Take a close look at these ingredients. Ground corn (lots of it), toxic dyes, bones, beaks and feathers, more corn, wheat and rice flour, potato starch, unidentified meat and bone meal, Propylene Glycol (defined by dictionary.com as, “A colorless, viscous, hygroscopic liquid … used chiefly as a lubricant, as an antifreeze, as a heat transfer fluid, and as a solvent…”), and a vitamin premix almost guaranteed to be sourced from China.
This wouldn’t even be a healthy diet for you and me to eat, and we’re omnivores built to digest a wide variety of nutrient sources.
Think about that for a minute.
Now just imagine how profoundly unhealthy this has to be for a carnivore whose digestive physiology is uniquely, beautifully designed for one thing – the exclusive consumption of other animal meats, bones and organs. Imagine how these pets feel, living on a diet their bodies aren’t meant to process, day in and day out, year after year. Tired, achy and grumpy probably doesn’t even begin to describe it.
And, of course, pet food ingredients are not the pretty fresh products you see in this picture, but are, instead, the garbage and leftovers from the human food and agricultural industries.
Kinda explains why nearly 100% of the top ten most common canine and feline diseases, as recorded by Veterinarian Pet Insurance (VPI) since 2004, have links to poor nutrition, doesn’t it?” – From Catcentric.com
Contrary to that, You can imagine how alarmed I was when reports surfaced recently of raw fed dogs contracting an unknown parasite, causing them to dash about madly before collapsing in a panting heap, farting non stop.
I’m kidding of course. We all know that’s just how intelligent our dogs are, naturally. But this is what Annie Harvilicz, American veterinarian and animal rights advocate, has to say about raw diets.
“There is a lot of bacteria in raw diets… it’s kind of a ticking time clock.” – Annie Harvilicz
“A ticking time clock?”
Hmm, in twenty years of studying and practising raw feeding, I have never so much as heard of or read about a single dog or cat that got poisoned by bacteria, when fed on a raw diet that had been prepared properly. Kibbles, on the other hand, are a different story.
Let’s start from 2007, probably the most well known of all pet food debacles. Pets began experiencing kidney failure and deaths. A company conducted trials feeds which showed sickness and deaths in test animals. Melamine contamination was identified as the cause and a nationwide recall of pet food began.
Menu Foods was affected the most. However, they produced pet food (using Chinese manufacturers) for 85 other brands so affected companies included Hill’s, Purina, Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo among a dozen other brands, The recall was the biggest consumer product recall in North America history, a recall they never recovered from, leading to the company, the largest maker of wet cat and dog food in North America, becoming defunct in 2010. Moral of the story: choose your Chinese supplier wisely. The wrong one can torpedo even a mega-conglomerate.
In less than a month, 100 pets died and 500 more experienced kidney failure while pet food worth billions were recalled. The U.S. FDA, however, received reports of several thousand cats and dogs who had died after eating contaminated food.
2008 – Different series of Pedigree’s pet food (mostly cats’) were recalled due to salmonella contamination
2009 – 5 recalls, various companies.
2010 – Unacceptable levels of salmonella in Nature’s Variety, Iam’s, Natural Balance, Feline’s Pride, Eukanuba, Merrick, and Blue Buffalo’s vitamin D’s dosage was too high, leading to vitamin poisoning
2011 – still salmonella issues, and this time, low thiamin and high aflatoxin levels as well which would cause overall sluggishness, vomiting and even cancer
2012 – yet another busy year as 20 recalls were recorded
And year by year, the recalls still occurred at an alarming rate. Example, in 2015, there were 27 recalls. Just when we think things are turning for the better with a low key year in 2016, the recalls bloomed again, 16 recalls in 2017 and 36 in 2018.
So, as you can see, when Annie Harvilicz says raw fed dogs are like a ticking time clock, I think that applies more to kibbles. The recalls happen when problems surface almost immediately when a new bag of kibble is fed to a pet and something happens, like the pet turns over and start frothing at the mouth. Usually this is due to some dangerous substance that has somehow found its way into the kibble bag, such as melamine, aflatoxin, salmonella, or something that should have been in the bag but was absent, such as thiamin or taurine (such problems take longer to manifest).
