Posted by: abby | 2010/08/27

commercial dog foods pros and cons

I realise that the pros of commercial dog foods are that they give specific amounts to feed your dog and they have different formulas for different ages, breeds, conditions. I also wonder whether they are entirely safe. I am not talking about something big like the Chinese additive fiasco but just all the little things that are added in processing. So many dogs these days have weight problems, allergies and cancer. When I was growing up our dogs got big meals of mealiemeal, horsemeat, table scraps and raw bones and they were perfect weight, never sick and lived long lives- all big breeds and the youngest death was at 15 years. I know that my own dogs currently get the same amount of exercise and attention that the dogs of my childhood got. The only difference is commercial dogfood and of course innoculations. Where''s the culprit? Are we all being taken for a ride by the dog food companies?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Abby

As this is such a debated topic I will not pass comment. People have the freedom of choice to feed whatever they want to their pet be that commercial food or home made diet.

I do not benefit financially from pet food sale's.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: David | 2013/10/30

I work in a pet store. It's an independent store. In talking with dog owners my suggestions to them have been the following: 1. Grain-free kibble 2. Foods without Corn, Wheat or Soy 3. Raw frozen diets or freeze dried meats The AAFCO has set all the guidelines and so all dog food is passed through because they meet those guidelines. Now if you're wondering if it's ok to make your dog food from home make sure the chicken is boiled, no table scrapes. The better brands out there at least that are sold in the store I work at are: Blue Buffalo, Nutrisource, Natures Variety, Diamond Pet Foods, Springs Naturals, Hills Ideal Balance, Canidae, Solid Gold, Pinnacle, Natural Balance and Avoderm Good Brands: Royal Canin, IAMS, Eukanuba What makes commercial foods not the best is that they contain the least nutrition than all the rest.

Reply to David
Posted by: Chill | 2010/09/01

Actually, Fran, it''s not that difficult (or that easy) - we can read the ingredients until we are blue in the face, but it won''t really help much. The answer, from a general dog health point of view, is to go with the best brand of commercial dogfood you can afford - ie, the ones sold by vets. There isn''t all that much to choose between, say, Hills, Eukanuba or Vet''s Choice. The cheaper dogfoods sold at supermarkets use cheaper ingredients, and their appeal lies in making the stuff taste good to dogs.

Don''t also be too paranoid about preservatives. Without them, most foods would be toxic, or impractical to use, because they''d go rancid. [Same applies to human foods - there are some preservatives, such as sodium nitrite (used in the preparation of nearly all processed meat products), which are known carcinogens - we should ALL avoid eating them, ever. I have no idea what effect they have on dogs, or whether dogfoods contain any].

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Fran | 2010/08/31

Hi everyone,

so what I am gathering here is that there is no straight answer. Best we carefully read the ingredients of your dry food, and evaluate different brands in order to establish which one will have the lowest amount of preservatives, additives etc, and aim for trustworthy brands so that we know what we are reading on the packages are hopefully correct. I would have liked to know what I can feed my dog, to supplement dry food, but I am a bit weary as Chill said - provided you have the knowledge, for e.g. what is best - raw or cooked meat?

I realize this is a very complicated subject, just wondering what is the best for my pet! I then again I suppose with a dog that has already been diagnosed with cancer, changing his food at this stage will probably not have significant effect as the cancer has already developed.


Reply to Fran
Posted by: Chill | 2010/08/31

Undoubtedly vets get ''kickbacks'' from the suppliers of dogfoods - in the form of a profit on the sale of the stuff you can only buy from vets. I confess that I have a bit of a problem with this...

However. The cybervet said - though his post appears to have been removed - that in principle he doesn''t get involved in such debates (per the original query) and in fairness, I think I don''t blame him for that. There is no right or wrong answer - in theory, feeding a dog a home-made diet is perfectly marvellous, PROVIDED you have the knowledge, skill, money and time to ensure that his every nutritional need is met. Unfortunately, I don''t think any of us can tick off all those requirements, so that means that for the vast majority, the commercial dogfoods would be the wise course to follow. But then again, you have drawbacks in the form of additives, flavourings... etc. There is no absolute answer, and that is where the problem lies.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: patsy | 2010/08/31

notice how cybervet doesn''t take part in this discussion. I wonder if vets get kickbacks from the dog food companies?

Reply to patsy
Posted by: Fran | 2010/08/31

Hi there! No, we can''t say for sure that it is in fact dog food that caused the liver cancer, but seems like that is a commonly accepted cause. I would have felt better if I knew what caused the liver cancer, but I realize that is a bit unrealistic. Best to deal with it now, I''m trying to find some information on what would be the best diet for a dog with cancer, e.g. do I need to supplement his dry food with something else? My vet did not recommend anything in specific.

Reply to Fran
Posted by: Chill | 2010/08/30

1. Are you sure the liver cancer is attributable to the dogfood?

2. There are umpteen different brands of dogfood on the market, all with differing compositions, additives and preservatives. Which ingredient in particular do you feel is to blame?

(I''m sorry about your dog, by the way - it''s a horrible thing to have to deal with. I''m sure you would love answers to your questions, but I think blaming the dogfood is perhaps too simplistic.)

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Fran | 2010/08/30

Hi everyone,

I have just realized the cons of commercial food - after having discovered my dog has liver cancer and he is only 8 years old! He is generally a very fit and healthy dog and I am in total dismay about the whole cancer thing! The vet is not very hopeful (although my dog is doing fine at the moment!) and I am very unsure as to what I should be feeding him now, as I have a feeling that the conventional route is causing us some problems here!

Reply to Fran
Posted by: Kate | 2010/08/29

Hi Meg - I use the same vet, and I also use ostrich. (Is daisy a staffy or a lab?)
Might I suggest that you try the Muddy dog in kloof and get their pets mince for your other 2.

Abby, I give my dogs and cats a fresh food diet after my one dog got very sick about 2 years ago. He was in and out of hospital for 2 months and every test, scan, ultra sound and x-ray under the sun and after R14 000 I went to the homeopathic vet and all we did was change his food from a top quality international commercial pellet to a home cooked meal.
I did a lot of research and yes it takes me about 30 minutes each morning and evening to prepare food for 6 animals but it is so worth it

Reply to Kate
Posted by: Meg | 2010/08/27

I also have the same concerns. I''ve now started going to a homeopathic vet in Durban, and she recommends fresh food for dogs and says the commercial diets are vastly overrated. I''m currently giving my dog Daisy (who has a very bad skin condition) ostrich meat and vegetables. My other two dogs are on commercial dog food purely for the convenience (if I was to cook pots of ostrich and veg for 3 big dogs I would never leave the kitchen !)

Reply to Meg

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