What Is The Ultimate Feeding Regimen For Our Dogs, Cat, Ferrets and Other Carnivores?


Our dogs, cats, and ferrets are carnivores, regardless of what you’ve heard! If your vet or other animal health care professional tells you otherwise, refer them to the textbook they were all required to study, most likely, “Anatomy of Domestic Animals”, by Sisson & Grossman. Our beloved pets, cats, dogs, and ferrets are meat-eaters. Will they eat other types of foods? Yes, especially if they are tainted with synthetic excito-toxins including MSG, Aspartame, and a whole host of artificial “natural” flavor additives that are never listed on any label.

As you may already know, the law states the label needs to list the ingredients in this food. That is correct, however they only need to list what that manufacturer adds. If the general consumer buys a meat product called “meat meal, chicken meal, fish meal, salmon meal, etc., most people have no idea what that is!!!! This is not fresh meat! It is usually everything from plasma, tumors, spoiled, old and rotting, not-fit-for-human-consumption products that are treated with all kinds of preservatives, including odor-control, anti-bacterial products, colors and flavors including those excito-toxins with MSG!

You all need to understand that these products are sold to you through slick marketing and advertising for supermarkets, pet specialty stores and veterinarians. We are literally killing our pets while believing that we are providing them with the best!

A sad truth…. Veterinarians are NOT required to study ANY nutrition! Because of this, they really should be the last professional that we would ever ask for advice on feeding our beloved pets! All veterinarians’ “expertise” in food is acquired from the sales representatives of various food and drug manufacturers. Let’s use a little common sense here… what does a candy company, a cleaning products company and a toothpaste company know about nutrition for dogs, cats or any of our other pets?

These companies may state that they hire specialists in nutrition to formulate these special diets. I ask you a simple question… they all sell “veterinary only” diets for everything from cancer, diabetes, liver support, kidney support, weight control, etc. These manufacturers are all the same companies that also produce “ready-to-eat” meals for humans. If their expertise is as good as they profess and these products could really do what they say can be done, “why just waste it on the pets and also do it for us??!!”

 True Facts – this is all marketing! It’s the power of advertising. If we could do a “marketable” product for cancer, a million people would buy it in a heartbeat!

Did you know that diabetes can be cured in most dogs & cats with just a change of diet? Did you know it can be totally avoided by the correct diet? The same is true of cancer and most disease. Does this work with humans and animals alike?

Above everything else, you must understand that every creature on this planet has a very specific requirement when it comes to nutrition. It’s called species specific. Cows cannot digest meat because they are an herbivore. Deviating from their species specific diet was actually the cause of “Mad Cow” disease. Chickens only eat corn in the fall when it’s ripe. Carnivores on the other hand, get very little benefit from corn, sweet potatoes, pea protein. Where did rabbits and mice get pellets in nature?!

We are trying to point out that in order to ensure a healthy pet, we need to look at what they would eat and drink naturally. Wolves, lions, fox and panthers eat mostly meat. Do they cook it? Do they get sick from eating it raw? What about your parakeet? Are seeds available year round? No, they eat seasonal foods such as fruit, veggies, bugs and yes, dead animals which are meat! Another favorite is eggs! Think of the fox in the henhouse…

The true and scientific guidelines require that we look to Mother Nature for the perfect diet. First there is the physiology, in which carnivores need animal-based foods, herbivores need vegetation-based foods, and omnivores need a balance of the two. You will notice that none of these groups eat grain as a primary part of their diet as grains would only be available in the late summer and fall. Nature has always allowed certain animals to gain stored fat in order to survive the long winter season when food is scarce.

Another forgotten fact, animals in nature never drank naturally purified or filtered water. They drank from puddles and ponds. Puddles in the sun are usually covered in algae that provides natural “super greens” such as Spirulina, Chlorella, and others. In the shade, within the forest or even in grasses, leaves and roots are soaked in puddles that create an “herbal tea”. Our pets need these herbs as well because they are essential tonics that cleanse the body. If you’ve ever used a holistic or homeopathic treatment, look at the active ingredients. In them, you will find many herbs. Unfortunately they are usually combined with secret, patented or trademarked additives that are highly processed.

In addition to that, we must ask ourselves why we choose to add toxic chemicals to our pets as well. Heartworm, flea and tick, vaccines, antibiotics, synthetic vitamins and preservatives all have toxins that require warnings on the labels. How does the body handle them?

