Recently I visited a fancy new pet supply store?* seriously, the fanciest store I've ever seen. It boasts a fenced and rubber-matted area for patrons' dogs to play while their owners shop; an area where owners can bathe their dogs (with warm water, cross ties in the raised tubs, shampoo and conditioner on tap, waterproof aprons, cool blow driers, and plenty of towels); an area where visiting veterinarians can provide vaccinations and basic health exams; a climate-controlled, glassed-in area for puppy and dog training classes; and, oh yeah, aisle after aisle after aisle of toys, beds, treats, shampoos, and lots and lots of dog (and cat) food.
The following is an excerpt adapted from a new book that can help you make smart decisions about what to feed your dog.
Three months ago, I asked, Why can't veterinary nutritionists design recipes that meet most nutritional needs through the use of whole foods
Industry analysts frequently observe that “humanization” has been a hot trend in pet food for the past few years. The term is used to describe products containing ingredients that are popular in the human food industry, as well as those that are manufactured and/or packaged to resemble human food.
When buying food for their dogs, owners depend on the product manufacturers to deliver a “complete and balanced” diet in those bags, cans, and frozen packages. Perhaps without even being aware of it, owners also understand that there are government agencies responsible for setting standards as to what constitutes a “complete and balanced diet” for dogs, and for making sure that pet food makers meet those standards.
premium / natural / holistic pet food makers.üToo many choices? Never! It's good to have options
the smart companies have found ways to offer products with the kind of ingredients that discerning pet owners want to see on the label. It's doubly smart
Have you ever wondered whether the label information on your dog's food packaging is accurate? If so, welcome to the club! We fret about this sort of thing, too and sometimes, our worries turn out to be well-founded.
As soon as a food is manufactured, it begins to undergo a variety of chemical and physical changes. It's a basic law of the universe (the second law of thermodynamics) that everything degrades over time. This includes the proteins and vitamins in dog foods, but it's the fats I worry about the most.
Fungus is more than a nuisance when it comes to corn; it can be deadly to dogs (and humans). Actually, it’s not fungus itself that’s a problem; the peril is a secondary chemical product created by the metabolic process of certain fungal species, in particular, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxin, the chemical produced by these fungi is not just toxic, it’s one of the most carcinogenic substances known to science.
Fish oil is probably the most important supplement you can add to your dog's diet, regardless of what type of diet you feed. EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, provide widespread benefits, but they are fragile and unlikely to survive storage in bags of kibble, or may be rancid even before being added to pet foods. Krill oil and whole fish also provide EPA and DHA that may be better absorbed, providing similar benefits in smaller doses.
All pets cared for by Hill’s Pet Nutrition live in a loving, safe, playful, and clean environment. We use only non-invasive, humane research methods. Hill’s does not participate in studies that jeopardize the health of dogs and cats. No study that requires euthanasia will be performed on dogs or cats. When studying how a nutrient is absorbed, distributed, stored, used and released by a dog’s or cat’s body, we use only research methods that are the veterinary equivalent of human nutritional or medical studies. Hill’s does not support or conduct studies that cause pain or hurt the dogs or cats. This is based on the belief that what is painful to humans is also painful to dogs and cats.