Jane Anderson's - Response to another page on dog food mis-information

Links from here

Main Page
Email lists to join
Books and resources
Feeding fish
Myths and supplements
Pre-made raw foods
Finding sources of food

Jane's dogs.

Appropriate dog management

Response to the Friendship Hospital's page on Dog Food

by Jane Anderson

A vet surgery in Washington DC, in the US, has a webpage on feeding dogs. Although we've asked for them to join us on the Raw Feeding Website Review email list, to back up their claims, so far they have not responded to our emails. If someone from this practice would like to respond, we're more than willing to have you on the email list.

Unfortunately, it is predictable that a vet / vet surgery is unwilling to back up their claims made on a website to the unsuspecting public.

However, just in case, you can read their site by clicking here. Let's go through and point out the errors.

They claim....

We say....

Dogs are ominvores by nature, eating a combination of animal and plants. Actually, that's wrong. Dogs are carnivores. It's a scientific fact.
Most dog foods have a combination of grains and meat. Premium brands tend to use higher quality meat rather than by products. Well that's debatable. All use inappropriate substances in their products, with the addition of there being plenty of swapping of ingredients without informing the public.
Premium brands also contain less fillers allowing you to feed smaller amounts. Premium brands can be purchased through veterinarians, pet specialty stores, and some grocery stores. Yes it's true vets sell dog food. Unfortunately, the dog foods, unlike cigarettes, don't display on the packaging the damage they do to dogs through eating them.
Your veterinarian is the best source of information on what and how to feed your dog. We tend to disagree. Vets are educated by pet food company sales reps by the most part - even in university. The pet food sales reps get in early and provide all sorts of incentives for vet students to recommend their products. Many "text" books (let's use that term broadly) are actually written by the pet food company or their subsidary companies.

In fact, there is little, if any, independent information provided at vet schools about canine nutrition. Vets are traditionally poor learners - quite tunnel visioned when it comes to thinking outside the box.

Basically, dogs need food that provides them with the following nutrients in a form that can be digested and used by their bodies: Proteins,Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, Water

Actually, dog need little, if any, carbs. Really, given you've just said that vets are the "best source of information on what and how to feed your dog", this shows a very inadequate knowledge of canine nutritional needs.

A good-quality food should provide your dog with proper amounts of five of these six ingredients. Water should be supplied by you, and your dog should have plenty of it, fresh and clean, available at all times. Well this would be handy if that's the ingredients the dogs required. And as they don't - they need a food source which is very different from what you've described, we're not off to a very good start.
Dog foods come in dry, semi-moist, and canned forms. Hard crunchy foods help clean your dog's teeth and stimulate their gums which helps reduce mouth odor, gingivitis, and tartar build-up. Poison comes in many shapes - is probably a better catch cry!

Let's talk facts rather than a sales pitch:

Hard and crunchy dog foods do nothing to clean a dog's teeth. The pet food companies actually admit this. Furthermore, they actually admit that over 85% of dogs by the age of 4 will suffer from periodontal disease if raised on commercial dog foods. (Periodontal disease affects the mouth, and leads to significant decay, which then results in bacterial and viral matter having an entry point into the dog's body, resulting in a number of other diseases.) (if you are looking for a source of information for this, Dr Tom Lonsdale's book, Raw Meaty Bones" provides the references for this information. All vets should have a copy of this book. Let's put a bet on that the vets at the "Friendship Hospital" have never read it.)

Let me be clear - dog food does not clean teeth, nor stimulate gums, nor reduce mouth odour, nor reduce gingivitus, nor reduce tartar build up. In fact, it causes all of these.

The only way to eliminate all of these problems is to feed your dogs a raw natural diet, comprising of plenty of raw meaty bones, or whole prey.

Semi-moist and canned foods usually are higher in calories, and dogs tend to eat more since they are more inviting, sometimes leading to an overweight dog . Many dog owners feed dry or semi-moist food as the basic food and top-dress it with canned food. Again, ask your veterinarian what he or she recommends. Look closely at foods claiming to be "complete" nutrition to be sure they contain the nutrients and percentages that your veterinarian has recommended for your dog. Some breeds may require slightly different amounts of certain nutrients in their diets. Ask your veterinarian about what to look for on the label, such as percentages of protein and fat. These requirements will vary depending on your dog's breed, age, and activity level. ....hmmmm.... given you've just shown an inadequate knowledge so far of canine nutrition, I don't think I'll be coming to you guys any time soon for any advice in this area.

In addition, "breed specific diets" is another myth. This is just another way for dog food companies to trick pet food owners.

