So I've been sitting here all weekend waiting patiently for the raw goat meat I ordered to come in the mail. Then I find out that there is no mail on President's Day because it is a national holiday! I refuse to recognize any holiday that prevents raw goat meat from getting into my mouth. In addition, most holidays are associated with feasting and apparently Presidents' Day has absolutely nothing to do with feasting. It has something to do with sales at car dealerships. Riding in cars makes me puke. In fact, even watching the Daytona 500 yesterday made me carsick. President's Day and everything associated with it stinks like my poo. The only good thing that happened this weekend was that the top broke off my humans' kitchen garbage can, making it easy for me to conduct stealth garbage raids. Although garbage is good eating, I've got to eat me some goat meat as soon as possible! I am one sad raw meat-eating boy.
Presidents' Day is a good day for learning, by big brother:When I was first adopted I was a very sick boy. I had heart worm, crystals in my urine, and funny kidney readings when i had my blood tested. My doctor put me on a special food that he sold in his office. I got worse. He changed my food. I lost 1/3 of my body weight and began having diarrhea episodes that weren't so much diarrhea as they were blood. I saw the inside of the emergency room on more than one occasion, where these doctors told my human that it couldn't be the food, and they wrote another prescription for antibiotics. This continued until my little ribs were painfully visible, and only came to an end when my food changed.
No, I wasn't on the raw diet yet. I was put on Canidae, a whole food dog kibble that had no corn, soy, wheat, preservatives, and only contained human-grade ingredients. Over night the blood stopped and I began to put weight back on. Energy came trickling back and I no longer felt or acted like I was starving. I was lucky that my grand-human knew about this food and fed this to her dogs, and influenced my human to make the switch. It's difficult to go against what a vet says! And these doctors were, in fact, very good in all other respects. It turns out that I am dangerously allergic to corn. Why didn't they catch this?
While I am sure there was no intent on their part to cause me harm, my humans wonder why this happened. They did a little research, and were surprised by what they found. It seems that while most vet schools are very good and can produce wonderful surgeons and doctors, there is very little focus on pet nutrition. Furthermore, pet food brands like Science Diet contribute massive funds to veterinary institutions, and subsidize these nutrition courses and offer their own research. I'm sure Science Diet is something you've seen at your vet's office before. I know I have!
According to an article from LEDA at Harvard Law School, the Science Diet brand, which is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, promised "hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund research at each of the 27 U.S. veterinary colleges... Practicing veterinarians selling Science Diet pocket as much as 40% of the profits" (section is available here). This is really not much different than your human's dentist suggesting they use Colgate toothpaste and handing them a Colgate toothbrush -- it's all clever marketing. My human and I made a trip to the Science Diet website, and a quick view of the "Adult Original" ingredients reveals the top 4 to be (in the proper order) chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole grain wheat. Now, I know that if you've been researching the raw or a homemade diet for a while, you'll see something wrong with this! While some people do decide to feed their pups grains, the majority of this food is corn, sorghum and wheat. It's a far cry from what our bodies truly need. I know we're picking on Science Diet here, so I will mention that there are many other brands out there that fall into the same patterns...
...and some stuff that's even worse. I'm talking about those discount brands, which includes anything you'll find at a Wal-Mart or the local grocery store. Most of those have been victim of recall and have even killed pets in the past year. They are full of grains and sugars, and even worse things that not even my brother would want to feast on. Ever wonder what's in that commercial pet food? Check out this ingredient list, which uses AAFCO's definition guidelines. More about pet food regulation can be read in the Harvard Article, with the AAFCO section located here.
Since the pet food poisonings, there have been many investigations into what those kibbles actually contain, and the discoveries have been frightening to say the least. According to NBC's news station in Virginia, low amounts of pentobarbital, the active chemical used for euthanasia, were found in dog foods. How did it get there? The meat used in the foods was horse, and these animals had been put to sleep with the drug. Many animals that fall into the "4-D's" categories are sent to rendering plants, where they are then made into pet foods. These 4 D's consist of dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals, which are deemed unfit for human consumption. There has even been mention of deceased dogs and cats being used! But that's just to horrible to get into, and my human avoided that bit of research.
The Whole Dog Journal is a wonderful resource for dog owners, and every year they come out with a list of the top canned and dry dog foods available. Here is their list of the top 10 dry foods out there. You'll see that none of them are the grocery store variety! A complete list of wet and dry food can be found on the website, and are available at the start of every year. You can also find their list criteria explained in depth on the site.
Well, what all this comes down to, is that if you must be feasting on a commercial food, make sure you know what you're eating. While the food itself may be a bit more expensive, what it will save your human in vet bills and heartache down the road will be immeasurable. However, I bet that if your person is checking out this blog, chances are that they've already put you on a homemade diet or are thinking about it. Knowing exactly where your meats come from, and seeing every bit of what winds up in your belly -- from the veggies to the eggs to the chicken wings -- is really the most premium pet food out there. I love it.
FDA pet food recall list (updated quite regularly)