Jade, from paralysis to sled dog.

By Rod Clough

jade3It is a beautiful sunny morning in Kamloops this day, and I have just tied off my two Alaskan Malamutes to their stage lines in anticipation of a fun day of dogsledding at Sunpeaks mountain. Looking at the excitement in their eyes, I am slightly overwhelmed by the feeling of satisfaction I have seeing my dogs in their true element. There is no doubt in my mind that this is what they were born to do! The local dogsled tour operators, Chris and Taryn have been gracious enough to hook up a guide team to show us around and as we wait in anticipation the realization comes over me, how far we have truly come to arrive here! It was just over one year ago that the youngest of the two, Jade began on a journey that would challenge her far more than any day of sledding possibly could.

I had taken a weeks vacation from work when my wife Tannis and I first picked up Jade to ensure that her transition into our home would go smoothly, and for the first few days everything appeared to be going great. Jade had a new companion with her older sister Skaya whom we had acquired from our friends Sue and Roy from Mountain home Malamutes a year or so earlier and they were getting along famously. I decided that since I was home for the week that I would take Jade into the vet and get her checkup completed. Jade had recently been given the rabies vaccine , which was required in order for her to cross the border into Canada and this was clearly explained to my vet. After some discussion, I decided that I should do “the right thing” for my new friend and get the additional vaccines that were recommended. We live on a heavily forested piece of acreage that all of my dogs enjoy, its a fantastic place for them to live but there is the usual assortment of mice, rabbits, bats, owls, coyotes etc. in our area so I wanted to be sure she was properly protected and agreed based on his advice.

Later that afternoon Jade had appeared quite tired, which I thought was merely from the big outing to the vet earlier that day but I called the vet back and inquired just to be sure, and they advised to watch her condition and call in the morning if the condition worsened at all. That evening Jade turned from simply a tired puppy to a lethargic “wobbly” dog, and we could see that she was having trouble co-ordinating the movements to her back legs. The next morning we were back to the vet, she was thoroughly examined and my vet made the determination that Jade most likely had some kind of Spinal trauma and prescribed Prednisone for her to reduce any swelling.. Another sleepless (for us) night passed and poor Jades condition continued to deteriorate so we were back again to the vet who went out of his way for us on a Sunday and x-rayed her extensively but found nothing. Tannis and I were feeling slightly relieved that at least we hadnʼt let Jade get hurt in her first week with us, but admittedly were very upset by all of this. We have had dogs all of our lives, always gave them the best possible care, and had never hesitated on our vets words of advise for our dogs. Now we were being told that exploratory Nuero surgery would be the only Medical option, which even my vet agreed just wasnʼt practical, and was the end of the road for us as far as the “accepted” medical advise was concerned. My vet did acknowledge the possibility of this being related to the recent vaccinations, and offered to inquire with the pharmaceutical company.

Through all of this we had been in constant contact with Sue who had considered from the start that Jades condition could be the result of the vaccinations. Fortunately she had a contact in world renowned pet vaccination expert Dr. Jean Dodds, who was able to provide some answers right away. She described Jades condition as the “perfect storm” and explained that the combination of stress caused by Jades recent relocation, change in diet, the initial rabies vaccination, then the additional vaccinations, and finally the Prednisone as contributors. She recommended that we start treatment with the oral homeopathics, Thuja (for all vaccines other than rabies), and Lyssin to detox the rabies “miasm” as soon as possible and we did not hesitate. (Important note – Dr. Dodds felt that having the remedies given to Jade in her system within 24 hours was of great importance, unfortunately almost two weeks had passed since Jades initial Rabies vaccinations and at least 1 week after the additional vaccinations were administered before we could get these items into her system). By this time a few days had elapsed, and Jade was already in the gracious care of Sue and Roy and their amazing family of Malamutes. Sue had actually taken on the worst part of the winter drive through the Cascade Mountains to meet us and take Jade into her care as they could provide 24 hour attention to her where we could not. Jade had little to no movement in her back legs at this point and was now getting acquainted with her new home which was a kiddie pool in the middle of Sue and Roys kitchen! She was truly in the best of care with her Mom Stealth staying inside with her and a constant cycle of her brothers and sisters taking their turns in the pool as well.

jade2Sue and Roy endured the winter months caring for Jade with minimal signs of improvement from her. For the first few months they saw little to no movement from Jades hind legs, but began rehabilitation for her using a sling apparatus they put together. Working both Jades body and Spirit, they persisted with only the occasional slight twitch from Jades legs to shed some hope. Jade had learned to get around a little on her own by dragging herself through the snow and could occasionally be found down by the pen (20 yards or so) where she would watch the big dogs play which showed her as one determined little puppy!

