My first Rottweiler, Zelda, was very sick her whole life.  Early on the veterinarian thought the issue was food intolerance.  We tried many, many different dog foods, each trail being more expensive than the previous.  After all, the more expensive the food the better, right?

My husband started doing dog food research and found price had nothing to do with quality.  We attended a dog nutrition seminar and subscribed to a couple informational sources about dog food.

My husband found and presented the option of raw feeding.  I was leery at first, and it didn’t help that our vet at the time was adamantly against it.  However, knowing that kibble wasn’t working for Zelda we decided to make the change.

This was not an easy decision.  We didn’t know anyone who was feeding raw and internet sources were controversial.

We switched to raw and saw immediate improvement in Zelda’s health.  The most obvious improvement was the chronic diarrhea diminished and she began having normal stool.

Our dog food research continued, and continues to this day with what we feed Liezel.

Whether you feed raw or not, the ingredients and where the ingredients are sourced are most important.

Here are the ingredients in Liezel’s raw food (this is the turkey, she also eats beef and lamb):

Turkey, turkey bone, turkey heart, turkey gizzard, turkey liver, green beans, squash, broccoli, salt, potassium chloride, Vitamin E, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, Vitamin D3.

And the ingredients in the dehydrated addition to her raw:

USDA Potatoes, Flax, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Garlic, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Niacin, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Potassium, Manganese, Chloride, Copper, Magnesium, Pyridoxine, Cyanocobalamin.

In comparison, here is an example of a poorly rated kibble:

Ingredients: Whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed tocopherols, soybean meal,poultry by-product meal, egg and chicken flavor, whole grain wheat,animal digest, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, yellow 6, vitamin E supplement, l-lysine monohydrochloride, ferrous sulfate, yellow 5, red 40, manganese sulfate, niacin, blue 2, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex(source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite

And, here is an example of a five-star rated kibble:

Ingredients: Deboned lamb, lamb meal, duck meal, whitefish meal, whole peas, red lentils, field beans, deboned duck, whole eggs, deboned walleye, duck fat, herring oil, lamb liver, herring meal, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, whole apples, whole pears, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E, zinc proteinate, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product

In Liezel’s food and the five-star example, the ingredients are real – real food.  Whatever your feeding, whatever the price, read the ingredients and know what you’re putting in to your four-legged family member.

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