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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?

FROMM Family Foods

by June 24, 2020

Fromm Family Foods: 50,000 Foxes Can’t Be Wrong

Fromm Family Foods: 50,000 Foxes Can’t Be Wrong

Fromm Family Foods has its origins in 1904, when the Fromm family began a company in Wisconsin that offered a variety of products and services. Then in the 1940s, Fromm began looking into producing dog food, inventing the first granular dog food. By 1949, Fromm began manufacturing Fromm Complete Dog Meal, their first brand of dog food. Fromm billed the dog food as “Fifty Thousand Foxes Can’t Be Wrong” because of the extensive test feeding to foxes and dogs. Fromm’s dog food was so popular, they became a market leader.

Then in the 1970s, Fromm Family Foods expanded into lifestyle-specific dog foods like high performance, high energy, and senior. By the 1980s, Fromm was a leading manufacturer in dog foods, finding new and innovative ways to preserve dog food. They were the first dog food to use tocopherols as a safe, natural preservative, that is still used in healthy dog foods today. Fromm Family Foods is now a leader in speciality dog food, holistic, and gourmet varieties. They offer a full range of healthy, natural products that are tailored to meet the needs of every dog.


About Fromm Family Foods

All of Fromm’s dog foods are manufactured in the United States with high-rated wholesome ingredients. They are scientifically formulated to provide a full nutritional palette making some of the healthiest dog food available. Fromm focuses on sourcing safe, natural, and whole foods ingredients that are minimally-processed to ensure a very high quality. They conduct routine audits and third party testing to guarantee their food meets the high possible safety standards. Their foods are good for dogs in all stages of life, dogs with allergies and intolerances, and even dogs recovering from chronic illness and surgery. Fromm Family Foods is a well-known high quality dog food brand that has been trusted by dog owners for decades.

Fromm Family Foods Products

Fromm Family Foods offers a full variety of wholesome products for dogs. All their foods are made with natural ingredients and preservatives. They are handcrafted and nutritionally balanced to provide amazing health benefits for your dog. They manufacture some of the healthiest dog food on the market, and they only use the highest quality ingredients and safest methods of preservation.

Fromm Family Foods offers product lines that are good for all life stages from puppy to senior, as well as lifestyle options, gourmet, and holistic options. They also offer dry dog food, wet dog food, and dog treats.

They offer three primary dog food lines that each offer unique health benefits for your dog:

  • Four-Star Nutritionals
  • Fromm Gold
  • Fromm Classic

Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals is a gourmet food line that is prepared in small batches using a variety of meats, product, and Wisconsin cheese. Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals are specifically formulated to be interchangeable with in the same diet, offering your dog the kind of variety they would get in the wild, but with a truly delicious taste. Fromm Four Star Nutritionals comes in:

  • Beef Frittata Veg: Made with beef, eggs, peas, and potatoes.
  • Chicken A La Veg: Made with chicken, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Duck & Sweet Potato: Made with duck, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and cranberries.
  • Game Bird: Made with duck, turkey, quail, and pheasant.
  • Hasen Duckenpfeffer: Made with rabbit, duck, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  • Lamb & Lentil: Made with lamb, olive oil, yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, and lentils.
  • Pork & Applesauce: Made with pork, apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans.
  • Pork & Peas: Made with pork, peas, and tropical fruits.
  • Salmon A La Veg: Made with salmon, cheese, broccoli, apples, and parsley.
  • Salmon Tunalini: Made with salmon, tuna, and vegetables.
  • Surf & Turf: Made with salmon, duck, chicken, eggs, and cheese.
  • Whitefish & Potato: Made with Atlantic whitefish, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and blueberries.

Fromm Gold is a holistically-formulated line that offers a range of nutritional benefits for the whole health of your dog. Fromm Gold is available as a dry and wet dog food and is formulated to meet the different lifestyle needs of any dog. Fromm Gold comes in puppy, senior, adult, large breed, small breed, and weight management varieties. They are also offered in grain-free varieties.

Fromm Classic is their original line, that has been updated with the latest in veterinary nutrition. They are available as a dry adult and dry senior food. Both are made with chicken, brown rice, cheese, and eggs and provide well-rounded, complete nutrition.

Fromm Family Foods also offers gourmet dog treats as part of their Four-Star Nutritionals line including:

  • Chicken With Peas & Carrots
  • Lamb & Cranberry
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salmon With Sweet Potato
  • Cheese
  • Cranberry Liver
  • Liver

These treats are specifically formulated as a complement to the Four Star Nutritionals line and are paired with a flavor to provide targeted nutrition.

