Dangers !! Commercial Dog Food

Your dog is your best friend. Don’t you want your best friend to eat food that is healthy? Despite some enthusiastic advertisements on television and the web, many commercial brands of dog food are not only not healthy but can be dangerous. A typical dog food commercial may show a gravy-soaked slice of beef or a stew for an image of the kind of food they are producing for dogs. Unfortunately, not only is this kind of advertising not accurate, but the real story behind these manipulated images is much darker.

If people knew what actually went into typical commercial dog food, chances are, they would never open a can of supermarket food again. It is not so surprising that subpar ingredients go into producing pet food since there are very few regulations governing the production of food for dogs and cats. Many pet food companies are mainly interested in keeping their expenses as low as possible so they can maximize profits.

Some of the ingredients that go into making commercial dog food are euphemistically called “rendering.” The word “rendering” sounds neutral enough, but the reality of what rendering is would turn anyone’s stomach. Rendering consists of whatever is left lying on the floor of the slaughterhouse including bones, eyes, and other inedible parts of slaughtered animals. In addition, rats and other vermin that wander around the slaughterhouse might find their way into the food, as well as maggots that are attached to carcasses. Spoiled supermarket food is another ingredient that could be used in pet food.

There is some indication that euthanized animals may also be used to make protein for pet food. If this is true, that means that dogs and cats that are fed commercial pet food are being forced to eat their own kind. In addition, the deadly chemicals used to euthanize animals are still present in the corpses of dogs and cats and are ingested by pets. The development of Mad Cow disease in the United Kingdom was in part caused by cows being fed low-quality products that included ground bones of dead cows. The result was a disease so severe that it spread from animals used for food to humans. Although the issue of pets is not the same as the cows whose meat we eat, the notion that almost anything can go to pet food, including euthanized pets, is disturbing.

It is important to be choosy about the kind of pet food you give to your animals and if you purchase commercial food, to only buy food from a reputable company. It may be hard to distinguish quality dog food from the variety that is made from inferior ingredients but is worth investigating and doing research. Giving natural pet food to your dog can be an important step to avoiding the health problems that can result from giving him typical commercial dog food.

The reality is that dogs can live much longer than what we believe is their typical lifespan. Commercial food that we give our pets may be poisoning them slowly. Even dogs that may seem healthy, happy and active can be slowly developing diseases. Canine cancers develop with alarming frequency and are mainly due to the kinds of foods that are given to them. The human fast food diet has been blamed for a rise in diabetes, cancer, and many other health problems. The same is true of dogs, and the situation may be even worse because of the extremely harmful ingredients in pet food.

The rate of cancer among pets is alarming. It is estimated that a 46% of dogs and 39% of cats die of cancer. In addition, obesity and kidney and liver disease are major killers among pets. Dogs and people have 75% of the same genetic makeup and are not so different when it comes to foods. Veterinarians and other pet experts may tell you that human food does not have the kind of nutrients that dogs need and may even be harmful. If this is the case, then one may wonder what dogs ate before the days of commercial dog food. Canines have been the companions of human beings for millennia. Dog collars from ancient Egypt with pets’ names written in hieroglyphics have been unearthed by archeologists. The ancient Egyptians, the American pioneers, and every dog owner in every era in between did not have canned commercial dog food to give to their dogs. Dogs would either hunt for their own food or eat the kinds of food that their owners ate. While not all types of human food should be consumed by dogs (they should avoid grapes, chocolate, and onions, for instance), there is no reason to suppose that a dog cannot be fully nourished on a diet that is similar to that consumed by humans.

It may be simpler to rely on prepared food on the supermarket shelf, but the result of this approach could be rising veterinarian bills and eventually heartbreak from the early loss of a pet. The variety of health problems that are the direct result of feeding your dog commercial food may make you decide it is not worth the risk or the trouble.

Dogs and cats who are fed a steady diet of commercial pet food often suffer from a gastrointestinal disease, which isn’t surprising, given the number of “mystery” items in the food, including scrapings from the slaughterhouse floor, that isn’t even edible, and therefore, indigestible. If pets are fed these foods from an early age, they can develop an allergy or sensitivity to the food that is shown by diarrhea or vomiting.

