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Least Cost Recipe

by May 17, 2019

A standard practice in the livestock feed industry is to formulate diets on a “least cost formulation”. In short the formulator for the feed manufacturer establishes a set of minimum nutrient standards for the diet (or recipe) and they may even set minimum and/or maximum allowable amounts of various feed ingredient restrictions. The various ingredients are priced to establish a value and then a computer program least cost formulates the diet. This means the lowest cost that meets the minimum specifications of the diet using the available ingredients. This may be fine for feedlot cattle and hogs on a finishing diet but many companies utilize the same strategy for your family pet foods. This is especially true of grocery store and big box store offerings which are merely focused on price. Do you want your family pet subject to ever changing formulas and the “cheapest” diet a manufacturer can produce?

“Mysterious” Dog Respiratory Disease

by November 27, 2023

We are not veterinarians nor epidemiologists here and we realize that. However, there appears to be more NOT known about this mysterious respiratory disease in dogs than is known. There are those suggesting it is in fact nothing more than a generational or seasonal uptick in a collective group of pathological organisms. On the other hand scientists at the University of New Hampshire believe they have identified a bacterial infection that is the root cause. What is probably important to note is that a Google search for information will yield a wide crop of local and network television news productions all seemingly saying the same thing that a “mystery illness in dogs is quickly spreading across the country”. Social media purveyors love to pick these reports up and disseminate them far and wide even though they are largely devoid of any useful information and frequently full of misinformation. We do know that stories of this mystery illness have been circulating since early 2022.

We will continue to rely on our veterinarian institutions for useful information regarding this situation and in the meantime are taking several additional precautions. We continue to promote feeding a healthy quality diet as the best way to support your pets immune system and also have offered several natural ways to do the same as well as many supplements available to boost their immune system.  Keeping regular veterinarian visits along with up to date immunizations is critical. We recently made the decision to cancel our annual Christmas “Grinch” event as we felt there was no good justification to have an event promoting an unnecessary gathering of dogs in a tight space.  As we’ve reported elsewhere we’ve reviewed our sanitary practices in grooming and note that there is NO nose to nose contact allowed in our grooming salon. In that light we’re also encouraging grooming clients to drop off and pick up their dogs close to their appointment times.  

If we learn more of any substance we will pass it along.

Vet Services

by January 26, 2023
Dr. Abby Strobbe
Dr. Abby Strobbe of Abby’s Road Veterinary Care will continue to hold pop up clinics at Wholesome Pet Essentials monthly.

Dr. Abby is a mobile integrative veterinarian. She offers traditional care such as wellness exams, vaccinations, and laboratory testing. She also offers holistic care such as food therapy, acupuncture, and supplement recommendations.

Please contact Dr. Abby via email for additional information.

📞Dr. Abby @ 515-357-9724

The Farmers Dog Myth

by August 21, 2022

The Farmers Dog                             

We get an occasional question about “The Farmers Dog” product and they do spend a lot of money marketing on television so they are noticed.   In fact, there appears to be much about marketing associated with this product and maybe not so much about feeding your pet any differently than if you bought a lesser kibble.   

Here is the typical ingredient list for “The Farmers Dog” Turkey:


USDA Turkey, Chickpeas, Carrot, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsnip, TFD Nutrient Blend, Salmon Oil [Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Bitartrate, Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Taurine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Selenium Yeast, Potassium Iodide, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid]

Note that Chickpeas are the second ingredient so they provide a considerable amount of vegetable protein to the diet.    Most supplemental minerals and vitamins are provided by synthetic sources.  

Compare to our Northwest Naturals Turkey:   (frozen)


Turkey, Ground Turkey Bone, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Apples, Carrots, Romaine Lettuce, Watermelon, Egg, Ground Flaxseed, Fish Oil*, Apple Cider Vinegar, Blueberry, Cranberry, Inulin, Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Ginger, Parsley, Garlic, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (as preservative), Vitamin D Supplement.

