The other day while scrolling through Netflix, a brand new documentary popped up as a recommended watch based on my previous views. It was called "Pet Fooled" with the description of "the unregulated pet food industry and its negative impact on animals' health." I was a little bit apprehensive, thinking, great one more bit of information to add and one more thing to possible change...but I am SO glad that I chose to watch. For all the dog moms out there, check this out asap!
To my surprise (although maybe not really a surprise at all), the pet food industry has little to no real regulation, similar to the personal care product industry. It's kind of a joke actually what they consider "regulating" when it comes to pet food. The required amount of protein, where the protein is sourced from, false labeling, contaminated ingredients, and more...it is all extremely shocking. When the documentary was over, I had a new education on what I had actually been feeding my dog all this time.
I am the proud owner of the sweetest Cavalier King Charles and I had the realization that: with the effort that goes into deciding how I feed and exercise my body, very little consideration or research went into what was actually going into hers. Sure I read the label briefly, chicken: great, sweet potatoes awesome, grain-free double check, and I basically stopped there after being briefly won over by the dog food packaging. The reality though, is that it shouldn't be any less of a consideration.
P.S her grinch feet are one of my favorite things about her.
In the documentary, they discuss how canned/bagged dry food came to be, the dangers of the high temperature process it goes through, and the fact that some kibble dog foods have a shelf life of 25 years....
A few main points that stuck out to me:
- A biologically appropriate diet for dogs would be that closest to the wolf.
- Corn, Wheat, and Soy can be found as the first few ingredients in many dry foods, the very source of allergies, arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, etc. in dogs. Sound familiar?
- Quality source of protein may come from: diseased animals, roadkill, euthanized animals, human food waste, or fully rendered meat. But the source is not required to be specified.
- Protein % doesn't necessarily correlate to actual meat - this can come from Wheat Flour and Wheat Gluten.
- Shelf stable food is created at extreme temperatures which can cause the food to be carcinogenic.
- The industry is basically self-regulated and has set the standards and definitions of "natural" and "organic" themselves.
- Brands can use these phrases:
- "Dinner", "Nugget", or "Formula" - only has to contain 25% meat.
- "With" - only required to contain 3% meat.
- "Flavor" ex. beef flavor. - can be flavored AS meat, but can have little to no meat at all.
- "By Product" the left overs of an animal after slaughter.
I am so happy to say that after the new information and a lot of research, I decided to switch Avery to a raw food diet. I know what you're thinking, "that's disgusting" and "is that even safe?"...because I had the very same thoughts as you!
Dogs are quite incredible, their stomachs are highly acidic, with a PH of 1, meaning that they were created to breakdown raw meat and bones. The environment of their stomach is also highly effective at killing bacteria. In the documentary, the Wellness Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, mentioned raw food as the diet she feeds her own pets.
I started out our raw food switch by feeding Avery the brand Darwin's. It really is a great brand and great quality food, but I wanted something more financially realistic for my budget. (UPDATE) I was told about a raw feeding co-op in Texas called Texas Tripe and that is what she will start eating this month. The price is amazing and about half what I was paying with the other brand, and the best part is the drop-off points all around North Texas which means: no shipping cost. (praise!)
Let me just say, Avery is obsessed with her new food, she spins in circles every time she gets to eat it. I have actually noticed that she is looking slimmer, without the added calories that her body doesn't actually need and her energy has tripled. She's even been doing sprint intervals with me in the mornings and can easily outrun me. I've been adding some raw goat's milk from the brand Answers Pet Food as a digestive enzyme to help her adjust to this switch, and this might actually be her favorite part of the meal!
Check out the trailer here and then do yourself a favor and go watch the documentary!
Do any of you currently feed your pet raw food, if not what are your thoughts, if so what are your favorite brands? Have you prepped it yourself, if so, any tips on prepping at home?