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You Are What You Eat!

I read many blogs, and one that I particularly enjoy is Spot Speaks by Dr. Nancy Kay. Dr. Kay is a veterinarian and the author of Speaking for Spot.  Yesterday Dr. Kay wrote about the raw food debate. As you may know, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently adopted a policy that discourages feeding a raw food diet to dogs and cats. A big debate has erupted as a result.  Check out Dr. Kay’s blog for more info about that debate.

June Buggie in all his glory

It got me thinking about food and pets. I have spent a great deal of time and money pondering the best food choices for the dogs and cats that live here. 

With DeDe, I must take care to ensure her food does not include things I believe she is allergic to.  But I also want to make sure the food she eats keeps her healthy, as she has other health concerns (hypothyroidism, diabetes  insipidus). DeDe is eating Evo, but I haven’t found Evo locally except in a shop that sells animals, and you know how I don’t like supporting those kinds of businesses. So I may start buying her food from Chewy.com.

Sweet Little Malachi

I had always fed Rumpy the same food as DeDe, because it was easier that way. But recently Rumpy participated in a food trial with Innova. He likes the food, and his coat looks so much better that I have chosen to keep him on this food.

The cats? Well, that has also been a struggle. I’ve written before about Graybow’s tummy troubles. For awhile I couldn’t get that cat to eat anything but Purina One for sensitive stomach. I didn’t like the food, but he had to eat something. And when you feed one cat a certain food, they all want it.

Thankfully they are now all eating Iams Sensitive Stomach.  Graybow eats it and is having no stomach problems. The cats’ coats are shiny, and Malachi’s coat looks especially good.

I have to tell you that I do not feel content feeding any of these products. It’s not the products themselves- they are all exceptional foods produced using sound scientific principles to formulate.  But I do feel uneasy that there is no food out there that provides these guys good nutrition while ensuring the animals that were slaughtered to make the food were treated humanely.  At least there’s no product I can easily access and afford.

Hey! Don’t forget me!!!!

I know some of you feed raw to your pets, and that’s your choice. I don’t feel it is a safe option for us. I don’t raise my own animals or hunt, and I am concerned about the safety of raw meat. 

So tell me, what thought processes go into deciding what to feed the animals you care for? 

.

CONGRATULATIONS to Auri Lae, the winner of the Canine Hipster Bag! Her bag was shipped out yesterday, so she’ll soon be stylin’ and profilin’ with a cool bag on her shoulder.  

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About Rumpy's Kitty Siblings

Rumpy has gone on from this plane. We, his kitty siblings,continue to blog about animal welfare- and other things- at rumpydog.com in his stead. You can follow us on Twitter - @RumpyDog. And don't forget to LIKE our Facebook page! Thanks!

Discussion

75 thoughts on “You Are What You Eat!

  1. It’s a minefield, isn’t it? Ours are all on dry food designed for neutered animals. They of course have wet food treats throughout the week 😉

    Posted by Animalcouriers | October 2, 2012, 6:37 AM
  2. Thanks for sharing this blog the raw food debate is very interesting. I too constantly worry if the food we feed is good enough. With the dogs I rotate gran free brands but my cats are very pick and after dealing with feline fatty liver that almost killed Baby, caused by going of her food for a few days. Since that scare I dont want to change the cats foods so we feed what they like Blue Spa Holistic. The dogs get a lot of supplements but the cats wont eat them.

    urban hounds

    Posted by Urban Hounds | October 2, 2012, 6:46 AM
  3. Always a heated debate! I used to feed raw and there were several posts on my blog about Stan’s silly antics as he seemed unsure what to do with it! Now I feed a low protien complete dry food and this has had a positive effect on his hyperactivity so I wont be changing in a hurry as I dont want to go back to the days were he bounced off the walls for fun.

