What do you feed your cat or dog?

An update from a petition on Change.org regarding an inquiry into pet food standards in Australia.

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I used the BARF diet for a number of reasons. Ref: The Barf Diet Dr Ian Billinghurst; he is a Sydney based vet, who in his books, explains in detail his logic, beginning with his patients, their problems and seeking an alternative, to what the Dog food industry dish up. Farm dogs don’t rush into the grain silos, and gorge themselves, in fact their preference is the rats that do. Dogs are omnivores, cats aren’t, both in the wild would get their semi digested veggies from the intestines of the animals they kill. So, rather than give your dog the identical meal twice/day for its whole life, I had to think about her food, just as I did my own. Her favourite turned out to be raw chicken wings, and I could feed them to her by hand, as she didn’t gulp them down, rather sat and was able to toss it around as she nonchalantly enjoyed the chewing and crunching. The liquidised raw veggies with some additives was her least favourite, but she loved avocados, egg shells, and licking out empty yogurt containers. I trained her to eat biscuit, as sometimes she would need them eg, while in kennels, and I did this by throwing them all over the garden so she had to hunt for them which did for hours. The resultant poo, is dry, odourless, and often white, so very easy to deal with at home and out walking.

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Hi longinthetooth

Your post makes complete sense to me, and is probably why I prefer to feed my dog raw food, following along the lines of Dr. Ian Billinghurst. After a while life crept up on me, and I had to give up my job to take care full-time of my mother, who now lives with us, to help her out in her twilight years. I was so thrilled to see that Dr Ian Billinghurst has now commercialised his common-sense approach to dog food, and his BARF diet is available to purchase frozen at most Foodland and Drake Supermarkets. This means I can give my Mum 100% of my attention, and also know that my beloved mate is being fed the best diet for optimum health, and is Vet recommended. Thank you for your post :wink:

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My kelpie and has a barf diet, she eats grass and unmentionable substances and then barfs on the tiles. Not always, just enough to be thankful for tiles.

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Has Choice investigated the nutrient values of dry versus wet pet food? I know all the Veternarians prefer dry as they sell loads of it. I know of a cat behaviourist prefers wet for cats.

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Hi @wrice

I have moved your post to this existing thread on dog and cat foods. There are a number of topics that cover many facets of the foods we feed our pets but this one seems to fit your request best. There is a lot of information in the posts above that may help you decide what might be best.

I am also sure that CHOICE will look into your request and this may end up being incorporated in a review. There has also been a request similar to yours made previously and you may wish to add a comment there as well:

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There are benefits to both. Although I always recommend at least some dry food.

Dry Food

  • Is more nutrient dense so the animal will be eating less and doing smaller droppings
  • Can address a bigger variety of needs such as dental care, fibres for hairballs, certain joint additives etc. Animals with special needs may require this as a minimum
  • Is far better for the environment due to lower shipping footprints and less packaging per meal

Wet Food

  • Encourages animals to eat (useful if they’re fussy)
  • Gives variety to meals (as changing kibbles can give tummy upsets where wet food doesn’t)
  • Provides hydration, particularly for cats who often don’t drink enough

I hope this helps answer your question. For the record I work in the petcare industry

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Observing what the local feral cats and occasional fox prefer, dry food doesn’t rate very highly. Although the cats are happy to raid the bowls of any pets who have leftovers or where left extras to graze.

Farm kelpies are special, although given the opportunity most dogs seem to show similar interests. It’s simply a limitation on the size of dog as to what the recovered wild resources may be. We don’t use poison baits for many good reasons.

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Much like children, animals don’t always want what is good for them :wink:

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My cats get lots of good quality dry food to snack on. And a small amount of good tin food in the morning, and a bit more for dinner.
Plenty of water, no milk. No raw meat except if I am trimming some meat for myself.
Nothing with bones, either raw or cooked.
Occasionally, some cooked chicken from a roast, but again, careful about bones.

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I had a rather brazen brush tail possum around the house a while ago that would stroll into the house through an open back door and happily munch on the cats’ dry food.

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Thank you. When I next own a cat or dog, I will alternate.