If you make your own pet foods, it may even be cheaper than feeding your dog these deadly concoctions from a can. Liver and kidney disease occurs with alarming frequency in cats and dogs. These conditions are rare in cats and dogs that are fed regular meat and not food from a can. In addition, heart disease also rarely occurs among owner-fed dogs and cats.

This doesn’t mean that you can give your dog everything that you need yourself. There are definite no-no’s when it comes to feeding dogs. However, with a little bit of investigation into what kinds of foods are good and bad for dogs and some creative planning, you can save money on purchasing specialty foods from your veterinarian and can avoid the horrors lurk in commercial dog food.

We look to veterinarians to give us expert advice on how to take care of our dogs. Naturally, we trust them with regard to food. However, just as some doctors have incentives to prescribe medications from pharmaceutical companies, so veterinarians may work with a specific pet food company which has a strong persuasion on clients to purchase that particular brand of food. It is likely that the specialty foods from the vet do not contain the kind of stomach-turning rendering that exists in the pet food on supermarket shelves, but don’t assume that the food that your veterinarian sells you is necessarily superior to what you can give your dog from your own kitchen.

Another problem with commercial dog food is that it may be harming your canine’s teeth. Most dogs over the age of three have dental problems. Many of these dogs are given kibble which means that despite the prevailing belief, kibble is not doing a good job of cleaning your dogs’ teeth. Part of the problem with canine health is that many owners automatically believe in received notions about what is healthy for their dog and what isn’t. It is easy for dog owners to be duped into believing that kibble cleans the teeth effectively and that brands that veterinarians recommend are the healthiest food that you can give your dog.

With a little research and effort, you can design a diet that will lengthen your dog’s life and help him or her to be healthier and happier. You should find out what kind of food you should never feed your dog (such as raisins and garlic), and what foods are good for dogs. You may be surprised to discover that certain fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, can be healthy for dogs. You can prepare meals, like turkey and vegetables, in the same the way you would your own food, on the stovetop or the oven.

You may have had pets for years and never felt there was anything wrong with giving them food from a can or a bag from the supermarket. However, just because most people feed their dogs or cats commercially prepared foods doesn’t mean that this isn’t shortening the lives of their pets. When people try to make the case that commercial food is healthier, they aren’t taking account that the way dogs ate before modern times probably made them healthier with longer lifespans.

If you care about your own diet and that of your children, why not show the same concern for your best friend? It’s time to stop feeding your dog commercial dog food and find natural alternatives. If you find an all-natural dog food that doesn’t contain rendering or “raw materials” from slaughterhouses, that is progress, but it can be healthier and cheaper to make your own food for your dog. Educate yourself about the kinds of foods dogs can eat and those they cannot and find recipes for food you can enjoy along with your dog.



Foxtails: What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know

Foxtails are a pretty common sight along the road or in fields when you are out walking your dog. The big question is whether or not you know what they really are.

Foxtails are essentially nothing more than clusters of seeds that adhere themselves to the stalks of long grass. The clusters have sharp points so that they can easily embed into the soil when they fall loose, allowing new roots to take hold and plants to grow.

In order for the seeds to do their job, they need to be able to penetrate the dirt, which is why the sharp points have a barbed appearance. You will also find bacteria made up of enzymes on the outside of the cluster. These break down into cellular matter when they come into contact with the ground, once again allowing the seeds to take hold in the soil.

The time of the year when foxtails can cause the most amounts of problems for dogs is during spring and summer. This is when the climate is drier and the seeds start to fall loose in search of a place to penetrate the soil. While foxtails are found all over the country, they are most prevalent the western region of the United States, with California being the state where they are most commonly found.


Foxtails play a major role in the natural process of reseeding, but they are certainly not helpful to dogs. Once a dog brushes against a foxtail, it will attach to his fur and the seeds will move inward as the dog walks. The aforementioned barbs allow the clusters to stay attached to the fur, while the enzymes will go to work on breaking down the tissues and the fur. Over time, the foxtails can get down to the body of the dog and start to burrow in the same way as they do with soil.

All of this leaves you with a pet that ends up very ill. Just how sick is a matter of the point of entry and how much damage was done by the foxtails on the way there. The most common ways into the body are through the eyes, ears, mouth, nasal passage, and even the lungs. They can also affect the backbone and other essential parts of the body.

