View Full Version : Food

Gingers Mommy
1st August 2006, 08:40 PM
Ive read a lot of different posts on this site and many articles regarding dog food.
My breeder whom Ive found to be very knowledgable, put us on Eukanuba Puppy Small Breed Dry food. For a while Ginger wasn't eating too well but now Im adding a bit of wet food to each meal and shes eating better. Is Eukanuba really such a poor quality dog food? And if so, why is my breeder who has many years experience and 14 of her own dogs telling me to feed her this? Also she said that when Ginger gets spayed we'll switch to Eukanuba Adult (small breed)
Help! :sl*p:

1st August 2006, 10:19 PM
Food is always a very fraught area of discussion amongst pet owners! :roll:

In general I'd describe Eukanuba as a so-so food, not a poor quality food. Poor quality to me are the very cheap brands you can get in supermarkets. And there ws a time when Eukanuba was one of the only premium brands.

Now there's a massive industry around animal foods and a huge market for what might be termed 'boutique' foods, and niche foods for specific area such as those who feed raw. That gives a lot of choice to any dog or cat owner.

In general foods that have a lot of fillers, like grains, and anonymous meat sources, such as 'poultry meal' or 'beef derivatives' must be considered of a lower quality and less attractive than one which more clearly declares its meat sources ('chicken', 'duck' -- to do this they have to meet specific standards of meat content). Some foods have very bizarre contents, including sugar (!), if you take time to read labels. No cat or dog needs sugar, nor do they need grain, but some sort of grain is needed to bind together dried kibble products.

Animal feeds are also allowed to use meat considered unfit for human consumption -- meaning sick and diseased animals that arrive at the abbatoir either unable to stand or dead (called 'downers'). Better foods use human grade meats, few fillers like rice hulls or corn or wheat, and avoid chemical additives and preservatives.

Figuring out which are these foods takes some detective work, or relying on sources like the Whole Dog Journal, which publishes a list of recommended foods that meet certain standards. I tend to take some of the websites that analyse foods with a grain of salt -- many don;t revela where they get their information on the source of proteins in a food, say, and you can find wildly varying 'scores' for foods on different sites.

And all that said, I grew up with plenty of cats and a dog that lived to good healthy ages on supermarket food supplemented in the dog's case by all the table scraps and occasional raw bones.

On a more cynical note that will no doubt annoy many :lol: I think worrying about dog food and its every ingredient has become a kind of guilt transfer obsession with people who would not put nearly as much time into examing the food labels for the food they and their families consume, and their own state of fitness and health. 8) It's easier to obsess about the dog's diet, while consuming a bag of artifically flavoured potato chips/crisps and drinking a diet Coke. :lol:

Not all breeders make the choice others would make about foods or whether to feed puppy food and those approaches can vary enormously. Those whose general approach I respect most and who have long expertise in the breed, with healthy, beautiful dogs, all recommend not to feed puppy food and to choose a better quality dog food based on the points above. I don't think it is going to cause any big crisis though to feed puppy food til 6 months or so but many good breeders feel it is unecessary and causes dogs to grow a bit larger and lankier. To my knowledge there's no studies showing this but why would a puppy need puppy food anyway -- an adult dog in the wild doesn't bring back extra enriched foods for its pups, but the same foods it eats.

This is a good breeder's site on foods, feeding and recommended foods from the WDJ.


Gingers Mommy
2nd August 2006, 03:10 AM
Thanks so much for all the informative information. Ive read a number of posts from you and others before and have visited that website as per your suggestion. I guess it comes down to making a decision thats right for you and your dog, and everyone has their own opinion. As Ginger is 5.5 months and will be spayed at the end of this month I will change her to a more "upscale" (more natural ingredients) dog food. I often worry that my relationship with my breeder will be jeapordized if I dont follow her advise, although obviously I know she is now my dog and my responsibility and I will raise her as I choose I guess the breeder tends to make me feel and sometimes rightly so that she knows everything!!
But I absolutly agree with your "guilt transfer obsession" theory, as I pay much less attention to my own feeding habits as I do to hers!
Thanks again!

2nd August 2006, 04:18 AM
.. Is Eukanuba really such a poor quality dog food? And if so, why is my breeder who has many years experience and 14 of her own dogs telling me to feed her this?

