Category Archives: grain free

Meet Sled Dog Racer Laura Vinnedge


By Julia Williams

As many of you already know, CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods has a long history of supporting a wide variety of pet-related charities, organizations and events that help not only our four-legged friends, but the people who love them. One of those that CANIDAE sponsored for 2009 was Laura Vinnedge, a likable young sled dog racer in Fort St. James, Canada.

Laura, now 18, began working with sled dogs at the tender age of 6. She went for a run with a family friend, and her passion for sled dogs was born. Until recently, Laura managed Cottonwood Kennels, a small racing/recreational operation with huskies ranging from yearlings to age 9. With high school behind her, Laura’s thoughts turned to her future. She knew she wanted to attend college, but debated about taking a year off from school to work for a tour company and earn some money for her tuition.

In the end, Laura decided not to take that break from school, but to enroll in the University of Victoria this fall. With this decision came another, much more difficult one – what would she do with her beloved sled dogs? Laura knew it wasn’t fair to the dogs to keep them at her home, where no one could train them. Mushing is a very demanding sport, both physically and mentally, and when in training, Laura’s dogs run 5 days a week for 6 to 40 miles. Thus, she found herself with the sad task of finding a place where her dogs would have the opportunity to do the work they love to do.

Four of Laura’s dogs headed off to a tour business in Revelstoke, Canada; one stayed in town to lead a recreational musher’s team, one returned to his previous home, and three will “retire” and spend their time lazing in the sun and going for leisurely walks. In a letter to CANIDAE thanking them for their support, Laura said she is certain she will be returning to sled dogs in the future, because “they are such wonderful, honest, affectionate animals that it will be impossible to stay away.” But for now, she must bid farewell to the beautiful creatures she dearly loves.

“I am the coach, the trainer, the nutritionist and motivator. But my dogs are the true athletes, and that sled sure won’t be going anywhere very fast without them. Sled dogs possess boundless stores of energy, trust and enthusiasm. I am very lucky to have been able to share my life with these amazing creatures,” Laura said.

As part of their sponsorship of Cottonwood Kennels, CANIDAE supplied Laura and her dogs with their Grain Free Salmon Formula. Laura said all of her dogs love the CANIDAE food, and performed wonderfully on it. Because sled dog racing is such a high-stress, high-demand sport, the dogs need top-notch nutrition to ensure they can perform comfortably and to the best of their ability. After switching to the CANIDAE Grain Free Salmon food, Laura said her dogs had excellent weight, lustrous coats, improved endurance and heart rates, and calm demeanors. “I am confident in recommending this food to other racers as a top performance formula,” she said.

Best of luck to you in your studies, Laura – and in your future sled dog racing endeavors too!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Why Feed Grain Free Dog and Cat Food?


By Lexiann Grant

Should you feed grain free food to your cats and dogs? While grains contain many beneficial nutrients, cats are carnivores and not normally grain eaters, and, some dogs don’t do well with grains while other dogs need the higher levels of protein a grain free diet can offer.

Although grains are a good source of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, the digestive system of the feline is not designed to efficiently break down and utilize a large amount of carbohydrates. The small quantity of carbohydrates that ancestral cats ate came primarily from the stomach contents of prey which they caught and consumed. While pariah and feral dogs were more versatile in their diets, eating more carbohydrates than cats, the source of these carbs was vegetables, fruits and also food remnants in their prey’s digestive tract.

Studies over the years through various veterinary colleges and journals have shown that several health conditions can be aggravated by too much dietary grain. Special diets for affected pets usually eliminate or greatly reduce the grain source of carbohydrates in their food.

* Allergies. In dogs, allergies most often manifest with itching, dry flaky skin, skin lesions, and excessively waxy ears with frequent ear infections. Cats may experience itching, hair loss, nasal discharge and respiratory symptoms. Although food allergies are the least common type of allergy diagnosed in dogs and cats and make up only about 5% of all cases of skin disease, there are rare cases of allergy to soy, corn and wheat grains.

