Top 10 Things To Look For In Dog Food

With the recent Salmonella contamination at Diamond Pet Foods’ plant resulting in the recall of 14 (or more) brands, some of us may be wondering how to select a good, safe, nutritious food for our companions.

Below is a list of my Top 10 things to look for or avoid.

1.  Look for: Ingredients you can pronounce and recognize. 

When you walk down the supermarket meat aisle, between the lamb chops and the chicken wings do you see anything with eight syllables?  Anything like Sodium Metabisulfite?  Here’s a good rule:  the more syllables it has the less of it should be in our dog’s food.  And if the ingredient has more than six syllables, put the bag back.

2.  Look for:  USA (or equivalent) made and sourced.

Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina also offer some solid choices.  Try to find a brand that also produces their own instead of outsourcing the production.  Here are four good examples:  Champion Pet Foods (Canada), Fromm’s (WI), Precise (TX), Evangers (cannery) (IL).  You’ll find them at an independent pet supply store, not the supermarket.

3.  Look for:  Identifiable animal proteins as the 1st and ideally the first three ingredients. 

Meats should be marked as USDA certified, fresh.  And while the packaging may not say “human-grade” or “table-quality” because of strange issues the industry has with those terms, their websites probably will.   Between 60% – 80% of a healthy dog’s diet should be animal protein.   Look for this on the label too.

4.  Look for:  Fewer ingredients, and “complete and balanced.”

Less is more from quantity of ingredients standpoint.  If you get “deer-in-the-headlights” syndrome from reading the ingredients panel, walk away.  The label should also say “complete and balanced” which means it has the necessary vitamins and minerals.

5.  Look for: Ingredients that do not come from China.

There’s enough evidence of major problems with the human food chain in China.  Currently our pets are not safe eating ingredients from China.   China pet food imports grew 30% last year and now make up 70% of all pet food imports.  By a rough sketch estimate that means 40% of pet food ingredients in USA-made products are coming from China.

To get the answer to this one point, you will need to go to the manufacturer’s website or call their customer service department.  In all likelihood companies that are not using China-sourced ingredients will promote it on their website as it’s a big selling point.  This is  especially true given the 2007 melamine-based recall that killed 8,000 animals (China manufacturers were purposefully lacing wheat gluten with melamine to boost protein content and selling the ingredients to US dog food makers); and the recent toxic China chicken jerky issue.

If you don’t find the information readily available, then it’s suspicious.  If you want a China-free choice, then you can probably eliminate over 60 brands from five manufacturers right out of the gate.  All these guys were forced to recall products in 2007 for melamine so they were buying from China then at least.  Here they are (at the risk of their attorneys knocking down my doors):

Eighty-five-percent (85%) of the pet food market is controlled by these 5 multi-billion dollar companies The top two (Mars and Purina have 87 manufacturing plants and combined revenues of over $26 Billion).  When you get to be that large everything succumbs to shareholder value:  how little money it takes to produce something and how much of it you can push.  So it’s reasonable to assume their stuff is coming from China.

A must read on this subject is From China with Luck. (It also lists the 60 brands from the Big 5).

6.  Avoid generic unidentifiable meat, byproducts, animal digests and “natural flavors.”

It’s well known that the FDA allows dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals to be rendered into animal feed.  This includes euthanized animal shelter animals; roadkill; Anthrax , mad cow, or otherwise diseased animals, and more.  Byproducts include things like McDonald’s used grease.  Natural Flavors is a dumping ground for MSG and other junk.   A good read for more info on this topic is:  Where’s the Beef

 7.  Avoid wheat, corn, soy.  Avoid gluten-grains and minimize rice. 

Wheat, corn, soy and gluten-grains (rye, barley, spelt) are highly inflammatory and many dogs cannot digest them.  Oats are a fine choice for grain as they are gluten free.  They are also higher in calcium and potassium and lower on the glycemic index than pumpkin and sweet potatoes.  Instead, however, of a laundry list of grains, look for fruits and vegetables.

There are a number of other health issues around soy which will be the subject of a future post.

8.  Avoid salt, sugar, garlic (it’s in the onion family and causes anemia in dogs), and glycerin. 

Glycerin is the new dumping ground for methanol.  For more information read:  Glycerin.  A Diesel By Any Other Name Wouldn’t Taste As Sweet.

9.  Avoid preservatives and fishmeal.

The most toxic preservatives are these:  BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, TBHQ, Sodium Metabisulfite.  Most fishmeal in dog food is preserved with ethoxyquin but the ethoxyquin is not disclosed on the label.  (Read:  Where’s the Beef? for more information.)

Nitrites and Nitrites should also be eliminated.

10.  Avoid Food colorings.

Ever see a dog turn his nose up at food because it got a low score for plating and presentation?  Food colorings are added for our visual benefit, not the dogs and many are carcinogenic.  The worst ones are:  Caramel Coloring, Yellow #6, Blue #1 and #2, Red #3, and Green #3.

Wishing you and your pup a long, joyous, healthy life together!

Posted in Animal Health, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Salmonella Contamination Causes Widespread Recall of 14 Brands of Dog Food.

Lula, Grace and Amy. From our pack to yours with love and joy.

Big commercial dog food companies outsource their production.  And when there’s a problem at a manufacturing plant – like salmonella contamination – the brands it affects tumble like dominoes. 

There’s been a widespread recall of dog food due to Salmonella contamination. Here are the brands affected (and more may be added to the list):

  • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul – All skus
  • Country Value – All Skus
  • Diamond – All Skus
  • Diamond Naturals – All Skus
  • Premium Edge – All Skus
  • Professional – All Skus
  • 4Health – All Skus
  • Taste of the Wild – All Skus
  • Apex
  • Canidae (some Skus) – see below
  • Natural Balance (some Skus) – see below
  • Wellness Large Breed Puppy in 15 pound and 30 pound and 5 oz sample brands
  • Kirkland Signature
  • Solid Gold

In addition to the brands listed above, Diamond Pet Food also manufactures NutraGold Super Premium Holistic Formulas.  So please keep your ears open for any recall announcements on that one.

