Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Switch to Solid Gold Dog Food

Today I decided to go ahead and drop the Purina Dog Chow and switch to Solid Gold Dog Food. This stuff ain't cheap: a thirty pound bag was $44. I also picked up a couple of cans and they were $1.40 each. Since I've heard so much good stuff about it, I decided to ignore the prices and take the plunge. I opted for a variety of Solid Gold Dog Food made from Bison!

It's going to take some time to find out if Solid Gold Dog Food improves skin conditions and shedding, as many owners have claimed. But one thing I can tell you is the dogs love it. My Akita, Naomi, hasn't been eating all that well the past several weeks. Usually she leaves half her bowl uneaten and this is even true if I mix in an entire can of Pedigree. Well this morning I gave her 2 cups of Solid Gold Dog Food mixed with about 1/3 of a can, and she gobbled it down.
So Solid Gold has passed the first test: the taste test. All of the dogs seemed to love it. Even Brandy, my female German Shepherd who is a notoriously picky eater.

It might be educational to talk for a moment about what is in this stuff. For the sake of brevity, I am going to list the top 5 ingredients in the 3 dog foods I have used. First the newest one which is Solid Gold WolfKing:

  1. Bison
  2. Ocean Fish Meal
  3. Brown Rice
  4. Oat Meal
  5. Millet
In case you don't know, Millet is a kind of cereal crop. Solid Gold WolfKing is 22% crude protein, 9% crude fat, 4% fiber, and 10% moisture. Now for comparison, consider Purina One, a brand I have been feeding my dogs most of the time for many years. The top five ingredients are:

  1. Chicken
  2. Brewers Rice
  3. Corn Gluten Meal
  4. Whole Grain Corn
  5. Poultry By-Product
Purina One has 26% crude protein, 16% crude fat, 3% fiber, and 12% moisture. A couple of things pop out comparing Purina One to Solid Gold. The first is that Solid Gold Dog Food has two animal protein sources in the first two ingredients, but Purina One has brewers rice. Now brewers rice is probably fine for your dogs, but this observation makes Solid Gold look better for dogs in my opinion. Dogs are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. So if you can find a dog food that has more meat in it, I think the dogs will be better off.

The second thing I noticed was ingredients 3 & 4 are corn. I have been hearing that lots of dogs develop allergies to corn. Given that dogs, as I said, are carnivores descended from predatory wolves, is it any wonder they would develop allergies to corn, a starchy plant basically invented by humans? I'm going to have to do more research on this, but I am inclined to think that feeding dogs food with large amounts of corn in it is a bad idea. The Great Dane Lady, who I stumbled on doing some Google Searches, disagrees. She thinks the corn allergy thing is a myth and that feeding dogs corn is fine. I'm going to have to research this topic in more detail, for now I am withholding judgment. The fact is the "Great Dane Lady" might be wrong. I was able to find several articles that contradict her point of view and assert that corn, wheat, and soy are major sources of allergies in dogs.

Bolstering this opinion is the fact that my dogs have been doing much worse since I started feeding them Purina Dog Chow. Let's look at the top five ingredients in Dog Chow:

  1. Corn
  2. Poultry By-Product
  3. Animal Fat
  4. Corn Gluten
  5. Meat/bone meal
WOW. Corn is the top ingredient meaning that this is the ingredient for which there is the most of. Also, corn shows up again at #4. Moreover, the animal protein sources are less than appetizing. Poultry by-product is basically ground up chickens without the good stuff. It includes internal organs and undeveloped eggs, among other things. Does that sound appetizing? Let's be rational, by-product is not going to kill your dog, but I am sure you would rather have your dog eating the meat off the bones, not some left overs after the meat has been stripped off for other purposes. The protein in poultry by-product is also rendered. I suggest you read the link to see what you think about that.

Well, I am sure that millions of dogs have led perfectly healthy lives eating Purina Dog Chow and Purina One Dog food. Also, Purina One, which is a more recent addition to the Purina product line, is a big improvement over Dog Chow from my read of the ingredients. That being said I think Solid Gold Dog Food, or another brand of equivalent quality, is definitely the way to go. Just keep in mind a few things:

  • Dogs descended from Wolves
  • Wolves are predators that survive on an almost exclusively carnivore (meat-eating) diet
  • Corn is a starchy food meant to be eaten by humans
  • Poultry by-products is, well pretty gross
  • Eating straight out meat would be the best thing for a dog, when it comes to their protein content
Well, I'll keep everyone updated to see if there are any improvements in coat, skin, and other areas.

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