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I have been doing a lot of research on protein and fat amounts in premium foods, lately. The more I did, the more confused I got. There is a lot of ambiguity in this area on the internet. So I went to my vet, my breeder,(whom I trust) and the AAFCO for guidance. According to the AAFCO, the recommended protein amount for maintenance of healthy adult dogs is 18% daily. (min) and is 22%(min) for growth and lactation. Fat recommendations are 5% (min) for adults and 8%(min) for growth and lactation. My breeder and my vet agree that some premium foods are too high in protein and fat for the average dog. They told me that diets too high in protein can be harder on the liver and kidneys. Healthy dogs can process and excrete the excess with no problem, but if the dog has an underlying liver or kidney issue, diets too high in protein are not a good idea. Not to mention, diets higher in protein and fat are higher in calories and could make for a fat dog. Some of these premium foods have two and a half times the min. protein and some have four times the min. fat recommended in the AAFCO guideline. Some pet food vendors and "experts" would have us thinking that more is better. But is it really or are they just trying to get us to buy their food? I feel that protein amounts between 20-28% and fat amounts between 8-12% for the "average" dog are probably better for them. Some dogs DO need higher amounts of proteins and fats such as working dogs, puppies, and pregnant/nursing mothers. Sorry this is so long, but I thought worth the trouble. Thoughts?
 

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The Whole Dog Journal just put out an article on what AAFCO really is and how foods become AAFCO certified. Honestly, it's not what we were led to believe. Just because a food is AAFCO certified does not mean it is truly complete and balanced. Nor does it mean that it will not cause future problems. The feeding trial (1 of 3 ways to get AAFCO certified) is only 26 weeks and using one example, mineral excesses may take a year or more to cause health problems. Another way to become AAFCO certified is through a 'family member'. So if one of the formulas passed the feeding trial, all the other formula's no longer need to be individually tested. The AAFCO nutrient profiles allow for a wide range of values. According to the WDJ, it is far from being some sort of industry 'standard', or offering suggestions for optimum nutrition. They actually offer only broad guidance. Better than nothing and the WDJ suggests it at least gets a pet food maker into the ball park. The WDJ states "But in our opinion, it's farcical to qualify all the products with such a wide range of nutrient levels as 'complete and balanced' --especially with the common mistaken inference that all the products carrying that statement are somehow equal". I prefer to listen to holistic vets and vet nutritionists who have taken years to really study this.

As for high protein foods, like you said I do feel there are certain dogs that do need a higher protein food. But if you are feeding a kibble, then you would do better to go with a lower protein kibble imo. My understanding is the unhealthy effect a high protein diet has on the liver and kidneys (even producing struvite (sp?) crystals) is in direct correlation to how much water is being consumed as well. That's why when feeding a home cooked diet or one of the pre-mixes where you use fresh meat, not to mention the large quantity of water, a high protein diet is not only safe, but truly the healthiest. If feeding a high protein kibble, I would really urge a person to soak the kibble in water. Even then, if your dog is one to not drink much, I'd go with a lower protein kibble. I'm guessing, but have nothing to back it up with, if there is a need to go with a high protein commercial food for certain dogs who need a high protein diet, it would be better to go with canned. I'm just not sure if there is enough moisture in canned. However, canned in general is better then kibble.
 

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I totally disagree. If water is provided and the dog has no health problems, they can live quite well on good quality meat/bones alone, for their entire lives. That is pure protein and fat.

You have to follow the money. Most dog food companies cannot support high protein foods, because they would go out of business. (grains are cheap) The dog food companies pretty much run the AAFCO and the veterinarian's nutritional educations.

As far as fat, rancid fat is indeed deadly, but fresh fat from good omega 3 sources, like grass fed beef, lamb and wild fish, is extremely healthy, and animals and humans would die without fat.

I am sorry but I don't have time to provide you with the reasons why I disagree. I just wanted to throw that out there. Please don't flame me or try and engage me in an argument, as I've stated my case many times before and can't do it all over again. I'm extremely busy with a looming deadline right now.
 

