May 2, 2014 – By Kris Butler – In Part 1 of (Dog) Food for Thought we introduced readers to information found on dog food labels so that you might empower yourselves to make food choices for your dogs based on content rather than hype.

In Part 2 of (Dog) Food for Thought readers will have the opportunity to compare and contrast a random sampling of commercial dog food ingredients – taken from the backs of the bags – so that you might be prepared to make your best decisions next time you shop for your dogs.   Today is May 2, 2014. I wrote the first few ingredients directly from the “Ingredients” sections of a random selection of dog food bags at the kennel and one bag from my house.  We encourage our clients to bring their dogs’ normal food so we are not switching the dogs back and forth between their normal food and something we might choose for them. This list does not include every client’s dog food; it is merely a sampling. Based on what you’ve learned about dog food labels, what do you see that seems attractive to you or, perhaps, concerns you?  

BRAND #1, ADULT LARGE BREED: Deboned lamb, lamb meal, whole brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran, whole grain, oat meal. 22% protein and 13% fat.  

BRAND #2, ADULT: Lamb meal, ground rice, cracked pearled barley, rice bran, dried plain beet pulp, flax seed, natural flavor, fish meal. 23% protein and 14% fat.  

BRAND #3, LARGE BREED PUPPY : Chicken meal, whole grain wheat, oat groats, whole grain sorghum, corn gluton meal, whole grain corn, pork fat, chicken liver flavor. 26% protein and 10% fat.

BRAND #4, PUPPY: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, ground rice, rice bran, chicken fat, rolled oats, lamb meal, salmon meal. 28% protein and 15% fat.

BRAND #5: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potato, peas, potato, chicken fat. Protein 38% and fat 17%. Brand #5 was in Team Butler’s feed room and is one of our HotRod Lincoln’s preferred kibbles. Lincoln is an extremely active border collie athlete and he is as finicky an eater as he is fast! We would likely not recommend this formula to a minimally active couch potato. Why do you think that is? Still, the contrast might be useful.

Beyond a food’s appearance on paper, your dog has to eat it and process it effectively, too. If you do change formulas, do so very gradually, over a couple weeks rather than just a few days.  If your dog does not process a food effectively, then it doesn’t matter how good that food looks on paper. Try again! After switching, watch for weight shifts and make adjustments in quantity as necessary.

Ingredients and nutrition are not issues limited only to canine athletes. We believe that what family dogs eat relates directly to their dogly behavior. Better food = better focus and concentration. Carefully considering the labels on commercial foods is a most significant first step. 

We are interested in hearing back about changes you might be making and, particularly, how those changes relate to your dog’s dogly behavior. Give us ingredients – not the hype!

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© 2014    Kris Butler     All rights reserved