What we choose to feed our dogs may be the single most important decision we can make as pet owners. At TLC we will help you to make the best choice for your dogs good health.


Picking your dogs formula can be a little overwhelming with all the choices available today. It's important to understand the basic nutritional needs of a canine. And equally important to know which harmful ingredients we should avoid. Our dogs nutrition is so important, and all too often is overlooked. Come in and speak to our knowledgeable staff to learn about natural dog food, a healthy alternative to "grocery store brands", which contain allergens such as wheat, corn, soy, and by-products. All dogs will benefit from a healthy, nutritious, formula with no fillers or allergens. But some dogs, that regularly need medical attention, need to be looked at individually to see if a specific dog food formula may give relief to their symptoms.

Dog Food Allergies can develop at any age, even if your pets have used the same formula for their entire life. Every day we see dogs suffering from skin problems, chronic ear infections, persistent paw licking, a dull coat, excessive shedding, obesity and more. And likewise, every day we hear our customers talk about how diet played a role in their pets recovery from these illnesses. Food allergies and poor nutrition are the number one reasons for these symptoms.These conditions can be dramatically relieved with the proper nutrition.


 Supermarket Brands

Learning to read labels is a little tricky, but usually the first few ingredients say it all. Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour. These are the poorest quality ingredients you can find in a bag of dog food. And even worse, can cause allergic reactions such as ear infections, paw licking, tear stained eyes, itchy skin, and hot spots. The underlying damage to kidneys, heart, skin, and eyes that is caused by preservatives, growth hormones, chemicals, and low quality protiens, will only present themselves after years of feeding.

Unfortunately supermarket brand dog food customers usually will pay less but are paying for half the bag of undigestable ingredients (corn, wheat, brewers rice). The manufacturers believe that the pet owners are only looking at the price. But today pet owners are more aware and more concerned about what is going into their dogs bowl. Don't be fooled by the low price on the bag, low quality ingredients will sadly lead to your pet being sick which in turn amounts to big vet bills later on.


Here is an example of the ingredients in supermarket brand dog foods.

Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, water, meat and bone meal, propylene glycol, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, phosphoric acid, salt, animal digest, potassium chloride, sorbic acid (a preservative), dried peas, dried carrots, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, Red 40, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Vitamin A supplement, Blue 2, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, brewers dried yeast, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.


Prescription Formulas or "Therapeutic Diets"


A prescription dog food formula may give immediate and in some cases long term relief to common illnesses. Pets with these common  medical conditions such as Urinary Health, Skin and Food Allergies, Diabetes, Gastrointestinal, Hepatic, Joint support Recovery, Renal, Weight Management, Dental and Cardiac disease will usually get prescribed a formula in an attempt to help treat or at least control their illness. The funny thing is, there is no medication in them. None. So why do they call it prescription dog food? Why is it only available at the vets office if there are no medications in it? And how does it really help your pet?


Each medical condition may or may not require the pet owner to make lifestyle and nutritional changes for their pets. If your pet has just been diagnosed with a medical condition, you should leave the vets office with the correct prescription dog food to be used for short term use to address your pets newly diagnosed condition. But you should also be given information on beneficial feeding guidelines to control the medical condition yourself for long term use. Your vet knows most people do not feel confident addressing medical conditions with diet themselves, and therefore will rely on prescription formulas to help their patients.


But if you feel these formulas are inferior and there are higher quality species appropriate formulas to feed your dog, you are probably right. It is difficult for dogs to stay "Healthy" while eating the prescription formulas because they are loaded with allergens such as corn, soy, and wheat. In addition, the proteins used are usually not high quality animal proteins, but instead cheap protiens derived from wheat gluten and corn gluten, brewers rice, and soy. The animal protein that is down on the list of ingredients is usually low quality meat by-products or poultry by-products such as chicken necks, gizzards, feathers and feet.


How can dogs possibly stay healthy with a diet like this? These diets should be considered short term health condition remedies. There is no doubt your vet cares about your pets health and well being, but unfortunately the companies that distribute to their offices only have profit as their main concern. Unfortunately, there is not yet a prescrption formula that has high quality ingredients to keep your dog healthy for the rest of their life. Talk to your vet and ask when your dog can switch back to an all natural healthy formula, and the nutritional guidelines to follow that will benefit your particular dog long term.



Here is an example of the ingredients of a commonly prescribed dog food.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Brewers Rice, Dried Egg Product, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Powdered Cellulose, Lactic Acid, Dicalcium Phosphate, Chicken Liver Flavor, Iodized Salt, Potassium Citrate, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-carotene, Rosemary Extract.

  Dog Food Advisor Rating of Typical Prescription Low Quality Foods - Click Here

Here is an example of the ingredients of a commonly prescribed dog food.

