There are close to 100 kinds of food I could stock at Bailey's but I chose to stock Wishbone. Some you may know Addiction pet foods out of New Zealand. Wishbone their is a grain free, chicken free line of dog food .
A little company history: Addiction was started in 2002 by two veterinarians. Their goal was to create a line of foods for dogs with allergies. If you have looked at Addiction you know they have some odd proteins which you don't see every day including venison, kangaroo, eel, and brushtail. Their high quality foods also can approach $10/lb depending on the formula. Addiction has always been committed to high quality, wild caught and pasture raised proteins, and they run their own manufacturing facility to be sure they maintain full quality control.
In creating Wishbone they hit on a couple things that separate them from the hundreds of other dog foods on the market. Especially for the price.
Wishbone uses 6 different herbs in their formulas. This combination of basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, and chamomile give the food a fragrant smell making it palatable to even the pickiest of eater. It has proven time and again to be a winner with even picky doodles and poodles. In addition to making the food smell good these herbs provide a wealth of health benefits. Everything from anti-oxidants to antibiotic and anti-fungal properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties and aiding in digestion. Dog parents consistently come back for more because they can see their dogs are properly digesting the food and leaving small, dry, compact stools in the yard. This is a great option for dogs that have inconsistent stool quality. For more severe stool issues I would recommend a product like Optagest or goat milk.
Wishbone lists the amount of protein from meat sources right on the front of the bag. Read that sentence again if you need to because it's not the same as the protein percentage listed on every bag of food. Labeling laws dictate that the protein listed in the guaranteed analysis be CRUDE protein as opposed to digestible protein. Shoe leather is 80% protein but it's not digestible. In Wishbone the percentages of protein from meat range from 92% in the duck & fish to 95% in the salmon. So by knowing that 93% of the protein is from animal sources we can be confident that our dogs will be able to digest the protein. This means less strain on the kidneys and liver from protein that is difficult to digest. By contrast many other foods on the market today are down between 60% and 70% protein from animal sources.
Wishbone also has an approachable price point it is $49-$51 depending on the formula for a 24lb bag with roughly 100 cups of food. So for a 40lb dog eating 2 cups a day your only spending about $1 a day. I am hard pressed to find a better value in this price range!
Nothing is perfect
When not to feed Wishbone – Although it is approved for puppies it is lower fat then I would like for a puppies caloric needs. Also due to the lower fat and lower calories I would not recommend it for working dogs or extremely active dogs or nursing moms. However for the average dog it is a fantastic option.
Bleh. I hate brushing my own teeth. Do you really think I'm going to brush my dogs teeth? Rather than tell you you're not doing enough for your dogs oral health if your don't brush them daily. I'm going to talk about how your dogs mouth and saliva work and what you can do to create a healthy mouth without the toothpaste and toothbrush.
If you read last months blog on OptaGest you read that Amalase is an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates. Your human mouths contain Amalase which breaks down starches; this is one of the markers of an omnivore or an herbivore. Dog mouths lack Amalase in their mouths. They do however, have Amalase later in their digetive tract. It isn't added till the pancreas and small intestine. This may be because Amalase does best in a neutral ph environment. Dog's stomachs are incredibly acidic. Due to this lack of salivary amalase; starch doesn't get broken down or removed. All of this starch is a great meal for bacteria which loves a carb based diet. These bad bacteria can cause potentially serious health issues.
How to get the starch out:
Simple answer: The more meat the better. If you can do a raw diet then more power to you. Kibble by nature is usually at least 20% startch. Many kibbles are over 50%. Raw diets contain 80-95% meat and the remaining percentage is usually made up of veggies and vitamins. Dropping the carbohydrate percentage down from 20% to 2-5% is a huge deal. Will a raw diet eliminate or prevent dental issues forever? No, of course not. It is however, a massive step in the right direction. If raw is not an options move to a kibble that has more meat, less startch, and less sugary starch. For most dogs I like to see at least 60% meat in their kibble if at all possible. Check out future blogs on Nature's Logic, Farmina, and Earthborn Holistic.Your dogs dental health will be just one of the many benefits.
Some of the best tooth cleaners out there are bones. Preferably knuckle types but any bone will scrape and clean teeth. For the small dogs we sell a huge number of roasted kneecaps. This spring we will be getting a new freezer and have enough space to carry frozen bones and necks. These are excellent for teeth any many other aspects of your dogs health. If real bones aren't for you (yet) then don't forget about long duration chew bones like Nylabone or Benebone. As your dog chews the material grows rough on the edge allowing for it to clean along the gum line.
