet nutrition journey for 24 plus years. We learn new things all of the time while watching the continually changing cast of characters in the pet food world. It takes effort to keep current with all of these changes, but we feel it is necessary because we need to be looking out for our pets.

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Homemade Food for Your Pet – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/31/pet-nutrition-homemade-food-for-your-pet/

Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Why Rotating Diets Makes Sensehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Determining True Pet Food Costshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/12/pet-nutrition-how-much-fat-is-in-your-pets-food/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

 

What do you feed your pets?http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Our Personal Journeyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/08/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-our-personal-journey/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Nutrition and Raw Food for Pets with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/02/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-nutrition-and-raw-food-for-pets-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

 

Books

Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow <Click here for a free download>

Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of your Cat – Lynn Curtis

Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purr-fect Health – Kymythy Schultze

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

 

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Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

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