The scary thing is that there is nothing you can do to prevent this. You could choose any brand, even those ‘quality’ ones (especially those) and strike ‘lottery’. Or you could have been using a specific label and formulation for years without problem and then rip open a new bag one day and moments later find your pet on the floor, belly up. Raw or Kibbles, quite obvious which is the ticking time bomb here.
After all, it’s quite hard to tell what’s really in a bowl of kibbles:
Compared to this:
The story doesn’t end here.
We are talking only about when you are unlucky enough to have purchased a self-detonating kibble bag. Even if you are not smitten by the cruel hand of fate, as would be the case for most of you, you pet’s vitality will still be eroded slowly over time due to a combination of the following reasons.
Highly Processed Ingredients
Most of the nutrients in the ingredients are destroyed during the high-heat process so flavor enhancers and synthetic nutrients are added back to replace what had been lost. Different types of acrylamide and other carcinogens are created in this process which could be detrimental to your pet’s health. The absorption rates for synthetic supplements are poor so over time your pet could suffer from nutrient deficiency. Taurine and thiamin are often not enough as they are denatured very easily, even in raw meats.
Grain-based (wheat, rice, corn) and even grain-free kibbles (peas, potatoes, carrots) are high in carbohydrates. Dogs are omnivores and have developed the ability to digest some carbs but they do not thrive on a high carb diet. Cats, as obligate carnivores, cannot digest carbs at all. The result is the pancreas will become metabolically stressful as it creates high levels of insulin as well as digestive enzymes. This creates a host of problems in the body in the long term such as pancreatitis, kidney problems, liver problems, obesity, heart problems, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes to name a handful.
Because the pancreas of the cat is so small, it must work hard to break down commercial cat food. This means that pancreatic enzymes are depleted quickly and used to break down food with inadequate nutritional content. In turn, the body uses an unfortunate survival tactic: it begins to absorb enzymes and other essential nutrients from its own tissues to maintain the equilibrium of the body. This can only remain in equilibrium for so long and may prove to shorten the life spans of our feline or canine companions.
Kibble is low in moisture. Cats do not have an innate thirst drive, having thrived in the desert in its ancestral times, deriving its water content from prey (80% water). As your pet will be in a constant state of dehydration, this could lead to loss of appetite, urinary tract issues, kidney problems, lethargy, sunken, dry-looking eyes, dry nose and gums, loss of skin elasticity and other ailments.
Goes Rancid Quickly
As soon as you open a bag of dry food, the fats in the food and sprayed on the food during production start to go rancid. Long-term consumption of rancid fats in kibbles can destroy vitamins in the body, leading to vitamin, protein and fat deficiencies. Other health issues attributed to rancid fats include: malnutrition, hair loss, diarrhea, kidney and liver disease, reproductive problems and even cancer and death.
Colours and Chemicals
Many food dyes, referred to by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest as the “Rainbow of Risks”, have been banned because of their negative effects on laboratory animals. This report finds that several of the nine approved food dyes could be causing serious health issues, including cancer. True story! Kris, co-founder of Blackfoot had a border collie which developed cancer when it was having a kibble diet sprayed on with radioactive colours and subsequently, raw meats and fasting actually reversed the symptoms.
Feed Grade Ingredients
This relates basically to the quality of protein your pet is receiving. Pet feeds are allowed to contain diseased animal material and meat ingredients sourced from non-slaughtered animals – with no disclosure requirement. This is the whole reason why there is high heat processing in the first place – to kill harmful bacteria – but all nutrients have been stripped off in the process as well so the meat has become just a filler for the synthetic supplements that will be added in a later process. Rendering is one of the processing methods of sanitizing otherwise putrid, inedible animal by-products and animal waste.
Don’t many of us feel it is normal when our pets get old that they would be struck down by some disease and that we would try our best to make life as good for them as possible when the time comes?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Truly. You can start making life good for them from now.