Which dog food is best for your Doodle?
I'm going to take Joy under the knife.
No, not literally, but figuratively. I'm going to have a closer look at her internal body.
Why? Because she has been showing various symptoms for months now that make me wonder. Her fur is greasy and smells, she often suffers from her ears that are never inflamed, but apparently sensitive, because she keep flapping her ears during the day. She often has problems with her intestines: has diarrhea or grazes when we are walking. And when we picked her up from my parents recently, after she had spent a few years living there fulltime, I noticed that she peed very often. Too often it looked like to me.
Who is Joy?
This may need some explanation. Joy is our 10 year old Barbet (French Waterdog), a puppy from Cisca, one of the Barbets of my parents who officially introduced the Barbet in the Netherlands about 15 years ago. Officially she is theirs, but after I selected her as a puppy, she lived with us for 7 years, until we had Tim, our son. Because Tim demanded a lot of attention from us as a baby (difficult birth, cry baby, stomach cramps and general malaise) and we couldn't give Joy the attention and time she deserved, we brought her to my parents (with a lot of pain in our hearts) who own 7 other barbets that she could play with and join them for an hour long walk in the woods twice a day. This was a much better life than we could offer her at the time and it was great for her (only every time we visited she wanted to come back with us, which was hard to say no to again and again). When Tim was a bit older we regularly picked up Joy at the weekend to let them get used to each other again and since a few weeks she has been living at home permanently again. But especially on the weekends when we picked her up, I noticed those symptoms. I just couldn't do anything about it, because for a change in diet, the new food has to be given continuously and I had no influence on what she was fed with my parents.
So now I have card blanche to help her as I feel is best so I immediately stopped feeding her chicken and beef. Both in the meat and in the snacks. Chicken and beef are the most allergenic protein sources out there, because they are the cheapest ingredients. Dog food is the waste bin of the human food industry and because chicken and beef are easily available, it is really everywhere. Just look at the pet store and supermarket. All cheaper dog food brands contain chicken and/or beef. So puppies get these proteins in their system right from the start.
All cheap snacks and dog food are also made from chicken or beef. And even worse: the origin of these chickens and cows is usually not too good, because the regular dog food industry does not really make an effort. In fact; the cheaper they can buy the meat, the better. That's why many cheap dog snacks come from China, because locally sourced meat is not used for dog snacks. Dog meat is waste meat, in other words: it consists of the leftovers that remain after the body parts intended for human consumption have been used up. And this is the cheap meat intended for human consumption. The meat sold in supermarkets, from animals that are full of antibiotics, have had poor living conditions and may have even been sick or died from mysterious circumstances.
And if it was just about the meat, this would be bad enough, but kibble and snacks can't be made without grains. Such a cheap, widely available ingredient. While dogs are not made to digest grains at all. The intestines can't handle that at all. Do you think a wolf or wild dog would eat grains in nature? Or any other animal? No, grains are a man-made food source that, because of their easy availability and low costs, have also been used en masse for the production of animal and pet food. Not to mention all the additives used to make dog food and snacks look appealing, taste good and extend shelf life. I once saw a documentary about this and will tell you: it makes you sick to the stomach.
You are what you eat
Back to Joy, because I wanted to get her off the beef and chicken. My parents gave her the standard Darf mix (a locally sourced fresh meat brand). In itself super good, biologically responsible meat, but it does contain chicken and beef. And if your dog is allergic to certain protein sources, it doesn't matter anymore whether these are biological or not, because the damage has already been done allergy wise.
And I don't know if Joy's symptoms of illness come from there, but if your Doodle is showing these and/or other symptoms, it's coming from somewhere and food is the first thing you look at, because they're ingesting that on a daily basis. And for a dog, just like for us: you are what you eat. Moreover, if I make very clear choices for myself regarding my diet (little to no meat, and if so, then organic and locally produced, as little sugar and salt as possible, no ready-made packaging, no soft drinks/candy/cookies/cornflakes /cereal/other unnatural stuff, no coffee, but in stead chosing to eat vegetables and fruit that are in season and also organic), why should I give my dog rubbish to eat? I think we could all avoid a lot of vet costs if we fed our dogs responsibly (and put as few toxins in the body as possible).
As far as Joy is concerned, I have now switched to other Darf flavors and in terms of snacks she only gets 100% meat snacks. Not from beef or chicken, of course. I'm just looking for a good organic alternative, because to be honest I'm not a big fan of frozen meat. I sometimes forget to take it out of the freezer in time. Joy often only eats it when I ALSO put 100% meat snacks in it. If she does NOT eat it I can throw it away because she won't eat it at all after a night in the fridge. Also all that blood is not that very hygienic for my son and every night I have to put the leftover packaging in a plastic sandwich bag and tie it well to throw away, otherwise maggots will end up in the trash. The latter goes against what I believe in, which is to burden the environment as little as possible with disposable plastic.
So I'm not quite sure yet and I'm open to suggestions. Joy DOES like to eat canned food and steamed meats, but I haven't been able to find an organic brand of them yet. Joy doesn't eat kibble (probably because my parents already fed the puppies fresh meat). For now Joy seems to be urinating less often and she hasn't had diarrhea for days. I still have to wash her and then see if her fur doesn't get greasy again over time and she still keeps flapping her ears regularly, so I'm going to cleanse her body anyway, so that all the accumulated chemicals can leave the body and can no longer cause any damage .
So next to helping my customers with diet and health treatment plans for their Doodles, I am now also going to make one for Joy.
I'll keep you informed!
Lots of Doodle love,
Wanda & Joy