    Posted by Tina Holmes | October 2, 2012, 6:50 AM
  4. Very interesting blog piece x

    Posted by mythreemoggies | October 2, 2012, 7:01 AM
  5. Gizmo was showing signs of food allergies…itching & loss of hair…considered switching to raw diet as I’d done it in the past with other dogs but I’d never been really happy with the results…did some investigating and found Fromm’s grain-free dry food…switched to that almost two years ago and have been totally pleased with the results…no itching and Gizmo now sports a full thick coat…YMMV of course but I have recommended it to friends and they report similar success

    Posted by Gizmo (@GizmoGeodog) | October 2, 2012, 7:04 AM
  6. Thank you for shariing. I never used to feed my cats raw either. So many products out to choose from today. And it must be difficult with so many various diet needs.
    Be well and hugs Sue x

    Posted by Sue Dreamwalker | October 2, 2012, 7:05 AM
  7. Have never fed a raw diet for the same reasons you give. Quite a bit of time has been spent at our house figuring out the best pet foods. That was especially true when we had 2 senior dogs with special needs. We feed human grade organic food, supplemented with our own organic grown fruit and veggies.

    Posted by Sue at Talking Dogs | October 2, 2012, 7:07 AM
  8. Good post, Rumpy. I know someone who feeds her dogs raw food. They live on a farm so nothing goes to waste. But I don’t think it’s appropriate for Brin the Boxer. He’s a big boy and needs Hill’s advanced fitness for his muscle and bone health x.

    Posted by shacklefordlb | October 2, 2012, 7:14 AM
  9. Boy oh boy! We have been around and around and around this one.
    With Zac so sick with allergies we tried so hard to find a food which might help. He went on a special vet’s protein for a month. No change to his itchiness so we were told to feed a good quality pet food and we had to go back on medication to control the allergies.
    We did. We found a food without cereal and gave that to him. The raw debate raged on and then in a few months Zac just succumbed to his lousy immune system and the medications and we have felt so guilty we didn’t try raw.
    Because Zena scratches a little i decided I would try her on the raw food we can buy here made by a vet. The food is kangaroo, grass raised and wild so no antibiotics etc., She loved it. I buy it mixed with cereals and supplements so I don’t have to worry it is unbalanced.
    She has been on this for about a month.
    Last week she refused the raw for two nights. I cooked it and the next day she had a bad tummy. So I turned to a pre-cooked roll, also produced by the vet which is rich in protein and no cereals. We’ll see if she likes it and if it is good for her.
    There is so much debate out there I am totally confused what to do for the best. So many people are turning to raw around here and yet there are very real concerns about handling raw meat in a domestic setting. I have kept everything in the wash room away from the kitchen. sigh….. it is complicated.
    However, if she won’t eat it that makes it simpler.
    Although I do have about a month’s supply of raw food in the freezer!

    Posted by Zena | October 2, 2012, 7:29 AM
  10. Moe cat gets Nutro Max- it was recommended to us years ago by an Ocicat breeder. The vet says his teeth are super clean! I tried other brands when he was a kitty- because he had a sensitive tummy & this stuff help fix it! If I wouldn’t eat raw food I sure wouldn’t feed it to my pet. Cats really shouldn’t even get fish based products! They & their wild cousins rarely eat fish- only a few species do.

    Posted by Ellie and Edmond © | October 2, 2012, 7:43 AM
  11. I agree with you about finding dog food made from humanely treated animals. My husband and I only eat meat such as chicken (and eggs) that have been raised cage free and no antibiotics or hormones, but there seems to be no such options for dogs. A few years ago, our option of cage free had been difficult to find. I imagine that when demand goes up for the same option for our pets that it will become more common. Anyone reading this, I encourage you to contact dog food companies and ask. The more calls they get, the more they might realize that perhaps they should make some important changes.

    Posted by Dawn | October 2, 2012, 7:52 AM
  12. Hi! Interesting post. We dont feed the collies raw meat…. however I do know those with hunting dogs who do. They do it to help their hunting instincts and I can see why. As for safety….. well I know they have eaten in their past….. however so did humans at one time also…. my guess is if if they grow up eating raw meat from as soon as they are weaned and their parents, ect have then they probably have the immunity to handle it. However, to do so for a dog who hasnt is probably not wise immunity wise. Having said that, let me also say under no circumstances would I approve of raw meat from a wild animal. Raw meat from modern processing plants have enough problems.. wild animals exposed to who knows what to me is not a wise choice….. but that is just my opinion.

