Why my dog Skai will get processed food only over my dead body
Recently, I got a call from the founder of Ziwi Peak, a dehydrated natural pet food company. She mentioned that many of her customers are coming back from their vets who are saying dehydrated food and raw food is too rich for their dogs.
I have said many times before that whenever we are unsure about nutrition, the best thing to do is go back to nature. If you think about it, commercial, heavily-processed pet food made from grain and other ingredients is far from what dogs and cats would eat in nature. They have not been designed to digest complete carbohydrates because their digestive tract is short and doesn’t have the large fore-stomach or colon of cows and horses.
The pancreas of carnivores is clearly designed to digest mainly protein. The main act of canine and feline digestion happens in the stomach and the small intestines, where the pancreas plays an important role as a protein enzyme-making machine. It gets seriously strained and overworked when we feed dogs corn and wheat. After all, I have never seen dogs and cats grazing in a corn or wheat field. It is not much different than imagining a horse or a rabbit chewing a bone.
I have no idea why some people believe that pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) happens from feeding meat that is too rich in protein. In my opinion, pancreatitis happens mainly because dogs are fed carbohydrate-rich, poor-quality food that the pancreas finds difficult to digest. It simply gets too stressed and overwhelmed by doing work that it is not designed to do. As a result, it gets inflamed and the whole problem progresses to pancreatitis or diabetes because an inflamed and damaged pancreas can lose the ability to produce insulin.
A curious look at medical diets
While writing this article, I decided to get a closer look at the ingredients of a few “premium” medical diets used for gastrointestinal issues and here is what I discovered.
Canine I/D diet made by Science Diet:
Water, Turkey, Egg Product, Pork Liver, Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Rice Starch, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Beet Pulp.
Royal Canin Gastrointestinal HE
Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, chicken fat, ground corn, corn gluten meal, natural flavors, dried egg product, brewers dried yeast, dried beet pulp, fish oil, vegetable oil.
EN Gastroenteric Canine by Purina
Brewers rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, chicken meal, animal fat
One doesn’t need to have a veterinary degree to see that there is something wrong with this picture. Ingredients such as egg product, chicken meal, gluten meal and powdered cellulose don’t exactly evoke confidence in what is going on in pet food company's “science laboratories.”
Saying that raw or natural dehydrated food is too rich in protein and fat is like saying nature is wrong.
I have been recommending raw, natural diets and all-natural, whole food supplements for more than 15 years and no scientific research study can convince me that wholesome meat, bones, organs and plant material are not what nature intended our dogs to eat. Saying that raw or dehydrated food is too rich in protein and fat is like saying nature is wrong. What I think happened many years ago was pet food companies put together and analyzed a few recipes and came up with their own idea of what protein, fat and carbohydrate levels should be. In my mind, they did so because they could not achieve the nutritional profile of wholesome, natural food.
I promised myself a long time ago that I would rather lose my license than participate in doing what does not make sense. I am sorry Mr. or Mrs. Mad Scientist, you will only feed your food to my dog over my dead body.
Thank you very much!
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM