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Natural Canine Health Symposium


Kibble: Never A Good Option

By Roxanne Stone MSc

With the advent of the industrial revolution and the rapid depletion of small family farms, our ancestral food chain has seen significant changes within the last 100 years, and not altogether for the better. The mass migration of people into cities and away from small villages and farms has influenced our food industry to move to overly cooked, heavily processed, low quality, convenience foods.

Unfortunately, these same foods have made their way into the bowls of our companion animals and they are experiencing many of the same human health repercussions as a result. Historically, cooked foods have never been a part of the canine and feline diet, rather they have subsisted and thrived off live prey, fermented carrion, and they foraged for any scraps they could obtain. They have only been introduced to cooked and processed foods within the last 80 years.

Looking back at the historical diets of dogs and their wolf ancestors, it is clearly evident that they are carnivores. Their teeth, gut and digestive physiology strongly support this. Dogs have hinged, powerful jaws along with canines and triangular shaped carnassial teeth for the ripping and tearing of flesh and crushing of bone. They do not have the typical molars for the grinding of plant material or a four chamber stomach for the slow digestion and fermentation of complex carbohydrates (starches from plants and grains). They have a large stomach, short digestive tract and very small cecum, indicative of consuming large amounts of high protein food in a short time period and for fast digestion and rapid absorption of nutrients. 1 In the wild, these canines could typically go many days between their meals.

Why are 90% of animal caretakers feeding their carnivore companions a dry kibble diet consisting of at least 60% carbohydrate, very little moisture and minimal, low quality protein? Much of the pro- tein in commercial kibble diets is also plant based. Expecting our pets to graze on this type of diet all day long, and be satisfied both physically and nutritionally, does not make sense. Without going into too much detail on the history of dry commercial kibble diets, the short end of the story is that it was introduced in response to the high cost of meat during the Great Depression and was heavily promoted at the end of WWII when it gained popularity for its convenience, ease of distribution and low cost.

If our pets have managed to survive off this cheap, convenient, low quality protein source for the last 80 some years, why should we be concerned about it? Even though our pets may be surviving off commercial kibble, can we really say that they are thriving on it? The answer is pretty clear. Chronic degenerative diseases, auto-immune diseases, allergies, kidney, pancreatic and liver disease are all rampant within our pet populations and cancer rates continue to rise. 2

A study conducted in Stockholm, Sweden by Dr. Kollath showed that young animals fed a cooked, processed diet initially appeared to be healthy, but once they reached maturity, they began to rapidly age and develop degenerative disease symptoms. The control group that was raised on a raw, uncooked diet did not age as fast and showed no degenerative disease symptoms but remained healthy. Another study out of Belgium, “Relation Between the Domestic Dogs’ Well Being and Life Expectancy, a statistical essay”, utilized data gathered from more than 500 domestic dogs over a consecutive five year time period (1998-2002). The authors, Lippert and Sapy, were able to statistically show that dogs fed a homemade diet, consisting of high quality foods used from their owners’ meals versus dogs fed an industrial, commercial pet food diet had a life expectancy of 32 months longer – that’s almost 3 years!

What many unsuspecting caretakers are unaware of, is that in addition to substandard ingredients, there are many forms of toxins introduced into our pets’ bodies through these highly processed, cooked, kibble diets. These toxins include: aflatoxins, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and most recently discovered in dry, cooked pet foods, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) a chemical used as a flame retardant. 3

Aflatoxins

Grains such as corn, wheat, and rice, as well as nuts and legumes, are often contaminated with molds, either pre or post harvest, as a result of poor growing conditions or substandard or extended storage. These molds can easily grow and produce a very potent carcinogen (aflatoxins). The aflatoxins are very stable and high temperature processing steps will not render them benign. Exposure to these toxins, even at low doses, can wreak havoc on your dog’s system, causing anemia, liver or kidney failure, cancer and premature death. 2 Even if your kibble is grain free, it still contains a high carbohydrate content, so there is the potential for mold spores to contaminate the kibble during storage, especially if it is exposed to a moist environment. This can also happen in your home if your kibble is stored in a moist basement or an open container.