As the title says, “what is the ultimate diet for our dog or cat”?  Here is a simple breakdown.

First and foremost, let me state that diets are comprised of many different and varying foods. A rotational diet of these formats shown below is ideal for your pet.

Best…. A large variety of natural, hormone and antibiotic free raw meats. It’s true….they digest raw meat just fine!  These are available usually in a frozen format but some of you may be more fortunate to find it fresh as well. While vets may warn you about salmonella, this is a component found in all normal stool. We cannot digest our food properly without it. Carnivores don’t contract natural salmonellosis or most of the other common Salmonella related challenges such as typhoid. All good quality USDA inspected and approved meats for human consumption are routinely tested for contamination thereby minimizing any risk.

2nd Best…. Real meat cooked foods. These include lightly home-cooked, commercially cooked meat diets and canned meat entrees. Canned foods should be labeled as all-meat, 100% or 95% meat and free of all grains and added carbohydrates. The best quality foods are cooked at low temperatures to retain the vitamins and enzymes that your pet requires. Wet foods are needed to ensure proper hydration of your pet’s body.

3rd Best… A new generation for freeze dried & jerky style diets which are in the same range in content of the best raw diets, either all meat or meat with a minimal amount of fruits and vegetable. The only drawback is you must moisten to ensure good hydration. It is a real plus if you are travelling.

4th Best… All-meat treats. Yes, you read this right… treats. The best treats are always a real food that your pet really loves. Pets love liver treats because they need liver! Other goodies such as dried salmon, assorted jerky, dried animal parts are all natural for your pet. They should be fresh and derived from a single ingredient.

At this point, I want to stress that any good feeding program may include all of these formats above and should be varied to fit your pet’s lifestyle. It is also important to vary the protein… for carnivores there are three food groups… red meat (large prey), poultry (birds and rodents) and fish (including shellfish).

You probably feel that something is missing here and it is most likely something included in the regimen that you are currently feeding your pets.

Let us explain here…the reason that we do not include KIBBLE, PELLETED, or MEAL TYPE FOODS is very simple. It’s not natural! I don’t care what the argument, dogs and cats cannot find any form of these foods in nature! By the sources of the ingredients and the results of ALL the processing, they are mostly devoid of any natural benefit. While it is convenient to pour that dry cereal into our loving pets’ dish, we are actually killing them!

While the marketing is impressive, ask yourself a simple question, “Could you live a healthy, active life eating one flavor and brand of cereal for your entire existence?”

As a child in the 1950’s and 60’s my pets rarely saw a veterinarian in their entire 15 to 25 year life span. So why today, with pets seeing the vet every six months and being on a “scientifically formulated, recommended diet” do our pets die of cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney failure at a much shorter lifespan from 5 to 10 years of age?

The AVMA states that 85% of all health challenges for our pets are rooted in poor nutrition. This is a fact but unfortunately the “poor nutrition” also includes all the special diets that they have endorsed.

We need to take charge the situation and apply the same principles for our pets that we do for ourselves when faced with a major health challenge. We need to eliminate processed, unnatural foods and eat the cleanest, most naturally raised foods with a solid base of natural herbs to supplement those nutritional needs. Let’s apply the same common sense approach in diets and health for our pets. This is instinctive.

Our pets are a source of unconditional love and joy in our lives. These precious animals cannot tell us what they require so it is our ultimate responsibility to do the research and to offer them the VERY BEST!

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April 26, 2016 · 7:54 pm

Why Natural Diets and Herbs?


It seems to be a daily occurrence that pet food vendors are promoting raw food, all natural and holistic diets. This is great progress in the pet food industry, however we must remember the importance of no only  being sure you are selecting  the correct products but also making sure that the company selling it truly cares about your pet’s well-being and is experienced and knowledgeable enough in BOTH pet health and nutrition.

We here at BioVance Animal Health, Dr. Diane Sudduth, DVM and Bill Piechocki, Nutritionist have utilized our cumulative experience and expertise in order to produce our unique formulas for BioCompleteTM Natural Diets and BioCompleteTM Natural Herb blends. These products are formulated all pets idealistically starting them young in order to promote, clean, chemical free, healthy and long lives.

