Sunday, April 29, 2007

Time off

It's been such a busy week of blogging, Jake took long walks and also spent some time enjoying his yard. Remember to read Itchmo every day. Eat good food and be happy!
Life is grand!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday! TGTIF day again

Late Thursday night and Friday recalls kept hitting our email alerts from Itchmo and later from the FDA. That was the bad news, but the good news is at the same time we have solutions to the growing questions of what to feed.

Jake went to his vet today for "junior wellness exam" and first part of his boosters. We asked about our new adventure in home cooking. She said it could be absolutely fine but must be done correctly. She's seen dogs do very well on this approach and recommended talking to UC Davis Veterinary School. They will do telephone consults on canine nutrition!!! I'll be calling, armed w/ all my questions from the last month of many hours of research into proper recipes for Jake. He weighed in at 21 1/2# and she'd like to see him take off about 1/2#. That should be easy. Fewer biscuits, John...and w/ nice weather Jake will be playing in the yard more in addition to his usual twice daily walks that always occur rain or shine (what sunshine...this is the Pacific NW?) during the winter.

I found my email from The Honest Kitchen today interesting. Also someone on the Itchmo boards suggested Dr. Harvey's. I don't want to feed a raw diet, but otoh the vegetable mix that allows me to add my own cooked meat in the correct proportion would work fine if it is one of those days we might have run out of prepared home cooked and want to provide the usual tasty dinner. This would have the added advantage of already including proper vitamins and minerals. Both Honest Kitchen and Dr. Harvey's have things that would fit into our new eating plan for Jake, which will not include raw meats. Organic food that these two companies make themselves so they should know exactly what they're putting into it. Or at least one hopes that will be the case. AAR, these two companies are worth your checking out if you are among the growing number of concerned about the four footed family members of the household.

Recalls continue to roll in

The pet food recalls continue to roll in. Signed up for Itchmo alerts, the news comes right in my email. Following links and reading more articles in various newspapers around the country, I'm learning that we have good reason to question the human food supply. Much of the food that goes on our own tables comes from out of the country. If shipments from China tainted our pets' food, and at least some of that was marked "human grade," I can't help but wonder about the food that comes in meant specifically for the family meals.

From what I'm reading from Itchmo, both Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo recalled products today that was made by American Nutrition. I just viewed American Nutrition website and they are claiming all their foods are safe. Uh-oh.

We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and drop it does. Only now more shoes have dropped than an centipede would need.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Recipes for Dogs

There's an awfully cute site called "The DoGie BaG, a Bistro for Dogs" which has recipes of dogs page. Their Daily Feeding Guidelines for a 20 lb. Dog fit Jake's 23 lb rather well. He certainly approved wholeheartedly of what we prepared from it for a week's worth of food! Usually a picky eater at best he dove right in two nights in a row and polished his bowl. The "fun" part of DoGie BaG recipes is the variety they afford. They list proteins, carbs and veggies allowing choices in each category and telling you how much for each category by weight or volume. Then the recipe tells what to add in addition to make it complete and balanced. So easy to make a whole week's worth at once. We used well washed cups from Nancy's Yogurt, filling almost to the top. Two go in the fridge, four in the freezer to be defrosted as needed, the remaining helping goes into his bowl for that first night. In the interest of full disclosure we're using 1/2 the total amount for a full meal and putting his favorite dry kibble, Karma by Natura on top for the other half of his dinner. Friday Jake goes to his vet. We'll discuss what we're doing and get her recommendations. Also, I expect soon Monica Segal's K9 Kitchen will arrive. It was back ordered, and no wonder with the constant flow of recalls and less than full disclosure on the part of Menu Foods. The advice from Monica Segal will be specific for Jake after I read the book and have a consultation by email. I expect she will approve of the recipe Jake is having this week but may "tweak" it a bit as far as the supplements. Will report back on this tale of what Jake is eating and how he likes it as time goes along.
Here's lookin' atcha

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Right to Good Pet Food

I posted the following response on Itchmo Opinion: The Right to Good Pet Food:

WTG, Itchmo. Right on all counts.

A first step could possibly be to require each manufacturer to have their products tested by an INDEPENDENT LAB, thoroughly tested and not just for %protein, %ash, %fiber, %moisture, etc. This would, I admit, be expensive. It’s been proven necessary. Let it come out of the salaries of the owners of the companies themselves. They were greedy and negligent. Let them bear the financial burden. This is not to let the FDA off the hook but to provide a first step in the remedy of our current situation.

