Nutrition

A Portal? Why?

We know, we know...dog food is dog food, right? There's hundreds of different choices, options, formulas, and the pictures or the kibble looks so good. What if I told you Chef Antonia Gudamera made an awesome food and you should try it because he's a top chef? (You just Googled him, didn't you? That's not a real guy, we don't think...) At any rate, that's generally what most manufacturers ask you to do. "Scientifically proven", with no scientific study. "Vet's choice", only because it's the formula out of poor comparison presented to vet's. These are just some of the marketing technique's used. But, what really makes an informed decision on dog food, is research and understanding what your friend needs to eat. This page is designed to help you spring board into the insane and confusing world of pet nutrition with helpful pointers, and lists to help you start in the right direction. We endorse certain foods, but we have no food sponsors, and thus, we are pretty unbiased. Pretty...

Take a look at the links and information below to help you get started.

What’s the deal with dry dog food?

One of the key staples in the diet of your pet is kibble. Why is kibble important though? Well, for many various reasons. One of the big things is actually much more easily missed: teeth. The larger the kibble, the slower dogs tend to eat, and likewise the better the cleaning action of the kibble on their teeth. Another reason is that it is where you find higher concentrations of protein and lower concentrations of fat. It is reasonable to find a kibble with 3% fat and 20% protein - and some of these numbers can go as high as 51% in protein. The big deal with protein is muscle mass.

Other key factors in kibble have to do with vitamins, minerals, and balance. You will find better concentrations of important things such as omega 3's, 6's, amino acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. The first three in this list can help with things such as skin and coat. Dogs that have hot spots are likely to respond well to these, and a coarse coat stands the chance of becoming shinier and softer. The last two in this list can help with hips and joints - such as dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia. This is especially important in large breed dogs that are susceptible to these disorders. Some high quality foods have as much as 1,500 mg of both of these compounds within them. For comparison, the strongest additive on the market provides only 700 mg, and the strongest treat offers 800 mg.

So what's the bottom line here? Most people look at the price tag and immediately balk at the thought...but consider the following:
  • The cost of a low grade bag of food generally runs between $25 and $35 for a large 40 to 50 lb bag of food.
  • The cost of an additive of glucosamine and chondroitin is about $35 a bottle for anywhere between 20 and 50 doses.
  • The cost of an additive for skin and coat (fish oil) is about $24 a bottle for anywhere between 15 and 45 doses.
  • The standard cost for a visit to a vet - without any additional issues - is $45 to $60.
High quality food, not only is cheaper when considering the needed additives for the well being of your dog, but is also cuts down on vet visits - cutting costs further. If that wasn't enough, high quality food goes farther with less feeding to fill your dog up, which also means less cleanup. So what's cheaper? A $35 bag of food with $60 in additives and vet visits? Or a $65 bag of food with no additives and only necessary vet visits? The math is plain to see!

Now that we've discussed some of the important things about dry food, let's take a look at the dry food available.

Universal Truths

Regardless of what kind of food you feed, there are some universal truths that you should always remember. First, know that a dog is not capable of digesting corn, wheat, or soy - regardless of what a manufacturer says. Not only is it hard if not impossible for them to digest these things, it's also highly likely that the reason they're shedding or have hot spots is linked to these ingredients.

Another rule is to ensure that by-products are not the means of protein. By-products are any non-human grade level of protein. So that includes icky things like eyeballs, beaks, feet, things like that. What makes it worse is that some companies do not even specify what the animal protein is by just specifying "meat." In some extreme cases this could even include other dogs and cats.

Bottom line: READ THE LABELS.