Dogs need to consume a lot of protein to remain healthy. If you’ve decided that you want your dog to be a vegetarian, you may want to try these vegetarian dog food recipes to be sure you’re feeding your pet a healthy diet.
You should understand that vegetables alone will not supply the protein your dog needs to be healthy and hearty. To provide the missing protein and still maintain a vegetarian diet, include beans, dairy products, eggs or protein supplements in your dog’s vegetarian diet.
For a hearty and delicious Vegetable Stew, prepare this recipe for your dog:
Heat up a small amount of olive oil and a little garlic in a saucepan. Cut into slices the following vegetables: one large sweet pepper, one medium zucchini, one medium yellow squash, one medium eggplant, and one potato.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for 40 minutes, adding a small amount of oregano or basil.
Let the stew cool before serving it to your dog. You can also add shredded cheese, beans, a raw egg or a protein supplement to make sure your dog is receiving a suitable amount of protein.
This is another vegetarian dog food recipe any dog should find appetizing: Mix one cup of quick-cooking oats, 1/4 cup of soy flour or soy milk powder, 1/4 cup of wheat bran, one tablespoon of soy lechithin, one tablespoon of yeast, one tablespoon of wheat germ, one tablespoon of ground sunflower seeds, 1/4 tablespoon of molasses, one teaspoon of ground flax seed, and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil.
Soak all the ingredients in hot water for 20 minutes before serving to your dog. This is an easy meal to make in advance and keep refrigerated or frozen for a quick and healthy daily meal for your dog. If you have a large dog you’ll need to double the recipe. Ground pinto beans can also be added for additional protein.
This is a recipe for a Vegetarian Chowder your dog is sure to love:
Thoroughly cook two red potatoes in two cups of water, adding two tablespoons of olive oil and a clove of garlic. Remove the potatoes from the water. Add three cups of fresh corn to the water and cook for five minutes. Add to the corn 3/4 cup of cooked kidney beans and the potato water you set aside. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the corn is tender. Blend the red potatoes with 3/4 of a cup of milk in a blender or food processor and add it to the simmering chowder.
Vegetarian Dog Food Cookies: Mash a cup of peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, and carrots. Add one egg, 1/3 cup applesauce, a cup of cooked rice and a teaspoon of brewer’s yeast.
Drop a teaspoonful of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. These delicious doggy cookies can be stored in your refrigerator or freezer and given to your dog as a treat at any time.
A recipe for Yummy Veggie Biscuits: Mix three cups of parsley and 1/4 cup carrots, finely chopped. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. In a separate bowl mix 2 and 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour, two tablespoons of bran and two teaspoons of baking powder. Combine this mixture with the vegetables. Add one-half to one cup of water and mix well until the dough is moist but not wet. Knead the dough and roll it out.
Use a cookie cutter to create cookies in any shape you want, then bake them on a cookie sheet for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. This is a healthy and delicious treat for your dog.
We sincerely hope your dog will love these vegetarian dog food recipes.
Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.
There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.
This information provided by the Animal Protection Institute.
“Plump whole chickens, choice cuts of beef, fresh grains, and all the wholesome nutrition your dog or cat will ever need.” (Sounds good?)
These are the images pet food manufacturers promulgate through the media and advertising. This is what the $11 billion per year U.S. pet food industry wants consumers to believe they are buying when they purchase their products.
This report explores the differences between what consumers think they are buying and what they are actually getting. It focuses in very general terms on the most visible name brands — the pet food labels that are mass-distributed to supermarkets and discount stores — but there are many highly respected brands that may be guilty of the same offenses.
What most consumers don’t know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a market for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered “unfit for human consumption,” and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, esophagi, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.
Three of the five major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of major multinational companies:
Nestlé (Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog, and Ralston Purina products such as Dog Chow, ProPlan, and Purina One)
Mars (Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba, Waltham’s)
From a business standpoint, multinational companies owning pet food manufacturing companies is an ideal relationship. The multinationals have increased bulk-purchasing power; those that make human food products have a captive market in which to capitalize on their waste products, and pet food divisions have a more reliable capital base and, in many cases, a convenient source of ingredients.
There are hundreds of different pet foods available in this country. And while many of the foods on the market are similar, not all of the pet food manufacturing companies use poor quality and potentially dangerous ingredients.
INGREDIENTS Although the purchase price of pet food does not always determine whether a pet food is good or bad, the price is often a good indicator of quality. It would be impossible for a company that sells a generic brand of dog food at $9.95 for a 40-lb. bag to use quality protein and grain in its food. The cost of purchasing quality ingredients would be much higher than the selling price.
BY-PRODUCTS The protein used in pet food comes from a variety of sources. When cattle, swine, chickens, lambs, or any number of other animals are slaughtered, the choice cuts such as lean muscle tissue are trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption. However, about 50% of every food-producing animal does not get used in human foods. Whatever remains of the carcass — bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, and almost all the other parts not generally consumed by humans — is used in pet food, animal feed, and other products. These “other parts” are known as “by-products,” “meat-and-bone-meal,” or similar names on pet food labels.
The Pet Food Institute — the trade association of pet food manufacturers — acknowledges the use of by-products in pet foods as additional income for processors and farmers: “The growth of the pet food industry not only provided pet owners with better foods for their pets, but also created profitable additional markets for American farm products and for the byproducts of the meat packing, poultry, and other food industries which prepare food for human consumption.”1
Many of these remnants provide a questionable source of nourishment for our animals. The nutritional quality of meat and poultry by-products, meals, and digests can vary from batch to batch. James Morris and Quinton Rogers, two professors with the Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of California at Davis Veterinary School of Medicine, assert that;
“There is virtually no information on the bioavailability of nutrients for companion animals in many of the common dietary ingredients used in pet foods. These ingredients are generally by-products of the meat, poultry and fishing industries, with the potential for a wide variation in nutrient composition. Claims of nutritional adequacy of pet foods based on the current Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient allowances (‘profiles’) do not give assurances of nutritional adequacy and will not until ingredients are analyzed and bioavailability values are incorporated.”2
RENDERING Meat and poultry meals, by-product meals, and meat-and-bone meal are common ingredients in pet foods. The term “meal” means that these materials are not used fresh, but have been rendered. What is rendering? Rendering, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is “to process as for industrial use: to render livestock carcasses and to extract oil from fat, blubber, etc., by melting.” Home-made chicken soup, with its thick layer of fat that forms over the top when the soup is cooled, is a sort of mini-rendering process. Rendering separates fat-soluble from water-soluble and solid materials, and kills bacterial contaminants, but may alter or destroy some of the natural enzymes and proteins found in the raw ingredients. Meat and poultry by-products, while not rendered, vary widely in composition and quality.