Heterocyclic amines

Many scientific studies have established the presence of mutagenic, cancer causing substances such as heterocyclic amines as a result of cooking meat and fish, and have additionally demonstrated a relationship between dietary heterocyclic amines and cancer. 4, 5, 6, 7 A 2003 study that sampled 25 cooked, commercial, store bought pet foods showed that all but one tested positive in their mutagenic test, and a subset of 13 of these same samples were tested and confirmed the presence of heterocyclic amines. 4

Acrylamides

Both the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and WHO (World Health Organization) have classified acrylamide as “a probable carcinogen”. Studies show that acrylamides are formed due to the high temperature heat applied to vegetable foods; more specifically a reaction between the amino acid asparagine and the simple sugars found in these foods. Whether that food is fried, baked, roasted or extruded, these substances have been measured at many levels, and in some studies, there are significantly high levels. Factors that contribute to acrylamide formation are the lack of remaining moisture in the product and the surface area. These two attributes are found in every type of kibble, which are all low in moisture.

PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers)

Although further studies are needed to determine if there is a direct toxicological effect from PBDEs, it is still alarming to learn of the presence of these chemicals, most commonly used as flame retardants in many household products, in our commercial pet foods. A recently published study in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology revealed that the average blood concentration of these PBDEs was as much as ten times higher in tested dogs than in humans. The researchers also found the presence of PBDEs in dog food samples and at higher levels than in meats sold for human consumption. The authors suggest these PBDEs found in the dog food may be a result of processing rather than contributed by the food source itself. 3

Commercial kibbles not only harbor harmful toxins, they are also stripped of much of their nutrient value, becoming a “dead” food product. 2 Unfortunately, many well intentioned consumers who want to give their pet a high quality commercial diet choose to buy expensive, “grain free” kibbles, with claims of all natural – or even organic – ingredients, believing they are purchasing a more nutritious pet food. But the fact is, even if these kibbles contain high quality ingredients with no preservatives, fillers or additives, they are still going through a cooking process which ultimately nullifies much of the nutritional value these quality ingredients would have contributed. The kibble is left with proteins that have been denatured, enzymes that are rendered inactive, and any natural, beneficial microflora (good bacteria) are no longer viable. These components are all extremely important and provide a synergistic effect for the complete digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients from the food. Manufacturers try to add back some of the lost nutritional value with synthetic vitamins and minerals so their formulas comply with AAFCO standards and they can call their food “complete and balanced” on their label. However, studies show that these synthetic vitamins can actually cause more harm than good to our pets, because the body cannot completely utilize them and instead it will processes them as a foreign substance, causing more stress to the liver and kidneys. 2

Sadly, our environment is already saturated with many pollutants and toxins which we cannot avoid. Why not take control and avoid the ones we can, for both ourselves and our pets? In order to defend against these environmental pollutants, our pets’ bodies need a strong, well established, healthy immune system. The best way we can power our pets’ immune system is with whole, live, nutrient  dense, raw foods. 2, 8

A raw, species appropriate diet is the best defense we can give our pets to thrive and maximize their opportunity for a long, healthy life. As caretakers of these amazing companion animals, who unconditionally enhance our lives, we feel that it is not only fair to provide this to them, but rather our responsibility.

