Why Home-Prepared Meals Can Be Difficult And Dangerous

Published on October 4, 2016 by in BARF

By Dr. Bill Ormston


Home cooked diets may not be nutritionally deficient.

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 diet.

Cooked food is deficient in proteins, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. The very act of cooking destroys or alters most or all of them 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


Carbs in cooked foods can increase blood sugar.

Carbs in cooked foods can increase blood sugar.[/caption]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 

Dr. 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.

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Proper Handling of A Raw Meat Diet

By Robert Mueller

Handle raw meat carefully.

One issue that manufacturers of kibble and canned pet foods often raise in an attempt to discredit raw meat diets, is the safety factor of handling raw meat and feeding it to our pet population.

As a manufacturer of raw pet food, we follow strict protocol and guidelines to maintain the quality and integrity of our raw meat diets during production.  However, it is also important for the consumer to practice safe handling procedures for raw meat for both their family and pets. Paying attention to the handling details will ultimately render a safe, superior quality product. This is no different than how you would handle raw meat in the kitchen for a human meal.

Wash dishes thoroughly.

  1. Always wash your hands and kitchen surfaces to avoid the spread of bacteria.  Remember to clean cutting boards, counter tops and utensils with hot soapy water after feeding or preparing raw food.
  2. Never thaw theBARF Patties at room temperature such as on the counter top in your kitchen.  Always thaw the BARF patties in the refrigerator in a covered container.
  3. Choose the right portion for your dog. Keep in mind, when selecting how much food to thaw that it is ideal to only thaw a day’s worth of food from the freezer at a time. Smaller dogs may not be able to eat a whole patty in a day. For this we recommend our Nuggets Recipe– perfect for small mouths and tummies.
  4. At Barf World, we regularly remind consumers not to leave raw meat diets unrefrigerated for long periods of time.  If the Barf Diet is not going to be consumed by your pet right away, it should be returned to the refrigerator and stored in a container with a lid so that it can be fed later in the day.  Food left out in the feeding dish for long periods of time, especially during the hot summer months or in warmer temperature climates, can result in spoiled food and bacteria growth.

At the end of the day, you should dispose of any uneaten food. This helps to keep food at its peak freshness. This is the safest way to avoid any digestive upset and offer the highest nutritious value for your pet’s meal.

Remember this is a raw meat diet (living food) and not kibble! This is the food that will boost your pet’s immune system, keep unnecessary weight off, and prevent diet-related disease. It is not one that has been designed to sit on a shelf at room temperatures for months. The active enzymes in a BARF Diet are the key to maximizing the health and longevity of our four legged friends, so please be sure to follow the above guidelines.

For more information about safe handling procedures for raw dog diets, visit our website at

ggggRobert 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 Diets® 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!

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Processed Food For Pets

By Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM

Are you feeding your pet what’s convenient?

There are four reasons people feed their pets: to satisfy hunger, to provide nutrition, for convenience, and for personal satisfaction. Given our busy society and the rapid pace of each of our lives, convenience is often the reason that most pet owners purchase the foods they do. Mistakenly, the assumption is often made that this convenient, highly processed, long shelf life, “balanced” food fulfills the remaining food needs. While processed food may satisfy hunger and provide some degree of nutrition, the question remains whether pet owners and their pets experience personal satisfaction in feeding the food. The satisfaction level may decrease the more pet owners learn about the true identity of pet food ingredients and the health consequences of feeding such ingredients.

Processed foods are bad for you and your pet.

Processed foods are bad for you and your pet.

Consider a toaster pastry; after all, it is actually quite similar to processed pet food. The toaster pastry will satisfy hunger, provide nutrition of some sort (it is fortified with vitamins and minerals), and is very convenient. But the question remains about personal satisfaction – most would agree a toaster pastry is not meant to be eaten at every single meal. (Although, I’m sure the manufacturer wouldn’t mind if people ate their pastries at each meal.) Sadly, this toaster pastry is quite comparable to processed dry pet food. Kids love to eat these foods, regardless of their species; because their bellies are full, they experience satisfaction, at least briefly. However, we intuitively know it’s not healthy for humans to eat these foods for every meal, but many pet owners don’t seem to realize the same about their pets’ food. Sadly, once educated about the dangers of processed pet foods, owners lose their personal satisfaction with feeding processed foods.

