Gluten — Beware This Inferior Dog Food Protein Impostor
Yet you may have already come face-to-face with this unexpectedtrickster and not even known it.
You see, in the world of dog food, protein truly is the Holy Grail.
Dogs crave it for survival. And companies market it for profit.
All things considered, the higher the protein content of a dog food, the greater its perceived value.
It’s Not Just the Amount
of Protein That Counts
But the amount of protein only tells half the story. It’s a protein’s digestibility and its biological value that matter more.
And that’s the problem.
You see, protein can come from just about anywhere — even from non-nutritious sources like leather, hair, feathers, chicken beaks.
Or that mysterious meat substitute — gluten.
Basically, gluten is what’s left over from certain grains — like wheat, barley, rye and other wheat-type cereal grains — that’s had all its starchy carbohydrate (the good stuff) washed out of it.
The rubbery protein residue that’s left is the gluten.
Think of gluten as a sort of plant-based protein concentrate and meat substitute.
Now, although corn gluten meal is the most common form of this AAFCO recognized phrase found on a dog food ingredients list, this item isn’t technically a true gluten.
Yet because it’s more commonly known by its colloquial name, corn gluten meal is still considered (on this website) to be similar enough in its protein-boosting capacity to true glutens to be red-flagged as such on every dog food ingredients list we publish.
The Two Most Common Problems
with Gluten Ingredients
In any case, here are the two most important things to know about gluten ingredients…
1. Glutens are less nutritionally complete than meat based proteins. They’re low in some of the ten essential amino acids dogs need to sustain life
2. Glutens can raise the protein reported on a food label. So, manufacturers frequently add them to a recipe to make a product look better than it really is
The Bottom Line
Whenever you discover gluten on a dog food ingredients list, you should always question the true meat content of the product.
Reasons To ONLY Purchase Your Pet Food From An Independent Pet Food Store
Do you want an expert to personally monitor how your pet is doing with a particular pet food? Sort of like your own personal pet food dietician? Shop ONLY at an Independent Pet Food Store.
Petco has recently announced a new campaign – “What we feed them matters”. Petco’s press release states they are providing “nutrition education” in-store and online. On the Petco Food Matters webpage it states things like “There’s a difference in what we offer. Because some ingredients, like preservatives, can be harmful to pets, we carefully select the brands offered on our shelves.”
It sounds good, but…walk into any Big Box pet food store or message an online pet food store and ask these questions:“Which pet food sold here is made with USDA inspected and approved human edible ingredients?” and/or “Which pet food sold here is made with no ingredients from China?” and/or “Who manufactures this pet food?” I’ve done this – many times. Each time I’ve gotten the deer in the headlights look (or the standard non-response email that all our pet foods are quality). They don’t have a clue about what they are selling.
Now here is what happens in many Independent Pet Food Stores…
You walk in – and the store is tiny compared to the Big Box store. You look around and there might only be 15 different brands of pet food in the store (by the way – that’s a good sign! – more below). You ask the same three questions…
“Which pet food sold here is made with USDA inspected and approved human edible ingredients?” “Which pet food sold here is made with no ingredients from China?” “Who manufactures this pet food?”
In most (not all) Independent Pet Food Stores – 100% of the pet foods sold are made with human edible ingredients (food ingredients not feed ingredients). Many will not carry a feed grade ingredient pet food – if they wouldn’t feed it to their own pet, they won’t sell it to you.
At the risk of losing customers – many Independent Pet Food Stores will not carry one pet food that contains any ingredient sourced from China. I know several store owners that are completely China free – food, treats, toys, beds. This isn’t easy – and it isn’t cheap. Most are not interested in selling cheap products – they want to sell quality products.
And Independent Pet Food Stores that I am familiar with, know exactly who manufactures (and where) each food they carry – in most cases store owners have had lengthy conversations with the pet food owners (not sales reps – owners) before a new food is even brought into their store. You have a question about a pet food they don’t know the answer to – they will call the pet food owner and ask for you.
And why are the Independent Pet Food Stores only selling a few different brands? If you ask them why, you’ll probably learn it has nothing to do with shelf space. It has everything to do with quality – most will ONLY sell real food from companies their experience tells them are quality and safe. Most want to carry more brands – but they won’t sell their souls or risk your pet’s health for sales of iffy pet foods. I consider it a good thing (a great thing) to walk into a pet store and not be bombarded by hundreds of brands and varieties.
