MYTHS ABOUT RAW FEEDING
MYTH: THERE ARE MILLIONS OF DOGS SAFELY EATING 'COMPLETE AND BALANCED' KIBBLES STAMPED WITH AAFCO'S SEAL OF APPROVAL.
This is a statement that is more of an observation, but one that is false nonetheless. One can easily point to these millions of dogs and say that kibble isn't all that bad. But let us think about this statement and all its associated issues. Is kibble safe?
Millions of dogs eat kibble. And millions of dogs--85% of all dogs--suffer from periodontal disease by age 3 as a result of eating these processed foods (Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones.). This translates to teeth covered with plaque and teeming with bacteria. These bacteria get into the gums and provoke the body's inflammatory response continually for the rest of the animal's life. Dogs (and cats!) are doomed to have nasty teeth and rancid dog breath. "It's normal," people said. "Dogs are supposed to have bad dog breath." But as greater awareness of periodontal disease and its effects on the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, joints, skin and other systems of the animal grew, so did the industry for 'alleviating' the problem. Now you can buy a myriad of dental chews and plaque-scrubbing "bones"--most of which work minimally. Special dental formula foods were formed to clean pets' teeth, but these effects are inconsequential. Vets hand out toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental washes, and dental bones to their clients' owners, instructing them to brush their carnivore's teeth regularly and to schedule frequent dental cleanings for the pets--dental cleanings that cost hundreds of dollars. Instead of treating the problem at its source, veterinarians and pet food companies and pet industries market hundreds of different products and services that are simply band-aids and attempts to cover up the problem. It is not an industry motivated by the welfare of our pets, but by greed and money.Millions of dogs eat kibble, and millions of dogs fill the waiting rooms of veterinarians, bad breath and all. These pets suffer from dermatitises of all sorts, or from cancers, joint problems, heart problems, kidney problems, digestive problems ("lack of enzymes"), liver problems, pancreas problems, coat problems, tooth problems, anal gland problems, glandular disorders, allergies, and soft doughy bodies brought on by eating a grain-based, artificial, highly-processed, additive-filled food touted as "healthy" for your dog. Thousands of dogs die from diet-induced diseases like bloat each year (and that's not to say all diseases are caused by diet, but many of them link strongly with processed diets and diet-induced periodontal disease. Refer to Raw Meaty Bones for a more in-depth discussion.), and yet the industry keeps on churning out artificial pet foods and vets keep recommending them to their clients. The veterinarians don't know any better; most vets receive on average only 8 hours or less education on pet nutrition (in their 3-4 years of study). Much of their nutritional education is sponsored or even administered by pet food companies. In addition, they receive a good deal of revenue by selling special "veterinarian-administered only" commercial diets designed to "fix" and cover up the problems created by artificial diets in the first place. There are weight management formulas for older or obese dogs, special diabetes formulas for diabetics, protein formulas for kidney patients, easily-digested formulas for older patients or those with digestive problems, hypo-allergenic formulas for dogs with allergies. For almost every ailment there is another commercial food designed to help the poor suffering animal, and pet owners are now forced to keep their pets on this expensive, processed food that will "manage" the problem.. Ironically, most of these diseases are dramatically improved by taking the pet off a processed diet and by feeding it raw meaty bones--the very food many vets say is unsafe and unhealthy for dogs. Think of how much revenue would be lost if no one bought kibble from their vets, had healthy dogs, and didn't need to get doggie dentals done. There would be a lot fewer veterinarians! Granted, veterinarians hold a valuable place in society, but they too need to look critically at these problems caused by processed foods. They need to step up and hold true to their creed of first doing no harm!!Millions of dogs are eating kibble, suffering from bad teeth and stinky breath, decreased longevity and quality of life, and underlying health problems. Millions of dogs are being maintained on an artificial, grain-based diets containing synthetic vitamins and minerals plus a myriad of chemical preservatives and additives--the collective effects of which have NEVER been researched. The key here is that dogs are merely existing. Sure, kibble (even "premium" kibble) is sufficient for keeping your dog alive, but is it the best, most appropriate food for your dog?In a roundabout way, this brings forth the 'complete and balanced' claim. So many kibbles to choose from, so many proclaiming to be more 'complete and balanced' than the others. How can this be possible? Either it's complete and balanced, or it isn't. Yet hundreds of brands all carry the claim bestowed upon it by AAFCO--'complete and balanced for the proposed life stage'--but exhibit a tremendous variety in quality.
What does this 'complete and balanced' claim mean? This means 8 dogs were kept alive on that food for 26 weeks without any noticeable nutritional deficiencies. That's it. If a dog food does this, then it is considered complete and balanced enough to feed your pet for its entire life--even though nutritional deficiencies can take years to develop! Essentially, this complete and balanced kibble is only guaranteed to keep your dog (and millions of other dogs) alive with no noticeable side effects for six months.
AAFCO feeding trials were NOT designed to measure the long-term effects of commercial diets. It says so right in their mission statement (Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones.). AAFCO trials were designed to ensure that pet foods were not "harmful to the animal and would support the proposed life stage" (pg216, Raw Meaty Bones.). The AAFCO protocols were NOT designed to "examine nutritional relationships to long-term health or disease prevention" (pg216). If a dog lives for 6 months with no noticeable ill effects on a kibble, then the food is considered 100% complete and balanced nutrition, even though long-term nutritional deficiencies may occur several years down the road. These "complete and balanced" and "not harmful" pet foods can destroy long-term health and cause disease and yet still be marketed as a healthy food for your pet. It is this very food that millions of dogs are eating every day for their whole lives, suffering silently like every good carnivore does. Think of this the next time you pick up a bag of dog food, or the next time someone points to the AAFCO stamp as the almighty seal of approval.So according to the pet food industry and those in bed with it, millions of dogs are "safely" eating kibble with "no ill effects" caused by diets. The problems dogs do have are the fault of someone else--the fault of the dog being a dog--not the fault of feeding a carnivorous animal grain-filled, pelleted, processed feed. Does anyone else see flaws in that claim?
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