What can the feeding of such products do to your companion animal? Some veterinarians claim that feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases their risk of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. The cooking methods used by pet food manufacturers – such as rendering and extruding (a heat-and-pressure system used to “puff” dry foods into nuggets or kibbles) — do not necessarily destroy the hormones used to fatten livestock or increase milk production, or drugs such as antibiotics or the barbiturates used to euthanize animals.
ANIMAL AND POULTRY FAT You may have noticed a unique, pungent odor when you open a new bag of pet food — what is the source of that delightful smell? It is most often rendered animal fat, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans.
Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed grade animal fat over the last fifteen years. This grease, often held in fifty-gallon drums, is usually kept outside for weeks, exposed to extreme temperatures with no regard for its future use. “Fat blenders” or rendering companies then pick up this used grease and mix the different types of fat together, stabilize them with powerful antioxidants to retard further spoilage, and then sell the blended products to pet food companies and other end users.3
These fats are sprayed directly onto dried kibbles or extruded pellets to make an otherwise bland or distasteful product palatable. The fat also acts as a binding agent to which manufacturers add other flavor enhancers such as digests. Pet food scientists have discovered that animals love the taste of these sprayed fats. Manufacturers are masters at getting a dog or a cat to eat something she would normally turn up her nose at.
Wheat, Soy, Corn, Peanut Hulls, and Other Vegetable Protein The amount of grain products used in pet food has risen over the last decade. Once considered filler by the pet food industry, cereal and grain products now replace a considerable proportion of the meat that was used in the first commercial pet foods. The availability of nutrients in these products is dependent upon the digestibility of the grain. The amount and type of carbohydrate in pet food determines the amount of nutrient value the animal actually gets. Dogs and cats can almost completely absorb carbohydrates from some grains, such as white rice. Up to 20% of the nutritional value of other grains can escape digestion. The availability of nutrients for wheat, beans, and oats is poor. The nutrients in potatoes and corn are far less available than those in rice. Some ingredients, such as peanut hulls, are used for filler or fiber, and have no significant nutritional value.
Two of the top three ingredients in pet foods, particularly dry foods, are almost always some form of grain products. Pedigree Performance Food for Dogs lists Ground Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, and Corn Gluten Meal as its top three ingredients. 9 Lives Crunchy Meals for cats lists Ground Yellow Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, and Poultry By-Product Meal as its first three ingredients. Since cats are true carnivores — they must eat meat to fulfill certain physiological needs — one may wonder why we are feeding a corn-based product to them. The answer is that corn is much cheaper than meat.
VOMITOXIN In 1995, Nature’s Recipe pulled thousands of tons of dog food off the shelf after consumers complained that their dogs were vomiting and losing their appetite. Nature’s Recipe’s loss amounted to $20 million. The problem was a fungus that produced vomitoxin (an aflatoxin or “mycotoxin,” a toxic substance produced by mold) contaminating the wheat. In 1999, another fungal toxin triggered the recall of dry dog food made by Doane Pet Care at one of its plants, including Ol’ Roy (Wal-Mart’s brand) and 53 other brands. This time, the toxin killed 25 dogs.
Although it caused many dogs to vomit, stop eating, and have diarrhea, vomitoxin is a milder toxin than most. The more dangerous mycotoxins can cause weight loss, liver damage, lameness, and even death as in the Doane case. The Nature’s Recipe incident prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to intervene. Dina Butcher, Agriculture Policy Advisor for North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer, concluded that the discovery of vomitoxin in Nature’s Recipe wasn’t much of a threat to the human population because “the grain that would go into pet food is not a high quality grain.”3
Soy is another common ingredient that is sometimes used as a protein and energy source in pet food. Manufacturers also use it to add bulk so that when an animal eats a product containing soy he will feel more sated. While soy has been linked to gas in some dogs, other dogs do quite well with it. Vegetarian dog foods use soy as a protein source.
ADDITIVES Many chemicals are added to commercial pet foods to improve the taste, stability, characteristics, or appearance of the food. Additives provide no nutritional value. Additives include emulsifiers to prevent water and fat from separating, antioxidants to prevent fat from turning rancid, and artificial colors and flavors to make the product more attractive to consumers and more palatable to their companion animals.
Adding chemicals to food originated thousands of years ago with spices, natural preservatives, and ripening agents. In the last 40 years, however, the number of food additives has greatly increased.
PRESERVATIVES All commercial pet foods contain preservatives. Some of these are added to ingredients or raw materials by the suppliers, and others may be added by the manufacturer.
Because manufacturers need to ensure that dry foods have a long shelf life to remain edible after shipping and prolonged storage, fats included in pet foods are preserved with either synthetic or “natural” preservatives.
BHA – BHT – ETHOXIQUIN Synthetic preservatives include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol (also used as a less-toxic version of automotive antifreeze), and ethoxyquin. For these antioxidants, there is little information documenting their toxicity, safety, or chronic use in pet foods that may be eaten every day for the life of the animal.
