Why my dog Skai will get processed food only over my dead body
Recently, I got a call from the founder of Ziwi Peak, the dehydrated natural pet food company. She mentioned that she has many of her customers coming back from their vets who are saying that 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 way is to 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, 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 pancreas) happens from feeding meat that is too rich in protein. In my opinion it 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 loose the ability to produce insulin. ( Links to treatment of pancreatitis and supplements are use are here )
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 diets 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
It is pretty obvious that one doesn’t need to have a veterinary degree to see that there is something wrong with this picture. Words such as ‘egg product’, ‘chicken meal’, ‘gluten meal’ and ‘powdered celulose’ don’t exactly evoke confidence in what is going in pet food company “science laboratories.”
Saying that raw or natural dehydrated food is too rich in protein and fat is like saying that 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 is not what nature intended our dogs to eat. Saying that raw or dehydrated food is too rich in protein and fat is like saying that nature is wrong. What I think happened many years ago was that pet food companies put together and analyzed a few recipes and came up with their own idea 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 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