*Fish Oil – Is a blend of  Fish Oils from Salmon, Herring and Pollock.

Meat provides the protein source!   No chickpeas in this one.   Most of the mineral and vitamin supplementation are from natural sources.    80% Meat – 18.75% Produce – 1.25% Supplements

Clearly the frozen Northwest Naturals is a superior product.  

How about cost?    The Farmers Dog would cost $4.67 per day to feed my 20# dog according to their own website calculations.    Northwest Naturals $2.88 per day! 

Why Local and Independent?

by June 17, 2022

We frequently point out that we are a local family-owned independent business. But what does that mean for you?

Perhaps a less obvious consideration is that we are personally invested in the goods and services we offer for you furry friend. There is no ROI “test” by a corporate buyer to determine if a good enough profit margin can be made on a product. There is no corporate buyer being swayed by a vendor or product manufacturer incentives to sell you what they want you to buy rather than what your pet needs. We select your dog or cat’s goodies based on what is good and safe for them! We don’t even have to listen to a franchise office in our selection process. And you won’t get frequent buyer rewards are the big box centers.

So the next time the lure of the “big box” store or that huge on-line store creeps into your vision please remind yourself that their massive assortment doesn’t mean they really have more to offer. The inventory may be deeper but not more diverse and pound for pound of nutrition no less expensive.

Itching Dog?

by April 20, 2022

If you’ve ever been associated with someone with allergies, you know it can be a very confusing topic and diagnosis and treatment can be extremely frustrating.  Naturally it is even more so with your pet since they can’t verbally describe symptoms (or relief) to you.  

Allergy testing done by veterinarians can be highly effective in diagnosing environmental allergies but are typically less effective when dealing with food issues.  There are now several at-home test kits available that use sample of hair or saliva (depending on the brand) and are mailed into a lab.  From what we’ve read and heard of these tests the results are highly suspect.  There have even been reports that fake hair and saliva have been submitted and not detected by the lab(s).  So, we are not convinced these home test kits are of great value.  Maybe someday.  

Environmental allergies are probably more prevalent than food allergies and as previously mentioned vet testing is quite effective at identifying them.    However, if food is suspect then a “food trial” is the most accurate test.   This requires feeding a highly restricted diet for a period of 6-8 weeks to see if your dog’s allergy signs improve.   Highly restricted is referring to the ingredients in the diet…INCLUDING treats.   Chicken is the most common allergen and it’s not a coincidence that many dog foods use a lot of chicken.   The amino acid profile is good and chicken products have been readily available and relatively inexpensive for many years.   

There’s a good chance your vet would recommend a product from Hills or Royal Canin or even Purina as a “hypoallergenic” food.   Many of these diets utilized a hydrolyzed protein that has been broken down in many cases by acid(s) into fragments too small to trigger an allergic reaction.  That process has been used for years to make chicken feather meal usable in beef feedlot diets.     We prefer to use a higher quality protein that your pet has not been familiar with to accomplish this.   There are several choices from quality manufacturers like Zignature and Pure Vita that are much more price friendly and utilize a single source quality protein and work very well for these “trials”.    There are also many raw options available!

The First Ingredient is Meat?

by January 12, 2022

The first ingredient is meat. Is it? Pet food manufacturers are required to list ingredients on the bag in order decreasing by weight. However, raw meat ingredients are listed as WET weight while everything else is on an “as fed” basis (usually 10% moisture). So the first ingredient may not be the largest ingredient by weight in the food. In fact it rarely is. So read ON!!!!!!!

One popular grain free brand shows the following:

De-boned turkey, potatoes, peas, whole dried egg, potato flour, pea fiber, flaxseed,…..etc.

Do you want to feed more potatoes and peas to your pet than meat protein?

Compare to a Nulo product which we carry:

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat…..etc.

Turkey meal and salmon meal constitute by far the greatest part of this diet!

So read the label and understand the “wet meat” story. If you’re unsure come talk to us.

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