Browsing: Nutrition

Grain Free Dog Food Vital to Healing Lupus Skin Lesions

Freckled Paws Hot Spot Oil and Cream have proven extremely effective healing skin lesions caused by canine discoid lupus. In our Application Directions page, we emphasize changing your dog to a “grain free” diet. For some reason people understand the relationship to sun exposure exacerbating lupus symptoms yet have a hard time making the same connection to grains in the dog’s food and treats causing a similar increase in lupus symptom frequency and severity.

Freckled Paws Hot Spot is not only effective treating lupus skin lesions, though. Freckled Paws Hot Spot is effective treating all kinds of skin issues in dogs, cats and horses. We have even had several people use it with great success for various skin issues. The effectiveness of treating canine lupus symptoms is greatly enhanced by eliminating grains from the dog’s diet.

The Pet Insurance Industry published the top ten reasons people took their dogs to the veterinarian in 2012. Three of the top 4 reasons for dogs going to the veterinarian have to do with skin issues. Here are the Top Four in order:

  1. Skin Allergies
  2. Ear infections
  3. Skin Infection
  4. Non-cancerous Skin Growth

Skin Health is a Huge Issue in Dogs

You will notice the number one reason for dogs going to the vet is skin allergies. Many of these allergies can be partially managed with diet changes. Dogs are not meant to eat grains. The simple truth is a large percentage of dogs have allergies to various grains.

Dogs Naturally Magazine published an article titled: “Grain Free Dog Foods: Solving Yeast And Skin Issues”

“Grains and other starches have a negative impact on gut health, creating insulin resistance and inflammation” says holistic veterinarian, Dr Jodie Gruenstern. “It’s estimated that up to 80% of the immune system resides within the gastrointestinal system; building a healthy gut supports a more appropriate immune response. The importance of choosing fresh proteins and healthy fats over processed, starchy diets (such as kibble) can’t be overemphasized.”

K9 Lupus is an Auto-Immune Disease

Not only can grains exacerbate lupus symptoms, they may play a roll in the development of the disease in some dogs. Jennifer, Freckled Paws Co-Owner, has worked with dogs for over 30 years, much of that time working in veterinary clinics. Jennifer has seen, first hand, a significant increase in several diseases including auto-immune diseases.

While this article is pointing to reasons it is important to feed your dog infected with lupus a “grain free” diet, we feel it is in the best interest of any dog to be on a grain free diet, regardless of their current health condition.

You can find a list of quality “Grain Free” dog foods at Dog Food Advisor. We recommend using this list as a source to identify quality brands and then researching which are available in your local area. We don’t see any reason to settle for anything less than a 5 Star rated food. Do yourself and your furkid a favor by removing grains from their diet.

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Dog Food Ingredients | How to Determine Quality of Dog Food

People are more concerned than ever over the quality of the dog food they are choosing. How do you determine whether a dog food is healthy? Is it even possible to determine the quality of a dog food? Choosing the best dog food requires gaining some level of knowledge about dog food ingredients. Unfortunately, if you want to guarantee you are purchasing a quality food, you need to do some background work on the manufacturer as well.

Can Dog Food Labels be Trusted?

A recent article by dog food activist, Susan Thixton, casts doubt on whether consumers can even trust dog food labels. Another post at Dog Food Advisor tells consumers to not be so sure your dog food doesn’t contain ingredients from China, even if it is labeled “Free of Chinese Ingredients”. A dog food brand several Freckled Paws clients use, recently disclosed the first ingredient in their foods is dehydrated meat. The following is from comments section at this blog post:

Update on Great Life:

I called Great Life on Monday and spoke with the office manager, he told me that all Great Life dry foods contain real meat and not meat meals.
I asked him how that is possible without Pied Piper having refrigeration. He told me Dr Harvey would call me back.

Yesterday I called Great Life and spoke with Ellliott Harvey the owner/founder. He told me that all Great Life kibble except the vet preferred line contains real meat and not meat meal. I have the pork and venison varieties of the vet preferred kibble and the label reads venison and pork not venison meal and pork meal. I told Elliott this and he said “it has been taken care of”. I said: so the labels are wrong? He said again “it has been taken care of”
I then asked him how it is possible that Pied Piper makes your food with real meat when they do not have any refrigeration at their plant. He told me that they have off-site refrigeration and he hung up on me.

Today I called Pied Piper and I asked them if Great Life’s dry foods contain real meat and they told me that all of Great Life’s dry foods contain meat meal and not real meat. They told me they cannot make a dry food that contains real meat and that all the dry foods they make contain meat meals not real meat.

So for years now Great Life has been lying to consumers about what type of meat is in their dry foods.

Here is the contact information for Great life and Pied Piper:

Great Life Performance Pet Products
420 E. Easy St. Unit 2
Simi Valley, CA 93065

Phone (805) 577-9663
Fax (805) 577-6618

Pied Piper Pet & Wildlife, Inc.505 East Lake Drive Hamlin, TX 79520-4240Phone (325) 576-2277 (manufacturing dept)
After reading your comment, I emailed Great Life and promptly received a response from the company’s owner, Dr. Elliott Harvey.