At the heart of the recall matter is Salmonella contamination that occurred at a Diamond Pet Food manufacturing plant in South Carolina. The CDC has tied human cases of Salmonella infection to Diamond Naturals and Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul.  Other products from this same plant may be tainted too.

Natural Balance and Candiae have noted that no salmonella cases have been reported on their products. They are recalling for the safety of the pet and the pet parent.  Wellness has noted that while their puppy formula is being voluntarily recalled, the Wellpet brand has been unaffected.

Here are the details as we currently have them:

If you have one of the first eight brands of dog food listed above then the following information applies.  To determine if you have an affected product you should check the production codes on the back of bags that have a number “2” or a “3” in the 9th or 10th digit and an “X” in the 11th digit.

The best-before dates for the recalled brands are December 9, 2012 through April 7, 2013. No cat or can skus are affected.

Following is an example of how to read the production code and best before date:

Production Code                    Best Before Date

FDE0104R5 3X  TS              10 – January – 2013

Here is a link to more information posted by Diamond including the states affected by the recall: http://www.diamondpet.com/information/

If you suspect that you have a recalled product you can go to http://diamondpetrecall.com/ or call Diamond Pet toll free at 1-866-918-8756.  To get a refund you can visit: http://diamondpetrecall.com/refund-protocol/

Now, regarding Apex, Natural Balance, Canidae, Wellness, Kirkland and Solid Gold:

If you have an Apex product, please visit:  http://diamondpetrecall.com/apex/

The below Natural Balance skus are affected by this recall (limited to 5 flavors produced at this Diamond SC plant).  If you have a recalled Natural Balance product you should contact customer service at  (800) 829-4493 or email info@naturalbalanceinc.com or visit the websitehttp://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/home/NB_recall.html

  • 5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog; Best By Date: December 12, 2012; December 13, 2012; March 12, 2013
  • 15 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog; Best By Date: December 12, 2012; December 13, 2012; December 14, 2012; March 5, 2013; March 6, 2013
  •  28 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog; Best By Date: December 12, 2012; December 13, 2012; December 14, 2012; March 5, 2013; March 6, 2013; March 7, 2013; March 8, 2013; March 12, 2013
  •  5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog; Best By Date: December 10, 2012; December 21, 2012; December 22, 2012
  •  15 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog; Best By Date: December 10, 2012; December 21, 2012; December 22, 2012
  •  28 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog; Best By Date: December 10, 2012; December 21, 2012; December 22, 2012
  • 5 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog; Best By Date: December 17, 2012; December 18, 2012; December 28, 2012; December 29, 2012
  • 15 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog; Best By Date: December 9, 2012; December 17, 2012; December 18, 2012; December 28, 2012; December 29, 2012
  • 28 LB Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog; Best By Date: December 9, 2012; December 17, 2012; December 18, 2012; December 28, 2012; December 29, 2012
  • 5 LB Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog; Best By Date: December 9, 2012
  • 28 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Large Breed Bites; Best By Date: December 12, 2012; December 20, 2012; December 21, 2012
  • 5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites; Best By Date: December 21, 2012
  • 12.5 LB Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites; Best By Date: December 21, 2012

Canidae:

The below Canidae skus with production codes that have both a number “3” in the 9th or 10th digit and an “X” in the 11th digit with a best before dates of December 9, 2012, through January 31, 2013 are being recalled.  For the most up-to-date information and to reach Canidae about this recalled product visit Diamond’s recall website for Canidae.

  • Canidae Dog, All Life Stages
  • Canidae Dog, Chicken Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Lamb Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Platinum

According to Canidae, currently the recall affects only products distributed in the following Eastern U.S. which were manufactured at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant. Further distribution to other pet food channels may occur:

  • Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee

Note:  the distribution of the other brands noted above encompasses a much broader area in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Wellness:

To date Wellness has identified that the following product may be affected by this Salmonella contamination.

  • Wellness Complete Health® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy, 15 lb. and 30 lb. bags and  5 oz. sample bags with best by dates of JAN 9 2013 through JAN 11 2013.

You can call Wellness at (877) 227-9587 with any questions about the recalled product.

Kirkland

The Kirkland Signature products included in the recall are:

  •  Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Mature Dog Chicken, Rice & Egg Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat Formula (December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
  • Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs (December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)

If you have a recalled product visit Diamond’s Recall Website for Kirkland.

Solid Gold

The Solid Gold products involved in this voluntary recall are

  • Solid Gold WolfCub Large Breed Puppy Food, 4 lb, 15 lb, and 33 lb, with a best before date of December 30, 2012 and batch code starting with SGB1201A31X.
  • Solid Gold WolfKing Large Breed Adult Dog Food, 4 lb, 15 lb, and 28.5 lb, with a best before date of December 30, 2012 and batch code starting with SGL1201A32X

Pet parents who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, would like replacement product or have additional questions, may call Solid Gold at (800) 364-4863.

If you suspect that you or your pet have been exposed to Salmonella here’s some things to look for:

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

References & Useful Links:

  1. For more information on this recall visit The Truth About Pet Food
  2. For more information on Diamond Pet Foods visit Wikipedia
Posted in Animal Health, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pet food, Pet Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Dirty Dozen Aliases for MSG

Gracie, the inspiration behind Goodness Gracious healthy dog treats.

Obesity. It doubles a dog’s chances of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a laundry list of other health problems.  Fifty percent (50%) of US dogs are overweight, and MSG – just one form of free glutamate – is a huge culprit.  MSG can triple a dog’s insulin levels making even the most physically active animals fat. It’s also a suspected neurotoxin.  And it litters our pet food supply under at least 12 different names.

