Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Some Breeders Feed Junk Food

It is hard for me to understand why some reputable dog breeders choose to feed their breeding stock a canine starvation diet of cooked, dry starches.  Obviously, they do not choose deliberately to malnourish beloved, valuable dogs, but that is the effect of veterinary misguidance and ignorance of canine evolution.  The following message is from a leading breeder in Australia:
I used to feed all my dogs the raw-meaty-bones diet.  I would buy beef mince and steak direct from the pet produce place who would mince the meat the day the cow was slaughtered. It was FRESH!!  The meat looked beautiful, nice and red and the dogs loved it.  (Breeder had a bad experience with bacteria in raw mince for pets, details of which will be skipped here.)

My vet told me to stop feeding fresh, pet-quality mince and to feed a top quality dry food and feed raw meaty bones/beef/mince that is of human grade.  Also to freeze, then thaw before feeding it to my dogs. Freezing it kills all the bacteria.  All my dogs are now fed this mixture.
 
Another issue we have here with a pure raw meaty bones diet is dogs becoming constipated.  (Feeding too much bone and too little organ and muscle meats can cause constipation.  Commercial raw minces in Australia often have too much bone, not enough meat.)

Nature is a lovely beast for the animals that nature created.  Nature is an awful beast for the animal that humanity created. This is my firm belief. 

Humanity created the Labrador against the will of nature so in order to maintain the breed, we as humans must continually intervene, otherwise many of the best of our breed would simply perish.
  • We as humans line breed. This is avoided in nature. (Actually, not true.  Wolves and dogs breeding is usually within a pack with a dominant male and female doing much of the successful breeding.)

  • We as humans help the bitch with the birth and care of a litter, meaning the chances of 100% of the puppies survival is rather high.  In nature, the bitch is on her own and nature will cull the weaker or sick in the litter.

  • We as humans help with the breeding. Some bitches will not accept a dog of OUR choosing. So we AI the bitch or use a stud master to aid in the breeding.

  • We worm and vaccinate puppies....again, against the will of nature.  Whatever nature throws at us, we find a cure, name it, Distemper, Parvovirus, worm burden, ticks, fleas, etc . --  we have a cure.

  • We as humans research into the diet of a dog and have come up with premium dry foods that are cooked and healthy for our dogs.

  • We have intervened so much that any decision to change diet back to nature or refusal to vaccinate, worm, or whatever, could mean the reduction or death of your breeding stock.

  • Raw meaty bones once a week is fine and good for the teeth.


 Where to begin...?  There are two issues to address: (1) contamination of raw meats; and (2) a faulty view of canine evolution.

  • On the first point, raw meats from cattle, wild animals, and poultry are very likely contaminated with bacteria after slaughter.  Some of this meat is contaminated with bacteria and parasites before slaughter. Hunted game can have parasites, such as worms.
  • You mentioned in passing the solution to this problem: Freezing.  Freezing meats at -12 degrees F for 48 hours cures these problems.  That is what we do with local grass-fed beef and any game brought to us.  Poultry arrives in Hawaii deeply frozen from the US mainland.
  • After deep freezing, the threat of these parasites is eliminated, I believe.  Of course, we worm our dogs as well.  I feel quite comfortable feeding our dogs a diet of raw-meaty-bones when meat is treated in this way.
On the second point, you are simply mistaken.  Yes, of course, we reduce puppy mortality and treat our beloved dogs for illnesses that could have proved fatal in the wild.  None of that speaks to the diet that canines and felines need to thrive.  
 
Genetic studies show that dogs are wolves, yesterday and today:  99.8% of genes in common

Some Northern breeds of dogs (e.g., Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds, Shibu Inus) are slightly more closely related to contemporary wolves than they are to contemporary dogs of other breeds.  This I find fascinating.  Main point, however, is that all contemporary breeds of dogs are classified as wolves, not as a separate species.

Subsistence is not the same as thriving.  Feral dogs, of which there are many packs in the world, have been studiedBoth feral dogs and wolves can subsist on garbage from human dumps, and they do, in many parts of the world.  Feral dogs and wolves hunt small animals as their preferred diet.  Analyses of the stomach contents of feral dogs and wolves show identical preferences for animal prey and scavenging for animal sources of food.  Dogs/wolves do not prefer to eat carbohydrates (e.g., grains, potatoes, vegetables)  which they have difficulty digesting.  They do not get optimal nutrition from anything but flesh, organs, and meaty bones.

Mince is an aberration of human invention.  Dogs/wolves need to chew their food to get gastric juices flowing and to begin the digestive process.  Chewing meats and gnawing meat off raw bones cleans their teeth.  
 
The only dogs to whom I feed mince are puppies under 5 weeks of age.  Mince with raw eggs and yogurt is a human attempt to supply  partially digested foods that mother dogs/wolves regurgitate for young puppies.  Some of our mothers actually regurgitate food for their puppies.  I watch them sit by the regurgitated mess with huge pride while the puppies hurry to eat their mother's vomit.  Don't tell me dogs are not wolves!

Phenotypic differences between contemporary dog breeds and wolves make it hard to recognize their genetic identity.  Most observable differences between dog breeds and wolves are trivial genetic differences that cause large differences in conformation.  Toy dogs, dwarfed dogs, and those with brachycephalic muzzles depend on single genes that stunt, dwarf, and smash their faces. 

Yet-to-be identified genes cause fear responses of domestic dogs to be delayed in a long juvenile period.  A long, fear-less period allows dogs, and not wolves, to become benign human companions.  Fear responses in wolves begin when their eyes open.  Puppies do not begin to fear people for several weeks after their eyes open, which allows us time to socialize them to comfortable human contact.  (Puppy mill puppies and feral kittens that are not socialized to people in this period, are famously fearful for life.)  My bet is these large differences in behavior rest on a very few genes that regulate timing in development.

Selective breeding to create and maintain breeds: Yes, we humans have artificially isolated sub-populations of dogs and limited gene flow between breeds, often to the detriment of dogs' health.  In the natural world of commensural dogs, who live off human hand-outs and throw-aways, gene pools overlap geographically, and there is gene flow across populations.   
 
Village dogs, the common canine around the world, are medium-sized, brown, short-coated and look pretty much the same everywhere except in extreme Arctic climates.  Breeders have taken this basic dog form and bred it to conform and perform to our preferences.  Because animal breeding is an ancient art, and genetic variation is available at many loci,  it did not take many generations to get quite startling differences in appearance and behavior among breeds.

None of this selective breeding was for DIET.  As studies have shown, both wolves and dogs can subsist on human garbage.  Commercial pet foods bear striking resemblance to discarded human waste: Old pizza crusts, mashed fruits and vegetables, thrown-away rice, and bits of stew -- look like kibble ingredients to me.  In fact, Saturday Night Live did an hilarious spoof of commercial pet foods as GARBAGE.
Why would one choose to feed a starchy diet to carnivorous pets?  

  •  Another answer is we believe that our companion animals will thrive on the same diet we eat.  A lot of thoughtful, conscientious pet owners want to cook for their pets and share their own good food with pets as family members.
With members of our local raw-pet-food co-op,  I have to persuade them that, while humans are omnivores who need a variety of whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, etc., their carnivorous pets need raw meats and meaty bones.  Emphasizing that dogs ARE wolves, which they already know from National Geographic and Discovery Channel TV, brings them to the realization they don't have to cook for their dogs and cats.  They can simply hand them hunks of raw meats and meaty bones. 
 
Changing one's thinking to accept the carnivorous nature of dogs and cats is the hardest part of feeding raw-meaty-bones.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Are You Shocked and Outraged Yet?

When professional standards of behavior are clear, and a professional violates those standards, we are shocked and outraged.  As an example, if a physician refused to offer life-saving treatment to an injured person, we would be shocked and outraged, because physicians are pledged (and required by law) to provide emergency care. 

If an attorney leaked a client's confession to the press and caused the client to be found guilty of a crime, we would be shocked and outraged, because attorneys are required by professional ethics to maintain client confidentiality. 

