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Author Topic: Vegetarian kibble + raw, anyone?  (Read 5291 times)
Gentian
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« on: August 13, 2008, 12:05:41 PM »

A few years ago, we fed exclusively raw. I have major ethical issues with the way farmed animals are treated in our current system of agriculture, but I was able to find meat sources that I felt comfortable with. Unfortunately, it got prohibitively expensive with three large--okay, I thought they were large, but I know better now!--50-60 pound dogs. We went back to kibble. I picked a brand or two and stopped reading ingredients so I didn't have to worry about it. We fed mostly Canidae, Chicken Soup, depending on availability, with Canidae being the most frequent brand we bought.

Over the last few months, our older dog has developed some skin sensitivities that we think may be diet related. We have no parasites, his bloodwork is good, and he has no allergies, but his skin seems to always be bordering on a flare up. We've explored environmental causes, but regardless of what we change, he remains pinker than usual and mildly itchy, and will occasionally flare up with a hot spot here or there. We thought it might be age-related and decided to just treat the symptoms. (He's about 14.)

 Less than a week after starting the last bag of food we bought (Canidae), both the older dog, Henry, and the youngest, Bosco, developed twin hot spots. I talked to B's former people, and he's never had hot spots before. *sigh*

Because I already have ethical issues and huge health concerns about the meat sources used in kibble, I'm suspicious of it, and I'm not that interested in exploring more meat-based kibble brands, but I'm frustrated that not only can I not get Henry's skin cleared up completely, but now Bosco is going down the same road. What I'm considering doing is switching everyone to an organic vegetarian kibble and supplementing with raw a few times a week to see if this helps. Supposedly, he has no grain allergies, but I'll look for a low-allergen formula anyway.

I know that there are concerns about the different rates of digestion of raw and kibble, and I'd feed each separately for that reason. I already give occasional raw bones for dental health, and they do fine. It won't be inexpensive, but it will be cheaper than all raw, and cheaper than a second round of allergy testing. If it works, of course.

Does anyone else do this? Or am I crazy? Anyone else use a veg kibble they would recommend?

Amanda

« Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 12:08:00 PM by Gentian » Logged
Lyn
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 12:11:16 PM »

Sorry I have no info on raw, but Canidae changed their formula not too long ago and alot of dogs are having issue with it ranging from explosive diarrhea to hot spots and allergy flare-ups. When I read your dogs reactions it was my first thought.
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marypyrs
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 12:19:52 PM »

Sorry I have no info on raw, but Canidae changed their formula not too long ago and alot of dogs are having issue with it ranging from explosive diarrhea to hot spots and allergy flare-ups. When I read your dogs reactions it was my first thought.

Exactly Lyn. My first thought too.
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Gentian
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 12:23:11 PM »

I read about the formulation change, but since we go back and forth between Chicken Soup and Canidae, and occasionally others, without even a touch of gas or stool change, I didn't think a formula change would be a big deal to them. I was already thinking of a kibble change, though, because Canidae is now as expensive as Wellness and California Natural here, so I may as well feed one of them. With these last flare ups, though, I do have to wonder if it's the ingredients not listed (the ones that go into the food animals) that are causing problems since nothing else seems to be the root of the problem for Henry.
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AudgePadge
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2008, 12:26:45 PM »

I agree with Lyn...We had to switch the boys from Canidae as well...

Monty (8ish) has really bad skin allergies-So I hear ya!

We stopped feeding raw awhile back too for the same reason, it got really expensive, and I got freaked out by Salmonella...  We've been experimenting with different foods...but so far they've both done well with HALO and INNOVA...

I supplement their dry food with canned food- Wellness, HALO, MERRICK...what ever's available...

this is a really good site for natural dog food...
http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/default.aspx


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Nina
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2008, 12:32:45 PM »

My girl has really bad skin Innova and Orijen the grain free type, used to work well for her. We now only feed her raw, expensive but we only have one dog to feed so we can do it. From what I remember raw takes about 6 hrs to digest and kibble about 12 hrs. Others can feel free to correct me but I think on average that is around the amount of time it takes.  Smiley

Edit - I can't spell  Tongue
« Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 12:44:46 PM by Nina » Logged

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marypyrs
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2008, 12:39:47 PM »

Just a thought ~ should you think of going back to 100% Raw. If you buy your meat & poultry from an organic farmer and buy in bulk it's a LOT less expensive. I don't feed raw but I do make a homemade cooked formula and add it to the kibble. I'm a Vegetarian myself and have a separate freezer for the Pups' food. Even the grain fed by these farmers is home grown. Cows, sheep, and Bison are all grass raised. No chemicals what so ever. The fish is all wild caught. I personally believe that dogs need meat, poultry, and fish protein.

