Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Dog Food Review

Hi all. This is the first post on this blog about dog foods. As some may know, a new member was added to the family in June. His name is Owen and he is a beagle/wire-haired terrier mix. He is doing great on his current food and I thought I'd make a post about some of the foods he gets and has gotten in the past.
First off, when I got him, he was being fed Purina Puppy Chow (NOT what I wanted to feed him, needless to say). The ingredients for that food are as follows:

Purina Puppy Chow Complete
Ingredients: Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, egg and chicken flavor, brewers rice, barley, animal digest, mono and dicalcium phosphate, fish oil, calcium carbonate, dried yeast, salt, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, Yellow 6, ferrous sulfate, Yellow 5, Red 40, manganese sulfate, DL-Methionine, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, Blue 2, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.
What's Good: fish oil, barley.
What's Bad: Corn, corn gluten, by-products, nondescript animal fat, soy, brewers rice, animal digest, added colors, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, garlic oil (garlic can be toxic but likely not this small amount). 
Rating: 1/5 stars

So, I started switching him to Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula. He has been on this formula ever since and has done fantastic on it. His waste is much less and his coat looks fantastic. He eats about 1.5 cups a day (he is close to 25lbs). The ingredients are as follows:

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula with Bison and Roasted Venison:
Ingredients: Buffalo, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, egg product, pea protein, peas, potatoes, canola oil, tomato pomace, roasted bison, roasted venison, beef, flaxseed, potato fiber, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, yucca schidigera extract, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
What's Good: buffalo, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, egg product, peas, potatoes, canola oil, roasted bison, roasted venison, beef, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, salmon oil, prebiotics, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, probiotics, chelated minerals.
What's Bad: nothing 
Rating: 5/5 stars

But I got a few free samples of the Southwest Canyon and Pine Forest formulas of Taste of the Wild (ingredients are listed at the bottom of this post if you are interested), so I offered them and he liked the Southwest Canyon better than his puppy formula of this food. However, after about a week of Southwest Canyon, it was obvious that he could NOT stay on it because it gave him bad gas. I think it was the peas and garbanzo beans (higher in this formula where in the other, there are sweet potatoes as the main carb). It's unfortunate, because he really liked it. I figure the Pine Forest would be the same because it also has peas and other legumes (lentils, etc.) as the carb source. Once he gets to be a year old, I will try him on some of their other formulas.

When it comes to canned food, he gets Blue Buffalo. Usually he gets the Small Breed (Homestyle) Chicken or Lamb foods (they have brown rice, but I'm OK with it and he does well on them) but he also gets Wilderness Trail Toppers Wild Cuts and has also gotten the Turkey Day Feast variety. Overall, Owen has done well on his foods and I am very happy with the results.

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Canine Formula with Wild Boar:
Ingredients: Beef, peas, garbanzo beans, lamb meal, canola oil, egg product, wild boar, ocean fish meal, brewers yeast, tomato pomace, flaxseed, natural flavor, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
What's Good: beef, peas, garbanzo beans, lamb meal, canola oil, egg product, wild boar, ocean fish meal, prebiotics, flaxseed, probiotics, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, chelated minerals.
What's Bad: not much but the meat content may be SLIGHTLY lower in this formula (and if you have a dog that can't tolerate larger amounts of peas/garbanzo beans then don't feed)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Taste of the Wild Pine Forest Canine Formula with Venison and Legumes:
Ingredients: Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, pea protein, pea flour, egg product, canola oil, tapioca, tomato pomace, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
What's Good: venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils, egg product, canola oil, tapioca, ocean fish meal, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, prebiotics, probiotics.
What's Bad: nothing (unless your dog cannot tolerate higher amounts of peas/garbanzo beans/lentils)
Rating: 5/5 stars

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The importance of canned food in your cat's diet.

This post is meant to inform you of the reasons to feed some canned food (not ONLY dry, in other words) and some issues that can come up if you do not. Firstly, let's talk about the way cats are used to getting the majority of their water. Cats do not have a very strong "thirst drive" so do not drink a whole lot of water from a dish (some cats can be encouraged to drink more if the water is moving, like it is in a fountain waterer) normally. This is because they normally would get a lot of water from their food (a mouse is about 70% water). This lack of a thirst drive can be a problem because many cats eat primarily dry cat food (it is convenient, after all and many cats love it!). Cats that primarily eat dry food live in a state of chronic dehydration (sometimes mild, sometimes more serious depending on your particular cat's thirst drive).

