By: Robert Mueller
Grains for dog food transported
and stored by the truck-load.
Unfortunately, I was not surprised last week when I heard of the numerous dog deaths and problems and potential lawsuits related to a well-known dry dog food. It is always only a matter of time before these things occur due to the nature of the product itself.
The dry dog food industry tries hard to convince the public that their products are safe and adequately formulated, yet as we have seen recently, there are always potential dangers with grain based, dry kibble diets. My main concern relates to the quality of the ingredients that are used in the manufacture of most dry foods and how the kibbles are produced.
Many of the ingredients are genetically modified, and as such present an alteration of a naturally produced product. One of the ingredients most used in dry kibble products is genetically modified corn. The concerns regarding this ingredient are many, and the potential dangers resulting from the storage of corn, soy, wheat, and all the other grain based ingredients, opens the door for aflatoxins which are mold derived mycotoxins.
Sure there are different grades of retail pet food products just as there are different grades of any product we buy. Some are grain free, or are touted as specific health generating products that will reduce obesity or arthritis. There are also veterinary products that work to reduce symptoms of specific diseases. The problem is that they are all produced the same way. They are extruded using a high application of heat. The heat is what changes the physical structure of the proteins, reducing the nutritional value, and rendering the product to a state that cannot be utilized well by the body. Nothing is better than when product is utilized in its original form – the way Mother Nature intended. Once it is compromised, it is less effective as a nutritional food.
However, the application of heat is just one part of the equation. Once the product has been thoroughly “cooked” additional ingredients are needed to make the diet more palatable and tasty. Since most grain- based ingredients are bland by nature, they must be further enhanced with flavoring agents and fat sprays so that the dog will be enticed to eat the food. It is mind boggling that they can still label these products “natural” as we often see noted on the outside of the bag! Finally they add preservatives to the mix, which extend the shelf life of the product for months in pet stores, warehouses, and even in your homes. The chemicals they use to gain this advantage are not a healthy choice for your pet.
A valuable lesson for any consumer of dry dog foods, is to gather a list of all the potential harmful ingredients that are commonly posted on dry dog food labels. One such ingredient that I have a potential dislike for is called bone meal. It is a good topic for another article, but suffice it to say that this item is made in rendering facilities and it contains ingredients that will sour your attitude for feeding a dry kibble to your dog. It is a great source of Calcium but when you find what they used to make it I am certain you will never want to feed it again!
Of equal concern, is the abundance of carbohydrates in most dry kibbles. With a 40 to 50% level of carbohydrates in kibble you are feeding junk food to your pet every day. A dog has no nutritional need for this level of carbohydrates, which is one of the key reasons that 40% of our nations pets are now obese.
Another added concern with dry foods is the use of ingredients that have residues of pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals that are not destroyed by heat. This is a potential time bomb and one that dry food manufacturers are going to have to address.
For example, in the most recent lawsuits, there have been allegations that propylene glycol (one of the ingredients in most kibbles) is a known automotive antifreeze component and animal toxin. The manufacturer countered by saying this is an FDA approved food additive for humans and dogs and is different than ethylene glycol, which is the toxic active ingredient in antifreeze.
However, note that this ingredient is NOT ALLOWED in cat foods.
Juli Putnam, a spokeswoman for the FDA said in an interview to NBC News that FDA regulations do not allow the use of this ingredient in cat foods “because it has been shown to cause abnormalities in their red blood cells.” But…”the FDA is not aware of any research that demonstrates the same effect on dogs”. 1
Please think about this!
Remember, when your pet eats the same food every day of the year he or she is continuously exposed to these damaging ingredients and toxins. It is little wonder that the vet clinics today are over-run with allergies, and degenerative conditions to deal with. Having been a producer and advocate of healthy, natural raw meat diets for over 40 years, I have consistently seen that it takes about 5 to 6 years of kibble feeding history to eventually present the problematic results of kibble. That is when most people come to us here at BARF World for help. A conversion to a more sensible and appropriate, natural raw meat diet creates an amazing turn-a-round. The success happens because source of the problem, the dry kibble diet has been eliminated coupled with the magic of our raw meat formulations!
If you are currently feeding kibble or know people who are, I urge you not to be fooled by clever packaging and claims of healthy and natural diets. Read the ingredients and take responsibility for your pet’s life. They are counting on you.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF Diet® patties, nuggets and supplements – the first
company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF®) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!