The Dangers of Dry Dog Food Ingredients
Say you're designing an edible product for astronauts. You're limited in terms of space, so you want to create a super-food that packs it all in and tastes good. You do your research and decide that an assortment of nuts, fish, kelp and peanut butter for flavor are key ingredients of your wonder food.
Assume that it's formulated with a host of other ingredients so it tastes great, kind of like a Beyond-the-Meat patty.
A couple of days into the mission, two of the astronauts die from allergies , (one to nuts, one to fish) and the sole surviving astronaut is struck with vomiting, awful diarrhea and severe itching.
So much for the wonder food.
Yes, this is a hypothetical example taken to a somewhat ridiculous extreme, but hear me out: My point is that you can mix together all the uber foods in the world, but instead of nourishing the body, you harm it.
When it comes to nutrition, it's different strokes for different folks, or furry folks like cats and dogs for the purposes of this discussion.
The thing is, there is no perfect food for all cats and dogs. Doesn't exist. There is however an ideal diet, (raw of course), but that takes time to customize it just right for your pet.
1) Boston terrier is fed commercial brand of raw food with brewers yeast, an ingredient listed on the glossy label in tiny fonts, (of course), that the owner never even bothered to consider.
Boston becomes chubby and incurs horrible gas attacks and his colitis is reactivated. $3000 later the vet tells owner to try a new food without brewers yeast, which may cause stomach and intestinal upset. Gas is the most commonly reported side effect of Brewer's yeast in all dogs.
Brewer’s yeast can interact with some types of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. It should not be given if your dog is immunocompromised, prone to yeast infections, or has yeast allergies. It is also inadvisable for dogs with colitis and other types of bowel disease.
Brewer’s yeast is also high in calories, at about 80 kilocalories per ounce (or more if mixed with omega-3 oils).
2) Unbeknownst to Mario, his senior boxer is fed a commercial brand of raw food with a flaxseed supplement. He wonders why the dog has been vomiting and spewing diarrhea. Of course Super Mario has no idea that his boxer is unable to metabolize that amount of flaxseed oil .
Lucky that Mario's dog is not small or has another medical condition that would make it even harder for him to eliminate toxins. The flax plant contains low levels of cyanide producing compounds that make it toxic in large doses. Toxin levels can vary based on variety, season and climate. Cyanogenic glycosides are destroyed with processing, so while flax oil is generally safe for dogs, however on some, it will still have negative symptoms.
The bottom line is, when you are unsure whether a certain ingredient is safe for your pet, consult a holistic vet first. This is especially important if your pet is on conventional medications, or is already weakened by certain health problems.
3) Vera's Bengal cat is passing blood in her stools. She's been feeding kitty, who's on a blood-thinning medication, a "scientific" food containing an assortment of "natural herbs."
$750 later, the vet vet informs Vera that certain herbs by themselves are safe but, when used in conjunction with some conventional medicines, may interfere with the anticoagulant drugs. Recommends that she switch her cat to a raw diet of chicken and lamb for at least the next three months.
4) Jean's husky mix lies around all day and refuses to go out for a walk. Not normal, especially considering the dog has been going crazy on that new "country" raw blend he bought "off this guy who makes raw food on his farm." ("Lotta flies buzzing around," Jean remarks.)
Sorry to report that an analysis of this food determined that it was 65% organ meat, not to mention that it contained a parasite that dogs are "usually" immune to.
Jean had no idea what "unfit for human consumption meant."
Understand that organ meats can contain a lot of trace minerals and vitamins - which is normally good - however, that can be variable depending on the animal source, and the variability in vitamins and minerals can be unpredictable. In addition, any toxins to which an animal is exposed are normally detoxified by the liver. This means that when you feed that animal's liver to your dog, there is always the potential that harmful toxins within the liver could be extended to your pet. For a premium-quality product that focuses on serving your dog nothing but the best food, organ meats are hardly the way to achieve that.
All this to say, that on their own, these kind of ingredients may seem like a panacea for perfect health for your cat or dog, while in fact, it may be slowly killing him.
That's why we try to keep our ingredients to a limited core of whole foods, but a product range that covers it all, food with or without organs, in-season veggies and fruit, finely crushed chicken bone or powdered beef bone. The rational behind all this, is that you can customize the diet that optimizes your pet's health.
It's simple, my friend: There are no cookie-cutter solutions, raw or otherwise.
Keep your cat or dog on a diet that is right for them.