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Author Topic: Dog's Actual Life Span?
DawnStorm
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Someone on another board I frequent lost her 21yo cat last fall.
Here's the rundown of my dogs:
Ivy (Dobe): 11 years; bone cancer
Buster (Shep-Husky-Lab mix): 14 years; really
crippling arthritis
Goldie (Lab mix): 12 years; lymphoma
Jasper (Dobe): 9 years; neuro-muscular problems.

I miss 'em all. [Frown]

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NeeCD
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quote:
Originally posted by Dutch Angua:
I have the suspicion (sp?) that the cat's average life span of 15 is actually too low if you compare it to the age most cats cat live. I think it's because of the fact that a great quantity of cats die early because of traffic accidents, but are still counted along.
I suspect this because pretty much all of the cats I knew, and died of natural causes, were around 20 years old.

My parents have had several cats, but none lived past the age of 14. None of them died from traffic accidents, either, although one died from Feline Leukemia (he was about 12 at the time). The rest were all from "old age". Until reading this thread, I thought it was rare for cats to live until their 20's. I certainly don't know of any that old (personally - obviously I know of several now [Smile] )

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Barbara R.
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We owned a tricolor male beagle named Barney from May, 1972 until June, 1983 when he died of natural causes. He was running out in the woods behind our house and never came home again. We smelled his decaying carcass a week later, and my dad took his pick and shovel out into the woods and buried Barney. He was 11 years and 4 months old. I don't know if he was too young or not since I have heard of beagles living until they were 15 or 16.

Barbara R.

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lioness
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I had a white mutt who had some Lhasa apso in her live to be 16, nearly blind from cataracts and developed congestive heart failure. The vet said that putting her down was the kindest thing we could have done.

The purebred Scottish terrier lived to about 8, he died of cancer.

Currently, I have 2 Welsh Corgi/German shepherd mixes, they're 8 and the female has arthritis that she gets medication for. The vet started giving them a senior discount at 7.

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Missie
I Saw Three Shipments


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Our dog, which is apparently some kind of pekingese/boston terrier/chihuahua, is 15 and a half years old. We don't know how much longer she has, though... she's almost completely blind and deaf, has arthritis and is starting to lose her teeth. Her face is also gradually turning grey (she's black and white). Poor Chica, she's getting so old.

The lady across the street from my mom (one of my grandma's best friends when she was still alive) has a cat that's older than I am (I'm 22). She had another cat that was also that old, but it died a couple years ago. I think she also has one more cat that's in its mid to late teens, but I don't know how old it is exactly.

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Moon
I Saw Three Shipments


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My Schnauzer Silver died of cancer at the age of 16. He was mostly blind and mostly deaf, but he lived in the same house his whole life so he could get around okay. My mother and grandmother had to make special food of boiled ground beef and white rice for the last three-four years.

Scout the cat died a year later, also aged 16. She had to move to a new home with a kitten and I think the upheaval had a lot to do with her rapid decline. She was a tabby.

Musette the cat lived until the age of 23. She and her daddy moved to California so I don't know the details. She was a gray and white cat.

Taboo the Persian is around 17 and is slow, stiff, and thin, but still enjoys sleeping in the sun.

And my godpug, Sherman, is going to turn 11 on 1st November, and is doing just fine. He's a bit gray around the muzzle and has selective hearing but I don't think he is deaf as much as he is ignoring me.

My own two Schnauzers are 7 and Ace the cat is 6, so we hope we have many more happy years with them.

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RubyMoon
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Average life span for cats in my household is 13, but the two cats that died young from Cancer are included in that average. My toes are currently being nibbled on by a 15 year old deaf cat.
The olderst cat I ever met lived to be 26 -- she was a Spoiled siamese housecat. She was the boss of the whole house -- including the pit bulls.

My MIL currently has a Viszla (sp?) who is 14 years old.

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Casey, making hot chocolate
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My dogs have all lived very long lives, but nowhere near 20+.

Two poodle mixes, one 18, one 18 1/2
Two lab mixes, one 15 1/2, one 16
One bullmastiff, estimated at 10 (we had her for 8, and she'd had puppies before we got her.)