Potentially cancer-causing agents such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are permitted at relatively low levels. The use of these chemicals in pet foods has not been thoroughly studied, and long term build-up of these agents may ultimately be harmful. Due to questionable data in the original study on its safety, ethoxyquin’s manufacturer, Monsanto, was required to perform a new, more rigorous study. This was completed in 1996. Even though Monsanto found no significant toxicity associated with its own product, in July 1997, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine requested that manufacturers voluntarily reduce the maximum level for ethoxyquin by half, to 75 parts per million. While some pet food critics and veterinarians believe that ethoxyquin is a major cause of disease, skin problems, and infertility in dogs, others claim it is the safest, strongest, most stable preservative available for pet food. Ethoxyquin is only approved for use in human food for preserving spices, such as cayenne and chili powder, at a level of 100 ppm — but it would be very difficult to consume as much chili powder every day as a dog would eat dry food. Ethoxyquin has never been tested for safety in cats.
Some manufacturers have responded to consumer concern, and are now using “natural” preservatives such as Vitamin C (ascorbate), Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), and oils of rosemary, clove, or other spices, to preserve the fats in their products. Other ingredients, however, may be individually preserved. Fish meal, and some prepared vitamin mixtures used to supplement pet food, contain chemical preservatives. This means that your companion animal may be eating food containing several types of preservatives. Not all of these are required to be disclosed on the label. However, due to consumer pressure, preservatives used in fat are now required to be listed on the label.
ADDITIVES IN PROCESSED FOODS
pH control agents
Flour treating agents
Surface active agents
Surface finishing agents
Oxidizing and reducing agents
While the law requires studies of direct toxicity of these additives and preservatives, they have not been tested for their potential synergistic effects on each other once ingested. Some authors have suggested that dangerous interactions occur among some of the common synthetic preservatives.
Natural preservatives do not provide as long a shelf life as chemical preservatives, but they are safe.
PROCESSING – How Pet Food Is Made Although feeding trials are no longer required for a food to meet the requirements for labeling a food “complete and balanced,” most manufacturers perform palatability studies when developing a new pet food. One set of animals is fed a new food while a “control” group is fed a current formula. The total volume eaten is used as a gauge for the palatability of the food. The larger and more reputable companies do use feeding trials, which are considered to be a much more accurate assessment of the actual nutritional value of the food. They keep large colonies of dogs and cats for this purpose, or use testing laboratories that have their own animals.
Most dry food is made with a machine called an expander or extruder. First, raw materials are blended, sometimes by hand, other times by computer, in accordance with a recipe developed by animal nutritionists. This mixture is fed into an expander and steam or hot water is added. The mixture is subjected to steam, pressure, and high heat as it is extruded through dies that determine the shape of the final product and puffed like popcorn. The food is allowed to dry, and then is usually sprayed with fat, digests, or other compounds to make it more palatable. Although the cooking process may kill bacteria in pet food, the final product can lose its sterility during the subsequent drying, fat coating, and packaging process. A few foods are baked at high temperatures rather than extruded. This produces a dense, crunchy kibble that is palatable without the addition of sprayed on palatability enhancers. Animals can be fed about 25% less of a baked food, by volume (but not by weight), than an extruded food.
Ingredients are similar for wet, dry, and semi-moist foods, although the ratios of protein, fat, and fiber may change. A typical can of ordinary cat food reportedly contains about 45-50% meat or poultry by-products. The main difference between the types of food is the water content. It is impossible to directly compare labels from different kinds of food without a mathematical conversion to “dry matter basis.”5 Wet or canned food begins with ground ingredients mixed with additives. If chunks are required, a special extruder forms them. Then the mixture is cooked and canned. The sealed cans are then put into containers resembling pressure cookers and commercial sterilization takes place. Some manufacturers cook the food right in the can.
There are special labeling requirements for pet food, all of which are contained in the annually revised Official Publication of AAFCO.6 The use of the terms “all” or “100%” cannot be used “if the product contains more than one ingredient, not including water sufficient for processing, decharacterizing agents, or trace amounts of preservatives and condiments.” Products containing multiple ingredients are covered by AAFCO Regulation PF3(b) and (c). The “95% rule” applies when the ingredient(s) derived from animals, poultry, or fish constitutes at least 95% or more of the total weight of the product (or 70% excluding water for processing).
Because all-meat diets are usually not nutritionally balanced, they fell out of favor for many years. However, due to rising consumer interest in high quality meat products, several companies are now promoting 95% and 100% canned meats as a supplemental feeding option.
The “dinner” product is defined by the 25% Rule, which applies when “an ingredient or a combination of ingredients constitutes at least 25% of the weight of the product” (excluding water sufficient for processing) as long as the ingredient(s) shall constitute at least 10% of the total product weight; and a descriptor that implies other ingredients are included in the product formula is used on the label. Such descriptors include “recipe,” “platter,” “entree,” and “formula.” A combination of ingredients included in the product name is permissible when each ingredient comprises at least 3% of the product weight, excluding water for processing, and the ingredient names appear in descending order by weight.
The “with” rule allows an ingredient name to appear on the label, such as “with real chicken,” as long as each such ingredient constitutes at least 3% of the food by weight, excluding water for processing.
The “flavor” rule allows a food to be designated as a certain flavor as long as the ingredient(s) are sufficient to “impart a distinctive characteristic”to the food. Thus, a “beef flavor” food may contain a small quantity of digest or other extract of tissues from cattle, without containing any actual beef meat at all.
What Happened to the Nutrients? Dr. Randy L. Wysong is a veterinarian and produces his own line of pet foods. A long time critic of pet food industry practices, he said, “Processing is the wild card in nutritional value that is, by and large, simply ignored.
Heating, cooking, rendering, freezing, dehydrating, canning, extruding, pelleting, baking, and so forth, are so commonplace that they are simply thought of as synonymous with food itself.”9 Processing meat and by-products used in pet food can greatly diminish their nutritional value, but cooking increases the digestibility of cereal grains.
To make pet food nutritious, pet food manufacturers must “fortify” it with vitamins and minerals. Why? Because the ingredients they are using are not wholesome, their quality may be extremely variable, and the harsh manufacturing practices destroy many of the nutrients the food had to begin with.
