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The BEST Dog Food for Beginners

The BEST Dog Food for Beginners

I have been asked by friends and acquaintances about what I feed my dogs (Beverly & Harriet) so I figured I would tell them all and share with you my website as well.  If you prepare your own food for your dogs, cooking removes a lot of nutrients.  Kibble is the biggest enemy for several reasons.  Raw diets are by far the most biologically appropriate source of nutrition for dogs.  Preparing food for dogs could complicated and time consuming.  A raw dog food diet requires specific balances and ratios of certain nutrients and ingredients. One of the really tricky calculations is balancing the calcium/phosphorus ratio. One must also have the appropriate balance of organ meat, muscle meat and greens.  I get food for my dogs from Barfworld.com.  This diet allows you to choose between patties or nuggets so servings are easy to figure out.  For information about a special promotion through my website I have included the details at the end of this article.  For more advanced raw feeders I recommend Raw Paws.  You can read more about their food in my article The BEST Dog Food for Advanced.  In that article I discuss the Raw Paws diet.

My dogs are on a BARF diet which is raw food.  Raw food is the healthiest diet option for dogs.  BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.  It’s based on Dr. Ian Billinghurst’s diet for animals.  I order their food each month or so.  I have several articles that stress the importance of raw feeding.  One of interest might be Why a Raw Diet is Vital.  Vets who practice conventional medicine are not educated about biologically appropriate nutrition.  The article, Why Don’t Conventional Vets Recommend Raw Feeding will begin to help you understand why.

The food is packed in sturdy plastic bags (that can be re-sealed) and comes in a cooler with dry ice.  It’s more expensive than the processed commercial products from most pet stores.  I feel that it is well worth it though.  I also add my own supplements as well.  I have feeding my dog this diet for many years with no problems and no health issues.  For a short time, I switched to a different company to try it out, but I discovered that they were using bone meal in their food which is almost always a rendered product.  That FREAKED me out so I switched back to Barfworld.  I will go more in-depth about raw food diets in future articles because there is so much that the public doesn’t know about it.  I illustrated how little most people know in my previous article entitled What is in Dog Food?  If you have concerns about salmonella, please read my articles that provide the facts about salmonella.  I have a video from the FDA that states that the illnesses and deaths from contaminated dog food is NOT due to salmonella.  Think about how much commercial kibble has been recalled for salmonella contamination.

I was able to negotiate a promotion for my blog community which gives you to a free gold membership for 3 months which entitles you to free shipping for 3 months along with other sales and promotions.  This could be a savings of approximately $75 in shipping costs.  In order to get the free 3 month gold membership, just call 1-866-282-2273 (BARF) and mention the essentiallydogs.com 3 month gold membership.  Again, this promotion is for my readers.

They are VERY knowledgeable at Barfworld.  They provide free telephone consultations so you can gain an understanding about raw diets and their products.  They will advise you on portion size for your specific dog’s requirements and address any questions you may have about raw diets and making the transition.  Barfworld also has a selection of supplements and other products as well.

This article was written a year and a half ago.  I have decided to dive into a more complex raw diet.  You can read my article The BEST Dog Food for Advanced in which I discuss the Raw Paws diet.  The Raw Paws carries diets that contain the right balance of muscle meat and organ meat in their products called “complete and balanced” diets.  They also have ground bone in many of their foods.  This is important for dogs to maintain healthy bones.  The only important thing missing is the greens, but I add my own natural supplements that contain dried greens.  

 


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24 Comments

  1. Kelsie

    I’ve always been curious about starting my two on a raw food diet. Currently, they are on a very high quality kibble, but I know I could be doing better for them. I just haven’t quite figured out the whole raw food thing yet. I’ll definitely have to look into something you can order rather than coming up with the percentages of foods myself!