    After all that I do not feed raw meat to my collies and do not plan on doing so for they never have had it and to give it to them now I feel is not right…but that is my opinion for my own actions… to each their own I guess, but remember this decision affects not just yourself….

    Posted by colliesofthemeadow | October 2, 2012, 7:59 AM
    • Excellent point. I hadn’t thought if wild neat being unsafe. I just assumed it would be safer because there was no salmonella to worry about. Thanks Chuck!

      Posted by rumpydog | October 2, 2012, 8:02 AM
      • Hi Rumpy!
        ITs rather a catch 22 with wild animals… no drugs, no salmonella, ect. However, they do have diseases…. one that makes me wonder is a disease some deer in MIchigan now have. It kills the deer…. they know it is not harmful to humans.. however what about other animals? No one seems to know so I wonder about the safety for animals….. each one has it chances in my opinion. But, just my thoughts and opinions.. each person has to make their decision….

        Posted by colliesofthemeadow | October 2, 2012, 8:11 AM
      • Yes indeed. But it’s good to discuss. I’ve already learned a lot this morning!

        Posted by rumpydog | October 2, 2012, 8:16 AM
      • All very interesting points and ‘food’ for thought.
        The search goes on.

        Posted by Zena | October 2, 2012, 6:16 PM
  13. I tried raw food for our puppy (because of the breeder’s insistence) and HATED it – stopped after a couple of weeks. Since then (and the ‘puppy’ is now 11 years old) I’ve made up a batch of boneless/skinless chicken once a month, putting a few chunks in many little snack bags, freeze them, then bring them out so our dog can have some protein with each morning meal. It’s cooked, it’s healthy, and it’s some ‘natural’ food to go with his Nutro dry mix. Seems like a compromise to me. Thanks!

    Posted by roughwighting | October 2, 2012, 8:35 AM
  14. I got chicken, lamb or beef (not raw) with vegetables and rice for lunch and a small handful of dry food for dinner (most hills). Never canned food. We were astonished as we read the content of a regular can of p. dogfood: meat and meat-like substances and offal?<— better not… We are trying to get food without or with not so much grains… but it's not easy because we do boycott the largest store in our area for selling "christmas puppies"

    Posted by easyweimaraner | October 2, 2012, 8:46 AM
  15. Mom only gives me kibble and jerky because if I eat wet food, I have diarrhea easily….I never have raw meats and raw fish though…..it’s said that having raw meats is bad to our health here.
    Mmmmm…June Buggie looks so sexy on the picture! and Malachi is gorgeous, too!!! Rumpy? Oh we never forget you! you’re the best, Rumpy! 🙂

    Posted by eripanwkevin | October 2, 2012, 9:46 AM
  16. Your sweet Malachi looks just like my beautiful Bella. I got her fixed 4 or 5 months ago and she is turning into one big fat cat. I know we don’t over feed her, so I’m thinking it has to do with fixing her??

    Posted by Tiffany (lifewithblondie) | October 2, 2012, 9:51 AM
  17. Austin just eats normal store bought cat food. he appears to have no allergies or gastric problems unlike my previous cat, Harry, who had some digestive problems. He does get raw, but he catches it himself, much to my disgust. Sometimes he eats it but mostly he just plays with it!

    Posted by CATachresis | October 2, 2012, 10:04 AM
  18. I really want to give my cats raw food, I know how to prepare it, but I simply don’t have time for it. Then we had raw food that we could buy in stores, but Hiro refused to keep that in, no matter how slowly I introduced it. So they are now eating grain-free dry-food from Orijen and Wet food from the brand Renske.