I know that some of the producers of dog and cat food are innocent of recent tainted ingredients being added to their foods. I don’t mean to punish them in my proposal but rather to give them a mandate to insure the products are safe for us in the future also.

Our Jake, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, ate his first home cooked dinner last night and loved it. No ill effects tummy wise, either. I’m still in process of due diligence to make his food complete and balanced while hoping that I can return to dry kibble, which I think is better in the long run for his teeth. There were NO problems at all reported regarding the company we buy his food from. They own their own plant for their dry food and will build or buy a canning facility in the wake of this Menu foods disaster. I simply want more safeguards in place.

As a matter of fact, I’d like more safeguards for our human food. For that we must turn to the FDA and make ourselves heard. Many of the dog food companies do use human grade ingredients, so that would also go a long way towards giving us safe manufactured dog foods products to select from.

Itchmo, thank you for all your very hard work and a job well done,

Saturday, April 21, 2007


There were more postings about the food recall issues today, some of the best still to be found on Itchmo, and also a checklist of recalled foods on the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association site.

Meanwhile, TGTIF! Beautiful sunny day here in our town. We went for a leisurely walk this afternoon. Here Mom said to look both ways before crossing the street.

And then Mom sent us ahead so she would have "interesting subject" going down the sidewalk!

You can see what I mean by bright blue skies decorated by beautiful clouds, a perfect TGTIF kind of day.
Dogwood pink, sky blue

Friday, April 20, 2007

The "gluten story," strike three

Itchmo's alerts are terrific. Another just came in, and as some of us suspected the corn gluten from at least one supplier is also tainted w/ Melamine. Melamine isn't even legal in the USA. It's toxic...generally a fertizer used in China and I guess some other parts of the globe. So Royal Canin, earler having recalls in S. Africa due to corn gluten, has had to recall a list of their products from the shelves here due to rice gluten. It was voluntary, but since it did test positive for Melamine what else could be done but pull it! I only hope the specialty pet supply stores get the word as quickly as those of us who have Itchmo alerts do.

The bad news is that corn gluten is in many pet foods here in the USA. I wonder how many got the tainted stuff??? The FDA doesn't believe any of the tainted corn gluten made it into the United States. Meanwhile, many pet owners are now waiting for another shoe to drop. FDA officials plan a trip to China to check out the factories involved in the manufacture of the imported gluten, but so far do not have visas.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Natura's Karma Dog Food

From news today on the Natura website, there is a statement that the rice protein (gluten) used in their Karma is 100% safe and not from the source that caused problems w/ other foods. This is good news for Jake, because he loves this particular kibble. It's even better news for me, because I became concerned when reading that it was indeed rice gluten that had been put into the Natural Balance products causing their latest problem. CNN has an excellent article up today on their site about the expanded recall. FDA finally has taken action! Note CNN's statement "The FDA has since embargoed all shipments into the United States from the Chinese supplier of the suspect wheat gluten." I wondered why this had not happened. Seems it has! Now if only this Chinese supplier doesn't get around the embargo by simply using a midde man to ship in from another country.

Karma dry dog food made it onto the Whole Dog Jounal list of "Top Dry Foods for 2007," along with a number of others from it's parent company, Natura. The list on Whole Dog Jounal was full of good foods, and although some of the companies did indeed have to pull a few products the exact products named in WDJ have not at this time been part of the recent recalls due to illness and death in so many dogs.

On a lighter note, I found "The DogGie BaG, a Bistro for Dogs" online today. They also have 4 brick and mortar locations! Gotta love it! If you are interested in home cooked meals for your canine, do take a look at their recipes for dogs. I have not tried these yet and I would suggest just to be on the safe side talk to your vet before starting a home cooked diet for the dogs in your life. I think Monica Segal's site is also a good place to start for home cooked meals for dogs. She has a book, as well as booklets available.

Feeding my two legged family is easy, but suddenly feeding Jake has become a complex responsiblity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Many thanks to Itchmo

Itchmo alerts in my email called my attention to more breaking news. Natural Balance has expanded their recall to canned food and treats.

Rice protein now suspected

Natural Balance is not recalling two foods that are causing problems. They suspect the rice protein, which is the only change they have made in these two foods. See an article just out today. This is a bit alarming, because we've just started using "Karma," a premium food from Natura line. Karma contains a rice gluten. The rice used in Karma is orgainic, grown in America. Natural Balance suspected rice is also grown in America. Uh-oh! I talked to Karma just last week and was quite satisfied w/ the way they answered all my questions. It's time to place another call before our Jake gets one more bite. It's going to be home cooking for him until all this sorts out.

