By: Dr. Bill Ormston
Many people never discuss their dog or cat’s diet with their veterinarians.
Homemade, cooked diets are the diets that veterinarians worry may be
nutritionally deficient hence the ones they complain about. When dogs show up
in a veterinary clinic with a nutritional deficiency or imbalance it is generally
because of a home-cooked diet that is severely lacking in one or several
nutrients, or one that has been over-supplemented. When first starting on a
home cooked diet, dogs initially do better. Cooked homemade diets are
definitely better than kibble, but they are not as good as a balanced raw food
Cooked food is deficient in proteins, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. The very
act of cooking destroys or alters most or all of them (see potato clock pictures below) and this decreases the bioavailability
of these valuable chemicals. The structure of proteins is altered to the point
they are less digestible, more abrasive on the intestines, and may even create
allergies in the animals that eat them. Cooked fats are altered to the point
where they can become toxic. Cooking also changes the correct balance of
short and long chain fatty acids that are essential to an animal’s good health.
Actually, carcinogenic compounds are found in cooked meats and the fats that
get cooked along with it. 1
The carbohydrates in any cooked dog food or kibble are quickly turned into
sugars. This rapidly increases the level of blood sugar, which causes the
release of insulin. The rise in insulin forces the cells to take up as much sugar
as possible and then lay the remaining sugar down in the form of fat. 2 The fat
burning and muscle building pathways are suppressed as insulin is released, and
the immune system is also suppressed. This is what happens EVERY DAY and
EVERY TIME our pets eat their kibbled food or cooked food with its grains.
Vitamins and minerals can be added back into cooked food, but finding the
appropriate balance is incredibly difficult. Synthetic vitamins and minerals do
not always exhibit the same chirality (three dimensional structure) that the
natural forms had, which means their efficiency is substantially decreased. This
is compensated for by over supplementation, which then results in the
inhibition of other necessary vitamins and minerals. For example, excess
inorganic calcium reduces the availability of iron, copper, iodine, and zinc. 3 When the adrenal glands are
stimulated, sodium concentrations go up causing magnesium levels to go
down. This causes Calcium to go down and Potassium to go up. Copper and
Zinc go down. Manganese goes up and the body’s reserves are depleted.
The body becomes weak and further results in adrenal exhaustion.
Raw food, however, has the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals if fed
as a part of a prey-model diet (i.e. a whole rabbit). 4 A good raw food diet such as the BARF diet also
has unaltered proteins and nutrients, and the bioavailability of these nutrients
is very high.
1Journal of Nutrition, 2004 vol. 134:776-784.
2Campbell, M.K. and S.O. Farrell. 2003. Biochemistry. 4th edition. pg 489-512
3Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. pg 88
4Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. Chapter 4
Bill Ormston received a BS in animal science in 1982 and a veterinary degree in 1988, both from Iowa State University. Since graduation Dr. Ormston has worked in or owned mixed animal practices. In 1998 he attended Options For Animals and became certified in animal chiropractic care by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Assoc. In 2004 he completed his degree in Veterinary Homeopathy from the British Institute of Homeopathy. His current practice is in the area surrounding the Dallas metroplex where he uses only complementary therapies to treat both large and small animals.