Tag Archives: food

Food tales

Yesterday, I led another Cooking for Dogs workshop which is a workshop I designed about four years ago to encourage owners to add fresh ingredients into their dog’s diet.  We also discuss the latest research into dog diets (such as the July 2018 announcement by the US FDA about a possible link between grain-free foods and heart disease) and what makes a ‘good’ ingredient for a recipe – things like choosing meat ingredients and the use of spices such as ginger and turmeric.

Cooking for Dogs - happy dog owners make recipes like doggy meatloaf and chewy chicken strips

Cooking for Dogs – happy dog owners make recipes like doggy meatloaf and chewy chicken strips

I’m a supporter of the hybrid diet – where dogs are fed commercial food, raw food and also homemade food for variety and nutritional support and to mitigate the risks of long-term nutritional deficits.

It’s been a month or so now of food-themed interactions with clients and colleagues.  For example, during my visit to Kindness Ranch, I was given a tour.  They make their own ‘sow chow’ of fresh ingredients for their pigs because they found that commercial pig food is designed to fatten up the pigs for slaughter.  (Whereas the pigs at the Ranch have been rescued and will live out their lives naturally.)

Look at the colors in the bowl – fresh foods like watermelon!  What pig wouldn’t want to chow down on food that that was this fresh?

And I’ve had a few interactions with clients this week which were also food related.  For example, the well-meaning owner of a Labrador puppy.  I had to tell her that I felt her dog was overweight and that she needed to reduce the amount of food being fed daily (adjusted also for treats used in training).

She was worried because the bag of her commercial puppy food recommended that she feed even more.  I explained that we should feed our dogs according to body condition and that many commercial foods often overstate the feeding rates for their foods.  After all, if owners feed more food, then they have to buy more food.  (I’m sure there are some dogs that may need the recommended feeding volumes – but these would be the exception and not the rule from my experience.)

And then there was the dog that had been losing weight and urinating in the house.  I strongly advised that the dog be taken to the vet for a health check and the results were in – a pancreatic problem brought on by feeding raw.  In this case, I suspect that the raw food mix being fed to this dog was way too high in fat and also contained consistently too much liver instead of a mixture of other organ meats such as heart and kidney.  Regardless, the dog was not thriving on its diet and, worse, was being hurt by it.  A change in diet to a commercial kibble has seen a return to health and no more urinating in the house which is a positive for both dog and owner.

Every dog is different when it comes to diet.  There is no one right or wrong answer, but there are tools and techniques we can use to match them to a diet that works.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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The five freedoms

Let’s go back to basics for a moment and think about our role as caregivers for our dogs.  Every animal owner should understand the Five Freedoms which are an internationally recognised code for animal welfare.

Anyone responsible for looking after animals should aim to meet each of these freedoms.

1.  Freedom from hunger and thirst

This means giving your dog adequate food and water to keep them healthy

2.  Freedom from discomfort

All animals deserve adequate shelter and a place to rest

3.  Freedom from pain, injury and disease

Owners should focus on keeping their animals safe from harm and, when they are sick, they should be taken for appropriate care without delay

4. Freedom to behave normally

This is about ensuring there is enough space for an animal to exhibit its normal behaviour including having opportunities to interact with others of its own kind

5.  Freedom from fear and distress

Treatment should ensure that animals are not distressed or fearful, exhibiting good mental health

Here we go again – pet food recalls in USA

This time, the cause of concern is salmonella contamination.   Salmonella is a zoonotic infection, meaning it can be transferred to humans too.

Salmonella infection in dogs causes gastroenteritis, septicemia, and spontaneous abortions.  Humans usually experience vomiting, diarrhea and fevers.  It’s not pleasant.

The best prevention is to wash surfaces in the kitchen after feeding your dog and to ensure you wash your hands after handling pet foods.

The brands currently under recall are:

Solid Gold Health Products for Pets, Inc.

  • Solid Gold WolfCub Large Breed Puppy Food
  • Solid Gold WolfKing Large Breed Adult Dog Food

Wellpet LLC

  • Wellness Complete Health Super5mix Large Breed Puppy

Canidae Pet Foods

  • Canidae Dog, All Life Stages
  • Canidae Dog, Chicken Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Lamb Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Platinum

Apex Pet Foods

  • Apex Chicken and Rice Dog, 20lb and 40lb bags

Natural Balance Pet Foods

  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog
  • Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Large Breed Bites
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites
  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
  • Country Value
  • Diamond
  • Diamond Naturals
  • Premium Edge
  • Professional
  • 4Health
  • Taste of the Wild

The Kirkland Signature products included in the recall are:

  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Formula
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Formula
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Mature Dog Chicken, Rice & Egg Formula
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat Formula
  • Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs

It’s hard to know if some of these foods are available in New Zealand (Canidae definitely is) because some foods are imported in smaller quantities.  If you are feeding one of these foods, stop immediately and check with your supplier for more details on the recall.

This website from the FDA gives all the latest information on pet food recalls.