Good dogs all, but far short of the 20 mark.

Ca "Rosie, Gator, Bandit, Maggie, and Tina" sey

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tommi
The First USA Noel


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Our dog, who is supposedly a cocker spaniel/daschund mix (but very strongly resembles a beagle) is now about 15. She's mostly deaf now and I think she might be going blind (although the vet says she's not), but she still has full control of her bladder and bowels and can still hop around and sprint short distances. DH says her head used to be all brown and black, but it's been mostly white since I've known her. Her body is starting to go grey now too.

The topic of old dogs came up at my workplace not long ago and it was generally agreed that 17 is about the limit for most healthy dogs.

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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A dog's average lifespan (average for dogs who reach full maturity...let's say two years) when you take into account specimens that are genetically sound to begin with, will increase with a proper diet, sometimes as much as five years or more. A lot of problems dogs and cats are having nowadays is the food we feed them. Even premium dog foods contain chemicals and ingredients dogs don't need and can't use. They build up as toxins in their systems which can increase chances of cancer, arthritis, kidney and liver damage, and other problems...or exacerbate existing problems.

Consider this: most kibble dog food on the shelves use corn as a filler. Dogs cannot digest corn and have no nutritional use for it. Have you ever given your dog kernals of corn? What happens when they poop? Same kernals, virtually unchanged. Makes you think: why would they put stuff in dog food as a major ingredient that the dog cannot even digest?

Let's put it this way. Ensure is a nutritional giant where foodstuffs are concerned. They often use it to help very ill people who are limited in what they can take food wise. However, could you truly expect to drink Ensure 365 days a year for your entire life, take in NO other foodstuffs save maybe an occasional dry biscuit or piece of jerky...and expect to be healthy? Yet that is what we do to our pets. Give them bagged food that is the equivalent of cereal every day for life and expect them to be perfectly healthy and have no long term effects from it.

I have no doubts a proper diet gave my border collie mix years more on her life. A year and a half ago, when she was eight, she was going gray and had severe arthritis. She could barely get up and walk and certainly never ran. I switched her from her decent enough kibble food to a raw/cooked diet I myself prepared for her. No preservatives, no fillers, no indigestibles like corn and wheat, no mysterious chemical soup that can (and does) include phenobarbital (that's what they use to put animals to sleep with). Within literally days she was up and RUNNING. She stopped going gray and seemed to de-age about four years. Now just having turned ten, she acts like a dog of four years old. She leaps, runs, and is pain free.

So no, I don't think diet alone can extend a dog's average lifespan such a drastic amount. Good diet, better breeding with a very sharp eye on genetics, and our increased knowledge of veterinary care, can all be used in concert to extend the lives of our pets. But diet can and does literally add...or subtract, years not only to the span of our pets' lives, but also to the quality of that life.

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RubyMoon
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by ravynwriter:
[QB]
Consider this: most kibble dog food on the shelves use corn as a filler. Dogs cannot digest corn and have no nutritional use for it. Have you ever given your dog kernals of corn? What happens when they poop? Same kernals, virtually unchanged. Makes you think: why would they put stuff in dog food as a major ingredient that the dog cannot even digest?

Have you ever feed Kernals of corn to a baby, or a toothless adult? What happens when they poop? Yup, same kernals virtually unchanged. So I guess people can't digest corn either -- so we should all stop eating it.

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Horse Chestnut
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quote:
Originally posted by RubyMoon:

Have you ever feed Kernals of corn to a baby, or a toothless adult? What happens when they poop? Yup, same kernals virtually unchanged. So I guess people can't digest corn either -- so we should all stop eating it.

That would be pretty hard to do: When a crop becomes king.

Ravenwrite is correct though, that dogs get little good from eating corn. They are carnivores, and do not have the enzymes necessary to properly digest plant matter. We feed dogs corn because it is cheap and convenient for us, not because it is particularly good for dogs.

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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There's a difference between human beings and dogs. For one, most dogs gulp, they don't chew. Humans chew, thereby breaking up the corn into digestible matter. For dogs, even if the corn is broken up, its still indigestible.