If you see any of these ingredients on the label, put the bag back:

  • Any type of hydrolyzed protein (e.g. hydrolyzed vegetable protein)
  • Any type of protein isolate (e.g. soy protein isolate)
  • Any type of textured protein (e.g. textured vegetable protein)
  • Natural flavors or natural flavorings (e.g. natural beef flavor, natural chicken flavor, natural bacon flavor, natural cheese flavor, natural smoke flavor, etc.)
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Hydrolyzed yeast
  • Yeast extracts or yeast nutrient or yeast food
  • Soy extracts
  • Soy concentrate
  • Sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate
  • Disodium inosinate or disodium guanylate (which are flavor enhancers effective only in the presence of MSG)
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Monopotassium Glutamate
  • Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, or free glutamate [i] and [ii]
  • And more…

MSG is a salt of glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid.  A salt is simply a chemical formed by the interaction of an acid and a base – in this case sodium.  “Non-essential” simply means that the body is perfectly capable of making the amino acid on its own and doesn’t need to get it from food.  MSG occurs naturally in soybeans, seaweed (also called “kombu sea vegetable”), sugar beets, and sea tangles.

MSG is just one of several forms of free glutamate used in foods.  All of the forms are bad for your pet.  Glutamate is used by manufacturers to intensify flavors in meats, baked goods, and other foods.  Free glutamate is created when proteins are broken down.  The broken-down proteins then bond with the sodium that’s in the food to create MSG.

Consider what the FDA says about hydrolyzed protein:

“hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG. In this case, the presence of MSG does not need to be disclosed on labeling.[emphasis added]

"Please, Mama. Keep me healthy."

Natural Flavors.  It’s the category most manufacturers use to mask MSG.  According to some reports, 80% of all “flavored” foodstuffs are MSG[iv.]

It’s a misleading term and it should not be assumed that just because something is “natural” over “artificial” it’s somehow safer for us or our pets.  Anything that has been concocted by a physical process (e.g. solvent extraction, heating, enzyme action, distillation) from a plant or animal origin can be called a “natural flavor” regardless of the unavoidable but unintentional changes in the chemical structure that result. [i]

Take Hickory Smoke Compensate (HSC) for instance.  It’s a food flavoring popular in the US that has tumor initiating and promoting potential.  A medical university study induced cancerous lesions in rats with a diet consisting of 5% HSC.  The FDA has issued no warnings.

A word on proteinates and chelates.  We see proteinates and chelates on the labels for pet food very often as the source of trace minerals.  And they’re included in some very well respected brands.  We may see copper proteinate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate or manganese proteinate on a label for instance.  Proteinate by definition is a compound of a protein.  Proteinated and chelated minerals are substances used in animal feed where the mineral has been combined with amino acids so as to improve absorption in the body.

The concern arises around the nature of those amino acids – specifically whether hydrolyzed protein was used as the source of that amino acid – thereby adding free glutamate or MSG into the mix.  If this is indeed the case, one could argue that the glutamate in mineral supplements is present in such minute quantities…  In any event, here’s one dog food company’s position on the matter:  http://www.natureslogic.com/faq/#faq3.   And no doubt, suppliers of animal feed supplements use MSG-catalyzing hydrolyzed proteins.  Here’s an example: http://www.chaitanyagroups.com/animal-feed-supplements.html.

My girls, just say "no" to MSG.

Now on to the effects of MSG…

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that people who use MSG are more likely to be overweight than people who do not use it, even though they have the same amount of physical activity and calorie intake.[i]

The British Journal of Nutrition published a study which showed the ability to induce obesity in newborn mice via MSG to be nearly 100% reliable.   This news makes MSG intake for puppies especially concerning.

“Newborn mice were injected subcutaneously with 3 mg MSG/g bodyweight… 16% died before weaning. Of the survivors, 90% or more became markedly obese. Mean carcass lipid content was increased by about 120% in both sexes at 20-30 weeks old.”[v.]

In addition to obesity, MSG or glutamate is a suspected addictive neurotoxin that has been associated with chest pain, headaches, numbness, asthmatic reactions, brain damage (in rats, rabbits, chicks and monkeys), depression, irritability, and mood changes, reproductive dysfunction in males and females, nervous symptoms (decreased sensibility in neck, arms and back) and irregular heartbeat.  It’s also on the FDA’s list for further study for possible mutagenic teratogenic, subacute and reproductive effects.[i]

MSG does not need to be in our pets’ food and shame on the manufacturers for putting it there in disguise as “natural flavors” and other things.  If the reasons above aren’t enough to strip this ingredient from our dogs’ food supply we should consider where it comes from.

Lula and Amy at Goodness Gracious. Lula taking her turn at quality control.

China.  In all likelihood the glutamate dumped into the dog dish is coming from a country plagued with a toxic human food chain (read From China with Luck).  According to recent US census data, China is the third largest importer of this category of flavoring food additives (slightly behind India and Indonesia).  [iii]

The flavorings market totals about $6-billion-a-year and leaches over 1,323 substances into our food supply just to make food more appealing.  The FDA by its own admission has inspected about 100 of the 190,000 foreign food plants.  At their current inspection rates, they would need 1900 years to inspect them all.[i] And those are just the ones producing food for human consumption.  There’s no one but us looking out for our pets.