(Most) Independent Pet Food Stores…
- Provide ongoing monitoring of your pet’s nutritional health for no additional fee.
- Are the front line of defense against problems with an ingredient change of a food that could affect your pet.
- Are constantly gathering feedback from other customers on each brand they sell. Very beneficial to each of their customers.
- Know the quality of ingredients, country of origin of ingredients, where and by who the pet food was manufactured by, and recall history of every product they sell.
- If they don’t have answers, they will get answers for you directly from the manufacturer.
But here is what I consider to be the best benefit of shopping only at a Independent Pet Food Store…
Personal attention. Not just someone to answer your questions, but personal attention to how your cat or dog is doing a particular pet food. With each return visit, most Independent Pet Food Store owners ask how your cat or dog is doing on the food, and if things aren’t just right – they will steer you towards a brand that might be better suited for your pet. A slight change of ingredients or perhaps even a different ingredient supplier in another brand might be the best your your individual pet. (Most of) These people have the experience with their brands and know how to direct you. It’s like having your own personal pet food dietician for no extra charge.
I have lost count of the conversations I’ve had with Independent Pet Food Store owners where a pet food consumer came in with a sick pet. Sick to where everyone else had given up hope the animal could be healthy again. The store owners knowledge and experience of what bad nutrition can cause and what good nutrition can cure – has guided countless sick pets back to health through good food.
Small miracles happen everyday in these little stores. Please support these people – buy your pet food from them. I know so many of these folks, believe in what they do, and learn from them. I hope all of you get to know your local Independent Pet Food Store too.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Rudy increases his pace on the treadmill, a stoic expression on his face. On the other side of the room, Lucy is having a blast as she moves her legs through the water to reach the other end of the pool. Nearby, Larry concentrates as he begins a warm-up routine incorporating balancing exercises using the stability ball.
Is this the Lied Recreation Athletic Center? No… The Sports Medicine Department? You’re getting closer… It’s the Iowa State University Canine Rehabilitation Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Every day dogs perform a range of activities in the clinic, located in the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital, under the supervision of certified rehab practitioner Joanna Hildreth and Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh, Iowa’s only board-certified canine sports medicine and rehab specialist. “We offer therapy for patients who have orthopedic or neurologic injuries, as well as rehab for obese, arthritic, or geriatric patients,” Hildreth said.
The rehab facility has an in-ground pool, therapeutic ultrasound, land treadmills, stability balls, cavaletti rails, stairs, grass, and offers neuromuscular electrical stimulation. The facility also has two underwater treadmills. “The first patient to use our underwater treadmill was one of the Des Moines K9 Officers who was shot in the line of duty,” Hildreth said. After surgery and post-operative therapy, he went back to active service for many years until he retired. “We have helped several service and therapy dogs get back to their jobs,” she added.
Patients receive customized therapy plans to help improve their particular condition. In some cases, it may be to recover from spinal surgery or ligament damage incurred by a sporting dog, or improve an arthritic condition of an older patient. Whatever the situation, these dogs receive lots of encouragement to do their exercises from the veterinary technicians and students.
Did you know? The Canine Rehabilitation Center sees nearly 1,000 animals each year. In addition to dogs, cats and even a miniature pony have rehabbed at the facility.
|A K9 Officer exercises in the underwater treadmill
at ISU’s Canine Rehabilitation Center.
Why keeping a dog’s nails short and sweet should be a top priority for all dog owners.
(Excerpted from Whole Dog Journal)
By Denise Flaim
Let’s get this out of the way first: Nobody, it seems, likes to “do” dog nails. Not you, not the dog, nor anyone else who may be called upon to take on nail-clipping for you (such as a technician at your local veterinary hospital or even a professional groomer). But for the health of your dog, it must be done, and should be done frequently enough to keep your dog’s nails short.
Why Dogs Need Their Nails Trimmed
When dogs spend a good deal of time outdoors, running on various hard surfaces, including concrete and blacktop, their nails are gradually worn down, and they have less of a need for formal nail-grooming sessions. But today, with many suburban and urban dogs increasingly confined indoors when their owners are at work, and running mostly on soft surfaces such as lawns when they are outdoors, this welcome friction is often absent in their daily lives.
Long, unkempt nails not only look unattractive, but over time they can do serious damage to your dog (not to mention your floors). When nails are so long that they constantly touch the ground, they exert force back into the nail bed, creating pain for the dog (imagine wearing a too-tight shoe) and pressure on the toe joint. Long term, this can actually realign the joints of the foreleg and make the foot looked flattened and splayed.