References

  1. Mills, Milton R., MD. The Comparative Anatomy of Eating. Nov. 2009. http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/11.
  2. Knueven, Doug, DVM, CVA, CAC. The Holistic Health Guide, Natural Care for the Whole Dog. (2008).
  3. Lippert, Gerard, DVM and Sapy, Bruno, DVM. Relation Be- tween the Domestic Dogs’ Well-Being and Life Expectancy. (2003).
  4. Venier, Marta and Hites, Ronald. Flame Retardants in the Serum of Pet Dogs and in Their Food. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45 (10):4602-4608.
  5. Pasternak, Henry, DVM, CVA. Healing Pets with Nature’s Miracle Cures. (2001): 13, 63-80.
  6. Felton, J.S., M. Jägerstad, M.G. Knize, K. Skog, K. Waka- bayashi, Contents in Foods, Beverages and Tobacco, in: M. Na- gao, T. Sugimura (Eds.), Food Borne Carcinogens: Heterocyclic Amines, Wiley, West Sussex, 2000, pp. 31–71.
  7. Knize, M.G, Salmon, C.P., Felton, J.S. Mutagenic Activity and Heterocyclic Amine Carcinogens in Commercial Pet Foods. Mutagenic Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis. August 2003 539 (1-2): 195-201.6.
  8. Rohrmann, S., Hermann, S. and Linseisen, J. Heterocyclic Aro- matic Amine Intake Increases Colorectal Adenoma Risk. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2009 89 (5): 1418-24.


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  • 40 Responses to Kibble: Never A Good Option

    1. H Holly

      When I was blessed with my King Corso/Rotti pup three years ago, I did some research as to the best food choices for her. I ended up choosing a raw diet (at three months old) and she’s been on it ever since. She’s a mid sized dog weighing in at 55lbs and her diet consists of raw (halal) chicken and every vegetable & most fruits grown. I normally give her 3/4 lbs of the meat and a full pound of veggie. Once every two weeks her chicken is replaced with organ meat.
      By our vet standards she is in excellent health and has no outstanding or reoccurring medical conditions.
      Herein lies my question:
      I want to give her some type of kibble as a filler as she only eats once in the morning. I was feeding her 2x a day ( about 2 yrs ago) but she’d just pick out the meat and leave the fruits and veggies. Due to the fact I prepare her food myself I am wondering if I should simply make her kibble as well. I am not a fan of commercially produced food for my family or even recommending it to others; so now I am wondering what to do.
      Sincerely
      H Holly

    2. Patty Polmanteer

      OK.. let’s start from the beginning. We have 3 dogs, Harry is 12 and is an intact male Boston Terrier. Snuggle is an 11 year old fixed female Boston Terrier and Daisy May is a 8 (aprox. we rescued her) year old fixed English Bull Dog. Their weights are 21#, 24# and 42#. Daisy is on Hills Prescription d/d of potato and venison. She is on antibiotics for yeast infection in her ears. Harry and Snuggle are on Purina Little Bites. They also get Dads mini bites or Imams mini bits. I would like to feed them better food. I was always taught you don’t give chicken bones to dogs because they splinter. My husband and I are on fixed incomes and both are disabled so this is a factor also. Any suggestions as what and how and how much to feed my furbabies so they get the best

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Patty, if you want to save some money, stop feeding your dog the Hills Prescription Diet. The most economical way to give them a better diet (and they need grain free, especially your girl with allergies), then raw food will be the best. Chicken bones don’t splinter: COOKED chicken bones splinter. There are lots of great articles here to get you started on raw food. You can find inexpensive sources by looking for hunters and getting their left over venison and game. Go straight to the abattoirs to find deals there, farmers markets, ethnic markets and you can even search on Craig’s List for people getting rid of freezer burnt meat. With a little leg work, you can feed raw and save money on both the food and the vet bills.

        • Nicole

          Love your magazine!!! I’ve been working in the Veterinary Industry for over 12 years now & can honestly say most of the time they have absolutely NO IDEA what they are doing or prescribing….it IS a very sad & corrupt industry :( I thank you for what you do :)

    3. Where might I find this research study? I don’t see Dr Kollath’s research in your list of references. I feed raw, I believe it works for my dog and I am always looking for evudence based information to share with friends and clients!