We also provide our special needs diets to many pets with existing ailments that have come to us for help. On any given day we address pets with cancer, irritable bowel, liver and kidney, allergies, diabetes, skin and coat along with hip and joint and many other issues.

We have so many success stories, we can’t write them all down but here’s some to name a few…

  • Dogs with liver “failure” with only weeks to live still with us five years later.
  • Cat on insulin and “special food” for diabetes that was off insulin in three days.
  • Persian cat diagnosed with PKD and only expected to live another year still healthy ten years later.
  • Allergies disappear, aches and pains disappear, more active, and so much more

Recently, we got a question from a pet owner concerning their pet producing stools that were either too hard or too loose. This owner thought that they were on the right course with an all-natural, raw diet from another source. While this obviously is better than dry kibble foods, it did include bone meal and other highly processed ingredients in the mix.

Let us give some very simple explanations based on going back to nature and our extensive research in the lifestyles of our pet’s predecessors.

In nature, when animals eat species appropriate diets, stool is usually soft, formed and minimal. This is because these foods can be processed more efficiently and end up completely digested and metabolized. Color and texture of stool will vary depending upon the actual foods, season, and body condition.

BioCompleteTM Natural Diets follow a more strict prey model than many other foods. In nature, carnivores eat poultry, small animals and fish which are consumed completely, meaning that all the bones are also eaten. However, in a larger prey model you will find mostly red meat & pork, more muscle and organ meat being consumed.

All BioCompleteTM Natural Diets of poultry, fish and rabbit are ground with bone-in which means that it’s in proper proportion with the muscle meat. Too much bone will cause drier harder stool as the body tries to eliminate the excess. This is just creating waste and also makes defecating more difficult for your pet.

In addition to our diet entrees, we suggest all-natural BioCompleteTM Raw Meaty Bones from time to time. These can be substituted for meals or as a treat item. We also provide bulk and whole core meats for creating your own meals.

BioComplete Natural Herbs are an integral part of the natural foods we supply. In nature, carnivores and many other animals are capable of balancing their own nutritional needs by ingesting micro amounts of various botanicals and herbs, often in the form of herbal teas. Yes, you read that right, botanical teas. You see, in nature, animals seek out specific puddles, ponds and streams based on what their body needs. It is actually a form of self medication. At BioComplete we offer as individual dry powders and leaves and also specific blends for individual challenges.

BioComplete  Naturals round out the line with healthy choices like Diatomaceous Earth Powder (used both internally and externally for its many uses), drinkable Aloe, raw dairy, and much more.

All our foods and products are organic where possible, naturally raised, chemical free, local when possible and sustainable. Herbs and botanicals are packed in recyclable glass in order to prevent contamination. BioCompleteTM DOES NOT add bone meal, synthetic vitamins, preservatives, stabilizers to any of our products as the manufacturing process in producing these does contain harmful chemicals like most commercial products. All our ingredients are selected specifically for their nutritional and health benefits.

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As leaders in the animal health industry who know the importance of nutrition for healing, we get asked this question daily. Interestingly enough, most pet owners already are aware of the answer. It’s actually in our DNA! It is inherently programmed that the closer to nature’s pattern in an animals’ diet, the healthier they will be.

While that sounds very simplistic, we are under constant siege from endless claims being made by processed food companies promoting products such as all-natural, organic, healthier and so much more. We’ve said it so many times before… How do we know who to believe and why?  What do you need to  look at in order to achieve optimal health and live life to the fullest?

First, let’s take a look at it scientifically. Nature has always provided everything for all creatures on this planet in order to live, thrive, procreate and survive. In the thousands of years of recorded history, there hasn’t been any new species created. This means that every animal species existing today has survived thousands of years without being introduced to processed foods. Canines and felines, both carnivores, still have that ability to hunt and thrive in the wild. When our domesticated companions escape or are dumped into the wild, most of them quickly adapt back to their natural origins. Yes, they are more likely to have more daily challenges when we are not aiding them; however the natural system provides survival.

A carnivore has a digestive system designed specifically to digest and convert animal-based foods into metabolic energy. Herbivores like cows and sheep are designed to do the same with grasses and vegetation. Food companies do not take this same view as their approach is from a profit motive. To them, a protein is the same regardless of the source and they are not worried about the nutritional content or bioavailability of those nutrients.