Fromm Family Foods Reviews

Fromm Family Foods has won several awards for their dog food over the last century. Recently they’ve won the Small Business Administration of Wisconsin award for producing a high-quality, locally-sourced product. They also won the Dogington Post’s “Favorite Dog Food Of The Year” award and the “Pet Food of the Year” award from the Glycemic Research Institute.

Fromm Family Foods also has very high reviews for their dog food, specifically for their Four Star Nutritional and Gold lines. Please love the diversity of flavors and health benefits of the Four Star Nutritional line, citing weight management and extra energy as the biggest benefits. Fromm Gold is also incredibly popular among consumers noting improved coat, energy, and a reduction in allergy signs and symptoms. Most online pet food stores have these two product lines rated between 4.8-5 stars by customers.

Ice Melter and Pets

by January 11, 2020

What is really safe for your pets to use as an ice melter compound? The experts recommend avoiding products containing chloride salts, urea (can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets), ethylene glycol (deadly to pets), and propylene glyclol (potentially damaging to red blood cells in cats). We carry Safe Paw. This product has an unlimited shelf life (which means it’s good for years), it is non-corrosive and non-conductive and most importantly is pet and kid safe even if ingested!

Safe Paw Ice Melter 8.5#

Nulo Introduces New Product Lines

by January 9, 2020
Challenger High-Meat Kibble beef, lamb & pork recipe

We now have the “Challenger” line from Nulo in stock. If you are looking for a HIGH protein, low carb, no traditional grains and NO vegetable proteins (lentils, potatoes, etc) these diets might be for your dog! Comparable in nutrition to many Orijen or Acana formulas.

Challenger High-Meat Kibble duck, turkey & guinea fowl

5 new formulas now available!

Dog Coat Condition and Nutrition

by December 16, 2019

Dog Nutrition for a Healthy Coat
Check your dog’s coat…is it smooth and silky with lustrous fur? Or rough and brittle with dry flaky skin under?

Dogs are a pleasure to pet, especially when they’re blessed with healthy skin and lustrous fur. But some dogs are plagued with itchy, flaking skin and lackluster coats. What can you do to restore your dog’s shiny coat?

Essential Fatty Acids: Key to a Healthy Coat

Healthy fats play an important role in keeping your dog’s coat in good condition.
Reputable high quality meat-based dog foods typically contain enough nutrients, including essential fatty acids, to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.
In contrast, dogs on low-quality commercial dog foods or improperly balanced homemade diets — for instance, a dog that eats mostly chicken — may not get enough nutrients to keep a healthy skin and coat.
Low-fat diets are risky, too. The obvious coat problems from deficiencies would be a dandruffy, dull coat from an omega-6 deficit if the pet is eating an extremely low-fat diet. (Some pets require a low fat diet for other health reasons)
In fact, puppies that eat very low-fat diets develop coarse, dry hair and skin lesions that become prone to infection.

The dog foods we offer at Wholesome Pet Essentials in themselves can be helpful just to give a shine to the coat, add some luster back, and help replace the oils in the skin. Customers routinely tell us that their furry friends coats improved noticeably when they switch to one of our diets from the “big box” or grocery store brands.

We also offer a selection of supplements for these conditions. If these supplements improve your pets coat(s) it’s time to examine their diets!

“Safe” Food Recommendations

by December 1, 2019

Some of our customers have been telling us their pet health care providers are saying the only safe foods are the ones they are selling. Here is some history on those ‘safe’ foods:

Purina….  An FDA investigation in 2013 found “above the allowable level” of cyanuric acid and melamine in one of their lines of foods.   Cynauric acid and melamine are the deadly combination responsible for the largest pet food recall in history in 2007.     “Six samples collected contained ethoxyquin, however, the additive was not indicated on the product labeling.”   Purina told the FDA they perform “routine contamination analysis.”   The manufacturing facility was “unable to provide the actual content or weights of individual ingredients that went into the implicated lots.”  

Hills Science Diet….  How about their quality assurance program?   On January 31, 2019 Hills announced a recall for excessive levels of Vitamin D.   A bit of a let down in quality assurance testing on incoming ingredients, perhaps (Vitamin Premix)?   Or in the finished pet foods that your vet is selling.   Seven weeks later they announced another excess Vitamin D recall.   Very high amounts of vitamin D can have a number of serious health effects on dogs, including kidney disease and even death. Symptoms of vitamin D poisoning in dogs include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss.