Below is a short list of treats containing any of these Dirty Dozen likely aliases for free glutamate and MSG.  And if you see proteinate or chelate on an ingredients panel for pet food, it’s worth learning more from the manufacturer:

  • Beggin’ Strips  (read Where’s the Beef for more on these and other popular treats)
  • Beneful (Baked Delights and Snackin’ Slices)
  • Bil-Jac  (Training Biscuits, Gooberlicious)
  • Blue Buffalo (Blue Bits, Blue Bites, Blue Stix, Super Bars, Blue Bones, Wild Bites, Blue Wilderness Wild Bites)
  • Blue Dog Bakery (Doggie Paws, Softies, Super Stars, Live Well, bakery Bones, Perfect Trainers)
  • Buddy Biscuits (Soft and Chewy, Chewy Tricky Trainers)
  • Busy Bones
  • Canyon Creek Ranch
  • Carolina Prime
  • Cesar Treats
  • Dentastix (from Pedigree)
  • Gimborn Pro Treat Raw Naturals
  • Goodlife Recipe
  • Halo (Spot’s Chew)
  • Merrick (all flavors of the Sausage Dog Treats)
  • Milk Bones
  • Milo’s Kitchen (read our blog post for more on Milo’s)
  • Mother Hubbard
  • Pedigree Good Bites
  • Pup-Peroni
  • Pur Luv (various treats like Healthy Support and fish recipe stix)
  • Purina Pro Plan (various treats including Roasted Slices)
  • Red Barn (Deli Stix, Naturals Natu-Rollies, Meat Filled Bones, peanut butter filled hooves, cheese and bacon filled hooves,  Fetchers Dog Bully Stick Chews)
  • Real Meat Jerky Treats (Jerky Bites, Bitz, Long Stix, Large Bitz)
  • Solid Gold (Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Lamb Jerky, Tiny Tots)
  • Snausages
  • T-Bonz
  • Waggin Train
  • Wellness (Wellbites)
  • Zukes   (Mini Bakes, Z-Bones, Mini Naturals, Jerky Naturals, Natural Purrz)

More information on the content of this post can be found at the resources below:

[i] A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th edition. Ruth Winter, M.S.

[ii] http://www.livestrong.com/article/377482-other-names-for-msg-or-monosodium-glutamate/

[iii]  http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/country/

[iv] Hungry for Change, full-length film.  http://vimeo.com/38632012

[v] National Institutes of Health Study on The induction of obesity in rodents by means of monosodium glutamate.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1106764

http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

Here is a list of other ingredients that OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG in processing:

  • Maltodextrin
  • Cararageenan
  • Protease
  • Citric Acid
  • Corn Starch
  • Gelatin
  • Pectin
  • Anything Ultra-Pasturized
  • Powdered Milk
  • Boullion
  • Malt Extract
  • Spices
  • Anything protein fortified
  • Anything enzyme modified
  • It’s also possible that proteinate or chelate indicates the presence of MSG (e.g. zinc proteinate).
Posted in Animal Health, Cats, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats, Pet Treats and Supplies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Glycerin. A diesel by any other name wouldn’t taste as sweet.

My children, Grace and Lula

I want to give Waggin’ Train and others like them, a firm kick in the caboose.

Glycerin. You see it everywhere in dog treats. When you do, put the bag down and slowly step away.  It could kill your pet.

Glycerin (aka glycerol or vegetable glycerin or glycerine) is a sugar and a filler.  It’s classified as a humectant, which means it absorbs water or moisture.  It’s included in pet treats – which are sold by net weight – so the manufacturer can sell you the weight in water.  Glycerin binds the water so as to disguise the water as a solid treat or food, and inhibit mold growth. And if you see it on the label, there’s generally a lot of it present.  To produce a soft, moist / semi-moist treat, glycerin generally makes up about 10% to 18% of the product.  Glycerin is also about 60% as sweet as sugar so there’s some palatability benefit for the treat maker to include the stuff as dogs can taste sweetness.

Until recently, most glycerin for pet food was produced as a byproduct of soap making.  It’s created when fat or vegetable oil is saponified. Today, a lot of glycerin that’s in food for animals comes from a much deadlier source.  It’s a byproduct of biofuels.

There has been an extraordinary amount of glycerin coming into the market from biofuel production, since one gallon of biodiesel yields one pound of glycerin.  This rate of production places tremendous pressure on the supply side of the glycerin market to find new uses for this product.  Animal food is where it’s being dumped.[i]

What makes glycerin produced from biodiesel any different than that from soap?  Plenty.

The production of glycerin from biofuels leads to significant amounts of residual methanol (wood alcohol) and sodium that remain in the glycerin. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EPSA (Europe) are taking a hard look at this product given the nature of its contaminants.

Methanol (wood alcohol) is a flammable, poisonous liquid that’s also the raw material for making formaldehyde.  It’s on the Community Right to Know List.  Methanol is highly toxic, readily absorbed from all ways one can be exposed to it, and has narcotic properties. Ingestion can cause blindness and death.  Lesser exposure causes blurry vision, headaches, and GI disturbances.  Symptoms of exposure include headache, dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain, lung problems, weakness and coma.[ii]

Pet food makers that use glycerin from soap are trying to distinguish their products from those containing the poisonous glycerin from biodiesel.  To do so, they’re now referring to their glycerin as “natural” glycerin.  Natural, refined glycerin (derived from soap making) is generally recognized as safe (“GRAS”) though irritating to mucous membranes.

It’s wise to be cautious when seeing “natural” glycerin on a label though, as the production of crude glycerine from biodiesel is also categorized as “natural.”

Founding members of Goodness Gracious (maker of 100% human-grade dog treats)

Below is a list of some pet treats containing glycerin.  At a minimum, it’s worth asking the manufacturer if they use human food grade glycerin, what company provides it to them and what country it comes from.

  • Beggin’ Strips
  • Beneful (Baked Delights and Snackin’ Slices)
  • Bil-Jac  (liver treats for dogs and Gooberlicious)
  • Blue Buffalo (Blue Bits, Blue Bites, Blue Stix, Super Bars, Blue Bones, Wild Bites, Blue Wilderness Wild Bites)
  • Blue Dog Bakery (Softies, Perfect Trainers)
  • Buddy Biscuits (Soft and Chewy, Chewy Tricky Trainers)
  • Busy Bones
  • Canyon Creek Ranch
  • Carolina Prime
  • Cesar Treats
  • Dentastix (from Pedigree)
  • Good Bites (from Pedigree)
  • Halo (Spot’s Chew)
  • Milo’s Kitchen
  • Pur Luv (Chewy Bites, Little Trix, Grande Bones)
  • Purina Pro Plan (various treats including Roasted Slices)
  • Real Meat Jerky Treats (Jerky Bites, Bitz, Long Stix, Large Bitz)
  • Solid Gold (Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Lamb Jerky, Tiny Tots)
  • Snausages
  • T-Bonz
  • Waggin Train
  • Wellness (Wellpet, Wellbites)
  • Zukes   (Hip Action, Natural Purrz, Jerky Naturals, Mini Naturals)

[i] Is ‘natural’ glycerin a good petfood ingredient? Greg Aldrich, PhD.  Petfood Industry Magazine.  January 2012, pp 52-53

[ii]  A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th Edition. Ruth Winter, M.S.

