Friday, February 26, 2016

Vets Against Healthy Diets

After 15 years of raising Labrador retrievers on the raw-meaty-bones diet, it still astonishes me when I hear how many veterinarians react to raw diets.

Take Katherine F, who bought one of my black Lab puppies. They lived in Hawaii at the time, but have recently moved to Kansas.  The dog has been on a raw-meaty-bones diet since 4 weeks of age.  Now he is a healthy, happy, energetic 3-year-old dog.  Katerine took him to a vet in her new location:
Hello Sandra!

We just moved to Kansas with our lab about two months ago and now he has a nice big yard!  He also got to play in the snow for the first time, which he loved.

Unfortunately, he developed an ear infection and when I took him to the vet I got lectured about his diet. She said he can seem healthy but not be and that he's missing nutrients in his diet. She also said he could be carrying e-coli and shedding it in his feces without showing symptoms.

The home cooked diet she recommended was very similar to what he eats now, but cooked so I am wondering how he could be missing so much if the recommended one is so similar. She also recommended a femur bone for a chew.

On the positive side she said his teeth look awesome (asked if I brush them and I said no) and his build is perfect.

I never had an issue with my vet in Hawaii and was kind of caught off guard with all this negativity. Should I lie about my dog’s diet when I go to the vet if I can't find one that is supportive, what would you suggest I do?

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for the photo of your new home and the video of your boy.  He looks so happy racing around in the snow!

The new vet's attitude toward the raw-meaty-bones diet is not surprising, given that vets are taught to promote commercial pet foods or, at the most, to tolerate cooked food.  Let's start with the fact that DOGS ARE WOLVES.  Dogs are a sub-species of gray wolves, not a separate species. Wolves do not cook their food.  Cooking changes the nature of the nutrients in food.  In fact, cooking dangerously changes the consistency of bones -- cooked bones splinter and can cause serious injury to dogs' intestines.  Raw bones are great because, as you know, meat scraped off raw bones cleans dogs' teeth and gives them minerals in their diets.

As for bacteria in foods, they don't bother healthy dogs.  Dogs' acidic guts handle massive amounts of bacteria that would make us sick.  In fact, the many, many recalls of commercial pet foods -- hundreds per year -- are because salmonella and e-coli in these foods can make the pet OWNERS sick from handling them, not because they would make dogs and cats sick.  Fear of germs is a veterinary scare tactic. 

Femur bones are the worst bones to give a dog, because they are too hard and often meatless.  Dogs can crack teeth trying to get any nourishment from herbivores' weight-bearing bones.  Softer bones, such as ribs and neck bones, are far superior at cleaning teeth and providing minerals.

As you look at your healthy, happy dog, who is not overweight, has sparkling white teeth and healthy gums, ask yourself, "What am I doing wrong?"  Obviously NOTHING.  Your dog is the epitome of health and happiness.  Why change anything, except the vet?  If you can't find a supportive vet, you can do what a lot of Kona people do: Lie about the diet.

Stay strong, Katherine.  You have a healthy, happy Lab.  You know how to keep him that way.

Thank you for the reassurance. The vet got very defensive when I mentioned that I was told to stay away from the weight bearing bones of large animals because of the risk of breaking a tooth. 

I'm going to look for a new vet as my husband was pretty mad at how this one was acting, but i guess worst case I will just lie about his diet. 
How many tens of thousands of time a day is this scenario played out in veterinary clinics around the globe?  Vets see a dog in perfect health -- except for a minor ear infection.  A dog who is the right weight, has a beautiful, healthy mouth, clear-eyed, happy, and energetic, and they advise the owner to change his diet radically.  WHY?

 Every day, vets see thousands of listless, unhealthy dogs with dull coats and foul mouths, that are grossly overweight. Do they advise them to switch their diets from commercial kibble and canned mush?  Probably not.  They may admonish to owners to brush their teeth daily, but they will never advise owners to use Nature's toothbrush, a raw meaty bone.

It's a sick world for carnivorous pets, thanks to veterinarians.