When we buy a dog food, we read the label and look for the ingredients. Naturally, we only want the best dog food. More often than not, we don’t really know some of the ingredients these manufacturers are putting in the bag.
Maybe you have been rethinking your dog’s diet for some time. You’d like to sneak tonight’s leftovers into his bowl, but don’t know if your veterinarian would approve. You’ve heard about this raw food diet for dog and your friends swear by it, but aren’t sure if bones are safe or if it’s hygienic.
According to AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), “Meat by-product” on dog food is the non rendered, clean parts of slaughtered mammals other than the meat. Under AAFCO guidelines, acceptable meat by-product dog food ingredient can include animal lungs, spleens, kidneys, brains, livers, blood, bones, low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents.
However, livers can be infested with worms (liver flukes) or diseased with cirrhosis. Lungs can be filled with pneumonia. Even parts of animals, such as “stick marks”, –the area of the body where animals have been injected with antibiotics, hormones, or other drugs — are used for meat by-product.
The most objectionable source of protein used is euthanized cats and dogs. It is not uncommon for thousands of euthanized dogs and cats to be delivered to rendering plants, daily, and thrown into the rendering vat—collars, I.D. tags, and plastic bags — to become part of dog food called “meat meal”.
It is difficult to determine which company is using products like these on dog food, or mixing in tumorous tissues, hooves, hair, feathers and some unsavory fillers we occasionally hear about. But it is common knowledge that the industry is built on the undesirable remnants of the human food industry. And common sense suggests that the cheaper the food, the more you suspect its quality we call bad dog food. According to the USDA, there is no mandatory federal inspection of ingredients used in food manufacturing, though some states may oversee the canning processes.
Feeding your dog with slaughterhouse wastes increases their chances of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases because it is considered toxic dog food
How Does Raw Dog Food Affects Your Dog’s Health
Dogs fed with natural dog food have stronger immune systems and are therefore better able to resist disease and parasites. Raw dog food follows as closely as possible what the dog in his wild state would eat if he were eating prey. The diet takes into account the limitations of your dog’s short digestive tract, his strong stomach and the enzymes his system produces to digest food. BARF, short for “bones and raw food” is an acronym for raw dog food diet.
The theory behind all this is that domesticated dogs are not markedly different from their wild counterpart. Up until less than a century ago, before the advent of commercial dog foods, most dogs ate as wolves did–fresh, oftentimes raw meat, usually scavengered or tossed to them as a leftover. What raw feeders advocate is not a radical departure from the norm, but a return to how dogs were meant to eat in the first place.
Your dog’s teeth are there to rip and tear and crunch flesh and bones. And in case, you’re concerned about bacteria…….your dog has short digestive tracts with powerful enzymes for dealing with harmful bacteria, such as salmonella.
Dogs, like wolves, need raw meat to derive crucial enzymes and nutrients, which are destroyed during the cooking process.
Cooking or using processed foods present the following problems:
- Destroying vital enzymes and antioxidants
- Denature proteins and destroying amino acids
- High-temperature cooking changes molecular structure, and studies show that cancer-forming compounds can be produced under these conditions.
Risks of Feeding Raw Food Diet For Dog
Is there a down side to feeding raw food diet for dog? Of course, just as there are to feeding a steady diet of kibble. Nothing in life is risk-free! Even though they are considered natural dog food, there are still risks involved. But if you take the proper precautions and educate yourself about this way of feeding, you can mitigate many of the following concerns.
Present day sources of slaughterhouse meat and factory-farmed eggs are often contaminated with salmonella, E.coli, and other bacteria.
Although dogs with their shorter digestive tracts, seem more resistant to this type of food poisoning, bouts of diarrhea–probably due to bacterial contamination–are not uncommon in dogs fed raw meat.
An additional concern when feeding raw food diet for dog is the possible bacterial contamination of food preparation surfaces or containers, which could expose human family members.
Always treat raw food diet for dog like any other raw food in your house. Follow the standard food safety practices.
Raw bones can also present a risk. Usually cooked bones are blamed for intestinal obstruction or constipation, but as feeding raw bones has become more popular, surgeries to retrieve those are on the rise as well.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Raw Dog Food
- ENHANCED IMMUNE SYSTEM and REDUCED ALLERGIC REACTIONS. Commercial dog food is over processed food with lots of additives to preserve shelf life and provide nutrients lost during the cooking process. Having raw food, you can control all the ingredients by eliminating the cheap grains, low-quality meats and chemical preservatives that may cause allergies to your dogs.
- INCREASED HYDRATION. Raw meat contains plenty of water. Once you switch your dog to raw food, you will often notice a decrease in your dog’s water intake. It’s a sign that your dog is getting the moisture and hydration your dog needs.
- SMALLER VOLUME OF STOOL. Commercial and cheap dog foods have fillers, which help bulk up the food contributing to copious amount of stool. With raw dog food, most of what goes in gets used.
- FEWER ANAL-GLAND PROBLEM. Did you know that feeding raw food stimulates and empties your dog’s anal glands naturally?Have you noticed your dog dragging his bottom on the floor? This means that your dog wants to empty the anal sac which is filled with a foul-smelling liquid. Feeding your dog the wrong (and cheap) food prevents your dog from emptying his anal gland.
- CLEANER TEETH. All that bone crunching and gnawing is better than any brushing or flossing you could ever do. Plus, it reduces doggy breath.
- FEWER EAR INFECTIONS. The yeast and grain content of commercial dog food can contribute to chronic ear problems especially those with pendulous or drop ears. Dog food with no or low grain content can clear up those frustrating ear infections for good.
- BLOAT MANAGEMENT. Raw food does not contain fillers that can expand in the stomach thereby increasing the possibility of bloat.