I'll be interested to hear more about the vegetarian kibble from everyone. I'm always learning. Especially from BPO.  Smiley
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Gentian
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2008, 12:50:13 PM »

Just a thought ~ should you think of going back to 100% Raw. If you buy your meat & poultry from an organic farmer and buy in bulk it's a LOT less expensive. I don't feed raw but I do make a homemade cooked formula and add it to the kibble. I'm a Vegetarian myself and have a separate freezer for the Pups' food. Even the grain fed by these farmers is home grown. Cows, sheep, and Bison are all grass raised. No chemicals what so ever. The fish is all wild caught. I personally believe that dogs need meat, poultry, and fish protein.

I'll be interested to hear more about the vegetarian kibble from everyone. I'm always learning. Especially from BPO.  Smiley

This is what we did previously, but not as 'bulk' as we should have because we didn't have the freezer space. We could get a chest freezer now. We have a little more space. I bought from a local guy who delivered, and I was starting to feel like I was single-handledly sending his kids to college.

I have considered doing homemade in addition to raw, but I feel like if I'm doing a kibble, I at least have something to fall back on for any nutritional gaps.

I feel like you do, that dogs (and cats) have nutritional requirements that include meat, and it would be wrong for me to impose my diet on them and possibly harm them. But I'm sure there's a way to opt out of supporting factory farming and still get them everything they need, plus stop the itching.

Amanda
« Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 12:52:14 PM by Gentian » Logged
lookingfornewf
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2008, 08:14:16 PM »

I had been feeding my dogs Canidae with no problem. Since the start of the last bag Clifford has been very itchy with a few hotspots. The label was the same as the old bag, however someone wrote a while back that dog food companies can use the old bags with the new formula for a length of time. It might be that or it might be seasonal allergies. We're going to try Innova and see if the skin problems go away.
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pyr4me
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2008, 08:43:20 AM »

I'm very interested in this as well because I, too, am a vegetarian, but want to give my dogs the meat that they need for optimal health. I feed my dogs Wellness, which they are doing great on, but feel stuck about how to do both--feed my dogs what they need, but not support practices that I feel strongly against. At this point, I am on the side of giving my dogs high quality food and I live with knowledge that I am inadvertantly supporting something I'm against. My hairstylist has her three dogs (2 of them big paws) on a vegetarian kibble and says they do well on it, I think the Natural Balance (?) veg formula.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 08:46:08 AM by pyr4me » Logged

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Gentian
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2008, 10:03:48 AM »

My hairstylist has her three dogs (2 of them big paws) on a vegetarian kibble and says they do well on it, I think the Natural Balance (?) veg formula.

I know quite a few people with vegetarian and even vegan dogs who appear to be doing really well. I've seen quite a bit of research, but it always seems to skew towards whatever the researcher believed to begin with, or maybe I'm just that cynical. Wink

 I'm not really interested in making my dogs completely vegetarian, but I would like to control where their meat comes from, and hopefully eliminate other potential allergens in the process.

Amanda
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sc.trojans
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2008, 07:28:18 PM »


[/quote]

I have considered doing homemade in addition to raw, but I feel like if I'm doing a kibble, I at least have something to fall back on for any nutritional gaps.

I feel like you do, that dogs (and cats) have nutritional requirements that include meat, and it would be wrong for me to impose my diet on them and possibly harm them. But I'm sure there's a way to opt out of supporting factory farming and still get them everything they need, plus stop the itching.
[/quote]

Hi Amanda:

I applaud your concerns and efforts and agree with your concern about the quality of our meat supply.  I however believe the concern is justly applied to produce and grain food as well, if not more. In fact, it is the produce and grain in the U.S. that is showing the greatest issues so far...time will tell.

I develop homemade diet plans for a living, and can only base my view on the vets that work with me - but they have not seen a dog do truly "well" or thrive on a vegetarian diet - it just isn't biologically appropriate for their species.  Dr. Marty Goldstein writes of a sad story in his book about this as well.

With that said, my biggest concern is that you are creating greater nutrient deficiencies with your proposed approach.  Whenever you are mixing a kibble with other foods you are changing the nutrient balance.  And a vegetarian kibble, by definition, will be a majority of synthetic supplements to meet the AFFCO recommended allowances - but you will be reducing this amount to feed other foods, that may or may not make up for the difference.  So I see potential problems in the synthetic supplements, as well as a greater nutrient gap unless you are feeding a very small percentage of the overall diet with this vegetarian kibble and of course, depending on the ingredients and quantity of the other foods.

On the other hand, I think your concerns about factory farming (assuming you are still willing to support their biologic needs with meat) can be best addressed by instead using an organic kibble that has been sustainably created.  I do not advocate processed food, but if one must be fed, then there are at least new and better brands than have ever been available.  Orijen is organic and well controlled in its quality assurance - so is Nature's Variety.  I know there are a few others with websites that outline their practices and who they procure from so that buyers can verify these very things....  It is a more common practice admittedly with the commercial raw food suppliers however.