Priests are not allowed by the standards of their profession to gossip about what they hear from parishioners in confessions. 

What do we expect of veterinarians?  Vets are pledged professionally to provide the best care for animals brought to their practices.  What standards of conduct does the public expect?  Pet owners expect vets to provide preventive care for healthy pets, medical interventions for illnesses and injuries, and good advice about raising pets.  How well do many veterinarians meet public expectations of professional conduct?

More often than not these days, pet owners are shocked and outraged at the large bills veterinarians generate to provide routine pet care,  the enormous charges for laboratory tests, prescription drugs, surgeries, and hospitalizations for sick pets, and the disastrous advice veterinarians give about how to keep pets healthy.

Let's take routine inoculations as an example.  When a person acquires an 8-week-old puppy from a reputable breeder, the puppy has had a thorough veterinary exam and its first inoculation against 4 or 5 dreaded diseases in that area.  New owner is instructed to make sure the puppy receives additional inoculations at 12- and 16-weeks of age to provide long-lasting immunities.

When the new owners takes healthy puppy to the new vet at 12-weeks of age, he will likely end up with a $100 to $150 bill.  For what?  The bill will itemize a vet exam at $45, a stool sample test at $15, and the 12-week inoculation at $60.  If the puppy has a small infestation of round or hook worms, and chances are good he does, vet will add $25 for prescription worming medication.  What did the owner really need for the 12-week old puppy?
  • A $60 inoculation?  The same vaccine can be purchased online and at local feed stores for about $6.00.  No prescription needed.  
  • A $45 vet exam?  Puppy already had a vet exam for heart, lungs, joints, bite, eyes, and any anomalies a vet can detect at 8-weeks of age.  Puppy was declared fit for placement with no health problems.  Puppy's basic health conditions have not changed in 4 weeks.  
  • A $15 stool sample test?  Breeder wormed the puppy several times before placement.  Owner can give puppy another dose or two or harmless worming medication (available for less than $5.00 at Walmart and local pet shops) or use a heartworm medication that also treats other worms as well. 
  • Why pay for a stool test and then prescription worming medication (another $25), when less expensive and equally effective options are available?
So, the first veterinary rip-off new pet owners encounter is when their new puppy is  12-weeks of age.  They are then subjected to a repeat rip-off at 16-weeks of age.  Again, one year later, when the puppy has a booster shot for canine diseases, pet owners get the same scenario, same inflated bill, same unnecessary expenses.

Sitll worse, veterinarians often require annual booster inoculations, which the American Veterinary Medical Association says are unnecessary.  With one booster after a 16-week inoculation, the dog likely has lifetime immunity to the most prevalent canine diseases.  

Dogs are often over-immunized, which carries its own danger of allergic reactions to ingredients in the vaccine and suppression of immune responses to disease.  It goes without saying that the bill for annual visits is enormously inflated by heartworm tests (totally unnecessary for dogs on routine heartworm medication), blood tests, stool tests, and more.

Which brings me to diet.  It is likely that the waiting room at the vet clinic is lined with shelves of commercial pet foods.  Starchy, inappropriate foods for carnivorous pets.  Pet food sales make up as much as 40% of the revenue in a vet practice, and the profit margin is over 100%.  Only laboratory tests rival pet foods as a profit source for vets.

Commercial pet foods create still other sources of revenue for vets, because they cause allergic reactions in pets that vets treat with anti-histamines, steroids, and prescription diets that are even more profitable than ordinary kibbles.  Ear infections are another common symptom of inappropriate diet.  Allergies and ear infections call for lab tests and diet elimination trials -- all very expensive for  pet owners. 

In the long run, commercial pet foods will lead to chronic degenerative diseases -- cancers, heart,, liver, digestive disorders -- that require even more expensive veterinary treatment.  These chronic degenerative diseases are painful for pets, financially disastrous for pet owners, and very lucrative for vets.  Losing a pet to an awful disease is heartbreaking.  Knowing it would likely been avoided with proper diet is enraging.

How well do many veterinarians meet public expectations of professional conduct?  What's your experience?







Correctly Classifying Dogs and Cats as Carnivores MATTERS

Pet food's biggest lie is that domestic dogs are not really carnivores that need animal proteins and fats to thrive.  Dogs, they claim, are "opportunistic" carnivores, which is interpreted to mean they can be fed anything people don't want to eat.

Spent brewery waste, grain byproducts, feathers, fur, and hooves -- all approved for dog food.  Old boots pass the pet-food tests as suitable ingredients as well, though they are completely indigestible.  In other words, the pet-food industry interprets dogs' dietary needs as anything people want to throw into a kibble extruder or seal in a can.

Let's get evolutionary facts straight.  Dogs are wolves.  Domestic cats are closely related to wild, desert cats.  Teeth of dogs and cats are those of carnivores, who tear meat off carcasses and chew up tough muscles of animal prey.  Sharp, pointed carnivore teeth are not like herbivore teeth, which are broad and flat to grind grains and vegetable foods. Carnivore teeth evolved for a diet of animal flesh.  Herbivore teeth evolved for food from grazing.

Cat and dogs have carnivore digestive systems.  Carnivore guts are highly acidic and short.  Meats and bones are digested and waste is eliminated quickly.  Herbivores have long, complex digestive tracts to process vegetable matter over many hours through multiple organs.  Carnivores do not process grains and vegetable matter properly, because that's not an appropriate diet for their teeth or digestive tracts.

The pet-food industry and veterinarians, who deny evolutionary facts, want pet owners to believe that dogs and cats can thrive on a largely herbivore diet of grains and other starches.  Why?  Because starches are cheap byproducts from human food processing by the same companies that make pet foods.  Pet food is an enormously profitable byproduct for global food companies (Mars, Nestle, and P & G make a lot more than candies, cereals, and boxed meals).

We know that processed foods are poor substitutes for fresh foods in human diets.  Just imagine what the waste products from human food processing do to the health of carnivorous pets.

The pet-food industry promotes AAFCO trials as the gold standard for pet food quality, when in fact AAFCO trials test the lower limits of how little animal protein and fat will keep dogs and cats alive for 6 months.  Used as a recipe for pet food, AAFCO trials are, instead, a prescription for lingering death.

As long as the pet food industry can deny that cats and dogs are carnivores, they will continue to profit from foods that sicken and eventually kill pets.  Veterinarians, who largely support their benefactors -- the pet food companies -- will continue to profit from the illnesses the starchy, commercial pet foods cause.  It is an unholy alliance.

More Animal Protein in Pet Foods

In December 2010, Wysong launched a new line of starch-free dry foods, Epigen.  Epigens offer the convenience of dry food that requires no refrigeration in a healthier, high-protein formulation for carnivorous pets.  Epigens contain 60% protein and no starches.

What did Dr. Wysong say about pet diets to promote Epigen?  Here's a quote from the Epigen bag:
    Wysong Epigen is a truly new (patent pending) pet food innovation.  For the first time, a dry extruded 'kibble' pet food more closely resembles the meat-based, high protein, starchless foods carnivores are genetically designed to eat.

    Pets are genetically indistinguishable for their wild carnivorous counterparts.  They are designed to eat as carnivores eat.  Nowhere in nature do canines and felines consume a steady diet high in starches (a poly-sugar).  Yet, contrary to the natural model, pets today eat such foods meal after meal, day after day, year after year.

    Not living and eating -- as nature intended --  has consequences. Research has shown that a steady high starch (sugar) diet  can lead to a host of chronic degenerative conditions.  These include insulin resistance, diabetes, dental disease, arthritis, immune compromise, cancer, premature aging, and more.
Dr. Wysong has always promoted variety in pets diets and decried veterinary advice to feed the same (usually starchy) food, meal after meal, day after day, year after year.  Wysong's 100 Pet Health Truths Program condemns sole feeding of any food, especially commercial pet foods.

