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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Completely baffled

Are there any prepared diets that are 'complete' but don't contain carbs? I can't see how a wild dog would ever eat carbohydrates. It's not like rice or biscuits grow on trees!
What defines a complete food from a complementary? What am I meant to add to a complementary to make it complete?
Wendy Adam, Bristol


  1. hilsofhove(Twitter)22 April 2009 at 07:02

    Having same problem & come to conclusion only natural feeding will solve the problem but how much do I then feed?Trial & error I suppose to maintain weight.There is usually less protein in complementary foods hence adding biscuit(which will help teeth).

  2. The thing to remember, in my opinion, is that dogs have been domesticated for 1000s of years and most bear little resemblance to wild dogs. Yes, wild dogs primarily eat proteins - although they also eat their prey's stomach contents - but they also have to spend a lot of time and energy working for that food.
    In contrast, most domestic dogs have a small, set amount of exercise each day. Domestic dogs with high protein levels in their food and not enough energy burning activity to compensate can become hyperactive, difficult to train, destructive and even aggressive. In all the conversations I have had about this (both as a DForDog forum mod and as the owner of a JRT) with behaviourists and vets, the advice has been to regulate the protein intake depending on the size and breed of the dog but also on the level of activity - i.e. working dogs need high levels to work effectively, lap dogs who get 20 mins walk a day should have max 20%.

    Always consult a vet before making any radical change to your pet's food.

  3. I'm sure 'wild' dogs would eat carbs - it grows on trees and bushes (berries) and is present in plants which they also eat.

    My first dog used to dig up and eat my new potatoes, so they will choose to eat carbs, even when we would prefer them not to. Why do you want to cut them out?

  4. A good complete dry dog kibble that is cereal free will have no carbohydrates from sources such as grains. Dogs don't needs these types of carbohydrates and many have allergies to cereals and grains. James Wellbeloved in the UK does a very good cereal free range of complete dry dog food.

  5. I use Orijen for one of my dogs that just wasn't interested in food. It is 70% meat and 30% fruit and veg. It seemed to make him calmer and more open to training (he was completely unsocialised)as well. When I first put him on it he weighed just over 2kgs and now weighes 7kgs and appears happy and healthy. I am very pleased with it.
    Good luck with whatever you choose.


  6. You are correct that wild dogs would eat very few carbs - possibly some fruit in season. It's also apparently a myth that wolves eat the stomach contents of their prey! If you want to "go natural" then a raw diet is obviously best, but there are some canned foods available that don't contain carbs - Bozita is one. The James Wellbeloved cereal-free feeds are a bit of a red herring - they still contain very high amounts of carbs from vegetables like potatoes.
    If you want to use a dry complete feed then I agree Orijen is probably the best available - it's made from 70% meat or fish and 30% vegetables, is very high protein for a kibble (about 44%) and low in carbs. But it is still, by its very nature, a highly processed product.
    A raw diet is high in protein, at around 50-60% typically, but the protein from meat is what dogs are designed to digest easily, and raw-feeders as a whole tend not to see the hyperactivity often blamed on higher protein levels in kibbles.
    Feeding raw really isn't that hard - honest!!!

  7. I would do the BARF diet if I were you. I bought Ian Billinghurst's book Give Your Dog a Bone and switched my spaniel over to that way of feeding when he was two years old.
    I don't understand this thing of a high-protein diet making dogs hyper. My spaniel calmed down once he was on the barf diet.
    You need to read the book, though, as there are various veggies and other things to avoid.
    Dr B does approve of oats now and again, but not cereals or starches generally.
    Julia Lewis