What a great question. You’ll notice that most feed companies have a philosophy or view of the world of feeding our pets and it’s fair to say we do too. Our philosophy is simple and covers the following areas:
- Feed in a way as close to species appropriate as possible that time, effort, knowledge and budget will allow.
- Feed good ingredients. Avoid poor and unnecessary ingredients.
- Feed based on the individual pet, they are all individuals and have at times different needs based on their lifestyle, environment, health etc.
- Feeding and nutrition is part of a healthy balanced lifestyle.
To help you do this we have have produced and sourced products from across the market that we know you and your pets will enjoy. We have a mixture of brands that you will recognise and some you don’t, but rest assured we have been very fussy in selecting the products that we feel our customers are looking for and will benefit from.
No, research and experience shows that many dogs suffer from allergies connected to eating Maize, Wheat and Gluten of any kind. There is no reason for having any of these three ingredients in dog food as alternatives are readily available and much better for your dog’s wellbeing.
It’s a common question. Some of our foods contain higher levels of protein (and other ingredients for that matter) than found in lesser foods, whilst some believe high protein levels are detrimental to growth and health (particularly in dogs with kidney issues) there is little to no evidence to support this in modern times, in fact quite the opposite. There have been many studies in recent years and without exception they all show there is no issue with a higher protein diet. To date (Dec 2013) not a single scientific study of recent times supports the view of negative outcome for higher protein diets for growth or kidney problems although the subject will provide a wide range of opinions. Whilst a high protein diet is species appropriate, the real issue and the one to look out for is actually protein quality. Where protein comes from vegetable or other sources such as grains the quality and therefore the digestability should be noted. Just becasue a food states 30% protein doesn’t mean its totally digestable or can be used by the body. Eggs, muscle and organ meats are the most complete, most digestible sources of protein and should be the main ingredients in a quality food.
When feeding a diet that contains more protein than currently needed, extra protein is metabolized and used for energy. Unlike fat, excessive protein is not stored as such in the body, but once the demand for amino acids is met and protein reserves are filled, protein energy could be used for the production of fat. Animals fed diets too low in dietary protein may develop deficiency symptoms like decreased appetite, poor growth, weight loss, a rough and dull coat, and decreased immune function. Lower reproductive performance, and decreased milk production are symptoms in breeding animals.
To answer the puppy growth question its the calorific values of a food that should be understood. Studies show that where a puppy, in particular large and giant breeds are fed a high calorie diet this can effect growth and create development issues if calories remain unused.
No, BHA and BHT are chemical preservatives that some suggest can cause health issues including cancer and are added to stop the food spoiling over time, essentially extending shelf life up to 18months. In most cases dog food producers have now moved away from BHA and BHT’s on to more natural preservatives. Unfortunately however some producers still use it and unfortunately that includes some of the biggest names in the industry along with the cheaper end of the market.
Interestingly “fillers” is a wide question. There is often a fine line between ingredients doing a good job and fillers ~ Dogs need a balanced and complete diet and that means ensuring their diet contains the main dietary groups, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. It’s no surprise that proteins and fat typically cost the most when producing food so unless the food is a high quality product which typically costs more, then at some point the food needs to have other, less desirable ingredients added to create bulk. So things such as rice, vegetables, oils etc. we wouldn’t consider as fillers but rather ingredients that are contributing to the completeness and balance of a food but things such as maize, wheat, gluten, husks or any kind, animal or vegetable derivatives on any kind, certain vegetable protein, starch, soya, artificial anything, cellulose, un-named oils and fat, un-named protein sources we would probably consider as fillers or cheaper ingrediants. The truth from the consumers side is that the quality of the food and its ingredients is nearly always in direct proportion to the price or at least that’s what you hope for. Unfortunately even that line of thinking doesn’t make your choices easier as the marketing messages from the big brands are so strong, You won’t find any fillers in our food and similarly you won’t find the cheapest food either.
No, all our food that we sell the ingredients are named. The term derivatives are used to describe a mix or unknown mix of ingredients. When the term animal derivatives is used, this means the species source or animal part is unknown and could be anything and in our view should be avoided.
