The Best Dog Food
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
The best food for your dog is . . .
Real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, lamb, fish. A small amount of fresh vegetables and fruits. Occasionally yogurt or eggs.
No, this is not "people food." Calling real food "people food" makes it sound as though people are the only living creatures entitled to eat real food. That's not true.
All living creatures deserve real food. You can give real food to your dog by making homemade meals for him.
If you do have some interest in feeding homemade food, read on! A multitude of veterinarians are in full support of feeding homemade.
For example, Dr. Martin Goldstein DVM says....
"You can boost your pet's health profoundly by making one simple decision. All you have to do is change his diet from commercial-brand fare to something you may never have imagined giving him – real food. The fresh food you buy at the market for yourself is the food you should give your pet, too."
Generations of dogs lived to ripe old ages on fresh foods...before the pet food corporations came along and changed (ruined) everything.
Just say "No" to dog food corporations
Dogs have been domesticated for about 15,000 years (that's amazing, isn't it?). And all that time, right up until the 1930s, they were fed real meat or fish. Sometimes a few vegetables, homemade bread, and milk.
On this diet they thrived, frequently living into their late teens.
In the 1930s, the USDA started stamping "failed" on wheat and corn that didn't pass inspection for the human market due to mold, rancidity, and other contaminants. The annoyed manufacturers discovered that the meat industry faced the same dilemma – meat that failed USDA inspection because it had spoiled or because the livestock was diseased.
The idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it "pet food" was born.
Marketing firms spent an enormous amount of money planting this awful idea in the public's mind. Today commercial diets are aggressively promoted by multi-billion-dollar pet food corporations and the veterinary industry, both of whom have a huge financial stake in getting you to feed these products.
But processed kibble and canned products were not then – nor are they now – what a dog was born to eat.
Listen to what Dr. Richard Pitcairn D.V.M. says about artificial diets:
"The whole concept of Insta-Meal for humans is repulsive. Most people would soon be climbing the walls in frustration, desperate for a salad or some fruit – anything whole and fresh, or just different. Perhaps the thought of eating kibbles for the rest of your own life helps make the point that pets forced to do so are being shortchanged. All of us – humans and animals – should have fresh, wholesome, unprocessed food in our daily diet."
The awful ingredients in commercial "dog food"
Virtually all dog food brands are heavily based on fiber-heavy grains and cereals. But dogs do not have the long winding digestive tract to easily digest fiber. A cow does. So do we humans.
But dogs have a short straight digestive tract designed for meat.
Many dogs who eat corn, soybeans, or wheat develop health problems. For example, itchy skin, where your dog tries to soothe the itch by licking his feet or rubbing his face against the carpet.
Excessive shedding or dandruff. Loose stools. Gassiness and flatulence.
You might never think to connect these problems with the grain in your dog's diet, but that is often the case.
To make matters worse, GOOD-quality grain is reserved for the human market. What goes into the pet food bin is deemed unfit for human consumption, often because of mold, rancidity, or contaminants – yuck!
Unless a dog food brand says its meat passed USDA inspection.... it didn't.
Contrary to what the dog food companies show you on TV commercials, your dog doesn't get sirloin from a healthy cow raised in a lush pasture.
Nor does he get chicken breast from a healthy hen who pecked happily around the barnyard.
No, your dog gets meat from cows and chickens jammed together in pens and warehouses where the animals can barely move.
Much of this meat fails to make the cut for the human market – 4D meat from livestock that was Diseased, Disabled, Dying, or already Dead when it arrived at the slaughterhouse.
If it won't pass USDA inspection, into the pet food bin it goes.
.... along with the growth hormones that were fed to the livestock to make them grow faster.... and the antibiotics fed to prevent massive outbreaks of disease in their miserable living conditions. These hormones and antibiotics trickle through to your dog.
THE GREASY FAT
You know that pungent smell that wafts up from a freshly opened bag of kibble?
That's greasy fat sprayed onto the hard little pebbles to tempt your dog to eat it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be recognizable to him as food.
Dogs gobble up their kibble for the same reason kids gobble up french fries. But we don't let our kids eat only french fries, do we?
Preservatives make the bags and cans last longer That's convenient for the dog food company – it can sit in their warehouse for a long time.
Convenient for the retailer – it can sit on the shelf for a long time.
Convenient for the owner – it can sit in the pantry for a long time and when poured into a bowl, it can sit there all day if necessary.
But what is this stuff that keeps the ingredients from spoiling?
Pet food preservatives include BHA and BHT, both of which are suspected of causing cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
Then there is the nasty ethoxyquin, which is manufactured as a rubber preservative. The Department of Agriculture lists it as a pesticide. OSHA lists it as a hazardous chemical. The containers are marked POISON.
