My Journey to Raising Holistic, All Natural Dogs
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH
I made it a first priority to learn more about nutrition for my dogs. After some self-directed study, I was convinced that nutrition was a very significant factor in maintaining health and treating disease. There was a wealth of research, for example, showing that a number of specific vitamins are essential to the normal functioning of the dog’s immune system. Most surprising to me was the fact that proper nutrition could boost the dog’s natural resistance to disease.
Here was an incredible truth—unique in that it meant the dog’s body need not rely on drugs for better health. With this information, people could take charge of their dog’s health. At last, I was beginning to find some answers to my questions. I began to apply my newfound knowledge to my dogs.
One thing led to another, and soon I became deeply interested in using herbs as a treatment. A particular occasion convinced me that these natural remedies could bring about almost miraculous cures.
I have found over the years that proper nutrition is the essential foundation of a holistic approach to health and healing. Without it, there is little to work with in helping a dog to recover. And I feel certain that many of the chronic and degenerative diseases we see today are caused by or complicated by inadequate diet.
Let’s take a closer look at what your dog friend is actually eating. What is and isn’t provided by the diet can make a big difference in your dog’s health.
WHAT’S REALLY IN DOG FOOD?
I realize that you could read this and just become discouraged and depressed about the whole challenge of feeding your dog properly. I don’t want that to happen. I think it necessary to inform you about dog foods so you can understand how important this issue is. It is true that I am not going to have good things to say about most commercial pet foods and because the advertising for these products is so frequently encountered and so convincing, it is not enough for me to say “Don’t use them.” Instead, I am going to go into some detail about what is in pet food, the problems associated with processed and packaged products, and also the lack of quality control that is typical of the industry.
I find that dogs respond very quickly and positively to a nutritious diet. In fact, it is the major tool you need to eliminate many of the chronic diseases your dog encounters in these times. If you follow the RAW Food Diet for Dogs, it is almost certain that your dog will become more healthy. I assure you that it is entirely possible to overcome the effects of prior feeding of poor quality foods, even if such a feeding practice spans years. It is actually surprising how quickly health will improve thanks to such a simple change. So change up your courage and come with me into the world of dog foods.
Dog Food labels don’t always tell us enough. Be especially wary of dog food that lists its ingredients in generic categorical terms like these:
Meal and bone meal
Dried animal digest
Poultry by-product meal
Digest of poultry by-products
Liver glandular meal
Dried liver digest
Fish meal Fish by-products
Can you imagine “poultry by-products” or “dried animal digest” used by less reputable manufacturers to include such waste ingredients as feathers or hair in your dog’s dinner? The supposition isn’t farfetched. I remember reading a news story some years back of a large commercial bakery using wood pulp as a fiber source in one of its bread products for humans; seriously?
FOOD OKAY FOR YOUR DOG, BUT NOT OKAY FOR YOU?
I have nothing personal against the makers of processed foods for pets, I do not seek to put them out of business. They’re probably doing their best to provide nutritionally balanced products at reasonable prices, making use of materials that might otherwise go to waste or just be used as fertilizer. It’s just that I don’t believe any version of completely cooked, dried or canned prepared food makes an optimal diet for the good health of either human or animal. I believe all of us, humans and animals, should have a variety of fresh, wholesome, unprocessed food included in our daily diets.
OBJECTIONS TO COMMERCIAL DOG FOODS
The many objections we can make about the nutritional quality of dog convenience foods fit into two categories.
First, they don’t contain some things we wish they did: adequate quantities and qualities of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals, as well as the more intangible qualities unique to live, fresh foods.
Second, they do contain other things we wish they didn’t:
Toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs
Sugar Pesticides and herbicides
Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Bacteria and fungi contaminants
When you feed your dog convenience foods, you unknowingly help to create another problem:
The presence of various toxins and pollutants actually increases the body’s need for high-quality nutrients necessary for combating or eliminating these same contaminants. When the overall nutrition is already lower than it should be, we are inviting trouble.
“I once worked in a chicken butchering factory in Texas. Our average daily output was 100,000 chickens. Directly ahead of me on the conveyor line were the USDA inspectors and their trimmers. The trimmers cut the damaged and diseased parts off the chickens and dropped them in garbage cans, which were emptied periodically. These parts were sent to a pet food factory.”
So the next time you hear a pet food commercial talk about the fine ingredients they use in their product, don’t you believe it.
DOG HEALTH EFFECTS?
What effect might these wastes be having on dogs? After all, maybe it is entirely acceptable to feed these by-products to dogs. Don’t they eat all sorts of stuff off the ground, even digging up dead animals to eat at times? This statement is generally true for canines, but not wild cats, that eat only freshly killed prey. Wolves and dogs seem to be able to eat meat that is not fresh, even partly decayed, without becoming ill. But here is the difference—in nature, the animals captured and eaten are not chronically ill or filled with drugs or hormones.
The pets recycled from veterinary hospitals or shelters can have high levels of antibiotics and various other drugs (in the last attempt to keep them alive), or perhaps the final euthanasia solution. Most of these drugs end up in the food. That is why animals that have had drug therapy are not used in human food. It would make people sick.
DOG FOOD SMELLS THAT WAY FOR A REASON
“Each year about 116,000 mammals and nearly 15 million birds are condemned before slaughter. After killing, another 325,000 carcasses are discarded and more than 5.5 million major parts are cut away because they are determined to be diseased. Shockingly, 140,000 tons of poultry are condemned annually, mainly due to cancer. The diseased animals that cannot be sold are processed into . . . pet food.”
ANOTHER MISSING INGREDIENT: LIFE
All processed pet foods—whether sold in cans, bags or frozen packages, in either giant supermarket chains or local health food stores are missing something that seems to me to be the most important “nutrient” of all. This key ingredient is practically ignored by nutritional scientists, but we can sense when it’s there. It is a quality found only in freshly grown, uncooked whole foods: Life energy!
PROVING THE POTENCY OF RAW FOODS
Raw food contains more vitamins and minerals than cooked food, because cooking destroys many nutrients. When nutritional standards were originally set up for dogs and cats, it was presumed that raw foods, not cooked, would be used to feed these pets. Yet, most of the foods available commercially are very thoroughly cooked, more than would be done in a home kitchen and none of these are nutritionally equivalent to what was established by these original standards.
TRY A BASIC NATURAL DOG DIET—WITH SUPPLEMENTS
Feeding your dog a fresher, more natural diet takes a little more time and effort. It’s certainly not as easy as opening a bag of kibble. You are building health one day at a time, and though it is an extra effort, it is much easier than continual health problems with your dog. Imagine avoiding those visits to the vet for treatments that never really solve the problem, of sparing your beloved companion the suffering that goes with illness. Isn’t it worth extra exertion to have improved quality of life together? Please read and start using for your precious pups health: What is the RAW Food Diet for Dogs?
“My dog Lucy is fifteen-years-old today and I have been feeding her natural, raw food since she was about four weeks old. It started because I was broke and couldn’t afford quality dog food and was working in a health food store where one of my customers recommended it. I have never had a vet bill for an illness and at fifteen, she is amazing. She is still active and vital, a little stiffness in the back legs, but will still leap for a ball. Her eyes and mind are clear, her hearing is fine and she even has good breath.
No one believes her age, including the vet—she is a joy. Her sister died two years ago of cancer and she ate (a commercial food) all her life. I know Lucy’s incredible health is due to her healthy diet.”
More to come…please leave any comments or suggestions below. Is your dog a “natural” holistic dog?