Yesterday I posted a video on the Muck Creek Kennels facebook page. The video showed a kind of taste test that happened at the kennel yesterday morning. One of our boarders, Zeke, a 6 month old Dobie pup, was not eating his regular food. The stuff his guardians sent with him was Purina Pro Plan. I put down a dish of Orijen Red Meat right next to the Purina he was ignoring and guess what? He chowed down the Orijen like he hadn’t eaten in a week! Then, later that day at evening feeding time he chowed another bowl of Orijen like it was going out of style!
In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I also sell dog food for a living, so I have a vested interest. Keep in mind though, that I realize most folks who read this blog live hundreds of miles from our store and will never buy so much as a biscuit from us. So, I’m not trying to sell you dog food, I’m trying to show you that sometimes when you have a feeding problem it’s because the food does not contain enough protein, it’s inappropriate for the dog’s needs and he knows it!
The argument can easily be made that there are tons of dogs who do just fine on Purina and other supermarket brands that contain mostly corn. I would like to point out that for the first 30 or so years of my life I did just fine on sugar, fast food and beer. Things started to change in my thirties though.
Another argument can be made that what a dog likes is not necessarily what’s best for him. That’s a good point. I have a dog that would happily gobble Twinkies all day long. That certainly doesn’t mean that Twinkies are a good dog food. At some point we need to put that argument aside and just look at this dilemma through the clarifying lens of common sense. Cheap dog food contains large volumes of corn and corn gluten meal. Why? Because it’s cheap! Ever see a dog grazing in a cornfield? I didn’t think so.
Now that I’ve made myself sound like another whacky dog food snob, let me confess that I used to feed Purina to my dogs. For many years, Purina and other popular brands were trusted names in the pet food industry. About 14 years ago, when I got a dog with hip dysplasia, I got to learn a lot about dog food. It started with the guy at the local feed store and I’ve been reading and learning about dog food and the dog food industry ever since.
You can learn all this stuff yourself too. The info is all readily available. If you don’t have time to go on your own quest for the best dog food, just take this advice: If it’s cheap, it’s cheap for a reason. If it’s spendy, there’s a reason for that too. The easiest way to get a good dog food is to read the ingredient label. Look for protein percentage in the mid thirties to fourties and NO grain, i.e. rice, corn, soy, wheat, etc.
Honestly, table scraps would provide a better diet for dogs than corn-laden kibble. Before WWII there was virtually no kibble on the market. Dogs ate table scraps, butcher scraps and bones. There are lots of advantages of feeding kibble including the ease with which we can provide consistency and balanced nutrition. The challenge is in providing a good healthy kibble. Because the dog will have little variation in diet, the kibble he eats needs to be of very good quality. Once again, the junk food analogy works well here. We can eat fast food once in a while, but if you chow down at McDonald’s three meals a day for few years you might eventually develop some diet related health issues.