Observe the practical and economical side being that dogs and cats simply require meat and fish. Is it possible for pet food manufacturers to use the same ‘human quality’ meats that we purchase in the supermarket at $5.00  a pound, cook it, process it, add vitamins and preservatives, package, ship, distribute and retail it for a mere 45 cents a pound? After all, isn’t that what the advertising and packaging imply?

The simple truth is feeding a species appropriate raw food diet will cost you the same or less than a premium kibble pet food. Because of the raw food’s metabolic density, your pet will eat much less. The focused metabolic energy builds the immune system, keeps your pet healthier saving you money on flea and tick control as well as other veterinary expenses. Healthy animals naturally repel parasites and heal themselves when minor challenges arise.

Here is a great example: No species of creatures on the face of the Earth destroys their food by cooking it except Man. Recently a Public TV program about Asian Elephants showed them frolicking in the lakes of Sri Lanka, drinking the muddy water while urinating & defecating in the same water along with all the other animals in the area. Do they get Salmonella, E.Coli  or other major pathogens? Do they die? Well, yes and no. The ones that succumb to these challenges are usually the immune suppressed. It’s survival of the fittest… the natural way! A part of the program also mentioned that these animals need specific plants in their diets that are becoming more rare because of mans’ encroachment.

If elephants have specific dietary requirements from certain plants, why wouldn’t your dog or cat have the same? In nature, if primal or feral or reverted natural, they seek out prey… warm, raw meat, fish, poultry & eggs. Shouldn’t we be following the same to provide the most biologically appropriate foods for our pets? When did highly processed, high temperature cooked, chemically laden foods become the standard? What is natural about this kind of food?

The closest we can come to this in most civilized areas is just plain raw meats and natural herbs… a lot of variety & raised or grown as naturally as possible.

The truth be told, if you want to see the results, ask pet owners that have already chosen the raw and natural! Observe their pets with the healthy, shiny coats at the dog park or the local dog deli. Better yet, find the naturally rearing breeders that have generations of pets living and thriving naturally.

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Why is my Pet Afraid of Thunder and other Loud Noise?

Pet owners today are faced with a plethora of challenges and problems that did not exist fifty years ago. All types of new health and behavior challenges test the patience and bank accounts of even the most compassionate pet owners.

One that has become far too prevalent is those surrounding the pets’ behavior when thunder, fireworks, and other loud noises occur. Symptoms can range from anxiety, trembling, shaking, barking, howling, hiding destructive chewing, fear biting and even urination. Realize the stress that your pet is experiencing to the disruption to our normal daily routine to deal with the problem. It has resulted in many pets being surrendered to shelters as owners are unable to control or correct the behavior associated with this challenge.

Like most disorders, there are organic causes for the behavior. Much of this is rooted in body chemistry which is influenced by nutrition and toxicity. When the body is out of balance, it manifests the imbalance in many ways. Nutritional deficiencies and toxins cause the body to be unable to perform biochemical functions properly. When this happens, mineral and hormonal imbalances change the way the body responds to different situations.

Knowing these basic causes makes this disorder controllable and curable.

Let’s first look at nutrition. Just because the label says dog food or cat food does not mean that it is a proper and optimal food or diet for our pet. Most of the ingredients found in processed pet foods are not even found, let alone eaten in nature. Dogs and cats evolved as carnivores and as such have digestive systems to optimally utilize animal based foods. The fresh meats, eggs, fish, and fowl are loaded with the bioavailable vitamins, minerals and enzymes needed to balance the body properly.

A body fueled by a proper diet will be healthier, relieving stress, pain, aches and other conditions. Your pets’ biological balance will start to relieve the anxiety and many of the symptoms with begin to vanish.

We must combine the appropriate nutrition with detoxification. The toxins that are often given to our pets in their processed foods, vaccinations, preventive medications, and even as treatments often cause a disruption in mineral and hormonal balance. Many lawn, cleaning, and household products add to this toxic load. Natural chelation of these toxins through the use of specific herbs works with the foods to create health.

In many cases we also use homeopathic remedies help speed the recovery time. Many of the remedies help to rebalance the brain to activate enzymes that will send the right nutrients and hormones to where they are needed. This further relieves the stress that is causing the behavior.

Our modern “through chemistry” society has created many health and behavior problems. By working with a knowledgeable nutritional specialist and an alternative veterinarian with non-commercial nutrition experience as well as skills in toxicity, many of these will go away and you will have a “normal” pet again.