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Google is your friend. This is not a journal of science so we aren’t referenced as such. What we have provided is enough information for you to follow through and complete your own research. Best of luck as you delve deeper into the topic!

    4. Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Ellie, you are right. Those chicken carcasses should be about 1/3 of what they eat and the rest should be mostly meat and some organs. I would be especially wary of feeding young dogs this much bone.

    5. teri

      We buy chicken carcass( from a local butcher, 30 lbs for 15 dollars it is human grade ,stripped of breast legs and backs and when ground comes out to 50% bone 50 % meat..we add pumpkin, swiss chard and cran or blue berries, ground alfalfa.We bought a second hand grinder ( industrial size ) and i grind ( tee hee ) with a friend and we do it twice a month .I am feeding 6 dogs.It costs me 65 cents per day per dog,We sell it for 150 per pound,and only take enough orders to feed our dogs for free.If you think kibble is better , i would advise you read up on what goes in kibble dying diseased disabled and decayed animals.I worked on a dairy farm most of my life, when a cow needed drugs( anti biotics mosty, if she didnt make it ….yup dog food because she was not fit for human consumption ….think about it

      • Ellie

        Teri,

        That is way to much bone! The dog’s diet should be 80% muscle meat, 10% various organs, and 10% bone. Even when you add in your other ingredients I’m sure your mix is close to 30 or 40% bone so the dogs are missing out on a lot of their protien and nutrients from the meat and organs.

        Also, feeding meat in large chunks is ideal as it allows the dog to crunch on bone and naturally clean the teeth. It also keeps them entertained and happy the longer that have to work on a meal. Your dogs are missing this benfit if you are feeding a ground mix.

    6. Katherine

      I am very interested in feeding raw, or at least giving my dogs more raw supplementation. I have 3 dog, 35 lbs, 60 lbs, and 85 lbs and my life situation changed drastically the past few months and thankfullyI haven’t gotten to the point of needing to change their diet (healthier kibble) to something “cheaper” (the thought disturbs me!). In my location there aren’t many options for raw diets, or even vets that I am aware of that are into the whole holistic, raw food diet, etc. Is there a reputable place to look for these options? I don’t want to limit my dogs health because of my finances (although I am in a good situation to be able to afford the healthier kibble, if you believe in such a term). I want what’s best for my pups, but I don’t even know where to start. I am going to investigate the website previously recommended to Venessa and do as much digging as possible. What do you recommend in regards to vets, if there’s not one in my area that are holistic and even recommend raw diets? Thanks!

    7. Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Vanessa, you might want to read http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/raw-feeding-primer/
      We don’t know that what we’re feeding our dog is giving him all the appropriate nutrients and neither do the kibble manufacturers. Nobody can claim a diet is 100% nutritionally complete because nobody knows what the nutritional requirements are for dogs – or people for that matter.
      It is safe to feed dogs raw with children in the house – just as safe as preparing meat yourself. Feed your dog in his crate or in an area that’s easy to clean up if you are concerned about germs.
      There are lots of local co-ops and groups – a Google search is a good place to start. I feed raw when travelling with my dogs. Dehydrated foods are also a good option.
      Raw is very little work. I thaw mine in the sink and throw it in a bowl – end of story. Not quite as convenient as kibble but that’s what kibble is – a convenience food. It would be convenient to feed your toddler McDonalds every day too but we both know that wouldn’t be a good idea because minimally processed, fresh foods without added sugar, salt and chemicals are a healthier choice – and that applies to your dog too.

      • Joanne and Fuzzy Wunz

        I’ve been feeding my Samoyeds home-cooked food, mostly raw since they were 6 months old after reading what was really in kibble. The first thing I read was to freeze raw meat for 36-48 hours to kill airborne bacteria. Since they were puppies and wanting to chew, I just gave them chicken legs for breakfast — FROZEN. Marrow bones and beef bones were also served frozen and still are to this day — almost 11 years later. I called it “chew factor” — anything that would take a little longer for them to eat. How hard and time-consuming is that?

