Dog food, Fish food

Discussion in 'Chameleon Food' started by Clifford, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Clifford

    Clifford New Member

    I give dog food (dry kibbles) and flakes goldfish food to my roaches. I alternate, a handful of dog crushed kibble one month, a couple shakes of fish food the next month, then back to dog food. Of course I also toss in vegetables, and sometimes fruit, once a week. And they get breakfast cereal or rabbit alfalfa pellet food too.

    Before you flame me for using dog food and fish food, yes I already have been told dog and fish food can cause Gout.

    The reason for this thread is to learn how much is too much, or maybe put an end to a possibly wrong idea about using dog food.

    My chameleon does not have gout, or any other problem, and he's several years old. This tells me it's safe to feed his feeders dog and fish food. He also eats pet store crickets, pet store kingworms. Now and then a stick bug or butterworm as a treat. Bug the roaches are the main thing he eats.

    Does anyone else who uses dog food or fish food to feed their roaches have healthy chameleons, free of gout?

    Does anyone have any proof that dog food caused a incident of gout?
  2. ChamOh

    ChamOh Established Member

    there is certainly proof that a chameleon getting too much protein will cause gout

    i believe dog food and such are avoided as gutload because of their high protein content. However, using them as food for a colony is acceptable.

    i gather what you are saying is you only give your feeders fish flakes and dog food as their food/gutload and you've never had a problem with your chameleons.

    how long have ur animals been eating these feeders exclusively?

    But really, why re-invent the wheel friend? proper gutload is hella cheap. like 12 bucks for a pound of cricket crack shipped. That will last a long time if you use it as gutload and save the dog food etc for insect food.
  3. pssh

    pssh New Member

    Too much vit A as well (I'm sure you know that they can over dose on it.) a healthier source of protien for the roaches (that won't affect your chameleon and other herps too much) is boiled egg, spirulina, and crushed nuts. An easy to buy, use, and healthy food would be cricket crack.
  4. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    So based on an unquantified amount of dog and fish food being ingested for a minimal amount of time using a small sample of animals you are trying to disprove the notion that it could cause gout, which is scientifically provable? I'm sorry but you'll need to return to scientific methods (in any and all amounts) before you can save the industry from some "evil". High protein levels can and do cause gout in reptiles. It depends on how much and what kind you use and in what ways. Let's not be hasty.
  5. Olimpia

    Olimpia Biologist & Ecologist

    I could be wrong (and someone PLEASE correct me if I am) but I think that because chameleons are insectivores, it's animal protein that makes them sick, like that found in meat. Where as protein found in vegies and such is perfectly fine. Digesting meat protein requires a very tough, very specialized digestive tract which I don't believe chameleons have, so while small amounts of it is fine, too much will create problems.

    I used to gutload my insects sporatically with dog food a while back and sure, my animals were fine, but I think that a long term, constant use probably would have yielded health isssues. Plus, I wouldn't feed a lot of the cheaper dog foods to my dog, let alone my chameleons, because of all the crap in them. And the higher the quality the more meat and less filler the food has, which would be even worse. I prefer to just get high quality cereals and such that are good for the chams, grind them, and make my own gutload for like $10-20.
  6. warpdrive

    warpdrive Avid Member

    Ding, ding, ding...we have a winner her folks.

  7. fluxlizard

    fluxlizard New Member

    Speaking of the which, trying to be careful around noobies and don't mean to imply anything dangerous or give anyone the wrong idea and am not implying anything, just looking for solid information here, but can anyone point me to a scientific study that shows that dog or fish food used as a gutload for feeder insects will actually cause gout over time or is this cautious speculation based on what we already do know?

    I wonder also if there would be significant difference when feeders are offered to high elevation vs low elevation species of chameleon.

    Also, anyone know if fresh veggies are fed along with the dog and fish food and is available ad-libitum, if there is a study that shows what the nutritional analysis of the roach fed such a diet is?

    It isn't exactly on topic but my son has been doing some research on hissing cockroaches and diet recently for school and came across a study that showed that left to their own choice at least these roaches maintain a consistent percentage of intake of protein and that females take in more than males (no surprise there I guess- need to make babies). (males consumed more carbs supposedly because they were more active).

