A few summers ago I had the opportunity to consult with several local dog owners about the proper way to feed their pets. Most of my clients come to me because their pets are sick and they haven’t seen much if any results with the traditional veterinary care they have been pursuing. My only regret is that they didn’t come to me before their pets got sick. That would sure help with preventing the illnesses that are inevitable when we don’t honor the laws of health. In addition to helping them learn a whole health approach, I also had to assist them with overcoming their fears associated with raw feeding.
The problem is usually fear-based which is just “false evidence appearing real”. It is this same fear that compels them to feed their carnivore pets what is completely abnormal and unhealthy for them – packaged dry kibble or canned food. It is also this very fear that keeps them from feeding their dog, cat or ferret what is normal for them to eat and thrive – a raw meat, bone and organ diet.
The most common initial reactions I receive to asking a client to feed their dog or cat what they were designed to eat but are not limited to are: “My dog will become vicious if they eat raw because of the blood”, “they will get parasites”, “they will get sick from a pathogen of some kind”, and “they will choke”. And I have a response for every single one of these concerns designed to take away the fear.
We have all been conditioned to believe in the fears. With rumors perpetuated through the media, primarily from the pet food industry itself, it’s no wonder most pet owners are afraid to truly go “natural” with their dogs and cats. And sadly even those we’ve surrendered all health care to for our pets, our veterinarians, have been taught this same nonsense by the pet food industry. You see, the pet food industry is who teaches them the little nutrition they learn in vet school. One thing pet owners need to learn is that their veterinarians are not taught how to prevent illness in your pets or even treat your pets (particularly not through diet and nutrition). Rather, they are taught how to TREAT symptoms – which in essence reduces your pets to a disease or symptom! The exception are those special holistic veterinarians who have taken far more interest in seeing their patients be well by taking the initiative to further educate themselves to the truth about proper nutrition for animals according to their species nature and then in turn to educate their clients.
The fact is that we’ve ALL (us and our vets) been led to believe that “natural” means adding in some supplements and feeding something out of a bag that have the words “holistic” or “natural” written on it. Marketing and media have played a key role in deceiving us.
If anything is truly NATURAL it won’t be in a bag or can. Those are merely processed foods like anything else called “food” placed in a box or can – not REAL food but “food-like products“. They are completely denatured foods that have nothing live left in them that we need for our sustenance and the same goes for what we feed our pets. In order for these types of foods to be sold saying they have vitamins in them or any kind of nutrition, SYNTHETIC forms of vitamins and minerals are sprayed on to the goop that becomes the dry little nuggets we call “kibble”. If you want to read further about the process, my colleague and friend, Dr. Jeannie Thomason, wrote a very good article describing the slop that we are so determined to feed to our pets: http://www.thewholedog.org/id19.html I’d be far, far more afraid to feed commercial dry or canned pet food and far more afraid of my pets getting pathogens or parasites or choking on that than on REAL raw food.
Let’s now take time to address some of the primary concerns here that most often hinder pet owners from feeding a species appropriate raw diet to their pets. Then we’ll take a look at how some pet owners decided to take back control of their pets’ health AND stop giving into the false evidence. They unlearned the deception in order to receive the truth.
Parasites & Bacteria. If there are parasites in us and/or our pets, and there typically are, they are there for a good purpose. They have their own special purpose to fulfill. Again my colleague has a very informational article on this topic here http://www.thewholedog.org/artoverwoming.html
Keep in mind, that a kibble-fed dog or cat is far more likely to have a problem with parasites because they are being fed a diet that is completely abnormal to their very nature.
A very simple solution to this AND the possible pathogen “problem” is to freeze the meat for at least twenty four hours, then defrost and serve to your little house wolf or lion. Something else to consider about pathogens is that we ALL have “good” (commonly called probiotics) and “bad” bacteria in our bodies. Some of us have far more bad than we ought to and that is because we are not properly nourishing our omnivorous human bodies with fresh, wholesome raw fruits and vegetables.
Our dogs and cats are no different than us in this respect. If all they are ever fed is a denatured, processed food in the form of kibble or canned food, which often has ingredients that no living being ought to be eating such as propylene glycol, MSG, artificial coloring, etc., in them, then the bad bacteria will win. Salmonella and e.Coli inhabit everyone’s intestines – human and animal. If you will notice the recalls are typically over COMMERCIAL pet foods for pathogens. Also keep in mind that carnivores are adapted to eat raw meat, bones, and organs. The biggest fear is to stop treating them as though they were US. Allowing them to be THEM is the biggest hurdle.
We, every single one of us, need to eat RAW foods (according to each species’ needs) to thrive and that of course includes our carnivore pets. For them that means raw meat, bones and organs. If we can’t handle that, then we should consider having a non-carnivorous pet instead. It is inhumane to consider feeding them the same dry, denatured food day in and out, over and over again because WE can’t handle THEIR true carnivore nature.
Choking. The truth is dogs and cats can choke on kibble. In fact they are far more likely to choke on kibble than raw meaty bones since they don’t chew food, rather they rip, tear, shred, pulverize and gulp. Dr. Jeannie and I wrote an in depth article on the anatomy and physiology of dogs and why they can’t chew or be expected to do so – and cats are no different: http://aspenbloompetcare.com/2009/07/dogs-the-omnivore-carnivore-controversy.htm
Pets should be supervised when eating any meal – whether it is kibble or raw food. There are so many resources to help you learn how plus you can also obtain a consult with an animal naturopath to learn how to feed your dogs and cats a raw diet if you are afraid or too nervous to go it alone.