Dogs can and do digest some small plant matter. Corn is not one of them.

Secondly, humans can pick what they eat, and make their own decisions. Left to their own devices, dogs in the wild (dingos, african wild dogs, etc.) don't raid corn fields or look for cereal type food. They eat meat, raw, bone in, blood-rich meat. Through the process of becoming domestic the dog's digestive system has not changed. Its only been about the last eighty years that processed kibble foods have even been available...before that, dogs ate raw meat and table scraps. Nature knows better what a dog needs than people do.

Think of dog food commercials that show those bountious selections of chicken and real beef. The idea is to suggest that is what's in the food. Well, if that's what's in the food, then why don't I just feed them that instead of the food? So, my dogs get actual chicken and actual real beef as well as fish, tripe, rabbit, turkey, and venison, supplemented with some small amount of vegetable matter and things like eggs. As a result, they're healthier, more energetic, don't have a 'dog' smell, have clean teeth, feel silky, and I personally believe have had years added on to their lifespans and quality of life.

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Dutch Angua
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Are you a specialist on this issue, ravynwriter?
(because this stuff is mighty interesting)

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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I wouldn't say I'm a specialist. I did a lot of research before putting my dogs over on raw and semi-cooked food and this is a lot of what I learned. Even my vet didn't hesitate to say that 90 percent of bagged and processed dog food was trash. A direct quote from her? "You know whats in most bagged dog food? Dogs that have died eating bagged dog food."

There are tons of sites you can research online about feeding raw, home cooked, or semi-raw diets. There is no 'right' diet for every dog. Every dog has different nutritional needs. It took a while to find a proper balance for my girls. One had a hard time until I realized she was severely lactose intolerant and cut out the cottage cheese and yoghurt(I used it as a treat and she loved it).

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ladyknight
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So far as my family's been able to ascertain, dog breeds don't matter as much as some would say. We've had a Samoyed (15.5 years), a Lab/Irish setter mix (14.5 years), a Chesapeake Bay Retriever (8 years), a Lab/Husky mix (15 years). My grandparents have had, that I remember, an Airedale Terrier (maybe 7 years), and a Labrador (well over 12 years).

We've never had littler dogs, so I can't speak to whether little dogs live longer than big dogs, but most of our dogs have lived quite a while past their expected life span that I've seen regularly posted.

As far as when dogs are no longer considered puppies? They're not puppies when they aren't agile enough to perform some of the feats they managed when they were younger...in spirit I think dogs are always puppies.

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Xia
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I have an interesting research paper on pet food and what goes into it, if anyone is interested. Well, it's interesting to me at least...and it earned me an "A" in the class I wrote it for. [Wink]

You can read it here: http://www.chicagocanine.com/petfoodar.htm

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Sister Ray
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The FDA tested over 30 brands of pet food and found no dog or cat DNA in the food. I cannot find the link at this point.

Here is another view on raw diets which I found interesting.

http://www.secondchanceranch.com/training/raw_meat/index.html

Sister "but then again I'm not welcome on most pet boards..." Ray

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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I've read that second chance ranch thing, and to me its an utter crock. The woman who wrote it cites NO scientific research...though she repeatedly refers to 'studies' she does not and REFUSES to give cites to those studies so people can research them themselves. I know. I've emailed her, very politely, when I was researching wanting to know more.

If you do a google search there is a rebuttal to her article that not only asks her for her cites, but addresses her points in a very clear manner, and offers its OWN researchable cites that contradict what she claims.

And its very interesting, your point about the FDA testing the dog food and finding no cat/dog DNA in it. I would be very happy if you can find that cite. Since not only has my vet been very blunt about it (she asked me when I had my border terrier euthanized if I wanted to pay for a cremation or just send him to the rendering plant), but there are also MANY places on line that will detail exactly this fact.