Eventually, Jade started to come around , the first sign was her “scrunching” her legs up to her body. I remember how happy we were getting the e-mail from Sue about this! Tannis and I had basically given up on allowing ourselves to think about the possibility of her actually recovering and now finally there was some hope! Jade continued to slowly (and I mean slowly) show slight movement of her legs assisted by her simple desire to get out and play with the other dogs. By this time she was getting pretty active in spite of her problems. She dragged those little legs around for all she was worth, then slowly started using them to help push herself around much like a cross between a seal and a frog perhaps but it did not phase Jade.

It was around this time that I received word through my vet that the pharmaceutical company did acknowledge that there “may” be the possibility of Jades condition being related to the vaccinations which of course at this point meant very little. Tannis and I impatiently waited for updates from Sue, but the progress with Jade was hard to even measure. Slowly but surely her improvements continued, and by early summer she was able to stand on her feet, albeit somewhat awkwardly. She had been relocated outside with her dog friends, and was now able to run (sort of) and play and was energetic and full of life so Sue finally gave in to my persistent inquiries as to when she would come back to us, and let her come to our home. I donʼt think this was too easy for Sue as by now they had become pretty attached, and of course they had been through a lot together.

Jade adapted well to our home (again) and really did well with her sister Skaya! I could not believe how well she had adapted to her limitations, but she still had some problems with co-ordination and developed some significant sores on her legs from dragging her toes and banging her legs together. Her rear paws were pointed outwards, and her hind quarters lacked any muscle definition so we certainly still had a long way to go. Now we were able to witness first hand how slow her progress was, but in spite of her limitations she was still able to play “all day long” with her incredibly hyperactive sister Skaya and had no problems hiking 5 to 10 kms with us!

What I found surprising, was the total lack of faith in her recovery from the Medical profession. Some caring family members of ours had shared Jades story with their own veterinarian who insisted they pass on his opinion that what we were doing with Jade was all very nice but in reality we were just reacting out of emotion and were not thinking practically. He provided them with some pretty “jaded” information and a very dim prognosis for her without ever setting eyes on her. Here we had this little dog happily recovering from all of this right in front of our eyes and yet the “accepted” medical profession still was not buying in. Very disheartening to say the least…

jade1One more great example of this occurred when we took our dogs out to spectate at a local regional agility event this past summer. I have often wondered if hydrotherapy would be something good for Jade, and in the vendor area was a company that was promoting something similar so I thought to inquire.. After conversing with one of the ladies she asked if I could have a word with their “on-site” veterinarian which I agreed to do. He came out and after a two minute discussion where I mentioned her paralysis being caused by over-vaccination I could see a level of agitation on his face. He instantly turned on me, “how do you know it was the rabies vaccination?? Did you have an MRI completed?” Came the questioning in rapid succession.. I explained that wasnʼt in a position to argue about it, and the only reason I even bring it up is provide all of the facts so the best possible assessment could be made”. He continued on with his questioning so I calmly advised that I was well past this conversation and asked if we could stick to the issue at hand. Still he continued to the point where I had enough and finally I said, “ Look, no I didnʼt go and spend a ton of money that I donʼt have on Jade so I could scientifically prove Jadeʼs condition to you. Instead, with good help (including my vet) we came to a common sense conclusion as to the cause and are acting in this direction which has worked rather well thus far…. I did not learn much in that conversation except that some vetʼs get pretty darn excited when you even suggest that there could be adverse reactions to these vaccines!

I think my own veterinarian is probably one of the better ones who did show a good amount of care for Jade throughout this ordeal and maintained contact with me to see how she was doing and offer any suggestions he might have. His observations and recommendations were typically followed up by him saying “ and of course Rod you understand I have to very cautious about any optimism I have for Jades recovery” which you would expect. I think the big surprise to him was how well Jade has done, which certainly far exceeded his expectations. He also felt that “Tannis and I” are the exception and not the norm when it comes to the level of dedication that we were willing to put into Jades recovery and ok we have done quite a bit, but in reality, it would be Sue and Roy who truly were the “exception” here. They sacrificed a winter of dogsledding and put their lives on hold to take care of Jade simply because they felt it was the right thing to do… They saved her life and for this my wife Tannis and I are extremely grateful.