Contaminants Commercially manufactured or rendered meat meals and by-product meals are frequently highly contaminated with bacteria because their source is not always slaughtered animals. Animals that have died because of disease, injury, or natural causes are a source of meat for meat meal. The dead animal might not be rendered until days after its death. Therefore the carcass is often contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Dangerous E. Coli bacteria are estimated to contaminate more than 50% of meat meals. While the cooking process may kill bacteria, it does not eliminate the endotoxins some bacteria produce during their growth and are released when they die. These toxins can cause sickness and disease. Pet food manufacturers do not test their products for endotoxins.
Mycotoxins — These toxins comes from mold or fungi, such as vomitoxin in the Nature’s Recipe case, and aflatoxin in Doane’s food. Poor farming practices and improper drying and storage of crops can cause mold growth. Ingredients that are most likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins are grains such as wheat and corn, cottonseed meal, peanut meal, and fish meal.
Labeling – Back to Top The National Research Council (NRC) of the Academy of Sciences set the nutritional standards for pet food that were used by the pet food industry until the late 1980s. The NRC standards, which still exist and are being revised as of 2001, were based on purified diets, and required feeding trials for pet foods claimed to be “complete” and “balanced.” The pet food industry found the feeding trials too restrictive and expensive, so AAFCO designed an alternate procedure for claiming the nutritional adequacy of pet food, by testing the food for compliance with “Nutrient Profiles.” AAFCO also created “expert committees” for canine and feline nutrition, which developed separate canine and feline standards. While feeding trials can still be done, a standard chemical analysis may be also be used to determine if a food meets the profiles.
Chemical analysis, however, does not address the palatability, digestibility, or biological availability of nutrients in pet food. Thus it is unreliable for determining whether a food will provide an animal with sufficient nutrients.
To compensate for the limitations of chemical analysis, AAFCO added a “safety factor,” which was to exceed the minimum amount of nutrients required to meet the complete and balanced requirements.
The digestibility and availability of nutrients is not listed on pet food labels.
The 100% Myth: Your Pet Food Provides All the Nutrition A Pet needs The idea of one pet food providing all the nutrition a companion animal will ever need for its entire life is a myth.
Cereal grains are the primary ingredients in most commercial pet foods. Many people select one pet food and feed it to their dogs and cats for a prolonged period of time. Therefore companion dogs and cats eat a primarily carbohydrate diet with little variety. Today, the diets of cats and dogs are a far cry from the primarily protein diets with a lot of variety that their ancestors ate.
Health Problems Caused by Inadequate Nutrition The problems associated with a commercial diet are seen every day at veterinary establishments. Chronic digestive problems, such as chronic vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease are among the most frequent illnesses treated.
These are often the result of an allergy or intolerance to pet food ingredients. The market for “limited antigen” or “novel protein” diets is now a multi-million dollar business. These diets were formulated to address the increasing intolerance to commercial foods that animals have developed. The newest twist is the truly “hypoallergenic” food that has had all its proteins artificially chopped into pieces smaller than can be recognized and reacted to by the immune system.
Dry commercial pet food is often contaminated with bacteria, which may or may not cause problems. Improper food storage and some feeding practices may result in the multiplication of this bacteria. For example, adding water or milk to moisten pet food and then leaving it at room temperature causes bacteria to multiply. Yet this practice is suggested on the back of packages of some kitten and puppy foods.
Pet food formulas and the practice of feeding that manufacturers recommend have increased other digestive problems. Feeding only one meal per day can cause the irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid. Feeding two smaller meals is better.
Feeding recommendations or instructions on the packaging are sometimes inflated so that the consumer will end up purchasing more food. However, Procter & Gamble allegedly took the opposite tack with its Iams and Eukanuba lines, reducing the feeding amounts in order to claim that its foods were less expensive to feed. Independent studies commissioned by a competing manufacturer suggested that these reduced levels were inadequate to maintain health. Procter & Gamble has since sued and been countersued by that competing manufacturer, and a consumer complaint has also been filed seeking class-action status for harm caused to dogs by the revised feeding instructions.
Urinary tract disease is directly related to diet in both cats and dogs. Plugs, crystals, and stones in cat bladders are often triggered or aggravated by commercial pet food formulas. One type of stone found in cats is less common now, but another more dangerous type has become more common. Manipulation of manufactured cat food formulas to affect acidity in urine and the amount of some minerals has directly affected these diseases. Dogs also form stones as a result of their diet.
History has shown that commercial pet food products can cause disease. An often-fatal heart disease in cats and some dogs was shown to be caused by a deficiency of an amino acid called taurine. Blindness is another symptom of taurine deficiency. This deficiency occurred because of inadequate amounts of taurine in cat food formulas. Cat foods are now supplemented with taurine. New research suggests that supplementing taurine may also be helpful for dogs, but as yet few manufacturers are adding extra taurine to dog food. Inadequate potassium in certain feline diets also caused kidney failure in young cats; potassium is now added in greater amounts to all cat foods.
Rapid growth in large breed puppies has been shown to contribute to bone and joint disease. Excess calories in manufactured puppy food formulas promote rapid growth. There are now special puppy foods for large breed dogs. But this recent change will not help the countless dogs who lived and died with hip and elbow disease.
There is also evidence that hyperthyroidism in cats may be related to excess iodine in commercial pet food diets.9 This is a new disease that first surfaced in the 1970s, when canned food products appeared on the market. The exact cause and effect are not yet known. This is a serious and sometimes terminal disease, and treatment is expensive.
Many nutritional problems appeared with the popularity of cereal-based commercial pet foods. Some have occurred because the diet was incomplete. Although several ingredients are now supplemented, we do not know what ingredients future researchers may discover that should have been supplemented in pet foods all along. Other problems may result from reactions to additives. Others are a result of contamination with bacteria, mold, drugs, or other toxins. In some diseases the role of commercial pet food is understood; in others, it is not. The bottom line is that diets composed primarily of low quality cereals and rendered meat meals are not as nutritious or safe as you should expect for your cat or dog.
What Consumers Can Do
Write or call pet food companies and the Pet Food Institute and express your concerns about commercial pet foods. Demand that they improve the quality of ingredients in their products.
Call API with any information about the pet food industry, specific manufacturers, or specific products.
