The scary thing about raw food….
is what is not all over the news. The new rage in the veterinary corporate businesses and government agencies is the specific recommendation against feeding raw foods to pets. My interest as a raw food feeder and retailer for many years is the health of animals and people compared to the imbalance of information given to the public about raw foods. When we say the words “raw foods” around here most of us think of meat in animal foods. Some of us think of raw milk or cheese. What are not often thought of are all the items we are told by the government agencies and medical profession (and by extension veterinary) are good for us- like vegetables and fruits. How often have we heard brief news stories about lettuce, or cantaloupes that have had salmonella or listeria on them that has caused illness and even death? How often do friends recommend you never eat those items again? How many FDA warnings and medical warnings have you received, when visiting your doctor that have warned you to never eat those products unless you cook them?
After years of studying the health and nutritional needs of dogs and cats, there are three things that stand out. One – There are “common practices” in the veterinary and pet food manufacturing industries that are outdated and harmful to pets. Two- There are not enough people who know these are outdated practices that are scientifically unfounded. Three- There don’t seem to be enough people who are interested or concerned that these practices are killing our dogs and cats. Yes, I said it. There are veterinary practices and pet food manufacturing practices that are killing our pets. No one likes to say it. No one seems to like to hear it. But I find it hard to believe that the people I see every day don’t REALLY care that this is happening.
I recently came across another ad for a pet food company that was proudly announcing a new line of dog foods that encouraged people to “Try feeding your dog all of our nutritious recipes in rotation without the worry of an upset stomach. … you can choose to feed just one recipe or any combination of recipes on the menu. These recipes were specifically formulated for the option of rotational feeding, so you can feel confident about giving your dog “variety.” “All our formulas provide healthy balanced nutrition for your dog. High quality ingredients ensure that you are providing the optimum nutrition your dog needs.”
It is very telling that even the advertiser decided it was wise to put the word ‘Variety’ in quotes. The fact of the matter is what they’ve done is taken the almost identical formula and just changed the type of meat. This opens so many aspects of dog food formulation, feeding and advertising that I could fill a book.
It looks like it’s supposed to be a cute little white dog, but the wet, drippy eyes, stinky goopy ears, itchy darkened skin, orange feet, nails and face, allergic to everything… and what’s that smell? Is someone eating Fritos, or is that dirty laundry under there? If any or even some of this sounds familiar, you may be living with yeast- in your dog.
After moving our store location from Sammamish to The Issaquah Highlands this last August, we noticed a significant increase in the amount of products we were selling to combat yeast in dogs. Eleven times the amount! It was staring us in the face, begging to be noticed. We wondered what could be so different in Issaquah compared to Sammamish? The first thing we thought was ‘What are they feeding those dogs in Issaquah?’
Recently we had a visitor to our store who expressed a very strong belief that the prong collar training tools we carry are inhumane. Her experience was in the rescue field of pet care. Those experiences included witnessing the damage prong collars had done to dogs’ necks in the form of punctures and life changing injuries. Her experiences had affected her so greatly that she was unable to stay in the store knowing the prong collars were sold here.
That is a reaction I can say we have never experienced before regarding prong collars, but I had personally experienced when I got my Great Dane puppy who’d had his ears cropped. I had one customer who refused to even look at him, let alone greet or pet him because of her belief that ear cropping was inhumane and wrong.
With so many people making so many choices for their animals, and so many opinions and givers of “expert” advice out there, each person has to rely on their own experience tempered with some common sense and clear thinking to believe she is doing the best she can by her animals.
Today I read a little informative article noting some of the myths about feeding cats and dogs. It was by respected veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM. I’ve read Dr. Hofve’s articles with great respect many times. This article however, had a portion that I think panders to those who just don’t want to commit to scientific classifications when it comes to dogs and cats. Dr. Hofve wrote, “Dogs are considered omnivores of sorts – they can eat and digest grains and vegetables IF they have been somewhat pre-digested as they would be in an herbivore’s stomach or intestines.”
Now, the scientific classification of carnivores, omnivores and herbivores does not include a subcategory labeled “of sorts”. In these classifications there are Classes, Orders, Species, Families and many other categories, but no “of sorts”. I believe that category falls a bit outside science.
The search for “new” meats.
So the latest novelty meat I’m seeing in the pet food industry is alligator. Since I’m all about caution when it comes to jumping on any wagons pulled along by pet food and treat manufacturers, I realize I can sometimes miss a good “sell”. Well, better to err on the side of caution.
I decided I needed to look into the alligator meat make-up before I decided this was a good thing for dogs to be consuming. I get that it’s meat- that’s a point in favor. I get that it’s an alternative to chicken- point two. However, when I asked a person who presented the possibility of making it into a food, what the actual analysis is….he didn’t know.