Again, this isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it’s a functional one: Compromising your dog’s weight distribution and natural alignment can leave her more susceptible to injuries, and make walking and running difficult and painful. This is especially important in older dogs, whose posture can be dramatically improved by cutting back neglected nails.
In extreme cases, overgrown nails can curve and grow into the pad of the foot. But even if they are not that out of control, long nails can get torn or split, which is very painful and, depending on severity, may need to be treated by a veterinarian.
And in the end, unattended nails create a vicious cycle: Because the extra-long nails make any contact with his paws painful for the dog, he avoids having them touched, which leads to unpleasant nail-cutting sessions, which makes both human and dog avoid them, which leads to longer intervals between trims, which leads to more pain …
The Basics of Clipping Dog Nails
So what’s the goal? What’s the “right” length? While some breeds (most notably the Doberman Pinscher) are often shown with nails so short they can barely be seen, the most commonly accepted rule of thumb is that when a dog is standing, the nails should not make contact with the ground. If you can hear your dog coming, her nails are too long.
The nails of mammals are made of a tough protein called keratin. Technically, dogs have claws, not nails, though we’ll use the latter term in its colloquial sense for this article. (The distinction is that nails are flat and do not come to a point. And if your nail is thick enough and can bear weight, it’s called a hoof.)
Dog’s nails differ from ours in that they consist of two layers. Like us, they have the unguis, a hard, outer covering in which the keratin fibers run perpendicular to the direction in which the nail grows. But unlike us, under their unguis, dogs have the subunguis, which is softer and flaky, with a grain that is parallel to the direction of growth. The faster growth of the unguis is what gives the dog’s nail its characteristic curl.
The Canine Toenail Quick
There’s a reason why the phrase “cut to the quick” means to deeply wound or distress: Running through the nail is a nerve and vein called the “quick.” Nicking or cutting this sensitive band of tissue is very painful for the dog – and messy for the owner, as blood often continues oozing from the cut nail for what seems like an eternity. (Keeping a stypic-powder product, such as Kwik-Stop, on hand can help promote clotting and shorten the misery. Or, in a pinch, try flour.)
Shortening the nail without “quicking” the dog is easier said than done – unless your dog has white or light-colored nails, in which case, you’re in luck: The quick will be visible from the side, as a sort of pink-colored shadow within the nail. Avoid going near it. If you trim the nail with a clipper or scissors, trim a bit off the end of the nail, and notice the color at the end of the nail (in cross section). As soon as the center of the nail starts to appear pink, stop.
You can’t see the quick in a black or dark-colored nail. With these nails, you have to be even more conservative about how much nail you trim off. After making each cut, look at the cross-section of the nail. If you see a black spot in the center – sort of like the center of a marrow bone – stop cutting. It’s likely your next slice will hit the quick.
The longer a dog’s nails are allowed to grow, the longer the quick will become, to the point that taking even a very small bit of nail off the end “quicks” the dog. Then the goal becomes a matter of snipping or grinding the nails to get as close as possible to the quick, without actually cutting it. This is perhaps easiest to accomplish with a grinding tool (such as a Dremel), though it can be done with clippers, too, with practice. By grinding away the nail all around the quick – above it, below it, and on both sides – the quick has no support or protection, and within days it will begin to visibly recede, drawing back toward the toe.
If a dog’s feet have been neglected for months (or, horrors, years) at a time, it might take months to shorten those nails to a healthy, pain-free length. But if you keep at this regularly, it should get easier for the dog to exercise. And the more he moves, the more his nails will come into contact with the ground in a way that will help wear the nails down and help the quicks to recede.
We get a fair number of folks asking about bad breath in dogs. Many times we have an over the counter treatment (toothbrushing, mouth rinse, chews, etc) that will help. But sometimes it’s a more serious issue. Here’s a piece from petmd.com……
Halitosis in Dogs
Halitosis is the medical term used to describe an offensive odor that comes from the mouth, producing bad breath. A number of causes may be responsible for this condition, notably periodontal disease, a disease resulting from bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria is also associated with plaque and cavities.
Small animal breeds and brachycephalic breeds (characterized by their short-nosed, flat-faced features; e.g., the Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese) are the most prone to periodontal and other mouth diseases, in large part because their teeth are close together.