Wysong's advice about variety includes fresh raw meats and meaty bones, but not exclusively.  Variety also includes Wysong's own starchy kibbles and cooked canned mush.  "Nowhere in nature do canines and felines consume" Wysong's starchy kibbles or cooked canned mush, either.

In December 2010, I wondered where this truth-telling was going to lead the company.  Would Wysong cease producing its long-established, starchy pet foods?  In the spring of 2013, they brought out revised versions of their traditional dry foods.   New formulations reduce starches and increase animal protein contents, in keeping with their Epigen message. Better, if not perfect.

Would this improvement in Wysong's traditional dry pet foods prompt global pet food manufacturers to increase the animal protein contents of their starchy, junk foods?  In September 2013, Purina began a campaign to promote Purina One with increased animal protein in the bag.  "How much animal protein is in your pet food?", says the ad.  "20%, 24%; well, Purina One has 30% animal protein." 

Commercial pet foods are still damaging to pets' health, and slight improvements in contents do not fix health problems, especially if they are fed exclusively day-after-day for pets' lifetimes.  Perhaps Wysong is leading the way toward healthier commercial pet foods,  but nothing can replace a raw-meaty-bones diet for lifelong pet health.

Natural Rearing Diet Fails

October 1, 2013: Thanks to one of our Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op members, I read The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.  She was a fabulously interesting British woman who roamed the world with gypsies and nomads to learn their herbal practices.  Before World War II, she left veterinary school because they did not understand the evolved nature of carnivores (and still don't).   She raised champion Afghan Hounds that won at Crofts and Westminster shows.  She fed her dogs a diet of 75% raw meat and meaty bones, because they are carnivores!  The rest of the diet was herbs, raw eggs, goats' milk,  and whole grains. 

Advice in the book is a challenge to follow, because I know so little about herbs, but I am willing to learn.  I shopped the local health-food stores and ordered some of her composite herbal mixtures for puppies and pregnant bitches online.  I already feed my dogs and puppies raw eggs and yogurt.  I don't know if the addition of specific herbs, goats' milk, and some whole grains to their diet will make a difference in the health of puppies and mothers-to-be, but we shall see.  Remember, though, that 75% of the diet is what we already feed -- raw meats and meaty bones.
 
Diet Experiment Results: Last week I reported on adding some grains and supplements recommended by Juliette De Bairacli Levy as part of her Natural Rearing diet.  Although she recommends a canine diet of 75% raw meats and bones, she also includes rolled oats, barley, rye flour, wheat germ, and the like.  I shopped the health food stores, ordered her supplements online,  and began to feed my 16 dogs her recommended grains and supplements.  I bought raw goats milk locally @ $7.50/ quart.

Within a day, we noticed that the dogs' poop was larger, yellower, and it smelled!  Those are signs the dogs are not digesting grains as well as a straight raw meat diet.  It's the same problem dogs have with commercial pet foods: Dogs and cats do not digest carbohydrates well, because they evolved to eat MEAT and MEATY BONES! I knew better, but it was interesting to try a diet so widely admired. I don't know what the raw goats' milk did, but I do not plan to buy it again.

As soon as the grains were eliminated, the dogs' poop returned to its smaller, darker, and odorless state.  I am continuing her supplements, because they don't seem to do any harm.  I don't know if dogs need algae, barks, and herbs, but they don't seem to be disturbing the dogs' digestion.  It was instructive to try Levy's diet for a week, but now the chickens are getting the grains.  Chickens are well equipped to digest grains and lots of other stuff -- just like us (we are Omnivores; dogs and cats are Carnivores).

**********************
 Thank you for the enlightening experiment! I tried adding grains to the raw diet I fed my anorexic 20 year old feline upon recommendation by a vet but it did not help at all. It turns out he needed digestive enzymes and probiotics to help him assimilate his raw food (at this late stage). He's since gained a whole pound for the first time in 4 years and seems very content. Yeah to raw diet and supplements when need be!
Caroline (:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Communication to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (UK)

Mr. Nick Stace, Chief Executive Officer
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Dear Mr. Stace:

Dr. Tom Lonsdale invited me to send you a communication about my experience with raw-meaty-bones, as a dog breeder and as the founder of Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op. 

History with dogs:
  I raised Papillons for 10 years.  The first Papillons were fed cooked chicken and rice.  That's what the veterinarian told me to feed, because I was not willing to feed commercial pet foods.  The first dogs lost their teeth by the age of 10.  They had rampant gum disease, even though I had their teeth cleaned every few years -- not often enough, obviously.  The second two Papillons were luckier, because I discovered raw-meaty-bones when they still had their teeth and their health.  They loved chicken legs and thighs -- each a good meal for a small dog.  They loved chewing on small beef neck bones.  They ate a good variety of beef parts, cut into approximately 2" x 2" hunks -- large enough for them to chew but not to swallow whole.  


The key to feeding small dogs and puppies is to make the pieces large enough for them to have to chew and not to try to swallow whole.  Nani died at almost 14 years from a sudden heart attack.  Ben died at almost 15 from a sudden heart attack.  Neither had any chronic degenerative diseases, had healthy mouths, and great spirits until the last moment of their lives. 


I began breeding Labrador retrievers 13 years ago when I moved to a farm where the dogs could run.  At first I fed the dogs commercial kibble that the veterinarian told me it was “premium quality”, guaranteed to be “100% compete and balanced".  Several dogs had itchy skin, ear irritations/infections, and poor coats.  One had sore joints.  Veterinarians prescribed anti-histamines, steroids, and antibiotics.  Then came prescription diets with limited ingredients.  The poor dogs were constantly receiving some kind of medication to alleviate their health problems and eating an unhealthy diet.   Fortunately, against veterinary advice, I also fed the dogs some raw meaty bones three or four times a week to keep their teeth clean and gums healthy. . At least I had learned that much about dogs. 


After 7 months of feeding commercial pet foods, and observing “allergy “problems, I consulted Robin Woodley, DVM, an alternative veterinarian in Kapa’au.  Dr. Woodley told me she will not even treat dogs that are fed commercial pet foods, because those foods cause so many health problems.   Thus began my voyage toward raw feeding.  Dr. Woodley recommended a BARF (Bones and raw food) diet, which I prepared at home.  Almost immediately, the dogs “allergies” disappeared, and they became notably healthier and happier.  The “super-premium”, “100% complete and balanced” kibble that other vets recommend and sell was causing their health problems (and health problems for tens of millions of other pets).  


Today.  I now raise both Labs and standard Poodles, which were added to the kennel three years ago.  I feed my 18 dogs (and one Maine Coon cat) Raw Meaty Bones (rmb).  Remember, we are feeding a friendly wolf, whose normal diet consists of whole prey – raw meat, organs, and meaty bones.  Genetic research shows that dogs are a sub-species of grey wolf.  Dogs did not evolve to eat grains and cooked foods.  Commercial pet foods are not digested well and come out as huge, smelly poops.  RMB-fed dogs have 1/3 as much poop, and it doesn’t smell bad!  The health benefits of feeding a species-appropriate diet are enormous.


My puppies are raised on raw-meaty-bones from the age of 3 to 4 weeks.  Until they get teeth, they get a mush of ground meats, raw eggs, and plain yogurt with a vitamin/ mineral supplement.  When they have teeth, they begin to eat a full array of meats and meaty bones.  I watch them with their first chunks of meat.  Puppies learn quickly how to chew raw meats and to gnaw on meaty bones (often using their feet to hold).  

I have never had a case of salmonella or any other bacterial infection in dogs or puppies.  Let's remember that I am reporting experience with dozens of Labs and standard Poodles and with literally hundreds of puppies over 13 years.  I have had no problems with feeding rmb to small dogs, large dogs, or cats, as long as the meats and bones are large enough for them to chew.
 