Fortunately Jade continues to improve to this day. At this point it is hard to say if she will ever recover 100% but at this stage the most important thing is that she is able to have a good life without any further complications and it looks like that may well be the case. She still walks a bit funny at times, with her toes pointed outward a few degrees, and she has trouble negotiating more difficult obstacles as well as her sister, but she is happy and healthy and loving life! When we picked Jade up in August of last year, dogsledding with her was the furthest thing from our minds yet a mere 6 months later she has begun her training to earn an AMCA Working Team dog designation and is proving to be a capable and confident little sled dog, in spite of her limitations. If she earns it great! If not, thatʼs just fine. Just as long as they have fun! Hindsight can be a difficult thing to face at times, and in looking back to the events that took place surrounding Jades paralysis I often shudder to think what I could have avoided, if I had only known what I do today. The main lessons I will take away from this is to take the time and research anything that goes into my pets for myself and not simply rely on others, and of course I will certainly be taking care and letting a new puppy settle in to be sure they are in top condition before considering any vaccinations. I also hope that anyone faced with a situation like Jade went through will think just a little bit more independently about the possibility of recovery for their furry friends.

Shop Wisely – Use Your Consumer Dollars to Make a Statement

By Valerie Barry, KPA-CTP
In Partnership with Dogs
www.ipwd.ca

It seems that you can buy something for your dog or cat virtually anywhere you go – department stores, grocery stores, gift shops, clearance centres, souvenir shops, gas stations, corner convenience stores, hardware stores – I’ve even seen dog treats being sold at produce stands on the highway. And of course, the variety of pet supplies available online is truly impressive! From discount to designer – anything and everything for your pet is there at the click of the mouse. As a pet owner as well as a pet professional, I like to think it’s my “job” to check out all the products available everywhere I go! When I’m on vacation, I tend to gravitate to pet stores in other towns – maybe I’ll find that perfect, one-of-a-kind dog Halloween costume or Christmas tree ornament that no one else carries.
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Just like when I’m shopping for my family, or myself though, I have learned over the years to be very cautious when I’m shopping for my pets. I’m sure everyone with a pet is aware of at least some of the treat and food scares in recent years pertaining to pets and various products from other countries. I read labels for ingredients, check freshness dates and also check to see what country the item is from or manufactured in. Some of these pieces of information aren’t always obvious so it’s helpful when you’re in a store where the staff has some knowledge of the products they carry. In my experience, the guy stocking shelves at the grocery store isn’t the one making purchasing decisions for the pet section and doesn’t often know much about the products for sale.

Like the variety of pet supplies readily available, the other thing that seems to be on the increase is the sheer number and variety of pet supply stores. I’ve passed through some pretty tiny towns and still seen more than one store exclusively devoted to small animal supplies (sometimes sharing space with feed and tack for larger animals).

Should you pick a “big box-type” chain pet store, go to a large department store for some bargains, support your local small business owner or just stop at the grocery store out of convenience when you’re picking up your own dinner. What goes into your decision about where to shop? A big part of my decision is the philosophy of the store. You can often see the store’s philosophy by checking out what’s on the shelves. If it’s a regular stop, then of course you get to know the owners and come to understand their philosophy. Aside from the amount and variety of items sold as well as freshness and appropriately sourced ingredients, it’s just as important for me to be in agreement with the philosophy of the store itself.

So how do I decide WHERE to shop and where NOT to shop?

My first personal rule is to actively avoid patronizing any stores that sell live animals of any kind. They are, thankfully, decreasing and hopefully someday soon all cities and municipalities will ban live animal sales in stores. Animals being sold in stores are not healthy and did not come from a healthy environment. You are supporting a very brutal industry if you make a choice to buy anything, including an animal, from this store. It can be hard because you feel like you’re “saving” that puppy in the window – but you’re not – you’re helping to perpetuate a truly horrible situation for pet animals and you need to walk away.
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The next thing I look for is whether the store sells any type of equipment used in punishment-based training methods for dog (or cats). I try very hard not to patronize any stores that support outdated and inhumane training methods by selling equipment like choke, prong or shock collars, shock mats, anti-barking collars or other deterrents, anti-counter surfing aids, inappropriate urination deterrents, electric fencing systems, etc. There is literally tons of easily accessible and easily understood information out there these days detailing the harm these training methods do to animals. I want to support a retailer who puts some thought and research into selling appropriate equipment and chooses to support a current and humane philosophy about animals. Just because it might be popular or is bound to sell is not a good reason to choose to carry something in your store. Making educated and thoughtful choices will help your retail customers get an education too. Put your personal and professional philosophy on display along with the companies and products you choose to support and offer for sale. I think it’s particularly reprehensible for a store to carry a smattering of equipment from both “sides” – a clicker hanging right next to a shock collar. That just tells me that the store doesn’t care about any philosophy or the welfare of their clients and pets and is simply in it to make a buck – period.