    Not entirely sure if it relates to the current topic or not, other than to say if we are providing a dry diet such as dog food or our home made mix or whatever and offering plenty of fresh veggies alongside the protein content of the roach may be pretty consistent anyway whatever the protein source as it would eat more of one thing and less of another to maintain it's desired protein intake. On the other hand, I suppose things could be forced and nutritional content assurred by offering no veggies and only a dry mix and water...

    But of course that would not address the issue of plant vs animal protein at all, nor other issues involved with dog food or fish food like vitamin a content. I just find the topic interesting to consider...
    #7 fluxlizard, Dec 11, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
  8. Syn

    Syn Avid Member

    "A common cause of gout is feeding animal proteins (e.g.; dog or cat food) to vegetarian reptiles, whose digestive systems cannot properly digest and metabolize animal-based protein. In these cases, large amounts of uric acid are produced and the kidneys cannot adequately eliminate them."

    Now, where is your proof that it doesn't cause gout? Have you done any true scientific studies with multiple tests?

    Have you had your chameleon tested for gout recently? If so and the vet said he doesn't have gout, you may want to get a different vet or check to see what kind of proteins are in the food you are using.
  9. fluxlizard

    fluxlizard New Member

    You have to be careful about drawing conclusions based on a single lizard. Some people smoke and don't exercise and still live to be 90 and die of something unrelated. Some people get cancer from smoking in their 60s, some in their 40s.

    So far so good with 1 lizard doesn't mean what are doing is safe.

    Doesn't mean it isn't either. But probably not the best idea to say it is when most people believe it is not without more careful investigation beyond a single experience.

    Syn- I like your gecko site. I have been wondering what some of the morphs look like- thanks for putting them up.

    I'm not sure whether feeding dog food to vegetarian lizards causing gout is comparable to feeding it to insects which are then feed to insect eating lizards. Not saying it is a good idea- just hoping someone can provide a study with insects and insect eating lizards now that my curiosity has been triggered...
    Clifford and Syn like this.
  10. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    Not to be incredibly obvious, but many insects, including crickets and roaches are, in fact, omnivores who eat meat. You cannot tell me that insects in the wild are fed exclusively greens and fruits. Chameleons are insectivores which should mean that they are able to process insects which have been eating what insects eat.

    That said, there's a lot in favor of the "better safe than sorry" approach to chameleons.
    Clifford likes this.
  11. ferretinmyshoes

    ferretinmyshoes Veterinarian
    Staff Member

    True, however crickets aren't usually swarming all over animal carcasses in the wild. Roaches either really, although probably more than crickets. I'm sure they do get some animal protein but on the whole I don't think it's a significant amount enough to rule that out as a potential concern. I think chams can handle that kind of protein to an extent but like Olimpia said, they're not equipped to digest much. My biggest problem with the claim is that it is supposedly not an issue based on one person's uncontrolled experiment on one animal for a short amount of time - have we even looked at the protein analysis of the dog food being used? They're not all the same.
  12. Elizadolots

    Elizadolots New Member

    Dog food isn't exclusively animal protein. Dogs are also omnivores and virtually all dog foods contain a mix of animal and vegetable matter.

    If you click that "analysis" link on the dog food site you'll see they list that food as being 25% protein...
  13. pssh

    pssh New Member

    Well, some foods are better than others. The majority of bug brand name dog foods contain very little actual meat. They usually use 'meals' and 'by-products.' These dog foods do not usually have the best veggie matter either, but they have a whole lot of fillers in them. While the bugs can thrive on it alone with water, a chameleon/lizard usually cannot. There is a huge amount of factors that come into play regarding vitamin deficiencies and over doing it. Vit A (preformed and proformed,) Vit D, Calcium, Phos, and other essential minerals and vitamins can cause problems from imbalanced levels.