I have not had any fractured molars or excessively worn teeth.  The key to preventing tooth fracture is not to feed bare bones.  The diet is MEATY- bones that elicit gnawing, not cracking down on hard bones.  Weight-bearing bones from herbivores are very hard and unsuitable for tooth-clearning.  Much better to clean teeth are softer bones, such as ribs, and bones with many angles, such as neck bones.  My oldest Labs show some tooth wear, but I am sure they will die before their teeth become dysfunctional.  Their teeth stay pearly white even into old age.  Their gums are a healthy salmon pink.  They have no chronic degenerative diseases.

The largest improvement in pets' health comes from removing commercial pet food from their diet.  From that point, one can feed 100% raw-meaty-bones, or mostly raw-meaty bones with some added veggies and supplements, if one likes to spend time and money on these unnecessary things.  After all, dogs and wolves can survive on garbage scavenged from human dumps.  Garbage is surely not an ideal diet, but dogs can digest carbohydrates, if life depends on it.  Most pet owners do not aim to feed their beloved pets a starvation diet, so why load them with minced veggies and cooked starches?  The ideal diet is a variety of meats and meaty bones.

Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op.  In July 2010, I decided to arrange delivery of local, grass-fed beef to my farm.  For many years before, I had met the Hawaii Beef Producers (HBP) delivery truck at restaurants and grocery stores to which they deliver.  Other pet owners were also at these locations to pick up meats and bones for their pets.  Why not consolidate?  HBP agreed to deliver to my farm.  The USDA meat inspector at the HBP plant agreed to inspect for health some beef parts that are not used for human consumption (e.g., tracheas, lungs, spleens).  Most co-op meats are USDA approved for human consumption but not preferred by US consumers (e.g., cheek meat, back ribs, neck bones, liver, and kidneys). 

I formed a non-profit co-op, posted a web site for orders, and send a consolidated pet-food order to HBP weekly.  Six months after founding, the Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op had 21 members, all recruited by word-of-mouth.  Twelve months later the co-op had 121 members, and now has 150+ members, all recruited by other members.  I have heard more than 100 stories of how dogs and cats get well on rmb, of how puppies thrive on rmb, and of how rmb made their aging, ailing dogs alive again. It is hard for me to believe the large number of pet owners who tell the same sad story of veterinary "treatment" for starchy pet-food-induced illnesses and how their pets' health improved dramatically on the rmb diet.

Raw pet-food co-ops are thriving in most US cities, all without approval from veterinarians, most of whom oppose raw feeding.  I don't have to tell you of the enormous financial support pet-food companies supply to veterinary schools, to veterinary research, and to veterinarians in practice.  In 2010, I conducted a Freedom-of-Inquiry investigation of the 26 US accredited veterinary schools to determine sources of funding for the schools, faculty research, and students.  You will know that, not only are vet schools, research, and students supported by global pet-food companies, but pet-food companies also send representatives to teach the small-animal nutrition course.  It's a scandal waiting to happen. 

 If these data applied to human medical training, research, and practice, the complicity of medicine with commercial food manufacturers would have been publicly exposed many years ago.  Until veterinary medicine frees itself from the grip of pet-food companies, it is vulnerable to public distrust -- and disgust.

I hope this commentary is helpful to you and your colleagues, as you deliberate the future of veterinary medicine in the UK.. It seems the pet-food companies realize that raw and "natural" foods are preferred by increasing numbers of pet owners.  They adjust their advertising, if not their products, to meet the new demand.  Veterinarians should lead the march toward greater pet health, not impede its progress.  It's time for evolutionary and genetic knowledge to inform veterinary practice about the dietary needs of carnivorous pets.
Sincerely yours,

Sandra Scarr, Ph.D.
Commonwealth Professor of Psychology emerita

University of Virginia
University of Virginia

Friday, December 31, 2010

Cats: Beneficiaries of the Raw-Meaty-Bones Diet

When the Kona Raw Pet- Food Co-op began, a little more than a year ago, the original members were dog owners.  These dog owners may have fed a cat or two, but our focus was clearly on raw-meaty-bones for dogs.  The balance is changing now, as more cat owners, without dogs, join the co-op.

From research on pet diets, I knew that even veterinarians, who are tragically opposed to raw-feeding, acknowledge that cats are "Obligate Carnivores".  They're taught that phrase in vet school.  What that phrase means to misled vets, however, is that commercial cat foods must contain a higher percentage of proteins than dog foods and that cats can't live without some amino acids in their foods that they don't produce themselves (notably taurine, the absence of which in commercial cat foods killed a lot of cats).

I had a memorable conversation with the vet who examined the Maine Coon kitten I imported from Australia in January 2009.  Her statement began, "Cats are obligate carnivores, so you must feed her...".  I expected the word MEAT to appear in the following phrase, but NO.  "... you must feed her a balanced, 100% complete dry cat food."  I almost laughed out loud, but managed to restrain myself and change the subject.

Dry foods are bad for cats, whose desert origins incline them not to drink enough water to offset the dehydrating effects of dry foods.  Cats need moisture in their food.  Further, pet-food manufacturers skirt the margins of sustainable diets with as little animal proteins and fats as they must include to prolong domestic cats' lives for barely half of their natural lifespans.  According to cat experts, such as Elizabeth Hodgkins, domestic cats can live into their twenties, but practically none get past their mid-teens, because poor diets make them susceptible to all manner of degenerative diseases.  Cats need to eat whole small prey or its best substitute, raw-meaty-bones.

My cat, Daisy, was weaned on raw minced kangaroo meat and Royal Canin Maine Coon Kitten Food (yes, Royal Canin actually produces a food with that name, to their eternal shame).  When Daisy arrived at nearly 5 months of age, she was not prepared to chew her food or to accept strange flavors, such as raw chicken and beef.  In Hawaii, I could not offer kangaroo meat, and I certainly was not going to feed her Royal Canin Maine Coon Cat Food.  Feeding Daisy was a problem from the start, because cats are very attached to the foods on which they are weaned.  Problems with changing cats' diets are discussed on the Raw Meaty Bones web site.

Turned out Daisy loved Wysong's raw-dehydrated meats.  Mixing raw chicken and beef with Dream Treats  or Archetype worked.  She became skillful at chewing up raw chicken legs and wings.  She liked beef heart and kidney.  She didn't starve, but she was underweight for a year.  Instead of weighing 15 or 16 pounds, her weight hovered around 12 pounds -- until Wysong came out with their new Epigen.

Epigen is a starch-free dry food for cats and dogs.  Epigen is more than 60% meat, more than 60% proteins, and the rest is mostly animal fats -- in other words, a convenient but suitable dry food for carnivorous pets.

For reasons unknown at this time, cats LOVE Epigen.  Not just my cat, but all the cats of Kona Raw members.  We collect amusing tales of cats running to eat when the Epigen bag is opened for the first time.  Must be something in the aroma.  Cats gobble up Epigen, fending off the dogs for whom the bowl was intended.  Cats don't seem to know this is a new food they should instinctively avoid, as they do other new foods.

Daisy now weighs 16 pounds, on her way to full maturity -- around 18 pounds at three years-of-age.  Other skinny and sick cats are similarly being helped by the addition of Epigen to their raw diets. 

Several cat owners who recently joined the co-op have sick to very sick cats.  There are cats with chronic renal failure, with wide-spread food allergies, with tumors, and other distressing maladies.  Owners are feeding raw-meaty-bones to make their pets well or to give them happier lives until the end.  So far, owners are reporting good results with cats accepting raw meats and chicken bones.  They also find that Epigen is a helpful addition to their cats' diets.

Whereas dogs will eat almost anything (that doesn't eat them first, as one vet told me years ago), cats are much more selective in what they will consume.  Some cats won't eat beef liver; other thrive on it.  Some cats love green tripe; others sniff and find it as distasteful as most pet owners do.  Some cats crunch up chicken bones as well as dogs do; others won't chew up anything harder than an Epigen pellet.  It's trial-and-error to devise a good raw diet for cats, and repeated trials at that.  By combining raw meats with Epigen, owners feel more secure that their cats are getting nutrients they need to get well and thrive.

