The finances behind the processed pet food industry
Often, I take a stance against kibble and pet food companies, but today, I would like to look at the current situation from a neutral observer’s point of view, and this newsletter explains in detail why.
If you prefer watching a video, it is right here below; otherwise, keep reading.
Yet, this common-sense recommendation stands in striking contrast with many of my veterinary colleagues who claim kibble is better.
Many of you have seen the raw or cooked diet transformations, and after 20 years of feeding and recommending raw food, I can only confirm that dogs who are raw fed are healthier and live longer on average.
The biggest problem is that pet food companies are in the business of making kibble, and in order to continue selling their product, they do all they can to convince the general public and veterinarians that whole food is not safe.
The situation reminds me of the tobacco company ads of the '50s. Just for pure entertainment, I have embedded one below.
What role do vets play in this?
This clever marketing does not stop with graduation. I have been invited to many “educational evenings” with banquets, and the irony is that they included fresh, wholesome food!
However, the biggest marketing win is that pet food companies created exclusive “therapeutic pet food” that could only be sold in veterinary clinics and made this diet an important element of the veterinary business model.
Here is an example of a diet formula for diabetes and weight loss made by a prominent pet food company:
Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Meal, Soybean Mill Run, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Pork Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Caramel color, Pork Fat.
Even a non-veterinarian would see that these ingredients are far from wholesome and that carbohydrate-based food is not suitable for diabetes. Whole grain corn is the main ingredient here, and cornstarch (a complex carbohydrate) digests into sugars that are not suitable for diabetic dogs.
The finances behind the vet-pet food company alliance
This may be one of the reasons why some veterinarians may not want to acknowledge that fresh, wholesome raw or cooked food is better for our dogs than kibble. By the time vets graduate and open a practice, their debts are too high, and it is too late to hop off the processed food train.
What can be done?
After all, this would not be the first time in the history of the universe that nutritional science changed. Do you remember the time baby formula was recommended over breastfeeding, or margarine was recommended over butter?
It is not a crime to be wrong; everyone is from time to time. The problem I see is when financial interests precede what everyone who has common sense knows. Kibble is inferior to a variety of species-appropriate food, and it is as simple as that.
In fact, a raw or cooked diet can be very therapeutic and help manage conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes and cure problems such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, chronic diarrhea, diet allergies, ear problems, and many other diseases in dogs.
Do not let anyone intimidate you
There may be another funnier way to approach your vet. Tell him or her that you will feed your dog kibble if he or she eats nothing but processed food for a lifetime.
A message to my processed food selling colleagues
Perhaps the way out is to transform the veterinary healthcare model, increase consultation fees, and charge per time spent with patients as opposed to flat fees. There are many ways to make vet clinics sustainable.
It just should not be done by acting like blind followers of the pet food companies, because it erodes the trust of our clients and reduces our ability to help their pets.
A message to raw diet feeders
However, if we want to prove this in black and white, we need to continue to share data on the lifespan of dogs who are fed kibble versus a raw diet.
I hope you will participate in our study; it takes only a few minutes. All you need to do is to click the button below.