What's a good dog food?

Do you know what gives us a huge amount of pride? We have 100% control over which products we carry. 
As a start-up small business, it seems tempting at times to bring in the big name sellers. Customers are already sold on it, we just need to put it in their hands. Right?
That's not who we are. 
We exclusively stock only the foods we would feed our own pets. When everyone is throwing around the word "natural" on packaging and other buzz words, we dig so much deeper. 
Packaging and commercials mean absolutely and totally nothing, in fact, the ones that spend the $$ on national advertising are the ones who are almost certainly skimping in expense of ingredients.   
The good news for those guys? It all looks like brown crunchy kibble in the end so none of us can tell what it used to be.
Let's take a popluar protein as an example here. It's telling me chicken meal. Ok.. well, was this chicken healthy and then frozen/refrigerated after, or was it found dead from a respiratory infection?
Goof grief Charllie Brown, I never thought companies would be allowed to use the farmer's garbage.  
At Stately Pet Supply, every food needs to have been created with ingredients that we as humans could have enjoyed. That means we ask about grade of ingredient, handling of the ingredient, and manufacturing of the product.  But none of this information is on the bag!!
Our job is to be a resource, a guide through the very saturtated and confusing world of pet food. 
Our specialty? Understanding what's actually in that bag you're about to buy.  
Side note: below you'll find a picture of me when I see a company is EU Certified. Thank you for your time and see you soon!

durable dog chews

So two MONTHS ago, my dogs started on some Tasman's center cut bison bones. With a pittbull, a Doberman, and a little terrier mix hard at work on them, I can easily attest to their durability but now the marrow has been consumed and they're losing interest.
The fix? Evanger's game meats to the rescue! Tonight we're trying rabbit. After an overnight in the freezer, they're good as new! Repurpose those bones and try it some some with your dog's favorite pâté style meats, peanut butter, or even some plain pumpkin purée! 


Dog food and 4D meats

I have this conversation all day long. In different forms, the same question is mulled over daily. What kind of foods do you have here? Is my dog on the right food? I've been feeding  _BRAND X_ for 27 1/3 (and maybe a half more) years and every dog I've ever had did just fine.  

Popular websites often do a very good job of dissecting ingredient labels bit by bit and awarding stars on a point system. Take note though, where you find credit given for meals as the first ingredient in kibble, usually no distinction is made between fit for human consumption vs 4D sources of meals. Perhaps a 6th star category is in order.  

4D, that's interesting isn't it? As an industry term that references meat quality, it stands for "dead, diseased, dying, or down" animals. In other words, we're talking about meats that don't make it to a restaurant or grocery store. This quality standard is one of the biggest factors in determining the answer to the above questions. If I'm going to pay for a commercial dog food, my money is not to enable the big guys to cheap out and package the edible equivalent of fast food Play-Doh. My pets are to thrive, not just survive. 

There is much to be said for the ease at which proteins must be processed in order to promote long term kidney health and the health of internal organs in general. So, when we talk about 4D sources and especially the Goliath of kidney killers known as "by-product meals".. our goal is to steer you clear of these and help you do a ghostie right on into the world of clean, kidney pampering proteins.

Let's reference a 1-STAR food list as a starting point. If you find you're investing in any of these names as your pet's basis for nutrition, we'd like you to, well.. stop. There are better recipes, a whole world full of them in fact and they're not as expensive as you may fear. Stop paying for road kill, corn, feathers, and non-absorbable minerals. We didn't even touch on Chinese mineral sourcing did we? We'll save that one for a later time. Check us out on facebook too, in addition to more dog food related posts, I typically make a habit of taking ridiculous pictures of myself for all to see. https://www.facebook.com/statelypetsupply



Corn in Dog food

The ingredients you see below are those of a food from a big name company, easily found in big box stores. You'd know it if you heard it. What we'd like to focus on tonight is the first ingredient in the recipe.

Corn is becoming more commonly recognized as what's known as a "filler" but what does that really mean? What's the big deal with fillers? You have to fill the bag with something right?

Well, let's say we want a 23% protein formula for adult maintenance. This percentage can be achieved with any combination of plant and/or meat based proteins. In this case, they hit their goal with corn and by-product meals. This recipe intends to nourish your dog with corn.. and feathers. Good lord! That doesn't sound kidney-delicate does it?

So corn has protein, is it that bad of a protein source? In the matter of nutrition, it's a poor protein as it brings almost nothing good to pet diets.
Firstly, it's an incomplete protein and though some veggies can be complete, corn isn't one of them. Taking you all the way back to biology 101, the first chapters talk about amino acids and their role as the lego blocks of proteins. With some amino acids produced naturally in the body, essential amino acids need to come from a proper diet. Corn based diets don't provide these. Imagine the potential for long term health problems when your pet's diet is structured like a swaying Jenga tower.

I think next week we'll tap into the effects of this carb on normal intestinal flora and effects on live probiotic strains. Check us out on the 'ol facebook. We'd love to hear from you. 


Probiotics in dog food

I'm going to start a tradition here. Call this the first post of "ya don't say" Sundays. It'll hopefully be a regular thing unless of course I can't find my phone or if I forget. With me? Anyway..
Today I'd like to start a discussion on probiotics in pet diets. Let's touch on things like purpose, sourcing, presence in dog food, and the effect other food ingredients can have on dog and cat guts. What I often refer to as normal intestinal flora, this article calls microbiomes. So if you have a thought, post it below and let's get the ball rolling. Check back with us often for more of our daily nonsense of course on our FB page. 


