Dog Food Linked to Illness in Humans

The latest instance of contaminated pet food has created an even more unwelcome side effect. It appears that some humans in contact with this food have developed salmonella illness, with five people even being hospitalized.

Diamond Pet Foods in the US has recalled some of its products due to contamination with salmonella. It seems all of the problems have been linked to one manufacturing plant in South Carolina in the US. Some brands have been withdrawn for sale and others are undergoing testing to see if they too represent any health risks.

Food recalls and contaminated foods are an ongoing issue for the petfood industry. Virtually every major company and brand (with one notable exception) has recalled their foods due health issues. Usually the problem is discovered only after animals have become ill (and in many cases actually died), which is not good news for pet owners.

So how can you be sure the food you feed is safe?

One of the best ways is to feed a food that is guaranteed not to contain any Asian ingredients. Most of the big companies source ingredients from Asian countries because they are much cheaper. However the quality controls in that part of the world are often simply not there and Asian ingredients are the number one cause of contaminated foods.

Very few companies will guarantee that they don’t source ingredients from Asia and will often reply to the question with a vague reply along the lines of “We get our ingredients from the best sources possible.” It may be best for the company (i.e. lowest cost) but it won’t necessarily be so for the pet.

There is one company that guarantees none of their ingredients come from Asia, and that is a major reason why they are one of the tiny few that have never had a food recall or problems with contamination- and that’s in 25 years of production!

That company is Pro Pac. All of the their ingredients are only sourced from the US (apart from lamb which is brought from Australia or New Zealand). Their foods also do not contain any genetically-modified ingredients, another sign of high quality.

Pro Pac spends more to ensure quality ingredients. The result is one of the safest foods on the market and one you can be confident buying for your dog.

How Much Protein Should Your Dog Be Getting?

Protein is one of the most essential elements of a dog’s diet. We all know that protein provides the “building blocks of life” and are vital for proper growth and development in all animals. But as the ones responsible to maintain our animal’s health, how much is the right amount? And more importantly, can we rely on the food manufacturers to provide the right quantity?

There are two elements to the question about the right amount of protein. Firstly there is the issue of quantity, but secondly (and equally if not more important) is the quality of the protein.

The AAFCO minimum amount of protein for a food to be able to be labelled “complete and balanced” is 18%. However, this is in reality too low to really maintain a dog in peak condition. The true amount should be closer to 23%, although the actual amount for any dog will depend on a number of factors. These include:

Size of the dog: Smaller dogs generally need more protein than larger dogs

Activity level: If a dog is highly active then a high protein food is advisable

Age: Puppies are in need of more protein than mature dogs..

In saying all of this, it is always better to err on the side of more protein than not enough. Studies have shown that there are no adverse effects to a dog from a very high protein diet. In fact, in the wild dogs do survive on very high protein diets.

The other thing about protein, however, is the protein source. The higher the grade of the food the more the protein will come from meat, which is the natural source for dogs and of far higher quality than grain or vegetable-based proteins that predominate in low-quality foods. So in general, the more quality meat in a food, the higher the amount of quality protein – and the better the result.

Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic both have high levels of quality meat which delivers top quality protein that dogs thrive on. Each formula is designed to deliver the right amount depending on the age and breed of dog.

And what is the result? One of the immediate differences of a dog on a high quality protein food such as Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic is the shiny coat and healthy skin. Many owners have been surprised just how good the coat starts to look after moving to these foods.

And of course a food with a high meat component is not only going to make your dog look and feel better – it’s going to enjoy the food more as well. It is vital to choose a food that contains both the right quantity and quality of protein.

Dog Food: Grains or No Grains?

When looking for a quality dried food for your dog you will probably discover that there are two types of foods, those that contain grains (such as corn or rice) and those which don’t. There have been many debates over the years about which type of food is better, and it can be very confusing for the dog owner.