My next two criterions are of equal importance to me: knowledgeable staff and good product choices directly related to that knowledge.

I probably know more about dog and cat products than the average consumer simply because these topics consume a big part of my daily life. I read about them, attend seminars on them, experiment with them, talk to other professionals about them and actively research for information on them. I believe the staff who work in pet stores should know a lot about the products they sell in order to give good, factual advice and have a knowledgeable opinion. Equally important is to say “I don’t know” when you truly don’t. I have been in many pet stores and heard staff members handing out nutrition and even training advice that is simply incorrect at best and truly alarming at worst. Interestingly, no one ever welcomes my opinion on the rare occasion when I feel the need to interject even when I take a moment to explain my credentials. The store patrons seem to always defer to the staff – which just illustrates how important it is for the staff to be prepared for this role.

Responsible product choices are also very important. Clearly items that are considered “pet safe” or “pet grade” are not vetted by the same standards as “human grade”. You need to be very aware of current issues regarding pet products and read the information available – again, something a good store should keep its staff up to date with. Stores should make an effort to purchase locally if possible. They should carry toys, supplements and food items that are from a recognizable, responsible source. Additionally, if a store is going to sell dietary supplements or nutritional additives, I believe they have a duty to know enough about them in order to make good recommendations. That storeowner also has a duty to educate his or her staff if they are going to be encouraged to provide advice or make recommendations. You should choose to sell products because they are beneficial, not just trendy and saleable, and you should educate yourself accordingly – lives can literally depend on it.
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If a store is going to sell natural supplements or other kinds of supplements, then the staff should be well trained in their various uses and side effects. If a store sells raw food, staff should have current knowledge on what is a generally appropriate diet and the store should stock foods that make up a balanced diet. Do your own research on what food is appropriate for your dog – any specific health issues you have should be brought to your vet’s attention, not just to your pet store staff member. It’s great that a store’s staff knows all about common food allergies and health conditions related to nutrition or even breed type but they are not a replacement for your vet. I find it quite remarkable to hear some of the questions posed to store staff.

Why shop at a store that doesn’t even specialize in pets – grocery stores, hardware stores, “everything” stores? It’s very unlikely anyone working there would have any pet specific knowledge. I know it’s tempting to just check and see if your usual food is cheaper or on sale but I have a general objection to a store selling such a wide variety of items that the staff can’t possibly have a knowledgeable opinion on it all. Without exception, every “big box” store type I’ve ventured into all seem to offer the same types of pet products that clearly reflects their lack of up to date knowledge or their true concern for people’s pets. For example, products that offer protection from fleas or ticks should be things recommended by your vet – not something you just pick up from a pet store or the pet section in a department store.

The shopping you do for your pet should be just as well thought out as the shopping you do for yourself and your family. You have many options out there. Don’t waste the opportunity to be able to support a philosophy you believe in. As consumers, we hold a great deal of power toward the betterment of the treatment of animals simply within our wallet. Make your choice matter and be a proud part of changing the future for all of our beloved family members who, sadly, have no say in what they consume, play with, wear or are subjected to in the name of training.

On a Personal Note

I would like to take this opportunity to say Congratulations! to In The Raw and owners Jill and Rob for their nomination/win by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce for the Business Excellence Award. It’s a wonderful and well-deserved validation of their accomplishment. Jill and Rob have built a business that epitomizes all that a good business should be. They have great product choices that are thoughtfully chosen and their philosophy is clearly displayed within their shelves. Their staff is friendly, helpful and well trained. Jill and Rob are very knowledgeable in their area of expertise and I know that clients I send there will get good, current advice. I rely on them, myself, for nutritional advice and they are always happy to answer questions or research for more information if necessary. I’ve been shopping at their store since day 1 and I can’t be happier for them that they have received this recognition. Way to go In The Raw – thanks for holding others to a high standard!!

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What’s for Dinner?

By Barbara Fellnermayr

I’m trying to decide on what to make for my dinner tonight. So many choices to make; what protein, which vegetables, how will I cook them. We are very fortunate to be in Canada. We are able to make these choices and have many quality ingredients from which to choose.