Posted in Animal Health, Cats, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats, Pet Treats and Supplies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

From China with Luck

With 70% of pet food vesesel imports to the US coming from China, “Made in the USA” is a mighty thin security blanket. Looking for “USA Made” on the label won’t protect your pet.  You need to ask the manufacturer where their ingredients come from.  If it’s China, there’s cause for concern.

Between 2011-2012 the NY Times and others reported massive food safety issues in China.

  • Pork adulterated with the long-ago banned but still widely-used drug clenbuterol;
  • Pork sold as beef after it was soaked in borax, a detergent additive;
  • Rice contaminated with cadmium, a heavy metal discharged by smelters;
  • Four brands of beef dog food recalled because it contained no beef;
  • Whole eggs that are not eggs but man-made concoctions of chemicals, gelatin and paraffin;
  • Repeated poisoning of humans due to excessive levels of the chemical nitrite in meat;
  • Arsenic-laced soy sauce;
  • Mushrooms and popcorn treated with fluorescent bleach;
  • Bean sprouts tainted with an animal antibiotic;
  • Melamine tainted milk powder (yes, it’s still happening);
  • Moldy bread being repackaged and resold;
  • Farmed seafood with illegal levels of antibiotics;
  • And of course, the recent FDA warning about chicken jerky dog treats from China causing illness and death.

In April 2011, one of China’s largest meat producers recalled thousands of tons of pork laced with clenbuterol.  Clenbuterol is an animal feed additive that causes heart palpitations in consumers of the meat.  If no longer sold for human consumption, one could wager that the pork ended up in pet food or animal feed… Even in the US we redirect contaminated human food to pet food and animal feed.

Rates of stomach cancer in China / Eastern Asia far exceed other regions of the world. Published March/April 2011.

The most recent case of nitrite poisoning occurred last year when a one-year old Beijing girl died after eating fried chicken.

While none of the four recalled brands of China’s beef dog food are sold in the US, the ingredients sold to those manufacturers could very well be the same ingredients sold to US manufacturers.  As an example:  most glucosamine (the substance that’s supposed to help with joint mobility) is made in China.[i]

In 2007 the US banned imports of chicken from China due to health safety concerns.  That ban – which applied only to human food – was lifted in October 2009 for purely economic and political reasons.[ii]

And as the graph at right shows, according to A Cancer Journal for Clinicians the rate of stomach cancer in Eastern Asia far exceeds the rest of the world.

When China’s human food supply is unfortunately laden with problems, we should not assume that the food made for dogs is somehow better.  Dogs as human companions occupy a tiny corner in Chinese culture. In the US, 39% of households have a dog.  In China, only 6.6% do.

Looking for USA Made on the label is important.  But it is equally if not more important to ask the manufacturer where their ingredients come from.  Many probably don’t want to tell us.

An estimated 85% of the pet food market is shared between just five players that operate over 60 well-known brands (see fig 1.)

Mars Petcare and Nestle Purina PetCare are nearly tied at over $14 billion each in annual worldwide revenues, and together they operate 87 manufacturing sites.

Still with all we know about the health concerns surrounding food from China, Waggin Train (maker of chicken jerky and other treats including the Canyon Creek Ranch brand) flourishes.  Acquired in Sept. 2010 by Nestle Purina, Waggin’ Train has been the dog treats’ fastest growing leading brand with annual growth rates of around 30% over the last three years.  It’s products are made in China.

Dogswell makes its jerky treats in China. So does IMS Pet Industries (aka IMS Trading Company). Located in NJ., they’re an importer of China’s dog treats including the Walmart brand that was pulled from the shelves for making dogs sick.  The president of IMS issued a November 2011 statement about how they protect their products by blasting them with radiation (that’s the subject for another post) but no amount of radiation will take out melamine, heavy metals, toxic levels of nitrites, bleach, arsenic or some other contaminant that’s not bacterial in nature.

Second to China’s 70% share of vessel imports is Thailand with 25%.

Footnotes & References & Useful Info.

[i] A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th Edition. Ruth Winter, M.S.

[ii]China is the third largest importer of food into the US.  In 2009 (before the lifting of the ban on chicken) their food and agricultural exports to the US totaled $4.9 billion (twice their 2003 figures).   About 75% of that 2009 figure consisted of various fish and shellfish, juices, canned and other fruits, vegetable and nut products.   In Oct. 2009 the ban was lifted because China had retaliated with a similar ban on US chicken.  Since we sell vastly more chicken to China than we buy from them, and since we were in tough economic times, Congress repealed the ban.  You can read more here:  http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/R40706.pdf

Fig. 1 Data on the biggest pet food manufacturers can be found at Petfood Industry. An alphabetical list of brands and their manufacturers is below.

For valuable information on the ingredients included in popular dog treats like MilkBones, Beggin’ Strips, Pup-Peroni and others we suggest reading Where’s the Beef…  And for an eye-opening look at what’s in Milo’s Kitchen check out It Might Be in Milo’s Kitchen But It’s Probably Not In Yours.