        Today I’ve got 2 – 45-lb Samoyeds (one young and high activity, one older) and a 25-lb jack russell/border collie, also highly active. I added the two active, adult dogs who were kibble-fed and it was no effort in switching them to raw — read MEAT! After their morning visit to the yard, they rush in to wait at the freezer for their “breakfast”.

        I went away for a few weeks in October and had to be sure I had 2+ weeks of food while I was gone. I came home to a bare freezer so I kept track of what I spent for the entire month of November. I spent $179 (+$80 for the large box of dehydrated food for 40 lbs of food). That included 50 chicken legs, 19 brisket bones, 18 frozen fish fillets, 4 cans of tuna, 55 stuffed bones (with lentils, cottage cheese), 27 beef bones, 15 rib bones, 34 marrow bones, 15 lbs of ground beef, 6 cans of black beans and lentils, 1 L of cottage cheese, 2 L yogurt. That’s $259 for three dogs for more than a month — as I still had a freezer full at the end of Nov. when I stopped counting my spending. The trick is to keep adding when you see sales or space in the freezer!

        I buy chicken legs in bulk trays (Costco), spread them out and freeze and package in freezer bags. I buy 3 trays at a time of about 18 legs each–almost 3 weeks’ worth. I also buy beef knuckles and save the really meaty ones for a “fast-food” meal. The only time invested is doing the freezing part. Then it’s just open the freezer, grab from the bags and serve.

        For dinner, I was making a concoction of legumes, rice/quinoa, veggies, cottage cheese or yogurt and adding ground chicken or beef. I throw in the pulp from my juicer (no onions). I now err on more meat. I also supplement with Honest Kitchen kibble — they have a all-veggie blend or blends with meat and veggies and fruit. I will also make patties from ground meat and veggie pulp, freeze them and serve frozen. Remember — this is for the dogs to eat, not you. :)

        As snacks, I will take larger hollowed out marrow bones, and stuff them with a concoction of lentils, tuna, cottage cheese and freeze — and serve frozen. In summer, frozen chicken broth or a can of tuna in a litre/quart of water, frozen in cubes or little plastic container provide a refreshing treat.

        When I travel I pack frozen foods tight and they will keep for a day or so. I try to stay where I can access ice or a fridge/freezer in my room. Lately, the dehydrated food makes travelling a breeze, plus a stop at the grocery store works well too.

        Hillary’s Blend is a formula you can obtain from some vets, along with a cookbook on home cooking for dogs, Complete & Balanced, that offers 101 formulas/recipes that can deal with various needs from puppies to kidney, liver, diabetic and aging issues. But if you’re finding yourself time-pressed to prepare raw, cooking these 5-12 ingredient recipes might be daunting. That’s why I opted for dehydrated.

        I lost one of my Samoyeds, not to cancer/osteosarcoma but to chemo — as his immune system was so low that bacteria took his life. I’ve learned never to take the chemo road again. So yes, with a compromised immune system, you must be careful how you feed — but the bacteria can come from anywhere.

        I take a creative approach with my dogs and find they relish every meal.

    8. Ellie

      Feeding raw if you do it right is WAY cheaper than buying kibble, about half the cost for me. I buy directly from a local butcher, mostly in bulk, and pay an average on $1 per pound. Some things like beef heart is a little more ($1.75/lb) and chicken necks/backs are less ($0.69/lb) but it all averages to about a dollar a pound. High quality grain free kibble runs around $2.00 a pound maybe more depending on what brand you go with. Can’t argue with that price difference!!