What shall my girls eat? The girls, Sassy and Lola, are both rescued dogs from Little Paws Rescue. They can’t decide for themselves, so I’ll decide for them. It is my responsibility as their guardian to ensure they get the nutrition they need.

Sassy had her ninth birthday this week. Although she’s nine she has the health and energy of a two year old. People always comment on what a cute puppy she is. They don’t believe me when I tell them she’s nine!

21496106_mlLola is six. Lola came to us four years ago with a long list of health issues. She was covered in a rash from head to toe, had urinary crystals, her hair broke off in brush the first time I brushed her, she had little to no muscles in her back end, was blind in one eye and had hearing issues. Within two weeks of joining us Lola’s skin cleared up and her urinary crystals were gone. It’s taken longer to develop muscles in her hind end, but the progress has been amazing. The combination of quality food and exercise has put a spring in her step and muscles in her back end. Her exercise routine was chasing Sassy through the race course (kitchen, TV room, dining room and living room) and frequent wrestling matches. The transformation in Lola has been amazing and it has been an adventure to witness.

Her recovery has been so dramatic that people have asked me when I got the “new” dog. Her coat is luxurious and no longer breaks in the brush. Lola still doesn’t see out of one eye, but I think her hearing problems are selective. Besides Sassy hears well enough for both of them.

FOOD IS MEDICINE

Much of Lola’s return to good health is because of the food she’s eating. Initially Little Paws Rescue asked me to supply food for Lola as she was going to be fostered in Squamish. Donating the food was not an issue, getting it to Squamish was! This is when I offered to foster Lola, and I think I was set up. Lola was started on a raw diet, full of quality meat and fresh vegetables. The rest, as they say, is history!

Some of the other effects of Lola’s new medicine are firm non-smelly poops and no doggy smell. That doggy smell comes from the inside, rotting food in the dog’s stomach. No amount of bathing will get rid of the smell, even the specialty doggie perfumes can’t cover the odour, you’ve got to clean inside first! If we put good stuff in the gut, it will clean the bad stuff out. Lola and Sassy can both put their mouth right up to my nose because they don’t have doggy breath.

How do I decide what to feed the girls? First, I read the label. Pet food ingredients are listed in descending order, based on weight. I look for meat as the first ingredient as it is the most important. It should be in the top three ingredients, but that can also be misleading. Why? Ingredient splitting. This occurs when several varieties of the same ingredient are used and each is shown as a separate ingredient. This allows other ingredients to rise higher up the list. Some companies do this to mislead customers into thinking their product is of higher quality when it actually is not.

THE FIRST INGREDIENT

canstockphoto9736463I make sure the first ingredient is some form of protein. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for dogs. Protein is made up of amino acids; the building blocks that create strong muscles and repair body tissues. Dogs can only make half of the amino acids needed, the other half (called essential amino acids) must come from diet. Common ingredients such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish provide necessary protein levels.

Protein is the most important nutrient in the maintenance of lean healthy muscle. It’s protein that helped Lola develop muscles in her back end. Quality is more important that quantity; think filet mignon versus hamburger. You get far more nutrition from the filet mignon even when you eat less.

When I’m reading the ingredients it is important to understand the industry lingo. The following is a list of commonly used terms:

  • Meat refers to muscle of cattle, lamb or pig
  • Poultry refers to chicken, turkey and quail
  • By-products or Offal (pronounced awful for a reason) include kidneys, stomach (tripe), intestines, heart, tongue, spleen, lungs, and liver
  • Meat meal or poultry meal is a mixture of ingredients (including the feathers, beaks and feet of chickens) that have been rendered (rendering is a process of boiling the ingredients and drying them)

When the terms meat or poultry are used the source of meat or poultry should be identified. Is it beef, lamb or pork, chicken, turkey or quail? If the animal source is not identified then it is a mixture, mystery meat!

Offal provide many nutrients that a dog need. Offal also provides taste that a dog loves. But dogs can’t survive on offal alone, they need protein in muscle meat.

For many years meat and bone meal were a primary ingredient in cattle feed. It is now prohibited in developed countries as it is believed that meat and bone meal were the main cause for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease), which is also fatal to human beings. Do I want to feed meat and bone meal to my girls? Absolutely not. If cows get mad cow disease what will they get? Canine craziness?

