Nutrition for Dogs

Nutrition for Dogs, News

Superfoods | Salmon

We want to introduce a new ice cream flavor. But first lets dig into one the main ingredients, Salmon.

What is a Superfood?

There’s no official scientific definition of a Superfood and many believe it’s just a trendy marketing term coined to hype and hook people into buying products. Sioned Quirke, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association said, "The term Superfood has no regulatory approval and is not a legally recognized term.” Some nutritionists and food scientists think it’s a marketing trick to fool people into thinking they are eating more healthily. “The new year is prime time for introducing new products with exaggerated health benefits,” Quirke said.

Real Superfoods

Many claim that multi-tasking Superfoods provide multiple disease-fighting nutrients that can cure everything from cancer to impotence. Unfortunately, the benefits aren’t fully substantiated. But, it is generally accepted that Superfoods are dense in nutrients. They contain higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than other food types.

So which are the real Superfoods? That depends on what source you read since no two lists are the same. The current trend, however, seems to be exotics like buffalo berries, hemp hearts, manuk honey, sacha inchi, beluga lentils, and shichimi togarashi.

The Power of Salmon

Salmon is in the Superfood Hall of Fame. It’s always on a Top 10 List because it’s one of nature’s most natural sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids which are good for joints and all around mobility. Because these Omega 3’s don’t occur naturally in the cells of canines, adding them to your dog's diet can be beneficial.

SMOKED SALMON Dog Ice Cream

We may never know what is the perfect "Superfood," but we can select foods that are high in nutrients. That’s why salmon is the star ingredient in our newest ice cream we call “Smoked Salmon”. After more than a year of testing, we finally selected a salmon from British Columbia. The 18 year old company we source from is family operated and the owner is a life-long fisherman. His “honey smoked” salmon contains no artificial preservatives, nitrates or MSG. The rich flavor comes from a secret firing process that uses honey and real hickory wood and not from a honey marinade or glaze. The salmon is made to order and shipped out fresh from the factory.

We take the fully cooked salmon, bake it with peas – a powerhouse source of Vitamin K and other antioxidants –and mix in bits of the crunchy skin. Mark Sisson, celebrated fitness expert and author of Primal Blueprint, Amazon’s #1 bestselling health book calls salmon skin “the bacon of the sea”.  And, what dog doesn’t love bacon (or crunchy fish skin)?

Your pup is a carnivore at heart! It is the main reason why we select high protein ingredients for our ice cream. Each of our dog ice creams features a protein; pulled pork, gouda burger, chicken cheddar, beef brisket, peanut butter bacon, and (new) smoked salmon. According to renowned veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, “it’s good to rotate proteins in your pet’s diet. That’s because any food that is over-consumed can create an allergy over time.”

Salmon Swim Mainstream

Buyer Beware! Any food product can be labeled as a Superfood so do your homework. We’re not saying that our SMOKED SALMON dog ice cream has curative powers nor will it give your dog super powers. It’s just a healthy, good tasting treat that will make him happy just like this whimsical painting by Dr. Seuss called Joyous Leaping of Uncanned Salmon might make you smile.

You can order the new flavor here.

Smoke Salmon Ice Cream.jpg

News, Nutrition for Dogs

Chinese Imported Dog Treats Cause Of Canine Deaths

Jerky treats from China have made news headlines again because more pups have lost their lives. We decided it was time to learn why this keeps happening. What we found is certainly eye-opening and scary. 

For those of you who might be asking if we use Chinese jerky in our treats, the answer is a resounding NO! One of our signature treats has beef jerky but it’s handcrafted and locally sourced from a small company in rural Michigan.  

Speaking of beef, let’s begin. Remember when the little old lady in the Wendy's commercial asked “where’s the beef” she just wanted a bigger burger. Today, that same question leads us all the way to China.  

Beef is one of the commodities in a high-stakes trade deal between the U.S. and China and may indirectly be responsible for thousands of dogs dying in this country and Australia. Chinese poultry, the other commodity, is likely the killing agent. 