Since originally posting this I have spoken w/ Karma and have been assured that they are aware of the issue of rice protein in the Natural Balance and that Karma does not use the same supplier. Also Karma is manufactured at it's parent company's plant in California. This plant is owned by Natura and makes only their own lines. Karma is tested by Oregon Tilth for purity. I'm reassured but still cautious, even 'tho Karma spokesperson tells me they have had no reports of ill dogs, dogs w/ kidney problems, etc., at all. Jake will get his Karma for dinner after all. That's today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice

If your dog is being fed Natural Balance Venison and Brown Rice, you will want to do an immediate substitution. See the headline now on the Natural Balance website. There is more detailed info on Itchmo's blog, as posted earlier. I did call Natural Balance and finally got thru, asking if there were any reports of illness connected w/ their Natural Balance Ultra Premium kibble. They said it was "completely safe." Of course, they also thought their Vension and Brown Rice was safe until last week. Perhaps it is and these reports they have received and what we're reading on responses to Itchmo's post are related to something else? Stay tuned.

Oh...and as if this were not enough, Royal Canin Vet's Choice in a spot outside the USA is reported by their Sunday Times to have killed 14 dogs and sickened more. I doubt that this will carry over in any way to the Royal Canin foods here.

Breaking news

Natural Balance is pulling it's Venison and Brown Rice dry dog food off the shelves. It does not contain wheat gluten or even wheat. This news just hit and is not even on the Natural Balance website yet but can be found in several places already. Here's the story on Itchmo's Blog.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Top dog foods of 2007

This report from Whole Dogs Journal is a good variety of dry foods which they have selected as Top Dry Foods of 2007. Jake has had samples of at least half dozen of these since he came to be ours. He loved all of those he sampled, but it turns out that any good food attracts his attention as a new taste. The challenge is for the food to be good enough to keep his interest in eating it. I've never known a dog to seek variety, and I don't think it a good thing to give into this. Jake will have to be content w/ variety thru things such as slices of apple, bannana, the occasional whole carrot and other things from our own kitchen. He also gets a variety of dog biscuits, so don't feel too sorry for this one!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Some good things

Some good things have come out of the pet food recall. Dog owners are paying more attention to what is actually in the food they're buying for their four footed family members. Reading labels in detail has become a priority, as has knowing the source of the ingredients in your dog's food. Some of what were thought by most of us to be the best foods have been part of the recall. Jake's dry food, Eukanuba, was not recalled and does not contain the wheat gluten. But it's name is on the list because of other products carrying the Eukanuba label. Hill's Science Diet also has some on the recall list. We're fortunate that none of the foods our Jake has ever tasted were on this list. Not this time. What about next time?

There are no 100% foolproof ways to select what is best. There are too many variables, from ingredient source to production, quality control, shipping and storage. I'm going to do my best to select products made from only US ingredients, hopefully USDA inspected ingredients. That seems a good place to start.

The recall has prompted me to start doing research on canine nutrition. I have already learned that all chicken versus "chicken meal" on the list isn't necessarily better. Unless there is an allergy, I've learned there is no need for "single source protein." Now a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may have some different needs than many dogs. I doubt they would have ever faired well in the wild! Some hearty dogs could probably eat just like a wolf and thrive. There's alot to learn. I've only just begun.

Only Natural Pet Store Responds to Pet Food Recall as Sales Skyrocket is an interesting article. No wonder the foods they offer are doing well. If your town doesn't have stores carrying the brand/s you want, check out the Only Natural Pet Store online.

PetsUSA has a list of foods that have NOT been recalled.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Home cooking, anyone?

I've subscribed to a newsletter by Monica Segal. It's free! She also has a book "K9 Kitchen, the truth behind the hype" that has been high recommended. Her website gives a bit of background. There are other good books out there, too. Am ordering "You Bake 'em Dog Biscuits" by Janine Adams. Jake's one spoiled pup!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Off to the park

We went on a nice walk to the park this afternoon. Jake played w/ some kids while the "big people" stood around and gabbed. Click on photo below and select slide show option to see our neighborhood park as we were leaving. It's dinner time!
Play in the park

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Fools

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We had a busy day at Urban Fauna. Click on image below and select slideshow option

April Fools @ Urban Fauna