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Messages - Chris

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General dog chat / Re: A matter of Ethics
« on: Aug 16, 2016, 17:48 »
I don't want animals to suffer for the sake of mine so I would like to buy food from companies who attach importance to animal welfare.  If David could incorporate this, even as an optional extra in the the new rating system then I think it would at least draw pet owners' attention to the matter.

This would be immeasurably desirable for me as a consumer.

    • We truly adore our dogs here but simply cannot afford to spend as near as dammit £180 for 10kg of dog food ......(even when considering lower daily feed amounts). As already touched on, insurance & other costs add up. For me (Labrador in house) , the maths sadly doesn't stack up unless I turn off the heating & walk to work.
    • Chris........You highlighted alleged disadvantages, (not disputed by me) , of most other food types but did not highlight any disadvantages of Freeze dried or Cold pressed food types........Any reason why you chose air dried over & above these two food types ?  (cold pressed disussed in another thread so probably best we dont go widely off topic) .

    Hi Coaster,

    I'll try to address both points from your post.

    I totally get why spending £180 is entirely unfeasible. It is undoable unless you start to prioritise your dogs over yourself which is counter intuitive, i.e. you need to be able to keep warm in the house, you need to drive to work, etc. When you add in daily life, insurance, vets, etc, it because prohibitively expensive. The reason it works for me is, as previously mentioned, our dog will eat a much smaller amount per month. Anywhere between 1.75kg - 2.5kg normally. This is much more affordable as I'm sure you'll understand. It's simply luck of the draw that we have a small dog (we were considering a Labrador and I'd be in the same boat as you!)

    In honesty, I've never looked into the disadvantages of the other two methods, freeze dried or cold pressed in quite the same detail or depth as the others discussed earlier. However, I have read into them enough to sway me towards Air dried.

    Disadvantages of Freeze Dried:
    • Extremely expensive when considering you want an extremely high quality, trust worthy manufacturer. You're talking Orijen Freeze Dried really. I can't see much else that comes close and it's too expensive for me, personally. Just checked their website for retailers and I've found Amazon selling 454g! for £25. That's prohibitively expensive. I checked into this a little more and apparently, the cost associated with the manufacturing the product is the time taken to ensure a 'good' freeze drying process, i.e. it takes a long time, therefore smaller batches. I don't believe the product has gained enough traction yet to convince them to invest in more/larger machinery to ramp up production and bring the price per bag down.
    • I've not looked into how freeze drying effects the product at a cellular level, whether the nutrients remain intact, as they were upon freezing or not. So in honesty, there's a level of ignorance on my part there.
    • That's about all I've looked into freeze drying. The cost was the main thing that put me off. If the price were to come down I'd probably read more into it. If the scientific literature supported it then maybe I'd consider it. Otherwise - my lack of knowledge and the high cost puts me off.

    Disadvantages of Cold-Pressed:
    • New/unknown/unproven manufacturers. I've heard of Gentle & Guru, but that's about it. I specifically looked into Guru to help shape my opinion on Cold Pressed dog food, so that is what will shape my response below. Guru seem to be fairly new and when I checked their website for literature it seemed sparse and their videos were not overly instructional, rather they seem to appeal to a Lily's Kitchen 'cartoony' vibe. I get this, it's marketing and it works. This isn't a negative, but it didn't help me personally. Having said that, I'm not the average customer looking at their website, so it's not really a negative with regards to the product, it's a negative for me personally scrutinising their food.
    • They are still heating the food, albeit to a lower temperature at 44 degrees C for a few seconds. In addition to this, they have to pre-cook the rice in the food. I personally would rather there be no rice in the product but more meat or other beneficial ingredients. That's a personal preference. I'd rather have more high quality meat than rice in my dogs meal.
    • I don't know where the ingredients are sourced from, whether they are hormone fed, intensive farmed, ethically sourced, etc. I'm sure they aren't, but it isn't clear. See my earlier post, points 7 and 8 for ZiwiPeaks commitment to ethical, sustainable sources for high quality food. They are also produced in a factory in Europe (there's nothing wrong with this) but they do not have direct control over a factory that belongs to someone else. Yes this point is microscopically small and boarders on the ridiculous which serves to prove the minute differences in these products.

    Why I chose Air Dried over the above:
    • Trust in the company and that the company owns their own factory when compared with Gentle/Guru
    • Scientific, evidence backed reasoning for air-drying process for dog food that I've read into and feel confident with my understanding of
    • Affordable when compared with freeze dried
    • My dog, who was previously a fussy eater, almost inhales the stuff - this is unheard of!
    • Ethical company with outstanding real meat sourced locally with assurances as to the extremely high quality nature of the product