As of May 1, 2014, the FDA has received almost 5,000 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which are imported from China.

The reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people and include 1,000 canine deaths.

This is a complicated and twisted tale that raises many other questions like why the U.S. continues to import these products or why can’t top-notch FDA specialists figure out the cause. There’s more to this story and if chickens could talk, maybe we’d have those answers.

Background

In the past ten years, there has been a dramatic increase in the import of pet food from China. That’s because people in China prefer dark meat poultry which leaves a massive amount of light meat available for export.

From 2003 to 2011, the volume of pet food exports to the U.S. from China has grown 85-fold. Nearly 86 million pounds of pet food came from China in 2011 alone. What’s more, pet treats, including jerky, are now the fastest growing segment of the pet food market.

Drugs

In January 2013, chicken jerky recalls were sparked by the New York State Department of Agriculture when they found some products adulterated with antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. as well as amantadine, an antiviral and anti-parkinsonian medication.

Manufacturing Plant Corruption

After inspecting five high volume jerky producing plants in China, the FDA identified one that falsified documents regarding their use of glycerin. Why is this significant? It’s because glycerin is a toxic by-product in making biodiesel fuel and it has been found in nearly every Chinese jerky treat’s list of ingredients.

Glycerin

Got your chemistry book handy? Glycerin is a sugar and filler. It’s classified as a humectant which means it absorbs water or moisture. It’s used in pet treats so the manufacturer can sell you the weight in water. Glycerin binds the water so as to disguise the water as a solid treat or food, and inhibit mold growth. To make a food soft, moist or semi-moist, glycerin makes up about 10-18% of the product. It’s about 60% as sweet as sugar so the treat maker benefits since dogs can taste sweetness.

Glycerin Market

Now it’s time to grab that economics book. Right now there is an extraordinary amount of biofuel glycerin coming into the market since one gallon of biodiesel yields one pound of glycerin. At this rate, the glycerin market is forced to find new uses for this product. Animal food is where it’s being dumped. 

Below are some of the brand names that contain glycerin: 

  • Beggin’ Strips
  • Beneful (Baked Delights and Snackin’ Slices)
  • Bil-Jac  (liver treats for dogs and Gooberlicious)
  • Blue Buffalo (Blue Bits, Blue Bites, Blue Stix, Super Bars, Blue Bones, Wild Bites, Blue Wilderness Wild Bites)
  • Blue Dog Bakery (Softies, Perfect Trainers)
  • Buddy Biscuits (Soft and Chewy, Chewy Tricky Trainers)
  • Busy Bones
  • Canyon Creek Ranch
  • Carolina Prime
  • Cesar Treats
  • Dentastix (from Pedigree)
  • Good Bites (from Pedigree)
  • Halo (Spot’s Chew)
  • Milo’s Kitchen
  • Pur Luv (Chewy Bites, Little Trix, Grande Bones)
  • Purina Pro Plan (various treats including Roasted Slices)
  • Real Meat Jerky Treats (Jerky Bites, Bitz, Long Stix, Large Bitz)
  • Solid Gold (Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Lamb Jerky, Tiny Tots)
  • Snausages
  • T-Bonz
  • Waggin Train
  • Wellness (Wellpet, Wellbites)
  • Zukes  (Hip Action, Natural Purrz, Jerky Naturals, Mini Naturals)

Natural vs. Natural Glycerin

Until recently, most glycerin for pet food was produced as a byproduct of soap making and considered safe for pet consumption. Pet food makers that use soap glycerin try to distinguish their products by calling it “natural." Buyer beware because bio-diesel glycerin is also categorized as “natural” but it’s not been approved by the FDA yet.

Irradiation

Here’s another interesting fact. According to FoodandWaterWatch.org (a consumer advocacy organization) there are no reports of pet illness or death linked to the same jerky treats in Europe. What’s different? Both the U.S. and Australia use irradiation – the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to destroy microbes. The problem is it doesn’t successfully destroy all of them and can alter the food. From the OrganicConsumers.org website:  “Studies show that animals fed with irradiated food have shown increased tumors, reproductive failures and kidney damage.