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Go with what your Vet. recommends.

There's a whole lot of partial truths written about and criticism of the AAFCO by "certain" dog food companies because their food doesn't meet AAFCO's nutritional standards. All dog foods are required to have an AAFCO statement on the container/bag. I try to rotate between foods that state "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that ________food provides complete and balanced nutrition for _____age dogs.


I copied the following from the American Animal Hospital Association's Nutrition Guidelines:


The National Research Council (NRC) of the US NationalAcademy of Sciences is the leading provider of nutrient recommendations for dogs and cats.4 The NRC publications form the basis for Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles, which are updated routinely. 5 AAFCO provides a mechanism for developing and implementing uniform and equitable laws, regulations, standards and enforcement policies, and establishes nutrient profiles for cat and dog foods.


Joy
 

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I'm a firm believer that each dog is an individual and should be treated as such. Soda got elevated kidney values on Acana. Not for him. Doesn't make it a bad food for other dogs.
 

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Hmm-interesting topic. The pet food industry has come a long way in producing better foods but I don't think they are there yet, do you? Many of you cook for your Maltese. Some of us are tired of cooking(sigh) and want to feed commercial food. Let's look at "wild" high protein diets-they look really good, don't they?! Let me ask you all this-if our little fluffs are really just little wolves, wouldn't we have to feed them only once or twice a week? Think about it for a minute. Wolves have to go hungry if they are not able to kill, right? I saw a show on AP about wolves. When they do eat, they gorge themselves on huge amounts of meat. They never know when the next meal will be. It stands to reason that they need huge amounts of protein and fats. In contrast, most of our fluffs just have to walk to the kitchen twice a day. Yes, they need high quality meat protein and healthy fats in their diets, but do they really need high protein and high fat diets? :w00t:
 

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I'm a firm believer that each dog is an individual and should be treated as such. Soda got elevated kidney values on Acana. Not for him. Doesn't make it a bad food for other dogs.
Mercedes had elevated kidney values on EVO changed her food and back to normal.
 

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Like Jackie said, every dog is an individual, just try different things, and go with what works for your dog.

I rarely feed my dogs grains - the only grain I will use is rice, and every so often, like every couple of months. I feed good proteins, moderate good fats, and lots of veggies and fruits. My dogs are happy and healthy, despite Nikki's MVD. They both have excellent bloodwork, they are energetic, have lovely coats, no skin issues, no ear problems, no allergies, etc. Why would I want to follow guidelines by huge organizations that make sweeping generalizations - which btw, haven't improved the general health of dogs? Sure, dogs may live longer, but they're not living BETTER. Pancreatitis, IBD, ear issues, eye issues, skin issues, cancer, diabetes, etc. - All human diseases, now handed down to dogs.

It's just like the high carb low/fat craze for humans for the past 25 years. Since people have embraced it, as a country, we've generally gotten sicker and fatter. So who is telling the truth? Just because people say something and it's embraced by "professionals" and touted in the media, does not make it true for me, or for everyone on the planet. There are layers and layers of reasons why grains are pushed on us, and our dogs. I don't have the time to go into it right now.

As long as the pet food industry puts profit above all else, they will have to sell products with cheap grains. Wheat, corn, oats, and soy are so cheap they are practically being given away. How would a pet food company be able to sell a reasonably priced product if it just had good quality meat and veggies in it? It would put them out of business. Then they wouldn't be able to fund those "independent" studies that say how wonderful kibble is.

Everyone has to experiment and find what works for THEM.

Yes, I sometimes tire of home cooking. I also tire of cooking for myself, believe me.

Should I trust and rely on the commercial pet food industry, and the prepared human food industry to keep me and my dog healthy? - Well, I did, both for me and for my Bichon, for years. And bad things happened with my health, and my Bichon's health. Why would I want to subject myself or my dogs to that again? I'm STILL suffering the consequences of following bad conventional "wisdom."

No, I'd rather take the time, money, and energy to home cook. At least I know where my food came from, and what the ingredients REALLY are.
 