    9. I agree – it need not cost an arm and a leg you can resource : Deer hunting season is on us – BEG, this weeks special 59 c lb leg quarters – Holidays coming watch for those turkey specials I have raised a kennel of no less than 30 dogs at a time – maybe 400$ month Better dogs Better healthier and stronger litters Pups fabulous – worm them once not 4 -5 times with all those nasty chemicals ..And what I save at the vet on dentals because of those nice clean healthy mouths – well its a win win situation! MiniDeelites Dachshunds -Virginia

    10. Vanessa

      Raw is expensive, I’m wondering how are people with multi-dog households supposed to be able to feed raw to their dogs, and know it’s healthy and “balanced”? Like someone with 3 dogs, or 5 dogs, or more? A friend of mine pays per month for one dog, what I pay to feed three. If the suggestion is to only have the amount of dogs you can “afford to feed raw” then could you imagine the increase in dogs and cats that would be in shelters and PTS? I am all for feeding raw, but until it’s less expensive, it just isn’t an option for a lot of people – me included.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        I have 6 dogs and I don’t spend any more on raw than my friends spend on kibble. You just have to be resourceful and go right to the abattoirs. I feed six dogs ranging from 75 to 100 pounds for about $300 a month. And my vet bills are nearly non existent.

        • michele

          This is in reply to I feed all my dogs raw and it isn’t more expensive than kibble. I just started feeding my 100 lb. dog raw and I have researched places to get the food at the best price and it still costs me over $100 a week just to feed him! I would like to know where you are getting this food for your dogs? I have now turned to home cooking adding vitamins and bone meal to his food. this still is costing me about $60 a week. and is very time consuming. Can you please respond to my comment? thanks.

        • Valerie

          I personally think the raw is no safer then the kibble !!!! Who knows what these animals are being feed.Take a look at all thr recalls on human meat.I heard that some of the raw dog food sellers are nothing but a slaughter house.We all have our own opinion on what to feed our dogs and I think all this controversy is unnessary .What about way back when all the dogs were fed was human table scrapes,the dogs lived long then and you never heard of all these diseases.The problem is the world and the way all the food is grown and animals feed.Who can sell the most ,it is all competition for business and money and that is the problem.

          • Dogs Naturally Magazine

            The article doesn’t say raw food is necessarily better. It states that processing creates harmful byproducts that pet owners should be aware of.

          • Valerie

            I’m with you, Valerie. If I am going to feed raw, why would I “buy” it from someone. I can just go to the store and buy it myself without the middleman.

        • Vanessa

          How do you know what your feeding is giving all the appropriate nutrients? Do you have to supplement?
          How safe is it to be feeding raw around a (human) toddler?
          How hard will it be for me to find somewhere to get food, locally, at a decent cost?
          I would need to get a freezer to store all the food, yes?
          What do you feed while traveling with your dogs?
          Is it a lot of prep work? I work, exercise the dogs, and have a toddler, so I’m short on extra time lol.

          Where do I begin?

          I’m trying to learn more, so any info you could provide me would really be appreciated.

          • Michelle

            No suppplements! See http://www.rawmeatybones.com. I personally feed my dogs mostly chicken as this is the cheapest. I can find pork on sale at times and deer meat this time of year. Add some organ meat once a week and you are giving your dog all the appropriate nutrients he needs.

            Safety – yes, it is as safe to feed your dogs raw as it is for you to cook your family’s dinner every night. Wash your hands and clean up the preparation area with vinegar.

            I buy and IGA, Wal-Mart and Food Lion. Check the weekly sales flyers. You can find them online. I buy chicken for about $.86/pound and can find pork shoulder for $.99/pound when its on sale. Food Lion often has rock bottom prices when they are trying to get rid of meat that is due to expire in the next day or so.

            Do you need a freezer? That depends on how many dogs and how much you’re feeding. And its always nice to be able to stock up when you find a great price on meat.

            Traveling – We typically go away for weekends so I need to provide 3-4 meals while traveling. I pack with frozen chicken in a large tupperware container. By the time we arrive at our destination, it is usually thawed perfectly. Feeding frozen meat is not a problem though if necessary. We usually have a fridge at our destination so I can put the rest of the meat I’ve packed in there. Alternatively, I just run down to the local Wal-Mart and pick up some chicken thighs.

