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Topics - Dottie

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General discussion / Nutrition of senior dogs
« on: Nov 27, 2018, 12:29 »
FEDIAF is the European Pet Food Industry organisation. The website has plenty of information about feeding dogs and other pets. One document that I have just come across is FEDIAF Scientific Advisory Board Statement Nutrition of senior dogs.

There seems (to me) to be a move away from life stage foods, generic ones being quite popular especially at the quality end of the market. On page two of the five page document there is useful information about energy requirements of older dogs. However, they do say that currently there is no experimental data dealing with the energy requirements of older dogs. They reference a study in Labrador Retrievers which showed that a 25% restriction in food intake had positive effects on longevity and health.

There is some information about protein/fat etc on page 3. Interestingly, they say that protein levels should correspond to that of the adult dog to avoid loss of lean body mass. The older dog being fed smaller portions needs a higher quantity of good quality protein. From my experience of feeding a smaller quantity of food it is sometimes helpful to divide it into three meals to satisfy the dog’s hunger. Cooked, puréed vegetables might also be a useful adjunct to satisfy appetite.

The document is only five pages long and is not too scientific that it can’t be understood by the average pet owner. I found it interesting and useful.

Honey’s Real Dog Food has recently published Raw Proof,  ‘the results of a 24-month research investigation into a species-appropriate diet for dogs’.

The researchers were looking at two aspects of a raw diet for dogs:
We set out to investigate two things.
First, whether a species-appropriate (aka raw food) diet can be formulated so as to meet the highest possible nutritional guidelines for dogs, as specified by the European Pet Food Industry (FEDIAF).
Second, whether such a diet will prove to be nutritionally adequate when fed to a meaningful sample of dogs over 26 weeks using an extended version of the rigorous trial protocol developed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
If you are looking for research relating to a species-appropriate (aka raw food) diet for dogs, here it is.

Twenty six dogs were selected, three of whom dropped out. All of the dogs were kept in their home environment. For 26 weeks they were fed raw complete food, five varieties in rotation. The name of the products used is not given but the food was additive free.

Blood tests were performed and at the end of the 26 weeks the dogs were found to have no nutritional deficiencies.

The Vet Times report on this study is here: Canine raw food study claims diet is safe and nutritional.

Pet news / You and Yours discusses dog food
« on: Oct 29, 2018, 20:47 »
You and Yours on Radio 4 today discussed bespoke dog food ( and feeding in general. Beverley Cuddy is also interviewed. The piece is at 8.40 minutes.

David has now completed his article on the dietary management of renal disease in dogs. It can be found here.

* Please note that the article is pertaining to chronic renal failure which is commonly found in elderly dogs, not  acute renal failure.

David has written on the AADF Facebook page about a report by BioMed Central Veterinary Research on ‘Undeclared animal species in dry and wet novel and hydrolyzed protein diets for dogs and cats detected by microarray analysis’ - link. For those who do not use Facebook, here is David’s post:

This study is really scary...
They tested 40 foods that are specifically marketed to help dogs with adverse food reaction (AFR) and found that three out of four contained one or more meats not printed on the label!
Three out of four!
Five of the foods had no trace whatsoever of the meats that were on the ingredient list and another two foods each contained at least 7 undeclared animal species!
When diagnosing and treating AFR, the most important thing is to control exactly what is being eaten so that any problematic foods can be quickly identified and eliminated. So, as you might imagine, a random mishmash of meat ingredients is exactly what you wouldn't want from an AFR diet.
To make things worse, the most common undeclared meats were found to be pork and chicken - two of the meats with the highest likelihood of actually causing adverse reactions in dogs.
Sadly the offending brands weren't named.
Have you used any 'veterinary' foods to help with your dog's digestive problems? Did they work? As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

The report is here.

From the website Science-Based Medicine: Raw Meat and Bone Diets for Dogs: It’s Enough to Make You BARF.  It is dated 2010 and from the USA but has content about raw feeding of dogs that is relevant today and which people might find of interest.

There is a paragraph about captive wolves that I found intriguing:
The average life expectancy of wolves in the wild is considerably lower than that of captive wolves, and disease, parasitism, and malnutrition are important factors in the mortality of wild populations.7-9 Captive wolves live longest and are healthiest when fed — guess what? — commercial dog food! This is the recommendation of the leading specialists in captive wolf husbandry and medicine, and it is largely the result of evidence that the previous practice of feeding raw meat based diets to captive wolves led to poorer quality nutrition and health than the current practices. Certainly, raw meat and bones are often used as enrichment items or bait for husbandry purposes, but always with an awareness of the risks they pose, and never as the primary diet.

The article is referenced.

Dog news / Report from FDA (USA) re Dilated Cardiomyopathy
« on: Jul 17, 2018, 11:41 »
An item of news from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (preliminary report):
FDA investigating potential link between diet, canine heart disease.
Dog heart disease linked to grain-free food, FDA says.

They report that they are seeing “.....unusual level of reports of heart condition in dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, pulses or potatoes as main ingredients.” They mention some dogs having low taurine levels. This is an amino acid necessary for heart health - link.

Site help and suggestions / Forum posts lost
« on: Jun 13, 2018, 11:04 »
David has informed me that there has been a problem with the server/host company. This has resulted in threads/posts made within the last two days being lost. He sends his apologies.
If you have started a thread/made a post, please repost if you wish.

