Why are dogs so sick? Why are they suffering from the same diseases humans suffer, including diabetes, cancer, allergies, liver disease, leaky gut and more?
The answer? We feed them the same processed foods that we eat.
And the sad part is that we dog owners have no idea just how bad the foods we feed our dogs are … and we don’t understand how feeding more of those foods actually causes our dogs to starve.
Dog Food Is Dead Food
While other dog food experts talk about the pitfalls of kibble and other processed pet foods – such as by-products, diseased animals and inferior ingredients – I think that all pales in comparison.
The biggest problem with dog food today – the one that nobody is talking about – is that it’s dead.
D. E. A. D.
The one common denominator that nearly every kibble shares, regardless of the quality of ingredients that go into it – is that by the time they’re heated and processed, there’s not much left for your dog to live on.
How Dog Food Processing Destroys Nutrition
In case you don’t know, this is how kibble is manufactured.
The raw ingredients of kibble get mixed up in a giant grinder. Many of the foods that are added, such as the grains or meat meals, have already been heated and processed before they’re added to the kibble. Then the entire batch is heated and steamed again, then pushed through a giant screw called an extruder, where it’s once again heated, then it’s sent to an oven to dry where it’s once again heated.
Then a coating with fats in it is sprayed on the food to coax your dog or cat into eating it. It’s packaged and sent off to stores.
It’s important to note that most of the ingredients in your dog’s kibble are heated and processed four times before they hit the bag.
Why does this matter?
Because heating and processing destroy the nutrients in the food.
You don’t feed your dog every day to just fill his stomach. The food he eats must contain the nutrients he needs to not just survive, but to feed all the cells in his body so they don’t break down.
If his cells break down, your dog will break down.
Any nutritional deficiencies will suppress your dog’s immune function and his organs will start to fail because their cells can no longer support them. He’ll start to suffer from chronic inflammation, as well as liver, kidney, heart, thyroid and other diseases.
Proper nutrition is vital to your dog’s health and longevity.
But heating and processing destroy the nutrients he depends on.
This image shows the loss of nutrients when refined flour is processed from whole wheat. Many of the nutrients, such as the important fatty acids Linolenic acid and Alpha-linoleic acid are almost completely destroyed – and that means there’s nothing for your dog to live on.
In fact, when any food is processed, there’s major loss of nutrients.
On average, nearly half the nutrition is baked out of your dog’s food every time it’s heated. And most of the ingredients are heated four times before the food sits on a shelf for weeks or months, waiting for your dog to eat it.
The food is virtually devoid of any real nutrition. Canned foods don’t fare much better and still contain seriously low amounts of vitamins and minerals.
The life is heated right out of the food and if there’s no life in your dog’s food, there’s no life in your dog.
How Pet Food Manufacturers Make Fake Food
Clearly, dogs can’t live on nutrient depleted food for very long. They’ll soon develop chronic diseases.
A manganese deficiency will cause ACL tears, nerve and connective tissue dysfunction.
An iodine deficiency will cause obesity, aggression and chronic infections.
A zinc deficiency will cause heart disease, GI and skin issues and blindness.
Get the idea?
The pet food manufacturers know this. They know their foods are deficient, so they do something to compensate for the deficiency … they add vitamins and minerals to the food.
Now you might be thinking that’s a good thing, now we’re even Steven. But there’s a problem with those vitamins and minerals.
They’re fake. They’re synthetic nutrition.
And that’s not good enough for your dog.
Vitamins are not food. They’re chemical isolates or fractionated pieces of vitamins that are made in a lab owned by a pharmaceutical company that’s usually located in China. Today, China manufactures 90% of our vitamin C and the majority of our other vitamins. And their track record when it comes to food safety is really not so good.
Real Food Vs Fake Food
Vitamins are defined as a GROUP or complex of organic compounds – their activity is the sum of all of their parts.
But synthetic vitamins are different. A synthetic vitamin is just a fraction of what would be found in a naturally occurring vitamin. It’s missing the important cofactors that make it work.
And research on synthetic vitamins shows this to be true.
In 1942, authors in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that treating scurvy with 50cc of lemon juice, which contains 25 mg of ascorbic acid produced quicker results than 25 mg of ascorbic acid given as a vitamin. They also noted “These vitamins have to be administered every day in order to be efficacious” and “there exists an antagonism among the different artificial vitamins.”
So synthetic vitamin C isn’t as effective as the real vitamin C. It doesn’t last as long in the body and can mess things up in the body when other synthetic vitamins are fed.
Why is that? Why is synthetic vitamin C different than natural vitamin C when they both have the same chemical composition?
Chromatograms can help show us how two substances with the same chemical analysis can be very different when it comes to their biological value and quality. And as we’re finding out, synthetic vitamins differ widely from their natural counterparts.