            Prep work – I buy 5 lb bags of chicken thighs – pull them out, put them in the bowl and dinner is served :-). When I buy whole chickens its a bit more work but no more than 5-10 minutes. I have a fabulous rocker knife my mother-in-law got me in Alaska that cuts through frozen and raw meat like nobody’s business! Here’s a pic http://www.amazon.com/Alaskan-Ulu-Legendary-Knife-Arctic/dp/B0006PILUK

            Where to begin – go to your local Wal-Mart and buy some chicken and start feeding it to your dogs.

            • Dogs Naturally Magazine

              Please note that a lot of chicken found in grocery stores has been bleached and ‘enhanced’ with saline. Because we can’t always know or afford to know the source of the meats we feed our dogs, supplementation can be important to help the body rid itself of the toxins found in today’s meats. This isn’t a reason to stay away from raw because the kibble manufacturers also use toxin laden meat.

        • Bonny Castillo

          My goodness I would love to know your secret!! I have 5 dogs…2 lab/akita mix and 3 pit bulls. They range from 52 pounds to 112 pounds. I tried feeding “cooked meals” for them but was concerned about them not getting the nutrients they needed…back to kibble…I would love to do raw but the vet I use does not advise it…also read someone hurt their dogs with raw and it was to late!!! I just don’t know what to do and I would like for the cost to be reasonable…don’t have deep pockets. I need a guide line to go by with how much to give, how to give it…any nutrients they may need as a supplement. Would really like to use a nutritionist, just don’t have that kind of money for 5 large dogs.

      • Danni

        @Vanessa, I have 4 German Shepherds live on a disability pension in Australia and have no problem paying for raw meats for all my dogs, and my mums 2 goldens as well. We ade the switch when opne of our babies developed epileptic seizures and it was linked to either food or vaccine illness. Look around, try an ad on craigs list for freezer clean outs, try local hunters groups to get their scraps and necks etc, and do a quick search on Facebook and yahoo groups to find raw feeding groups or raw suppliers.. You’d be surprised. My pack eats deer, kangaroo, pig, beef, sheep, goat, fish and all manner of poultry. And it costs me far less than krapple ever did.. Plus we save on vet visits.. Incidentally, my boy hasnt had a single fit/seizure since the first month on raw.. Add two and two together and I know what I prefer to feed!

    11. Ive Kept dogs for years now and it was only reciently that i noticed this topic coming to the fore in different guisses,first of all at my dog club where a few people have got them selves new dogs/alsatians and decided to feed them raw minced up rabbits pidgeons lamb,chicken etc,etc, and its started me thinking but since our last Black Lab lived to 15 and a half and my previous Sammoyed lived to 16 and a half both of which eat Kibble i am struggling to swap to raw meat both with the concept and the cost,ie it dident hurt either of these dogs so why should it hurt my current one?

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        My grandmother lived to 96 despite smoking for a good number of those years. All it means is she rolled the dice and won – but why take the risk? She also suffered health ailments that didn’t reduce the length of her life, but it did reduce her quality of life. Not every dog or human enjoys the gift of good genes and when they roll the dice, they will lose. You can keep rolling the dice or you can take action now to give your dogs the greatest chance of longevity and good health.

    12. Pam

      Maryann: I’m not sure what contaminants your vet would be referring to, when raw foods already contain bacteria, which, of course, dogs are already equipped to deal with. They can eat road kill without getting sick, after all :)

      Healthy senior dogs are more than able to eat raw, in fact should eat raw – kibble or cooked foods would only put unnecessary stress on their immune systems and rob them of necessary nutrients.