Your pet could be suffering.

The dangers associated with feeding processed pet food at every meal are those of chronic inflammation: weight gain, greasy coat, shedding, energy peaks and valleys, and edginess are just a few of the initial results of processed food diets. Over time, the signs of inflammation travel deeper into the body causing illnesses such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, and even cancer.

The proof that these foods are wreaking havoc on our pets’ lives lie in the statistics; almost 60% of dogs in the United States are overweight. There are 43 million overweight to obese dogs in the United States! (This phenomenon is not restricted to the US – almost 25% of Mexican dogs are overweight; the rest of the world is experiencing similar issues.) Furthermore, there is strong evidence that overweight dogs have shortened life expectancy by 2 1/2 years. The irony is the entire reason people feed their dogs is for the pleasure of doing so and the assumption is that the food will keep their pets with them longer. But when a diet of processed food leads to obesity, chronic disease, and reduced life expectancy, then there is no satisfaction with feeding processed food to our pet dogs and cats.

Pet owners who want to share the full food experience with their pets will sacrifice small amounts of convenience to feed the quality food that builds personal satisfaction, not just filling the hunger and nutrition needs. With practice, it stops being an inconvenience to avoid processed pet food diets.

Dr. Cathy Alinovi is from Indiana and now retired from her practice. Certified in Veterinary Food Therapy, Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Therapy, and Aromatherapy, Dr. Cathy’s approach is committed to the health of our pets and continues to educate pet parents with her writing, books and research in pet health. Learn more at

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An Inconsistency In The Practice of Veterinary Medicine (at least in the United States)

Vet’s with a special interest in a particular field require more education and training.

By Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM

When most people go to the veterinarian it is assumed the veterinarian is trained in the skills that are needed. Graduation from a veterinary curriculum means “trained and ready to serve your pets.”

Any veterinarian can provide any service. There are specialty services that may require additional training – like orthopedic surgery or spinal manipulation – but none of these services require that the veterinarian be board certified.

Some veterinarians find they have a special interest in a particular field and want more depth to their training. Be it dermatology, behavior, or herbal medicine, these doctors return to school, perform research, and publish their results before “sitting for the board” exam. Once the board examination is passed, that veterinarian is a specialist in that area, but can still practice all other areas of medicine if he or she chooses. An internal medicine veterinarian can still perform surgery, as an example.

On the other side of the coin, a general practice veterinarian can provide any service as already mentioned, like surgery or internal medicine. The purpose of board certification is two-fold: provide the doctor more training in a specialty field, and increase the body of knowledge in that field – both of which benefits more pets.

Some pet owners may need the services of the board-certified veterinarian to resolve their pet’s health issue. Some general practitioners may consult with a specialist on a case.

At no point is the generalist precluded from practicing in the specialty field – except in the field of veterinary nutrition. For some reason, the American College of Veterinary Nutrition is different.

Some vet’s have little to no training in nutrition.

While every veterinarian in this country is considered capable of practicing all aspects of veterinary medicine upon graduation and passage of the national veterinary board exam, general practice veterinarians are strongly discouraged from giving nutrition advice to their clients.

It would be possible to argue it’s because veterinarians receive little to no training in nutrition in school, but the same can be said for orthopedic surgery. (Either field would be an elective for further training.) Therefore, lack of training isn’t the explanation why general practice veterinarians are discouraged from giving nutritional advice.

Is it about control? Is it that the ACVN wants to change the entire veterinary health care system in this country and model it after human medicine where only specialists can practice? Can pet owners afford such a paradigm? Is this an unfair practice behavior opening the ACVN and veterinary medicine to libel?

If the veterinary nutrition industry were open to growth like every other specialty area, the ACVN would offer courses in continuing education for the general practitioner. They do not offer this at this time. The ACVN is a closed association- I then begin to wonder what, or who, is behind this?

Dr. Cathy Alinovi is from Indiana and now retired from her practice. Certified in Veterinary Food Therapy, Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Therapy, and Aromatherapy, Dr. Cathy’s approach is committed to the health of our pets and continues to educate pet parents with her writing, books and research in pet health. Learn more at

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