At the end of the day, I believe it must come down to quality of ingredients or we are defeating the purpose - the further you move away from whole fresh food, the less knowledge you have of how it was developed/processed etc.  That is what makes kibble so tough!


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SC Trojans
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Gentian
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« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2008, 09:03:01 AM »



Hi Amanda:

I applaud your concerns and efforts and agree with your concern about the quality of our meat supply.  I however believe the concern is justly applied to produce and grain food as well, if not more. In fact, it is the produce and grain in the U.S. that is showing the greatest issues so far...time will tell.

I develop homemade diet plans for a living, and can only base my view on the vets that work with me - but they have not seen a dog do truly "well" or thrive on a vegetarian diet - it just isn't biologically appropriate for their species.  Dr. Marty Goldstein writes of a sad story in his book about this as well.

With that said, my biggest concern is that you are creating greater nutrient deficiencies with your proposed approach.  Whenever you are mixing a kibble with other foods you are changing the nutrient balance.  And a vegetarian kibble, by definition, will be a majority of synthetic supplements to meet the AFFCO recommended allowances - but you will be reducing this amount to feed other foods, that may or may not make up for the difference.  So I see potential problems in the synthetic supplements, as well as a greater nutrient gap unless you are feeding a very small percentage of the overall diet with this vegetarian kibble and of course, depending on the ingredients and quantity of the other foods.

On the other hand, I think your concerns about factory farming (assuming you are still willing to support their biologic needs with meat) can be best addressed by instead using an organic kibble that has been sustainably created.  I do not advocate processed food, but if one must be fed, then there are at least new and better brands than have ever been available.  Orijen is organic and well controlled in its quality assurance - so is Nature's Variety.  I know there are a few others with websites that outline their practices and who they procure from so that buyers can verify these very things....  It is a more common practice admittedly with the commercial raw food suppliers however.

At the end of the day, I believe it must come down to quality of ingredients or we are defeating the purpose - the further you move away from whole fresh food, the less knowledge you have of how it was developed/processed etc.  That is what makes kibble so tough!




Thanks for your thoughtful response. Smiley

I understand what you're saying, and I'll think about it for a few days while we run out of this last bag of food.

The problems you're referring to with grain-based foods... I assume we're talking about pesticides and such? I could avoid that by going with an organic food, yes?  Of course, there is still the issue of synthetic nutrients. I'm going to have to research that.

Re: organic meat-based kibbles...I don't want to make this so much about farming and welfare, but organic animals often receive the same poor treatment as their conventional counterparts. The 'free range' or 'cage free' designations under their current legal definitions aren't all that significant in terms of improved living conditions. I know this isn't an area most people like looking into, but I've spent the last few years working in this area, and as there is more demand for organic and naturally raised animals, large scale operations find a way to produce them in large number with no regard to the welfare of the animals. If there is a meat-based kibble that uses organic, truly humanely-raised and slaughtered meat (by my own standards, not the 'official' ones), that would be a good option for me. Unless that exists, I really need to be able to choose my own meat sources. I'll look into the two you mentioned. Thank you!
he was fed as a puppy will shorten his time with us. (Maybe the real solution is a bag of random kibble for the dogs and some anti-anxiety meds for me!  Wink )

« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 09:06:24 AM by Gentian » Logged
sc.trojans
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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2008, 11:22:25 AM »


I understand, and while I am no expert or have first hand experience in how many of these plants or manufacturers raise their food - I have found that my "best" option is free range/cage free.  I DO understand that many get to claim cage free when in fact they are still locked in a barn etc. but free range here where I live is pretty good clarification and not quite as fuzzy.  I buy free range as a result.

I just wanted to make the point that we have to weigh "quality of ingredients" with "treatment of source animals". And ultimately, if we emphasize the latter to the extent of sacrificing the former, we aren't buying health for our own pets.  I advocate working for the latter (as you do) but ensuring the former in the meantime to ensure the health and wellbeing of your pets.
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SC Trojans
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Gentian
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2008, 12:14:02 PM »

It looks like I somehow managed to delete a big chunk of my last post. I understand what you're saying, and it's certainly something I struggle with, as do most ethical vegans or strict vegetarians I know who have companion animals.

I'll try to remember the questions I had that I inadvertently deleted. Ballpark, how expensive is it to feed a homemade diet?  I know it will vary with the size, age and activity level of the dog. Do you focus on cooked, raw, or some combination?  Also, I worry that any diet could show good results short term, but have long term negative consequences, especially in a giant breed. Do your clients have routine blood chemistries run, or some other concrete way to know that there aren't deficiencies? Worry, worry, worry.  Wink


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