    Posted by Dianda | October 2, 2012, 10:08 AM
  19. We hadn’t even thought about animal testing and food production companies until we read about one large multi-national who were doing it, though not the brand we were feeding our dogs. We asked that company if they tested on animals and they admitted their parent companies did, so we decided to change brands. We were already boycotting Nestle (as part of the boycott started in the 70s) so with them added to the long list of companies that test on animals, it ruled out a lot of the major brands in the UK. So after a lot of research and trials, we’re now feeding all three dogs on a dry food made by a small UK company, which doesn’t conduct any animal testing, except the obvious palatability tests! The best company we found used free-range chicken etc, but unfortunately the boys didn’t really do as well on it as we would have liked, which was a shame. Luckily for us though, the food they have now suits them all, (it’s a sensitive-type with no ingredients likely to upset tummies, like wheat). Makes their meal times easy, all eating the same food. We can’t buy it locally, so we bulk buy at a lower cost on the web and it’s delivered free to the door, so that’s easy too! I’m vegetarian, my husband isn’t and obviously the dogs aren’t either, but we feel very strongly that our family should only have meat/dairy products that are produced humanely. (As a side note, it’s funny reading about peoples’ reactions to offal, since here it’s seen as traditional British grub – for humans and dogs alike! 😀 My father-in-law goes mad for a bit of tripe and onions, kidneys or even haggis 😆 )

    Posted by The Barkshire Post | October 2, 2012, 10:34 AM
  20. I’ve tried a few foods since Petals is the one with a sensitive tummy. We currently feed ‘Medi Cal, Gastro Intestinal Moderate Calorie’ available at my Vets. It’s expensive but seems to help most of the time. Petals is a light nibbler so we supplement her day with ‘temptation treats’, Blossum gets 2, Petals gets many…..it’s tricky, they don’t eat the same. Blossum gobbles up food like a machine. I have a hard time keeping Blossum away from Petals dish. I’m constantly picking it up then putting it down when I think Petals MIGHT be hungry….oh man.

    Posted by Boomdeeadda | October 2, 2012, 10:49 AM
  21. Well just Saturday…. Ernie and I got some FRESH (VERY FRESH) raw Deer.. and TWO FRESH BONES… BUTT we also got our regular (Blue Buffalo) kibble to go with it. In addition… during this time of year… WE are very much LUCKY to be able to run into the garden and pick our own FRESH (VERY FRESH) Tomatoes and Green Peppers and Sugar Snap Peas and stuffs. We get some baby carrots… EVERY night fur our Snack. So I would say… we do the VARIETY thingy… and we kinda think Everythingy in MODERATION.
    We HAVE NEVER had Raw Chicken meat and certainly NEVER EVER any Chicken BONES.. (Turkey either). Mom is kinda CONSERVATIVE with our feeding.
    She COOKS two thingys fur us… Lovin Liver and Slammin Sammon. Butt we STILL always have our normal Kibble.

    Posted by Frankie Furter and Ernie | October 2, 2012, 11:19 AM
  22. The process of deciding what my kitty should eat… is a long and ongoing one. There is so much controversy around wet vs dry foods, as well as commercial vs self-prepared. It’s almost impossible to know exactly what is best, because what tastes good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy (ahem McDonald’s for cats).

    I started with Orijen, which was the best dry food according to its ingredients. But after a really bad case of UTI, I put her on a diet of Wellness chicken or turkey wet food in the morning and Wellness for Indoor Cats in the evening, just so she gets her moisture but also kibbles to help teeth-cleansing and controlling hairballs.

    I’ve known cats that eat only dry or only wet food with no problems. It was hard to decide even between brands – are the brands you see on TV really that great, or is it a farce? I made multiple calls to different pet food companies asking the amount of minerals in the food to try to prevent future UTI’s – to the point where they told me they can’t tell me their food formulation (probably thought I was a competitor). It makes it difficult to try to find the best food to feed your pet when they (1) refuse to have the figures available publicly, and then (2) refuse to assist you when you take the trouble to ask. I am also suspicious of vet-prescribed brands, since vets are paid to push their brands to the patients…

    Ideally, I’d like to be able to feed self-prepared food, just to get away from all these commercial brands that are questionably trustworthy in terms of how healthy they are. Unfortunately, as for most people, time is my biggest enemy. Since she seems to be doing well, I will stick with Wellness for now.