I have much to learn from experienced cat owners in the Kona Raw co-op.  The canine-o-centric focus of the co-op has changed.  Felines rule!

Raw-Fed Dogs Just Look and Act Different

A member of our Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op was walking with his German shepherd/Husky mix along the shore, south of the Place of Refuge National Historical Park (Pu'uhonua o Honaunau).  This is a great spot for dogs to cavort off-lead when park rangers are not looking, or passively assenting to well-behaved dogs having a good run.  Dogs love to wade in and explore the tide pools along this stretch of shore.

As Bud ran along the trail with his dog, he encountered a stranger, who said,
"Isn't it great you feed your dog raw!"
Rather stunned by the stranger's accurate assessment, Bud said,
"How do you know I feed him raw?" 
The stranger identified himself as a visitor from Canada and explained,
"I can tell from his coat and his attitude."
Amazing but true.   Raw-fed dogs do have great coats -- no itches or hot spots, no thin, scraggly fur so common to kibble-fed dogs.  But his attitude?  Of course!  Dogs fed raw-meaty-bones are happy, jaunty, and satisfied.  Their behavior brims with satisfaction and self-confidence -- the attitude the Canadian visitor had seen in Bud's dog.

There are profound differences between raw-fed dogs and unfortunate dogs on starchy, pet-food diets.  Some of it shows in their coats and behaviors.  A lot of it is hidden in their long-term health.

This week I heard another series of fatal cancer, tumor,and  kidney-failure stories from prospective puppy buyers, who lost treasured pets to premature deaths.  These deaths are caused by long-time, monotonous feeding of inappropriate diets.  After some discussion, these pet owners are easy to convert to raw-feeding for their next puppies. They feel guilty for not knowing what is obvious to them now, for not having saved their pets misery and early deaths.  They each had spent hundreds and thousands of dollars in veterinary bills to try to save their dogs.

Carnivorous pets require raw meat and meaty bones to maintain health.  You'd think that everyone would see this obvious truth.  It's hard for pet owners to get past veterinarians, however, who stand squarely in opposition to raw-meaty-bones.  How much longer can vets be blind to the health of raw-fed pets and to the many unnecessary illnesses caused by the starchy pet-foods they sell?  Will they ever be held accountable for the untold misery and outlandish expenses they cause?  Surely, a day-of-reckoning is coming.

Meanwhile, we can look at raw-fed dogs in a different light -- you can tell they're different by their healthy coats and happy attitudes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wysong Gets It, But Will They End Their Own Starchy Foods ?

The new Wysong dry food, Epigen, is a breakthrough in dry food manufacture, because it contains no starches.  In a ground-breaking process, Wysong was able to bind little nuggets of dried meats with vegetable and animal proteins, instead of starches.  Epigen offers the convenience of dry food that requires no refrigeration in a healthier, high-protein formulation for carnivorous pets.

What, then, does Dr. Wysong say about pet diets to promote Epigen?  Here's a quote from the Epigen bag:
Wysong Epigen is a truly new (patent pending) pet food innovation.  For the first time, a dry extruded 'kibble' pet food more closely resembles the meat-based, high protein, starchless foods carnivores are genetically designed to eat.
Pets are genetically indistinguishable for their wild carnivorous counterparts.  They are designed to eat as carnivores eat.  Nowhere in nature do canines and felines consume a steady diet high in starches (a poly-sugar).  Yet, contrary to the natural model, pets today eat such foods meal after meal, day after day, year after year.
Not living and eating -- as nature intended  has consequences. Research has shown that a steady high starch (sugar) diet  can lead to a host of chronic degenerative conditions.  These include insulin resistance, diabetes, dental disease, arthritis, immune compromise, cancer, premature aging, and more.
 In fairness, Dr. Wysong has always promoted variety in pets diets and decried veterinary advice to feed the same (usually starchy) food, meal after meal, day after day, year after year.  Wysong's 100 Pet Health Truths Program condemns sole feeding of any food, especially commercial pet foods. Wysong's advice about variety includes fresh raw meats and meaty bones, but not exclusively.  Variety also includes Wysong's own starchy kibbles and cooked canned mush, however.  "Nowhere in nature do canines and felines consume" Wysong's starchy kibbles or cooked canned mush, either.  Again, from the Epigen bag:
Wysong advises against feeding any one pet food exclusively.  Feeding one food fosters the development of ingredient intolerances (allergies) and other health ailments.  You would never eat one food exclusively, and neither should your pet.
Augment your pet's diet with other Wysong Diets, such as our canned foods, raw diets like Archetype Diets, Dream Treats, UnCanny and others.  Whole fresh grocery foods can and should also be a part of any healthy feeding regime,  You need not feed only 'pet' foods.
 One wonders where this is all going.  Will Wysong cease producing its long-established starchy pet foods and cooked meats?  Even granting their Canine Maintenance and Feline Vitality use healthier starches and better supplements than other commercial pet foods, can they really promote these products when they admit how damaging they are for pets' health?  Compared to other pet-food manufacturers, Wysong tells the truth about carnivorous pets, even it their corporate behavior is not consistent with the diet information they provide.

Feeding Epigen is not nearly as good for your carnivorous pet as a full raw-meaty-bones diet, but pet owners are fallible.  They run out of meaty bones, they can't store enough meaty bones to last the week until they can get more meaty bones, and they forget to order meaty bones.  All of the above, and more, compromise pet owners' ability to comply with the best feeding regime.

Kona Raw Pet Fiod Co-op members have eagerly adopted Epigen as part of their raw-meaty-bones diet.  Why?  Convenience is a major reason, but there are other issues.  Some pet owners cannot believe that pets get all the nutrients they need from a simple diet of raw meats and meaty bones.  So ingrained are the spurious notions of "balanced" and "100% compete" pet foods, it is very difficult for some to believe that a simple meats and meaty-bones diet will suffice.  They feel more confident about their feeding regime when they include a dry food that lists all those good minerals and vitamins on the bag.

Still other pet owners are simply more comfortable feeding a few human-type meats and meaty bones and supplementing with Epigen.  These pet owners cannot bring themselves to feed tracheas, lungs, spleens, green tripe and other "Yucky!"meats.that are perfectly suitable for pets.  Feeding only meats and meaty bones that are suitable for human consumption is expensive.  Epigen is included as a less expensive part of the diet.

My 15 dogs like Epigen, but they prefer any raw meats and meaty bones.  Six days a week, I just hand them suitably sized hunks of raw meaty bones.  No bowls required.  About once a week, I give them a bowl of two raw eggs, messy meats like beef liver and kidneys, a chunk of cheese, any leftover vegetables from my kitchen, a tablespoon of Spirulina and Call of the Wild, and a cup or so of Epigen.  This atypical meal of the week gives them some "extras" they may not need, but it makes me feel more confident they are getting "everything" they need..


Now, I have a confession.  My cat adores Epigen.  Daisy is a two-year-old Maine coon cat.  She has been quite skinny on a pure raw-meaty-bones diet.  I worried about her being under-weight.  She eats chicken drumsticks and thighs (including the bone) and giblets, beef skirt meat, ground green tripe, and other assorted raw meats and bones -- but she never ate enough to weigh more than 12 pounds, which is very slim for a large Maine coon cat..  When I opened a bag of Epigen, Daisy came running.  She gobbled it down. Some months later, Daisy eats rmb and Epigen, and her weight has increased to a healthier 16 pounds.


My observation that Daisy loves Epigen is replicated a dozen times among Kona Raw members.  Cats that previously would eat only one food (usually a terribly unhealthy kibble or canned mush) eagerly eat Epigen.  Many cats turn up their noses at raw meaty bones, if they have been raised on Whiskas or Fancy Feast (both dreadful).  Owners may succeed at getting them to accept an rmb diet, but it's a long, slow process.  For unknown reasons, cats accept Epigen eagerly.  My son's cat, a Humane Society kitty raised on Fancy Feast, would not accept ANY other food.  I was present in the kitchen when he opened a bag of Epigen.  The cat came running, leaped onto the counter and mewed.  Skeptically, he put some Epigen in a small bowl.  After Lily gobbled it down, he asked what on earth they put in this food!