His reply included a copy of a letter dated February 7, 2012 from Derek Moore of Pied Piper Pet Foods, Hamlin, Texas:

“Pied Piper Pet Foods maintains a strict policy for food safety. We chose as a company not to keep our fresh meat supplies in house. We do this as an extra safety precaution to keep the foods we prepare from any contamination. We have highly reputable partners that air dry our fresh meats off site to help us maintain this high standard. We want to provide our customers such as Great Life Pet Products a safe and nutritious product.”

Should something like this be considered intentional mislabeling?

That is a judgement I’ll have to leave to others (including the FDA).

As I’ve mentioned to you previously, in the case of a dry kibble, whether an ingredient is sourced from air dried meat, meat meal or the raw tissues themselves, it’s still an animal based protein.

And once this material has been heat processed and extruded into a machine-made food pellet, I don’t see the need for any noteworthy distinction.

Dr. Elliott Harvey, then why not list the ingredient as “Dehydrated Meat”? This is obviously an attempt to intentionally mislead the consumer. When a company employs a shady practice such as this I wonder, what else aren’t they telling us about their food?

Considering almost 50% of the dog foods in the ELISA Technologies Survey were mislabeled, I would eliminate from consideration any food manufactured by a company mislabeling their ingredients list in any fashion. Trust is an important virtue. Unfortunately, too many companies are only interested in the bottom line.

The pet food business is huge. Competition for market share is fierce. And there is little regulation on pet food ingredients or labeling practices. As Susan Thixton pointed out, the ONLY way to be 100% certain your furkid is getting quality ingredients in their food is if you cook for them. Even the controversial, “Raw Food Diet” pet foods are not exempt from recalls.

We, at Freckled Paws, are convinced the explosion in canine cancer has a lot to do with the poor quality food our pets are eating. It isn’t only cancer, though. Just as is happening with humans in America, canine diabetes is becoming an epidemic, along with a host of other disease conditions. There is no doubt a quality diet has a higher initial cost versus feeding your pet a cheap food. In the long run a high quality diet will save money in reduced health care costs.

If you are unable to cook for your furkids, we recommend making a donation to Susan Thixton for her “Trusted Pet Foods List”. Susan publishes the list every year. We recommend getting the list every year. You might ask yourself…Why get it every year? One reason is, what if the company manufacturing your chosen, quality food sells out to a large conglomerate, who in turn moves the manufacturing to a factory where there have been several recalls? This happened to us. And our trusted food was recalled before we were aware it was no longer a small boutique dog food company. Susan lets you determine the donation amount. And the money helps her continue her very important work educating consumers and advocating for changes in the pet food industry. Freckled Paws does not receive any affiliate money or commissions of any kind if you make a donation to Susan. We recommend you do so simply because we feel Susan’s list is made without prejudice and contains the best the industry has to offer while saving the furparent many hours of investigative work.

It is a shame that it is so difficult to feed your furkids a quality diet. Many furparents believe they are doing the right thing but are being conned by greedy, unscrupulous companies that would rather spend their money on clever marketing than they would putting a quality product in the market.

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Your Choice of Dog Food Matters!

The food you feed your dog is the most important decision you will make in their life. Pet food recalls have opened the eyes of many consumers in recent years. Many consumers remain confused as to what constitutes a quality dog food, though.

Alarming Pet Health Statistics

In America, one in four dogs will die of cancer. Dog obesity is as large a problem as human obesity. Studies have shown a dogs life expectancy should be around 25 years but the average lifespan of a dog in America is only 11 years. All of these issues trace directly to what you choose to feed your dog.

Read Ingredients List

When choosing a dog food it is important to read the ingredients list. Some of it may be confusing but a few tips will help you pick a quality food.
What dog food ingredients to look for:

  • Meat: Not many foods contain whole meat. Most contain rendered meats or meal. Avoid these foods.
  • Vegetables: Dogs are not strictly carnivores. They will eat vegetables when given the opportunity.
  • Berries: Dogs love berries and they are good for them as well.

What dog food ingredients to Avoid:

  • Rendered meats: Rendered meats have oils removed and the use of rendered meats is one reason fillers are used to hold kibble together. The rendering process not only separates fat and removes water to create a concentrated protein product, it also kills bacteria, viruses, parasites and other organisms. Because meat can be rid of infectious agents through the rendering process, “4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased or disabled) are allowable meal ingredients. While not always present, the possible inclusion of these ingredients makes meal always considered unfit for human consumption.
  • Meat meals: This is cheap protein of low quality. See above.
  • Grains: Dogs have many allergies to grains. You can fix a variety of health issues by eliminating grains from your dog’s diet.
  • Corn gluten meal: Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of corn (maize) processing that has historically been used as an animal feed. It can also be used as an organic herbicide. Do you really want to feed your dog a herbicide?
  • Animal Digest: Animal Digest is material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.

I also recommend avoiding foods that have been recalled. Blue Buffalo is a food that has recently begun a huge advertising push as a high quality pet food. Blue Buffalo has been on the recall list, though. I would never feed my dog any food that has ever been recalled, period.

If you are real serious about feeding your dog the best and understanding dog food and nutrition, this product is a fabulous resource: Dog Food Secrets.

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