Health and Wellness
Disclaimer: None of the members of Midwest Border Collie Rescue are veterinarians, but we are experienced dog owners. The information below has been collected out of need when our dogs have been sick or injured. You should do your own research and make an informed decision about the health and wellness of your pet(s). You should also consider seeking the assistance of a qualified vet before making a change in diet or changing your pet(s) vaccination protocol.
“The best vaccine against common infectious diseases is an adequate diet” The World Health Organization
Do you know what is in your dogs food? You may be surprised once you learn how to read the food label.
Packaged pet food is a great convenience, but how do you know
you’re getting a good quality product? The best way is to learn how
to read the labels, but if you’re like most people, you probably
find the terminology more than a little confusing, if not downright
indecipherable. For example, how does “meat” differ from “meat
meal”? And what the heck is “animal digest?” Which ingredients are
healthy choices, and which should you avoid?
Ingredient names are defined by law in most regions, based on definitions accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO). While not all areas have legally adopted these definitions, all national pet food companies follow them. Here’s a look at some of the most common pet
food label terms, and what they actually mean.
Meat is “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals, and is limited to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus…”
Meat is a fresh product, and the term is limited to cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. Choose a food that specifies the meat, like “beef” or “lamb.” If the label just says “meat,” it may contain a mixture of species.
Poultry is “the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.”
Unlike meat, poultry may include bone. The chicken used in pet foods is typically “backs and frames” left over from processing broiler chickens into breasts, legs, and wings for human consumption. “Backs and frames” include the spine and ribs with whatever meat is attached. It may also include the bone and skin left over from processing “boneless skinless” chicken parts.
Meat Meal is “the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably…”
Meat meal, like all animal meal products, is rendered – cooked to remove the fat and moisture – leaving a dry powder that is nearly 100% protein. Note that “added” blood, hair, horn, hoof, etc., is not permitted, but there is no requirement for the removal of such contaminants as may naturally be present. Bone may comprise a considerable proportion of this product.
Poultry Meal is “the dry rendered product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts of whole carcasses of poultry or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.” This definition is consistent with the definitions of poultry and meat meal.
Meat By-Products “is the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves.”
Basically, by-products are “parts that aren’t meat.” They are
fresh, not rendered. Some pet food companies specify the by-products
they will accept, such as kidneys, liver, and lungs. Either way,
by-products are best avoided.
Poultry By-Products consists of “non-rendered, clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter…” This recently revised definition states that fecal content must be removed. The old definition did not have this requirement.
Poultry By-Products Meal is “the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers…”
Poultry by-product meals are very common in poor quality dry foods. Most poultry in the U.S. is processed at “captive” renderers, meaning that the slaughterhouse and rendering facility are privately owned and located together. “Mega” chicken growers and processors, such as Tyson and Foster Farms, are the primary sources of chicken meat, meal, by-products, and by-product meal for big pet food makers.
Corn Meal and Corn Gluten Meal are high-protein residues of processed corn, and are used as high-calorie fillers and substitutes for animal protein sources in cheap pet foods; they should be avoided.
Meat and Bone Meal (MBM) is “the rendered product from mammal
tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof,
horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents…”
MBM is a convenient catch-all term for whatever offal and refuse happens to be rendered that day. This is where the worst stories about pet food come from. Many renderers accept for processing such items as road kill, euthanized pets from shelters and veterinary clinics, downers and animals who died on the farm, during transport, or at the slaughterhouse, cut-away cancerous tissue, fetuses, out-of-date supermarket meats, restaurant waste, and other unappetizing ingredients. Needless to say, the presence of MBM on a label is a signal that the food is of inferior quality.
Food A is the label of a very popular food purchased sold at grocery stores and popular chain pet stores. Food B is not as well known but it is one of the high quality foods that many of our foster homes and adopters feed. After reading the food label information which food would you want your pet to eat?
Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Chicken Meal, Potassium Chloride, Dried Egg Product, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Flax Meal, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Caramel, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), DL-Methionine, Rosemary Extract.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal, Sweet Potato, Brown Rice, White Rice, Whole Dried Egg, Menhaden Fish Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Tomato Pomace, Safflower Oil, Herring Meal, Cheese, Flaxseed, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Apples, Green Beans, Lecithin, Chicken Cartilage, Potassium Chloride, Cranberries, Blueberries, Salt, Monocalcium Phosphate, Chicory Root Extract, Alfalfa Sprouts, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Folic Acid, Parsley, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcous Faecium, Vitamin A, D3, E, B12 Supplements, Choline Bitartrate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Sorbic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite.
Below are some high quality foods that you might want to consider checking into:
The following websites have proven to be good sources for general health information:
See Spot Live Longer (book)
The duration of immunity for vaccines for diseases like rabies, distemper, and parvovirus have been shown to be 7 years. More importantly it has been scientifically proven that, after the initial series, when vaccines are re-administered the immune status of the patient is not enhanced. Antibodies from the initial vaccine block the subsequent vaccines from having any effect.
Although the true interval at which re-administration of Rabies, Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and Para influenza vaccinations will enhance the immunity in a significant number of dogs has not been determined, an arbitrary compromise interval of every three years has been agreed upon by the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and 22 Schools of Veterinary Medicine. It is the consensus of immunologists and experts that the duration of immunity is much longer and probably the life of the patient. This three-year compromise interval will greatly reduce the number of antigens administered, and therefore the risk of adverse reactions, while providing the most complete protection against preventable diseases possible.
Ask your vet about 3 year vaccinations!
Rescue Remedy is an all natural form of healing that can reduce everyday stress. Effective in many situations that cause stress or anxiety such as thunderstorms, fireworks, trips to the vet or groomer and separation anxiety.
Dr. Bach’s most famous Flower Essence formula, Rescue Remedy is one of the world’s best known natural stress relief remedies. It is made from five of the Doctor’s original 38 flower essences:
- Cherry Plum - for fear of losing control of mind, body or emotions
- Clematis - for dreamy, absentminded, metal escape, inattentive, lack of interest, avoiding circumstance by withdrawing.
- Impatiens - for irritability, impatience, nervous tension and frustration
- Rock Rose - for panic, terror, good for emergency situations
- Star of Bethlehem - for comfort, good after an emotional upset, accident or past trauma
Different ways you can give Rescue Remedy to your pet:
- Add it to their food or water
- Put it on a treat
- Rub it on their gums
- Rub it on their ears
- Put it on their paw pads
The human form of Rescue Remedy contains 27% alcohol. There is now a pet formula that is alcohol free.
Click here for information on Heartworm