Hard to believe that these three chemicals are allowed in pet food in the United States. All three are banned in Europe. Says something about corporate power, doesn't it?
"Good news!" you say. "None of those preservatives are in MY dog food brand!"
Well, not so fast. Even when it's not listed, it could still be in there. A legal loophole, you see, allows dog food companies to only list what they themselves put into the bag.
If they buy ingredients from a supplier who has already added the chemical to those ingredients, the dog food company doesn't have to disclose that on the bag.
Isn't that nice?
THE UNRECOGNIZABLE INGREDIENTS
Brewer's rice? Wheat bran? Beet pulp? Corn gluten? Do you know what any of that stuff is? Can you see yourself at the supermarket picking up corn gluten or beet pulp for your dog's supper?
What about animal digest? This ingredient is described as "material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of undecomposed animal tissue."
Doesn't that sound tasty? It's a boiled concoction from the rendering plant, and the "animal tissue" can include (really gross here, sorry) rats, roadkill, and dead pets that were euthanized at the animal shelter.
Yes. The FDA has found pentobarbital – the chemical used to euthanize animals – in some brands of "dog food".
Australian veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst says:
"If you look at the ingredient list on a can or a bag of pet food – with understanding – you will realise that what is being listed is a heap of rubbish. Definitely not the wholesome nutritious food you would want to feed to a valued member of your family."
How dog food affects your dog's health
Every day, unhappy dogs parade through veterinary offices. They suffer from:
- skin and coat problems
- digestive problems
- joint problems
- and more
What are these dogs eating? Virtually every one of them is eating kibble or canned food.
Listen to what Dr. Richard Pitcairn D.V.M. says about health problems and artificial diets:
"Since I graduated from veterinary school in 1965, I've noticed a general deterioration in pet health. We now see very young animals with diseases that we used to see only in older animals.
Without the perspective of several decades, vets just coming out of veterinary school think these degenerative conditions in younger animals are "normal." They do not realize what has happened over the passage of time.
I believe, along with poor quality nutrients, the chemical additives in pet food play a major part in that decline.
Pet foods contain slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritive fillers, heavy-metal contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, drug residues, sugar, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives."
Dr. Martin Goldstein D.V.M. sums it up nicely:
"When I tell an owner that a change of diet can affect her pet's health in a matter of days, the first reaction is usually delight, sometimes even exhilaration."
You shouldn't just set another place at your family dinner table for your dog! There are some important differences between what's healthy for humans and what's healthy for dogs.
The specific information you need on how to prepare your dog's meals is laid out for you in my 11-Step Dog Health Program.
Step-by-step recipes, cooked vs. raw, which supplements dogs need to prevent dangerous deficiencies – for example, don't feed meat without adding bone meal (fully explained in Chapter 1), which foods you SHOULDN'T feed your dog, how often to feed, and more.
It's not rocket science. But it's not as simple as just whipping up a batch of beef stew for your family and ladling out a portion for your dog.
OR.... if you would like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it, here's how to feed homemade dog food without needing to make it.
Let's review what we've learned so far....
Most dog owners have chosen a brand of kibble or canned food because they were told (often by their vet, who happens to sell it) that it was the best – when in fact it's one of the worst.
Now their dog has loose stools or gas, or he's scratching his skin or licking his feet or rubbing his face on the carpet.
They take their beloved dog back to the vet, who never mentions diet but suggests a monthly steroid shot to suppress the symptoms.
The scratching stops, but now the poor dog is panting all day, drinking gallons of water, and needs to go out to pee every hour – side effects of the steroids. Yuck!
Sadly, this story is typical of the sorry state of health care information about dogs today – and not just about feeding. In my 11-Step Dog Health Program (see below), feeding is just one of the 11 things.
If you're truly interested in the best care for your dog – and I know you are, or you wouldn't be reading this page – you want to get all 11 things right.
Most dog owners don't even suspect that what they're doing can cause chronic health problems and shorten their dog's life.
It's not their fault that they've been following bad advice, because there's so much misinformation offered (everywhere). Cruising around the internet looking for quick tips will not solve the misinformation dilemma. It just exposes you to more bad advice copied from one website to another.
It's important to understand how interrelated many health issues really are. Feeding your dog healthy food is a big piece of the health care puzzle, but it's only one piece. What are some of the other pieces? Well... let me tell you what's in my book.
How to prepare healthy meals. The best dog food brands (in case you decide to feed some dry kibble). Getting only the right vaccinations (not the ones that are either useless or risky). Preventing fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Healing or improving current health issues. Avoiding known causes of diseases and shortened lifespan. Even reducing stress in your dog's life has a health-promoting effect, and you'd be amazed at what a dog perceives as stressful.
Those are among the things I write about in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
The book is a real eye-opener, and bargain priced, too. I think it's my best book. You won't want to miss it.