Your vet will very quickly be able to locate and remove the foxtail with tweezers, assuming it hasn’t already gone too deep. If that is the case, surgery may be required to remove the offending barbs.


Here are some signs that your dog may have picked up a foxtail:

  • Your dog starts to sneeze and paw at their nostril, where blood may appear.
  • Foxtail in the ears will lead your dog to shake their head, pawing at their ears, and taking on a very stiff gait when they walk.
  • If the eyes are affected, you will notice excess discharge, tears, and mucus.
  • If a foxtail penetrates your dog’s mouth, be on the lookout for gagging and retching. They may also swallow repeatedly, stretch and scratch at their neck, and try to eat grass.

If you spot any or all of these signs and fear that foxtail may be the issues, you need to see the vet immediately. Time is very much of the essence here. You may be able to remove some of the seeds on your own, but the vet is definitely the best option, as just a few missed seeds can mean serious health issues for your dog.



How to Cure Itchy and Irritated Dog Paws

If your dog is constantly licking and chewing their feet they’re telling you that their paws are irritated.

Let’s talk about simple home remedies to provide your dog with some much-needed relief.

Foot soaks for your dog are a great way to disinfect your dog’s paws. Foot soaks are beneficial for dogs that have itchy inflamed irritated paws and also for dogs that are exposed to certain contaminants in the winter.

If you live in a cold climate, winter can be hard on your dog’s paws. Snow and ice can cause cracked and sore pads. Rock salt, sand, and other chemical de-icers are commonly used to clear ice and snow that come with cold winter weather.

Salt and chemical de-icers can be very irritating for your dog’s paws. Always rinse off your dog’s paws (all four) after winter walks or play to keep your dog’s feet decontaminated.

In the summer months, it’s important to remember that your dog sweats through the bottom of their feet. When the temperature rises in the summer months, their pads on their feet become moist and damp.

Your dog will come in contact with grass, mud, streams, parks, leaves, etc. and all of these environments potentially offer a bunch of microscopic allergens that your dog’s feet are exposed to. Your dog’s feet may also come in contact with pesticides, herbicides, and sprays that are used on lawns.

A lot of irritants and allergens are picked up on your dog’s feet on a daily basis and if you don’t remove them your dog will come inside and begin licking, licking, licking. You know that sound.

The best option to keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy is to plan ahead and disinfect your dog’s feet before they begin obsessively and compulsively licking.

Set up a foot soak for your dog. There are numerous ways to do this. If you have a small dog you can actually do this in your kitchen sink or in your laundry sink.

For larger dog’s you can try your bathtub or designate a plastic tub that is large enough to accommodate at least two feet at a time if not all four. Place this in a mudroom, garage, or under a covered area outside your main door.

Fill your tub, container or sink with warm water. The water level should cover the top of your dog’s feet. Add warm water with a little bit of iodine. You want your water to look like iced tea in color. Iodine is non-toxic, non-stinging, antifungal, and antiviral. It’s an inexpensive home remedy to disinfect your dog’s feet.

Soak your dog’s feet in the water and iodine solution. Ten to thirty seconds is ideal. When done, pat your pooches feet dry.

If your dog’s feet have cuts, wounds, or abrasions or smell yeasty, use betadine with warm water instead of iodine.

If your dog’s paws just seem to be irritated, try one of the following recipes and apply topically to your dog’s feet.

  • Chamomile tea diluted with water
  • Green tea diluted with water
  • ½ cup vinegar per gallon of water

Pick one of the above remedies and put in a spray bottle. Spray on your dog’s feet and pads to disinfect and soothe your dog’s paws a couple of times per day.

Your dog will instinctively want to lick their paws after being sprayed. Discourage this for the healing properties but rest assured your dog is not in any danger. The ingredients above are diluted and will not harm your dog.

It is not recommended to apply creams, SAVs or dips unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

By disinfecting your pet’s paws you’re reducing the chemical exposure to environmental toxins by rinsing those chemicals off. You’re also providing a means of keeping your pet’s feet clean, dry and free from allergens which can stimulate irritation and abrasion in your pet’s feet.

There will be instances when you don’t have the time or access to soak or treat your dog’s feet properly. Rinsing your dog’s feet with plain old water from the hose will work in a pinch.