NaturalHealthCritiques | Natural Health Facts, Studies, Remedies, and Product Reviews

Your Questions About Natural Remedies

Sharon asks…

Healthy Dog Foods?

What kinds of dog food that are nice and healthy?

vti answers:

What you want to find is the HIGH-QUALITY food that *your dog* does best on.

Here are some examples of GOOD dog foods:
* Artemis
* Blue Buffalo
* California Natural
* Canidae
* Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
* Eagle Pack Holistic Selects
* Fromm
* Innova
* Merrick
* Nature’s Variety
* Orijen
* Solid Gold
* Taste of the Wild
* Timberwolf Organics
* Wellness
* ZiwiPeak

Or check this website; the 4, 5, or 6 star rated foods are all good foods. Http://

There is no food that is the *best*, different individual dog may thrive on different foods. What is best for one may not be the best for the next. And just because a food is good quality, it doesn’t mean it will jive the best for your dog.

Here is my “short list” of rules when I am looking at dog food ingredients:
1) When I chose a dog food, I chose one high meat content. I want to see preferably at least 2-3 out of the top 5 ingredients be meat or meat meal (first ingredient must be!). Meal is simply the meat with the moisture removed.
2) I want to see higher quality grains, such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal, instead of seeing wheat and corn. Or an alternative starch/carbohydrate such as potatoes or sweet potatoes.
3) I don’t want to see any byproducts.
4) I don’t want to see a lot of fillers.
5) I don’t want to see preservatives that are believed to be carcinogens (BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin).
6) I don’t want to see artificial colorings such as the Red, Blue, and Yellow dyes.
7) I don’t want to see added sugars (sugar, corn syrup).
8) I don’t want to see mystery meats (meats identified only as “meat” or “poultry”.)

Here is an article about byproducts:

And an article on what ingredients to avoid:

Higher quality food may seem more expensive at first, but it evens out. The higher quality the food, the less fillers eaten (and therefore the less poop comes out the other end). Your dog eats more of a low-quality food to try to get the nutrition it needs, and most of the food just passes right on through. Also, higher-quality food will make your animals healthier, so you save money on vet bills in the long run.

What *NOT* to buy:

Stay away from grocery stores brands. They are low-quality foods chalk full of fillers, preservatives, dyes, etc.. (Grocery store foods are those like Beneful, Old Roy, Alpo, Pedigree, Purina, etc.)

Beware “premium” foods. “Premium” does not always mean good nutritionally, and is not a nutritionally high quality food. Most of these foods have the same types of ingredients as grocery store foods, just a bit better quality of those not-so-good ingredients. (Premium foods are those like Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Bil-Jac, Royal Canin, etc..)

Another thing to be wary of: A lot of vets will recommend what they sell in their office. They get profit from the brands they keep on their shelves, that’s why they push it. Truth is, vet schools don’t focus a lot on nutrition. It’s not saying that a vet is a bad vet because he recommends those foods, a lot of vets just are told “this is good food”, so they pass the message along without proper nutrition knowledge. Also, some dog food brands (like Hills) support vet schools, so vets have heard of it from the time they start college, which makes them think it’s good as well.

Hills company, the makers of Science Diet, are heavily involved in vet schools. “Hill’s scientists author more than 50 research papers and textbook chapters each year and teach at leading schools of veterinary medicine” (Source of quoted section:!598359213!167846923!7005!8005&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302026072&bmUID=1196192566575 )

“Big box” petstores like Petco and Petsmart rarely have quality foods. (I do believe that PetCo sells “Solid Gold” and “Natural Balance” brands and Petsmart sells “Blue Buffallo”, which are all higher quality foods, but most of the foods aren’t.)

Also, grocery stores and Walmart aren’t good places to buy food either.

Your best bets for getting quality dog food are:
– small, locally owned petstores
– dog boutiques
– farm supply stores

When switching foods, do it gradually. I do this over about a two week timespan:
25% food A, 75% food B
50% food A, 50% food B
75% food A, 25% food B
100% food A

Linda asks…

Do dogs live longer if they eat a holistic food vs store brand food?

anyone know the health benefits of feeding a food like wellness, blue, merrick?

vti answers:

Most of the “holistic” foods don’t contain grain which is going to have a big positive impact on your pet. But ALL dog foods are cooked at high temps, which burns off any enzymes (bad). I feed a raw prey modeled diet, dogs are designed to eat raw meat, only humans have adapted to eating cooked food. Obviously a dog can sort of maintain on cooked food, but all dog food companies dump vitamins and minerals in their food to cover up the natural deficiency of a cooked diet. Feed your dog raw whole chickens, turkey, large beef stew cuts, venison, rabbit, and lamb. Feed him hearts and livers for organ meats. He’ll be a much healthier happier dog. Also I use a fish oil supplement for Omega 3 (cod liver or salmon oil) in case you actually decide to switch (which you should). No it’s not as easy as pouring kibble, but if you’re not willing to take the time to help your pet be the healthiest he can be you shouldn’t have him.

Carol asks…

Earthborn Holistic dog food?

