Recommended Pet Foods
First of all…let me make it clear that most of my previous food recommendations have been meant for the “average pet owner”- those who will only feed commercially prepared foods. Having been in practice for over 35 years and on this dietary mission for the last 15 of those years, I have developed more realistic expectations than I once had regarding what most veterinary clients are willing to do.
I have been criticized for “recommending” certain commercial foods, mostly by proponents of raw feeding or home-prepared diets. Some of my critics accept “the average person” defense while others think I should be more of a purist and only recommend the best. Thus, this opening paragraph…
There is no doubt that the best diet for dogs and cats would be home-prepared foods consisting of biologically appropriate ingredients. Dogs and cats are carnivores. Some argue that pure meat protein diets are the only thing dogs and cats need and they are certainly more right than wrong. 75% of the dogs natural diet would be animal protein while the diet of the domestic cat would consist of 4-5 (partially eaten) mice, birds, squirrels or rabbits per day.
However, telling the low income owner of 5 large dogs to home-prepare all of their food not only elicits the usual looks of confusion but also frequently generates outbursts of laughter. “Yeah, right, Doc. I’m gonna cook for my herd of dogs.” As I have said many times, most of these people will barely consider going anywhere other than Walmart, Sam’s Club or their grocery store for pet food. Getting them to the pet shop for a commercial diet free of wheat, barley, corn, soy and dairy often takes a Herculean effort, requiring at least an hour lecture on why diet is sooo important to their pet’s health and longevity.
So, let me make this perfectly clear: I am a BIG fan of home-prepared diets. There is no question that a person, utilizing my elimination guidelines and fresh ingredients, could make a pet food that is infinitely better than anything being made by the commercial pet food giants. By using meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, (sweet potatoes and/or rice if needed to maintain weight), and some common sense, we could not only meet their dietary needs but easily exceed that supplied in kibble and canned preparations.
Clients and veterinarians alike have been hypnotized by pet food labels sporting all of those added vitamins and minerals when, if fact, they have to add all of those elements because the food is so deficient in real, “living” foods. Plus, the “big 4” – gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye), corn, soy/legumes and dairy – can block the absorption of those nutrients normally absorbed by the small intestine. The result is that these offending foods do way more harm than good.
That is why I have taken my past approach: Focus on the elimination of the harmful ingredients (the “big 4”), which is crucial in disease treatment and prevention, while suggesting readily available foods that meet this criteria. But I have always suggested that people supplement those diets with some “living” food – meats, eggs, fish, veggies, and fruits. A study in Europe a number of years ago showed that pets receiving table food in addition to their commercial diet lived on average 3 years longer. We just have to pick the right table food (with none of the big 4). Remember: Wheat and dairy alone make up nearly 70% of the calories in the standard American diet (SAD). Add in our love for corn and it’s no wonder “table food” has a bad name when it comes to pets. But, I have decided that the vast majority of veterinary clients are smart enough to grasp the difference between healthy table foods (e.g. meats, eggs, fruits, veggies, sweet potatoes) and unhealthy foods (e.g. pizza, cakes, cookies, ice cream and donuts). Besides, the chicken, lamb, fish, eggs, rice, sweet and potatoes in pet foods ARE table foods, aren’t they??
Therefore, we have four choices when it comes to feeding our pets: 1) Home-prepared diets (most ideal); 2) Commercial diets supplemented with real foods (next best); 3) Commercial kibble and/or canned foods alone but those that meet the elimination criteria (none of the “big 4”); or 4) Commercial kibble and/or canned foods alone that contain wheat, barley, corn, soy/legumes, dairy products and animal by-product meals (least ideal).
I would certainly have it that all would choose the first option but, alas, that it not the case…yet. I applaud and support the efforts of those who are educating the pet-owning public as to the health benefits of raw and home-prepared diets. But I do not want to miss out on the opportunity to educate the majority of pet owners who currently do not fit into that category.
Medical miracles have occurred by simply switching the pet from foods laden with the “big 4” to those devoid of them. There is no doubt in my mind that they would do even better on home-prepared diets but this pet food revolution is still in its infancy when it comes to the general public and we still need to reach the masses in order to affect the much needed change that will ultimately save and extend the lives of our four-legged family.
I hope this clarifies matters,
Dogtor J’s Recommended Pet Foods
Note: Until this site is completed, please use the following links to obtain the information on this topic:
Dogtor J.’s Recommended Pet Foods – Once again, this area is in a dynamic state for the same reasons as above. Thankfully, there are still some pet foods at the grocery store and pet shops that will meet the budget-minded pet owner’s needs while helping many of the chronic conditions from which their pet suffers. None of these are “ideal”, but the elimination of wheat, barley, dairy, and soy can produce miraculous results in many pets (and people). Once again, I strongly urge owners to add fresh vegetables, fruits, and a source of natural protein (meats, eggs) to these commercial diets to make them more nutritionally complete.
* Veterinary Diets to Control Seizures– (Link only) The response of epileptic dogs (and people) to the elimination diet (The G.A.R.D.) has been one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The papers in the epilepsy section (Epilepsy and Diet) explain this incredible phenomenon. You can see DogtorJ’s Recommended foods by clicking here.
* The Truth About the Ingredients in Pet Food– (Link only) This article is something I put together after a week of discussing this subject matter with clients. Their reactions compelled me to put it all in writing. I hope this helps and motivates change. Please feel free to forward this to anyone who has pets. It can be the difference between a pet living to be 5 or 25.
* Is the Pet Food Industry in the Business of Population Control? (Link only) This paper asks this and many other related questions and hopefully equips and motivates the reader to obtain the answers.
* DogtorJ. com’s Elimination Diet Handout– (Link and below) This handout has “morphed” significantly over the last two years as I became more aware and knowledgeable of the foods that were doing us all harm. Also, the pet food industry is in a dynamic state and the “safe food list” has been changing like a chameleon, thanks in great part to the addition of soy .I now advise pet owner to check the ingredient list of their chosen food at least every other purchase. I also strongly urge owners to add fresh vegetables, fruits, and a source of natural protein (meats, eggs) to these commercial diets for completeness.
* What to Feed, What to Feed???” – Here is a brief post I made on a forum in answer to that question.
* Special Order Premium Pet Foods – Links are now provided for those pet owners that have decided they would like to feed the best pet foods currently available. This should be a growing number as the message of this site reaches more of the pet-owning population. However, I remind the reader that I have no sponsors on this site and am in no way linked to these manufacturers other than a shared knowledge and “philosophy” of nutrition. It is clear that the pet food makers in this category have done their homework, formulating diets from a natural and logical viewpoint. “Strange” how that works. It’s almost embarrassing for us to have not thought of it years ago, isn’t it?
* Links to other Food-related Sites– Finally, I have a list of my favorite food-related sites, most of which apply to human health and nutrition. Many of these sites were utilized in my initial research and became valuable tools in the instruction of others, as well. These sites were the true pioneers and deserve a tremendous amount of credit in their respective areas of focus. My task was to attempt to pull all of this information into a single work- into a single concept, if possible- and relate it all in some way to the downward “spiral” of the plane of our health. The Answer was (and still is, as it is a work in progress) that work and the “glue” was that concept. These were the fuel. They deserve your attention and thanks.