Indeed, what do they put in this food?  Chicken meal is the biggest component.  Although organic chicken is listed first on the label and chicken giblets are third,, fresh chicken is 75% water that is removed in processing. Chicken meal is dry to start; thus, the largest component in Epigen.  Chicken meal is cooked, processed left-overs from commercially raised chickens.  It does not include feathers, beaks, and feet, but everything else.  Actually, chicken meal is pretty nourishing, as dry food ingredients go.

After chicken meal, vegetable proteins from potatoes, rice, corn, and/or wheat are listed.  A good guess is this food is about 72% meat proteins and fats and 20% vegetable proteins (rest is 12% moisture and 3.5% fiber).  Although it may not be the ideal carnivore food (it's mostly cooked chicken, after all), it's a huge improvement over other dry pet foods.


Two new versions of Epigen -- Venison and Fish -- are due to be produced at any moment.  In fact, Wysong is behind schedule in producing the new Epigens, because they are overwhelmed with orders for the original Epigen.  The Good News is more pets will be fed a high-protein dry food, and maybe their owners will be nudged to add raw meats and meaty bones to their pets' diets.  The Bad News is that Epigen is no substitute for raw-meaty-bones -- the most appropriate diet for carnivorous pets.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nestle-Purina's Fraudulent Patent

Suppose you invented a process that enhances nutrition in dry foods for pets?  Then, suppose you did not patent it, because you hoped other pet-food manufacturers would adopt it and make their foods healthier as well?  Perhaps, this sounds naive, but that's exactly what Dr. Wysong did in the early 1980's with nurtacueticals and probiotic mixes that Wysong sprays on kibbles.  Many other pet-food companies adopted the technology and use it to enhance the nutritional value of their dry foods.

Along comes Giant Corporation, Nestle-Purina, whose legal eagles notice that this process, which they don't even use, has not been patented.  In 1997, Nestle-Purina applies for and is granted EU and US patents on Wysong's process!  Even more outrageously, Nestle-Purina now demands that Wysong pay them licensing fees to use the process Wysong invented!

Wysong hauled out proof that they invented and used the process some 15 years prior to Nestle-Purina's patent.  Nestle-Purina lost their EU patent, because the European court agreed that Wysong had invented and long used the process prior to Nestle-Purina's fraudulent patent.

The same battle took place in a US court, where the initial verdict was for Wysong..  Nestle-Purina's legal eagles and billions dollar profits are hard to silence, however.  Wysong explains what is happening now (October 2010).
NESTLE/PURINA  CONTINUES THEIR SUIT
As you may be aware, Purina sued Wysong in late 2008 for using probiotics on extruded pet foods. This is because in 1997 they were granted a patent for this process. The problem is, Wysong was the inventor of this technology and has used it since the early 1980s -- some 15 plus years PRIOR to the patent. Purina wants Wysong to pay them a licensing fee going back to the date of their patent and Wysong refuses.
Purina hopes to exhaust the financial resources of Wysong in court and force us to pay the licensing fee. If successful in getting Wysong to accede, since we have the strongest proof their patent is not valid, Purina will have a clear path to sue the two dozen or so other manufacturers who have copied Wysong’s probiotic technology and began using it after the patent date.

Although we have been able to get the patent office to overturn their patent, a fleet of Purina attorneys appealed and had key elements of the patent retained. So we remain in the thick of the suit, financing a defense of a technology that brings great health benefits to animals and humans (a technology Purina does not even use on their own products!), while the rest of the industry sits on the sidelines.

Obviously, other pet-food companies are not having to pay legal expenses in this suit.  Only Wysong is being financially drained.  Nestle-Purina picked on a small, family-owned company that not only invented the process they seek fraudulently to patent but one that can be more easily drained of resources than, say, Proctor & Gamble or Mars.

If they exhaust Wysong's resources and retain this patent, they can bill every other pet-food company that uses Wysong's technology for licensing fees from 1997 to the present -- a nice financial windfall for Nestle-Purina.

What isn't wrong with this picture?.

Pet-Food Tainted AKC Solicits Puppy Registrations from Breeders

Earlier blog entries detailed the dramatic decline in AKC purebred dog registrations over the past 20 years.  The AKC is losing ground to other registries and losing credibility with the general public, who no longer see the AKC as a venerable nonprofit organization.  AKC partnerships with commercial pet-food and drug companies have tarnished their once-shining reputation.

Loss of purebred dog registrations is not only a moral blow but a huge financial defeat for the AKC.  So, how to turn around their finances?  First, they decided to register crossbred dogs (aka mutts) to participate in AKC obedience, agility, and other performance activities -- first in separate classes from purebreds but later accepted into the general fold.  Every mutt registration nets AKC at least $20, and every mutt entry into an event, more dollars.

Second, they decided to lean on breeders who register litters of purebred puppies to reveal information on their puppy buyers.  Here's their pitch:

Dear Sandra Scarr,
As part of the "front lines" of purebred dogs, we rely on our loyal breeders to communicate the benefits and importance of AKC registration to their puppy buyers. To ensure a strong future for you, your fellow breeders, and all purebred dogs, we need all of our breeders to make a concerted effort to ensure that every puppy in each litter you have bred gets registered with the AKC. We have implemented a new initiative to help you accomplish this goal.
The AKC has begun sending all breeders who register a litter an email asking them to provide us with their new puppy buyers contact information. The email includes information on our new Online Litter Record Service. This service allows breeders to supply AKC with new puppy buyer contact information online in an easy to use format. If the breeder does not want to use the new online service a link to a printable version of the litter record is also available. The new puppy buyers will then receive an e-mail or letter from AKC detailing the benefits and importance of AKC registration.
The new puppy buyers will only be contacted by the AKC. Their names will not be sold or used for any other promotions or marketing when given through this initiative. As you have experienced, puppy buyers tend to be more concerned about caring for their new puppy at the time of purchase, and often forget about one of the most important steps of responsible dog ownership – AKC registration. Our aim is to reinforce their decision of purchasing an AKC puppy and to educate them on the many benefits that they can receive with registration.
The AKC is dedicated to promoting responsible dog ownership and educating new puppy buyers about registration benefits and the important programs that registration supports. Registration dollars help the AKC fund important educational programs, support the research of health issues through donations and continue to subsidize AKC events. Our registration numbers also help us to maintain legislative influence and ensure that like-minded organizations continue to support the AKC through alternative revenue programs and sponsorships.
With your support, and by working together, we will be able to take the necessary steps to ensure AKC's long and healthy future as the nation's preeminent purebred dog registry.
For more information or to use our new Online Litter Record Service please visit us at akc.org/litrec; or e-mail us at dogreg@akc.org (please use "Litter Records" in the subject line).  Please note this service can be used for recent or past litters.
Sincerely,
David Roberts
VP, Registration and Customer Service
I did not comply with their request, for reasons stated in my reply to Mr. Roberts.