Switching your dog from a commercial dog food to raw dog food can be alarming. It’s normal and understandable. Once you actually see your dog eating and thriving on raw dog food without something horrible happening, you will begin to relax.
Young dogs raised on a raw dog food grow more slowly than dogs raised on commercial dog food, which means fewer musculoskeletal problems. Overall vitality and energy are unequaled and, most important of all, dogs love it!
Many people who have switched their dogs to raw dog food report healthy skin and a shiny coat, clean teeth and fresh breath, and apparent resistance to diseases, parasites and allergies. Raw dog food, as good as it sounds with all the benefits that come with it, has its own disadvantages.
By knowing the good and the bad side of raw dog food, you will be able to decide from there depending on your situation what would be best for you and your dog.
Guide To Premium Dog Food
Finding premium dog food can be confusing and overwhelming because of the false advertising claims you see on T.V. and newspaper. Although the best dog food you can feed your dog is the homemade diet made with fresh foods, I completely understand if this is not practical for you. Maybe the thought of preparing raw food turns you off or it could be the cost it may incur. Feeding your dog organic raw dog food whether it’s fresh or frozen can get really expensive.
Most of the time you are just too busy and all you can do is to fill the bowl with kibble. If this is all you can do, I would not blame you but at least choose the best dog food that would be beneficial to your dog. It’s a good idea to switch brands every few months from one of the better products to another good product.
Below is a list of premium dog food that has higher quality and fewer chemical additives.This gives you some better choices and the brands preferred by nutritionally oriented veterinarians.
Best Premium Dog Food Listed In Alphabetical Order:
- Newman’s Own Organics – no poultry by-product meal, no antibiotics or steroids, no chemical additives or artificial preservatives, no wheat, no corn, no soy, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors or dyes. The chicken Newman’s Own Organics use is Bell & Evans. This chicken contains no antibiotics and is fed only a 100% natural, all-vegetable diet.
- Sojourner Farms – no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors to irritate your dog’s skin and cause health problems – only wholesome, human-quality ingredients like steamed-rolled oats, ground pecans, and carob powder.
- Solid Gold Dog Food – Their formula contains salmon meal, brown rice, millet, barley, garlic, flaxseed oil, amaranth, blueberries and a host of other nutrients. All the natural and wholesome ingredients are beneficial to your dog.
- Wysong Natural Dog Food – Wysong uses fresh meat to create a more wholesome, healthful and nutritious product. The incorporation of fresh meat is an extremely expensive, technically difficult and laborious process. The meats they use are human grade meats. Wysong admits they cannot always get a sufficient supply of organic meat and they only include these as they are available.
Dog Food Allergy Causes
Dog food allergy, gastrointestinal troubles, and thyroid disease appear to be increasing in dogs, and some feel that repeated exposure to commercial dog foods are slowly killing our dogs. Daily bombardment of your dog’s system may damage cells, perhaps even creating a greater risk of cancer.
Certain breeds are prone to dog food allergy or some dog skin diseases including, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Collies, Dalmatians, and German Shepherds.
A certain dog food ingredient could be a culprit to dog food allergy. Below is the list of ingredients found in majority of well-known dog food in the market.
The goal here is for you to have the power to choose the best dog food without being misled by television commercials or colorful dog food bags meant to entice you.
- Meat: AAFCO defines “meat” as the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals. This mammal flesh is limited to the part of the striate muscle found in the tongue, diaphragm, heart, or esophagus. AAFCO stipulates that the flesh is “with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels that accompany the flesh.” When you see “real meat” as one of the commercial dog food ingredients, you are getting blood vessels, sinew, and so on. Meat is not rendered but comes directly from slaughterhouses.
- Meat meal: AAFCO defines “meat meal” as the rendered products from mammal tissue exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, hide, trimmings, manure, stomach, and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
- Poultry-by-product meal: This consists of ground, rendered, clean parts of slaughtered poultry, including necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers, , except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
- Poultry-hatchery by-products: This ingredient can include a mixture of eggshells, infertile and unhatched eggs, and culled chicks that have been cooked, dried, or ground, with or without removal of part of the fat.
- Poultry by-product: This can include non rendered clean parts of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, and viscera, free of fecal content and foreign matter, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice.
- Hydrolyzed hair: made from clean hair treated by heat and pressure to produce a product suitable for animal feeding. This includes the hair form cattle, horses, pigs, or other animals that have been slaughtered.
- Spray-dried animal blood: produced from clean, fresh animal blood, exclusive of all extraneous material such as hair, stomach belching (contents of stomach), and urine, except in such traces as might occur unavoidably in good factory practices. Blood from these animals can be used in dog food ingredient, either mixed with other materials in the rendering process, or formed into the meat chunks that are found in some canned foods.
- Dehydrated food-waste: any and all animal vegetable produce picked up from basic food processing sources or institutions, including garbage from hospitals, restaurants, and grocery stores. The produce has to be picked up daily or sufficiently often so that no decomposition is evident.
- Dehydrated garbage: composed of artificially dried animal vegetable waste collected frequently so that harmful decomposition has not set in. AAFCO stipulates that dehydrated garbage should be separated from crockery, glass, metal, string, and similar materials. This might include wastes from butcher shops or processing plants that process fruits and vegetables.
- Dehydrated paunch product: this dog food ingredient is composed of the rumen of slaughtered cattle, dehydrated at temperatures over 212 degrees Fahrenheit to moisture content of 12 percent or less. Such dehydration is designed to destroy any pathogenic bacteria.
- Dried poultry waste: an animal waste product composed primarily of processed ruminant excreta that has been artificially dehydrated to a moisture content not in excess of 15 percent.