Ingredients: Corn, brewers rice, wheat gluten, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, corn gluten meal, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, vegetable oil, fish oil, grain distillers dried yeast, powdered cellulose, potassium chloride, calcium sulfate, L-lysine, sodium silico aluminate, DL-methionine, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, salt, taurine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, L-cystine, L-tyrosine, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), glucosamine hydrochloride, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], tea, L-carnitine, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.


Healthy Alternatives to supermarket brands and prescription formulas

  help-in-pet-storeToday there are so many healthy alternatives to the typical commercial dog foods found in the supernmarkets and unfortunately, the vets office as well. Most small retailers genuinely care about their customers and their dogs, and only stock the highest quality formulas. There are not a lot of advertising dollars in the small independent dog food companies budgets, so they rely on the small retailer to educate the customers and promote their high quality, healthy products.


Best Dog Foods - The best dog food you can buy for your dog is a complete balanced AAFCO human grade, grain free, frozen raw food. The frozen form is the freshest and least processed you can buy. Look for the first 2 ingredients being a named meat such as Beef and Beef Meal. Very few ingredients if any will be carbs, but the carbs will be whole grains, peas or potato. 

Better Dog Foods - Next would be the same complete balanced AAFCO human grade, grain free, raw food. In the freeze dried form. Again look for the first 2 ingredients being a named meat such as Beef and Beef Meal. Very few ingredients will be carbs, but the carbs will be whole grains, peas or potato. The only reason it is slightly below the raw frozen is because the freeze dried process does use some vaccum pressure on the food and that is debatable wether or not it slightly changes the integrity of the food. But the larger reason is that canines are made to digest a meal that is 70% moisture. So it would be advised to try to rehydrate the food before serving.

Above Average Dog Foods - Air Dried  grain free food is superior to any kibble or canned food because it is so minimally processed. Look for the first 2 ingredients being a named meat such as Beef and Beef Meal. Very few ingredients will be carbs, but the carbs will be whole grains, peas or potato. It does require gentle low heat to remove the moisture so it is possible that some slight degredation of vitamins and enzymes could occur. Like dehydrated food, it would be advisable to re-hydrate the food to try to bring it closer to 70% moisture for propper digestion to occur.

Average Dog Foods - Humane grade grain free canned food is the first choice as far as the processed foods go. It is a 70% moist meal which is species appropriate for a canine. The first ingredient will be the named meat such as Beef, and the second ingredient will be Water sufficient for processing. This is normal and acceptable in all canned foods. Human grade assures the quality of all the ingredients which is very important in dog food. Unfortunately canned food is still processed so there is a loss of quality vitamins, fatty acids, and enzymes when cooked. These Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics are added back to the formula just before canning occurs. You really need to know the source of the meats and trust the brand when using anything below human grade canned dog food.

Average Dog Foods - Even premium kibble that is grain free is still a highly processed, rendered (cooked) food, and therefore has lost the naturally occurring vitamin, fatty acids and enzyme content. These Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics are added back to the formula just before bagging occurs. Some dogs may be allergic to the preservatives used and also the carbs (Grains) as well as cheap fibers like tomato pomace. Look for high quality whole grains and fiber such as pumkin and inulin.The quality of the proteins (Meats) can be trusted more than the supermarket brands, but is still not in the same league as frozen, dehydrated, or air dried. Only choose a kibble that has meat as its first two ingredients such as beef and beef meal. At only 10% moisture, and no way to practically rehydrate it, it is difficult to digest as canines are equipped to digest a 70% moist meal. This may put a stress on the kidneys and liver and cause stomach upset in some dogs.

Worst Dog Foods - Supermarket brand plant based(grain) Kibble dog food is a highly processed, rendered (cooked) food, and therefore has the lowest vitamin, fatty acids and enzyme content. Don't be fooled by the label that only lists the first ingredient as meat, ex. deboned chicken, but then goes on to list the 2nd through 4th as grains, ex brewers rice, wheat, corn, soy protein. This is a trick used by kibble companies. In actuality the grains being second, third, and fourth will add up to more than the first ingredient ex. beef. By using different types of grains, they are able to list them seprately, but if you add them all up, there is actually more grain in the bag than meat. Many dogs are allergic to these grains and preservatives. You really need to do your homework and trust the brand if your going to be using a kibble dog food. Also, at only 10% moisture, and no way to practically rehydrate it, it is difficult to digest as canines are equipped to digest a 70% moist meal. Most dog food processing plants will have third party independent testing done on their ingredients to assure its consumers of the quality of the ingredients. Some do not. In these facilities just about anything can be thrown in the rendering pot including slaughter house waste, dead and diseased farm animals, and sadly even road kill and euthanized pets from vets have been reported to be used in these poor quality kibbles.