Let's be honest, the dog food industry makes us all feel guilty if we aren't feeding the "best" food, whether that means feeding raw, or feeding premium kibble like orijen. I myself have fallen into the guilt trap but have finally come to the realization that it doesn't matter what I feed as long as my dogs do well on it.
My first dog Sofie lived to be 14 years old. She did end up with nasal cancer and the last few months of her life she went into kidney failure, but I feel like 14 is a good old age, AND she looked really good for her age too.
|This was Sofie two months before I sent her over the bridge.|
Sofie came to me eating kibbles and bits at 6mos of age, we "upgraded" her to pedigree. I don't know the time frame, but she started having allergy issues and she was "upgraded" again to nutromax lamb & rice. I think she ate the nutromax most of her life, until I started buying the dog food. It's been so long now, but I think she mostly ate canidae in her later years, as well as a homemade diet after her cancer diagnoses in 2009.
LiLo and Seth have been on Canidae, Chicken Soup, Nature's Domain, and Nutranuggets.
When Seppel arrived I was feeding Nature's Domain, he was underweight and was hard to keep weight on. I switched to Canidae hoping I could pay a little more, but feed less. Unfortunately Seppel was still eating 3-4 cups a day on the Canidae so it really wasn't saving me any money. From there I went back to Nature's Domain but it was getting hard to purchase [Costco was getting weird], so I jumped over to feeding Nutranuggets Lamb & Rice. Nutranuggets is $25 for 40lbs of dog food. While it isn't a grain free, the ingredients aren't terrible [IMO], and all of my dogs had good normal poop on it. Let's face it, it is really expensive feeding three 50lb dogs!
Fast forward to today:
I am feeding Nature's Domain Salmon & Sweet potato. It is made by diamond, I don't care. My dogs get 4 fish oil caps per day, as well as 1-2tpbs of coconut oil. The Nature's Domain at this point is the most cost effective at $34 for 35lbs.
I have tried to feed raw at various times in the past and the results are always the same: Lilo does fine and Seth gets horrible diarrhea. Seppel also got really ill eating raw. It really doesn't matter how much bone in there is, the boys break with diarrhea every time. It just hasn't been worth it to me. I also tried a "simple" raw recipe that involved ground meat, rice, and egg, and the dogs still broke with bad poo. I think it is wonderful if you can afford it and your dogs do well on it, but feeding my dogs raw just doesn't work for them.
I know we all want to do what is best for our animals, but the truth is food isn't the only issue. I feel many of us are battling genetics as well and if your dog is predisposed to cancer it really probably doesn't matter what you feed. Not to mention, our pets are living longer, which means they are living long enough to have organ failure issues as well as grow cancer. I think for Sofie to get cancer at 13yrs of age has nothing to do with the food she was on. I think if anything she simply lived long enough to get something. I'm also not sure in cases of pets under 5yrs of age getting cancer, that genetics don't play a huge role as well. You have to do whatever makes you feel good at the end of the day, and I am absolutely not knocking people who feed raw or make homemade food, but I don't think I need to be judged because my dogs eat kibble. They like their food, they eat it well every meal, and so far seem to be doing very well health wise - knock on wood.
While we're on the topic of dog food, I thought I would share as well what my cat eats.
My cat has been battling food allergies since he was small. I have fed almost every kibble and canned food you can think up. Last year it was becoming increasingly difficult to find something he had never eaten before. He's allergic to many different meat proteins and allergic to many plants and grains. I finally decided to jump head first into raw feeding for him because it was the one thing we hadn't tried. Cats are obligate carnivores and I feel it's no wonder we have so many that are having issues with IBD or allergies - their bodies are not meant to consume a lot of grain/vegetables. I first started buying Primal Pheasant, however after many months on it he started not eating it well. I switched him over to Columbia River Naturals Ground Pheasant and Ground Quail. He's been on this food since November. I've had to tweak a few things, I mix in canned salmon [by evangers], clam juice, and a 1/4tbs miralax once a day. The ground meat has too much bone in it which makes him constipated, the clam juice is for taurine, and the salmon is to give the raw meat some flavor. In december I was trying really hard to switch him to some whole prey, I bought frozen pinkies - but he really didn't want to eat them. I may revisit that and try again, but my cat has been a kibble fed cat his whole life - he doesn't know that whole prey is food. I will say transitioning to raw has helped his allergies a lot, but he still has flair ups. People on the internet will either tell you, or you will read about how feeding raw fixed EVERYTHING, but that hasn't been true in my case. My cat has done a lot better, but he still has problems.
I guess to wrap things up, I just wanted to share what I am currently feeding my animals and that I feed what works best for me and my dogs.