Brand (listed alphabetically) Manufacturer
9Lives Del Monte
Advance Mars
Alpo Nestle Purina
Beggin’ Strips Nestle Purina
Beneful Nestle Purina
Busy Bones Nestle Purina
Canyon Creek Ranch Nestle Purina
Cat Chow Nestle Purina
Catsan Mars
Cesar Mars
Chappi Mars
Chef Michael’s Nestle Purina
Daily Essentials Del Monte
Deli-Cat Nestle Purina
Dentabone Mars
Dentastix Mars
Dog Chow Nestle Purina
Eukanuba Proctor & Gamble
Exelpet Mars
Fancy Feast Nestle Purina
Farmstand Select Del Monte
Felix Nestle Purina
Fit & Trim Nestle Purina
Friskies Nestle Purina
Frosty Paws Nestle Purina
Gourmet Nestle Purina
Greenies Mars
Hill’s Prescription Diet Colgate-Palmolive
Hill’s Science Diet Colgate-Palmolive
Hill’s Science Plan Colgate-Palmolive
Iams Proctor & Gamble
Jumbone Mars
KateKat Mars
Kibble’s n’ Bits Del Monte
Kit & Kaboodle Nestle Purina
Meow Mix Del Monte
Mighty Dog Nestle Purina
Milk-Bones Del Monte
Milo’s Kitchen Del Monte
Moist & Meaty Nestle Purina
Natural Choice Mars
Nature’s Recipe (Cat & Dog) Del Monte
Nutro Mars
One Nestle Purina
Pedigree Mars
Pro Plan Nestle Purina
Pup-Peroni Del Monte
Puppy Chow Nestle Purina
Purina One Nestle Purina
Purina Veterinary Diets Nestle Purina
Royal Canin Mars
Sheba Mars
Snausages Del Monte
TBonz Nestle Purina
Temptations Mars
The Goodlife Recipe Mars
Ultra Mars
Waggin’ Train Nestle Purina
Whiskas Mars
Whisker Likkin’s Nestle Purina
Wholesome Goodness Del Monte
Wholesome Medley Del Monte
Posted in Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Cats, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats, Pet Treats and Supplies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

It might be in Milo’s Kitchen but it’s probably not in yours…

Goodness Gracious pack leader, Amy Renz with her girls, Grace and Lula

I have egg in my shoe.  Now my toes are sticky.  But after cracking hundreds of dozens of eggs to make sure that every bag of our Bacon Cheeseburger cookies has an egg in it, odds are one is bound to land in my flip flop.

Eggs are sticky stuff.  When I walk, my flip flop is now making a thwip thwap sound.  But I’d rather have egg stuck between my toes than most stuff that’s found in other dog treat companies’ kitchens.

This new brand called Milo’s Kitchen is one of them.

When I introduce Goodness Gracious to people I generally say: “if it’s not in your kitchen, it’s not in ours.”  I’m not sure who this Milo character is – actually I do know – but his kitchen sounds more like a chemistry lab to me.  Trust me.  You don’t have in your kitchen what he has in his…  Or actually, what Del Monte has in theirs…  Milo’s Kitchen, like Milk Bones, is a Del Monte brand.  Milo’s Kitchen – the one that produces the Chicken Jerky – is also based in China.  (But we’ll get to the FDA warning about China’s chicken jerky treats in a second.)

To help you understand what’s in Milo’s Kitchen, I’ve deciphered his ingredients for you.  And to give you some perspective, I’ve compared the ingredients of Milo’s chicken and beef jerky to Goodness Gracious’s.

We make jerky.  We call them Hula Lula’s.  Our Hula Lula Chicken is just one ingredient:  USDA certified USA boneless, skinless chicken breast.  The kind you throw on the grill and have for dinner.  We just slice it and dehydrate it to make jerky for dogs.  Our Hula Lula Beef is also just one ingredient:  USDA certified USA beef.  It’s the cut you would normally roast for dinner.  We just trim it, slice it and dehydrate it. That’s all folks.

Milo’s does something else in their kitchens.  Milo’s Chinese chicken jerky has seven ingredients and their beef jerky has 13.  And while they claim to use no fillers, they in fact do.  Glycerin is a sugar and a filler, and it’s ingredient #2 in their chicken jerky.

Below is a list of all the ingredients in Milo’s Kitchen and which of their four treats contain the stuff. Below the chart is a description of exactly what each ingredient is and whether it might be harmful.

Ingredient

Chicken Jerky

Beef Jerky

Beef Sausages

Chicken Meatballs

Chicken Breast

X

Beef

X

X

X

Chicken

X

Glycerin

X

X

Sugar

X

X

X

X

Salt

X

X

X

X

Natural Flavors

X

X

Mixed Tocopherols

X

Monoglyceride

X

X

X

Garlic Powder

X

X

X

Natural Smoke Flavor

X

X

Potassium Sorbate

X

X

Caramel Color

X

Sodium Erythorbate

X

X

Sodium Nitrite

X

X

BHA

X

X

X

Onion Extract

X

X

X

Soy Grits

X

X

Propylene Glycol

X

Rice

X

Citric Acid

X

Textured Vegetable Protein

X

Sorbic Acid

X

Glycerin:  is a sugar and a filler.  There’s a lot of glycerin coming into pet food / animal feed now that’s laced with methanol.  This glycerin is a byproduct of biodiesel production.  Methanol is highly toxic.  You can read more about it on another blog post.

Sugar:  Can cause obesity, dental problems and diabetes.

Salt:  Dogs should not eat salt. Eating salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.

Natural Flavors:  Can be used to hide a bunch of undesirable stuff in dog treats like MSG and animal digestive tract contents.  MSG is no good because it is addictive and can more than triple insulin levels making even the most physically active animals fat.  According to recent reports, more than 50% of our pets are obese.  Obesity is linked with cancer, and cancer is the #1 killer of our pets; 50% of them die from it by some estimates.  And animal digests are exactly that.  The FDA allows them to be included in pet food as “natural flavors.”  According to the FDA “chicken digest” for instance, used to make a chicken flavored pet food “contains no actual chicken.”

Mixed Tocopherols:  Also called Vitamin E is an antioxidant.  And as antioxidants go, this one is a good, safe choice.

Monoglyceride:  Is an additive used to emulsify fat and water.  It is also a fancy way of not saying trans fats.

