© Written by Dr. Kim Bloomer
It’s interesting how we’ve come to accept that to feed our dogs, we only need to drop by our local pet store or supermarket and pick up a bag of the latest trendy, packaged food. Really, though, what we’ve bought into is the pet food industry sales pitch that states in order for our dogs to be healthy and eat a balanced diet they MUST eat this food. What we aren’t typically told is that it is this very food that is one of the major culprits behind the declining health of our dogs. What I am about to share with you is the raw truth behind these bags of kibble.
This isn’t meant to be an expose` but more of an unveiling so that you can make a proper informed choice about what to feed your dogs in order for them to thrive. Packaged dry foods have only been in existence for roughly 50 years and yet for some reason we’ve bought the untruth behind these packaged pet foods. These same words such as “balanced” diet and “scientific testing” are used quite avidly by our medical industry as well. It therefore should not surprise you to learn that the very same folks who manufacture these foods are the same ones who teach our veterinarians the little nutrition they learn in school. The veterinarians are also offered excellent incentives to encourage their clients to purchase and use this food for their dogs’ “good” health –which our dogs won’t have if we continue to feed them this way.
Before I explain what is in the packaged foods, let me say first and foremost why dogs can’t thrive on these grain-based diets –they are scavenger carnivores who need meat and bones.
Before “scientifically” tested pet foods came along what did our dogs eat? Well older folks will tell you their dogs were fed scraps, leftovers, bones, and the parts of meat we humans don’t often like to eat: necks and backs of turkeys and chickens, organ meats like the liver, heart, kidneys and so on. What is even more interesting is how dogs rarely had allergies or skin problems or the myriad of diseases so prevalent in our canines today that quite eerily mirror the increasingly diseased human population. All illness goes back to a compromised immune system in the form of inflammation with food being the primary culprit behind it all – and vaccines but that is a subject for another article. Food is our health and it is also very much our illness. We and our pets ARE what we eat.
Because our dogs are scavenger carnivores (they will eat a rotting carcass and be quite content with that meal), it doesn’t take rocket science to know that means they need to eat raw meat and bones to thrive.
Many might argue that their pet food has some processed meats in the form of “meal”, and some really “good” ingredients like flaxseed, bran and oats. That may be true but while those grains are good for humans they are not good for dogs. The plain raw truth is our dogs are carnivores, PERIOD. They have SHORT intestines which were not ever meant or designed for digesting grains – which need more time to digest in longer intestines such as humans have. Most of the packaged dry pet foods you buy are loaded with not only grains, but the junk not allowed to be sold for human consumption, and also byproducts which is an industry word for things not worthy of calling food.
Dogs have a single-chambered stomach and smooth short intestines very unlike us. This enables them to digest the raw meat and bones quickly moving any waste through the intestines and out of the body fast. If any want to disagree about the validity of dogs still being carnivores and say they have evolved into omnivores, I would simply say to have a DNA test done on a dog –any breed of dog –and compare it to a DNA test done on a gray wolf. Unless you are a highly qualified expert on wolf DNA you would not be able to discern the difference between the two. Wolves and wild dogs do still eat prey which translated is raw meat, organs, and bones.
Getting back to the crux of the problem with the grains is that dogs, simply said, cannot digest the huge amount of grains we are feeding them in the form of these packaged dry and even canned foods – they don’t have the proper enzymes to do so. Their teeth should clue us in to what to feed in the first place!
So what happens is, your dog not only has huge amounts of stool –talk about making mountains out of molehills – but also probably doesn’t smell so good even after bathing, has doggie breath with tartar buildup (which can lead to serious diseases down the road), is itchy, sheds far too much and maybe even has lots of allergies, including skin allergies and/or hotspots. You can attribute all of these problems to what you’re feeding and also to vaccinations. The undigested grains are wrecking havoc in your dogs’ bodies.
Byproducts in these foods are things that really should not be used for any consumption at all. They include all the parts of the meats and grains that humans wouldn’t dream of eating such as beaks, feathers, roadkill, rendered diseased animals, -well you get the picture. Here is an example of just one brand of dog food ingredients:
Ground yellow corn, chicken-by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (source of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, Minerals (tricalcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), sugar, sorbitol, water, animal digest, phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (a preservative), L-Lysine monohydrochloride.
I’d like to quote a veterinarian I know, Dr. John Symes, “The single most devastating thing to happen to veterinarian medicine is wheat being the primary ingredient for pet food. It was already bad with corn as the primary ingredient but wheat has been infinitely worse.” He said that because wheat is a grain AND because of the gluten in wheat. Gluten is also in corn. Gluten is what glue is made from. It does to the intestines exactly what is done with glue –binds things together and in the intestines keeps food from being absorbed properly. Grains in packaged food are killing our dogs with horrible diseases that of course includes cancer. The same thing is happening in our own bodies so imagine how hard this must be on a carnivore!
The raw truth here is to get back to feeding our dogs what they were created to eat: raw meat and bones. You’ll see a lot of good things happen by doing so:
• Less poop that won’t smell nearly as bad as kibble poop (pun intended) and it will be MUCH smaller.
• Clean, white teeth even on your older dogs
• Bodies that don’t smell; what we’ve come to wrongly assume is doggy body odor. They are predators and to smell bad does not bode well for a predator
• Shiny, healthy coats, with far less shedding
• Energetic, happy dogs that will be infinitely healthier with far more quality of life which can equal much lower veterinarian costs for you.
Remember your dogs know the raw truth and they are just sitting there hoping with all their carnivore hearts that humans will wake up and smell the meat and bones!
Note: Before switching your pet to a raw meat and bone diet, especially if if your pet is not in good health or is a senior animal, please set up a consultation with me or a qualified natural pet health care consultant.
About the author:
Copyright © 2008 . All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author. This article is for educational purposes only. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader.
Dr. Kim Bloomer is a certified animal naturopath and published author, consulting on canine nutrition and wellness. She hosts the internet radio show, Animal Talk Naturally with colleague Dr. Jeannie Thomason. The two are also the Founders of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. In addition, Dr. Kim is a proficient blogger and writer on natural pet health, having co-authored the book Whole Health for Happy Dogs and authored the book Animals Taught Me That. Dr. Kim’s articles have been featured in various publications such as Animal Wellness, Natural Horse, Dogs Naturally, NM Breeze, Raw Instincts, and the Pet Connection magazines. Website:www.AspenbloomPetCare.com
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PHOTO ATTRIBUTION: Meshach the Great Dane puppy by Dr. Kim Bloomer, Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Originally written in October 2007 for a CT pet newsletter