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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I heard that protein can be bad for dogs, so while shopping for a new food (I like to switch them up every few months) I decided on Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream. It has the lowest protein % of all the TOTW brands.

Belle ("Belly") is almost 9 months old, and is very picky when it comes to food. She's a yorkie/maltese mix, and only weighs 4 1/2 pounds. I first read that protein is only bad for big-breed puppies, because it causes their muscles to grow faster than their bones. But I did some more research, and apparently too much protein causes kidney failure, as well.

TOTW Pacific Stream has a min. 25% protein content, while Canidae (her earlier food) has 24%. The other TOTW varieties have 32-35%.

However, THEN I read that ethoxyquin is often used to preserve fish/fish meal...which the Pacific Stream variety is FULL of. And the company won't tell anyone whether they're using ethoxyquin or not...which is pretty much a confirmation right there.

I looked up what ethoxyquin is guilty of, but all the studies I found showed no real adverse affects, besides an increased enzyme (or something) in the liver, not enough to cause any damage to it - and that was with dogs that were fed "moderate to high" levels...probably much more than that found in the dog foods as preservatives.

So...anyone have any corrections for me? IS protein bad for dogs? And why is everyone scared of ethoxyquin when all the studies say its not that bad?

Actually, I did some more sniffing around about the ethoxyquin, and it literally changes depending on which source you're looking at. Apparently, there WERE some studies done that showed ethoxyquin had very negatiave effects.

But, the only ethoxyquin-free foods I've been able to find have been loaded with protein (35% and up). It's like you have to make a choice - too much protein, or possibly too much ethoxyquin?

Anyone find an ethoxyquin-free dog food that doesn't have huge protein levels?
 

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The problem with protein and the kidneys, isn't so much that they are eating too much protein, but that they aren't drinking enough water to process that protein. To help with this, some people choose to wet down their dogs kibble with water or chicken broth, or feed wet/canned varieties of the food. I would go with too much Protein over the ethoxquin.. Dogs, after all, are made to eat meat, and as long as they have enough water for their body to process it, it shouldn't be a problem.

Also, I believe the entire Nutrisource line is ethoxquin free.. I'm not sure about the Pure Vita (Zoey's favorite) and Natural Planet Organics, but I'm sure it would be very easy to find out. They have a -WONDERFUL- customer service department. http://www.nutrisourcedogfood.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I've been looking into ethoxyquin more, and it seems that the studies and their results CHANGE depending on where you look. Now I found another site that seems official and well-researched...except this one says that there WERE studies that proved ethoxyquin to be quite harmful. I guess there's a reason it can't be used in human foods, after all.

But I just can't find a good-quality dog food that officially uses no ethoxyquin AND has a decent protein content. 25% seems to be perfect for all kinds of dogs unless they're pulling sleds or herding sheep, and my little Belly doesn't do those things (she says she's too good for them). The ethoxyquin-free dog foods - at least all the ones I've been able to find - have protein levels of 35-45%...too high to be healthy.

Suggestions? What do YOU use to feed your dog?
 

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I think there are arguments on both sides of the protein issue. That said I think the quantity of protein is a little less important than the quality. Understand I do not have the scientific training or citations to back this up. My impression from what information I've come across has been that a higher protein diet is fine for most dogs. Unless your dog has a kidney issue and even though you don't have to go as low in protein as you might think. Here is a quote from the TOTW website:

"Absolutely not! There is not any reason to be fearful of higher protein levels in pet foods unless your pet is suffering from very specific kidney or liver diseases. Quality protein actually provides the necessary amino acids for your pet to remain a healthy, lean body condition. Muscles use amino acids as building blocks. When dogs are overfed, they become overweight, just like people. Providing protein that your dog can use to maintain lean body mass will help keep him lean and healthy. You can still overfeed these foods, so if your dog is gaining weight, make sure to reduce the amount that you are feeding.

There is a myth that high protein causes allergies. This is absolutely not true. Proteins themselves are the components of foods that pets may be allergic to. If a pet has a mild allergy to a particular ingredient, it would make sense that the allergy symptoms would become worse when the pet is exposed to higher levels of this ingredient. It is not the protein itself that is the problem, but the specific type of protein."

As far as ethoxyquin, my understanding is that some tests suggest it has carcinogenic properties and unless I'm mistaken it's also been linked to causing cataracts or glaucoma? It's not present in all fish, just in farmed salmon as it is a color preservative. Basically farm-raised salmon aren't on the same diet. It's their diet that gives their flesh that pinky red color. People don't want white colored salmon so salmon farms use that preservative in different concentrations so their salmon looks more salmony. At least that's what I remember from my bio class in undergrad. We also learned it's just not neccesary or good for you.

My understanding though is TOTW would not use fish with ethoxyquin. For one thing they claim to use wild-caught salmon from Alaska. It also just doesn't seem like their modus operandi. A quick google search showed results form different forums where people claim to have called and spoken to representatives that said they use ethoxyquin-free ingredients.

FYI Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul dog food is also apparently ethoxyquin-free nowadays and is lower protein. But if your dog seems to be doing well on the TOTW I don't think you need to change her.

Also I have a relatively inactive dog and I used to feed him Wellness CORE ocean fish which he did really well on. It has 35% or so protein content and uses ethoxyquin-free ingredients and like I said, he did really well on it. So 30-40% is not neccesarily too high to be healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. I still think TOTW must have ethoxyquin in it - they always dance around a complete, straight-up answer. In that same thread, they gave two different responses - in one, they said they don't use ethoxyquin, and they don't purchase fish with ethoxyquin. In the other, they said how their vendors preserve food is "proprietary information", and any "antioxidants" (ethoxyquin is sometimes considered an antioxidant for whatever reason) would be destroyed in their cooking process.

Meanwhile, you get something like Canidae, who says straight-up on their website that they TEST their fish for ethoxyquin, and no traces were found.

Oh well...I can't obsess over this anymore. A lot of dogs have done well on TOTW, so it can't be *that* bad...
 
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