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As We See It… What Drugs Are Safe For My Pet?

Over the past several months we have been confronted with many cases of pets exhibiting a wide variety of generalized symptoms of illness that most testing cannot find the causes. The challenge of finding causes and solutions has lead us down a path opening our eyes as well as those of pet owners and their veterinarians.

In doing a proper health check and evaluation, one must look at the whole body and everything that goes into it. This holistic approach is the only way to understand the delicate balances between the various systems of the body. Like your computer, if one small component doesn’t function properly, the whole system may not work or will simply crash. Likewise if the cells in the liver are not functioning properly, the whole body may not work or simply crash.

 The area that caught our attention was the variety of different drugs that are being prescribed and the acceleration of more illness. A pet goes in for a limp. The test show nothing abnormal so drugs for pain and inflammation are prescribed. A week or so later, that same pet has an ear or urinary infection and needs another prescription. Then comes the diarrhea and vomiting with still more treatments and drugs. With all these treatments, why is this pet suffering and getting more ill?

While drug companies are required to inform us on the side effects of the drugs that are approved, most states do not require veterinarians to pass this along to you, the pets’ caregiver. As we started to look at the drugs that were being prescribed, we found several indications that are problematic.

First, the new illnesses are often listed as the side effects of the drugs prescribed. This is a problem because if you were not informed about these side effects, you can’t make the risk assessment necessary to protect your pet. You were also not instructed properly on what to do if a problem arises. We find this to be a challenge in the trust you must have in your vet and yourself as a care giver

Second, and even more distressing is what is referred to as “off label use” of drugs. We found that many of the drugs commonly prescribed are not being prescribed as approved and that most are also NOT approved for use on pets. The fact that they are not approved means that proper dosage, evaluation of adverse effect and events, and safety issues have never been addressed.

We are told to trust our doctors and veterinarians as they have been specially trained to be knowledgeable in these areas. If there is no approval, there can be no knowledge. Without the proper evaluation of these toxic drugs, all of which come with warnings, our pets are being exposed to serious risk.

The fact is we must insist on “informed consent,” meaning your prescriber must inform you of the risk and side effects of the drugs and procedures these administer, and instruct you on what you need to do if an event occurs. We must ask for options, and demand that they be knowledgeable in alternative therapies and solutions.

As we see it, we are responsible for our pet’s health and cannot allow unacceptable risks.

Bill Piechocki, nutritionist and Dr Diane Sudduth, DVM are partners in Fiesta Pet Deli in Pompano Beach, FL, the Pet Health Café, the Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, and co-hosts of the PetHealthCafe.com radio show. Our 40 years in the animal field has provided us unparallel vision and information which we pass to our clients on a daily basis. We can be reached at www.PetHealthCafe.com  or 800-940-7387.


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Can my dog or cat survive liver and kidney issues?

A sad fact in today’s processed food and medicine culture is that many more pets, both dogs and cats, are being diagnosed with liver and kidney issues. It’s become too common for clients to seek us out and tell us “I just came from the vet and our pet has liver and/or kidney failure. We were told they only have weeks to live. What can I do?”


This is a difficult time for the owners as they usually aren’t given many options. The common approach that is recommended is a low protein diet to make it easier on the liver and kidney. However, research at major veterinary universities has concluded it is not the amount of protein, but the source. Our cats and dogs are carnivores; therefore they need animal sources of nutrition. Most commercial food companies use poor quality vegetable based proteins that are difficult for them to digest. This actually taxes the body more.


You must understand there are essentially three ways to develop liver and kidney issues. You can be born with it, congenital; you are physically injured, or are poisoned. Yes, the liver is responsible for filtering much of the toxic waste from the blood as well as producing enzymes needed for normal body function. The more toxins and chemicals our pets ingest, the harder the liver, and then the kidneys must work to cleanse and balance their bodies. Mucous from allergic responses can clog the vessels causing these toxins to stagnate and kill the cells in the liver. Suddenly the blood test indicates a problem.


Where do these toxins come from?


