The Scoop On Raw Feeding
Here are just a few facts:
1. Commercial dog & cat food contains maximum 10% water. Natural raw food contains about 75%
2. Kibble contains about 65-75% carbohydrates, mainly from the overwhelming amount of grain in the product (grain is at least 90% carbohydrate! And, BTW rice is a grain). Natural raw food contains none!
3. All commercial dog & cat food is cooked. Natural food has never been heated (Please note: Meat cooked at 117F degrees for only 3 minutes will become denatured. Heat destroys all live enzymes, essential amino acids, and including most vitamins. That’s why synthetic vitamins have to be added to commercial pet food).
4. All commercial dog & cat food is preserved with poisonous chemicals. If not, it would perish in a matter of hours.
I can promise you:
• Feeding a raw meaty bone diet will make sense once you educate yourself
• Quality raw food is not more expensive than “quality kibble”
• Your dog or cat’s health will improve visibly when you change to raw
• Raw meaty bone diets do not make a dog vicious or blood-thirsty; but not feeding it might
• Feeding a raw diet becomes easy and simple when you fully understand why you should be feeding a raw diet
I cannot give you a complete education on raw-feeding through a couple of blogs on my website. The topic is too big. But I hope I can make you understand that this is an area where you as a responsible dog/cat owner have no choice about educating yourself. You are simply not a responsible pet owner if you do not take the time to learn how you should feed your dog or cat a natural diet. The people who tell you that commercial dog/cat food is “just fine” are either completely uneducated about carnivore nutrition and simply do not know what they are talking about, or they have a financial interest in making you do it.
I have seen in many on-line forums how people—who are new to the concept of raw feeding—run into serious problems because they only understand a fraction of what they should understand – and thus make some terribly wrong decisions or get seriously confused. Trying to gather a good understanding of this vast topic by simply reading a few posts in a forum is not very diligent, to put it mildly. Forums are great when you understand the basics and can assess and evaluate the information you receive. But, untill then, newsgroups are more confusing that enlightening. And, I’ve seen some discussions on these forums where the information exchanged is so incorrect that I’ve literally cringed. Please remember, those members are not skilled educators. They are “ordinary” people who have had some personal experiences with raw feeding, many of them only for some months or some years. Now, this does not make their experiences inadequate or wrong. Rather their advice are just not complete!
There are two ways to get a good understanding of how you can manage feeding your dog or cat a species appropriate diet:
1. You can study the dog and the cat’s natural prey and its hunting behavior, or
2. You can study the dog and the cat’s physiology, anatomy, and body chemistry.
Both will lead you to the same conclusion and the same fundamental recipe for what “dog & cat food” should be: raw meaty bones and organs.
How Holistic Vets Can Cause Confusion About “Raw Feed”
Now, I need to say a word regarding a few of the books I’ve seen written on the subject of “holistic health care for cats and dogs.” They, too, can be confusing and filled with cringe-worthy advice. There’s one book I’m thinking of in particular that was written by a world-famous homeopathic veterinarian. I was skimming through his book and agreeing with everything he said about cats and dogs being a carnivore and eating a raw meat diet—until I got to his “recipes for cats & dogs” chapter. There was a recipe for cats that included stuff like rice (grain), veggies (for a carnivore?), canola oil (another plant matter, plus canola oil is GMO), and table salt (huh?), and a little bit of raw meat. Where’s the calcium? Minerals? Omega-3s? Essential fatty-acids? Needless to say, I closed the book in disbelief.
The thing is, folks read these books, and because it’s written by a world-famous veterinarian they automatically trust his advice on diet. But, then I’ll get emails from people who read these books and become confused (even the average pet owner knows table salt and canola oil is outrageous) and ask me what the real deal is (I later found out this world-famous vet is a vegan, which I don’t have a problem with. But I do have a problem when one imposes a vegan/vegetarian diet on meat-eating animals).
I know there are many veterinarians out there who believe dogs are omnivores…this is what they are taught in vet school. But then you have to ask yourself: who teaches the nutritional course at these vet colleges? (btw, only one voluntary 5-day-class on nutrition is taught to these vet students). Well, I’ll tell you: Nutrition is taught by a representative from the pet food industry. Of course, they want you to believe a dog is an omnivore because if you read the ingredients on their dog food you’ll see it’s full of fruit, veggies, grains, and cooked meat. Basically, grains are used as fillers, and veggies/fruit is to appeal to the pet owners idea of what a nutritionally-balanced meal should look like (for a human, that is, not for a dog).
The Dog: Omnivore or Carnivore?
All veterinarians will agree the cat is an obligate carnivore (so why the grains, veggies, & canola oil?). Studies have shown the cat family relies on a narrow set of 1,376 genes linked to strong muscle fibers and the digestion of protein. But, there seems to be quite a controversy on whether a dog is a carnivore or an omnivore. As a matter of fact, the disagreement between that thought can be very passionate. Almost as frantic as vegans arguing whether humans are herbivores or an omnivore.
Recently, I noticed that two well-known natural animal health personalities—one a veterinarian who writes a blog for a top holistic website and the other who is an editor for a magazine on natural dog health—have stopped using the term ‘Raw Food,’ but instead, use ‘Fresh Food.’ This is so they can push vegetables and cooked meat in their recommended diet plans for cats and dogs. All of this falls nicely in line with the pet food industry’s audacity to change dogs from carnivores to omnivores with zero proof. Who’s side are these people on?