    1. Janie

      Hi Kelsie-
      Thank you so much for checking out my blog. I used to have my dogs on Wellness and Solid Gold. If you read my article: , I am sure you will learn a lot. It’s preety scary. I also wrote about what I give to my own dogs. I have the link at the bottom of that article in green. Many people are concerned about salmonella when it comes to raw food. I wrote an informative article on that as well. Just use the small search bar on my website and you will find it. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. That’s what I’m here for.

      1. Julie

        I have a 13 year old husky with horrible spinal arthritis. He is on some pain meds and recently injectible Adequan. I have generally given him Merrick canned food. He is very picky and turns up his nose to most dog foods now. I am currently boiling him chicken and rice (but will stop the rice now that I have read about arsenic in rice products). Can you tell me what you found out about Wellness and if you have any other canned dog foods you can recommend? He will absolutely turn his nose up at bagged dog food. I am unable to afford the raw diet for him. Thank you so much 🙂

        1. Janie

          Hi Julie-

          I am not a fan of canned food or dry food. Dry food is an absolute no. Lightly cooking food is the less expensive alternative, but getting a correct balance is extremely difficult. Dogs require certain percentages and ratios of ingredients. I don’t know how to do this and I am not comfortable messing around with that stuff. Dogs require meat, organ meat, veggies, and some fruit. Corn products are like poison. Corn is one of the most common allergens. Carbs and starches in general should be avoided as dogs are not biologically designed to digest them. They are used as fillers to keep prices down. The lesser evils would be potato. Stay away from products with BHA and BHT. Fats like animal fat and tallow. Also, if it say only “meat” or “animal fat,” be aware that those ingredients can come from ANY animal including euthanized dogs and cats. I wish I could be of more help.

          1. Itasara

            I just happened to come a accross this page while surfing. I found this article informative but a little scary. My Yellow lab passed away about two years ago. She was 14; labs typically live 12 to 14 yrs. I think. I probably fed her and any dogs I have ever had the usual commercial foods and cheated with table scraps. According to what I read here one would have to be well off to buy the “right” foods. How many people who have pets can go that route-have the money or patience to do these “save” diets? People don’t eat so well either these days if you read all the articles about what is in our food. I am not planning to get another dog, but I have adult children with dogs or who plan to get a dog and I don’t know that some of them could afford this diet you mention in the article.

            1. Janie

              Hi Irasara-

              Thank you so much for visiting my website and for your comment. You are very fortunate that your Lab had a life without suffering from disease. Yes… food that is biologically appropriate is expensive. The majority of dogs do not die of natural causes. I see organ diseases, diabetes, bad teeth, skin issues, ear infections, allergies which could often be avoided with the proper diet. A dog’s diet is key to a healthy immune system. Vaccines over-work the immune system and dogs on synthetic diets are impacted the most. Please check out the following article: Are Dog Vaccines Really Safe?

              Dog diets don’t come close to comparing to human food. Yes… McDonald’s is really bad. If you eat the same McDonald’s meal every day for the rest of your life, that is similar to what dogs are living on (except the McDonald’s is usually healthier food). You see, human food has regualtions which the FDA enforces. Dog food regulations are very loose and are not always enforced. This is why we have lawsuits like Blue Buffalo who made advertising claims which were completely false. When you see a dog food label, there are tons of vitamins and minerals added. That is because the food is basically void of nutrients. That is why I refer to most dog food as “synthetic” food. Processing is very scary. Sometimes companies use euthanized cats, dogs, alson with their flea collars in processing the food. Please check out the following article: What’s REALLY in Dog Food?

              I feel that it is best to pay for health rather than take a chance and pay in the end to fight illness. There are ways to make your own raw food, but honestly, it is wayyy too complicated for me to do and it is very time-consuming. I cannot recommend any brands of commercial food because I am all about optimal health, but also, because there is not much reliability regarding the ingredients, processing. poor standards, lack of regulation. A great website is Poisoned Pets and Truth About Pet Food.

              That pet food industry scares me.

