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Messages - David

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1
Yes indeed, as Dottie says, both of those ideas are in the pipeline - a series of articles for owners of dogs with specific health conditions and a 'targeted condition' filter for the directory. I've been collecting data for the latter for a while now so it won't be long before I'm ready to begin the programming. Watch this space!

2
Hi Meg. That should be fixed now. Many thanks

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Dog foods / Re: Feeding Guidelines Confusion
« on: Jan 12, 2017, 10:49 »
Hi kjnew74 and thanks for posting. You’re quite right that our figures were out of date but I was able to correct them yesterday. If you spot any other inaccuracies at all, do please let me know.

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Always very happy to help

5
Ah, good point. That's probably it

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If David isn't aware of the food's moisture  then the results may be different to  what you expect, somewhat dependant on what is coded as a default value for moisture.

For the review generator the default moisture content for dry biscuit foods is 8% and I'd suggest using the same level when calculating the carb contents of dry foods with unspecified moisture percentages yourself.

Virtually all extruded foods that I'm aware of contain around about 8% moisture and while the moisture content of baked and cold pressed foods can vary a little more, 8% is still a good average.

Pet food manufacturers are only legally obliged to state the moisture content of a food if it exceeds 14%. I have no idea why.

7
About the various coming updates, your collective input is fantastic and when I return fully to work at the end of next week I'll certainly attempt to incorporate many if not all of the suggestions.

To summarise some of the coming changes:
  • The rating algorithm will finally get its overhaul. Everything from top to bottom will be scrutinised but one chief concern is the awarding of points to health supplements like herbs, certain fruits, extracts, seeds, probiotics and so on. It will take quite a lot of work but my aim is to only give points if a percentage can be provided and only then if that percentage is sufficient to provide the desired benefit.

    I agree that the well rated foods could be labelled better, but if they go into the minutest detail then it would male it very easy for a rival to copy it. Also it would be hard for new companies to come up with innovative foods at an affordable price if they have to test and provide data on all ingredients (such as CFU of probiotics).

    You're absolutely right that many companies regard their recipes as trade secrets and would be very reluctant to divulge the information but I could always refrain from publishing the data on the site provided they give me enough information to make a full appraisal of their food.

  • I am still unsure of whether the cooking method of a food will factor into the algorithm. I have asked a whole host of companies whether they have any hard data to support their claims that raw is better than cooked or cold pressed is better than extruded etc but as yet nothing has come back. I'll keep you all posted.

  • Confirmation of the vitamin/mineral mix is also a great idea as it would help to reveal which foods do and do not contain controversial supplements like sodium selenate, copper sulphate and so on. Right now manufacturers don't even have to mention that their food contains a multivitamin/mineral supplement, let alone what vitamins or minerals it might be comprised of.

  • Coaster, you're spot on that more full written reviews are necessary to back up the scores awarded and I will be making that a priority.

  • The 'clear labelling' logo will soon be much harder to achieve. Any dodgy labelling at all will disqualify a food.

  • With all of the changes, the rating will depend on a lot more factors than just the ingredients list so, if the review generator is to remain, it will have to be either be as a very simple tool or as a more advanced feature that will require much more user input. Maybe both versions could be incorporated but the question of manufacturer abuse will still remain. We shall see.

Thanks again for all of the great ideas and discussion. Do keep it coming!

8
Some really excellent points being raised. It's very heart warming to see how invested you all are in the future of the site.

First off, in answer to Meg's question

So is there a legitimate reason why manufacturers do not include the percentage of carbs ?

Basically, companies are not obliged to state carb content so most don't. It probably stems from the fact that carbs have a bit of a bad image these days and manufacturers don't want to put anything on the label that might cause customer concern. I'm sure, if they could choose, most also wouldn't include the fat percentage for similar reasons. Carb levels are, however, very easy to calculate but to save our visitors time, I have added a carb dial to each product's page.

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Introductions / Re: Hi to all
« on: Jan 02, 2017, 12:33 »
Great to have you on board Meg! Your feedback over the years has really helped to push the site forward so do please keep it coming. Really looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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Some good suggestions as always Meg. I'll give it some more thought

11
Sorry about taking so long to come back on this.

First off, I'd like to offer a very warm welcome to you, Meg! We do indeed go way back - in fact I've just had a look at our correspondence and your first email arrived in March 2012, just a week after the first incarnation of the site went live! Your feedback really has been instrumental in the development of the site so thank you!

Thanks also for letting me know about that database error. I have fixed it now so the rank by user rating function should be working.

Personally I have no problem with you or anyone else posting problems here or emailing them directly to me, as long as they reach me. I know the site is not perfect and without feedback it will never improve.

I've also added those brands you mentioned to the to do list but in the meantime, don't forget that you can always use our review generator to shed a bit of light on foods that we haven't yet featured.

Thanks again and do please keep the feedback coming!

It's great to have you on the forum!

12
Dog foods / Re: The big question: What do you feed?
« on: Jan 02, 2017, 10:22 »
Can you please add "Natural  dog food company" to the list of foods as this is one of my core foods.Thanks

Sorry about the hold up Meg. Natural Dog Food Company is now an option on the poll. Thanks for your patience.

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Feeding dogs with health problems / Re: Diabetic dog
« on: Nov 24, 2016, 12:00 »
Unfortunately only a few nutritional studies have been done on diabetic dogs and the findings have generally been inconclusive. While the general consensus a few years ago was to feed a high fibre diet, it's no longer clear whether that is the best approach or not. Indeed, responses seem to vary from dog to dog so recommending a suitable food is very tricky indeed.

In general these days, nutritionists and vets tend to simply recommend feeding a healthy diet that the dog likes eating. If your dogs have been otherwise well on whatever they are eating now, then there is probably no need to change.

Consistency is key as any sudden dietary changes might lead to blood sugar level spikes or crashes. Try to keep the feeding amounts and times the same each day. 2 meals per day, 12 hours apart is usually best but some dogs will also need a smaller snack or treat between meals to prevent the blood sugar from falling too low.

Managing canine diabetes is an extremely complicated process and should be done in close consultation with your vet.

You can find much more information here: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_5/features/Canine-Diabetes-Diagnosis-and-Treatment_20521-1.html

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Feeding dogs with health problems / Re: Diabetic dog
« on: Nov 23, 2016, 13:10 »
Hi there. Can you tell me why you specify a low salt diet? Are there other health issues?

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General discussion / Re: Dog Nutritional Requirements
« on: Oct 25, 2016, 10:57 »
Many thanks Dottie but I have a few minutes now.

Hi Dan and welcome on board. There are indeed some figures available from the National Research Council in the US - see the link below for a brief summary and links to the relevant papers. These figures form the basis for the majority of AAFCO's and FEDIAF's recommended nutritional levels for pet foods.

http://rdafordogs.blogspot.fi

FEDIAF's current guidelines are available to download here: http://www.fediaf.org/self-regulation/nutrition/

There is some controversy surrounding all of these figures, however. For example, the fact that some of the largest pet food manufacturers have an active role within the NRC, AAFCO and FEDIAF and the fact that the figures are based on feeding the fairly low quality, carb heavy foods that these companies tend to produce. No allowance is made for nutrient quality, cooking method etc so there is a lot of speculation over whether the figures would necessarily apply to the likes of raw foods or the new wave of high end, meat rich foods.

Other than that, I'm afraid there just haven't been any other large scale studies so we all have a lot of unanswered questions at the moment.

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