Dog Diet & Health
The following includes information taken from a leaflet produced by Dr Conor Brady of dogsfirst.ie, and my own myth explosions!
William Pollak (DVM) recently conducted clinical trials which suggested that 75% of common diseases in dogs, and 63% in cats could be eliminated without medical intervention, but over a period of year with proper diet modifications
Commercial pet food was only developed about 40 years ago – in fact some European countries still do not know anything about commercial ‘kibble’ pet foods. They still feed their pets whole fresh farm foods, and their pets, as ours previously were, do not have any where near as many health problems as our pets are now faced with.
Processed food is dead, because everything in the can or bag has been cooked. Live food is essential for health. Only live foods can provide enzymes, little protein molecules that are essential for aiding digestion of food, stimulating the brain, providing cellular energy, repairing tissues, organs and cells, and functions so diverse that it is impossible to name them all.
We now know processed food is bad for humans. It uses cheap ingredients, high salt and a whole host of nasty chemicals to make it look and taste appealing. Then what little fresh vitamins, enzymes, pre and probiotics that were in it are obliterated by heat processing and long storage times. For this reason processed food will not nourish your body the same way fresh food can. That's why we are told to eat as little processed food and as much fresh, whole foods as possible.
Is it not reasonable that the same should apply to dogs? Are we to believe that dry pet food manufacturers have managed to succeed where human food manufacturers have failed?!
Massive marketing budgets and heavy investment in our veterinary universities has convinced us they have when the sad truth is pets are the target for all our rubbish cereal and meat “by products”. Look at the back of the packet, does that look like good food to you?(ASH!!! author note)
Dogs Are Carnivores
A study of 13,000 wild roaming domestic dogs culled in the outback of Australia showed that dogs, left to their own devices, eat animal bits and pieces 98% of the time (the 2% comes from the gut contents of birds they couldn't shake free). These guys are meat eaters - just look at those teeth!
Dogs don't bring down big animals like the big cats. They prefer a diet of smaller animals including rabbits, rodents, frogs, reptiles, birds, and insects. With their big noses and long-distance stamina they out-compete vultures to carcass. They are natures greatest scavenging carnivores.
Every independent biology book on the dog agrees. Like it or not what you got there at your feet is a little carnivore.
Dry food companies use cereal (cheap) instead of meat (expensive) in their products for no other reason but that it boosts the bottom line. Now the science has caught up and it is showing that dry, cereal-based junk is not working out for your little meat eater. Fit as a butchers dog they say, dogs positively thrive on fresh meat, inside and out.
Benefits of Raw Feeding
Softer Coat. Everything is made of protein - muscles, joints, bones and organs. Skin, hair and even the oil on hair that give it it's shine is nearly all protein. A big, lush coat requires around 35% of the protein your dog eats. Dry pet food is typically high in cereal and low in protein (as it's expensive). This means scarce protein sources are pushed towards keeping muscles and organs working. A lush coat is way down the list.
A fresh meat diet is full of protein, fueling a big, thick, soft, shiny coat that is typical of fresh fed dogs.
Reduction in Skin, Gut, Joint, Ear and Eye Issues.
Wheat, cooked protein and food chemicals are the top 3 antigens in dogs today. An antigen is simply something that irritates the immune system, causing inflammation. Inflammation causes so many issues in dogs. It is the rash on their skin. It's their soft poos and anal gland issues. It is their IBS or colitis. It's their itchy paws, weepy eyes and arthritis. Everyone wants the bandage for these issues – what can I put in to stop this happening? As long as you keep putting in the antigens you will keep getting the problems.
By cutting them out and replacing with simple, fresh ingredients you will greatly reduce the above issues in your dog.
Dry food results in poor behaviour as it is high in carbs (resulting in high blood sugar and insulin level, linked to problem behaviour in us and them), it is high in chemicals (look at the back, a
quick nutritional rule is if you can't pronounce don't eat it, think kids after brightly coloured sweets or coca cola!) and it is low in vitamin B complex which do not preserve well. There are central to brain and neuron function.
Fresh meat works as it is the complete opposite.
Less Smelly Poo!
Starting to sound like snake oil isn't it?! As fresh food is more digestible and contains less gunk, you get less poo out the other end, and it barely smells! Gone are the big, stinking, sloppy ice-cream
shaped messes of dry fed dogs. Which also means no more anal gland issues.
As dry food begins at 1.2% salt (same as seawater, without it the dog's wouldn't touch the stuff) dry fed dogs drink huge amounts of water. If we ignore the dire effect on your dog's kidneys (dogs are 7
times more likely to suffer kidney issues than humans), fresh fed dogs drink much less, meaning less puddles.
Weight Loss & Muscle Tone.
Think of a human weightlifter or bodybuilder. They couple meat and veg with exercise when bulking up. Less carbs and more protein! This is because protein not only gives energy but builds muscles. Now, your dog is a carnivore. They do not require all the carbs in cereal, they can actually make their own! All they need is fresh protein and fat. Sadly dogs today are trying to maintain a good body on a handful of peanuts packed with 50% carbs, twice as much as we are supposed to consume! What happens to us when we eat too much bread?! We fatten up. So swop the cereal
for fresh meat, they will shed the pudge that is destroying their health and reveal a beautiful, sleek, firm body underneath.
95% of dogs suffer gum disease by 2 years. 95% are dry fed. Probably a coincidence!! Unlike omnivores dogs lack amylase in their saliva. This breaks down the carbs hanging around the mouth
which fuel bacteria growth. This is why cutting out the carbs, salt and junk treats, and putting in fresh meat (preferably on the bone) is proven to reduce plaque formation in every carnivore studied. Give your dog a fresh bone, never a cooked one.
If I feed my dog raw meet he is likely get e.coli or salmonella poisoning.
Untrue – a dog’s digestive tract is different from a human’s which prevent this occurrence. A dog’s stomach contains very strong hydrochloric acid. This acid makes short work of any bacteria that might come its ways. Also, the overall length of the gastrointestinal tract is much shorter in comparison to humans. This means that food passes through the system much quicker, in hours rather than days, preventing bugs from getting a foothold. Dogs can contract salmonella or e.coli, however it is very rare, and they are usually the result of a dog fed on commercial pet food suddenly raiding the rubbish bin one day. There are also precautionary measures you can take to minimise the risk of feeding raw meat to your dog e.g. washing your hands before preparing food.
Dogs should not be given bones as they may choke on them, especially poultry bones which tend to splinter into sharp shards.
Dogs can eat and digest bones of many types, as long as they are raw, not cooked. Cooked bones are brittle and prone to splintering, but raw bones are soft and flexible. They are also nature’s powerhouse store of minerals in perfect proportion for the needs of a carnivore.
Making the food myself is time consuming, difficult, expensive and smelly!
Owners do need to be willing to make a commitment to making the food themselves, one which they have to stick with, however it is actually quite easy and relatively inexpensive. The question is what cost, in both financial and time terms, is your pet’s good health worth? In addition, we must not judge what we feed our pets by human standards, they do not care what it looks like or mostly even how it tastes – why do you think dogs enjoy raiding rubbish bins so much! When considering a holistic approach to our hounds, we must always look at the whole life costs – a good diet will result in much lower vet bills longer term!