Here, I found the links. This is the link for the rebuttal to the Second Chance Ranch page:

http://www.rawfed.com/myths/rebuttal.html

Regarding euthanized pets in pet food:

http://www.petcaretips.net/euthanized_pets_in_food.html

Read the highlighted section here. It's odd that the FDA claims that phenobarbital from euthanized pets can and does survive the rendering process...if the FDA is in fact claiming that no euthanized pets are rendered and turned into pet food products:

http://www.petcaretips.net/euthanized_pets.html

http://www.homestead.com/vonhapsburg/petfood.html

http://www.critterchat.net/foodpets.htm

http://www.thedogbowl.com/PPF/category_ID/37/dogbowl.asp

http://www.belfield.com/article3.html

There are many more but I think that's sufficient for now.

On a personal note, let me say this. I condemn NO ONE for what they feed their pets. If people feed their dogs kibble dog food I'm not going to torch their houses, call them names, or even be unpleasant to them. I did it for years. I have researched this and chosen to take what I feel is a better, healthier route with my own pets. So far, it has proven to be so. I'm not desparaging man, I'm trusting nature. This is the way our dogs were BUILT. Their digestive system is the same as their wild cousins, however their outward looks may have been 'tweaked' for our own pleasure and use. They are still designed to eat meat and meat is what they should eat, not cereal.

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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BTW Xia, that was an excellent article. Good job!
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Sister Ray
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Here's the link - it's a PDF file though.

http://www.fda.gov/cvm/Policy_Procedures/DFreport.pdf

There aren't any studies that show raw meat is superior either.

Sister "doesn't even own a dog right now, though" Ray

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Horse Chestnut
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According to this article that ran in the L.A. Times, there was evidence that pets carcasses processed at rendering plants did wind up in pet food: Outcry Over Pets in Pet Foods.

As far as raw feeding goes; I feed raw, and have for three years, since my dog was 6 months old. I am totally convinced that this dog is far healthier than any dog I have had in the past, and I credit this to feeding him raw meat, bones and organs. Yes, it is my personal opinion; it's hard to find clinical objective research on the subject. After all, who would pay for it?

There was one famous body of research done in the 1930s on cats, here is a summary of that research: Pottenger's Cats - A Study in Nutrition.

That being said, I still haven't found anything that would convince me that changing my pet's diet would extend its life up to 10 years. I would still love to know where people are getting such figures.

Guess I could come back in 15 years and give you all an update. [Smile]

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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"There aren't any studies that show raw meat is superior either."

Studies aside, and accepting the fact that there are no studies at all that show kibble food is superior, and none to show raw is superior and therefore beginning with both raw and kibble food on even ground, think about this.

Why on earth would ANY processed, chemically treated, mechanically extruded diet be superior to a fresh, natural diet a creature evolved to eat?

I mean, if you had a choice, would you eat fresh food that you cooked or prepared yourself, or would you limit yourself exclusively to some artificial, factory prepared cereal and eat nothing else for your entire life? So why do we expect that of our pets?

I agree with Horse Chestnut. No I don't think feeding a raw diet will increase a dog's life by such dramatic numbers. But overall, a dog's life will be increased and the quality of life will be enhanced.

Let me put to you this simple scenario, again involving my own dog.

Prior to feeding raw:

Smelled like a dog.
Had bad breath and multiple dental cleanings despite me brushing her teeth often.
Eyesight and hearing were both deteriorating.
She looked 'old'.
Dry coat that shed frequently.
Arthritis in hips and elbows and a reluctance to stand and walk.
Frequent gas.

The ONLY change made was to stop her kibble and feed her raw. Now she:

Looks five years younger.
Runs and walks and bounces around pain free.
Coat is sleeker and healthier and sheds only minimally.
NO dog breath.
Teeth gleaming and clean despite me completely stopping my brushing regimen.
Sees and hears wonderfully.
I can't remember the last time she had gas save an occasional, one time pooter.

Nothing changed but her diet. Not her excercise, not her environment, and certainly not her genetics. Just diet. And every dog that I have seen be switched has responded in the same way.

Euthanized pets aside...why does kibble make sense save for its convenience? Even if there are NO dogs or cats in it, there are still euthanized horses and cattle, phentobarbital used to euthanize said animals, hooves, cancerous and diseased flesh, sawdust, feathers, beaks and other sweepings, a wash of denaturization chemicals which are highly toxic, Ethoxyquin which is also highly toxic, and rancid fat?

