Commercial dog food
Most store-bought dog food comes in either a dry form (also known in the US as kibble) or a wet canned form. Dry food contains 6–10% moisture by volume, as compared to 60–90% in canned food. Semi-moist foods have a moisture content of 25–35%. Pet owners often prefer dry food for reasons of convenience and price, spending over $8 billion on dry dog food in 2010 – a 50% increase in the amount spent just seven years earlier.
Wet dog foodWet or canned dog food is significantly higher in moisture than dry or semi-moist food. Canned food is commercially sterile (cooked during canning); other wet foods may not be sterile. A given wet food will often be higher in protein or fat compared to a similar kibble on a dry matter basis (a measure which ignores moisture); given the canned food's high moisture content, however, a larger amount of canned food must be fed. Grain gluten and other protein gels may be used in wet dog food to create artificial meaty chunks, which look like real meat.
Alternative dog food
In recent years, new types of dog food have emerged on the market that differ from traditional commercial pet food. Many companies have been successful in targeting niche markets, each with unique characteristics. A non-alcoholic "beer" for dogs (Kwispelbier) is made in the Netherlands from beef extract and malt.
, comes in raw and cooked form. Products are usually air dried to reduce moisture to the level where bacterial growths are inhibited. The appearance is very similar to dry kibbles. The typical feeding methods include adding warm water before serving.
Frozen or freeze-dried
, comes in raw or cooked (not processed) form. The idea is to skip the processing stage traditional dry/wet dog food goes through. This causes less destruction of the nutritional integrity. To compensate for the short shelf life, products are frozen or freeze-dried.
Fresh or refrigerated
, produced through pasteurization of fresh ingredients. Products are lightly cooked and then quickly sealed in a vacuum package. Then they are refrigerated until served. This type of dog food is extremely vulnerable to spoiling if not kept at a cool temperature and has a shelf life of 2–4 months, unopened.
Many commercial dog foods are made from materials considered by some authorities and dog owners to be unusable or undesirable. These may include:
Meat and bone meals, offal (wild canines, however, do eat offal as a vital part of their diets), crutons byproducts.
Less expensive dog foods generally include less meat, and more animal by-products and grain fillers. Proponents of a natural diet criticize the use of such ingredients, and point out that regulations allow for packaging that might lead a consumer to believe that they are buying natural food, when, in reality, the food might be composed mostly of ingredients such as those listed above. More expensive dog foods may be made of ingredients suitable for organic products or free range meats. Lamb meal is a popular ingredient. Ingredients must be listed by amount in descending order.
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), animal by-products in pet food may include parts obtained from any animals which have died from sickness or disease provided they are rendered in accordance to law. As well, cow brains and spinal cords, not allowed for human consumption under federal regulation 21CFR589.2000 due to the possibility of transmission of BSE, are allowed to be included in pet food intended for non-ruminant animals. In 2003, the AVMA speculated changes might be made to animal feed regulations to ban materials from "4-D" animals – those who enter the food chain as dead, dying, diseased or disabled.
Commercial dog food comes in many forms, but not all can be considered equal. It is important to understand the differences before you choose a food for your dog. Natural and holistic dog food companies pledge to use high quality ingredients without fillers and by-products. They go the extra mile to add beneficial nutrients without adding unnecessary chemicals. Despite the higher cost of these foods, many dog owners attest to the benefits these diets have provided, such as shinier coats, increased energy, and better overall health. Here are just a few of the natural and/or holistic diets on the market today:
Natura Pet Products was founded in 1989 in Santa Clara, California by pet lovers with a mission to produce pet food made with the healthiest ingredients available. Using high quality, whole food ingredients, they designed diets that offer optimal nutrition to benefit pets' overall health without unnecessary additives. Natura Pet Products are divided into the following brands:
•Innova Holistic Pet Food
•Evo High-Meat, Grain-Free Pet Food
•California Natural Hypoallergenic Pet Food
•Healthwise complete and balanced nutrition designed for all pet breeds and sizes
•Karma Organic Pet Food
•Mother Nature Natural Dog Biscuits
Flint River Ranch
Founded by Jim Flint in 1993, Flint River Ranch is a family company that provides all-natural oven-baked food with human-grade quality ingredients. Their dog foods are twice-baked, quite palatable, and highly digestible. Several formulas are produced to meet the nutritional needs of dogs of various ages, lifestyles and activity levels. Though canned diets are not available, their "dry water" food is transformed into a gravy dinner when hot water is added. Flint River Ranch also makes several types of biscuits. Products can be purchased online directly from their website, or from many other vendors. Cat food is also available.
