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What do you feed your cat or dog?

It’s always going to happen regardless of legislation. Human foods are recalled all the time. The question is whether our legislation puts good standards in place that force reported issues to be properly investigated and recalled. A recall occurring is not evidence of a wider problem unless it was clearly preventable or mismanaged.

I would like to spend a second talking about the source though. Please remember people posting on Twitter is not a reliable source of info. Working in this area I’ve seen people make all sorts of bizarre claims. Especially with things like mould (which can occur on food stored incorrectly) and foreign objects (which people sometimes drop in their own food).

Additionally this website evidently makes money from selling “alternative” options. Thus has a clear financial motivation to present a particular image.

For my own conflict of interest declaration, I work in a petcare related industry but receive no direct benefit from the sale of the products in question.

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To clarify though, I believe there needs to be much stronger standards for pet foods in Australia. I just don’t believe any “alternative” options are ever going to be safer. They can be just as prone, if not more prone to issues (particularly relating to vitamin deficiency, hygiene and injury risk from bones)

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Can anyone advise on best dry dog food to buy.
Best from nutrition,safety and price as there are some very expensive dog foods but not sure of quality.
Also would prefer a made in oz product . .
Thanks

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Our little dog in now 14 months old and we fed him Purina Supercoat Puppy Chicken Dry Food until he was 12 months old followed by Purina Supercoat Adult Chicken Dry Food the next month.

He never particularly liked either of them and generally needed something tasty to whet his appetite before he ate it.

We now feed him Purina Supercoat True Origin Salmon & Ocean Fish Dry Food and he generally readily eats it.

All are Australian made and we buy when on special at Coles, Woollies or our local Supa IGA.

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I would like to suggest another criterion as well. Not all dog food agrees with all dogs. I know of one that is allergic to chicken, he loves it but it gives him revolting diarrhoea. Making up the protein level in dry food with chicken tissue can be fine for many dogs but not all. Also for house dogs you may need to change away from a brand that is otherwise quite satisfactory if the vegetable content generates too much gas.

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Full disclosure: I work in the petcare industry

Lets start with safety. If you’re concerned about safety follow these tips:

  • Avoid foods that use the terms ‘and/or’ in their ingredients list (like the aforementioned Supercoat). ‘And/or’ signifies a manufacturer changes their formula based on whatever they can buy the cheapest increasing the risk of contamination
  • Look for foods that state no byproducts are added. Byproducts are more likely to contain contaminants. This may also be listed as ‘Tallow’ or ‘Animal Fats’
  • Foods made in the USA are subject to stricter regulations than foods made in Australia. Personally I still feed my pets Australian food where possible, but if you’re really concerned USA foods are a better safety bet
  • Past recalls are poor indicators of food safety. Recalls can happen due to random incidents, so unless a company has a history of serious recalls don’t use that to decide which food is the safest
  • Foods that state they’re made on a dedicated production line are less likely to get contaminated
  • The presence of a lawsuit/accusation against a manufacturer is often a poor indicator of whether there was ever an issue. I’ve seen first hand how people tend to jump to conclusions without a vet actually looking at their animal and determining what’s wrong
  • A common thing you’ll see is people claiming ‘Grain free’ options are dangerous (it’s popped up here before). The FDA is currently investigating this link based on a pattern that dogs with heart issues are commonly fed grain free foods. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest this though, it could be totally unrelated (especially given grain free foods are popular in general). If you really want to go the safe route vegetable fibre is the most popular theory of the problem causer. So either pick an ultra-high meat food (expensive though) or a food that uses rice or potato
  • Some dogs may get excessive wind or messy poops from too much cereal. This will depend on genetics.
  • If you have an allergy prone breed the most common allergy causes (roughly in order from most common) are beef, chicken protein, wheat, corn, soy. This will only be an issue for a small amount of animals and breeds though

thank you for coming to my ted talk. part 2 incoming

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Part 2: What is the best food?
This largely comes down to opinion. In general though foods are marketed in one of two ways. Either a ‘Natural’ approach or ‘Science’ approach.

Natural foods claim to more closely imitate ancestral diets of dogs. In general they have higher meat and often offer grain free options. Pros: Often better for sensitive animals, less likely to contain those common problem cereals. Cons: Generally more expensive for the top ones vs science brands.

