What's Wrong With the Pet Foods You Buy?
Feeding dogs and cats from cans and bags is simply all wrong.
Commercial kibbles and canned mush coat their teeth and gums with a sticky sludge that leads quickly to periodontal gum disease. Periodontal infections are painful and life-threatening. Infected gums spread toxins to other organs, such as heart, liver, and kidneys, leading to the chronic debilitative diseases, such as diabetes, cancers, and heart disorders, so common in pets today. The American Veterinary Dental Association reports that 80% of dogs and 75% of cats fed on commercial kibble and canned mush have serious periodontal disease by age 3 years.
In addition to destroying pets’ health through periodontal disease, commercial kibbles and canned mush do not meet your pets’ dietary requirements. Bags and cans of pet food are based on cooked carbohydrates. Cooking destroys much of the nutritional value of foods. Carbohydrates, such as grains and other vegetable matter, do not meet the nutritional requirements of carnivorous pets. Cats and dogs need raw meats and bones to clean their teeth, to meet their dietary requirements, and to give them a healthy life.
Commercial pet foods were devised to solve a waste disposal problem. Instead of paying to dispose of human food waste, food processors profited by turning human food waste into pet foods. Since the 1950’s, some pet food manufacturers have used better ingredients, but bagged and canned pet foods of any kind are unnatural nutrition. They are cooked at high temperatures and use high percentages of cereals, which are not only cheap but are required to extrude kibble shapes from industrial machines. Bags of kibble and cans of mush give pets a slow, lingering death, rather than a healthy, vital life.
If not kibble and canned pet foods, what do our dogs and cats need to thrive? The best information on pets’ dietary needs comes from their evolution – what are they designed to eat?
Domestic dogs are a subspecies of grey wolves[i]. Domestic cats are close relatives of African wildcats, also called desert cats[ii]. Wolves/dogs and cats/wildcats evolved to eat prey animals. Natural diets of carnivores consist of whole animals – meat, bones, and organs. Appropriate pet foods, therefore, must consist of raw meaty bones and animal organs. Dogs’ and cats’ digestive systems are designed to metabolize meat proteins and fats and to handle bacteria safely. Carnivores’ digestive systems are not designed to digest cereals and grain byproducts, which stress their health.
How Hard Is It to Feed Right?
Commercial pet foods are advertised as convenient time-savers for busy pet owners. You don’t have to mix or cook anything. If you didn’t open the bag or can, experts imply that you might have to cook complex meals for your pets. Hog wash! No animal evolved to eat cooked foods. Feeding a variety of raw, fresh meats and bones covers all the nutritional requirements of dogs and cats, just as it does for their wild relatives.
Here’s the hard part: You have to unlearn the propaganda you have been fed about “100% complete and balanced” pet food concoctions (absurdly false claims). Unfortunately, many veterinarians are brainwashed and motivated to believe pet food manufacturers’ claims. From nutrition teaching in vet schools, usually given by pet food representatives, to the profitable sales of commercial pet foods in their vet practices, most vets support manufactured pet foods.
You know better how to feed your family, including your pets. Think about good nutrition for yourself and your children – fresh foods are best, and a variety of foods is important. You wouldn’t feed them processed cereal at every meal, even if it claimed to be “100% complete and balanced”, would you? How absurd for a cereal to claim to be the only food you and your children need to eat, day after day! It’s no different for your pets. Use your good, old-fashioned common sense!
To feed your pets an excellent raw diet, all you have to do is to SHOP. You don’t have to make anything. You buy chickens and chicken parts, meaty beef bones, pork with bones, whole fish, beef heart, liver, and so forth, just as you shop for fresh foods for other members of your family. Pets are not gourmet eaters, so find sources for meats people do not relish (chicken and turkey frames, necks, beef hearts, kidneys, tripe, pork hocks, heads, cheeks, etc.). These cheaper meats are just as nutritious as filet mignon and rack of lamb. Premium kibbles cost $2/pound. Raw meaty bones need not cost as much.
Feeding raw meaty bones is convenient and simple. You just hand pets appropriately sized[iii] hunks of meat and bones, which they will savor, gnaw, and digest. Every few days, add some organ meat, such as raw liver, chicken gizzards or tripe, and treat your dogs to occasional table scraps of cooked vegetables and raw fruits. Their diet will be completely nutritious and naturally healthy. If you feed your pets outside or on a washable surface, you don’t even need dishes. Just hand them the hunks.
You will see huge improvements in your pets’ teeth and gums, coat, and general health. Itchy skin and “hot” spots will disappear, because they are caused by your pet’s immune responses to inappropriate food. Stool will no longer be malodorous and huge. Raw meaty bones digest into small, inoffensive stools. The benefits are many. The diet is easy. Try it and see.[iv]
[i] Domestication of some grey wolves took place roughly 15,000 years ago in central Asia. Breeding between some dogs and wolves continued over the past 15,000 years. Wolves feed primarily on medium to large grazing animals, but will generally eat any meat that is available, including spoils of other animals’ kills, and garbage. Wolves and domestic dogs are carnivores that also consume minor amounts of vegetable matter.
[ii] All house cats descend from a few self-domesticating African Wildcats around 8000 BC, in the Middle East. African Wildcats eat primarily mice, rats and other small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Domestic cats are a small predatory carnivorous species that hunts mice, rats, birds, snakes, and other unwanted household pests. Domestic cats are carnivores whose diet must consist of meaty bones and organs.
[iii] The appropriate sizes of raw meaty bones and raw meat hunks depend, of course, on the size of the pet. Puppies, kittens, and toy dogs should be fed raw chicken wings, necks, and drumsticks, and other similarly sized foods. Medium and large dogs should be given whole chickens, large hunks of meaty bones, such as beef and pork rib sections, whole carcasses of rabbits, and any other prey animals you can find. Bones that are too small rarely, but do occasionally, get caught in a pet’s esophagus, causing choking.
[iv] Very helpful information about raw feeding can be found at www.rawmeatybones.com, at numerous raw feeding web sites on Yahoo groups, and in books, such as Tom Londsale DVM, Raw Meaty Bones, and Work Wonders, and Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life.