Hi Gingersmom. i think people just go by what they have learned and what they have experienced, and if your breeder has healthy dogs, why should she question the food she recommends? On the other hand, why should she insist on just one food? Dogs are individuals and have different needs, and there are lots of good quality dog foods out there. Maybe she's not really insisting on this one kind of food, but simply recommends it because she feels she has had good results with it. Doesn't Eukanuba sponsor shows and breed activities? If so, perhaps this helps to develop a supportive relationship between the brand and some breeders, resulting in exclusive use of that brand, and then recommendations to puppy buyers to use the same food? I know that many if not most vets recommend prescription diets that are rated, on the basis of quality of ingredients, fairly low, or mediocre, compared to some brands that are out there, and charge a lot more for it. But i assume they believe in it, they have been educated by the dog food companies on the virtues of the Hills ID/WD etc diet prescription foods, and vets want to have something to recommend to patients, and maybe compared to some of the supermarket dog foods, those vet prescription foods are better--it's just a matter of perspective where vets haven't yet educated themselves about foods with higher quality ingredients, and perhaps they have had good success wiht these foods, reinforcing their belief in them. Many people think that dogs don't require higher quality ingredients, that their bodies don't become sick from ingredients that would make humans sick, and that it's mistaken to think dogs should have better quality foods.

Interesting questions.

2nd August 2006, 07:36 AM
I'll say it again...plain ol' Purina Dog Chow probably rates very near the bottom of the list of 'crap' feeds...but there are literally millions of perfectly healthy dogs eating it, and millions more that led nice long lives on it.

I'm 46 years old. When I was growing up, you fed a dog Purina Dog Chow. If you had money, and a spoiled dog, you gave it Alpo canned...or Mighty Dog if it was little. ;)

Nowadays, the Petsmart has eight aisles of DOG food alone...and a lot of folks will say they're all crap. The breeder we got Elvis from used IAMS...on the crap list. Our vet sells Purina ProPlan...on the crap list. We give our Saints Pedigree...also on the crap list.

We recently decided to change the Cavs to something 'better'. They were doing fine on the ProPlan and/or IAMS...but daddy felt bad reading all the tasty ingredients in the 'designer' feeds and still giving the lads corn.

When we decided on Chicken Soup and when I went to the pet store that was supposed to carry it, I found nine or 10 OTHER 'designer' feeds (but no Chicken Soup :x ). I got a bag od Merrick Turducken, because it was more appealing to ME, with all the human like ingredients. The dogs ate it just like they ate ProPlan and IAMS. I found the Chicken Soup at a feed mill, and started mixing that in. They eat it like it was Merrick/ProPlan/IAMS. They've not shown a preference of one over another...AT ALL.

Are the better ingedients in designer foods making them healthier? Maybe. Are dogs eating a BARF diet healthier than dogs eating ANY brand of kibble? Maybe. There's a lot of science out there to argue both sides of all the issues.

I'll keep giving the Cavs and the Cocker the Chicken Soup because I feel better about ME for using it. The Saints will continue on Pedigree because they're perfectly happy with it, and we'd go broke if we switched them. icon_whistling I really think it's waaaaaay more important to us than it is to the dogs.


Bruce H
2nd August 2006, 12:53 PM
I have nothing factual to base this on, but it's my feeling that a lot of breeders feed foods like Eukanuba or Iams because they sponsor the majority of dog shows and they have very good "breeder programs". The breeder programs consist of free or discount coupons for food to the breeder, free sample packets and/or coupons for food for puppy buyers, etc., etc.

We happen to feed Royal Canin even though their breeder program is not as good as those above because we believe it's a better food. And, who knows, maybe the slightly better food will make a slight difference in the quality of our dogs or our litters. We'll take any edge we can get when it comes to health. We also recommend RC to our puppy people just because you never know when the better food might make a difference in their health too. If nothing else, it makes a difference in the amount of waste left in the yard, especially over the really junk foods.

I can't imagine your breeder would criticize you if you fed any food listed in the Whole Dog Journal. I know our puppy people have asked a few times about switching foods and we tell them anything on the Whole Dog Journal's list is just fine.

2nd August 2006, 02:02 PM
I often worry that my relationship with my breeder will be jeapordized if I dont follow her advise, although obviously I know she is now my dog and my responsibility and I will raise her as I choose I guess the breeder tends to make me feel and sometimes rightly so that she knows everything!!