Corn and rice have been used in dried dog foods for decades – for as long as dried dog foods have been in production, in fact. There are many benefits to these grains. Both add a carbohydrate that can be a good energy source for a dog. Both are highly digestible; corn is 99% digestible and has been described as the perfect carbohydrate for dogs. In a small number of dogs it may cause some allergy symptoms such as skin rashes. In this case it would be advisable to substitute with a rice formula; rice also can be easier to digest, particularly older dogs and those with sensitive stomachs.

Pet foods with no grains are a more recent development, and they have been introduced with the idea that they are closer to a dog’s natural diet. Carbohydrate sources in grain-free foods are usually other vegetables such as potatoes.

It remains a controversy as to whether or not a dog does better on a grain-free diet. There is only one thing that is very clear: some dogs do better and some do worse. The key is to look at what else is in the food. As long as it contains quality ingredients – no by products, filler or waste ingredients, artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives – and has a named meat as the first ingredient (preferably in meal form) – then the dog should be getting optimum nutrition to create good health. Beyond that it comes down to personal preference and an observation of how the dog is doing.

At Petfood Direct we can offer the dog owner a choice of grained and grain-free foods with two of the highest quality foods on the market. Pro Pac is a high-meat-based food with corn or rice as the grain source. Earthborn Holistic is grain-free food and uses chicken and/or sustainably caught native American fishes for protein and a variety of carbohydrates including potato Both are excellent choices to help ensure your dog stays happy and healthy.

The Shocking Truth About Dog Food

We’ve recently created a video featuring Liam and our dog Molly talk about the truth about dog food. It has some virtually “secret” information about what’s really going on in the pet food industry… as a pet owner you’ll find it interesting to say the least. We think it’s what you really need to know – and it’s time someone said it.

PS Molly doesn’t really talk on the video, but you have to watch to the end to see what she does. It’s pretty cute!

Check out the controversial video here:

Should You Feed Your Dog Treats?

Dog ‘treats’ are huge business and are promoted by the manufacturers as something a bit ‘special’ to give your dog. However, there are a lot of things to consider before automatically using them.

Many dog owners use treats as a way to reward their dog for good behaviour or just because they think it’s a nice thing to do. After all, it gives a lot of pleasure to the owner when we see our dog enjoying something. Treats can also be used as part of a game or for training.

But there are a number of factors that suggest that not only are treats unnecessary, they may actually be harmful to your dog. Before you automatically go out and put a doggy treat pack into your shopping basket, consider the following issues.

Firstly, most dog treats contain quite poor ingredients that have been linked with allergies, poor digestion, skin problems, runny stools and hyperactivity. These problem ingredients can include beef products, sugars and preservatives. Just as we know with human ‘junk’ food, something that is designed to taste good may not be good for you. And it doesn’t take much to interfere severely with your dog’s health.

The safety of dog treats really comes into question when you consider just how many treat products have been recalled by the manufacturers due to reports of dogs becoming seriously ill after eating them. Many of these contain ingredients sourced from Asia which have caused huge problems when used in pet foods as well.

Secondly, there are alternatives to treats that a dog will enjoy just as much but which will be a lot healthier. In fact, the best ‘treat’ to give your dog? One or two kibbles of a high quality dried food. Even if it is the pet’s ‘normal’ diet, he really isn’t going to be less happy with the taste of it or see it as any ‘less’ of a treat.

Of course the key point here is a “high quality” kibble, one rich in meat and in the foods a dog naturally enjoys. Low grade food based on cereals and with a low proportion of meat are not particularly appetising so aren’t going to be a thrill for your dog. Of course, if the food contains sugars or flavourings that entice the dog to eat it, but are harmful, then you are simply creating the same problems as with a commercial “dog treat” anyway.

Pro Pac makes an ideal treat, that dogs love and which is healthy for them. Even if that is all your dog normally eats, it’s still going to welcome a couple of extra kibbles from time to time!