Print out a copy of this report for your veterinarian to further his or her knowledge about commercial pet food.
Direct your family and friends with companion animals to this website, to alert them of the dangers of commercial pet food. Or request copies of our Fact Sheet on Selecting a Good Commercial Food.
Stop buying commercial pet food. Or if that is not possible, reduce the quantity of commercial pet food and supplement with fresh foods. Purchase one of the books available on pet nutrition and make your own food. Be sure that a veterinarian or a nutritionist writes the recipes to ensure that they are balanced and complete.
Check our sample diets you can make yourself.
Please be aware that API is not a veterinary hospital, clinic, or service. API does not and will not offer any medical advice. If you have concerns about your companion animal’s health or nutritional requirements, please consult your veterinarian.
For Further Reading about Animal Nutrition The Animal Protection Institute recommends the following books, many of which include recipes for home-prepared diets:
Rudy Edalati. Barker’s Grub: Easy, Wholesome Home Cooking for Your Dog. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80442-1. Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M., and Susan Hubble Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Rodale Press, Inc. ISBN 0-87596-243-2. Kate Solisti-Mattelon and Patrice Mattelon. The Holistic Animal Handbook: A Guidebook to Nutrition, Health, and Communication. Beyond Words Publishing Co. ISBN 1-5827-0023-0. Donald R. Strombeck. Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: The Healthful Alternative. Iowa State University Press. ISBN 0-8138-2149-5. Celeste Yarnall. Natural Cat Care. Journey Editions. ISBN 1-8852-0363-2. Celeste Yarnall. Natural Dog Care. Journey Editions. ISBN 0-7858-1123-0.
The books listed above are a fraction of all the titles currently available, and the omission of a title does not necessarily mean it is not useful for further reading about animal nutrition.
Please note: The Animal Protection Institute is not a bookseller, and cannot sell or send these books to you. Please contact your local book retailer or an online bookstore, who can supply these books based on the ISBN provided for each title.
What API is Doing API is a liaison to the AAFCO Pet Food and Ingredient Definitions Committees. By attending AAFCO meetings, we hope to learn more about the industry itself and about potential avenues for bringing about change.
An API representative attends other petfood industry meetings to give voice to our and the consumers’ concerns about pet food.
API is involved in lobbying for the federal regulation of pet food and the development of more stringent standards for the quality of ingredients used.
API will continue to provide information to the public about the pet food industry and the products it promotes.
API is preparing a detailed scientific paper documenting the numerous problems associated with commercial pet food, for presentation to veterinarians.
Who to Write AAFCO Pet Food Committee Dr. Rodney Noel — Chair Office of Indiana State Chemist Purdue University 1154 Biochemistry Building West Lafayette, IN 47907-1154 www.aafco.org
FDA – Center for Veterinary Medicine Sharon Benz 7500 Standish Place Rockville, MD 20855 301-594-1728 www.cvm.fda.gov/
Pet Food Institute 2025 M Street, NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 202-367-1120 Fax 202-367-2120
References Association of American Feed Control Officials Incorporated. Official Publication 2001. Atlanta: AAFCO, 2001. Barfield, Carol. FDA Petition, Docket Number 93P0081/CP1, accepted February 25, 1993. Becker, Ross. “Is your dog’s food safe?” Good Dog!, November/December 1995, 7. Cargill, James, MA, MBA, MS, and Susan Thorpe-Vargas, MS. “Feed that dog! Part VI.” DOGworld, December 1993, 36. Case, Linda P., M.S., Daniel P. Carey, D.V.M., and Diane A. Hirakawa, Ph.D. Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals. St. Louis: Mosby, 1995. Coffman, Howard D. The Dry Dog Food Reference. Nashua: PigDog Press, 1995. Corbin, Jim. “Pet Foods and Feeding.” Feedstuffs, July 17, 1996, 80-85. Knight-Ridder News Syndicate. “Nature’s Recipe Recalls Dog Food That Contains Vomitoxin.” August 28, 1995. Morris, James G., and Quinton R. Rogers. “Assessment of the Nutritional Adequacy of Pet Foods Through the Life Cycle.” Journal of Nutrition, 124 (1994): 2520S-2533S. Newman, Lisa. What’s in your pet’s food? Tucson & Phoenix: Holistic Animal Care, 1994. New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. 1994 Commercial Feed Analysis Annual Report. Albany: Division of Food Inspection Services, 1995. Parker, J. Michael. “Tainted dog food blamed on corn.” San Antonio Express News, April 1, 1999. “Petfood activist.” Petfood Industry, September/October 1991, 4. Pet Food Institute. Fact Sheet 1994. Washington: Pet Food Institute, 1994. Phillips, Tim, DVM. “Rendered Products Guide.” Petfood Industry, January/February 1994, 12-17, 21. Pitcairn, Richard H., D.V.M., Ph.D., and Susan Hubble Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Emmaus: Rodale, 1995. Plechner, Alfred J., DVM, and Martin Zucker. Pet Allergies: Remedies for an Epidemic. Inglewood: Wilshire Book Co., 1986. Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Agriculture. 1994 Report of the Inspection and Analysis of Commercial Feeds, Fertilizers and Liming Materials. Providence: Division of Agriculture, 1995. Roudebush, Philip, DVM. “Pet food additives.” JAVMA, 203 (1993): 1667-1670. Rouse, Raymond H. “Feed Fats.” Petfood Industry, March/April 1987, 7. Sellers, Richard. “Regulating petfood with an open mind.” Petfood Industry, November/December 1990, 41-44. Smith, Carin A. “Research Roundup: Changes and challenges in feline nutrition.” JAVMA 203 (1993), 1395-1400. Strombeck, Donald. R. Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Foods: The Healthful Alternative. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1999. Winters, Ruth, M.S. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives. New York: Crown, 1994. Wysong, R. L. “The ‘complete’ myth.” Petfood Industry, September/October 1990, 24-28. [Wysong, R. L.] Fresh and Whole: Getting Involved in Your Pet’s Diet. Midland: Wysong Corporation, 1990. Wysong, R. L. Rationale for Animal Nutrition. Midland: Inquiry Press, 1993.