Royal Canin and Eukanuba….   Both of these are Mars Petcare brands.   In 2017, FDA performed an inspection at a Mars Petcare manufacturing facility as a followup to a 2016 Mars Petcare recall.    That recall was due to plastic pieces discovered in pet food by consumers.   In the 2017 inspection the FDA stated as “Inspectional Observations” there was a “failure to inspect, segregate, or otherwise handle raw materials and ingredients used in manufacturing under conditions that will protect the animal food against contamination and minimize deterioration.   They also noted the “failure to take effective measures to exclude pests from your plant and protect against contamination of animal food by pests.”

 

So here are a couple dog foods ingredient lists.   Which would you rather feed based on the recipe?  

ACANA Meadowland features a rich variety of quality ingredients that are raised or fished by

people we know and trust, and delivered to our Kentucky DogStar Kitchen fresh or raw!

Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken liver, turkey giblets, chicken meal, catfish meal, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, whole green peas, pollock meal, chicken fat, whole green lentils, whole chickpeas, lentil fiber, whole blue catfish, cage-free eggs, rainbow trout, pollock oil, natural chicken flavor, chicken heart, chicken cartilage, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, mixed tocopherols (preservative), sea salt, zinc proteinate, dried kelp, calcium pantothenate, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, copper proteinate, chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.

Typical Royal Canin Diet .

Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, brown rice, oat groats, chicken fat, pork meal, natural flavors, powdered cellulose, dried plain beet pulp, wheat gluten, fish oil, vegetable oil, sodium silico aluminate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, L-tyrosine, sodium tripolyphosphate, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], salt, monocalcium phosphate, hydrolyzed yeast, choline chloride, DL-methionine, taurine, glucosamine hydrochloride, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], magnesium oxide, green tea extract, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.

Typical Hills Science Diet ….

High quality protein and thoughtfully sourced ingredients.  Hmmm….

Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Soybean Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Corn Gluten Meal, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Pork Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Iodized Salt, Calcium Carbonate, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, L-Lysine, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, L-Carnitine, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

NONE of the dry, dog food kibble we sell has ever been recalled by the FDA!

DCM Keeping some Perspective

by July 2, 2019

I could literally write pages about the new scare thrust upon us regarding grain-free pet foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).   We do have several old posts on our website dating back almost 18 months related to the subject.    There are many downright falsehoods and misconceptions being perpetuated our there by the media and social media outlets playing on your emotions.     You love your pets and so do we so we understand your concern.   We have our own pets as well and that is the driving force behind Wholesome Pet Essentials!      So here’s an attempt to summarize what is known right now….

First a disclaimer:   We are not veterinarians at WPE and cannot diagnose or treat DCM and are not experts on the disease or any other disease.   We do, however, handle several complete lines of pet  foods developed and formulated by PHD Nutritionists.   Within our group we have many hours of study at ISU in Animal Science (Nutrition) and decades of work in the animal feed industry as well as hours of continuing study by all employees in pet nutrition and feeding management.   We are not influenced by the major players in most veterinary schools like Royal Canin (RC Veterinary Diet), Hills (Science Diet, Prescription Diet), or Nestle Purina (Pro-Plan Veterinary Diets).    

Much of the following is from the FDA information released to date:

DCM is generally recognized as a genetic condition in larger breed dogs such as Retrievers, Great Danes, German Shepards, etc.     Retrievers appear to be particularly susceptible.   

The number of cases reported to the FDA have significantly increased in 2018 and 2019.   The agency notes that most dogs in the US have been eating pet food without apparently developing DCM.  The increase does suggest a potential increase in cases not genetically predisposed. 

Most of the reports showed that the dogs were eating dry dog food.   Since the vast majority of dogs eat dry dog food that is not a surprise.   Chicken was the number 1 animal protein source identified in the foods.    That is also not a surprise since chicken is the most used ingredient in pet foods.  

                Does this mean dry dog food is the culprit?    No                (most dogs eat dry dog food)

                Does this mean chicken is the culprit?   No            (majority of dogs eat chicken based dog food)

                Some are claiming “exotic” meat sources are the problem?  So chicken is an exotic meat source?