When compared to other none large breed food the difference is often subtle. You’ll often see the addition of glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin in large breed food for joint health but sadly at nowhere near the level needed to make a difference. A 30kg dog needs approx 750mg of Glucosamine each day whereas most foods will provide nowhere near this level but it does look good on the label. You’d have to feed a great amount of food to reach the desired level of Glucosamine and in doing so your dog would be rather obese. Its far better to supplement Glucosamine and other joint health needs than rely on the food itself.
The main consideration when thinking about what a large dog needs over a small dog is in the amount of calories a dog needs to function. For a small dog its roughly twice the calories compared to giant breeds when considering the extreme ends of the scale. (per day) This can be easily controlled by portion size and feeding frequency and the calorific value of the food being fed. You generally won’t find large breed foods that are low in calories and in most cases it’s a matter of marketing rather than function. So the short answer is no we don’t have a large breed food as it really doesn’t fulfill a purpose or provide any tangible benefit
A senior diet is in our view is marketing over content and possibly counter productive to your dogs wellbeing, here’s why; The basis of senior diet is that as a dog gets older it becomes less active and therefore needs a less energy dense diet to meet his needs. By feeding an energy dense diet with less activity the dog can become fat with the potential to create other health issues. A senior diet typically has low protein, low fat and high fibre. The problem with this approach is that as a dog gets older he naturally loses body condition, often loses muscle mass and strength, things don’t work as well as they once did, what nutrients he does get don’t do the job they once did and overall his system is weaker, less efficient and this results in the dog not doing the activities he once did or not doing them to a level he once did them.
Then, to add insult to injury, we then start to feed a Senior diet, one that is low in protein from a low quality source so any activity he now does can’t repair his body as quickly, one that’s low in energy so he doesn’t have the energy to do the things he used to do, low in fat so he feels lethargic with no energy and higher fibre so he feels fuller for longer and poops easier. Now he’s on a Senior diet he’s getting less nutrients has less energy so wants to do even less, puts on weight and then because he is putting on the weight we cut back on a food that wasn’t delivering what he needed in the first place. In essence we’re reinforcing the condition of getting old. In our view there is little reason if any to feed a Senior diet unless there is a particular health issue, you wouldn’t do it to your Granny and as a species dogs don’t do it themselves. Outside of any health issues a Senior dog needs all the goodness of a regular food plus supplements and any weight issues can be controlled by portion size to counter the loss of activity.
An interesting point to note is that; Not only might senior dogs have a higher protein requirement because they can simply not digest and metabolize it as efficiently as younger dogs anymore and need to make up for that by increased intake, but a study also found a higher mortality rate after three years in senior dogs fed a diet lower in protein than the average adult food compared to those fed a diet higher in protein.*
* Kealy Richard D., Phd; Factors influencing lean body mass in aging dogs. Proceedings of the 1998 Purina Nutrition Forum
Supplements and Treats
It’s a fair question given all the marketing messages that state dog food as complete and balanced. The question is what constitutes complete and what constitutes balanced? For something to be balanced, it should as a minimum supply nutrition from the main 6 food groups; protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. For something to be balanced it should contain at least 37 nutrients although there seems to be no formal definition of the term balanced and complete. To answer the question however, all dogs are different and are individuals, each has a different activity level, environment, exercise routine, levels of health etc. In addition, consider that not all ingredients are created equally. Protein from Chicken breast and protein from grains are very different in terms of quality and absorption. Chicken feet and feathers also contain protein. Whilst a food may be complete and balanced it doesn’t mean its a quality food. So, in our view a complete and balanced diet should be considered the minimum requirement and where needed this should be supplemented with the right extras.
Treats like other foods can have higher or lower fat content so if concerned by fat levels seek out the lower fat options. These include Fish Skins, Bully Sticks and Dried Lung for a start
Some treats do and others less so. Bully sticks for example are great for teeth and oral health, our Green Tripe is excellent for good bacteria and a healthy gut, our Chicken is high in protein and low in fat and so on. Others just provide a tasty treat but are always natural.