Garlic Powder:  Garlic (like onions) destroys red blood cells in dogs and leads to anemia. A large dose or small doses over time will poison a dog.  Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.

Natural Smoke Flavor:  May contain risky levels of benzo(a)pryene (associated various cancers including liver, lymph, intestine, stomach, skin and lung) and formaldehyde.  The phenols (aromatic substances) present in smoke flavoring also may react with the sodium nitrite present to catalyze the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.

Potassium Sorbate:  is an artificial preservative used to curb yeast and mold.  As artificial preservatives go, it is regarded as one of the less offensive, safer choices.  It is a salt derived from sorbic acid. Prolonged use of the preservative could lead to allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea and nutrient loss in food.

Caramel Color:  Is a food coloring additive made with ammonia and/or sulfites that is associated with cancer (of the lung, liver and thyroid, and leukemia).  It should be avoided.  In fact if current legislation in California passes, popular colas (like Coke and Pepsi) would need to bear cancer warnings on the labels because of the levels of caramel coloring present.

Sodium Erythorbate:  Is an additive with no nutritional value.  It is used to maintain color and retard the formation of harmful nitrosamines present from the use of nitrites and the chemical reactions with smoke flavorings and other ingredients.

Sodium Nitrite:  is a preservative linked with cancer (gastric, esophageal, and colorectal), diabetes and other diseases.

BHA:  Is a preservative that’s believed to cause stomach cancer as well as liver and kidney stress.  It is well known a one of the top ten toxic preservatives.

Onion Extract:  Onions are toxic to dogs.  They destroy red blood cells and cause anemia. (See Garlic Powder above.)

Soy Grits:  Used as cheap fillers, soy, wheat and corn should be avoided as dogs often cannot digest these ingredients, and they can often be allergic to them.  Soy, wheat and corn can cause gastrointestinal distress, skin irritations and more.

Propylene Glycol:  Is a kin of anti-freeze that is toxic and in high enough amounts will kill a pet.  Although the FDA has listed it with a GRAS status (i.e. “generally recognized as safe”) in certain amounts it can cause abnormalities in the liver and kidney disease, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, hemorrhoids, abdominal cramping, diarrhea and polyps in the stomach.

Rice:  is a grain that’s often used as a filler.

Citric Acid:  Widely regarded as safe, it is a flavor agent and an antioxidant used to prevent foods from going bad.

Textured Vegetable Protein:  Is MSG.  It’s also a derivative of soy and problematic for most dogs as they cannot digest soy, corn or wheat.

Sorbic Acid:  Is a preservative used to prevent fungal growth that the US FDA generally regards as safe.  It is a possible skin irritant and may cause rashes, asthma and hyperactivity.

Those are the ingredients in Milo’s Kitchen.  Fourteen (14) of the 20 ingredients identified above are stuff you could never buy on a grocery store shelf, nor stock in your pantry or fridge.  And while you may have a handful of the other ingredients in your own kitchen, they aren’t necessarily the ones you’d feed your dog.  Onions, garlic, salt, sugar, liquid smoke all fall into that category.

Now what about that FDA warning on chicken jerky from China?  As I thiwp thwap around the Goodness Gracious kitchen I have that song from Barenaked Ladies in my head…

Chicken from China
The Chinese chicken
Half a drumstick
And your brain stops tickin’
 

Left untreated, Fanconi Syndrome can stop a dog’s brain from tickin,’ and Fanconi’s is what is being reported in dogs consuming chicken jerky from China.  Typically an inherited disease, Fanconi Syndrome can be mimicked by toxins.  It affects the kidneys and causes them to leak glucose (sugar) and other electrolytes into the urine.  Dogs typically show signs of vomiting, lethargy, decreased activity, increased water consumption and increased urination, and anorexia. If detected and treated by a veterinarian, dogs can recover.  Cases of Fanconi Syndrome occurring after consumption of chicken jerky from China have been reported in the US, Canada and Australia.  In September 2007 the FDA and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine issued a warning about these products and the FDA is now (in 2012) investigating the issue.  The exact toxin causing the disease, however, has not yet been identified.  For more information, please refer to:

http://www.acvim.org/websites/acvim/File/Jerky%20Treat%20Info%20September%2014.pdf

And for more information on deciphering the ingredients in popular commercial dog treats please read our blog post: Where’s the Beef.

So while it might all be in Milo’s Kitchen, it’s not in yours or mine.  And it probably shouldn’t be ingested by our dogs.

Now how about some good home cookin’ right here in the USA?

Hula Lula Beef from Goodness Gracious is just one ingredient. 100% USDA certified USA Beef. That’s all folks.

Posted in Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Cats, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pack Leader Tips, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats, Pet Treats and Supplies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Cool Dog Runnings. How conditioning, fitness level and diet can keep dogs cool.

Gracie keepin' cool

As the temperature heats up we find ways to cool ourselves down.  Staying hydrated, swimming, shedding outer layers for something thin and light-weight, hanging out in the shade or a cool breeze are great ways to keep body temperature at a comfortable, healthy level for you and your dog.  But there are other good ways to promote your dog’s safety and comfort while enjoying the outdoors, and there are signs to recognize when the heat is becoming a safety problem.

A dog’s average body temperature is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the normal range is 100 – 102 degrees.  These are core temperature values based on rectal thermometer readings.  Temperature can vary throughout the body, but the core temperature is used by the body to maintain homeostasis (i.e. the status quo).  Maintenance of that normal temperature range is called thermoregulation. The hypothalamus area of the brain is the temperature command center – the “thermostat.”  It regulates body temperature based on readings from hot and cold receptors in the body.  Those receptors can be affected by internal conditions like infection and inflammation as well as external conditions like environmental temperature and humidity.