* Inflammatory Bowel Disease. A serious, complex disease which results in chronic diarrhea and sometimes vomiting, IBD is linked in part to diet. Grains have a history of making the symptoms of this condition worse. Elimination diets to diagnose and control IBD rely on a single meat protein source and most frequently – no grains.

* Urinary tract disease, including struvite bladder stones and feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC or FLUTD). For pets predisposed to bladder problems, a precisely balanced diet is critical to maintaining health. Meat protein in strict proportion is necessary to maintain proper urine pH, which is typically too alkaline in these painful conditions. Grains contribute to alkaline urine pH: the more grain in the diet, the more alkaline urine is likely to become.

“With urinary problems I recommend food that is higher in protein content and lower in grain,” says Dr. Shawn Messonnier DVM, www.petcarenaturally.com, and author of Unexpected Miracles, “and, IBD and allergies can be worsened because of possible interactions with grains.”

* Obesity and high glucose. Partial grains can contribute to weight gain or unstable blood sugar levels, particularly in cats. Energy from grain carbohydrates rushes into the system and converts quickly to glucose. This sudden excess can lead to high levels, followed by a plunge. Dogs who “work” or compete in high-energy activities need more meat protein for sustained energy. Pets with diabetes can more easily maintain normal blood sugar levels with diets lower in grains and higher in meat protein. And, calories from partial grains can also pack on as pounds of fat more quickly.

* Additionally, non-premium foods that rely on grain plants as their main source of protein can be deficient in the amino acid, taurine. Taurine deficiency plays a key role in the development of eye and heart problems, particularly in cats.

If grains are bad, then why are they used in pet food? Because not all grains are bad, and not all animals have a problem with grains. Not only do whole, low-allergenic grains, like oats, barley or brown rice, contain beneficial nutrients, they are useful to the production of kibble. These healthy grains help “hold” dry food together and supply nutrients.

For the dog or cat who needs a grain free diet, these nutrients come from other sources – which also facilitate the manufacturing process – such as potatoes, peas, cranberries and other vegetables or fruits. The essential nutrients found in grains are also available in these food sources and do not have to be “added back” into the diet.

Not every dog, or even some cats, should be fed a grain free food. But for the health conscious owner who wants to provide an “ancestral diet” or for the special needs or “high energy” pet, grain free is a healthy option. Grain free foods are more expensive, but like any dietary choice, it’s an investment in good health. Like their other premium products, CANIDAE® offers a grain free line of kibble and canned foods for both dogs and cats.

Personally, I feed grain free to two of my dogs and most of the cats. One dog is my “little carnivore” that has always turned up her nose at the first whiff of a vegetable, grain or fruit (except for peanut butter)! The other dog has problems with alkaline urine and struvite crystals, and CANIDAE Grain Free has been key in keeping him healthy. The cats, some of whom have FLUTD, eat mostly grain free as well… and I’m looking forward to trying the new Grain Free FELIDAE® food.

Read more articles by Lexiann Grant

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

"I Knew it was Going to Work Wonders for Poor Rocco"

This special letter was sent recently to the CANIDAE Customer Support department. It’s about a very lucky dog named “Rocco.” We hope you enjoy it.
In late June, my neighbor found a small dog hiding behind a dumpster and barely alive. The first picture shows how malnourished he was. My neighbor rescued this little guy and took him to the vet. He had a very high fever, was far too thin, and was infested with ants. It didn’t look good.

I told my neighbor I would foster him until a home could be found. With two other big dogs that are a huge part of my life, and because I had just started a new business, I didn’t think I needed another dog. Shortly after bringing him home though I knew the fostering idea had gone out the window. By his second day with me I had already named him “Rocco.”
A few days after bringing him home, Rocco and I were lucky enough to have a CANIDAE employee come into my place of work. As soon as I found out she worked for CANIDAE, I told her Rocco’s story and the condition he was in. After hearing our story, she told me CANIDAE would give me free food to help bring him back to health and that they had the perfect formula to feed him.
CANIDAE sent me some of their new Grain Free Salmon formula and told me about its benefits. After hearing about all of the healthy ingredients I gladly accepted their offer. I knew it was going to work wonders for poor Rocco.