    It's not really a straight forward answer, but it has shown through experience that using a well balanced variety of gutloaded feeders helps the animals to thrive. Keeping in mind that you want high calcium veggies preferably with low oxalates, high calcium fruits and veggies, and also other fruits and veggies that have a good amount of other minerals and vitamins while preferably being high in calcium when purchasing the wet gutload items will help keep the animals thriving.
  14. cuervo

    cuervo New Member

    i learn something new today
  15. robertc

    robertc Member

    I do not believe that vegetarians vs. people eating meat have different protein ratio in their muscles. Therefore I also do not think that there is much difference when you feed your roaches with apples vs. dog food (well, I have observed that in the first case, the roaches eat one another more often).
    I also do not believe in gutload. The only considerable difference is between insects that one grows himself with balanced diet and those starving in pet shops. I am giving dog food to my insects and I never had problems with it (last four years I always have something around 10 chams at home).
    Clifford likes this.
  16. tkilgour

    tkilgour Member

    Dog/Cat/Fish food is a good recipe for breeding roaches, but bad for your chameleons. It is a very common practice, but I would get your roaches off that food months in advance before feeding them to your chameleon. You can expect to see gout and many other conditions if you feed your chameleons roaches that are gutloaded this way. Stick to gutloading with the chameleon standards and you will have no troubles.
  17. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    The only real experience I can offer you concerning gutloading is this....I have not used dog food to feed/gutload my insects but have always used only an assortment of greens and veggies and in over 20 years of keeping reptiles including chameleons, I have only had one case of gout in a chameleon (and none in any other reptile) although that does not say that using dog food causes gout I would say that it does say that the assortment of greens and veggies I use does not. My main concern with the dog food has been the prEformed vitamin A and the D3 and possibly phosphorus that is in it affecting my ability to balance the supplements needed which is also why I don't use commercial gutloads.

    Here are some sites that I have found too...both sides of the coin, so to speak.....
    "Gout is not uncommon in chameleons that are fed pinky mice on a constant basis or crickets that have been gut loaded solely with high protein foods like cat or dog food"...

    "Cricket diets, dry dog kibble, or Layena® by Purina, etc. combined with oats, are a few options. Some of the most healthiest diets result from feeding insects a diet of leafy green vegetables and crated carrots/sweet potatoes (high in vitamin A precursors), alfalfa, and crushed dried beans or bean sprouts (sources of vegetable protein)."...
  18. pssh

    pssh New Member

    Cricket crack is made by a member on the forums.

    What do you mean by real vit A? beta carotene is just as real as say vit A acetate.

    Gout may not be an automatic thing, but neither is getting cancer from smoking and drinking. It's more of a just dont do it so it's less likely to happen kind of thing. It's like dropping babies. Sure, you could kill it, it could be fine, it might be somewhere in the middle too. Why do that though if you care about the baby?
  19. tkilgour

    tkilgour Member

    Clifford - I hope you do not feel my post was "flaming" you. Jim at the Chameleon company recommends rubbing the feeders in vitamin A gel caps with retinal palmitate every so often. He is a very knowledgeable guy! I am not PETA, therefore, I will not judge you. Some might be hostile towards you here on the forum, but I am not one of them. I do know large scale roach breeders that use cat/dog/fish food for breading. Roaches are highly prolific and the high protein seems to help. I know 2 roach guys that say it is the best food for breeding.

    However, feel free to experiment with a daily gutload of cat/dog/fish food. I am certain you will see gout problems. I know a guy that fed his pair of chameleons roaches fed on strictly Dog/Cat food. (Again, I know you are not doing it that frequently so maybe it will not matter). Both Chameleons had gout problems within 1 year of ownership. The male had such bad problems that his joints were triple in size. I asked him what he was gutloading his insects with and he said 100% cat and dog food. His vet told him the high protein was the source of his problems. Feel free to PM me for his information, he can send you pics and vet bills. The owner will also tell you how he highly regrets gutloading this way and how he wished he researched first. He said the roach guys told him to gutload this way and he didn't research further.:(

    If Chris Anderson or Kinyonga and several others pioneers on this forum say to do something, it is best to do so.

    Best of Luck to you and your chameleons.
    #20 tkilgour, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
    Brad likes this.

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