Symptoms

Symptoms reported by pet owners include gastrointestinal, liver, kidney and urinary disease.

About 10% of the illnesses included neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms and about 15 percent tested positive for Fanconi syndrome – a rare and fatal kidney disease.

Consumer Awareness

Incredibly, even with all the media coverage over the years, there are still pet parents that are totally unaware of the jerky treat situation. Otherwise, how could they knowingly continue to buy the foreign jerky?  Maybe it’s because manufacturers don’t have to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products which means they still may be sourced from China.

Or, they just don’t get it. Nina Leigh Krueger, head of Purina’s recalled Waggin ‘Train brand, said they had thousands of customers calling for it to be back on store shelves. 

So Purina re-launched the treat, now including two varieties made in the U.S.  “We still produce our Chicken Jerky Tenders in China but we now get our chicken there from a single U.S.-owned supplier which oversees the process from egg through to treat,” said Bill Cooper, Nestle Purina’s vice president of manufacturing. He declined to name the supplier but said the company now routinely tests for 40 types of antibiotics.

Recalls

Due to consumer pressure, PetSmart and Petco will ban all treats from China by year end 2015. 

Processing in China

Food Safety News just revealed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon allow U.S. chickens to be sent to China for processing before being shipped back to the states for human consumption. Considering that there are no plans to station on-site USDA inspectors at these subpar Chinese plants, it’s disturbing to say the least. Also, consumers won’t know which brands of chicken are processed in China because there’s no requirement to label it as such.

Report Complaints

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area  or go to:  http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints. 

You can also get dog food recall alerts delivered to your Inbox by subscribing to The Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Recall Alert email notification list or follow them on Twitter.

Wrap Up

I hope this article has raised awareness of what’s going on in the pet industry.  Personally, I was blown away by what I discovered.  I recommend reading the Hearing on the Threat of China’s Unsafe Consumables by Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food and Water Watch dated May 8, 2013 for a good overview.   http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/china_house_testimony_may_2013.pdf

We want you to know that Arrfscarf will continue to source locally and maintain close relationships with our vendors. Our goal has always been and always will be to give your pups the very best.  

Until now, who would have imagined that jerky could be the tipping point for economic trade disaster and personal tragedy. It’s certainly a story of international intrigue. But as we found out, the real story is not about jerky, chickens, or even dogs.  It’s all about money and there’s only one way to fight back. Voting with your purchasing dollars. Buy local and U.S. made products.

Nutrition for Dogs

Salmon Slices, April's Monthly Treat

Salmon Slices are grain and gluten free. What are some of the other unique properties of the treat?

We love Salmon for the omega-3 fatty acids it contains. They are good for your pups skin and coat while providing support for their immune system. We started by crafting our own jerky for this recipe and then used a grain and gluten free base. We choose Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour because it is low in carbohydrates, grain free, and high in fiber. Fiber can help sugars in the pup's from crashing. 

We also added some unsweetened coconut flakes (sulfur/preservative free) and coconut oil. Coconut has benefits for not only your dogs coat but digestive track since it is rich in fiber. Most of the saturated fats in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s). They help the body digest nutrients efficiently. Coconut oil also contains 50% lauric acid (the only other source for this high amount is in breast milk) which has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Below is a short video by Chicago’s own Karen Becker talking about the benefits of coconut oil. 


Lastly we added a high quality little super seed known as black Chia (gluten free). It is non-allergenic. Chia seeds are an excellent source of phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron, and zinc. They contain more calcium than whole milk, more iron than raw spinach and more magnesium than broccoli. They even trump salmon by having triple or more Omega-3 fatty acids!

Omega-3 is important to balance out Omega-6 fatty acids and promotes healthy: cells, immune system, skin and coat, joints, brain development and maintenance, eye development and maintenance and growth.” 

We want to thank our monthly subscribers for allowing us to create unique treat experiences for many pups. This special treat has been receiving great feedback! Stay tuned to find out how we are bringing it to more than our monthly subscribers.