    In Summary:
    • The difference between the food products I've discussed above are like finding criticism with the 100m sprint final at the Olympics where the difference is 0.001 of a second between the athletes. They are all amazing foods to even be discussed in this post. There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about any of these products at all. It's a million miles away from our friends at Bakers dog food.
    • This is clear to see when you compare the score of the products on the main website, they are all within the 4.7 - 5.0 score mark. To be honest, I don't really know why one product is awarded 0.1 more than another, I'm sure the person who runs the site has an algorithm that makes that decision based upon ingredients.
    • But when a product has a score over over 4.5/4.6 I think the decision making process moves into the realms of how the food is made, the quality of the manufacturer and the trust with the company producing the food as all suppliers of this food are invariably using high-quality ingredients at this level.
    • This then means a deeper scrutiny of the dog food makers website, scientific literature, process of creating the food, methods and reasons as to why they chose that method of creating the food, a deeper look at the ingredients used - the story of how the ingredients within the bag lived, where, how, what treatment they received, etc. It's a truly time consuming process that can be very frustrating when information isn't forthcoming. But, equally, it's extremely enjoyable when you feel a sense of accomplishment for gaining a real feel for the product and company.
    • In honesty, it's probably overkill at this point, but I'm just genuinely intrigued plus I have a vested interest in keeping my dog as healthy as I can. As I said before, I'm by no means a generic or average customer, just an extremely curious and skeptical amateur.

    If I had to purchase a dog food for a larger dog than my own say a Beagle or Labrador, I'd more than likely choose the following, depending upon diet preferences and affordability:
    • RAW: Nutriment
    • Extruded Kibble: Orijen
    • Cold-Pressed: Guru/Gentle
    • Air-Dried: ZiwiPeak
    • I wouldn't attempt a homemade diet, or wet cans for a larger dog. I simply don't have the time needed to make a homemade diet. Wet cans are also very expensive and roughly 70% water/moisture. They're great for enticing fussy eaters however. Worked a charm with my dog when she was a reluctant eater.

    Having said that, the above products are still quite costly when considering medium to larger dogs.

    Once again, sorry for the long post, but hopefully it explains my reasoning.[/list]

    Hi Dottie and thanks for the welcome.

    My dog is a small Jack Russell cross Pug - she's 9.5kg in weight and as a result doesn't eat as much as say, a Labrador. That's why money becomes less of an issue, due to her size. I can't imagine the food bill for a Great Dane on Ziwipeak, or a St. Bernard. Or for that matter, several dogs. If I were in that position It'd be very difficult to know what to do.

    Thankfully my situation allows me to be a little more selective due to owning just one, relatively small (yet incredibly large, personality wise) dog.

    I would say that generally speaking, she does seem to eat less on this food. I simply follow the guidelines on the bag. It states my dog should by fed 97g per day, which equates to roughly two scoops (one for breakfast, one for dinner). They provide the 'scooper' in each bag. One bag (2.5kg) lasts her, on average, one month.

    This is great because it ties in with the Amazon Subscribe & Save (15% off!) that gets delivered to the house, reducing the cost of the food bill by about roughly £2.50. Not much, but still a saving!

    Dog foods / Re: The big question: What do you feed?
    « on: Feb 19, 2016, 00:57 »
    I feed my dog ZiwiPeak  ;)

    Hi there, hopefully I can be of some assistance in this area! I'm sorry for the massive response, didn't expect it to grow so large. I've added a summary at the bottom if you don't want to read all of this. Anyway, here we go...

    Quick background time (please feel free to skip this if you're uninterested in my 'past'. I've had my first (and only dog) for six years now and ever since we bought her I've been immensely interested, almost fanatically so, on ensuring her diet is perfect. No ifs, no buts, no maybes - just perfect. Price is never an obstacle for me, unless of course we're talking £1000's.

    I've done an awful lot of research into dog food. Personal rather than academic of course, although I've read scientific journals rather than anecdotal evidence. I've tried over the course of my dogs life to feed her the perfect diet. I've tried raw meat, BARF, kibble (ranging from Beta Purina to Orijen) wet tins and homemade. All with varying degrees of success.

    • I love the idea of a Raw/BARF diet, but the practicalities and time constraints (allowing items to thaw, etc) simply means it is unfeasible.
    • Loved the idea of homemade, knowing exactly what goes into her food, but the time it takes to do this is again, unfeasible.
    • I dislike the idea of Kibble as, from what I have read, the extrusion process destroys many of the long proteins/fatty acids and nutrients within the food, depending upon the temperatures used and makes the food less nutritious (hence the rise of 'cold-pressed' kibble to combat this).
    • I've tried her on wet foods, but these again pose difficulties in storage and palatability. Honestly, of all the wet foods we've tried, Lily's Kitchen seems to agree with her the most.

    As with all of these approaches, they have their pros and cons. I loved feeding her a raw meat and bones diet, but practically, it couldn't be done due to cleanliness issues and time. I loved feeding her Orijen, but no matter the variety, it didn't agree with her, although I disliked the extrusion method used to create the kibble. I liked feeding her a homemade diet, but it was too time consuming... Do you see where I'm going? There are pros and cons with every method of food, in my position that is.