They will become vicious because of eating blood. That has to be one of the silliest myths I’ve ever heard. I can’t help but laugh out loud every time I hear this sort of comment from someone. This concern has no foundation in truth at all. Animals are far more likely to be vicious and out of sorts if they aren’t eating what is normal for them. Have you ever wondered about the rise in behavioral problems with both our human children and our pets? Have you ever considered the amount of processed foods laden with food additives, chemicals, MSG, corn syrup (all of which are in evidence in packaged commercial pet foods as well as human food) and other junk that could be contributing to these problems? And consider this, what if you had to eat the exact same food, for every single meal, every single day for the rest of your life? How happy would YOU be then? And how healthy would you be?
I wrote an article quite a long time ago that dispels more of the myths and on the raw feeding page above where you will also find more sites that debunk even more myths. Be sure and check them out to free
yourself from this bondage of FEAR. Here is the article: http://aspenbloompetcare.com/2005/11/dispelling-the-myths-of-raw-feeding/
Some other disinformation I keep reading about is that dogs have either evolved into omnivores or they need some amount of vegetables in order to mimic the stomach contents of prey – again I would like to reference our article http://aspenbloompetcare.com/2009/07/dogs-the-omnivore-carnivore-controversy/ which really addresses this misnomer. Here is one example that a friend sent me to discern for him:
During tough seasons when meat is harder to come by, wolfs and wild dogs become more opportunistic, eating eggs, fish, fermenting fruit, seeds, nuts and grasses to supplement the meat that they are able to catch.
Then the article went on to say this: such as parsley, kale, dandelion, chard and a small portion (25% of the total vegetables) of pureed root vegetation and fruit including parsnips, yams, squash, apples, pears, and berries.
Wolves and dogs are opportunistic just as is ANY animal. They will eat berries in season which amounts to about 1% of their total diet. Grasses and herbs are eaten only if they are sick to purge or heal themselves. Nuts, well maybe out of curiosity or to appeal to something lacking in them due to a deficiency when prey is lacking but not otherwise. Our domestic dogs will eat many things not prudent or necessary because they are being opportunistic but it does not mean they need those things or that they are good for them. In fact, since they do not have the proper enzymes in their saliva to digest grains and vegetables, feeding these things to them will only cause them to dip into the reserve of amylase in their pancreas to digest the indigestible material further taxing the pancreas and subsequently also the liver.
Remember that carnivores are at the top of the food chain. The herbivores and omnivores they consume have properly digested needed nutrients which they then receive when they consume the flesh of their prey so they do not need the vegetables and grains added into their diet. The occasional fruit, particularly in the form of berries, is fine just don’t overdo that. As I stated previously, berries only amount to a total of about 1% in the wild carnivore diet.
Now you have a lot of information to digest and assimilate. Let me just share with you a few short stories of dogs that I have been helped because their owners decided to forgo the false evidence appearing real in order to take charge of the health of their dogs.
One long-time friend decided to do a consult when her two mixed breed dogs, at the age of nine, starting having health challenges (thyroid, eyes, skin). She made her decision to do a consultation after listening to another mutual friend who publicly announced at a business meeting how I’d helped her two dogs be well just by switching them to a raw diet. Her vet was not happy with her decision. He also said her dogs had to stay on medication their entire lives and have regular dental cleanings done to be “healthy” (which obviously they were not). Within three weeks of switching her dogs to a raw diet, AFTER having a long consultation with me, her dogs had white, clean teeth no longer requiring cleaning. They shed out their old coats for new, glossier ones. They became more energetic while also being calmer in their demeanor. One dog was weaned off of the thyroid medication entirely while the other, which has already passed on was put back on it. (NOTE: Be sure and consult with your veterinarian before attempting to wean your pets off of any medication).
Another guy who was at the same business luncheon came over and talked with me about his own dog. His dog was not doing well on the antibiotics prescribed for his dog’s kennel cough (kennel cough is viral not bacterial so using antibiotics to “treat” it makes no sense whatsoever). I merely made a suggestion for a couple of natural products he could try, and the raw diet. He went to my website, read everything on raw feeding, used my suggestions and within five days his dog was well. He has since gotten another dog which he immediately started on raw and both dogs are thriving and well!
One of my brother ‘shad been listening to me tell him repeatedly about a raw diet for his own dog. He would say he was going to, but always had a reason why he hadn’t done it yet. I eventually discovered it was fear-based and of course the convenience of doing what he’d always done. He was over at my house one evening for dinner when my husband decided to show him how readily his dog would take to raw food. And his dog didn’t disappoint us. He ate two chicken backs exactly the way a wolf would eat them – and we captured it all on video! No one taught him, and he was a very happy little canine. My brother made the switch to raw right away. He did not keep him on raw food for a variety of reasons and within a year his dog passed away from mast cell cancer.
Maybe you’d like to be able to share your own raw feeding success story one day and how YOU overcame the fear. I encourage you to look to the true inner nature of your dog or cat and let them teach you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Copyright 2013 Aspenbloom, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article.
Dr. Kim Bloomer is an animal naturopath consulting on canine and feline nutrition and wellness. In addition, Dr. Kim is a proficient blogger, writer, speaker and presenter on natural pet care as well as the Co-Founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. She is the author/co-author of three books including Animals Taught Me That and the newest Essential Oils in Animal Care: A Naturopathic Approach co-authored with her two colleagues. Dr. Kim’s articles have been featured in various publications in both print and online. Visit her Website:www.AspenbloomPetCare.com
PHOTO ATTRIBUTION: Mari the Golden Retriever by Ellen Welk of Golden Pawprints Golden Retrievers. All Rights Reserved