Petaluna, I am a little concerned about the "expert advice" you got from that woman at the store you went to. O.k., so I don't have a degree in canine nutrition, but I've spent many months and a gazillion hours perusing the internet, books, picking breeders', nutritionists' and dog owners' brains to get to a point where I think I know at least a little about the subject! I work part-time in a health food store for cats and dogs, so let's just say I'm exposed to this topic quite often.
Of course I don't pretend to know it all. That would be impossible and I learn every week which I think is great.
What I did learn about ash content and high protein levels in kibble is that it USED to be that the ash level in this type of food was very high because companies included a lot of bone in the mix. That results in a high ash level which can cause kidney and/or liver issues. What reputable companies that make wholesome food you can trust NOW do, though, is not include so much bone, which greatly reduces the ash content so there is no fear of causing kidney/liver issues. The high-protein kibble will not cause those problems! If the dog ALREADY has those issues, then a high-protein kibble is not recommended, but they are completely safe for all other dogs. In fact, they are better for some dogs than lower protein diets.
So, you still get some people fearful of high protein, but there is no cause for it.
To understand what goes into dog food, and how to understand labels, this site is very informative and worth reading: http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index....e=labelinfo101 Label Information 101 - Interpreting Pet Food Labels
I totally agree with you that raw is probably best for the vast majority of dogs. I'm not convinced soy protein is a good thing either. O.k., so dogs aren't exactly like the wild wolves, it's true. I do think, however, that their diets based on the wild dogs, can help them live long, healthy lives if we feed what is most natural for a dog.
Sure, we can all think of many dogs that lived 10 and 15 years and only ate Iams, or Purina or what have you, but that's like saying "My great-g'dad smoked 3 packs/day and lived 'til he was 95!" - which in my case is true! lol) Does that mean smoking is OKAY? My mom will sometimes say "Well, we fed you pablum in a bottle and you survived!" I mean, c'mom!
NO one used seat belts 40 years ago, so does that mean it was smart?! lol If someone is going to argue about nutrition with you, then he/she should at least say things based on fact, statistics and well..... gut instinct, I think! Follow your gut, Petaluna!
I dont' have studies nearby that can back some of my arguments, and I know that some dogs just don't do well on raw. We have some Havs in this forum who either got sick on the raw or who were not flourishing on that type of diet. Fine. Find out what works best for you, your family and your dog and do the research to help back you up when some of your friends and relatives and vets start blasting you for doing something so horrid as feeding a chicken neck to your 10 lbs. Havanese!!
Here are other sites to check out: http://leerburg.com/feedingarawdiet.htm
I'm sure there are many cases of dogs living 15+ years on this diet.