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Pet Nutrition

Just how important is what your dog eats?
By: Stevie Hretz

So you know your dog better than anyone else, right?  You can probably tell us his or her favorite toy, favorite activity, and favorite spot to sleep.  Now how about some basics about your pet’s diet….Can you tell us how much your dog eats, and how often?  What does he or she eat—I don’t mean what is the pretty name on the bag, but what’s really in that bag?  Could you name the main protein source for me?  Can you tell me if your dog has any food allergies or sensitivities, and would you be surprised if I told you that a common presentation for such issues present as skin irritation?

FoodWe realize you may not even read the labels on everything that you eat.  However, since you probably tend to stick to a certain dog food once you find a good match for your pooch or pack, consider making the choice rigorously just once, so that you can feel confident about the nutrition you provide your best friend.

The gimmicks are everywhere.  The brands all try to separate themselves from the competition as being more natural or better to prolong your dog’s life.  However, many of the top brands are made together in the same factory, with many of the same ingredients.  If you don’t do your homework, you could fall for the oldest trick in the book—MARKETING.

Below is a quiz to “grade” your dog’s food—it circulates in dog-blogs but the original source is unknown.  The basics are, knowing where the protein comes from, avoiding by-products, and avoiding poorly digestible “fillers” like corn.  Next, know the common allergies, as this may affect each dog differently.  Common triggers in foods are wheat, corn, soy, glutens, and for some dogs, beef.  The grains listed are double trouble as they are also susceptible to mold and can therefore expose your dog to mycotoxins (mold toxins).  “Grade” your food with this quiz, and think about why it did so well/poor and if you should make changes.  It is important to remember that just because a food has a score over 100, it may not work for every dog.  When you find a high quality food that your dog loves and does well on (stable tummy, etc), you have found your match.  Also keep aware of the news reports on recalls, etc, because even the best brands run into manufacturing or supply issues, and being aware could save Fido from potential health risks.

FoodWhen your pooch comes to Pawtropolis, you can be sure he or she gets the highest quality foods!  If you are boarding, your dog will receive an A-rated kibble, and if you’re shopping, look around at the foods P-trop offers and check the list!  You’ll see some of the top performers on the store shelves!  If you are thinking about changing your dog’s diet and need some input, just ask P-trop owner Amanda Crook—she loves to make sure her customers are healthy and coming to P-trop for years to come!

How to grade your dog's food:

Start with a grade of 100:
1) For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points
2) For every non-specific animal source listed ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat), subtract 10 points
3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points
4) For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points
5) If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. "ground brown rice", "brewer’s rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points
6) If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points
7) If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points
8 ) If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points
9) If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points
10) If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points
11) If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points
12) If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
14) If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to beef), subtract 1 point
15) If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:
1) If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points
2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points
3) If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points
4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points
5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points
6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points
7) If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points
8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points
9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points
10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point
11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point
12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point
13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point
14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A 86-93 = B 78-85 = C 70-77 = D <70 = F

Commonly Used Dog Food Scores:
Alpo Prime Cuts / Score 81 C
Artemis Large/Medium Breed Puppy / Score 114 A+
Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+
Authority Harvest Baked Less Active / Score 93 B
Beowulf Back to Basics / Score 101 A+
Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F
Blackwood 3000 Lamb and Rice / Score 83 C
Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice / Score 106 A+
Burns Chicken and Brown Rice / Score 107 A+
Canidae / Score 112 A+
Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+
Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F
Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B
Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A
Diamond Performance / Score 85 C
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+ -- Fed at Pawtropolis
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice / Score 106 A+
Dick Van Patten's Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+
EaglePack Holistic / Score 102 A+
Eukanuba Adult / Score 81 C
Eukanuba Puppy / Score 79 C
Flint River Senior / Score 101 A+
Foundations / Score 106 A+
Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 B
Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D
Innova Dog / Score 114 A+
Innova Evo / Score 114 A+
Innova Large Breed Puppy / Score 122 A+
Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+
Member's Mark Chicken and Rice / Score 84 C
Merrick Wilderness Blend / Score 127 A+
Nature's Recipe / Score 100 A
Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin Venison and Rice / Score 116 A+
Nature's Variety Raw Instinct / Score 122 A+
Nutra Nuggets Super Premium Lamb Meal and Rice / Score 81 C
Nutrience Junior Medium Breed Puppy / Score 101 A+
Nutrisource Lamb and Rice / Score 87 B
Nutro Max Adult / Score 93 B
Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice / Score 98 A
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B
Nutro Natural Choice Senior / Score 95 A
Nutro Ultra Adult / Score 104 A+
Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F
Premium Edge Chicken, Rice and Vegetables Adult Dry / Score 109 A+
Pro Nature Puppy / Score 80 C
Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach / Score 94 A
Purina Beneful / Score 17 F
Purina Dog / Score 62 F
Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F
Purina One Large Breed Puppy / Score 62 F
Royal Canin Boxer / Score 103 A+
Royal Canin Bulldog / Score 100 A+
Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+
Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F
Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F
Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A
Solid Gold / Score 99 A
Summit / Score 99 A
Timberwolf Organics Wild & Natural Dry / Score 120 A+
Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+
Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A

Keeping them Clean & Healthy:

Keeping your dog clean is about more than just having them smell good, it's for their health. Groom

Dirt and oil that build up on your dog's skin makes a wonderful breeding ground for parasites. Long haired dogs not kept clean are prone to heavy matting that sometimes causes the fur to have to be shaved off.

Simply having smelly fur won't hurt your dog, but sometimes a smell can indicate a health problem. For example, ear yeast and infection has a very distinct smell. Many owners misdiagnose this smell as the dog needing a bath, however, ear problems need to be addressed specifically and until the smell goes away the infection is still there. We recommend dogs getting their ears cleaned at every bath.

Tired of all that shedding with your short haired dog? Regular baths help take the dead fur off where you want the tub. A quartely deshedding makes a big difference too.

The most important thing you can do is keep your dog's nails cut short. In order to maintain the proper length we recommend trimming them at least every 2-3 weeks.

A clean dog is a happy dog!

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