    My dog is an outstandingly fussy eater and will turn her nose up at most things, but the twang you get when you open a bag of ZiwiPeak (and I've got to say, I love the smell, my fiancee does not however), definitely gets her trotting into the kitchen.


    My Verdict
    All of this research, testing and real-life exploring and discussions with different pet food manufacturers led me to ZiwiPeak's Air Dried range. I cannot fault them, they meet every aspect that I would want for my dogs food.

    Yes, I'll get it out of the way, it's costly, or more so than other dog foods. I want my dog to live for as long as possible, as healthily as possible. For me, as I said before, cost is no issue. If this food is the best, then fair dues. I'll pay the price.

    ZiwiPeak, and I'll take this from their website, so it's their word, not mine:

    Your dog is descended from the wolf, one of the earliest animals to be domesticated – around 10,000BC. Its intestine and digestive system has remained largely unchanged. Dogs are carnivores, plain and simple. As a result, the best diet you can provide is one in harmony with evolution – one that a dog’s digestive system can easily convert into usable nutrients and energy. It’s a diet that’s high in protein and fat from meat – the diet nature intended for long-term health, well-being and longevity.

    ZiwiPeak mirrors this wild-prey, natural diet. It gives you peace of mind that you’re providing the complete and balanced nutritional support your dog needs, from a source you can trust.

    Air-dried food

    Our unique, gentle air-drying process respects the nutritional value of 90% meat, organs, fish and green-lipped mussels. It minimises damage to the proteins, vitamins and sensitive nutrients and enzymes in the all-natural ingredients, so your dog gets nearly all the benefits of a raw-meat diet. The other 10% consists of carbohydrates from natural sources, such as green tripe, chicory, kelp and parsley, plus essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet. The food’s then further protected in a re-sealable airtight package.

    From their FAQ Section:

    03 | No nasties
    No added sugars, salt, glycerines, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, colourings, fillers, grains or potatoes.
    Without human intervention, in cheaper foods, your cat or dog wouldn’t eat any of these things because they can’t easily digest them.
    Our products are also GMO-free, with no ethoxyquin, BHA or BHT and no propylene glycol.
    Dogs and cats find it difficult to metabolise and digest processed foods and the high levels of carbohydrates in most other pet foods. Sadly, these additives and inappropriate ingredients are commonly used. But not by us.

    04 | Exact food balance
    A balanced raw-meat diet is the best you can give your pet. But raw meat brings with it safety and convenience issues.
    Dogs and cats hunting in the wild would eat virtually the whole animal, getting essential benefits from such organs as the liver, lungs, stomach lining (tripe), heart, kidney and even bone.
    ZiwiPeak offers all the benefits of this raw wild-prey diet, with added fish, shellfish and essential vitamins and minerals.
    ZiwiPeak gives your pet the equivalent of a raw wild-prey diet from a source and brand you can always trust, with all the convenience you value.

    07 | A trusted, traceable source
    We only source from New Zealand farms adhering to year-round, free-pasture, grass-feeding.
    Approved farms don’t use antibiotics, growth promotants or hormones.
    We only use 100% natural, real meat and organs, just as nature intended.
    All our air-dried food is produced in our own New Zealand factory.
    When you open a pouch or can of ZiwiPeak, you’re reaching one of the world’s cleanest agricultural and ocean environments. And we can track and trace the ingredients back to known New Zealand pastures and fishing grounds.

    08 | Environmentally responsible
    New Zealand farming and fishing is highly environmentally conscious, subject to resource management regulations and rigorous sustainabity programmes.
    No energy-intensive, indoor winter housing and feeding systems.
    No ZiwiPeak ingredients come from feedlots.
    ZiwiPeak has a lower carbon footprint than North American and European equivalents.
    New Zealand has strict biosecurity laws and livestock remains disease-free, avoiding harmful interventions. All ZiwiPeak ingredients are sourced within monitored systems and from licensed facilities. Our fish and shellfish ingredients are sourced and caught under New Zealand’s government-managed quota systems.

    09 | Personal values
    We’re people serving people, pet lovers like yourself.
    As a family-owned company, we pride ourselves on quality and value.
    We own our own factories. We know that only the best goes into ZiwiPeak from source to dispatch.
    We love cats and dogs just as much as you do. Unconditionally!
    Our striving for excellence is total. It’s a way of life. Our customers – people like you – expect nothing less.

    Many apologise for the wall of text. As I said earlier, I've spent a lot of time reading around the subject and the two quotes above really hone into and refine my reasoning and choice for feeding my dog ZiwiPeak's products. If I had to boil it down to a few reasons why I use ZiwiPeak, it's this:

    • Ethically sourced, outstanding food
    • Company own the factory the food comes from
    • Benefits of RAW diet in a convenient bag
    • No nasties in the food at all
    • Air dried to preserve nutrients
    • Single or duel protein source

    All in all, baring some ridiculous anomaly on the quality/distribution/ethics of the company, I can finally say my search for the best dog food for my dog is at an end with ZiwiPeak. Plus, my dog absolutely loves the stuff.

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