My family is getting a 9 week old Giant German Shepherd this weekend. We have everything but the food. I’ve done alot of research on the food and we went to buy Solid Gold Wolf Cub (for large breeds) this afternoon. When we checked the expiration date they were all expired and we notified an employee who checked the food way up as well and sure enough that was also expired. They’re going to donate it and order in new stuff to have on Friday. While we were waiting a lady there for Earthborn Holistic dog food started talking to my dad. I had never heard of this before and came home to research it. It gets good ratings but I’m just curious if anyone on here has tried it before? It’s made in IL where I live and all the ingredients are from the US except flax-seed which comes from Canada.
Has anyone tried this food? They’re comparable in price and I’m wondering which one you guys would buy if you had a choice.

Thanks! :]

vti answers:

Yep, the Earthborn food is excellent. I have tried all 3 varieties that are on sale where I am and all our dogs love it. We tried them out initially with the trial packs that were available and very cheap.

My dogs are doing well on this kibble. I also buy the holistic can food which one of my dogs gets with her dinner. Can highly recommend that as well.

Helen asks…

Switching Dog Foods?

I was thinking of changing my dog‘s food, she is currently eating Nutro Natural Choice Chicken, Rice and Oatmeal, but she keeps getting really bad dandruff right above her tail on her back ( I have been bathing her once a week w/ special shampoo, the rest of her looks great except this one spot) I was thinking of going to Nutro Natural Choice Venacene(sp) Brown Rice…Any suggestions? I would like to stick to the Nutro Natural choice but am willing to try others!
I am using the Tea tree shampoo, the rest of her coat is amazing!! It is literally one spot the size of coffee can lid!!
She was at the vet 3 weeks ago and she suggested the bathing and tea tree shampoo…Sorry should have mentioned that earlier!!

vti answers:

Definitely change his dog food. Purina, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Iams, are all cheap foods w/ lots of fillers, by-products, corn, and other nasty stuff.

Depending on your budget… Here are some PREMIUM foods and prices that I’ve seen while shopping for my English Bulldog.

1. Canidae – All Life Stages – (most reasonably priced food and 5 star quality.) About $1.15 per pound… 20 pound bag cost me around $22.50

2. Merrick – Puppy Plate – Also pretty reasonable, this is what my Bulldog eats and he loves it… Especially when I put warm water in with the food, stir, and then it creates a nice gravy that seems irresistible to my pup. His energy level, coat, and muscle tone are also nice. Tends to be a rich food, therfore you’ll notice loose stools until the pup is fully adjusted to this new food.

3. Innova Evo – Entirely grainless dog food with high protein. I’ve seen alot of mixed reviews about a growing puppy with high protein. I’ve read Veterinary studies on a high protein diet and they’ve found no problems at all. I have not tried this food with my pup, but wouldn’t mind considering it once he’s a little over a year old. Price is around $60 for a 30 pound bag. Http://

4. Orijien – About the same as above #3. A very good food comparable to Innova Evo, but only found in certain states. Otherwise must order online.

See for advice and complete reviews on dog food products. You’ll find that Purina is a 1 or 2 star quality food.

What you want to look for is a food with good quality meat products in it. No by-products or fillers such as corn. The first 4-5 ingredients is what primarily makes up the food. Therfore you want meat protein (chicken, beef, turkey, herring, salmon) or meat meal.

The above foods that i’ve listed are 5 & 6 star quailty foods that offer a holistic approach.

It may take a while for your dog to see what he likes. Buy small quantities before you buy a big bag. Also, when you get your new pup, you need to mix 25% new food to 75% old food for the first 3 days, then 50% to 50% ratio for 3-4 more days, then 25% old food to 75% new food for 3-4 days, then finally 100% new food. This will help the pup adjust to the new food, which sometimes doesn’t make them feel so good and can give loose stools.

My best advice to you is to read up on products at the website that i’ve provided, and then make your choice based on your findings.

Robert asks…

in simple terms, what is the difference between natural, organic and holistic dog food?

I’m about to start a new job (obviously in the animal care industry) and I think i’m pretty sure what the difference is (kind of) I googled it and one website says one thing, another website says another..but put simply, what is the difference between the 3? For my own dogs health I’d like to know and advice to my customers..Thanks! 🙂
Love the maturity of the ignorant youth…everyone understands that, and since your talking to a’s spelled with an A. I can only hope people like you don’t own animals

vti answers:

I can only assume that your new job will require you to be able to explain this to customers, so you should be getting your information from the manufacturers of the various products you will be selling.

From a commercial, advertising viewpoint, natural is food that uses natural ingredients, for instance, meat source proteins instead of synthetic proteins, like corn gluten. The preservatives will be natural ingredients instead of chemical preservatives, which means the food will not stay fresh as long.

Organic can be certified by the federal government, not just a few states, but usually means that all the ingredients were not genetically altered, the meats were fed organic grains, and the vegetables and fruits were organically grown, hence very little use of chemicals in the ingredients.

Holistic is the confusing one. Many “gourmet” stores sell “holistic” foods. In general, holistic is a food that helps dogs stay healthy without chemical supplements, for instance the inclusion of fruits and vegetables as antioxidants, instead of chemical additives that do the same thing.

You are essentially talking the difference between scientifically formulated products vs. Naturally formulated products. Read the ingredients on the back of the Science Diet bag, then go read the ingredients on the back of the Wellness bag.

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