Hello Dave Roberts,
Let me be painfully honest.  I do not promote AKC registration for my puppies, because my puppies are raised on the raw-meaty-bones diet, which puppy buyers pledge to continue.  AKC's close connection with (aka financial dependence on) pet-food companies is very disturbing, and I do not wish you to inflict distasteful pet-food advertisements on my puppy buyers.
I am appalled that the venerable, nonprofit AKC sends me blatant advertisements for various kinds of cooked carbohydrates that masquerade as dog food.  Surely, the AKC knows dogs are a subspecies of wolves, who evolved to eat whole prey.  Surely, the AKC knows that starchy commercial pet foods destroy dogs' health.  One can only be appalled that the AKC, whose mission is to promote the interests of purebred dogs and their owners, stoops to endorse Iams, Eukanuba, and their ilk, to the huge detriment of canine health.
I follow the AKC's financial travails with interest.  Self-inflicted wounds are painful to watch, and the AKC continues to self-destruct.  I offer some unsolicited advice to address AKC's financial decline.  I wrote these ideas some months ago on my blog (http://rmb4healthypets.blogspot.com):
 I were CEO of the AKC, I would be alarmed (at the large, documented losses of registrations and revenue) and contemplate what changes need to be made in my organization.  Let me offer a few suggestions:
  • AKC can improve the health of purebred dogs by incorporating new genetic information in their criteria for participation in AKC activities.
  • Intact animals, which participate in AKC conformation shows, field trials, rallies, obedience, and agility events should have clearances as non-carriers of all serious genetic disorders common in the breed.
  • Conformation shows should be restructured to be more about dogs' soundness and breed type and less about the handler and showmanship.  However entertaining spectators find extreme coiffure and runway behavior, the major focus of shows should be to select sound, typey parents for the next generations of the breed.
  • AKC should sever its relationships with commercial sponsors, especially pet-food manufacturers. A less splashy show, not sponsored by Eukanuba, would be better received by many who care about dogs' health.  
  • AKC should cease any partnerships with pet-food and drug companies to "educate" veterinarians about pet care and diets.  Veterinary education is perverted by pet-food and drug companies anyway, and the AKC should keep it's still-good name out of a corrupt morass.
  • AKC should sponsor popular educational programs for pet owners about the evolution of dogs, their identity as a subspecies of wolves, and the implications of these scientifically established facts for dog feeding and care.  A television series on "Know Your Dog" could save the health and lives of millions of pets.
  • AKC can work with breed organizations that have adopted extreme conformation standards that impair the breed's health or alter their natural appearance by mutilation.  Surgical alteration and unhealthy standards have no place in an organization with a mission to improve the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners.
I hope you find this message constructive and helpful.  Please feel free to share it with others at the AKC.
Aloha,
Sandra Scarr
*****************************************************************************************
Aloha Labradors-------------------------------------------------------808-322-9445 telephone
78-6915 Palekana Road--------------------------------------------808-322-9445 fax
Holualoa, HI 96725---------------------------------------------------808-987-5005 cell
www.AlohaLabradors.com-----------------------------------------SandraScar@aol.com

*******************************************************************************************
 If the AKC were to reform itself, I would be happy to support their effort to register my puppies.  The
AKC is so afraid to take proactive stands on extreme breed standards and cosmetic mutilation, for example, it lags kennel clubs in the rest of the world in taking these steps. Ear and tail cropping have disappeared in the UK, EU, Australia, NZ, and other dog-fancy parts of the world.

The AKC still has not accepted into the purebred dog registry Dalmatians with normal urea processing genes, who are now 5 and 6 generations from the outcross that provided the normal gene.  They still register only Dalmatians with defective genes. How is that promoting the interests of purebred dogs and their owners?

The biggest reform, however, would be to sever their commercial relationships with pet-food and drug companies -- especially commercial pet-food companies that use the AKC to sell junk foods that make pets sick.  The AKC has the stature and opportunity to make major reforms in pet feeding, but they don't.

Until they do, they can count me out.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Desperate Dog Owners

This week I am visiting family in the Milwaukee area, where my son Phil and daughter Rebecca live.  Phil's two sons, Erik and Christopher, are 9 and 12.  Rebecca's two children are 3 1/2 (Jane) and nearly two (Asa).  Both have very nice spouses as well.

Left behind with friends in Hawaii are responsibilities for 14 adult dogs, 7 puppies at 4 weeks of age, a cat, and management of an active, raw-meaty-bones pet food cooperative.  It's hard to thank Mark and Joslyn enough for their willingness to take on such huge jobs.  When I go away, it becomes apparent how much I do everyday.  No doubt, I have a busy schedule in my "retirement".

Despite being 5,000 miles away, I still get phone calls from desperate pet owners.  Typical story is the dog has terrible allergies, tormenting itchiness, hot spots the dog licks relentlessly, and is miserable.  Owner has tried everything veterinary medicine offers -- antihistamines, steroids, ingredient-restricted diets, antibiotics, special baths and ointments.  Owner recognizes the dog is sick, not well.  What to do now?

My mobile vet sent me such a case just hours before I left on this trip. He said he cannot do more and told the owner to try a raw-meaty-bones diet to cure the dogs' multiple ills.  This is very unusual advice from a veterinarian, but my mobile vet has actually read about the rmb-diet  and believes it makes sense.  I tried to call the distraught owner, left a message with my phone number.  I'll try again to reach her when I get home.

The first day in Wisconsin, a phone call from an acquaintance in Kona told me about her Doberman pinscher.  The dog is itchy, irritable, and has skin eruptions and sores that plague the poor animal.  She was in PETCO looking for remedies for her poor dog when she spoke out loud to a total stranger about her dog's problems.  The stranger told her to contact KonaRaw.org, the raw pet food co-op.  She went online and found me.  After a half-dozen phone calls to me and to Mark to learn about the rmb diet, she ordered rmb for her dog this week and picked up the order yesterday.  She will need a lot of support and information when I return to Kona

Yesterday, when Amy, Erik, Chris, and I were in the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum, my cell phone rang.  Another desperate dog owner told me the familiar story about his dog with allergies, itchiness, open sores, and generally miserable state.  He began to cry because he feels so bad for his dog.  I told him to go online to KonaRaw.org, to order some meaty bones and meats for next week, and to come next Thursday to meet with me and pick up his order.  I hope he has enough information and reassurance to try the rmb diet.

All of these pet owners need re-education about appropriate diets for carnivorous pets.  That cannot be accomplished in a long-distance phone call.  It's difficult and painful to unlearn everything you have been taught about pet foods.  It's hard to accept that everything you have been feeding pets for decades -- kibbles and canned mush -- are disastrous for pets' health.  How could vets recommend health-destroying foods?  Aren't vets the experts on pet nutrition?  Well, not exactly ....  And that's another very long story.

How many thousands of Kona pet owners could tell the same story about pets' health being destroyed by kibbles and canned mush?  In our small community, there are so many suffering pets, it's hard to imagine how to reach and help them all.  Just removing all kibble from their diets will start them toward recovery.  

Adding healthful animal proteins and fats to their diets will restore many pets' health, but there may be detours on that road to recovery.  Some of these pets have infected teeth and gums that require veterinary cleaning and antibiotic treatment before the pets can begin the road to health.  Some of them have chronic disease conditions, caused by years of inappropriate diet, and those diseases may have advanced beyond a dietary cure.  At least they can enjoy a healthy diet in their remaining months or years.

It is ironic that pet owners have to rely on other pet owners to learn how to feed pets.  We often rely on family members and friends for advice on rearing children, but medical experts  -- pediatricians -- also offer helpful advice.  More importantly, most of the advice on feeding children healthy diets is consistent across family and medical experts.

Pediatricians promote whole foods for omnivorous children.  A balanced diet for children includes meats, dairy products, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Pediatricians and human nutritionists advise against feeding children processed and "fast" foods.  Grandmother and family friends also "know" that whole foods are healthy diets for children.

A balanced diet for carnivorous pets consists of raw meats and meaty bones with minor additions of family leftovers and cooked or minced veggies and fruits.  By contrast to pediatricians, veterinarians have been brainwashed to believe that processed grains and other starches provide a "balanced and 100% complete" diet for carnivorous pets.  What a disaster for pets!

I expect to receive more phone calls from desperate pet owners.  I know that veterinarians will continue to oppose the raw-meaty-bones diet and continue to treat diet-induced illnesses medically, with predictably poor results for many pets.  Pet owners are torn between adamant veterinarians who demand they feed commercial junk food and their own good sense that carnivorous pets require a variety of raw meats and meaty bones to thrive.