Unlike humans and horses, in times of excess heat, dogs do not do a lot of sweating to reduce core temperature.  Instead, they rely on panting to cool themselves.  The surface of the respiratory tract is wet and the evaporation that occurs as air passes over its surfaces results in heat loss.  A dog’s normal rate of respiration may be 30 – 40 breaths per minute; but when she pants to cool herself, she may breathe as much as 300 – 400 times per minute.  Another way a dog cools himself is by diverting blood flow from internal organs toward the surface of the skin. A dog may stretch out on a cool floor or lay belly up to expose more of his skin to dissipate the heat.

When outdoor temperatures climb to high levels, metabolic temperatures can increase.  Humidity also plays a role because it reduces the evaporative capabilities of respiratory cooling.  During exercise, muscle activity is the primary internal heat producer. Twenty to thirty percent of the energy expended by the muscles is utilized for work while the balance is released as heat.  And this heat is normal and helpful.  It becomes a problem, however, when other factors – like environmental heat and humidity are elevated.

It’s important to know and recognize the difference between hyperthermia and heatstroke.  Hyperthermia is when body temperature exceeds the normal range of 100 – 102 degrees.  And as you’ll read shortly, a little elevation outside of this range may not be a problem for well conditioned dogs.  Signs that your dog’s core temperature is rising include panting, reducing workload (e.g. laying or sitting down instead of playing, or moving more slowly), settling in cooler locations (e.g. shade or water).

Heatstroke is dangerous and can be fatal. Clinical signs include weakness, loss of balance, confusion, rapid breathing or roaring breath sounds, excessive salivation or thick saliva, collapse, vomiting or diarrhea, tacky or dry gums, change in color of the gums (gums should always be bubblegum pink), bright red tongue, and a high core body temperature (above 106 degrees). Organ failure can begin at 107 degrees so the situation is quite serious.

Breed also plays a role.  Dogs with short snouts are more prone to heat-related distress than their long-nose cousins. Any kind of lingering, injury, infection or illness in your dog also can accelerate the problem as these things generally elevate body temperature on their own.   Death from heatstroke can happen in as little as 20 minute but these are generally situations where dogs have been left in cars or trapped in greenhouses.  And don’t think just because your dog is swimming she’s not at risk.  If the water is warm (75° F or above) and your dog is exerting herself a lot, heat related distress and heatstroke can still result.

It’s probably no surprise that overweight dogs are more intolerant of the heat than their lean counterparts.  But what about athletic conditioning?  Studies have shown that the more physically fit the dog, the more acclimated she becomes to higher core temperatures and the less impact those temperatures have on her.  That’s right.  Walk two dogs of the same breed and relatively the same size and weight side by side on a summer day, one that is routinely exercised so as to be considered athletic and one that is not, and the unfit dog will be at a greater health risk for overheating and heatstroke than her athletic companion.

Studies of well-conditioned, working, athletic dogs show that they can have body temperatures of 102 – 106 degrees while exercising and not exhibit the signs of heatstroke or distress that would typically be seen in other dogs. The normal resting body temperatures for these dogs can be 99 – 100 degrees and this lower homeostatic temperature is a result of the dog acclimating to routine activity.

Eating the right foods also can help keep dogs cool.  In general, the daily diet profile for a healthy dog should be high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate.  But on hot days you might want to modify that a bit.

Numerous studies of canine nutrition show that dogs metabolize fat differently from humans – especially during exercise.  Studies of racing greyhounds, sled dogs, and even non-sporting beagles have shown that high fat/low carbohydrate diets increase stamina.  One of the reasons is that dogs get their energy from fat oxidation during exercise (whereas humans and other less aerobic animals get it primarily from glucose oxidation.)   But there’s another benefit to higher fat fuel choices during exercise or periods of higher ambient heat and humidity.  And it has to do with the byproducts of metabolism of fat vs. protein or carbohydrates.

One of the byproducts of fat metabolism is water.  Proteins and carbohydrates each produce about 55 grams of water per 100 grams burned.  Fat, however, produces 107 grams of water for every 100 grams of fat burned.  Training a dog’s metabolism to use fat as an energy source may actually benefit the dog’s hydration status.

Another study has shown that dietary fiber may have some health benefits for athletic dogs. Volatile fatty acids produced by bacterial fermentation of soluble fiber in the canine colon promote water and electrolyte absorption.

So if you’re going out on a long hike on a warm day with your canine companion, you might want to choose a fuel for her that’s higher in fat and fiber as a way to help maintain proper hydration and body temperature.  Goodness Gracious cookies are a great choice for a healthy balance of protein and fat. Frequent splashes in streams or periods of rest in the shade also are good ideas.

Some breeds, like huskies with their thick coats, are more intolerant of heat than other breeds like Chihuahuas.  When the heat becomes oppressive or the humidity makes it feel that way for your particular dog its best to keep things cool and low key.  Swimming in cool waters or frolicking around on a shoreline is a good exercise choice if your dog needs to let off some steam, but long walks or running are not.  Remember too that pavement, sand and other surfaces heat up.  And while you might not feel it through your shoes it could be giving your dog’s paws a serious burn.

If you suspect that your dog is showing signs of serious heat-related distress get her into a cool environment – a cool (not cold) tub of water is great – and call your vet immediately.  It’s important to know that excessively cold water or ice can actually cause a decrease or depletion of skin circulation and delay cooling.  Also, please remember to keep a look out as you go about your day for other dogs that may be tied up outdoors or stuck in cars.  A simple knock on the door of the dog’s home or that of a neighbor, or a phone call to your local animal shelter or animal control officer (generally reached through the police department), can save another dog’s life.

You can run for fun. You can run away.  Or you can Run for Rescue.

Join us as we raise awareness and support for community animal shelters and rescues. Visit http://www.run4rescue.org to find out more.

References for this post are:

http://www.vetinfo.com/dheatstroke.html

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/128/12/2686S.long

www.sportsvet.com/Web/WebPerf.ppt

www.sportsvet.com/11Nwsltr.PDF

http://www.ehow.com/about_5336441_normal-respiration-rate-dogs.html

Posted in Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pack Leader Tips, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats, Pet Treats and Supplies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment