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« The smart, active Jack Russell is too much dog for many | Main | Ugly pet sweaters on parade »

15 November 2008

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JanC

Christie......bless you for saying what a lot of us feel & would like to say.



Vets are not open to anything except commercial. As many as I've been to, I've heard that canned is better than kibble & vice versa & I'm going to kill my dog feeding home cooked because there's no way I will be able to get it right.



I wish I could find the article I read a few months back......written by a vet......talking about how most commercial foods are so lacking in nutrition that many people are slowly starving their animals. I was already cooking for my dog but that one hit me right between the eyes. I think I should've printed it & handed it out at all the vet offices around here. Now I can't find the article.



I trusted the commercial pfc before last year & now I don't trust any of them. I don't think they deserve our trust after all I learned about them & their toxic ingredients. They don't care about nutrition for our fur babies, they care about profit, profit & profit.

katie

Very nice post, Christie. I thank you.



I don't currently feed raw, but I have in the past. I did a lot of research, but when it came down to it, it turned into common sense. Variety variety variety. I see many people having fits because dogs need specifically magically balanced diets that only kibble can provide. Seriously? It doesn't have to be that complicated to feed raw well and safely.



Sometimes I'm amazed people are still allowed to feed themselves. My diet has not been tested in a feeding trial, but I think I'm doing ok.

Anne T

Thank you Christie for your willingness to speak up and attempt to address the alternative food issue with the veterinary community. I hope some of them listened and took your words to heart.

The OTHER Pat

My 13-year old dog has recently shown a slight elevation in his kidney values. My vet immediately wanted to put him on a commercial kidney diet, but was unsurprised when I said I wanted to look into homemade alternatives since we'd spoken many times about the 2007 recalls and I had already taken my dog off of commercial food during that time.



I spent some time on a site Christie has recommended:



http://www.dogaware.com/kidney.html#protein



where I learned that a low protein diet is not necessarily the automatic choice for a dog in very early kidney disease. Rather, it's more important to restrict the phosphorus level (among other things). I also learned that the author of that site believes raw meats are easier for the body to digest, placing less of a load on the kidneys. So under the heading of "every little bit helps!" I took a deep breath and switched my dog to raw.



We just had our first followup check, and most of his values are back to within normal ranges. My vet just sighed, looked at me, and said, "Well, I sure can't tell you to stop doing what you're doing!".

Barb

AMEN Christie!! Way to go, girl!

I'm SO glad you pointed out to them how ridiculous that statement was about not being able to clean bacteria off of bowls. If that's true, and raw meat is so dangerous, then why isn't the FDA warning all of us not to buy or handle any raw meat products, at all??

And you hit the nail on the head about attitudes - the real damage that is often done is when the raw feeding client becomes afraid or unwilling to tell the vet what he/she feeds the pet.

I've been feeding raw for about 10 years, and although I have a great and respectful relationship with my vets they don't agree with raw feeding. But they've never belittled, lectured or yelled at me, we just disagree. Their main point is that the pet food companies have spent so many millions of dollars on research that they feel they can do a better job of feeding our pets than a private individual can. My take on the research is that the majority of it has either been 1) feeding trials for palatability, which has resulted in foods so enticing to pets that now obesity is a major problem, and 2) determining the optimum nutrition to be derived from the cheapest ingredients possible. Emphasis on "cheapest". They have businesses to run, after all. And THAT'S the real reason it does take a lab to formulate a commercial pet diet - we would have to have a lab also to know what vitamins to add if we were feeding our pets primarily sawdust and floor sweepings and garbage. If the pet food companies' focus had truly been on finding optimum nutrition period (i.e. regardless of cost), we wouldn't have had the Taurine disaster in cat food 20 years ago, and we wouldn't have had the melamine disaster last year.

Megan

It makes me so sad when our older dairy clinicians tell us that they used to drink raw milk all the time when they were little, and it was pretty safe back then- but they definitely wouldn't do it today. Not to mention the long list of diseases that we have to learn called feedlot diseases (only seen on feedlots, only seen in intensively-raised cattle, etc).



It always seems to come down to profits- seems like the only people who can afford to raise cows as cleanly as we did 40 years ago are in it for hobby, not business.

Pamela Picard

Nicely said.

Marie

(((Applause!!!!))) Beautifuly said. Thank you.

cheryl

If you got even a few thinking about it - that is great. They need to be dragged away from their herd mentality. They also need to realized that a lot of pet owners understand more about the health issues of their pets than they do about their own. We don't need to be led around like an idiot - sometimes all we need are resources and advice on where to go for resources.

Eucritta

Brava!



One of the things that's bugged me about all of this is that our learned helplessness, our dependency upon the pet food industry, is a glaring weakness our ability to care for our pets. Not just because of situations like that which triggered the rolling recalls last year, but whenever dietary issues come up.



Think how much greater flexibility we'd have, how much easier it would be to cope with emergencies like the recalls, if the basics of pet nutrition were common knowledge. Imagine how much faster it would be to bring a client up to speed on, say, food trials for intolerances, if there were a library of good pet cookery books to draw upon and pet supply shops carried ingredients and tools.

Lori

Good for you for not being intimidated in what could have easily been an intimidating situation.



I don't feed raw at the moment, but I applaude people who will take that time and effort. My vet has been very careful (almost to the point of being evasive) not to recommend any sort of diet plan or especially kibble brand. My gut feeling is that she's been burned by that in the past.

Margaret

You wrote: Something that’s often said by anti-raw vets, and that I heard last night, is that there’s no “proven benefit” to raw diets. And that’s true, but so is the statement that there’s no proven benefit to processed foods over homemade diets, or cooked diets over raw.

I think the research could be fairly easily done, if some vet would resolve to DO IT. You wouldn't have to compare brand or measure intake or weight change. Just look at the teeth. How many cleanings needed for the life of dogs and cats fed kibble/processed food vs. raw. dogs fed raw meat and bones will probably have more robust enzyme levels, bones grind off tooth plaque, provide calcium, etc. One could also look at the # of subjects developing diabetes and other organ failures.

Russ Mathena

We've been feeding our working GSDs raw and kibble for years and so far there's not been a problem. When we had our first pet we tried feeding canned food and all we got was upset stomachs and diarrhea.



After all, dogs are carnivores and even domesticated, still rely on the nutrition of meat and bones. We feed a varied diet of beef heart and liver, chicken and kibble with an occasional can of salmon or mackerel or even raw eggs.



A varied diet is not boring and our working dogs look forward to their meals.



Russ

suzanne

My eyes get so sore from all the rolling they do when most people talk about this subject - too many ridiculous arguments from both sides. Closed-minded vets on the one hand, fanatical, conspiracy-theorizing raw-feeders on the other.



It's so nice to see someone speak so reasonably about it. Thank you. Now, if you could just go on national tour...

Joy

Christie, I really appreciate your balanced approach. Great post, thanks.



I'm sure you've read Mary Thurston's book "The Lost History of the Canine Race"...it's fascinating to me to read the chapter on the history of pet food.



...how in the 1960's members of the Pet Food Institute (the members were, of course, commercial dog food makers) were responsible for putting a derogatory twist on the term "table scraps".



Back then, many people still shared food from their table with their dogs so, to increase sales of bagged and canned food, PFI used the term “table scraps” with grim warnings of its dangers. This was played/printed over and over in a huge advertising blitz meant to discourage people from feeding anything but commercial foods.



Many of the ads were disguised as pet care articles written by "leading experts" (dog food companies) and the radio ads were disguised as new broadcasts with dramatic warnings about how your dog could suffer and die if fed anything other than the "complete and balanced, scientifically formulated" wares of the dog food company paying for the radio time.



Apparently it was a very effective tactic; using fear to increase sales. Nowadays its just par for the course. It's weird how, in so few years, the plot of a clever advertising campaign seems to have become fact. Ya know?

Danielle

I am very interested in your article and views. I worked full time for an integrative vet and still do 1x week. But now I work for a natural petfood store and will be going into veterinarians offices to discuss exactly what you wrote about. We often have people come in and say they can't tell there vet about the diet they choose. Do you have more information like what you wrote that I could get some tips?

Thanks

Lis

Meat intended for human consumption has, of course, never been recalled for safety reasons.



Sorry, Cindy, but you're doing the same-old same-old.

Cindy

As you point out, there is risk involved with feeding kibble. I've been feeding raw for about 10 years. In the "early years" I was feeding a combination diet of kibble and raw. Three times my dogs had some kind of intestinal upset. I worried that it was the meat. Three times I found out that the kibble, in fact, had been recalled for a fungus. So it's not just melamine.

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