How to Maintain Your Dog’s Ideal Weight

Obesity in dogs (as with humans) is becoming a major problem worldwide. It’s a direct contributor to an alarming rise in health issues such as arthritis and respiratory problems and a decrease in average lifespan. But keeping your dog at its ideal weight is really not that difficult. It comes down to three basic things:

      • better food (less ‘junk’ food)
      • smaller portions and
      • exercise

It’s no different than with humans, really, although with dogs it’s a lot easier. A dog is not going to complain about its food (unless you let it) or about too much exercise. Of course all these decisions come down to being your responsibility as the dog’s owner.

One of the most important things to look for in a food is to make sure it is high in protein and fat. The higher the protein, the lower the carbs and the better and more efficient will be the energy consumption.

With a high fat level, the dog will be more satisfied and less hungry with a smaller amount of food. If you feed a dog a high carb and low fat/protein food it will not only tend to process the energy less efficiently but it will stay hungrier. This can lead to scavenging and even eating it’s own poop.

If you compare a couple of well known brands you will see what I mean:

Pro Pac Adult Chunk is 26% protein and 15% fat. With a high amount of chicken meat (protein) and natural chicken fat your dog will be getting a lot of the right energy.

Now look at Tux. Tux Original has only 14% protein and 6% fat. The main ingredient is “cereals and/or cereal by-products”, high in carbs and with a very limited amount of meat. Quite a big difference, I’m sure you will agree.

With a high protein/fat and low carb food such as Pro Pac you can feed your dog a lot less. In fact, many dog owners feel a bit ‘mean’ when they look at how much Pro Pac they feed their dog each day. But that leads to the other important point about keeping your dog at its ideal weight: keep the portions small, and smaller than you think the dog needs.

In deciding whether or not to increase the amount you feed, only use the dog’s condition as a guide. If it starts to get too thin feed more; if it puts on too much weight feed less. You will soon get to know the ideal portion size.

Don’t use your dog’s apparent hunger as a sign to feed more. Remember, if you are feeding a low protein/low fat/high carb food it’s going to be hungry more of the time anyway, because it simply isn’t feeling satisfied.

Pro Pac does produce a Low Fat formula and this has been very effective in reducing weight for very obese dogs. However, we would only recommend it as a short-term solution to get a lot of weight off quickly. If your dog only has a bit to lose or you think has a problem keeping the weight off, feed it a well-balanced formula and just reduce the portion sizes.

There are so many parallels between humans and dogs when it comes to weight issues and it all comes down to the same things – eat good quality food, get rid of the junk foods, eat less and exercise.

If only it were as easy for us as it is for dogs…….

Thank You and a Free Gift

It is two years ago this week that we first began to import Pro Pac into New Zealand!

When we first discovered Pro Pac and saw that it was the fastest growing petfood in the world and offered better quality and value than any other brand on the market we thought it would be a great product to offer local dog and cat owners. We were also surprised that it was not already available here given that:

  • Pro Pac is sold in 75 countries around the world
  • Pro Pac has been growing world wide at an average rate of 22% per year over the last fifteen years
  • Pro Pac has a deliberate policy of competing with the large brands by offering a higher grade of ingredients than most of the brands you buy at a pet shop or vet, yet at a much lower price

We knew it was a winner, yet we weren’t prepared for the politics of the pet industry here where lower grade foods are sold at high prices with large marketing costs built in.

When we originally approached the vets and pet shops we were amazed at the reaction:

One vet told us, “I can see Pro Pac is a better brand than anything I’m selling and at a better price, but (nameless) brand has paid for all my signwriting and they would be upset if I started selling yours.”

A pet shop owner said, “If you want me to sell Pro Pac you’ll have to take me out to dinner like all the other companies do.”