They are all around us. Commercial kibble type pet foods often contain hundreds of chemical additives, from preservatives and dyes, to stabilizers, anti-caking agents, synthetic vitamins and more. Many of these foods also contain genetically modified foods (GMO) that research shows is harmful. Lawn chemicals including herbicides, pesticides and more carry bold warning labels about contact, yet our pets are walked and play on these lawns, absorbing chemicals through the pads of their feet and by grooming themselves. Medications, including flea and heartworm medications, carry warnings about their toxicity. Cleaning and deodorizing products also contain an assortment of chemicals.


How do I help my pet become healthy again?


First and foremost is to feed a biologically appropriate, minimally processed, chemical free diet. In the case of carnivores, that is fresh meat, fish, and eggs. These are the easiest for your pet to digest, provide the most natural nutritive values, providing the body the energy to heal and rebuild.


Equally important, quit adding toxins and poisons to their everyday lives. Use cleaning products that are safe and natural, like vinegar, baking soda, and hot water. Avoid treated lawns and areas as much as possible. Minimize the use of synthetic and harmful medications, including those for fleas and heartworm. There are natural and herbal alternatives that the body can handle naturally.


The living body is a miraculous machine, capable of healing and rebuilding itself as long as it has the right tools. By feeding it “what it naturally needs” and preventing exposure to more toxins, liver and kidney challenges can be minimized, giving the body the opportunity to heal naturally.

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Kibble is Kibble is STILL Kibble!

By Dr Jeannie Thomason

Dog owners are becoming confused over what food is the best for their dogs. There seems to be so much conflicting information out there today. Who do you believe? With all the recalls over the last several years, we worry about safety and quality nutrition. It is so simple to me where the truth is about the best food to feed our dogs however, some where along the road over the past 50 years or so, we have all been lead to believe that somehow, some miracle or perhaps evolution has made our dogs omnivores. This a lie that the majority of pet owners have bought into hook, line and sinker. Not being enough of a lie, we have also been lead to believe that our dogs are after-all, domestic animals so, they are best fed processed, commercial “dog food” that supposedly is nutritionally balanced and scientifically formulated to be healthy for our pets. We are told that this highly processed, over cooked “stuff” does contain whole grains, vegetables and real meat! I mean, after all, look at those wonderful commercials we see on TV about how healthy the food is and our dogs themselves don’t realize they are eating something “good for them”,they just know it tastes good. And don’t our veterinarians carry similar foods and recommend it to us to feed to our dogs as well? Surely schooled veterinarians know what is best for our dogs. After all, what else do you feed a dog but “dog food”, right?

WRONG, so wrong!

We have been bombarded with this information for so long and so often that we have come to believe a lie my friends. A LIE produced by the multi-billion dollar pet food industry that sponsors the classes in veterinary colleges that are taught to the veterinary students to scare us all into thinking that we must buy and feed their processed food products or our dogs will never really be healthy. What Bunk!

Are you aware that just over the last 25 years dogs (and cats) have been presenting with obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, liver failure, skin disorders, IBD and even cancer by the time they are 5 years old if not younger?! This was rare to un-heard of in our canine companions until this time. Our dogs should live and used to live well into their late teens and early twenties with few to no health problems ever seen. Let’s stop and ponder this for a moment. Why do you think dogs are so much sicker these days then ever before in history? Could it be that we are feeding them foods they were never designed to be able to digest in the first place that are processed and cooked down until there is NO nutritive value remaining? Did you know that pet food manufacturers actually spray on a soup of grease/cooked fats with synthetic vitamins and other additives to their products before sealing the bags and shipping them out? It is the addition of these synthetic additives, flavor enhancers and some vitamins that are necessary to make the kibble come even close to them being able to call it complete and balanced, not the ingredients themselves. Any nutrition in the ingredients the kibble started out with have been destroyed. However, I am getting just a little ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning.

If you were to look inside the body of a wolf and a little Japanese Chin (or any breed of dog for that matter); side by side you would see the *exact same teeth, saliva, stomach, digestive acids, intestines, kidneys, liver etc. The only difference you would be able to find is that the organs would be smaller in size relative to their bodies. The little Chin would be identical internally in every way to the wolf. Interesting? After all, the Chin and our domestic dogs today were bred from wild dogs/wolves. So, what does a wolf eat? Kibble? Fire roasted carrots and rabbit stew?
*For more information about our dogs being carnivores, please read HERE

Let’s be perfectly clear right here, that processed pet food, (no matter what brand, no matter how much it costs, if the ingredients are organic, or nothing more than road kill and euthanized animals) all ends up the same way – nutritionally DEAD and void of any true nutrition. That’s right, it does not matter what “raw materials” you start out with; whether it is premium, grass fed, organic beef, lamb or what have you, the final product is pretty much the same as the cheapest kibble you can buy at the grocery store.