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I feed my dog meat that is suitable for humans to also ingest. I no longer use any pet foods and as a result none of my dogs suffer ‘tear staining’ either. It’s not difficult to meet their nutritional needs either given the plethora of ‘extra’s’ available to add to the meat. I also add a generous spoonful of home made greek style yoghurt to the meat each morning. My vet tells me he’s never seen healthier dogs than mine!

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We have a great seafood business in Cairns who have their own fleet of tuna fishing boats, and as well as their wholesale and export operations, they also have a small retail section with numerous varieties of fresh seafood on display.

They sell the fresh offcuts of tuna as pet food and I buy a handfull each week for our little dog.

Whilst his favourite food is meat and fish, he prefers it raw. Nothing sends him over the top more than raw tuna, and at $9/kg, it is very affordable.

Some weeks ago when I let him out on the back patio for his afternoon treat of a chicken neck, he pirouetted around as usual but suddenly let out a loud yelp and ran around holding his right rear leg up in the air.

I took him to the vet who diagnosed that he has shallow knee sockets and she could easily displace and replace them. She prescribed 4CYTE which he now receives daily.

Despite him not being a pure bred Poodle, he has unfortunately got the Poodle knee problems.

Hopefully the tuna and the medication will improve his knees.

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Many years since I had a dog, but had mostly Dad’s retired working dogs. When I finally got a pup I gave him a roo skin which he dragged around and chewed till he got over tooth development. My dogs had plenty of raw meat on bones, occasionally with hide attached. Being next door to a roo shooter has advantages. Also getting our own beasts butchered (you get everything, bones & offal to use) helped. This was supplemented with dry food (contains vitamins etc that they need). The vet always remarked on the dazzlingly white teeth and good dental health.

Disadvantages - smelly poo, the occasional bone resurrected from the tomb & presented to the household so we could all savour the stench of rotting flesh, dogs wanting to take their bones with them (trying to get on the back of the bike with huge bone in mouth - yet to see one with the dry food dish!) They get a bit territorial & proprietorial & will growl & snap.

Advantages - vet says good dental. Keeps them occupied for ages, they eat slowly rather than scoff, (although some breeds are natural overeaters - eg Labs) they don’t over feed.

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The vet who looked after our previous dog said “The one thing that we have not been able to teach dogs is to know when they have had enought to eat”.

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When I looked at the tax invoice for the seafood I bought last week, I was very surprised to see that GST had been charged on the raw fish pet food as it is the offcuts from the same fresh fish they sell for human consumption.

I Googled it and found this on the ATO website.

Pet food

Pet food is taxable. Any food labelled or specified for animals is not ‘food’ under GST law, as it is not for human consumption.

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Hi Fred, if you tell the Butcher that you may use the offcuts for soup you will not have to pay the GST… I have a delicious clam chowder using some of the offcuts and my pooch gets the rest, GST free! Ridiculous is it not?
Cheers NatNat :wink:

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Vet Tom Lonsdale used to work with Ian Billinghurst back in the day, also from Sydney, and advocates a Raw Meaty Bone diet rather than BARF. The biggest issue with BARF is it’s soft, usually with ground bone, and Tom’s opinion over decades of being a periodontal vet is this can really diminish dental health. That said I feed Frontier Pets which is basically dried raw, along with meaty bones. Pet food review rate it highly so it must be good - Frontier Pets Dog Food Review (2022) | Pet Food Reviews (Australia)

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That soft diet as you describe it, isn’t the BARF diet Billinghurst details in his books. Food producers have tried to take on the principles and include them in the manufactured food.

The Billinghurst BARF diet is closer to what describe as the Tom Lonsdale approach.

Basically, the bones are not meaty bones, far from it, eg, a chicken leg is too meaty, whereas a chicken wing is ideal for smaller dogs. Billinghurst recommends very little meat.The raw vegetables are liquidised to begin the breakdwon of the vegetable matter, a process dogs don’t really have the gut to begin. Billinghurst described as trying to replicate the partial digestion of vegetable matter by a rabbit. Lamb rib bones are great bones, but lamb can be high in fat. Knuckle bones are great.

The high proportion of raw bone, leads to a very dry almost white poo, that is almost odourless and firm to handle, when using a poo bag.

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