We have a 5 month old rescue pup whose mum (saved from a puppy farm, gave birth while in foster care) is a show Cocker, sire unknown, but showing coat traits of a Cockapoo. He has a Tuxedo marking plus little white dabs on chin, paws and tail that look like he's walked across a fresh-painted floor with his nose and tail dragging! He's called Bertie (as in Bassett for his liqorice-allsort marking, or as in Wooster who often sported a Tux) and he's a proper Cockerdile at the moment with teething. Roll on fully grown adult gnashers! His training is romping on, but he's getting us very well trained, too.
We fell for Bertie after 4 months of desperately missing Charlie, our beautiful Doodle boy who was snatched from us aged 2 1/2 (see below). It broke us, and while we would never be able to (or want to) replace him, we could no longer bear the absence of a wagging tail or face at the window to greet us home. Bertie distracts us enough everyday to be able to get on with life, and of course we do love him, but in a different way that will grow as time passes.
I'm here for dog food selection (obvs!) and like most of you, all I want is to know that I've chosen a healthy food for my dog. Bertie's digestion doesn't appear to get on with 'More' dried food and we would like to change, but we're waivering between raw (fresh, frozen or freeze-dried) and a good kibble such as Canagan, due to poor/biased information as questioned below. Please help us jump one way or the other.
However, from searching both here and elsewhere, some questions have arisen that I'm having great difficulty finding straight answers to, particularly regarding standards, terminology and definitions for UK products. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place or I just haven't found the right one yet...
Moderators, please feel free to relocate this post as required.
1. As far as I understand, dog foods labelled as 'Complete' in the UK are supposed to fully satisfy all nutritional requirements for a dog, but who determined those requirements, and who was the research funded by? The pet food industry's tentacles have a long reach and they seem to be capable of steering findings in an advantageous direction...
2. Ditto 'Biologically Appropriate' for raw foods
3. Has any properly independent research been conducted to validate or dispel either the above, or the counter-claims of the BARF vs dried debate (eg: heating during dry food production can produce carcinogenic substances, or bacterial risk to humans and dogs from raw)?
3. Who sets the standards that UK manufacturers are supposed to adhere to?
4. Who verifies the claimed compliance to those standards, and those statements made on packaging regarding ingredients?
5. How much influence do manufacturers have over the legislative bodies? In the States, it seems that the pet food companies 'regulate' themselves...
6. There doesn't appear to be a standard format for composition/ingredients and why aren't manufacturers made to list them in descending percentage order like human food products are supposed to be? That would make it much easier to compare like for like (or is that an example of successful lobbying from makers of less desirable products?)
7. How do specific breeds measure up to those requirements? Wouldn't some require a skewed variation? How could a Dachsund have the same requirements as a Cane Corso for instance?
8. Additives for things like joint, skin or gut health seem to be easily incorporated into dried food, but seem uncommon in BARF, so what supplements can you recommend if they are lacking in the basic food? I'd like some sort of prevention for those issues if possible.
We lost our little man to poisoning in June, but some of his symptoms (enlarged heart, specifically) were similar enough to canine DCM to introduce a doubt and make us worry that we might have inadvertantly hastened his demise by feeding the wrong food (Canagan grain-free dried, chosen after reference to this site, but before the DCM thing blew up, and we were at the time very happy with Charlie's health on it). Amongst all the DCM hype, disinformation and hysteria, we were initially made wary of foods with legumes or pulses, but after reading David's DCM summary elsewhere on this site, we are open to those foods now.
Most importantly, we want to thank you also for putting our minds at rest from thinking that we may have contributed to his condition.
I look forward to hearing from an expert who will hopefully be along shortly...
I'd like to add a picture of each of my boys here, but the files I have for Bertie are too large and I don't know how to compress them, sorry.