How can this be?

First of all let’s see what the pet food industry really means when they label their ingredients as “natural” or “organic”.

Because our United States government has never bothered to define “natural” for human foods, this word essentially means anything the manufacturer says it does, especially when it comes to pet food.

AAFCO’s official definition is:
NATURAL: A feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as may occur unavoidably in good manufacturing processes.

Did You GET THAT?? You can render or extrude a pet food into mush, but its still considered “natural” if you haven’t added anything synthetic, unless you had to. AAFCO also says that labeling some thing “natural” must not be misleading; but even AAFCO knows this is impossible. Pet food companies may in reality NOT add anything synthetic in the main raw materials for the food. However, typically they buy bulk mixtures of vitamins, minerals and other additives to spray on the finished product from factories overseas, where, as we all learned in the 2007 pet food recalls, quality controls are for the most part more nonexistent then they are here.

Officially, the word organic refers to anything that is now, or ever was, alive. Your dog is. Your lawn is. Your salad is. Your newspaper is, you are! Yes, this means that without any real quality control over pet food manufacturing that they may say their food is organic if they use once live meat or veggies in the “raw materials” they start out with for their unique formula.

Now, to even begin to understand the pet food industry we need to look at the “raw material” as it is received at the plant. Typically, the slaughterhouse for animal carcasses is one of the main suppliers of material to the rendering industry. To prevent condemned meat from being re-routed and used for human consumption, government regulations require that the meat be “denatured” before being sent to the rendering plants. Nice word, but what does that mean? Basically it means that first it must be contaminated in some way that would make it virtually unusable for human consumption. Some of the materials used to accomplish this task are: carbolic acid, creosote, fuel oil, kerosene, citronella, etc. Once this stuff has literally soaked into the meat, it’s then fit to be sent on to the rendering plant.

Rendering plants are piled high with “raw product/material” consisting of a mixture of whole bodies and animal parts, plastic bags, Styrofoam packages, metal tags, pet collars-anything and everything that is considered to be “waste”- but suitable for recycling.

“Rendering” is the beginning process of cooking the raw animal material (truly organic range free chicken or rendering plant carcasses) to remove the moisture and fat. In the processing of pet food, all the raw materials used to make the pet food are first blended in order to maintain a certain ratio between the contents e.g. animal carcasses and supermarket rejects. Then, the carcasses are loaded into a 10- foot deep stainless-steel pit or hopper with an auger-grinder at the bottom that grinds up the ingredients into small pieces. These pieces are then taken to another auger-grinder for even finer shredding. Once shredded fine enough, the shredded material is then cooked at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes (the amount of time and temperature the U.S. uses, those in Britain and Europe may differ slightly but, remember the high temperature and the amount of time it is cooked). This part of the processing /cooking causes the meat to melt off of bones to produce a soup or slurry.

The cooked meat and bone slurry, along with any metal, pesticides, etc. that may have been in what was rendered down are then sent to a hammermill press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverizes the product into a gritty powder. Once the batch is finished, all that is left is yellow grease, “meat” and bone meal. Depending on the dominant ingredient of a particular run, the product now becomes: beef, chicken, lamb, meat meal, meat by products, poultry meal, fish meal, fish oil, yellow grease, tallow, beef fat, chicken fat, etc. You will never see on the label any signs of using dog meal, cat meal, skunk meal, rat meal, or any of the other “goodies” but “its in there”. If the raw materials came from a slaughter house then it is mixed in with the everyday batches of “raw material”.

The term “meal” on a pet food label simply means that the materials in the meal have been rendered. The quality and content of the meal may be variable across batches. In the USA, this means that some question the nutritional value of the by-products. James Morris and Quinton Rogers, two professors with the Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of California at Davis Veterinary School of Medicine, felt there was a lack of information on the bioavailability of nutrients of pet food ingredients. The pet food labels give the supposed nutritional adequacy, but think about it, there are no true nutrients left from the processing so all that you can really look at is the vitamin mixture and additives they spray on at the end of processing. Not only this but these “nutrients” are no good if they are in a form indigestible by the pet which is normally the case since these vitamins, etc. are synthetic/man made.