    Posted by pearlessence | October 2, 2012, 11:23 AM
  23. I’ve tried raw food, they sell raw meat for dogs at one of the local supermarkets, but it’s quite complicated, I don’t know where to get chicken throats and don’t plan to explore the slaughterhouses. In the internet one can buy vitamins and other stuff in pills and powder, and that made me think, the selfmade food has as many strange ingredients as the bought one plus it’s kind of expensive. But the real reason why I stopped it, is that I fear there’s lamb or sheep meat in the package, they don’t mark what kind of meat it is. I don’t want my dogs to think lambs or sheep are food. Obvious reasons.

    I know at least two dog owners who cook for their dogs, and I bet they cook for them like for humans, with garlic and onions and other stuff, that is unhealthy for dogs. I don’t ask them, I don’t want to know it, because I might start a discussion. They think, they do a lot for their dog and I don’t want to destroy that illusion. Ah now I got a bit of a guilty conscience. And that’s exactly why this topic is a mine field.

    Posted by stanzebla | October 2, 2012, 11:33 AM
    • See? I have that fear about raw meat of any animal. Rumpy is prey-driven still after all these years together.

      Posted by rumpydog | October 2, 2012, 12:08 PM
      • There is a worry about gaining a desire to hunt for meat. The German had very sensitive stomach and only tolerated one type of dry food. But the new one, Molly, is a hunter and goes after frogs, lizards and we have to watch squirrel road kill( so far cats and pocket pooches are safe) …we’ve found she has stomach issues and we are determined to limit what we can and use Iams. Vet in family said best to use food manufactured in US at this time as imports are unregulated and pets are getting sick from who knows what is in those.
        (Oh, Garlic is supposed to be good for flea prevention and immune system.)
        RC Cat has selected her 2 flavors of can food and her stomach/metabolism will not tolerate anything else….even though it’s not a “preferred” food, the vet says she has to eat something – and thrives on these…It’s just trial and error sometimes

        Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | October 2, 2012, 2:18 PM
      • Rumpy went for squirrel roadkill once. I had to trick him into letting go so I could discard it. And he’s forever chasing toads and lizards here.

        Posted by rumpydog | October 2, 2012, 6:49 PM
  24. While I had been feeding premium grain-free dry and canned for years, my cats led me to raw feeding as the diet that was best for them, both through health issues and preference. I would prefer to be closer to the source of my raw food, and there is one farm not far from me that produces species-appropriate raw pet diets as well as raw meat for humans. I think the risks of processed pet food are just as great as those of raw pet food.

    Posted by animalartist | October 2, 2012, 1:38 PM
  25. I have taken all my animals off dried foods. Here is a link to one of the reasons why.

    http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1

    This horrified me so much. There is a lot of debate these days about the rise of disease in pets and the link to the higher consumption of dried pet food because of the ingredients they contain. Well no wonder. Euthanized animals still with the drug in their system/flea collars that are not economical to remove from the dead pets all go in to the render that eventually becomes dried pet food. Purina is one that uses this.
    With the cats I found a wonderful site…Lisa is a vet and is very anti dried food and explains the reasons why on her site. She also has many helpful tips on diets for cats. You might want to have a read of some of her posts. She talks about the risks…what she does to minimize them and the benefits she has seen in her own and other animals she has converted. If anything you might want to think about at least converting to a wet diet at least. Lisa explains why this is important. Since investigating diets for my guys I have found many sites that are helpful but Lisa is kind of a one stop shop for cats.

    CatInfo.Org

    For Chevvy I tend to use many of the tips that Did provides.

    My Little Dog: Nutrition

    It’s not been easy ans I am still trying to convince Charlie that he should try raw food…but any wet food is better than dried, He got cystitis not so long ago and I am convinced it came from eating dried food.

    Posted by Jo Bryant | October 2, 2012, 2:41 PM
    • Again I say that as long as you’re making an informed choice and doing what you feel is best for your pets, that’s all I am concerned about. I am, however, very concerned with these folks that are feeding raw because that’s the latest fad. From what I’m seeing here, most everyone posting comments have made rational, informed choices about what foods are best for their animal companions. That makes me feel really good.