Below is an article from Dogs Naturally Magazine. The author tackles aspects of probiotics that I mentioned above; a good read indeed! 

"There’s a lot of scaremongering in the press and even in the medical community about bacteria and how sick they can make us and our pets. But these microorganisms are an important part of overall health – as well as the environment!

Understanding microbiomes…

Naturally formed colonies of microbes combine with other colonies to form a microbiome. These microbiomes can be found on and in the bodies of plants and animals, in the air, soil, and in even in the waters around us. The health of the entire planet is dependent on the health of these microbiomes.

In animals, microbiomes are found just about everywhere: on all exposed external and internal surfaces of the body – the ears, nose, the eyes, skin, mouth, throat, and airways – as well as in the intestines, cecum and colon.

And there are a lot of these microorganisms – about 100 trillion of them, which is ten times the total number of cells in the body! Most of them are in the form of bacteria, along with some viruses, fungi, parasites, yeasts, and protozoa. The microbiome’s health is impacted by factors such as the animal’s genetics, the environment and diet.

Essential for good health

The microbiome has many important roles to play.

Microbiomes help dogs and other animals digest food and absorb nutrients.
They trap heavy metals and carcinogens and pass them out through the stool.
They manufacture essential vitamins and anti-inflammatory proteins.
They work with the immune system in warding off harmful intruders.
Bacteria that live on the skin form a natural moisturizer, preventing the skin from cracking and fending off harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses.
They stimulate cell renewal and nourish the cells of the skin and the intestinal tract to help these organs do their work.
Almost 90 percent of an animal’s immune system is located in the wall of the intestines. Without the digestive tract microbiome, the immune system cannot function in a balanced, healthy fashion. Allergies or intolerances often start in the gut and are the result of an imbalance or leak in the microbiome.

It begins at birth

When a newborn puppy is born, he’s exposed to these microorganisms as he passes through the vagina into the outside world. When the mother licks the newborn, she transfers more bacteria from her saliva, and still more when the newborn starts to nurse. As long as the mother’s vaginal, oral and skin microflora are healthy, this normal process creates a healthy microbiome for the young pup.

Potential for disruption

On the other hand, if the newborn is delivered by cesarean, then rubbed with a sterile towel, whisked away and tube fed with colostrum, that can disrupt the normal balance of microbes and cause potential problems later on in life.

After the puppy is weaned and grows up, other things can disrupt the normal microbiome, including:

Eating large amounts of simple carbohydrates, animal fat, or a sterile highly processed diet
Oversanitization of his environment
Prolonged periods of stress
Radiation, antibiotics, and other pharmaceuticals
Limited exposure to the outside and other environmental influences
Can probiotic supplements help?

Probiotics are a group of live bacteria that can offer many health benefits.

A good quality probiotic contains bacteria that act together to restore disrupted balance in the gut. These “good bacteria” must survive the acid in the stomach and the bile in the small intestines in order to be successful. According to Dr Meg Smart, Professor of Small Animal Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan, maintaining a healthy functional micobiome is dependent on a supportive diet of whole and fermented foods. Many companies develop what they consider the “ideal” canine probiotic, but no manufactured probiotic can ever replace the vast array of microorganisms found in a varied diet of whole foods, regionally grown in soil with a healthy microbiome and environment.

Probiotics in pet foods

Some pet food manufacturers spray probiotics on the food, hoping they will survive and act in a similar manner. However, when Dr Smart studied 11 commercial kibbles treated in this manner, the only organism that survived was Pseudomonas.

Many people are afraid of potentially harmful bacteria in raw pet foods, and some manufacturers use irradiation and high pressure pasteurization to get rid of them. However, in the process they also destroy beneficial bacteria. There are still several raw pet foods that are not treated, so it’s important to do your research so you know what you’re buying. Raw green tripe from grass fed cattle is an excellent good source of healthy bacteria – again, as long as it hasn’t been irradiated or pasteurized.

When to use probiotics

After 20 years of clinical experience using probiotics, Dr Richard Calland found that dogs and cats with gastrointestinal issues all benefit from a good probiotic supplement and that’s what he uses as his first and usually his only “medication” to treat an intestinal imbalance.

Probiotics gently help dogs get over digestive disturbances by bringing the bacteria in the digestive tract into balance – without the use of harsh medicines. Using pharmaceuticals to treat most digestive disturbances is usually ineffective and often slows the recovery of a balanced, normally functioning digestive system.

Any dog under medical or surgical treatment would benefit from a good probiotic to counteract the detrimental effect of pharmaceutical drugs. Probiotic supplementation can even improve the overall wellbeing of healthy animals and support a healthy immune system.

Probiotics can also improve the health of dogs on a processed kibble diet or irradiated and pasteurized raw foods. They can also benefit dogs who exhibit stress or who have sensitive digestive systems or other signs of an unbalanced microbiome.

More research is needed

According to Dr Smart, it’s difficult to determine the ideal probiotic for dogs as we are just beginning to understand their complex and life sustaining role. She says “further research must be done to utilize all microbiomes to the benefit of all plant and animal species and our environment.”