Pet Food Institute, 2.
The conversion is: ingredient percentage divided by (100 minus moisture percentage).
What should a dog eat and how do you know if you’re giving your pet the best diet possible? There are so many different types of diets available for dogs today – dry food, canned food, raw meats, cooked meats, turkey, vegetables, and specialty blends.
The diet that you feed your dog will have an effect on its physical health, its weight, and the luster and health of its coat. If the diet you feed your dog lacks in needed vitamins and minerals, your dog can become restless, irritable, and tire easily. Certain foods can also cause dogs to become overly excited or nervous.
To be sure your dog is eating the healthiest diet possible, you need the right combination of vitamins and minerals as well as the right amounts of protein and carbohydrates.
Should a dog eat meat? Humans don’t need to eat meat to stay healthy but dogs do. A nutritious, well-balanced dog food should contain approximately 40% meat (to provide the protein), 50% vegetables, and 10% carbohydrates. If a dog’s diet is lacking in sufficient amounts of protein it can cause weight loss, muscle wasting and slow growth in younger dogs. A diet lacking in vegetables can lead to vitamin deficiencies, and carbohydrates are important to keep a dog’s thyroid functioning properly.
To maintain a healthy balance of the essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids a dog needs for optimum health, select a dog food that contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as Vitamin B1, B6, and B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid and choline.
There are twelve minerals that are critical to a dog’s health. These minerals are calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, Iodine, sodium, potassium, copper, chlorine, iron, manganese and selenium.
In addition, there are ten important amino acids dogs obtain from the food they eat that are necessary for correct body functioning. These amino acids are arginine, histidine, threonine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine, leucine, phenyalanine, valine and isoleucine. A dog needs these essential amino acids to build strong muscles and to control nerve impulses in its body.
A dog that does not receive sufficient vitamins, minerals and amino acids in its diet is susceptible to weakness, joint pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, increased heart rate, and enlargement of the thyroid gland.
There are other side effects of poor nutrition due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause central nervous system depression and a deficiency of vitamin D can cause fatigue or exhaustion. A sodium deficiency can cause restlessness and a magnesium deficiency can cause irritability.
The best type of dog food your dog should eat is a high-quality, all-natural dog food containing adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. A nutritious dog food should not contain by-products or synthetic additives. Buy the best food you can afford for your dog and you may enjoy many more years together.
When a dog is obese it’s more susceptible to developing serious medical conditions because of an elevated glucose level and the extra amount of fat that puts additional pressure on its joints and also on its heart. If you have an overweight or obese dog, you should consider placing it on a slimming diet to prevent possible health problems from occurring.
Obese and overweight dogs are predisposed to getting diabetes because their blood glucose level will continue to increase. The dog’s body will naturally secrete insulin in higher amounts but at some point its body will not be able to cope with the increased amounts of insulin and diabetes will result.
A dog with extra weight is much more likely to develop arthritis at a younger age. Typically a dog will develop arthritis after the age of eight but an obese dog may have joint problems much earlier in life because the extra weight adds stress on the joints which in turn cause pain and swelling.
Extra weight can add pressure on the dog’s ligaments and tendons causing further soreness. The ligaments in the dog’s knees and feet may become injured, causing incapacitation. Weight loss is essential to reduce stress on the dog’s joints, tendons and ligaments. In severe cases the dog will require surgery.
Arthritis is not a treatable condition, but may be managed with supplements like Winston’s Joint System, a totally-natural whole food supplement developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. There are no side-effects with Winston’s because it’s just good whole food and there are no dosage problems because the body uses only what it needs.
An overweight dog is also susceptible to heart problems and cardiovascular disease. Obesity and excess weight causes the heart to pump more blood to the fat tissues, creating an additional workload on the heart. Over a period of time the heart will become weakened and the walls of the heart chambers may be damaged or the blood vessels may dilate and cause heart problems.
Obese and overweight dogs will usually develop breathing problems also. The lungs may be pressured by fatty tissues surrounding the lungs, preventing the dog from breathing normally. The lungs then become overworked because they are having to provide more oxygen to the fatty tissues.
Obese and overweight dogs can also develop liver disease, because the liver is the first place the body deposits the fat. Excess fat in a dog’s liver causes hepatic lipidosis leading to liver failure.
The health problems of obese and overweight dogs are not limited only to these diseases and ailments. There are many other serious medical conditions that can be avoided if a dog maintains a normal weight through a reduction of calorie intake and daily exercise. A healthy and fit dog will live a longer and happier life.
The best diet for an overweight dog is obviously one that causes it to lose unhealthy fat while retaining muscle.
An overweight dog needs a weight loss program just as much as an overweight human does. Besides being fed too much food, the major reason a dog becomes overweight is that it doesn’t get enough exercise for its age and breed. For example, 10 minutes of walking every day isn’t even close to the amount of exercise needed by an active working dog like a Border Collie whose tradition is herding sheep or cattle. In contrast, a smaller dog like a Yorkie or toy poodle requires a lot less exercise.
If your dog is really out of shape it will need to increase its energy level by running or playing games that provide aerobic exercise. Start slowly with any new exercise plan to give your dog time to build its muscles and get used to a more active lifestyle.
An overweight dog is usually the result of feeding it too much food. This is the number one reason why a dog gets fat. To start a program of weight loss for your dog, begin by cutting back at least 25% on the amount of food you feed it each day. Keep track of not only how much food your dog is consuming daily, but also how fast the food is disappearing from its bowl. You do need to be aware that cutting back on the amount of food means you’re also cutting back on nutrients. Supplementing the dog’s diet with a good quality vitamin will ensure that your dog is still getting the nutrients it needs.
The best diet plan for an overweight dog is to feed it fewer treats and table scraps. Too much of either of these can contribute to a dog’s weight gain, so stop giving your dog table scraps or extra treats. Reward it instead with healthy foods like green beans, a banana, carrots or specialty dog biscuits from a store that features wholesome snacks.