Whether you have a toy poodle (yes I have one) or a racing greyhound (yes I have some of those too), they both eat the same foods - although clearly the poodle eats less. I also have top winning show dogs, which are also fed the same diet.

Its important to make changes to your dog's diet slowly. Dogs get used to a diet, and often if there's a change, they get an upset stomache and either vomit or get diarhea. Actually I recommend when people move to a raw diet, the first thing they need to do is become well read. Join the email list first, and after 2-3 days reading, you'll know the best way to change your dog over. If I'm moving a dog from commercial dog food to raw, I do it immediately. There is no slow change over here. And yes, sometimes there is an upset stomach, and/or loose stools. It goes to show the damage already done to the dog's digestive system by the commercial dog foods. Some dogs will experience 2-3 days of such before they adjust. Some much longer, and some have no problems.

What NOT to Feed

Because some human foods are dangerous for dogs, it's generally not a good idea to feed table scraps. Besides risking obesity and bad manners in your dog, some people foods can cause health problems. Even some lower- quality dog foods and treats may have unhealthy ingredients (e.g., salt) that can pose risks to your dog's health. Again, the best course is not to give your dog food that is intended for people, but if you do, or if your dog sometimes gets into something uninvited, check the labels on the foods in your home, as well as on the dog foods and treats you give to your dog.

Actually all commercial dog foods are dangerous to dogs. All contain ingredients your dog shouldn't be eating. All owners have to do is check out the ingredients list. Let's start with the basics - dogs do not need grains, preservatives, colouring, fillers, etc. Whoops - all of these are in dog foods. Many of the ingredients in commercial dog foods are linked to the allergies that dogs have. Unsurprisingly, when those dogs are switched to an appropriate raw diet, those allergies clear up - and without the need of any drugs.
Chocolate: Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. This chemical causes your dog's heart to race, which can lead to hyperactive behavior, diarrhea, and vomiting. In very large amounts, theobromine can lead to kidney malfunction, seizures, and even death. Dark chocolate and cocoa are particulaly dangerous since they carry very high quantities of theobromine. In some dogs, chocolate has lead to problems. However, what's concerning to me is that you've gone for the "soft" targets of chocolate, etc, without being brave enough to list the side effects of commercial dog food.

I guess outlining the health problems caused by the very products you sell might cause a few issues. Imagine if you recommend a raw diet only! I'd guess there's no profit in having healthy patients is there? There's only profit in disease. And when that disease is caused by the products you sell... well do we really want to go there or would we be stepping on toes?

Salt: Unlike ours, a dog's body cannot process excess salt. Especially in an older dog, too much salt can cause kidney damage. Foods like french fries; canned soup broth, sauces, and gravies; and even cheese contain high amounts of salt and are unhealthy for dogs of any age. It's funny you talk about salt, when there's an incredible amount of salt found in dog foods. It might not be added directly by the final manufacturer, but certainly in the preparation of much of the food initially, salt is an important ingredient. Again, you need to delve more deeply into this.
Onions and garlic: Members of the onion family (leeks, onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) can cause liver damage, as well as a rare form of anemia, in dogs. The risk is posed by both the raw and cooked forms, as well as by onion and garlic powders. I look forward to seeing you write a thorough expose on the dangers of commercial dog food. Onions! Fancy that! Why are you wasting your time on this when there are far more immediate dangers?
Raw eggs: Uncooked chicken eggs pose the risk of salmonella poisoning to dogs as well as to people. Egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can inactivate essential nutrients (i.e., biotin) in your dog's body. Trollop! Complete trollop! How many cases of salmonella poisoning in dogs have you ever come across caused by eggs? In terms of your latter statements, the research actualy suggest your dog would need to eat 50-60 eggs a day every day for such an issue to come up.
Bones: Chicken, pork, and beef rib bones can splinter in your dog's mouth, throat, or stomach, causing cuts or piercing the intestinal wall. In severe cases, internal bleeding can cause death. Large dogs can easily break off and swallow whole pieces of bones that are too large to pass through their digestive tracts, with extremely dangerous and even life-threatening results. And fish bones are as dangerous for dogs as they are for humans. Sigh..... When an appropriate raw diet is fed, this is never seen. It's interesting to note that the numerous cases of dogs choking and dying when kibble is inhaled, have not been noted.

If you feed your dogs cooked bones, or cut or small bones, on very, very rare occasions, there may be a case of internal damage.This is minute in comparison to the damage done by commercial pet foods.

Fish is a fantastic food source as well. Click here for more info on feeding fish.