…and this isn’t the half of it…

This, combined with the surprising ignorance by vets and pet shop staff of the ingredients of what they are selling meant that we decided to go direct to you the customer by establishing Petfood Direct. (In saying that we do have two retailers who stock Pro Pac and are very enthusiastic, Orewa Vet and Mitre 10 Mega Albany)

It has worked extremely well and Pro Pac is growing massively here. And every week we get reports of how well dogs and cats are doing, and finally getting rid of such problems as scratching, itching, excess weight and other issues which simply shouldn’t be there and which can all be traced back to to the food.

So we just want to say “We hope you will try Pro Pac – if you haven’t already!” If you’re willing to look beyond the big brand hype and buy something where the ingredients speak for themselves in delivering the best possible nutrition for your pet, we are sure you won’t be dissapointed.

We also have a Special Offer for you…

Buy any 15kg bag of Pro Pac and receive a FREE Pro Pac backpack valued at $24 (this is what they look like: www.petfooddirect.co.nz/shop/buy-now/pet-gifts/pro-pac-backpack)

We only have 25 of these to give away so be quick! Limit of 1 backpack per customer.

How to Slash Your Biggest Cost as a Dog or Cat Owner

Do you know what the biggest expense is for the average dog or cat owner? You might think it is food – but it’s actually vet bills. According to the American Pet Products Association, a typical pet owner will spend nearly three times more on going to the vet than they will on the food they feed. The figures here in New Zealand probably aren’t too different.

What is ironic is that many owners try to save money on pet food, without realizing the effect of the food on the pet’s health. Not only do supermarket foods (and those with filler ingredients) actually cost more because the amount you feed will be so much greater than a quality food, but the harmful ingredients of low-grade foods contribute directly to more visits to the vet.

No wonder leading veterinarian and author Dr Michael W Fox said, “It has taken me 20 years as a veterinary doctor to realize that 90% of health problems in dogs are due to their food.”

You only need to see how many “farm dogs” there around the country that have been fed bulk food all their lives that end up obese and with bad joints to know this is true.

So if you really want to save some money, buy a better food. Your dog or cat is going to be a lot healthier – and happier. Pro Pac combines only quality ingredients that provide real nutrition and optimum health for dogs and cats. There are no cheap fillers, by products or low quality meat sources. If you’re already usage Pro Pac I’m sure you’ll be seeing the difference.

How to Know How Much to Feed Your Dog

Something which is of great concern to many dog owners is knowing how much they should be feeding their pet for its best health and condition. And while every dog is different (just like every human) there are certain guidelines that can be followed that make things a lot easier.

Firstly, consider the quality of the food you are using. You will need to feed much less of a high quality food than a cheap supermarket or bulk food. This is simply because the quality of the ingredients is much higher and there won’t be much (if anything) in the way of ‘fillers’ which provide no nutritional benefit for the dog. It is actually a misconception that ‘cheap’ brands are in fact cheaper. In reality, most of them actually work out to be more expensive as you need to feed so much more.

Most petfood brands provide guidelines on the bag for how much to feed but these really are only a guideline. On the Petfood Direct website at www.petfooddirect.co.nz/feed-calculator/ we provide a feeding calculator; simply enter the weight of your dog and the selected formula and it will tell you the ideal amount to feed, again depending on the age and activity level of your pet.

Bear in mind that if you are feeding your dog other things (such as food scraps) you should cut down on the recommended daily quantity suggested on the dog food packaging.

Once you have a rough idea of how much you should be feeding on a daily basis, you should monitor the effects on your dog and adjust if necessary. As a general rule, always err on the low side in the amount you feed. Most dog owners feed their dog too much, and as a result have issues with obesity developing over time. It is far better to start with less food and increase the quantity if your dog starts to lose weight and condition. This is much easier to deal with than trying to reduce your dog’s weight.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t fret over your dog’s eating habits and the amount you feed. No dog ever starved from missing a meal or from being hungry. By monitoring the results the food has you will soon get a good idea of what is the best amount to feed your dog.