Castor & Pollux Pet Works
Named for Castor the Dog and Pollux the Cat, Castor & Pollux Pet Works is a company comprised of animal lovers dedicated to providing high-quality organic and natural products for pets. Dog food products include ORGANIX organic foods and treats, Natural Ultramix natural foods and treats, and GOOD BUDDY dog cookies. Of course, cat foods are also available. Castor & Pollux Pet Works also offers a variety of dog toys and other supplies.
Family-founded Eagle Pack Pet Foods began in the 1980's as one of the first holistic-natural pet diets available. Both Eagle Pack Holistic Select® and Eagle Pack Super Premium brands consist of all-natural, human grade ingredients including holistic and custom supplements. All products are made in USDA/APHIS inspected plants and are 100% guaranteed. Varieties include hypoallergenic formulas, age-specific diets, and special formulas for small/mini breed or large/giant breed dogs and puppies. Eagle Pack makes both dry and canned diets, plus treats and digestive remedies. Diets for cats and ferrets are also available.
Canidae pledges to use only the finest quality, all-natural, human grade ingredients. Their products do not contain corn, wheat, soy, grain fractions, fillers or by products. All products are made in USDA and FDA approved facilities in the United States. Varieties include Chicken and Rice, Lamb and Rice, a formula designed for all life stages, and another especially developed for senior or overweight dogs. Each formula is available in canned or dry. Gourmet treats are available as well. If you are also a cat lover, check out their Felidae line of cat food.
Blue Buffalo Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo Company was created out of a love for pets and dedication to high quality nutrition. The company was named for the founders' dog Blue, who has suffered from cancer. BLUE set out to create a diet that could help protect pets from cancer using natural, wholesome ingredients. Available formulas include Life Protection Formula, Longevity, Wilderness and Organics. Products contain no animal by-products, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, and no corn, wheat or soy. In addition, BLUE created LifeSource Bits, which consist of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Cat food and pet grooming products are also available.
Named for their rescue cats Webster, Rudi and Vanessa, David and Stacie Forman created Weruva after their search for the best cat food resulted in less-than-ideal options. Instead of settling, they created their own cat food. Using the most delectable and wholesome foods around, Weruva developed cat AND dog food that looks good enough for people to eat (and actually is). Available in canned form only, Weruva pet foods are made with pure and human-grade whole food ingredients that look (and taste) like they came from Grandma's kitchen. It's like comfort food for pets, but still complete and balanced nutrition.
Founded in 1974, Solid Gold was one of the earliest pet diets to focus on all-natural, high-quality ingredients for overall optimum nutrition. As a holistic food, ingredients include USDA Choice meats, USDA grade I and II grains, plus healthful polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils. Solid Gold does not contain corn, wheat, soy, or chemical preservatives. A wide variety of canned and dry formulas are available, plus dog treats, supplements, and health and coat care products.
Emerging from the Old Mother Hubbard dog treat company, Wellness Dog Food was developed in 1990 with pets' overall wellbeing in mind. Diets are made with only highly digestible, beneficial, human-grade ingredients -- exceeding FDA and AAFCO standards. Their diets do not contain any ingredients that are potentially allergenic, of inferior quality, or without nutritional benefit. Available varieties include dry or canned holistic recipes, special allergy formulas, and a grain-free, protein-focused line of food. Wellness also produces their own brand of treats and supplements.
For more ...please read the article here:
The Benefits of Holistic Dog Food - The Big Reason Why I'm Not Worried About the Pet Food Recall
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