Again, I do NOT look down upon anyone that feeds their dog a kibbled diet. I just don't understand why you wouldn't feed any animal what its designed to eat? My rabbits get fresh vegetation, hay and grasses, and occasional bits of fruit. You'd never see me feeding them meat because they're not meat eaters. Why then feed cats and dogs different to their design?

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Of course there are no studies that say raw food is better-- the vast majority, if not all, studies on dog/cat food are funded by the big pet food companies, and why would they fund a study on a raw diet when they want you to buy their commercial product?

Yes, it's true the FDA did not find any dog/cat DNA in the food they tested, however there have been multiple cases in the last 10 years where pet food was found to contain euthanized pets. Here is one article:
"Pet food company stops using cats, dogs as ingredients"
If that doesn't work, try the google cache page.

If you read the FDA's report you will see that there are certain ingredients which they found were most likely to contain euthanized animals (which they say could be cows, pigs, or horses) and the euthanasia drug. These are the cheap non-specific meat ingredients many of the lower-quality pet foods use which personally I steer WAY clear of! I do use kibble for my dogs but I am very careful about the ingredients in the food. A dog's diet does have an impact on their lifespans so I want to feed my dogs the best I can to help them live longer, which means no Iams, Pedigree, Science Diet or those other low-quality foods you see advertised on tv.

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Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
which means no Iams, Pedigree, Science Diet or those other low-quality foods you see advertised on tv
I've heard bad things about Iams (can't remember what, but it was more than one instance), but not the other two. As a matter of fact, Science Diet is what my vet gave me for my cat. What is the standard used to determine low-quality food? It can't be just because it's advertised on TV, obviously, so apart from gourmet food or home prepared, where do you draw the line? (General question, not aimed specifically at Xia.)

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What does "Bookachow", "YOMANK!" and other lingo mean?

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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Quick quality check on good dog food:

First ingredient should be MEAT. Not meal, not byproduct, MEAT. Corn should not be listed...not as corn, not as corn meal, not as byproduct. No grain products should be listed in the first four or five ingredients, and any grains listed should be things like rice or brown rice.

Science Diet is crap. Vets give it out because vets get a commission for selling it out of their office. That's the long and short of it. You buy it, they get fat bonuses.

For a good quality kibbled food go to Nature's Best, Blue (a brand at Petsmart) or Nature's Variety: Prarie. Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul is also a decent kibble food.

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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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Thanks for the quick answer, ravynwriter. I actually have a cat (yeah, I know it's mainly a dog thread [Wink] ) but the issues are similar and the brands are the same. BTW, I didn't actually pay the vet for the SD, he gives free 5lb. bags of it with his welcome goody-bag to new customers/pets. But I do buy "crap" food. Not "cheap crap" but not the expensive stuff either. So far, I've only had to buy food twice (young cat) so I'm still trying to figure out what to get.

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I wondered why the Frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
What does "Bookachow", "YOMANK!" and other lingo mean?

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Rhiandmoi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Animals such as cattle which are intended for the food supply are not usually chemically euthanized. They are usually killed by a penetrative captive bolt, because only licensed veterinarians have access to the barbituates to do chemical euthanasia, and that's pretty expensive.

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Yes meat should be the first ingredient, but it should be a specific type of meat like chicken, beef, etc...rather than non-specific meat sources (the cheap low-quality not-so-healthy stuff) like "meat meal" or "poultry" etc...
Another thing to check for is the low-quality filler grains like corn which has no nutritional value to dogs and is just there to bulk up the food and make it cost less to produce.
Some manufacturers are very sneaky and will actually split up the ingredients so it LOOKS like the food is mostly meat when there is actually more corn, say, or rice. The way to tell this is if there is more than one form of the same grain listed in the top ingredients. For example, if the food lists both ground rice and rice bran in the top 5-6 ingredients it is probably mostly grain.

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Dutch Angua
Deck the Malls


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quote:
I've heard bad things about Iams (can't remember what, but it was more than one instance), but not the other two.
Iams? It's the only bloody thing my cat will eat and he's a good shape. A little skinny maybe, but he has always been a slim cat.