      Posted by rumpydog | October 2, 2012, 6:52 PM
      • Very true…sadly I think raw feeding has gotten a bad rep because of uninformed people who don’t do it correctly.

        Posted by Jo Bryant | October 2, 2012, 7:00 PM
  26. I’m just not into the whole raw food diet thing for my hounds. But to each their own and everyone does what works for them! 🙂

    Posted by Bassetmomma | October 2, 2012, 6:48 PM
  27. The thought of,giveing raw meat to,my furkids is discusting to me.But…Im a vegaterian,Frankie eats Iams dry.I dont think,wet food is good for them.I have had 2 kittys,that lived very very long and heathy lives.On just dry kitty food.Snow was 21 and Scooter was 18.They for a treat,had a bit of tuna and or sardines.And our Vinnie {a chow} ate dry food aswell.But he ate everything,I mean everything.He love fruit and veg.His favs were peas and brussel sprouts.We didnt know,till after he had a kidney stone.That cheese and milk,arent good at all for them.Nor did we know,grapes and rasins are terrible for them.He lived to 14.And the last 6 months,he had to eat Royal Cannin.Which he hated,we would put burger meat{cooked} chicken anything.So hed eat it.And Ive heared most,dogs hate that food.Our vet told us.Its low ash,low mosture etc.Now that we have Teddy,we now what not to do.Shes just 8 wks old,but we say we wont,feed her any people food.Ya right.BOL x

    Posted by melanie | October 3, 2012, 1:02 AM
  28. You are right it is often extremely difficult to find suitable diets especially if there are additional health concerns to consider for individual animals. A good alternative to the raw diet in my opinion is one of the grain free options such as Innova which you are currently feeding. Complete foods are now formulated to strict nutritional guidelines and on the whole should provide a healthy pet with all the nutrition he or she needs.
    On the sourcing of raw materials and concerns over animal welfare and ingredient quality, in the UK there are several independent companies who manufacture food from locally sourced ingredients. That way you can have greater confidence that ingredients such as meat have come from a humanely treated source. This also benefits the company and the environment with a reduction in the carbon footprint.
    Keep up the great work

    Posted by Basil | October 3, 2012, 5:43 AM
  29. I eat basic canned Famcy Feast and my dry kibble snack food is Purina Prescription cuz of my bladder problems. Mom had 3 Siberians long ago. They fed dry Iams with high protein cuz they were show dogs until they were about 6 years old. Then less protein when they no longer showed. She always fed them a hard boiled egg, shell too once a week and veggies, fresh. They all lived to 11-15 yrs old and no allergies. All this food variety was not available in the early 80’s to early 90’s. Very helpful post Rumpy.

    Posted by Savannah's Paw Tracks | October 3, 2012, 9:29 AM
  30. I hate to see animals abused or neglected in any way; that includes over-feeding them. They really don’t know any better. They’ll pretty much eat whatever you put in front of them. My miniature schnauzer is on the high end in size for that breed of dog; about 25 lbs average. But, several years ago, I was startled when I took him to the vet, and he weighed in at almost 30! I realized I had to stop feeding him little snacks here and there. Eventually, he dropped back down to his normal weight of some 22 lbs. Since he’s my adopted child, his health is paramount.

    Posted by Alejandro De La Garza | October 3, 2012, 1:20 PM
  31. We feed Dexter raw because he is allergic to pretty much everything. We make sure to feed him a variety so that his diet is properly balanced. We live in a condo with only the fridge freezer so that holds Dexters food for a month. (He doesn’t eat much!) Because of freezer space issues we feed Jack kibble and in all our research and trials we found Petcurean Now Fresh brand the best kibble out there!

    Posted by Angela | October 3, 2012, 8:57 PM
  32. I’m interested also. 10+ years ago when I had 2 cats & a dog, I made a lot of food from brown rice & veges but also was reliant on proprietary goods. Hard to know what’s best…

    Posted by EllaDee | October 5, 2012, 6:00 AM

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