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Hmm-interesting topic. The pet food industry has come a long way in producing better foods but I don't think they are there yet, do you? Many of you cook for your Maltese. Some of us are tired of cooking(sigh) and want to feed commercial food. Let's look at "wild" high protein diets-they look really good, don't they?! Let me ask you all this-if our little fluffs are really just little wolves, wouldn't we have to feed them only once or twice a week? Think about it for a minute. Wolves have to go hungry if they are not able to kill, right? I saw a show on AP about wolves. When they do eat, they gorge themselves on huge amounts of meat. They never know when the next meal will be. It stands to reason that they need huge amounts of protein and fats. In contrast, most of our fluffs just have to walk to the kitchen twice a day. Yes, they need high quality meat protein and healthy fats in their diets, but do they really need high protein and high fat diets? :w00t:
Well I'm not sure if thousands of years ago, wolves had to go so long in between kills like they do now because of human encroachment on their habitat and fewer prey for them. But that's beside the point. Instead of going back thousands of years and compare the domesticated dog to a wolf, why not go back just 50 or 60 years? My understanding is that commercial dog food really did not come onto the market until about 30 years ago. My father grew up on a farm and his uncle was a vet. Dogs led very long and healthy lives 50 to 60 years ago. And we did not see the amount of allergies, digestive issues and diabetes in dogs and cats like we see today. Is it because they were not tested? I don't know. Maybe. But I think they would have been showing symptoms, wouldn't they? Does anyone know if there are clinical records of when we started having health issues in our pets like allergies, digestive issues and diabetes? It would really be an interesting study. My dad has always said his dogs would eat whatever the family ate. Now 50 to 60 plus years ago, they were not eating refined white bread, processed foods, and for them they ate mostly things they grew and raised themselves. Dad's dogs would go out in the barn and lap up milk from the cows that would get spilled. They would wander out in the fields and munch on field corn, or even wheat and other grains. And they were always very healthy. I know 2 of my 3 dogs need some good carbs/grains in their diet and don't do well on totally grain free. My 3rd does great either way. I know of others who have several dogs that maybe they all do well on grain free but they have one or 2 that don't. So I guess I think grain free is fine, but I also think a really high quality food that is very select in the types of grains and the ratio of protein to grain being much higher protein with a small amount of good grains/carbs is fine too. In fact, I'm leaning towards a small amount of good grain is actually needed. I have nothing to back this up with. But when wild dogs and wolves would hunt, they would eat the organs and stomachs of their prey. And so they would get a minimal amount of grains/carbs in their primarily protein based diet. I'm also leaning this way because if dogs who live in the country and are allowed to run free would choose to eat some grains on their own accord when they were not going hungry and meat was available, then does that mean they were instinctively craving it or knew they needed it?

I truly feel a high protein diet is the healthiest when it's fresh food due to the amount of water in fresh meat. However, I do worry about high protein kibble. I can't find it right now but I think it was Dr. Karen Becker who said most pets today are in a constant state of mild dehydration. I've yet to hear how much water is needed for their liver and kidneys to process a high protein kibble. So for me, if someone is leaning towards a kibble vs. canned, I would not do a grain free kibble. jmho.

If you are tired of home cooking, why not go with one of the pre-mixes where you just add your own meat and EFA's? It really does not take long at all. Now not everyone can afford to do this type of food and no one should feel bad if they can't. You simply feed the best you can afford to feed. I've been repeating Dr. Harvey a lot on here lately. But he said to me on the phone, "Let's put this in proper perspective. Are we killing our dogs by feeding commercial dog food? No. They are not dying in the street. Some dogs lead very long and healthy lives on the absolute poorest quality dog food there is. Are we seeing more health issues in our pets since commercial dog food came onto the market? Yes." So I don't want people to be super stressed about what they are feeding their fluffs. You feed what you feel is best for your particular fluff based on how he/she does on it and your study on the ingredients, and what you can afford. If your fluff should develop some issues, then you will address his/her diet again and try something else.
 

