Dr. Bonnie Franklin: In Crafting Your Dog’s Weight-reduction plan, Don’t Dismiss Industrial Food | 4-Legged Friends and More

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What do you feed your dog? It is a topic shared amongst so many individuals in dog-friendly Santa Barbara County.

The answers range from industrial kibble and canned food, to fresh diets, raw diets, vegan diets, keto diets, vegetarian diets, home-cooked diets and lots of more.

It appears to be “artificial” (industrial) verses “natural” (all other) diets, based on Dr. Brennen McKenzie of Adobe Animal Hospital within the Bay Area and the nonprofit Evidence-Based Veterinary Medical Association.

Let’s start with industrial diets. Pet food has modified significantly within the last 30 years from the times of luggage of generic kibble. Industrial pet food now is accessible by age (puppies, adult dogs, senior dogs), by size (large breed, including small and enormous puppies), medium breed, small and toy breeds, by individual AKC breeds, by generic purebreds or mixed breeds and even for dogs living primarily indoors.

There are also a mess of prescription diets for various conditions, similar to weight management, joint and mobility, skin and coat health, dental and oral care, energy and mental well being, digestive issues, kidney issues, urinary issues, liver issues, environmental sensitivities, cancer, calming diets, diabetes management, aging cognitive disorders, pregnant or nursing dogs, cardiac problems, thyroid disorders, appetite stimulation, high-energy diets, stress support, and diets for very unwell dogs which can be in need of urgent care.

Industrial diets may contain chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, rice, cranberries, pork, prime rib, porterhouse, beet pulp, spinach, cheese, red bell pepper, green beans, zucchini, quail, bacon, liver, cod, bison, steak, egg, filet mignon, venison, duck, ocean fish, salmon, lamb, turkey and tuna — to call way greater than a number of.

Please read the label of your pet food. Reading the label is crucial to completely understand what your dog is de facto eating.

Labels must list ingredients so as of quantity from best to least. Normally the protein source shall be at the highest of the list, followed by whole vegetables, fruits or grains, then fats.

Kibble and canned pet food vary by brand, but all are required to be balanced and meet the dietary needs of a dog. Under Agriculture Department regulation, “all animal foods should be suitable for eating, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances and be truthfully labeled.”

In line with the Food & Drug Administration, all ingredients in pet food should be listed so as by weight, which incorporates their water content. For instance, one pet food may list “meat” as its first ingredient and “corn” because the second ingredient.

The manufacturer doesn’t hesitate to indicate that its competitor lists “corn” first and “meat meal” second, suggesting the competitor’s product has less animal-source protein than its own.

Nonetheless, meat is about 75% water and water and fat are faraway from “meat meal” so it is barely 10% moisture (what’s left is generally protein and minerals). If we could compare each products on a dry matter basis (mathematically “remove” the water from each ingredients), we could see that the second product had more animal-source protein from meat meal than the primary product had from meat, although the ingredient list suggests otherwise.

Industrial dog foods often are a greater option for pet owners because they’re more consistent, cheaper and fewer time consuming. Many individuals also don’t have the time or money to cook for his or her pets.

Industrial diets are easier to store, have long shelf lives, are inexpensive and supply the convenience of so many various diets.

But, McKenzie emphasizes, industrial kibble pet food shouldn’t be an “artificial eating regimen” that has “the dietary equivalent of potato chips simply because each are available in bags.”

“Human snack and convenience foods are deliberately designed to be appealing, not nutritious,” he said.

Your personal food philosophy will almost definitely determine what you feed your dog. While some people might think a meat-based eating regimen is best, others may consider a plant-based eating regimen is.

Dogs — and cats — have an incredible impact on the environment, a lot in order that one study found they’re chargeable for 25% to 30% of the environmental impact of meat-eating on this country. Because animal agriculture is chargeable for as much as 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, a theory that has been making the rounds is that switching dogs to a plant-based eating regimen could help lessen the effect of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

McKenzie says there is no such thing as a medical evidence that dogs eating traditional industrial diets could have shorter lives and more health problems than dogs eating fresh diets.

“Currently, probably the most optimistic assessment of diets identifies by marketing materials as fresh, flippantly cooked whole food, human grade, etc.,” he says. “It’s plausible they could have health advantages if properly formulated by veterinary nutritionists and properly handled and fed by owners.”

In all diets, McKenzie added, “we want evidence from the true world on meaningful health outcomes before we are able to have any confidence in regards to the advantages of any diets.”

So read your labels and speak together with your veterinarian about what you wish to feed your dog. Also, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine offers one-to-one counseling with veterinarians who’re board-certified in nutrition at UC Davis Veterinary Nutrition Service. They may be contacted by email at [email protected] or phone at 530.752.7892.

Annually, Americans spend greater than $44 billion on pet food so beware of selling claims that usually are not backed up by research but motivated by financial gain.

— Dr. Bonnie Franklin is a relief veterinarian who grew up in Santa Barbara. She earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine from a joint program of Washington State and Oregon State universities, a master’s degree in wildlife biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and does consulting work with the U.S. Forest Service. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.