Well unless your breeder is over looking in your cupboards, she doesn't have to know what you are feeding. If you are uncomfortable revealing that you've changed foods, and she specifically askes what you are feeding (though this would seem a bit obsessively instrusive for a breeder!) then a white lie or vague answer of 'Well, I continue to listen to and value your advice on feeding' will probably suffice. :lol:

I don't discuss the fact that I fed raw for a while with my vets for example, who would not have been impressed. I save my own obsessive food conversations for my dog training pals Tara and Lisa, with whom I can also discuss dog poops without feeling self conscious or weird. 8)

I really like Royal Canin myself and all my cats are fed on it and look fantastic and have never had any health issues (2 of them have been fed RC for 7 years now). The dogs I rotate around the few chpoices we have in Ireland, and I also tend to feed mostly homecooked meals or add things to kibble -- dry foods are more the supplement to what I feed than the base food. At the moment I am feeding James Wellbeloved which is a UK brand. I'll rotate back to RC probably before long. I like the small size of the RC for small breeds.

3rd August 2006, 09:54 AM
I'm 46 years old. When I was growing up, you fed a dog Purina Dog Chow. If you had money, and a spoiled dog, you gave it Alpo canned...or Mighty Dog if it was little.KC

i'm about 10 years older than you and when i got my first dog in the late 50s, there was only one brand of dog food at the store, Dr Ross dog food. It was horsemeat. It smelled awful (to me) and had a sticky stiff texture, like the Hills ID Diet, very hard to get it off the fork or spoon, so as a 9 or 10 year old kid trying to feed my dog, i didnt have a good experience, i hated feeding my dog, because it smelled foul, it wouldn't come off the fork, it got on my hands and really grossed me out, and it took longer than it otherwise would because it wouldn't come off the fork, thus requiring extra long exposure to foul smell.

Then, a couple of years later, a new kind of canned food came out, Kal Kan. I liked it so much better. It was more like a stew, it smelled OK, and you didn't even need a fork, you could just turn the can upside down and it slid out, and i could use the empty can to chop it up, no fork to wash, it was moist and juicy and appetizing (relatively) by human standards, although it was still gross, i didn't want to touch it or smell it, but it did smell better than Dr Ross, way better. i don't think it was horse meat.

those were the only two dog foods on the shelf at the supermarket. There was only one or two kinds of kibble, i wish i could remember the brand name, something Fives, it came in a kibble and in a dog biscuit and i really loved the dog biscuits, they came in five different colors, different shades of brown and tan and charcoal gray and one was green, and each color had a different shape, so they seemed fun. like the dog would enjoy the variety, as if each kind had a different flavor, i thikn that was the idea of the design, the marketing idea. And the kibble was the same five colors but it was kibble instead of dog biscuits. They were called Fives because there were 5 colors, i wonder what the brand name was.

I googled for more info just now but couldn't find anything about Dr Ross. Kal Kan apparently still exists in some form.

Some people say that dogs were healthier back then to the extent vets were not seeing dogs with cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, allergies, and arthritis in their practices, which are quite common now. I read an essay by a vet or a vet tech who had been in practice since the 70s and said in those days, vets just saw injuries, broken legs, and foreign body ingestion, and didn't see all these chronic debilitating diseases they see now--even though there were only two kinds of dog food, and then as you say, Purina came along and Alpo, those were the new generation in those days, dog foods which would be rated as crap today.

3rd August 2006, 10:24 AM
Sheesh I remember my Mum feeding our dogs on Chappie dog food that reeked too :yuk:

I remember it was rock hard and had bits of white stuff in it that looked liked bits of fat and bones. It also stank of fish - don't know if it's still made or not but I wouldn't dream of feeding my dogs on it :yuk:

amanda L
4th August 2006, 09:46 AM
Very interesting thread on food, I used to feed Nutro to mine, but just last weekend changed to James Wellbeloved. Well I have to say the "results" are great, the best I've seen in a long time :p. No nuts are left in the bowl after feeding, unlike that with the last food I was using, so they obviously like it too. Elliot suffers with colitis, so it can be difficult to find a food that suits him, but so far so good with James Wellbeloved :p

4th August 2006, 03:27 PM
What matters to me is that good food can prevent and/or solve many problems including all sorts of allergies, bad breath, ear infections, loose stools, bad gas and many, many more.

Chester is 2 years old and has never had any sort of skin, ear or other problem and I like to think it's because my breeder did a great job and because I feed him good food.

In my personal experience, switching to a good food helps alot. Two of my neighbors have switched from Beneful to premium foods (Chicken Soup and Wellness) and they have told me that their dogs no longer have skin issues and their poops are much smaller, firm and consistent. One of the dogs is a 7 year old Chow mix and the other is a 3 year old Lab mix from the shelter. I can't believe both of them were feeding Beneful but that just shows you how powerful TV ads and other marketing can be. I HATE those stupid Beneful ads...they are so deceitful.

Anyway...that's my two cents. Thanks for your time!