      As far as dogs with health issues go, whether or not a raw diet is homemade or purchased is irrelevant. If a dog’s immune system is that compromised that the bacteria from raw could harm him, his food should be cooked. (And I wouldn’t recommend kibble at all, for that’s too hard on a dog’s digestion and will just make the dog worse.)

      • Maryann

        Thank you for your reply. The example my vet spoke of would be dogs undergoing chemotherapy. My particular dog is an 11 year old rescue Pomeranian with COPD, a mild heart murmur and mild kidney disease along with pain from cervical disc degeneration and possible PSOM related hearing loss/discomfort. She has been anorexic for a year now, we’ve had over $6000 in tests but have yet to determine the cause. I tried raw diet, freeze dried, cooked, canned, kibble, commercial and organic and each meal is a struggle to find something she will eat. We are still testing and trying various things and at this point I’ve been able to maintain her weight but it looks as if we are heading toward the decision of a PEG tube at least temporarily to get better balanced nutriton in her. My vet was worried that raw diet may add a risk but as mentioned, cooked might be the way to go if the nutrition is not lost in the cooking process AND if she would even eat it. What raw I did cook she refused to eat. Thanks again. WR, Maryann

    13. Maryann

      A question rather than a comment. My vet approves only of a raw diet prepared only by the owner vs purchased. Her worries are not so much contamination of the food source but more about the processing (ie,, contamination of the cutting tools etc.) And although some manufactures spray organic sprays on the cutting/processing tools to kill bacteria, the spray is then embedded into the meats as they are cut. With senior dogs or those compramised by health issues, this could severely impact the health of the fog. Any thoughts on this?

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        I think if a dog is that susceptible to bacteria, it’s not the food that’s the issue. Bacteria belongs in food and dogs are well equipped to deal with it. Never being exposed to bacteria is a much more dangerous proposition, it creates a naive and incomplete immune system.

        • George

          I know that raw is the way to go but right now iam giving my dog Orijen dry dog food and can food is Orijen a good kibble??

          • Dogs Naturally Magazine

            That would depend on your standards and criteria. Good kibble is almost always an oxymoron because high heat and processing destroy nutrients and foods.

      • My problem with “grocery store bought” raw meats is that the assumption is that they’re going to be cooked, not fed raw. Our meats in our supermarkets are not nearly as well regulated as those in the raw pet food industry. The raw foods manufactured by most of the pet food companies out there undergo multiple tests – at the source, during the processing, and finally, prior to packaging. I can guarantee you that your food doesn’t go through that process! I feed and sell raw and am more confident about these products than those available in the local supermarket!

        • michele

          I have a sick dog. His joints are swollen. He has been tested for everything. My new hoilstic vet said he should be on a raw diet. cooking the food slightly. The problem is buying raw prepaired like Bravo for example is VERY expensive. Especially when you have a 100 lb. dog that eats 3 lbs. of food a day…this comes out to be over $100 a week! not many people can afford this especially when they have other expenses. I do home cooking for him…as per docs. orders…pork, fish, and sweet potato. I do add several chinese herbs and vitamins and bone meal to his feedings but the cost is still high. I know raw/cooked is better, but most people cannot afford it.

          • Dogs Naturally Magazine

            There are many local co-ops that offer cost effective solutions. One just needs to do a little research.

          • Michelle

            Skip the potatoes, chinese herbs and vitamins. Your dog doesn’t need this as the raw meat will give him everything he needs. Also, stop cooking the meat. There is no reason to do that and it actually can cause other issues. I’m not sure where you are located but I can find chicken for $.86/pound (IGA and Wal-Mart). At 3 pounds a day that comes out to less than $20.00 a week! I also buy beef liver to give once a week as well. My dogs’ main meals are chicken, eggs and beef liver. Sometimes, like this week, I am able to find pork shoulder for $.99/lb so I add that as well. I can also get lots of free deer meat this time of year as well.

            See http://www.rawmeatybones.com – he is very accessible by email if you need him.

            Don’t make raw feeding harder than it has to be!!

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