Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Vets Give Bad Advice on Feeding Pets

According to Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, author and former scientific officer at Hills Pet Food Co. (Science Diet), veterinary students are victims of a professional education that sold its soul to global pet food companies. Veterinary schools depend on pet food companies to supply instructors for pet nutrition courses, to support veterinary research (pet food companies control what's studied), to fund faculty and student positions, and to fund professional conferences.

Thus, in the few class hours spent on pet nutrition, veterinary students are taught about nutrient percentages in commercially cooked foods. They learn to accept and promote totally inappropriate, high carbohydrate diets for cats and dogs, as long as the bag says the food is "100% complete and balanced". The myth of compete and balanced commercial pet foods is a very damaging hoax, whose victims are our pets.

Vet students never hear about feeding dogs and cats a species-appropriate diet of animal proteins and fats, minerals and vitamins, all of which are provided in the diet they evolved to eat -- whole prey. Both dogs and cats are carnivores, who need the equivalent of whole prey for a healthy and long life. Pet owners can supply their friendly carnivores with the equivalent of whole prey with raw meaty bones and organ meats. Instead, most veterianrians recommend and sell baked-dead kibbles and canned, cooked mush, because Dr. Hodgkins says, they don't know any better.

I find it hard to believe that most vets are not aware of the benefits of raw feeding, because tens of thousands of testimonials can be found in Yahoo groups. Detailed information about raw feeding can be found on a host of web sites, such as http://www.rawmeatybones/, and

You might think that seeing many healthy pets on raw diets would challenge vets' opposition to raw foods. Pets fed raw-meaty-bones rarely need to see vets, so perhaps vets do not observe the benefits of raw feeding. The host of periodontal and chronic illnesses they see daily among pets fed commercial foods might be enough to show them the harmful effects of cooked carbohydrate diets, if pet food sales did not contribute 25 to 40% of their incomes.

Practicing vets' ignorance of the benefits of raw-meaty-bones stretches my imagination where periodonatal disease is concerned. February is Dental Awareness Month for pets. A local veterinarian stated in a February 2009 newsletter, “Dental disease is not just important to senior pets. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 85% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. Dental disease does not just affect the mouth. Bacteria from these inflamed oral areas can enter the blood stream and affect major body organs. The liver, kidneys, heart and lungs are most commonly affected.” Veteriarians know the terrible effects of junk pet foods on pets' health.

What a sad commentary on commercial pet foods that vets recommend and sell. Eating commercial pet foods makes a gummy sludge that remains on your pets’ teeth and harbors harmful bacteria that infect their gums -- much as eating breads and cereals would infect your mouth, if you did not clean your teeth.

The same veterinary offices that sell you foods that make gummy sludge are happy to clean your pets’ teeth. Rather than pay $175 to $300 annually to have your pet’s teeth cleaned, simply feed your pets raw chicken parts, raw beef bones, raw pork ribs, and the like. Cats and dogs who chew raw meaty bones do not have dental problems, because chewing raw bones scrapes their teeth clean of food debris left by eating other foods. It’s that simple.

Many vets acknowlege that pets fed raw meaty bones don’t have dental diseases that cause major health problems for even young animals. To counter the benefits of raw meaty bones, they raise two major objections: Bacteria and broken teeth.

Let's look at bacteria. Remember that dogs and cats are well-equipped by evolution to thrive on raw meaty bones. Their short, acidic gut digests and passes foods through rapidly, not giving bacteria time to colonize and multiply internally. Pets with normal immune system are very unlikely to become ill from meats and meaty bones you purchase from the grocery store. Don’t let bacterial fear mongers overcome your common sense. Does your cat eat an occasional bird or mouse? Does your dog chew happily on long-buried bones or scavenge morsels from the garbage? Will they get sick from chewing raw meaty bones from the grocery store? Mine don’t, and yours won't either.

The threat of broken teeth is actually a minor health threat, compared to the rampant periodontal disease caused by commercial pet foods. The solution is to provide MEATY bones, not bare bones, for pets to chew on. It is not desirable to feed weight-bearing bones from large animals, such as cattle. Wolves do not eat them and neither will your dog, but he may try, if you don't give him some meaty bones to chew on. He may crack a tooth trying.

Vets' ultimate mantra against raw feeding is there is no research to show that raw meaty bones diets are superior to commercial kibble. They are correct. So, why are there no studies comparing pet health outcomes with a raw meaty bones diet versus Science Diet or Pedigree? Of course, cats and dogs have been eating and thriving on raw meaty bones throughout their evolutionary history, but nevertheless, contemporary studies comparing raw meaty bones with commercial kibble would be informative. So, why are there no studies of the relative benefits?

Do you think that Hills (Science Diet), Mars (Pedigree, Whiskas) or Proctor & Gamble (Iams, Eukanuba) wants to fund such a study? They already know that raw meaty bones are a superior diet. They are busy trying to hawk their baked carboyhydrates as "Natural" and "Meaty", and "Fresh". Do you think pet food companies would allow their vet school beneficiaries to conduct such a study? Over their corporate dead bodies! If you know anyone with a $1 million or so to fund a comparative diet study, I know exactly how to conduct it.

So, vets are schooled to believe in commercial pet foods, warned away from raw-meaty-bones, and taught to profit from selling junk pet foods to unsuspecting pet owners. Are these the people you want to give you diet advice for your pets?


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