Clearly, the synethic vitamin C is lacking in many important cofactors. The synthetic vitamin C has the same color and rings as ascorbic acid but it’s missing the jagged border and strong radiations that indicate enzyme activity and cofactors.
Now let’s looks at a chromatogram of vitamin A.
While cod liver oil (which is a great source of vitamin A) contains little cogs and lots of color, the synthetic vitamin A is different and obviously lacking.
To test this difference, a group of rats was fed a very high fat diet that was deficient in vitamin A. They divided these rats into two groups. The first group was given Beta-carotene, which is considered synthetic vitamin A. The second group was given an extract of whole carrot.
The group fed the Beta-carotene developed eye disease as a result of the vitamin A deficiency, while those fed the carrot extract didn’t. (The Vitamins, Sherman and Smith, Monograph Series, Chemical Catalog Company, 1931.).
Next, let’s look at the vitamin B complex.
Once again, the synthetic vitamin is radically different from the naturally occurring one, complete with its cofactors.
And once again, this difference was tested. Natural vitamin B has a larger impact on health.
Rabbits fed a diet deficient in B vitamins developed cirrhosis of the liver. When synthetic B vitamins were added to their diet, it didn’t prevent the disorder. But adding yeast, a good source of B vitamins, prevented the condition. (Annual Review of Physiology, Rawkins, 3:259-282, 1941
So clearly, synthetic vitamins don’t do the job we think they do.
But if your dog eats kibble, he relies on those synthetic vitamins for most of his nutrition because most of them have been processed out of his food.
And here’s another problem … synthetic vitamins can be unpredictable and can even cause an increased risk of cancer and other health issues.
Natural vitamin A begins in food as a natural chemical constituent called beta-carotene. The body must convert it into vitamin A to be useful. Vitamin A can be toxic in large doses. Beta-carotene or provitamin A is a precursor that allows the body to convert only what it needs, and to clear what it doesn’t.
This is a natural safeguard against excesses and toxic damage … but it only works if the beta-carotene is from a whole food source, complete with it’s cofactors.
The Beta-carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial in 1996 is a good example of the potential unpredictability of synthetic vitamins. In this study, they tested the effect of Beta-carotene and retinyl plamitate on the incidence of cancer and death. They followed nearly 20,000 participants who were at high risk for lung cancer, such as smokers and asbestos workers, and they began the study in 1988, intending to run until 1997. But the study was halted in 1996, 21 months ahead of schedule, because there was no evidence the vitamins helped.
In fact, there was a substantial increase in cancer, heart disease and death in the group taking the synthetic vitamins.
Why Dogs Deserve Better
There’s a saying in the pet food industry and I believe it to be true. It goes something like “You can make a bag of sand pass AAFCO standards if you add the right premix (a bag of synthetic vitamins and minerals) to it.”
And that’s essentially what your dog is eating if you feed him kibble or canned food. A bag of dead food, fortified with fake vitamins and minerals. And as long as those vitamins meet the minimum standards set by AAFCO, it’s deemed 100% balanced and complete nutrition.
AAFCO doesn’t care that your dog is relying on fake Chinese nutrition for his health. And nobody seems to care that, historically, this hasn’t worked out so well.
Chinese premixes that contain those synthetic vitamins and minerals have already killed or seriously harmed tens of thousands of dogs and cats. It was these Chinese vitamin mixes that were to blame for the massive pet food recalls several years back.
Despite their terrible track record, pet food manufacturers today are still relying on synthetic vitamins to boost their foods with artificial nutrition …
… and so is your dog.
How To Spot Fake Food
It’s easy to tell if your dog food contains synthetic vitamins. They’re listed on the label.
Here are two kibble labels. The first label is a food with synthetic vitamins added.
And here’s a kibble that doesn’t contain synthetic vitamins:
Yes, you can feed your dog a kibble that doesn’t rely on synthetic nutrition.
If the ingredients are decent and the processing is minimal, keeping the nutrients more intact, the food can pass AAFCO standards without fake Chinese vitamins.
Sadly, less than 1% of kibbles are made without synthetics. But here is the (short) list, in case you’re wondering:
As much as I’d love a longer list, that’s all I know of. If you manufacture a kibble made without synthetics, please contact us and we’ll happily update the list.
Of course many raw and some freeze-dried foods are made without synthetics – but certainly not all of them! Many raw diets are “fortified” with vitamins. That means they’re incomplete and unbalanced without them.
Doesn’t it make you wonder why they need those vitamins?
What’s missing in the food? Why do most companies choose synthetic nutrition when we know other companies can offer complete nutrition without synthetics?
And my question to you is, why feed your dog an overly-processed diet that relies on fake Chinese vitamins as its source of nutrition?
Now you know you have choices. And now that you know better, please do your dog a favor and do better.
Put an end to synthetic nutrition and start feeding your dog instead of just filling him.