              All the best
              Janie

        2. Janie

          Other things to avoid are ethoxyquin, by-products, anything that says “meal.” Call the manufacturer and ask them directly which of their ingredients are sourced from China. It is a really tough job to sort though this stuff. Even the premium foods are are very expensive. Like me, she has 2 dogs. One is overweight the other is fine. They should weigh around 10 pounds each. She was looking at Merrick and Wellness. Based on their weight it would cost around $90 per month for the canned food. Math is not my strong suit and her math skills are awful as well. It is a good idea to double check that calculation. I told her that my food runs me around $125 every 5 weeks or so. Again… Double check on that math. I am terrible with calculating prices and amounts of food… Each dog require an amount of food based on the dog’s weight. You need to manipulate the amount though based on how active your dog is. An active dog needs a little bit more than a dog who is less active. That part is not a precise science. Prices are outrageous. You might want to check out Dr. Karen Becker’s book about feeding dogs.

      2. Jackie

        Dear Janie,
        Thanks for all the information. MY little Jessie is very precious to me so I certainly will think twice what I will put in her little tummy.
        I look forward to reading your wonderful articles.

        1. Janie

          Dear Jackie-

          Thank you so much for reading my articles and for your comment. I STRONGLY suggest that you change her diet. Jessie is an enormous priority. I want her to have the very best care and treatment.

          Janie

    1. Janie

      Excellent question!!!
      It is only toxic in larger amounts.

      When it is in food in appropriate amounts garlic is very beneficial:

      *Garlic acts as a tick & flea repellent.
      *Garlic has antimicrobial and antibiotic properties and is effective in fighting various forms of internal or external bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, including parasites, and repels ticks & fleas.
      *Garlic fights infections of the mouth, throat, respiratory tract, stomach, and intestines.
      *Garlic helps to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
      *Garlic enhances liver function by helping the liver to eliminate toxins from the body and reducing toxic accumulation that may lead to cancerous growths.
      *Garlic stimulates immune functions in the bloodstream by increasing the activities cells that seek out and destroy invading microbes and cancer cells.

      I took this information from:
      http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/garlic-for-dogs.html

  2. Angie

    Hi,
    Right now I supplement Evangers wet dog food with Nature’s Source. My dogs are very finicky. What is your take Honest Kitchen, which just got FDA approval? I am curious about a raw food diet and I would like to know if Barfworld sends out samples.

    1. Janie

      Hi Angie-

      Although I have many issues with The Honest Kitchen’s recipes, their food is far superior to the bulk of food produced by the commercial dog food industry. The FDA approval for “human grade” is assuring that there are no scary ingredients from rendering plants… At the same time, this is a clever way of marketing their products. You see, “human grade” is very comforting to most dog owners.

      If we look at the ingredients you will see that they include a lot of vitamin & mineral supplements, many of which are likely to be sourced from China. There are no regulations that require companies to reveal the source of their ingredients only the location of their manufacturing plant). You can read article http://www.essentiallydogs.com/is-the-government-addressing-the-dog-food-issue. If you call them to ask where their supplements are sourced from, they are required to be truthful in their disclosure.

      It can be easily argued that the most nutritious thing a dog can eat is green tripe. That is an ingredient that is not permitted to be sold for human consumption in the USA. I like that Barfworld uses that in their recipes.

      The Honest Kitchen includes potato & grains in their recipes which are really not a biologically natural part of a canine diet. Starches are not healthy for dogs as they convert to sugars as they are metabolized.

      A biologically natural diet for dogs REQUIRE a percentage of organ meat (liver…) which NONE of their recipes include.

      Yes, they do testing for contaminants, but many contaminants are found when food is made in deplorable conditions. Salmonella is a big scare that dog food companies and the FDA has put into consumers. Salmonella is NOT a danger to dogs. It is only toxic and dangerous to humans. http://www.essentiallydogs.com/salmonella-whats-the-truth is an article which will put your mind at rest.

