Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dog Jerky Recall

Okay, so here is my take on all the Jerky recalls over the past 3-4 years. DON'T feed your dog jerky. Dog nutrition 101: It may surprise you to know but a dog's kidneys don't do well with high concentrations of protein like that. If you look at the bag of your dog's food the protein percentage will be under 30%. Anything over 30% causes your dogs kidneys to work extremely hard. Now the next time you are at the store, check out any of the bags of jerky treats for your dogs. The lowest I have ever seen their protein is 65% with most being around 85%. Now if your dog has kidney issues you may or may not know it, but put them on over time, a lot of the time, and you are going to find out pretty quickly. Add all this to the fact that a lot of the time it's the small dogs who end up dying or having horrible reactions. Their owners are giving them an entire jerky strip. For a small dog that is an overly huge amount of concentrated protein. That's like you eating an entire Costco sized bag of Jerky, and most owners give their dogs these treats every day. Now imagine if you ate a Costco sized bag of jerky every day, is that something you would do to yourself without expecting some hardship to your body? When a dog eats raw meat, in those raw diets, the protein is diluted with water that makes up 60% of the animal's body. We are mostly water right? So are other animals. When dogs or wolves eat other animals they are not eating mostly protein, they are eating mostly water. The protein percentage would be about the same as it is in the dog food you are currently feeding them. There has been a lot of research into how much is good for the dog and what is needed versus the tipping line of too much of a good thing is bad for you. So if you are going to feed your dog jerky, remember only a little every now and then, please don't think they "need" it or can tolerate more than that. Sure your dog might be doing fine now, but after several years how beat up do you want your dog's kidneys to look?

I don't want anyone reading this to go "oh I have been a terrible pet parent!" Very few of us lay people know or understand pet nutrition.  We all trust the dog food we have been feeding for years, to be good for our dogs, and at the very least we think we are giving them something good for them, not something that would lead to their death in a few short years.  The problem is there is so much information out there.  How is anyone supposed to sift through it all without spending several years going to vet school (and here's a little bit of info for you, your vet was not required to take any nutrition classes if he graduated sometime before the year 2005. So your vet might not even be the pet expert on your dog's nutrition).  I can tell you from my own experience that even well meaning vets are easily bought and sold on the foods and treats they recommend to you.  As a vet tec we had some wonderful paid for dinner and lunch seminars that were very fancy that fooled me.  However one time I had one of the presenters tells us flat out that their food was really no different than most of the lower grade foods, the biggest difference was that their food had more antioxidants in it.  At that I was floored.  Really?  This fancy bag of food is no better than what you would find at Walmart.  I felt completely let down by the industry I had trusted.  There are lots of foods out there that promise great things and wonderful results if you use their food. For a time I didn't think that any of the foods were really different from each other.  Then I found Nutro.  As far as foods go, this one is different in one very important way.  Not only is it all natural (which can mean a lot of things, and is used all over) but it is research based.  This means they have teams of people whose whole job is to find out what the best balance of nutrition is good for every breed, and dog size, and age.  This makes the real difference to me. Now they do share this information with the other companies, but not till after they have used it in their formulas.  I think the waiting time is a year at least.  I do not trust most dog food companies, as I have heard first had horrible experiences, as well as having some of my own. But I can tell you the name of several dog food brands that I trust, not only is their food balanced and the amounts researched properly, but the factories that they are made in hold the highest standards in the company and are cleaner than a lot of our human food processing factories.  If you need prescription food for your dog go with the Royal Canin, they have the most up to date research for your dog's food as you can get.  Nutro is their sister company(both owned by the same parent company) and is in the process of building their own dog food research facility here in the U.S.  Currently the one that is used is in Germany.  It is world renown for their accuracy and findings. 
So there you go, a little dog food nutrition 101 to help you muddle through the vast "other" information that is floating around out there! Hope this little nugget helps.

P.S. and by the way....cats need higher protein than dogs do, but they shouldn't have more than 45% protein, and should have at least 30% since they need to intake more taurine from their food, as their bodies can make it.

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