Full Title: Nutrition and Nature
Author: Renata Hann
Date of Publication: March 7, 2018
Research Paper Text:
Nutrition and Nature
For thousands of years dogs have eaten raw, fresh, whole food and have thrived. However, within the last 100 years, commercially processed food was introduced into the market to create “convenience” food, and pet owners are overwhelmed with choices and misguided by clever marketing labels to buy their food. This paper will address the healthiest pet food choices to provide a healthier, natural way of eating for your pet.
Over the past several decades, diseases in dogs have increased by 80 percent. The dog food companies dominated the industry with deprived dietary nourishment, creating generations of nutritionally weakened animals that suffer from degenerate disease. Studies have found that processed commercial dog food, like maladies in human food consumption, has created more illness, cases of allergies, inflammation, auto immune, obesity, kidney/liver and digestive issues.
The pet food industry is all about profit and their increasing neglect of the health of our pets is shameful. Veterinarians are guilty, as well. Dr. Fox expounds, at the 2008 American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association convention, “The role of the veterinarian profession in preventing sickness and suffering in our beloved dogs and cats should be central, but because of conflicts of interest, as between selling products for profit and putting the best interests of the animal patient before those of running a business, is similar to the human medical profession.” (Fox, 2011).
The pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agricultural industries. It is the waste from slaughterhouse carcasses, leftover grains from human food manufacturing considered “unfit”, and any other waste product. It can contain diseased and cancerous animal parts (Animal Protection Institute, 2004). There are not many standards in place for animals. In the United States, dog foods labelled as “complete and balanced” must meet standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial.
The National Research council sets the nutrient requirement, but it is very difficult to determine what exact ingredient the manufacturers are using in the food. There is also a shared responsibility with The US Food and Drug administration.
We would assume that pet food is regulated as to quality, AFAFCO, however has no input as to the ingredients actually used, no analytical testing for source of protein, fiber or fats. Despite the few protocols and regulations currently in place, the food is consistent of a high temp cooked processed diet filled with unhealthy ingredients, chemicals and preservatives.
The problem with high cooking temperatures is that the food is heated and cooked to eliminate micro-organisms. Foods that are susceptible to high heat and cooking are destroyed, while most ingredients are damaged (Better Health Channel, 2011). The cooking process changes the molecular structure of ingredients making it more indigestible and the dogs immune system sees these as foreign, thus their immune system attacks them (Billinghurst, 1993).
Back to Nature
All processed pet food, be it sold in cans bags or frozen package from supermarkets to local health food stores are missing the key ingredient… LIFE FORCE
Food that is whole, fresh, and uncooked helps the body fend off aging, improve cell oxygenation, metabolism, and renewal, helps fight off diseases, and are easily digested (Pitcairn and Pitcairn, 1982). Fecal volume is 1/5 that from dogs on dry kibble. The feces have little smell and will turn white and powdery and disappear. Dogs have clean, healthy white teeth and have no need for cleanings by a veterinarian. Obesity is non-existent with weight being easily controlled (Lonsdale, 2001). Energy levels are higher. Coats are silky, healthy, and shiny (Lee, 2012). Raw food contains 75-80% water, which is vital for proper digestion and could possibly decrease the risk of bloat and calcium oxalate bladder stones (Brown and Taylor, n.d.). There are different types of raw food diets. Raw meaty bones, known as the prey model diet and is closest to a wolves diet. BARF diet is similar with the addition of vegetables and fruits, homemade cooked diets, and dehydrated raw diets (Wildwater, n.d.).
A raw food diet should consist of: Raw meat – muscle meat from chicken, beef, turkey, fish, lamb, and rabbit. Organ meat is all the internal organs. Raw bone – All bone, included with the muscle meat. Rib bones for chewing, but weight bearing bones of older animals are too dense and can damage teeth. Raw vegetables – asparagus, broccoli, celery, lettuce, kale, squash, carrots, green beans. All in small quantities. Vegetables high in oxalic acid should be fed sparingly as it may interfere with calcium absorption. Too many cruciferous vegetables can alter thyroid function (Schultze,)
Putting together a holistic food plan for your dog will take more time and effort, however, through your positive actions, you will build health and continued wellbeing for your pet. Keep in mind that transitioning your pet to Raw will take slow incorporating, as not to upset the gastrointestinal tract. You can start with treats, then replace a meal with raw fresh foods at the end of week. There are many online resources for feeding your dog raw food diet, along with homemade holistic food instructions. Dogs typically do experience a Detox “phase” that might take 1-3 month to fully adjust to raw food. The transition happens through the bowels and skin. You could find shedding of the old dull hair, replaced with growth of shiny fur. There may be ear wax or blobs of mucus in their stool. The dogs will drink far less water than usual as there is high moisture content in raw proteins.
Inconclusion, it is important for the pet parent to read dog food labels. Pet convenient foods may not contain the proteins, vitamins or minerals that our canines require. The lack of government oversight, and undefined testing requirements from big brand pet food companies, has created an atmosphere of growing disease in our pets. The good news is that a solution can be easily achieved by educating yourself and learning about the diet that best supports wholesome nutrition in the way nature intended.