Thursday, May 19, 2016

DNA and Monkey Dust

From the time she first arrived at our home, Ellie has dined on nothing but Blue Buffalo. I knew that Purina made Puppy Chow but I was amazed at how serious Blue Buffalo was about providing the correct food for the one's precious pooch. So she started with "Small Breed Puppy". Then she grew into "Small Breed Adult". When she became a little more "robust " in size we moved to "Small Breed Weight Control".

A few years ago Blue Buffalo came out with their "Wilderness" formula that contains no grain. Naturally wanting the best for her, Ellie was moved to "Wilderness Small Weight Control". At this point I was told this was ridiculous that I was feeding her this food, when Costco's dog food was highly rated by Consumer Reports and much less expensive. My defense was that at 1/3 a cup twice a day, it took her a long while to get through a medium size bag of food. And, the way I calculated it, my dog food bill was less than that for Lily, the adult Airedale who was on Costco's premium food. But, I digress.

The same was true when Marshall came along. By that time Ellie was back at her racing weight, so they were both on "Small Breed Adult". Of course Marshall had all types of supplements, as well as a dehydrated high fat food, added to his dish to bulk the poor soul up. After all he arrived just a waif of skin and bones.

Since then the dog food industry has gotten even more serious about developing food that is targeted for specific breed sizes, ages, weights, and other needs. At any point I expect to find a category for tail length. Then Ellie will be a on diet of "Small Breed Adult Docked Tail" or more likely "Small Breed Adult With an Attitude." Some in my household are convinced the industry has moved from scientific to monkey dust. All I can say is that my two dogs consume small amounts of dry food, are extremely healthy, have bright eyes, good coats, and bushy tails.

Well, that was until several weeks ago when while in a Petsmart, in my humble opinion, the industry jumped the shark. Eukanuba and Royal Canin now offer "Breed Specific" food. So your Chihuahua will have the proper nourishment he needs and not suffer because he is having to consume some dog food developed for a Dachshund. Yes, folks, this is where the monkey dust, smoke and mirrors, and make believe come in. Oh, there are differences between the nutritional needs, not to mention the kibble bit size, of a Labrador Retriever vs a Small Poodle. That makes sense. And, "Weight Control" makes perfectly good sense to me, as well as "Older Adult".

But, I have issues buying into "Breed Specific".  Besides none of this is going to help me. So far I have yet to see a bag of "Norwhat Specific Food". But, have no fear, with today's technology for a mere $100 or so, you can have your pup's DNA tested and learn exactly what you have on your hands (or not). A young lady working in a animal shelter I spoke with explained to me that she had her lab mix (that she had adopted) tested and found him to be 20% Husky, 10% Great Dane, 60% (some kind of) hound, and 10% lab. Given he was only 6 months old, the jury was still out as to which traits would dominate him outcome.

We have always had pure breed dogs - Scotties and Airedales - until Ellie came long with her questionable past. Of course no one can start to guess Marshall's pedigree, or lack thereof. My question is will the dog food we once thought as "Premium" now be deemed  "Mix Breed" and moved to the bottom shelf like a red headed step child. I doubt it. Like the DNA test that can be done on our pups, I would be interested to see the makeup of each of these "Specific" foods. After all monkey dust is monkey dust, no matter what you call it.

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