Substitute giving your overweight dog treats by spending time playing fetch or Frisbee which will engage your pet and offer less motivation to beg for treats. When your dog does play games with you, reward it with love and attention rather than treats. Helping your dog lose weight won’t instantly make your dog slim and fit, but continued adherence to a plan of daily exercise, cutting out extra treats, and feeding it a high-quality dog food in moderate amounts will help your dog live a healthier, longer life.
Many people believe that a raw dog food diet is unhealthy for their pet. What you choose to feed your pet is entirely up to you, so we’ll just list of few of the many benefits of a raw dog food diet and you can make up your own mind.
When dogs are fed a diet of raw foods, they usually build up a stronger immune system which allows them to recover more quickly from ailments and illnesses. Owners who have had their dogs on raw food diets for a while notice that their pets now have more energy when playing or exercising and their overall health and appearance improved in a very short time.
Changing to a raw dog food diet also means there is less risk of the dog being exposed to unhealthy ingredients in most manufactured dog foods. Raw food diets don’t contain artificial colorings, flavorings, meat “by-products”, or chemical preservatives.
A raw food diet is often considered healthier and safer than commercial dog foods which often lack the necessary vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to be healthy.
Most veterinarians we have spoken with agree that a raw food diet is good for a dog but they advise against completely changing your dog’s diet in one fell swoop. You should start by gradually introducing raw foods to your dog. In the beginning start by feeding your dog a smaller amount of commercially manufactured dog food, adding a little raw food mixed with it. Continue adding more raw food and less manufactured food every couple of days until the dog’s food is entirely comprised of the raw foods. This allows your dog to get used to the new diet without upsetting its system.
Don’t be frightened if you notice some changes in your dog’s appearance after switching to a raw dog food diet. This is normal and as your dog becomes adjusted to its new diet, it will begin to look and act healthier. In the beginning weeks you may see more shedding of hair, more wax buildup in the ears, possibly a slight skin rash, and often the dog will have loose, soft stools.
If these changes become extreme and continue for some time, you should consult your vet in case your dog has an allergy to something in its new food diet.
The key to changing to any raw dog food diet is balance. Your dog’s diet should include a tasty and healthy combination of meat along with fruits and vegetables. It isn’t wise to feed your dog only one type of food like raw beef.
We also recommend that you consult your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s diet. If you’re not knowledgeable about what constitutes a healthy raw dog food diet, call your vet or ask friends who have changed their pet’s diets to all raw, natural foods.
It is an axiom (a generally accepted idea or proposition assumed to be true) that using healthy dog food ingredients will result in healthy dog foods. It is also true that feeding dogs healthy food enhances their quality of life by reducing illnesses, improving the coat and teeth, and providing healthy energy for their bodies.
But no matter how healthy the ingredients are in a specific dog food, if a dog’s health doesn’t improve with a particular type of food, then it is not the right diet for that dog. Many dogs are allergic to certain types of protein or other ingredients used in the manufacture of dog food, and if your dog seems to have more health issues after changing to what you believe to be a healthier dog food, you’ll need to experiment with a few other dog food brands or recipes.
Luckily, most quality dog foods also come in smaller packages, negating the need to buy large bags and waste money if your dog can’t or won’t eat the new food.
Some signs that your dog needs to change its diet are excessive flatulence, frequent ear infections, licking the top of its paws too much, and frequent vomiting or diarrhea. If this is happening to your dog, try changing the type of protein used in its food and see if the symptoms disappear or at least improve.
A dog’s stomach will often attack unfamiliar ingredients, so a new food may not be accepted right away and often can cause diarrhea. Don’t buy a new brand or type of dog food at the first sign of these problems. Continue feeding your dog the same food for a least a week or two before deciding to try something new.
Dogs can also develop allergies to foods they eat too often, so it’s a good idea to feed your pet several foods that contain different protein sources to help it maintain a balanced diet.
Dogs are omnivores, and like humans their bodies were designed to obtain nutrients from both meat and vegetables. The reality is that pet dogs receive most of their nutrients from protein sources, so when choosing a dog food, the quality of the protein is the most important ingredient. As a general rule. three of the first five ingredients listed on the label should be protein sources.
Don’t choose dog foods containing “meat byproducts” or any with labels listing “animal protein” as a principal ingredient. These two ingredients usually don’t include muscle meat from which dogs receive most of their protein. Look for dog foods with labels listing specific ingredients like chicken and turkey. If your dog has food allergies you can choose a food containing proteins like duck, venison or rabbit.
Dogs are not able to efficiently digest corn, wheat, white rice or soy. Instead choose dog foods with whole vegetable ingredients like carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes. There are some dog foods that also include fruits like apples, and grains like oats and barley. Grain-free foods are also available that substitute potatoes in place of the grains.
Other healthy dog food ingredients include pumpkin (which helps soothe a dog’s upset stomach), cottage cheese which provides healthy bacteria, and eggs which are a healthy protein source.
There is no one dog food that’s right for every single dog, but some foods are definitely higher in quality than others. Compare labels on the dog food you now feed your pet with other brands available wherever you shop for dog food.
Depending on where you live and where you shop, you may need to visit your local pet store to find a healthy dog food.
Should I feed my dog wet or dry food is a common question that customers often ask us. But there is no one right answer because both wet and dry dog food have their own unique qualities that are beneficial to dogs. A dry dog food does help remove plaque and tartar from a dog’s teeth. It is also less expensive than canned food. Canned dog food however, contains less fillers and preservatives than dry dog foods.
Most canned dog foods also contain a higher grade of nutrients and are higher in protein than dry food. Wet foods taste great to dogs, which means they will eat every speck of food you put in their feeding dish.
The main benefit to feeding your dog a dry food diet is that it is beneficial for its dental health. Eating dry food kibble helps strengthen a dog’s jaw muscles in addition to removing some, but not all, of the plaque and tartar from a pet’s teeth. Wet food does not provide the abrasive action that helps clean the teeth.
