Letters May 2001 Issue

Food For Thought

No one writes about food like we do – and our readers are pleased.

The Whole Dog Journal is the best thing that has happened to Duke and I since Superman. Duke is my Golden Retriever buddy. Since Duke has been a puppy I have been feeding him commercial dog food. I have always felt that it wasn’t the best of foods, what with its by-products and preservatives.

About eight months ago I subscribed to WDJ and you ran an article on the top dry dog foods. I switched Duke’s food to one of your top picks, and in just the few months that he has been on this food I have noticed a much healthier dog.

A veterinarian reader suggests that dog
owners NOT rely on dry food as a sole diet,
saying canned food is healthier for dogs.

I can’t purchase the food locally, or any of the brands that you recommend in your article, for that matter. I have to order it through Pet Warehouse to be shipped to me. But that’s okay. I now understand why there are so many veterinarians in this area; the only foods there are to buy around here are the junk foods that are killing our dogs. For that matter, the veterinarian that I started Duke out with even sells and recommends Science Diet’s dog foods.

I have switched veterinarians.

-Jerry A. Schweitzer
Williamstown, WV

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Thank you so much for the food reviews. Putting my dog on a high quality food has made a ton of difference for her. She was constantly licking her feet. The vet gave me powder to relieve the pain and help the rawness go away, but she was not at all helpful at getting to the cause of my dog’s licking. I suspected it was a food allergy, but didn’t know how to choose a good food. Your February 2000 issue came just at the right time. I started Roxy on a new food, and stopped giving her “grocery store” treats. The licking has all but stopped. Every so often, she gets licky, and I can always trace it to an unauthorized treat.

-Linda Lavolette
via email

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I always enjoy reading WDJ and find I constantly learn from the articles you present each month. Concerning “Canned or Dry?” (January 2001): I would like to share some things that I learned over more than 40 years of small animal practice.

First and foremost, whether or not the veterinary profession recognizes it or not, there is a vast difference in the overall long-term effects of dry vs. canned (or fresh) pet diets. Most dry food is calorie-dense, and has a far greater tendency to produce overweight pets. This, in turn, leads to the “too numerous to mention” problems caused by excess weight.

Also, most dry foods cause the dog to produce an alkaline urine, not as acidic as it should be. Alkaline media, as any home canner will tell you, supports bacterial growth. So the incidence of renal disease, cystitis, vaginitis, vulvitis, and even bladder stones increases. I could give you endless examples from my practice experience. When dogs urinate on grass, a brown spot should not develop, but will, if the dog is on a dry food diet.

Any competent physical exam on the dog should always include palpation in the area of the kidneys. Most dogs having systemic infections will exhibit a pain reaction in this area, so vets look for it. I found it quite interesting that through decades of exams, most pets on dry food will exhibit discomfort. Those on canned do not. Sometimes the pain was quite dramatic, sometimes even to the point of being unwilling to walk. Or they might manifest an inability to easily go upstairs or jump in the car.

Every case of gastric dilatation or torsion I ever saw, with one exception, were on dry food diets. It was a problem, like many others, we did not have in my practice in suburban Virginia. I am not saying there is no place for dry food in a good nutritional plan, especially for large dogs. But to ignore the differences between these diets is to tread on very shaky supposition.

-Bud Stuart, DVM
Santa Barbara, CA

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