Symptoms and Types
In most cases, there are no other symptoms aside from a bad odor emanating from the mouth. If the cause of the odor is a disease of the mouth, other symptoms may become apparent, including pawing at the mouth, inability to eat (anorexia), loose teeth, and excessive drooling, which may or may not have traces of blood.
A variety of conditions may lead to halitosis, including metabolic disorders such asdiabetes mellitus (commonly known as sugar diabetes); respiratory problems such as inflammation of the nose or nasal passages (rhinitis); inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis); and gastrointestinal problems, such as enlargement of the esophageal tube, the main channel that leads from the throat to the stomach.
Other possible causes of halitosis might be traced to a trauma, like that of an electric cord injury. Viral, bacterial or fungal infections can cause foul odors to emit from within the body, and dietary problems can play a role in the emission of odor as well. For example, if your dog has been eating offensive foods, or is exhibiting a behavior called coprophagia, where it is eating feces, your dog will have correlating foul breath.
Further possibilities are pharyngitis, an inflammation of the throat or pharynx, andtonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils. The presence of cancer, or the presence of foreign bodies may also result in disease of the mouth and accompanying bad breath. But, the most notable cause of halitosis is a disease of the mouth such asperiodontal disease, which is due to plaque bacteria buildup.
Diagnostic procedures to evaluate periodontal disease as the most likely cause of halitosis include X-rays of the inside of the mouth, and an examination of the mouth for characteristics such as tooth mobility and sulfide concentrations.
Once the specific cause of halitosis is known, various therapies may be used to address the problem. In some cases, multiple causes may be to blame. For example, your dog may have periodontal disease along with having a foreign object present in the mouth. Treatment for the condition is dependent upon the cause(s).
If periodontal disease is to blame, treatment will include cleaning and polishing the teeth, or extraction of teeth that have greater than 50 percent loss of the supporting bone and gum tissues around them. Some medications may help to reduce odor, and help to control the bacteria that infect the gums and other oral tissues, causing bad breath.
Living and Management
You will need to continue to remain observant of your dog’s symptoms. It is important to consistently provide proper professional dental care to your dog, as well as to supplement this with at home tooth care. Daily tooth brushing can help prevent the plaque buildup that leads to related halitosis. You will also need to prevent your dog from eating bad-smelling foods, such as garbage. Cleaning the yard frequently will also avoid incidences of coprophagia.
Spring is a wonderful opportunity to spruce up your home, perhaps add some new accessories and generally get rid of all signs of what has definitely been a long, cold winter. It’s also a great time to spruce things up for your pet.
Start by walking around the house and looking at your home from your pet’s perspective. Spring is definitely an opportunity to pack away that extra-warm pet bed. Check its durability and, if it’s still in good condition, wash it before packing it away. If it’s worn and flat and no longer offering your pet padded comfort, throw it away. There are lots of great beds available with popular home décor colors and designs.
Instead of an actual bed, you may want to consider a stylish pet couch to add a nice feature to your living room.
It’s important that pets stay properly hydrated year-round, but this is particularly important as the weather gets warmer. Clean out your pet fountain including the pump. Replace the filters and run the bowl (whether it is ceramic or stainless steel) through a strong cycle in the dishwasher. Water bowls should be washed weekly and refilled daily as standing water brings algae. And remember to clean food bowls, too. Don’t just keep filling them up.
Spring is a time when pets shed their thick winter coats. So be sure to step up your grooming routine. It’s unhealthy for pets to ingest hair — especially cats as it makes them prone to hairballs. Brush your pet to help with shedding and it’s a wonderful way to spend quality time together on the couch! If you’ve avoided bathing your dog in the cold winter months, either book a grooming appointment with our groomer for a professional trim and bath or consider bathing your pet yourself in our self-wash. We have a wonderful selection of shampoos and conditioners to ensure that your pet has a healthy skin and shiny coat.
Of course, brushing your cat and dog on a regular basis keeps shedding under control and off your beds and furniture. When you are spring cleaning your home, be sure to take the hand tools to get into crevices and get rid of any fur buildup that tends to gather in these areas.
For dogs that have been cooped up indoors during the cold weather months, spring is a great opportunity to once again spend more time outdoors in the garden. Keep your home mud-free by making sure you wipe down their paws before they come back inside. Put down a dog floor mat outside the door to take the brunt of muddy, wet paws.
And don’t forget to treat for fleas and ticks with a product you can trust, like Wondercide. Spring is all about fleas and prevention is key.