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ravynwriter
I Saw Three Shipments


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Horses and cattle are euthanized all the time. Sure, animals intended for the food supply are NOT euthanized, but remember, those ending up in pet food are not considered 'intended for the food supply'. Diseased animals, cancerous or injured animals are euthanized, denatured (soaked in chemicals and toxins so that they cannot be used in human food products) and shipped off to be rendered.

And end up in pet food.

As for Iams, remember, the accumulative effect of chemicals and toxins in the food is OVER TIME. Slow degredation of kidney and liver function and some effects of malnutrition don't just show up as dramatic illness until they are extremely far along. By the time a cat or dog shows evidence of kidney failure and becomes visibly ill, the kidneys are 70% or more damaged, resulting in death in only a few days. That's why most people say they went downhill quickly or the illness came 'out of the blue'. It happens to people too. A person may claim to be fit as a fiddle and feel fantastic, and all the while cancer or some other degeneritive disease is eating them up. When it finally presents in discomfort, the disease is so far advanced little can be done. I have a friend facing this right now with her Mother.

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Sister Ray
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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How do I know that the makers of premium pet food are not lying about the benefits of their food to sell it? Why should I take their word on faith but not the other pet food makers?

Also, I tend to be suspicious of wild claims about "chemicals" and "toxins". And the pets in pet food rumor makes me think of the Grade D Meat rumor.

Sister "at least pet food doesn't contain that awful dihyrogen monoxide" Ray

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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It is not a rumor that euthanized pets have been used in pet food-- it is a fact, as you will see if you read the link I gave.

There have been studies done that show that some of the chemical preservatives (such as ethoxyquin) used in pet foods can cause organ damage/failure. The denaturing ingredients used are not considered edible by human standards, which is why they are used on products that are to be labelled as not for human consumption. I don't know about you but I'd rather my pets not eat fuel oil/creosote, citronella, or any of the other denaturing ingredients daily...

How do you know they are not lying? Well, you don't know- but you can look up the definitions of the ingredients used yourself and see which foods use better quality ingredients and no potentially harmful preservatives and chemicals.

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Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

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Sister Ray
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I didn't say that it never happened; I was trying to say that it sounds overblown.

If pets really have such different requirements than I do, looking at the ingredients won't really help much. For example, I eat corn, but dogs usually do not. And organ meat sounds awful to most people, but it's often the most nutritious part of the animal.

Of course, most commercial pet foods could in fact be bad. I'll admit I do not know for sure. It seems to me, though, that people who feed premuim foods or raw diets accept a lot of claims about them without any question.

Sister "but at least on snopes I can raise the questions I want without everyone jumping on me" Ray

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The Organization. Adam Haseeb Memorial Pages. My library.

"There can't be a war on Christmas. Even Cambridge has decorations up!" - an observation I made

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Horse Chestnut
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Sister Ray:
Of course, most commercial pet foods could in fact be bad. I'll admit I do not know for sure. It seems to me, though, that people who feed premuim foods or raw diets accept a lot of claims about them without any question.

Sister "but at least on snopes I can raise the questions I want without everyone jumping on me" Ray

Well, I don't know about that, Sister Ray. I asked tons of questions before I switched to feeding my dog raw food. It was the years I spent feeding my other dogs kibble that I didn't ask questions. I didn't ask whether corn and wheat were actually good for a dog or cat to eat. I didn't ask why my friend's dog died from bloat. I didn't ask why my poor pets' teeth were rotting away in their mouths. Or why their skin itched so bad, or why the pooped so dang much!

When I got my Collie puppy he was such a frickin' mess health-wise, and I was searching the Internet on whether I should give a 5 month old Collie Imodium for his chronic diarrhea. That's when I first saw that people were actually feeding their pets something other than kibble. Wha...? You mean feed a dog meat? Like he was a carnivore or something? Huh? But...but...can you do that?

Yeah, you can do that. And it doesn't hurt a bit. In fact, all my puppy's health problems faded away within a week. And as I have said above, after three years of eating raw meat he is the healthiest dog I have ever owned. Well, except for certain neurotic tendencies, which no diet is going to cure. [Smile]

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