As in humans, dehydration can (and does) cause "issues" with the urinary tract. Because of this, cats that eat dry food are more likely to have cycstitis (inflammation), crystals (stuvite, calcium oxilate, etc.), or urinary tract infections. By feeding even just a little canned food, you are making it much less likely for your cat to experience the pain and suffering of having a UTI. Think about it this way: each amount of canned food you feed "washes" out the bladder, making it harder for bad things (bacteria, crystals) to develop or stay in the uninary tract. There have been studies that showed that cats that do not eat canned food consume, on average, only 50% of the water that cats that eat canned food do. That is HUGE! So, while canned food may not smell good and may be somewhat less convenient and more expensive, it is something that should be viewed as a preventative and should be given to all cats.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wellness TruFood

I was given the opportunity a few weeks ago to let my kitties try Wellness TruFood. I was sent (free of charge) a full-sized "sample" (2lb bag) of the Chicken, Chickpeas & Chicken Liver Recipe and my cats really like it. It is unique in that it has these little "superfood nuggets." The red ones (no artificial colors) are butternut squash and sweet potato based, and the yellow ones (again, no artificial colors) consist of mangos, nectarines, and orange peppers. It also is less processed than many pet foods today and is made in small batches. While it is not the main food for my cats, it will remain in the rotation for my cats. I am very happy to have been given the chance to try this food for my kitties!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pet food news...

I must say that I am saddened to hear these two news stories today because these were both fairly good pet food brands. Innova is being discontinued (EVO is NOT from what I have heard but Innova is). Also released today was the news that Merrick was bought up by Nestle Purina. This last bit of news is very concerning because, while not announced yet, Purina will very likely change ingredients to increase profit margins and Merrick has been a really good food up until now. One also has to wonder why Purina is buying a good food company when they have said time and time again that by-products are healthy, nutritious ingredients and that corn is a good ingredient (of course, this also doesn't make sense when they already have their Beyond brand, which is corn and by-product free). The only answer, of course, is that they are in it for the money and really don't care (and will say anything to make money).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Update 4/15/15

Everyone has been doing well and Toothless got a new cage last weekend (she was getting too big for the cage she was in). Sunny may have lost a bit of weight though I have not weighed her so I don't know for sure. I found that the cats like seafood flavors of canned food (I'm not super happy about this but whatever since I am tired of throwing away food that they don't eat). I added a few foods to the review page (Acana, Orijen and Iams Grain Free Naturals) and updated the Evo ingredients list since it has changed (since they were bought by Mars). If you have a food that I haven't reviewed and want to know about, comment here or the review page and I'll review it for you and add it to the page. I'm always looking to add to the list.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Toothless Tuesday!

I do not think that I have mentioned the newest addition (even though this addition occured last fall!)... My bearded dragon, Toothless! She is a normal colored juvinile bearded dragon who is very sweet. She likes to "cuddle" and fall asleep on me and eats from my hand. Her favorite foods are fruits such as apples and veggies like bell pepper.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Piece of the Ocean: An Overview of My 20-Gallon Nano-Reef.

I have mentioned my coral reef tank on this blog before, however, I have never given an overview of what I have and how the whole tank is run. First off, I have a 20-gallon tall (24"L x 12"W x 16"H) aquarium with a black rim. The equipment is listed below.
Filters: 2 Aqua-Tech 5-15 filters with phosphate removing filter pads and carbon
Heater: Tetra 10-20
Lights: Odyssea 4x24 watt (96 watt total for those who don't want to do math!) T5HO lights with a DIY retrofitted moonlight LED (Tetra GloFish LED). Bulbs are all WavePoint brand (1 actinic "Super Blue460", 2 10,000K "Sun Wave", 1 purple "Reef Wave")
Protein Skimmer: Lee's Counter Current Medium skimmer run with an Aqua-Tech 40-60 air pump and limewood air stone (run from outside due to pH being low if run inside).
Powerheads: 2 Koralia Nano 425's
Corals: green mushrooms, blue mushrooms, kenya trees, clove polyps, zoas, acan, blasto.
Inverts: 6-7 blue legged hermit crabs, brittlestars, asterina stars.
Fish: Royal Gramma
Food: Ocean Nutrition Prime Reef (frozen), Brightwell Aquatics Zooplanktos-M, Kent Marine CromaPlex (very rarely used), Omega One Super Color Flakes.
Water Changes: ~2-gallons every week. I usually use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals or Aqua-Vitro Salinity salt mix with distilled water.
Parameters: Calcium 450-460ppm, Alkalinity 7-8dKH, pH 8.1-8.3, Nitrate 5-10ppm (most often around 6ppm), salinity/specific gravity 1.024-1.025
Here are a few pictures of some of the corals.