The majority of ingredients for rendering plants come from slaughterhouses. Additional ingredients include restaurant grease, butcher shop trimmings, expired meat from grocery stores, and the carcasses of euthanized and dead animals from animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians. This material includes fatty tissue, bones, and offal, as well as entire carcasses of animals condemned at slaughterhouses, and those that have died on farms, in transit, etc. They also include any chemicals used to euthanize an animal.

I want to feed my girls meat and poultry that are free of antibiotics, growth hormones and steroids. I want as much of the animal used as possible to ensure that the girls are getting glucosamine, chondroitin and taurine in their natural states. I don’t want any synthetic ingredients in their food; synthetic is not natural, despite what many pet food manufacturers will have you believe. 90% of world’s synthetic vitamins and minerals are manufactured and imported from countries that do not share the same standards we have in Canada.

Why do I want to stay away from meat that contains antibiotics? Responsible people doctors donʼt give people antibiotics they donʼt need, because when they really do need them they won’t work. On the other hand livestock producers feed antibiotics to healthy animals to make them grow faster — no prescription necessary. Growing them faster means more money in the pocket of the livestock producer.

Sick animals may need antibiotics. Most animals raised for food in North America come from factory farms. On factory farms healthy animals are regularly given antibiotics in their food and water. The reason for this is twofold, 1) to get them to slaughter faster and 2) prevent infection in crowded, stressful and sometimes unsanitary living conditions.

How do you protect yourself from antibiotic overuse? When shopping for your own meat look for organic and meat raised without unnecessary antibiotics. These livestock producers rely on preventive medicine, good sanitation and stress reduction – not antibiotics – to keep animals healthy. Healthy animals give healthier meat.

Now you’re thinking I don’t have the money to spend on quality meat for myself, let alone for my dog. Yes you do! Supermarkets always have meat on sale or on clearance. Load up, stock the freezer when it’s cheap. It will require a bit of planning and budgeting but is well worth the effort.

If you’re buying prepackaged food ask the manufacturer about their meat suppliers. I have personally visited the farms from which we purchase our meat. I know the owners and I know how the animals are raised. Even though the animals are raised as food I think they should have a good life. Living in sunlight, fresh air, roaming the plains makes more nutritious meat. You can taste the difference.

All ingredients should be human grade; meat and vegetables. Vendors frequently call me to sell pet food grade ingredients. The conversation usually goes something like this:
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Vendor: We’re calling because we have pet food grade salmon available at a good price.
Me: Is it wild?
Vendor: No, it’s farmed
Me: Is it Pacific?
Vendor: No its Atlantic Salmon
Me: What cuts of the salmon? Vendor: Heads, fins, tails and skin Me: What about the meat? Vendor: That gets sold to people!

Beware of the term human grade, another term that is misused and unregulated. What is consumed by humans varies widely. In many cultures offal is considered a delicacy yet you won’t see me consuming lungs or spleens.

If your pet food manufacturer claims to be using quality ingredients, check it out. Most reputable manufacturers will tell you their meat source, it takes nothing more than an email or phone call to confirm. Alternately, visit the facility where the food is being made. Is it clean? Does it smell bad? I have customers and vendors that come to our facility and are surprised that it is so clean and doesn’t smell. Meat only smells when it starts to go bad.

It is also important to ensure that real meat is being used. We use whole free range chickens and legs in our chicken blend. Many manufacturers use only chicken necks and backs, not a lot of the necessary protein I wrote about earlier.

Also, beware of butchers selling dog food. When butchers sell lumps of ground up mystery meat for $1.50 – $2.00 a pound, you have to wonder what’s in it. I can’t buy meat, at wholesale, at that price. The butcher’s primary customer is the human. Meat gets sold, at top dollar, to the human for human consumption. Whatever scrap and fat is left over gets ground up and made into dog food. Keep in mind that these meats were not good enough to sell to customers and were not even good enough to be made into sausages.

Let’s not give fat a bad rap! Dogs need fat but it needs to be in proportion. 10 – 15% of a dog’s caloric intake should be from fat. Fats provide energy, as well as taste and flavour to foods. They also help the animal to absorb certain vitamins. Fat in the diet provides healthy skin and a shiny, healthy coat.

When reading the label there are three things that should never be in dogs food; wheat, corn and soy. These are the three biggest allergens for dogs and are likely responsible for the bad skin, itchiness and gnawing at the feet. They are also cheap fillers.

When you feed quality food you feed much less; less input means less output. Your dog will also look and feel much better for it.