      They state that they products are GMO-free. That is very difficult for them to prove. THE Monsanto corporation has provided our government with a great deal of money so our government owes them big time. If something contains GMOs, Monsanto has done everything in their power to prevent labeling that states something like “GMO Product.” If a product has the “USDA Organic” seal, then the majority of the product itself is organic. You can read about the subject in http://www.essentiallydogs.com/the-truth-about-holistic-organic-dog-food.

      By FAR, Barfworld is a superior diet as it provides the nutrients and the content that is specifically designed for dogs.

      Whew… OK… With regard to samples, although I didn’t see them on their website, I believe they do have. I know they are not free as the food itself has a cost and special shipping is necessary because it is raw. I will call them on Tuesday to find out if they can provide samples to people. I will get back to you on Tuesday or Wednesday about that.

      Thank you so much for visiting my website and for your desire to the best you can for your dogs. I love my devoted website visitors. Please tell other dog owners about my website. I want to educate as many people as possible and to help as many dogs as I can reach out to.

  3. Sylvia

    I recently signed up for your newsletter and found it to be informative, easy to understand, well-written but most of all I’m impressed that you take the time to answer questions your readers have. From it, others will learn. I’m not a fan of social media but will forward your website to my dog-friends as many of them are uninformed about the benefits of feeding raw food. Am looking forward to future newsletters. Are any back issues available?

    1. Janie

      Hi Sylvia-

      Thank you so much for your kind words. When I send out a newsletter, I simply introduce my newest article(s). Therefore, if you would like to see exactly what is in each newsletter, you can go to the blog page and just skim down until you find an article that you like. Otherwise your mailbox will become cluttered and you will need to open each one and sift through. I would recommend putting your cursor onto each link, right clicking and choose the option to open link in new tab or new window. I really don’t know how to send out more than one newsletter at a time. I think I need to brush up on my skills.

      I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying my articles and that you will be sharing with your friends.

      Sincerely,
      Janie

    1. Janie

      Hi Diana-

      Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my article. I hope the information will be helpful and that you will be able to provide your dog(s) with the healthiest lifestyle possible.

      Janie

  4. gspal

    I am from India having an abandoned 7-year-old male mixed Pom+German Spitz short stature 13 kg companion. Found it about a year ago with a maggot infested wound around its tail, an ear bitten off. It is fine now and very affectionate. It seems to have corneal dystrophy in one eye and we give it Cineria Maritima eye drops and had been on Cod Liver capsules for 30 days. It is on Farmina low grain Natural & Delicious Adult mini kibble and Morando Migliorcane Professional Chicken & Turkey Chunks gravy. The low grain comprises of 20% oats and kelp. BEEF is strict NO in India.

    At Barfworld I was going through the ingredient list of Juicy Chicken Recipe Item # 101. I just want your professional opinion on its ingredients. It contains Cod liver Oil which has toxic levels of Vitamin A & D aside from Omega 3. Ground flax seed has Omega 3 in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA which is poorly absorbed by a dog.

    Is it available in India?

    1. Janie

      Hi Gspal-

      You are a true hero for rescuing that lucky dog!!! The amount of cod liver oil is so small that it is not toxic and dogs can metabolize it well. Marine sourced omegas are best because it is absorbed better than plant sourced oils. However, it is very healthy for dogs to have various oils because different oils have different benefits outside of the omegas. The key is not to overdo anything. It is best to provide small amounts of plant omegas (as opposed to larger amounts) so that dogs can reap the benefits of the oils without worries of toxicity. Plant based oils are not absorbed as easily as marine based oils, but they DO in fact have nutritional value. For example, I wrote about coconut oil and its health benefits for dogs.

      As far as food goes, the best thing to do is stay with a prepared raw diet. I don’t know what is available in India. I have lots of articles about the problems with kibble and canned food. http://essentiallydogs.com/whats-really-in-dog-food is a great article that shows what commercial dog food is all about. It is very scary stuff. I am into the raw diet because it is biologically appropriate. I am not able to recommend any commercial food because it conflicts with the concept of feeding a diet that is natural and what carnivores require.