Home cooking / You and Yours: Dogs Dinner
« on: Jun 07, 2018, 21:55 »
Interesting piece on Radio 4’s You and Yours programme today about home cooked dog food. Mintel report that one third of dog owners are now home cooking for their pooches.

Deborah Robertson, who has written the book Dogs' Dinners: The healthy, happy way to feed your dog is interviewed. She rightly points out that this is how dogs used to be fed before commercial food came along and many of them lived to a good old age.

Here’s the link to the programme: You and Yours - Dogs Dinners (26.40)  The link will probably eventually be broken so here is a summary of the interview with Deborah:

She points out that we have been feeding our dogs like this for centuries and they seemed to do alright,  many of them lived to a good old age and that they didn’t seem to have skin, digestive problems and intolerances such as we see these days.
Her meals consist of:
60% to 70% meat
20% to 30% fruit and vegetables
10% other healthy things like grain, yoghurt, eggs

Deborah did a lot of research before writing the book. If anyone wishes to feed their dog home cooked food it is essential to do some homework first. 

I was surprised at the Mintel figure of 30% who are cooking for their dogs. I wonder if it consists of two types: some who give wholly home cooked diets and others who give partially home cooked food. 

Raw meat diets have been trendy for a long time. Perhaps home cooking is set to become equally, or more popular. Time will tell.

Raw feeding / Jack Wolf
« on: Mar 19, 2018, 08:38 »
Just been made aware of the raw dog food company Jack Wolf. I haven't looked at the website properly but thought it might be worth sharing the information as it could be useful for raw feeders.

Raw feeding / Raw feeding - a vet’s perspective
« on: Mar 02, 2018, 18:03 »
Are you Considering the Raw Diet? is an article from Some vets promote a raw diet but (arguably), most do not.  The vets responsible for this article are in the latter camp. They give the reasons why and most of these will be familiar to pet owners who are interested in nutrition.

The article also contains useful advice on what to look for when considering commercial dog food. Hopefully it will be useful reference.

David has just added a super new article by Roz Pooley to the website. Why is my dog a fussy eater? is well worth reading and should be a useful resource for pet owners who are struggling with this problem.

Raw feeding / Raw feeding and Pets as Therapy Policy
« on: Feb 10, 2018, 07:23 »
A while ago I discovered that a pets as therapy organisation in the USA had stopped owners who raw fed their dogs from contributing to the programme.  The cause was cited as the risk of cross infection being too great. 

Yesterday there was a letter in the Daily Mail Letters page about raw feeding and therapy dogs which clarifies the situation with Pets as Therapy organisation here in the UK.  The writer complains about being prevented from continuing in this voluntary role due to the fact that he or she raw feeds their dog - link. 
Raw deal
Scottish Daily Mail9 Feb 2018
FOR years, I have been taking my dog to visit a care home so residents can talk to her, make a fuss of her or just ignore her. Most folk love to see her and even those who can’t talk like to stroke her.

However, I have resigned from the scheme that organises these visits, as I have been informed that as my dog is given raw meat in her diet, there could be a risk of crossinfection to people. I appreciate such concerns, but when social isolation has become such a problem, surely with a little thought a solution could have been found.

How sad the residents will be denied an uplifting visit from a gentle dog.

Name and address supplied.

The organisation is not mentioned in the letter but I assumed it was Pets as Therapy (PAT) so checked their website. There is an update (dated February 2018) about raw fed dogs. It appears on their frequently asked questions page under Policies - link.
Pets As Therapy has recently considered the potential risks posed when feeding Raw Meat Based Diets. Raw meat can contain not only parasites, but also the bacteria causing such serious infectious diseases as E-Coli, Salmonella and Listeria which can be extremely dangerous to humans. These bacteria are NOT killed by freezing the meat.

In the light of recent scientific and medical advice from a number of veterinary consultants we are updating our guidelines with the aim of minimising any health risks associated with PAT pet visits to the young, the elderly and the immuno-comprised recipients of our service.

An increasing number of NHS Trusts and education authorities now state in their Infection Prevention and Control Policies that they cannot accept visits from therapy dogs fed on raw meat and in order to ensure that PAT dogs are considered safe to visit schools and hospitals in future, it is our duty of care to comply.

Therefore, PAT pets should NOT be fed raw meat – or unpasteurised milk. This will reduce the potential risk of diseases such as E-coli, Salmonella and Listeria being transmitted to humans from our pets.

Safeguarding our clients is our key responsibility, so your understanding and co-operation in this matter is much appreciated.


If you would like further information on RMBDs, you may find the links below useful:

A short article in the Veterinary Record:

An excerpt from the BBC programme Trust Me, I’m A Vet:

A view from the Food and Drugs Administration in America:

The author of the letter says that ‘.....with a little thought a solution could be found’ but doesn’t go on to say what that solution could be. Elderly and ill people often cannot nip to the bathroom to wash their hands so perhaps the volunteer could carry hand gel and ensure the visited person uses it before they leave.  Some people raw feed because they don’t like the idea of processed food. Perhaps PAT could have advised re alternatives e.g. home cooking for dogs. Also, there are products on the market such as Butternut Box and Freshpet which might be acceptable. Some wet foods are ‘gently steamed’ and contain ingredients that are similar to the company’s raw diets.
I don’t know if PAT offered support and advice but I hope so.

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