shabess, That's true, and I did forget about the second industry stuff....mainly because we'd settled on Blue for so long!
You guys have great points, and I am just eating it up! Thank you all so much.
Working in zoo's and feeding specific diets to exotic animals, myself, I know that though nutrition is a large part of the health of the animal, however many reasons they live so long is just simply being safe, and having medications. My last zoo was full of elderly animals, including the longest living Abyssinian Ground Hornbill in captivity, and Mountain Lion. (I was shocked to learn about Barn owls...in the wild they have many young, which if they grow up, live 2-4 years. In captivity, they live an average of 20, though many go blind (The longest living was 34). For Mt. Lions, the one I worked with was 17, and probably would have lived to 4-7 in the wild. He took iv fluids ever other day, and was on medicine for his kidneys, and joint supplements. They have a whole industry now, where zoo foods are actually shipped to the zoo just like bags of dog food (and supplemented on site with veggies, meat, etc.) My first thought was "I wonder how much of this kibble is actually good for them".
The hornbill actually lives over 40 years in the wild...but everyone has been astounded to find the female in that zoo at 43. Apparently, they haven't lived very long in captivity before, because of housing issues. So, not even nutrition. That one in-particular had a lame wing because she had been housed in a multi-species enclosure, and something big stomped on her. It happened young, and due to her being put aside separately, she lived to her full potential.
Anyway, it's not always food. Mammals will tend to absorb as much nutrients as possible from their diet, and in starving situations over long periods of time, the villa (specifically absorptive enterocytes) in the intestine can basically even grow longer to help absorb more. (Long changes cause adaptation to diet. Stress, temperature, and the nutrients absorbed in utero are also factors, but basically absorption changes in life. This is heavily documented, even in humans. Check out regrowth from Celiac disease, and a surgery called Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch. And yes, there are differences in ruminants, humans, canines, etc., but it's still basically the same.)
YET I digress. In a perfect world, these animals will all get varied diets, and a lot of it. Which is usually why they don't have to have such complicated diets as animals in human care do. I just meant our animals try to be resilient, however if we're feeding the same food every day for their lives, they can't absorb what isn't given. Also, life in the wild is hard, lol. But that doesn't always mean humans can provide something perfect.
The true problem really is the quality, and safety of the food offered. You can tell when a being is missing vitamins...there are physical symptoms. But how can you know unless you've memorized all of the issues, and keep an eye out for them? Then there's flat out poison. That doesn't detect until it's too late. Also the greed of these companies is to lie and misuse terms, and imply that they have healthy, safe product. You think it's okay. Which is even more evil, because you trust what they say, you pay big bucks, and you could still lose your animal.
I know for a while we all thought Canadian foods were a great source, but that turned out to be completely false. Supposedly Australia has very high standards (gingerkid I am going to look into Petcurean next for sure!) so here's hoping.
Currently we've been trying Nature's Recipe, Vegetarian, and mixed with a bag of their turkey & potato. But, I'm only using 4 tablespoons each day for each dog, because we're slowly mixing it with homemade, and phasing it out. (We got the soy vegetarian food about 5 years ago or so for my basset hound, because he was breaking out in hives when he'd have beef, or chicken. We assumed hormones. We always did mix it, because he's picky, lol. But we mixed with Blue, and fed the beagle blue.)
In October we got our little Sheltie pup, and then I really started going in on the protein, the vits, the amino acids...and no real proof that any of the puppy foods out there were going to give him all of the things he needed to grow and be healthy. So, I supplement. Lots of promises on the vitamin bottle, that's for sure. Also that was another kick in the face, to find out how many vitamins are sourced from China *rolls eyes* it's just so discouraging, and frustrating.
Now we have a couple of huge pots and cook up about 15 pounds of food, which last us about 2 weeks, with my 3 monsters. We're afraid to feed them store bought dog food, and afraid to take them totally off of it in case we are missing something.
For instance: How often should your dog truly defecate, a day? Metabolism is part of it, and moisture, and fiber. How much do they really need of each? Well each actual dog is different. It's annoying (LOL). We're keeping track of the anal glands, and that gives us a little bit of info. But not much. I always figured companies added extra fiber to be a filler, and to make the dog defecate more often, so they'd want to eat more often, and you felt like they needed to.
Our 14 year old beagle typically eats 2 cups a day, spread out. She's 32 pounds, and not overweight, or skinny. The 8 year old basset is 53 pounds, and also eats 2 cups. The sheltie is almost grown at 22 pounds, and he eats 1 1/3 cup a day. He was poopin 4 times a day on dog food, and now 3 on our food. The basset is always once a day. The beagle used to be 4, and is now 3 times a day.
We made our meals 30% protein, 20% fats, and 50% carbs. Rice, stone oats, we added spinach, and blueberries, tomato paste (all three adore veggies, and the basset's favorite treat ever is tomato, lol)...i forget our huge list of ingredients. Fish and turkey are the primary though (I want them to have the omega 3 but man they smell better without the fish, lol!) I know we pureed almost all of it because they STOPPED chewing, the little jerks, they love the food so much.
Anyway that's a long post, sorry!
I had only heard about ALL of the dog food not being free from Chinese ingredients, when I started my search again. It's on many qualified and official sites. Including FDA. But, yes, I firmly believe that big business has pushed down all news of it that they can. That's kind of one of the main reasons i started this thread. No one is going to realize they even need to dig for more info, unless we all spread it around that it's necessary. Consumers run the world, we just don't ever realize it. Big Business thinks they do, they think they can squash the truth. I'm just hoping that enough people realize it, and can do something about it. Right now all we can do is resort to trying to become nutritionists ourselves! Not many people have a change to go that far. It's sad, and very frustrating.