      Thank you for writing and for visiting my website.
      Janie

  5. Stacey

    Hi Janie, Thanks for the info, I have been doing a lot of reading today on the various sites. I have 4 little furry rescues that all have their own personalities. I feel like I am on information overload! One of my critters has stones in her bladder and the Doctor is insisting she be on Royal Canin Urinary SO and that it is okay to feed it to all my dogs for right now. But one of the articles I read had this brand as a no go and then your feelings about dry food has me so confused. Also I have to admit to you that I am guilty of having the endless feeder of dry food for my babies for one so they can eat whenever they are hungry but also for selfish reasons being cost and time effectiveness. But this is my 2nd of the 4 that seems to be having troubles so I want to do right by them so I can keep them happy and healthy for a long time. Can you give me some insight on the following things I seem to see in some of the foods that are supposed to be “High quality” 1. potatoes 2. flax 3. crushed bone? Also I wanted to know how to determine if you are giving your dogs food with garlic 2-3 times a day what would the toxic level be for a small breed pooch.

    1. Janie

      Hi Stacey-

      As far as potatoes go, dogs do NOT need carbs (unless they are working Greyhounds or sled dogs). In those canned and kibble food you find lots of added vitamins and minerals because the nutrients of the “food” itself is gone due to processing.

      I’ve gotta tell you that I HATE those prescription diets; that food is like poison. Conventional vets do not study nutrition beyond the tiny bit they get that is usually funded by Hills or other corporations. When a vet carries those diets, it means that the vets don’t have the knowledge to design a diet to address health issues.

      I STRONGLY recommend that you find a vet who is schooled in nutrition and holistic medicine. Vets who have an extensive education do not carry those diets. You can find a holistic vet who will guide you and feed your dog proper food along with herbs and supplements as opposed to all the synthetic garbage in those prescription diets. Check out the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website. They have a search tool there. Choose the NUTRITION option and plug in the other information. You might also want to search for WESTERN HERBS and HOMEOPATHY. Nutrition needs to be your first priority. From there, various herbs can be combined to treat your baby’s issues. You can use a “find” or highlighting tool in your browser to search for herbs and homeopathy when you have the nutrition list. A good way to ensure that the vet is knowledgeable is to call and ask if they sell any prescription diets. If they say no, it is a good sign. Ask them if they are familiar with raw diets and how to guide you to make your own at home. These questions will help you determine the extent of their knowledge. Personally, I would not feed a raw diet unless it was already prepared. There are too many risks when it comes to balancing it and even though I could probably figure it out, I wouldn’t feel comfortable and it would be exhausting and VERY time consuming for me.

      Implementing a healthy diet with herbs will be some work, but your dog will live longer and healthier for it.

      Thank you so much for visiting my website and for your comment. I wish you the very best.
      Please keep me posted.

      Sincerely,
      Janie

  6. Alissa Glatter

    Hi Janie,

    Thanks for sharing great info!

    Can you recommend a broad-spectrum non-diary probiotic? I did a search on your website for one, but couldn’t find it. I bet you are going to ask me why. The short answer is I think my sweet Addie has a UTI — licking, accidents 🙁 and I know it is probably because of the crap food she’s been eating…also, what do you think of Easy Raw dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food? Thanks for your help!

    Love ya!!! Alissa

    1. Janie

      Hey Alissa-

      Supplements has a probiotic/digestive enzyme product that I use. I would give it a try. Stay away from anything that converts to sugar (carbs…).

      As far as raw-dehydrated, you need to look at the vitamin premix. If there are more than 5 or 6 vitamins added, it indicates that the actual food is void of those nutrients so I would compare it to cereal that is “fortified” with vitamins because it is junk food that needs the supplements.

      The most economical food that meets those parameters is Raw Food and Some Alternatives.

      Thanks so much for visiting my website. Talk to you soon.
      Janie

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