When they get desperate enough about their pet's suffering, some will find me and call.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

American Kennel Club Diet Advice

Given the outrageous advertising exposure and endorsements the AKC gives its members for commercial junk foods, it seemed interesting to see what "expert" advice they offer dog owners in their less commercial pages.  Here's the essence of AKC's advice on how to feed your dog./

Broadly speaking, the first choice you need to make is whether to feed your dog a homemade diet or a commercially prepared diet.
Homemade Diets
Homemade diets are meals you prepare at home for your dog that usually include meat, grains, vegetables and supplements such as bone meal, minerals and vitamins. With homemade diets, you have more complete control over each of the ingredients that you feed your dog than you would if you were feeding your dog commercially prepared food. In addition, the ingredients in the homemade diet will likely be fresher and have undergone less processing. Many dog owners also feel that preparing food for their dog is a bonding experience that helps them feel closer to their dogs. Advocates of homemade diets claim that homemade diets make dogs more energetic and promote healthier teeth, skin and coats.
There are also some drawbacks to preparing homemade diets. First, and most importantly, creating a healthful and balanced homemade diet is not that simple. You must educate yourself and consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist to make sure that you are giving your dog meals that include all essential nutrients in the proper amounts. Both undersupplying or oversupplying certain key nutrition building blocks can have adverse consequences for your dog. Second, preparing a homemade diet requires a consistent time commitment to prepare meals for your dog. It also makes traveling with your dog more difficult as you will have to prepare many meals in advance and make sure that the meals are kept fresh during the journey.
Commercially Prepared Diets
Commercially prepared diets generally fall into three categories: kibble (dry food), semi-moist food and wet food. The most common method for producing kibble is to grind up and mix the ingredients and then put them through an extrusion process in which the ingredients are mixed with liquid (usually fat or water) and then the moistened ingredients are pushed through a cylinder that self-generates friction and heat to further mix and bake the kibble. At the end of the cylinder is a mold that gives the kibble its shape. Upon completion of the extrusion process, the kibble is cooled and dried and then often coated in flavor enhancers. The flavor enhancers usually include vitamins and minerals that may have been destroyed in the cooking process.....  
Many veterinarians will generally recommend giving your dog kibble as crunching the kibble helps to keep your dog’s teeth clean and in shape (sic; kibbles coat dogs' teeth with gunmmy sludge)....
Reading Commercial Dog Food Labels
On many dog food labels you will find one of the following AAFCO statements: “___ brand dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for [specific stage of dog’s life];...
... Manufacturers are required by law to list ingredients by weight. However, watch out for these two little tricks. First, the weight of each ingredient includes the moisture in each ingredient. Second, manufacturers can break up each less “desirable” ingredient such as rice into its component parts (rice, ground rice etc.) so each component part can be positioned further down on the ingredient list even though the ingredient should, by overall weight, be at the top of the list. In general, items that you prefer not to see on the list of ingredients include artificial colors, artificial flavor, artificial preservatives and by-products...
You should also understand what the guaranteed analysis listed on your dog food signifies. The guaranteed analysis is a table with the percentages of important nutrition building blocks such as carbohydrates, fats and protein. Like with the ingredient list, the guaranteed analysis does not take into account the amount of moisture contained. ...In addition, the guaranteed analysis does not differentiate between the different digestibility levels of ingredients. For example, commercial food A could have a higher level of protein than commercial food B, but commercial food B’s protein source may be more readily digestible and thus more useful to your dog.
If your head isn’t spinning already, you should at least be aware of where your dog’s food is manufactured...
 Raw Diets
Finally, it is worth mentioning raw diets. Raw diets, though the ingredients vary, all contain raw meat or raw, meaty bones. Raw diets can be prepared from scratch, or you can now buy commercial raw diets that are fresh frozen and then packaged. Proponents of raw diets claim that raw meat provides the optimum and most easily usable source of important nutrients for dogs, and most closely replicates the ideal diet dogs lived on for generations in the wild.

Critics of the raw diet believe that the raw diet can be potentially harmful to your dog and to you because of various parasites within the muscle meat along with bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that are present in raw meat. There is no doubt that bacteria does exist in raw meat and, although some people claim dogs have the ability to safely ingest the bacteria, especially if your dog is geriatric or weakened by another condition, feeding a raw diet is generally not a good idea.

If you do decide to use a raw food diet for your dog, you must keep the food frozen until it is ready to eat, throw out any food not eaten after each meal and clean your dog’s food and water bowl in hot, soapy water after each meal. You will also need to take precautions to make sure you and other household members do not accidentally come into contact with the bacteria. Washing your hands and any surfaces or objects that come into contact with raw meat with hot, soapy water is essential. Do not allow young children or weakened or sick household members to touch the raw meat or any objects or surfaces that have come into contact with the raw meat prior to cleaning."
At the bottom of the AKC's diet advice is the following commercial message:


Having been a cook all my long, adult life, I am amazed at the hysteria veterinary nutritionists display.over raw meats.   Do they ever grill chicken or steaks in the backyard?  Do they prepare meals for anyone?  Are they all vegetarians or vegans?  

What causes this unreasonable fear of handling raw meat?  Does their fear apply only to meat and meaty bones intended for pets, or do their cautions apply to the human diet and kitchen? 

Of course, one should wash one's hands and surfaces used to prepare raw meats.  My grandmother knew that.  She taught my mother, who taught me, who taught my children, to clean up after handling raw meat, for the reasons cited.  But none of us though it was dangerous to handle raw meat.

I own dozens of cookbooks that tell me how to prepare hundreds of meaty meals. Not one of the recipes begins with dire warnings about the dangers of raw meat or stern commands to clean my hands and surfaces the meat.touches.  I guess cookbooks just assume that people raised in homes where meals are prepared learn how to handle raw meat.  It's part of the culture that does not require endless admonition. 

Handling raw meats for pets is no different from preparing meals for one's family.  Last evening, I fixed a tasty Italian chicken dish for people and handed the dogs other parts of the same birds.  What's the difference?

Yes, pets eat it raw, which is no problem for them, unless, as the AKC says, they are very old or seriously ill.  I don't eat raw chicken myself, because laboratory tests show it is likely to be contaminated with salmonella (from poor growing and processing conditions).  Dogs and cats, however, are well-equipped by Nature with strongly acidic and short guts to eat raw poultry without a problem.

 I wash my hands and clean all surfaces that chicken touches with anti-bacterial soaps and a 10% bleach spray.  I am not casual about handling poultry, whether intended for myself or my pets.

Other meats are not so often contaminated as chickens.  Here in Hawaii we often eat raw fish in the forms of poke and sushi.  This, too, is a cultural pattern.  One learns early in life that raw fish should be fresh and carefully refrigerated from ocean to plate. 

I have often eaten raw beef as  steak tartar and carpaccio, especially in Europe. 40 years ago, I got very ill from eating raw oysters (Hepatitis A) in Paris.  I have eaten raw oysters dozens of times since.  Yes, there are risks to humans from consuming raw meats, but then many other daily activities are also pretty risky.

Feeding raw-meaty-bones to pets is no cause for hysteria about raw meats.  My grandmother knew how to handle raw meats safely, and so do the nation's cooks.  It's easy -- just wash.  I suspect veterinary nutritionists, most of whom are paid consultants to pet-food companies, are merely using another ploy to scare pet owners away form the best diet for carnivorous pets.

I give credit to the AKC for including raw-meat-bones in their list of dog diets and for not damning it as unbalanced or incomplete.  Of course, rmb is the diet Mother Nature intended for carnivorous pets to eat.  And it can be safely done.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watch Dog

Whether you own a dog or not, you must  appreciate
 the efforts of this owner to sell her dog.  
Read the sales pitch below!
 

  DOG FOR SALE 
 
Free to good home. Excellent guard dog. Owner cannot afford to feed him anymore, as there are no more drug pushers, thieves, murderers, or molesters left in the neighborhood for him to eat.  Most of them knew Jethro only by his Oriental street name, Ho Lee Schitt.

Raw-meaty-bones takes on a whole new meaning!