Science foods claim to focus on the latest research and beneficial extras. Pros: More likely to contain added extras for joints, brain function etc, better options for less active/older dogs. Cons: Only offer decent sensitive dog options through vets (and they’re very expensive)

In either range look for the following for a top quality food:

  • A low feeding guide. The less food a product suggests the less ‘fillers’ it has (leading to smaller poops and longer lasting bags)
  • The presence of fish/vegetable oils higher up the ingredients. ‘DHA’ is a certification you’ll see on good products
  • The presence of ‘Glucosamine’, ‘Chondroitin’ or ‘Green Lipped Mussel’ for joints
  • A food specifically relating to your dogs size and age (it will have a better size kibble, ideal fat/protein content among other things)

Here are my top picks from what’s on the market of all the dry foods. To avoid any conflict of interest I will not list any retailer exclusive foods:

  • Best Australian Science Food: ‘Pro-Plan’ from Purina just did a big range revision. My dogs are on their senior formula
  • Best Australian Natural Food: Savourlife. They’re still Australian owned too and give half their profits to local dog rescues
  • Best Science Food: Science Diet. Still uses proper meat but has all the extras
  • Best Natural Food: Holistic Select. Uses human supply chains for the meat and has added probiotics
  • Best Overall (But extremely expensive!!): Ziwi Peak. 96% meat, no vegetable protein and lots of green lipped mussel.

If anyone has any questions about anything I’ve said do let me know. I’d be happy to explain why I chose those foods over others available

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@BrendanMays - is there a badge for the most useful information packed into the smallest, clearest and most concise post(s)?

Now how about my p… cat? Is the formula for success in choosing a good feed similar? :wink: mine tends to have a chuck now and then, settling on something that works has been tricky and not completely successful …

image

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There are only a couple of differences for cats.

  • Things like joint support are less important as most cats are small and less prone to many joint conditions
  • Omega 3s and 6s plus some sort of vegetable fibre/grass are more important. This helps reduce hairballs and vomiting. Grass like alfafa is the more ‘natural’ option.
  • If you have a purebred make sure you check their common needs (just like dogs!)
  • It’s a bit less common for cats to be poultry sensitive, but a bit more common for them to be fish sensitive.

Other than that look for the same things. All the brands I mentioned except Savourlife do cat foods too.

To address your specific concern about vomiting check the following:

  • Look for unchewed kibble in the vomit. If it’s present get a larger kibble (younger cats) to make them chew it properly, or a smaller kibble (older cats) to reduce chewing requirements.
  • Try a ‘Hairball’ formula and try to brush more (especially if you have a long haired cat). Sometimes vomiting is caused by hair stuck in their system
  • If the vomiting is only occasional it’s unlikely it’s sensitivities, but the most likely culprit would be the earlier mentioned ‘and/or’ in the ingredients. A sudden change in formula can cause an upset tummy.
  • And of course remember I’m not a vet. If it persists mention it at their next check up

It could always just be them eating mice too :roll_eyes: In which case the best you can do is keep on top of worming and hope it doesn’t get left on your pillow :rofl:

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Yes, well said @tpeter267 - I’ve offered this in lieu of a more specific badge.

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I mean I don’t know much about anything this just happens to be my area of knowledge

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tpeter267 thank you so much for sharing your amazing depth and range of knowledge with us!

Most of us have pets, and many consider their pets as members of the family and want to be able to provide the very best that they can afford by way of a healthy nutritious diet.

Your clear concise information is a breath of fresh air, and I am saving it for reference later.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help others with the pet food choices.

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Not a problem it’s an area I’m passionate about. Like with human nutrition, the best thing you can do is find an advisor you trust and is upfront about their interests. And if you/your pet have special requirements that should be a doctor/vet who you trust.

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Wet or dry pet food - we look at the pros/cons of each:

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After the bag of Purina Supercoat True Origin Salmon & Ocean Fish, I bought a bag of True Origin Duck & Chicken which our little dog really likes.

He will often eat it all, even without any added titbits to stimulate his appetite, and we are now on the second bag.

Currently on sale at Woollies at $12 per 2.5kg bag, save $4.00.

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This was a refreshing read. It’s good that experts were involved this time. And as specified in the article trust your vet! Much like doctors there are going to be bad ones, but the vast majority are doing their best and you can always seek a second opinion if you believe your vet is doing a half-job

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Thanks for the feedback @tpeter267 :+1:

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An article regarding caring for dogs.

My local vet, RSPCA, recommended a mix of white rice(cooked), can pet food and cooked vegetables (pumpkin or carrots). Been using this recipe for the last 15 years, pets are happy and healthy.

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I’ve enjoyed @tpeter267’s advice. Its almost identical to that of my vet, now. She recommended Science Diet “Vet Essentials” (which they sell at the surgery of course) and Toby likes it. But, he also likes to have a cheap Aldi one, full of salt of course. He gets more of the VE than the Aldi, but as long as he chews, I am happy. I worry about his teeth. I’ve been lucky with him, we are going into our 4th year together and he’s only thrown up once in that time, inside. I never see any signs of it outside so I guess his tum is pretty settled. He has medium length fur with a thick undercoat so brushing/combing several times a day is the go. He doesnt mind, he gets his grain free treats afterwards. Wet food now varies.

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