Now, the explanation I’ve heard from some veternarians as to why they believe a dog is an omnivore is, as follow:
The dog has been domesticated for 10,000 years. And in that time, it has learned to adapt to the human diet.
Oh, really? Where’s the proof? Where’s the science? Commercial pet food has only been around since the 1890s. That’s not long enough time for the canine physiology to evolve into an omnivore. Before the industrial revolution and the creation of the middle class, only the rich could afford to have cats and dogs as pets. And the common man, like a farmer, kept cats and dogs as work animals. Dogs protected herd animals, and cats protected the food supply from vermin. In those days, dogs sometimes got a few scraps from the table, but mostly it hunted its own food.
When the dog was domesticated it wasn’t to help humans plant corn in the field. The dog was used to help in the hunt. The wolf is the perfect hunter. He can track, outrun, and capture prey better than any human. So, it’s understandable why humans would want to tame the wolf. Humans weren’t looking for a pet, they were looking for a tool, a hunting companion.
Now, the so-called “proof” that dogs are omnivores is: Dogs have amalyse just like humans and other omnivores For those who don’t know what amalyse is, it’s an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates into sugars. I’ve read the articles where amalyse is used as an argument in their attempt to prove a dog is an omnivore. But these articles failed to mention that not only does the obligate carnivore, the cat, ALSO has amaylse, but WHERE the amalyse is located. The omnivore has amaylse BOTH in the saliva and pancreas. But, the cat and dog ONLY has amaylse in the pancreas. They do NOT have this enzyme in their saliva. This means, for the cat and dog digestion begins in their stomach (not in the mouth like with omnivores) and this is where proteins are broken down into smaller particles in order for amino acids to enter the blood stream. The amaylase in the cats/dogs pancreas is very limited and can only handle a small percentage of carbs/starch.
Now, getting back to the world-famous vegan homeopathic veterinarian I mentioned above. I have heard quite a few naturopathic/holistic veterinarians confront him on his promotion of vegan diets to carnivores. His answer, I paraphrase, “Yes, I know they’re carnivores. But I’m trying to save the planet.” And then he’ll cite an article from The Nature Journal claiming dogs have somehow learned to “activate their gene sequence” in order to produce as much amaylase as humans. Does he mean in the pancreas? Because science has yet to prove canines are now making digestive enzymes in their saliva like herbivores or omnivores. And if dogs have “evolved” to produce more amaylase in their pancreas then why is there an epidemic of pancreatitis and diabetes amongst the domesticated dog population?
I read the article the vegan vet was referring to (and you can read it HERE) and it’s all theories (aka assumptions). The article does not present evidence, such as, lab analysis or controlled experiments. When I read stuff like this the first thing that pops into my mind is “who’s financing this research?” My first suspicion is the Pet Food Companies.
I realize the above mentioned vegan vet is passionate in his ideology of “saving the planet.” But when I heard him give the reason for feeding vegan diets to cats and dogs is because prey animals don’t want to die and I’m saving them from meat-eaters, he lost all credibility to me. I got news for you: plants don’t want to die either (that’s why many plants secrete poison when they feel themselves being eaten) Read the book “The Secret Life of Plants” by Peter Thompkins, or this Video.
I’ve looked for research that claim dogs have “evolved” away from a carnivore diet and can now thrive on vegetarian/vegan diets. And, guess what? I can’t find one. Not one! However, there are studies that say that a certain fruit or vegetable has a particular compound or property that makes it good for X (reducing tumors, for example). The assertion is that we should feed it to our pets because of that compound. But, what is never mentioned, that I’ve been able to find, is how the carnivore’s system is supposed to access that particular compound. There’s no real attention given to how the carnivore system is different from the omnivore or the herbivore. Look at the illustration of the deer and the fox. Do you see the difference? Look at the cecum. That organ is designed to extract salt and water from plant material. Do you see how big it is on the herbivore compared to the canine (the cats cecum is a little smaller than the dogs)? There’s a reason for this, like “Yo, I’m not suppose to eat a lot of plants. A little grass now and then is OK, but not that salad.” These are biological differences that are important to understand.
One Last Word
I used to belong to a holistic/homeopathic newsgroup. The other members were always complaining that their dogs had skin issues. “Geez, I feed my dog raw meat with raw veggies, rice, and flaxseed oil. I don’t understand why he has hot spots.” And, the other members would go back & forth with homeopathic remedies to try and fix the skin problems, but nothing was working. So, I suggested, instead of worrying about what homeopathic remedy to give the animal just remove the rice, veggies, fruit, and flaxseed oil from his diet, and give the dog only raw meaty bones and some fish oil. And, then I made the “mistake” of calling the dog a carnivore and that he shouldn’t be eating carbs and starches. Well, it’s not a “mistake” to call a dog a carnivore, but in this newsgroup it was. I was attacked left and right. I had my life threatened. I received hate mail…it was unreal.
This is an example of “ordinary” people having a little knowledge and experience in raw feeding, and a little to no knowledge of canine biology. And, don’t get me started on what they said about cats.
Of course, I left that newsgroup, and will never join another ever again.