Grain-free generally means a product does not contain corn, soy, wheat rice, barley or other grains and/or grain by-products.     A majority of the diets in the cases reported to the FDA were grain-free.   Peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes are a common replacement product for grain in grain-free diets.   Grain-free diets have been implicated as a possible contributor to the increase in DCM.  

                Do grain-free diets cause DCM?   No evidence to support that claim at this time

                Does all research point to grain free diets?  NO

DCM Diagnosed Dogs North Carolina State University 2015 – 2017
22 dogs – grain-free pet food
29 dogs – grain-based pet food

At a recent veterinary forum – American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) – some research was presented by Dr. Darcy Adin veterinary cardiologist of North Carolina State University. “Taurine and carnitine deficiencies are associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.” The research states 49 dogs were diagnosed with DCM at the North Carolina State vet school between 2015 – 2017. Dr. Adin’s research found 22 dogs diagnosed were eating a grain-free diet, but…29 dogs diagnosed with DCM were eating a grain-based diet.

A few years back cats were dying from a similar condition that was ultimately attributed to taurine deficiency.   Taurine is an amino acid important to several body functions including eyesight and heart strength.   The addition of taurine to cat diets basically resolved the problem.   In dogs taurine can be synthesized from methionine and cysteine (two other “essential” amino acids…meaning they must be fed for a healthy diet).    Almost all our brands have been adding additional taurine to diets as a precautionary measure for some time now.  

                Has the addition of supplemental taurine helped?   Doesn’t appear so

                Are grains a good source of methionine, cysteine or taurine?   NO             

                What are good sources?   Meats, Fish, Dairy

The FDA published the names of 16 brands of dog food that have been fed to dogs reported to the FDA with DCM based on them having at least 10 events.    Here is a more complete list as I browse the actual FDA document:

                Hills, EVO, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Merrick, Earthborn Holistic, Natures Variety, California Natural, Zignature, Acana, Taste of the Wild, Kirkland Signature, Blue Buffalo, 4health GF, Halo, Purina One, Victor Hi Pro, Orijen, Fromm, Natural Balance, Go, Fromm, Nutrisource, Acana, Nutro, Canidae, Diamond Naturals,  Whole Earth Farms, Abound Natural, Wellness CORE, Petcurean, Castor and Pollux, Authority, Honest Kitchen, Weruva, Eagle Pack, Blue Wilderness,, Instinct, Farmina, Pine Forest, Pinnacle, Primal Raw,  Iams, Royal Canin, Sportmix, ProPac, Purina Grain Free, Nutro Max, Freshpet, Holistic Select, Redford Naturals           I may have missed some but it looks like most are on here, including the majors and prescription labels.   

The most frequently identified brands in the FDA DCM cases also are some of the largest sellers of grain-free foods.    Taste of the Wild is frequently considered the largest grain-free food sold in the country with nearly 29 million bags sold since September 2017.    They are near the top of the list.   In any list of this type I would expect them to be based on sheer volume sold.    (We don’t sell TOW but for other reasons!)

                Should I switch brands?   Nearly all brands are on the list

                Should I be feeding a grain-free diet?    Depends on why you are feeding it.   Most of our customers have legitimate concerns related to allergies and/or intolerences to grains.    Actual allergies to rice seem to be rarer than other grains, however.   Proteins seem to be more often a cause.  

There is no conclusion here right now to be drawn.   But with your peace of mind and your pet’s safety in mind here are some potential options out of an abundance of caution:

  1. Keep your routine vet visits to check on your pet’s overall health!
  2. With large breed dogs (especially Retrievers, Danes, Shepards, etc) in particular if they have no known issues with rice in their diets we have several options to consider allowing you to avoid grain-free foods but still avoid corn, wheat, by-products, etc. 
  3. We have several grain-free foods not based on lentils and/or peas or potatoes. They use an alternative starch source
  4. SWITCH to raw….Primal, Sojos, Honest Kitchen, Stella and Chewys, Nulo all have raw diets which we carry that do not utilize lentils, peas or potatoes.    Freeze dried or frozen
  5. Supplement additional taurine….although no evidence this helps
  6. Rotate foods…particularly protein sources if your pet can tolerate…you can even rotate brands if you’re feeding high quality diets
  7. Continue doing what you are doing until we can perhaps finally get some science based conclusions….which we have NONE currently.   

We promise to keep you as up to date as possible!   It can be a very overwhelming issue with many angles….most of which don’t appear to lead anywhere right now.    The media can’t begin to explain what is happening.   They don’t have the depth of background or information to work with.   

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