Once the meal is made or sent to the pet food manufacturing plant, they then add their own “enhancers” (i.e. preservatives, food dye, synthetic vitamins, etc.) and put it through an expander or extruder. It is then pressure-cooked (steam, pressure, at very high temperatures again) and becomes a paste which is extruded through pipes which shape the blobs of paste into small biscuits or other uniform shapes. These are then puffed like popcorn and baked or dried again before being sprayed a final time with fat, digests, and the synthetic vitamins and flavor enhancers. In some cases, the cooked meat and bone go directly into a press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverizes the product into a gritty powder. The grit is then sifted to remove the excess hair and large bone chips; although, at times larger bone chips and hair do get past the sifting process as some owners can attest to finding in the resulting kibble. This is then added to cereal fines (processed grains) and any cooked, ground vegetables they will be using; which may then be made into paste, baked and broken into pieces and then sprayed with fat, digests, vitamins and flavor enhancers.

Facts regarding the effects of heat during processing.

The processing effectively kills off any beneficial enzymes, amino acids, etc. It does NOT kill off or get rid of the sodium Phenobarbital in the carcasses of any euthanized animals that may have been used.

At 110 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 43 degrees Centigrade), two of the 8 essential amino acids, tryptophan and lysine, are destroyed.

When food is cooked above 117 degrees F for only three minutes or longer, the following deleterious changes begin and progressively cause increased nutritional damage as higher temperatures are applied over prolonged periods of time:

*proteins coagulate

*high temperatures denature protein molecular structure, leading to deficiency of some essential amino acids

*carbohydrates caramelize

*overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known)

*natural fibers break down, cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean

*30% to 50% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed

*100% of enzymes are damaged, the body’s enzyme potential is depleted which drains energy needed to maintain and repair tissue and organ systems, thereby shortening the life span.

Remember, the rendering process alone takes place at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes!

When proteins are subjected to high heat during cooking, enzyme resistant linkages are formed between the amino acid chains. The body cannot separate these amino acids. What the body cannot use, it must eliminate. Cooked proteins become a source of toxicity: dead organic waste material acted upon and elaborated by bacterial flora.

According to the textbook Nutritional Value of Food Processing, 3rd Edition, (by Karmas, Harris, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold) which is written for food chemists in the industrial processed food industry: changes that occur during processing either result in nutrient loss or destruction. Heat processing has a detrimental effect on nutrients since thermal degradation of nutrients can and does occur. Reduction in nutrient content depends on the severity of the thermal processing.

So, it is easy to see that no matter what wonderful (or not so wonderful) ingredients the pet food company may start out with, the rendering, cooking, drying, canning and baking (at high temperatures) destroy vitamins, amino acids and enzymes while rendering the proteins a source of toxicity.

In my opinion, it is no coincidence at all that since 1950, as processed food proliferated for both humans and pets, that not only have cancer rates steadily increased to the highest point in history but, we are seeing an increase in liver disease, diabetes, IBD, chronic skin ailments and other once un-heard of dis-eases in our pets today.

The un-healthy effects of consuming overly cooked food into a digestive system never designed to eat cooked food in the first place, is stretching it to even be considered minimal nutrition. The body is forced to raid its dwindling supply of nutrient reserves and enzymes which in turn, causes it to remain hungry for quality nutrients after a typical meal. This leads to further hunger even though the stomach is full. The result can be chronic overeating and the rampant obesity now seen in our dogs as well as ourselves nationwide

I am often berated for recommending a raw diet as being best for our carnivorous pets however, after all my research, education and the experience of feeding my own pets a raw meaty bone diet for over 20 years now, I can have seen first hand how much healthier and live longer lived our pets can be if fed a species appropriate, fresh, raw meat and bones diet. All the nutrients are there – alive, naturally balanced and complete. Unlike Kibble that is all the same in the end – it still kibble, still no live, real nutrition no matter what great ingredients it started out with.

Before switching your pet to a raw diet, please set up a consultation with me or seek the advice of your veterinary naturopath, a true holistic veterinarian or a qualified natural pet health care consultant.

Copyright 2003 -2010 This article is the sole property of Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole Dog for educational purposes. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.

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