About a week later I could tell Rocco was looking and feeling better. The second picture shows how he had already started to gain some weight back!
The people at CANIDAE were a huge part of nurturing Rocco back to being the playful lovable dog he was meant to be. I’ve been feeding him the Grain Free Salmon formula, which he can’t get enough of, for almost a month now. In the first week and half he went from 9 to 14 pounds and he is just about back to the weight the vet says he should be. I am so happy!

The third picture was taken a few days ago. See how great he looks! His energy level has increased, making him the perfect playmate for my Retriever and other Boxer. Rocco and I want to thank that people at CANIDAE for all they have done. They truly care about the well being of your animal and I can’t thank them enough for helping to save my Rocco.
from Peggy M., Norco, CA
We’ve created a special page on our website so we can share stories of Rocco’s continued progress. Rocco’s page at canidae.com.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Pick the Right Dog Food

When walking into the pet store these days, the dog food choices can be overwhelming. There are many new foods along with the old names that many of us recognize.  How do you pick the right one? There are several things to consider when choosing a dog food. The dog food you pick should be appropriate for your dog’s weight, activity level and any allergies that he or she may have. So what do you look for on a dog food label?
Every dog food label has the same basic information. The guaranteed analysis lists protein, fiber, fat and moisture contents. Usually this will also have vitamin and mineral information. There will be an ingredient panel, which tells you what ingredients were used to make the food. You will also find the Daily Feeding Guidelines, which gives you an idea of how much dog food to feed your dog.
The ingredients should be listed in descending order on the ingredient label. This means that the first ingredient listed should be the protein source. An ingredient panel that lists corn as the first ingredient is one you want to stay away from. Corn ingredients help to shape the kibble and the dog food companies use it to keep their costs down, but some believe it has been causing health problems like obesity, pancreatitis, diabetes and even liver disease in our companion animals. So you want to have a meat protein listed as the first ingredient.
I ran into the overwhelming choices myself recently and even though I have experience in the pet industry and plenty of experience with dog food, I was overloaded with the choices offered. My dog Skye is a three year old American Staffordshire Terrier with seizure issues, and though she has not had any seizures since living with me, her weight has gone up due to the medication she is on. I don’t want to feed any of the diet foods, as they tend to use powdered cellulose to add bulk, and to help the dog feel full; so they weren’t even considered.
I am happy to say that I found the perfect food for her. I had been doing research on the Internet and had been looking at a food made by CANIDAE. They have a new food on the market called CANIDAE Grain Free ALS Formula. With my nutrition background, I was impressed with the fact that not only was it grain free, it could be fed to any life stage of my dog; I just need to adjust how much to feed her based on her age and weight issues. The first three ingredients on the label are: chicken meal, turkey meal, and lamb; which are three protein sources. This food is 80% meat and 20% fruits and vegetables. There were no added sugars, or commercial preservatives like ethoxyquin, BHA or BHT. I took a sample home and mixed just a bit in with her regular food.
While Skye has always been a good eater, she has never before this been dancing around in the kitchen while I was preparing her food, and recently I had been having issues getting her to eat, as the medication she takes is a liquid and very salty. Even though it is mixed into her food very well, it wasn’t enough to hide the taste of her medicine. I am happy to say that is now a thing of the past. While it will take me two weeks to change her over gradually, as the bacteria in her intestinal tract needs to adjust to digesting the new food. In this way we don’t have any stomach or intestinal issues, and that makes me happy, though Skye would be perfectly happy to be eating only CANIDAE from now on.
Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.