Gel the easy out for toothbrushing:
Finally there are several gels which do not require brushing. You squirt them in the gums along the sides of the mouth. Dogs don't really like it so they work their mouths and spread the gel around for you. We carry Petzlife brand and hear that it does wonders for our clients dogs.
However there are dental issues that need medical attention like tooth decay, abscess and others. Take advantage of Dental Health Month and take your dog in for a oral exam. All dogs are different just like humans. I haven't had a cavity for 18 years. My wife gets at least 1 a year. Your dogs dental needs will be different from others. But all dogs will benefit from meat, bones, and a little gel.
Further reading - Integrative Veterinary Care Journal on enzymes, saliva, and meat.
Welcome to my first blog ever! I have had people telling me I should be doing this for years and thanks to Celeste from the Clever Canine's persistent pestering I am putting fingertips to keys and taking a plunge. I have never considered myself a writer of any skill or quality but rather an analytical thinker who likes numbers and quantifying results. I tend to think this lends itself to a rather dull form of content but maybe there are some out in the ether who would will find benefit in my research, thoughts, and theories. I will start out by saying that I am not at vet and have no paperwork that says I am an authority on anything I am writing about. If that ever changes I will let you know. I am just a guy who has been working with lots of dogs since 2009 and has done a lot of study on nutrition.
The first product I wanted to write about is OptaGest from a company called In Clover out of Boulder, Colorado. The company was founded in 1996 by Rebecca Rose who is a biochemist with a background researching digestion in humans. One thing I was happy to hear about In Clover is they formulate all their own products. They are not a marketing company but a pet wellness company. Some companies slap their name on a product that someone else developed and then they market it. It changes the mindset of the company if you are selling someone else's product as opposed to creating products to sell. You're not a sales company you're a wellness company. OptaGest is basically 2 ingredients. Organic inulin (Prebiotic) and a blend of digestive enzymes.
Prebiotics VS Probiotics
OptaGest is a prebiotic. Not to be confused with a probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the gut and aid in digestion by fighting off the bad bacteria. Prebiotics are plant based carbohydrates that are not digested and they feed the probiotics.
Think of your dogs gut as your front yard. Probiotics are the grass and Prebiotics are like fertilizer. There are hundreds of different types of grasses. Some grasses do well in acidic soil, some do well in sandy soil, some do well in dry climates, and some do well in swampy conditions. There are specific grasses that do best in each specific condition. Your dog has their own specific “soil condition” in their gut and their own blend of probiotics growing in it. Just as fertilizer feeds all kinds of grasses Optagest will feed whatever unique blend of probiotics are in your dogs gut without introducing new ones or throwing off the balance of probiotics.
Remember that a healthy lawn will not only look pretty but will actually choke out weeds. A healthy gut that is teaming with the right kind of probiotics will actually stop many health issues before they even get a chance to take root!
About 75% of a dogs immune system lives in the gut. In addition to fighting disease the immune system also fights allergies! (aka itchy skin). I think that in the coming years science is going to place an importance on prebiotics for both humans and animals that would surprise most of us.
These are plant based enzymes which help break down food and make it more digestible. Optagest contains:
Protease - breaks down protein
Amylase - breaks down carbohydrates
Lipase - breaks down fats
Cellulase - breaks down fiber.
When your dog was a puppy they were born they have a wealth of enzymes but life and its stresses degrade these supplies and reduce their body's overall digestive ability. Many dog foods claim to contain these healthy enzymes. However, due to their heat sensitive nature and the total amount needed by your dog to digest the food itself most foods are actually using more enzymes then they replace. Supplementing with a enzyme product like OptaGest on a regular basis will increase the nutrition your dog is able to get from their food.
Who can benefit from OptaGest?
Dogs experiencing stress or showing overt sings of not digesting well should give this product a try. Stress can look a lot like everyday life for some dogs: travel, a round of antibiotics, a kennel stay, switching foods, going to the groomer. The most direct sign that your pet is not digesting properly is if they are gassy. Other signs they are not getting the most out of their food is Corpophagia (eating their own waste) and loose stools.
Feline hairballs. Adding protease enzymes will help break down the hair so it moves through the digestive tract rather than blocking the stomach's exit door and coming back up.
You know your dog best. What it comes down to is that without proper digestion nothing is going to work quite right. It all starts with getting the right nutrients out of their food so your dogs can thrive. Digestive health matters!
I am excited to offer a 7 day trial pack for $5 and then 100g and 300g bottles which will last about 75 and 225 days so OptaGest comes out to be less then 20 cents per day with the big bottle. Stop by Bailey's or call Doorstep to add some to your order.
Here's to clean, healthy, happy dogs! - Brent