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Dogs in the wild do not eat all that much in the way of raw grains. They would have a very hard time digesting them.

I'm not all that concerned about what wolves ate thousands of years ago in relation to what I feed my dog.

I've seen the effect of a high-grain diet on my own health and on my Bichon, and several other dogs that I've known.

I've also studied the effects of grains on the human body, studied the entire subject AT LENGTH, when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Therefore, I do not believe that grains in anything more than a tiny amount, eaten occasionally, are healthful. Please keep in mind, the grains that were grown 50 years ago, and further back, ARE SIMPLY NOT THE SAME GRAINS THAT ARE GROWN TODAY. And not only that, they are FULL of pesticides and now genetically modified. Is that GOOD for anyone? I don't think so.

Is there science to back up my way of thinking? Yes, there is. Is it what the "mainstream" thinks? No, it is not. This country produces too much wheat, oats, and corn to allow for a truly unbiased debate on this by true scientists with open minds who aren't afraid to pass up that grant money. Believing the media and "unbiased sources," and herd mentality, has not done much to advance our health in the last 50 years.

Even though I believe this, it doesn't mean that everyone should take my word for it and change their diet or their dog's diet. Live and let live. Try different things. Do your own studies and research. See what works best for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I must be older than some of you because I remember dog food in the '60s, but there wasn't much to choose from. As I recall, the only canned food for dogs was horsemeat. I have really appreciated everyone's "two cents'" in this very interesting and informative thread. I sure am learning a lot!
 

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I must be older than some of you because I remember dog food in the '60s, but there wasn't much to choose from. As I recall, the only canned food for dogs was horsemeat. I have really appreciated everyone's "two cents'" in this very interesting and informative thread. I sure am learning a lot!
I can totally relate. When I was young, it was horsemeat. Yuck! Our family never had the money to buy canned dog food anyway. Our dogs always ate what we ate. They never got sick, had fleas or bad teeth and breath. What they did have is very long lives! When you think about it, it was kinda cool. Our dogs had eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, soup, sandwiches and the like for lunch and ate spaghetti, stews, roasts, potatoes, veggies... Heck, they had it all! They didn't have bowel problems, allergies or anything else. They were just healthy and happy! Makes you wonder, huh?
 

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Actually the most closely related wild dogs live around humans and do have a significant grain portion to their diet by eating human left overs (rice in particular). I think what we can take from this is how ADAPTABLE dogs are to a variety of diets. So find what works for your dog.
 

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Everyone's dog has their own individual needs. Mine for example does better with grain-free pet food. My top choices being Acana and now Grandma Lucy's. I prefer the Grandma Lucy's because the protein is at 26 or 27% I can't remember......
and since my malt needs to consume more water with Acana....which she barely drinks that is why I prefer the dehydrated mixes. Also I am noticing more energy with this food.
I feel more comfortable having a protein level of 26/27% and the food being Grain-free.
 

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I can totally relate. When I was young, it was horsemeat. Yuck! Our family never had the money to buy canned dog food anyway. Our dogs always ate what we ate. They never got sick, had fleas or bad teeth and breath. What they did have is very long lives! When you think about it, it was kinda cool. Our dogs had eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, soup, sandwiches and the like for lunch and ate spaghetti, stews, roasts, potatoes, veggies... Heck, they had it all! They didn't have bowel problems, allergies or anything else. They were just healthy and happy! Makes you wonder, huh?
So true! My Mother who is 86 Bless her heart! and I were just talking last week about this. All my childhood dog's and the family were feed a small amount a kibble but mainly has a plate of what we had also. I don't recall going to the vet for much at all. Shot's and stitches but for general health never actually and all lived to grand old ages.

I asked her not to give mine her leftover dinner and she told me off basically in a nice Motherly way LOL you think :) So a small plate of Spaghetti it was for Max that night, I am so not disrespecting her on that topic at her age LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #19
With all the issues I have seen on SM lately related to diets high in protein and fat, I thought this thread might be helpful to some who have not seen it'
 
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