But what if you have a new puppy? Should you be feeding it wet food or dry food? One of the most important responsibilities of raising a puppy is to provide the best quality dog food that will supply all the nutrients needed for the puppy’s growth and maintenance. Growing puppies need more protein than adult dogs to support their growing muscles and organs.
A visit to a supermarket or pet store to buy dog food can become a troubling ordeal if you’re not sure which brand to buy. There is such a wide array of commercial dog foods available, most of which are supported with heavy advertising to convince a dog owner that one particular brand is far better than any of the other competing brands. Then when you finally decide on the brand, you’re confronted with the choice of dry or canned.
So, we’re back to the question, “Which is better, dry dog food or canned?”
It really depends on your dog, your preferences, and probably your budget. Dry dog food costs less per serving than canned foods and its nutrients are more concentrated, meaning you’ll be feeding your dog a smaller quantity of food to satisfy its hunger and provide all the protein, vitamins and minerals it needs.
Although price may be one of your main considerations, the nutritional content and the ingredients are equally important factors. The top rated dog foods use grain-free formulas that contain only high-quality ingredients with no added artificial ingredients. Carefully read the labels of all the dog foods you’re considering. Fillers, by-products and common allergenic ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy are never present in a high quality dog food. Dogs have a difficult time digesting corn, and “meat-by products” are always inferior sources of protein. The bottom line is you need to choose the best food for your dog, not by price or the most advertised brand, but by what your dog needs to stay healthy and happy.
It’s not easy to give you a definitive answer on whether to feed your dog dry food or wet food, primarily because so many of the studies published on dog food are sponsored in part by manufacturers of either wet food or dry food. Unfortunately, veterinarians and animal experts have also come to a general agreement that there is no agreement.
As for me, I believe that the best thing I can do for my faithful companion is to consider his diet just as important as mine and strive to keep both of us healthy.
When you shop for dog food do you often wonder whether you are feeding your dog the right food or not?
It’s important that you get reliable advice about feeding your dog a healthy diet. If you’re like me, heading for the pet store to buy something healthy and nutritious for your pet dog can be a daunting experience. There are so many brands and types of dog food on the shelves and I don’t have hours to spend reading the long list of ingredients on every single bag.
When my dog was younger I faithfully followed the vet’s advice and paid higher-than-normal prices for my dog’s food purchased from the vet. As the years progressed and my dog’s taste buds seemed to change to encompass anything he could find to eat, I started shopping for his food at both the pet store and the grocery store. If I thought the pet store was a palace of confusion when shopping for his food, I wasn’t ready for the massive selection of dog food and treats vying for my attention from the grocery shelves. Perhaps “leering at me” is a better way to describe the cornucopia of selections at any supermarket I visited. And if you’ve ever shopped at a “super center” grocery, you have a good idea of how choosing what’s right for your dog becomes a massive chore.
When you’re shopping for food for your pet dog, take the time to discover what is REALLY in the can or bag of food you’re buying. Learn how to read the labels to protect your dog from ingredients that are of no value to your pet and may be injurious to its long-term health. Many ingredients in pet food have no nutritional value and are only added to create volume or add flavor when there is none from natural ingredients. Try to avoid products that have wheat or corn as their first ingredient. Meat or meat-by-products should be the first ingredient listed if you care about providing healthy, nutritional food for your pet.
Your loving pet deserves the same consideration you give yourself when deciding whether to buy or not buy a particular food item at the store. Feed your dog the right food by giving it only healthy products that will help it grow correctly. Feed your dog the healthiest food you can afford, and you’ll be rewarded by having your pet around a lot longer to keep you company.
Many people are using alternative health treatments for their dogs after discovering that some alternative treatments have helped them. It may come as a surprise that almost every alternative therapy used to treat humans is also being used to treat dogs.
A dog owner can now experiment with alternative therapies in order to find gentler treatments for unhealthy ailments in their pets. Acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, and massage are all being used to ease pain from incapacitating diseases that strike a beloved pet.
Many different therapies fall under the label of alternative medicine which can also be called holistic medicine. Many of these therapies have a common belief that all aspects of a dog’s life need to be considered, not just the symptoms.
Some of the most popular alternative health treatments for dogs are:
* Homeopathy which is a natural form of treatment that acts as the body’s impetus to produce its own healing response using very diluted substances that cause the same symptoms the dog is suffering from. A dog suffering from continual diarrhea would be given small amounts of a substance that causes diarrhea.
* Body massage which can lower the level of stress hormones in a dog’s body, while increasing circulation and easing pain.
* Chiropractic care for dogs uses the same technique of hands-on spinal adjustments as humans seek to relieve their own pain.
* Herbal treatments use plant therapies to treat a variety of disorders. One of the most common herbs used is alfalfa to treat arthritis and allergies. Winston’s Joint System is a perfect solution to treat dogs suffering from arthritis, hip dysplasia, or OCD.
* Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific areas on your dog’s body to balance the flow of energy, or chi. This is an ancient Chinese practice often used to limit pain and help cure chronic ailments.
* Nutritional supplements are used to make up for nutritional deficits in a dog’s diet by providing needed extra vitamins and minerals.You might want to try Winston’s Joint System. It is proven to be safe and harmless for all breeds of dogs.
Some vets don’t like alternative health treatments for dogs since most of these therapies haven’t been scientifically proven to be effective in treating animals. That doesn’t mean these alternative treatments are not effective; it’s just that they haven’t been tested and proven in studies. There are many veterinarians who believe in an alternative approach to treating animals, so if you are considering any of these treatments for your dog, look for a vet who practices holistic medicine and alternative therapies along with conventional methods of treatment.
If you choose a practitioner other than a licensed vet to administer any of these therapies, make sure they’re licensed or certified by a respectable organization that governs the type of therapy you’re considering. For instance, chiropractic work on your dog should be performed by a practitioner certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Your dog won’t be harmed by simple massage but giving incorrect dosages of potent herbs or supplements could be harmful or deadly to your dog. Because a substance is natural does not mean it is harmless.
So be careful when trying one of these alternative health treatments on your dog.