Directed by Kohl Harrington
You may have noticed that dogs and cats are suffering from many of the same health issues as their human owners. Diseases like diabetes, obesity, arthritis and cancer are now common. If you are as old as I am, you remember when that wasn’t true. Veterinarians Karen Shaw Becker and Barbara Royal, among others, point the finger at diet. In other words, we are doing to our pets the same thing we do to ourselves.
The pet food industry is dominated by five corporations, including the likes of Mars and Nestle (trusted names in good nutrition everywhere). A quick look at the main ingredients of any major pet food brand shows us that they are all playing the same game. Wheat, soy, corn and even corn syrup are prominent ingredients, followed by a long list of chemicals I can’t spell or pronounce. The industry tries to confuse the issue by claiming that dogs are omnivores. Becker and Royal are emphatically clear that your dogs and cats are carnivores and feeding them grain and vegetable products is slowly killing them.
The industry uses these ingredients because they are cheap. The chemicals make for a shelf life of up to twenty-five years. Even organic pet foods use inappropriate ingredients for dogs and cats. As scrutiny has intensified, pet food companies have become reluctant to talk about ingredients in detail. The irony reached hilarious levels when Purina sued Blue Buffalo for lack of transparency over ingredients. The pot-kettle-black factor was off the scale.
Becker and Royal recommend a raw meat diet as much as possible for dogs and cats. In response to the claims that raw food is dangerous, they point out that the pH of a cat’s stomach acid is around one, which is very acid. Bacteria don’t survive that. They also say that though there is very little research on what is optimal for dogs and cats, there is no doubt that kibble is not ideal. There is also no doubt my thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2018