The World is Flat and other False Myths: Part 2

Myth 5: Bacteria in Raw Meat Will Harm Your Dog

As a society we seem to be obsessed with the notion that bacteria, a type of germ, are bad things. Well, like many things there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. So, for the purpose of this discussion let’s focus on the “bad guys”. Yes, the bacteria in raw meat MIGHT hurt your dog if your dog already has an immunocompromised system or some other serious pre-existing health issue. Raw diets have been blamed for all kinds of ailments in dogs such as pancreatitis and kidney disease, when in reality the underlying disease was already present and brought to light by the change in diet.

This is exactly what happened to one of my dogs about three years ago. I received a 13-month- old bitch from a dear friend whose health prevented her from caring for the dog. This bitch had been fed a processed fast food diet (kibble) her entire life prior to living with me. Needless to say, I immediately switched her to a species appropriate raw food diet. Within 12 months she died after being diagnosed with chronic liver disease.

Dogs can, and are more likely to, pick up harmful bacteria from that crusty old, rancid bag of kibble you have. I lose track of all the pet food recalls for processed dog kibble. My most memorable recall of contaminated, another word for bad bacteria, processed fast food kibble was in April of 2007. United States Senator Richard Durbin held a Senate Hearing on the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) investigation of Sunshine Mills dry dog biscuits. A few other companies were included. According to a Washington Post staff writer the pet food companies were sued by over 200 pet owners.

Okay, now for the good news! Do you know why your dog can drink out of the toilet, eat out of the garbage can, lick another dog’s anus (with permission of course) eat road kill, and perhaps the most disturbing behavior of all, eat feces, without dropping DEAD on the spot. It’s because dogs are surprisingly well equipped to deal with bad bacteria. Their saliva has antibacterial properties; it contains lysozyme, an enzyme that destroys harmful bacteria. Their short digestive tract is designed by Mother Nature to quickly process food thereby denying bacteria time to colonize. The extremely acidic environment in their intestines is also an excellent deterrent to bacteria colonization.

The dog’s digestive system sort of works like the defense of a good football team, keeping the other team (BAD BACTERIA) out of the end zone (bloodstream). Continuing this “football-bad bacteria” analogy, every good defense operates much more effectively if it works with a good offense. The offense being the species appropriate diet of raw meat, bones and organs. Highly processed fast food kibble and other species inappropriate diets just cause our dog’s defense (digestive systems) to work harder than it should.

According to T. Lonsdale, author of “Raw Meaty Bones” .... “it is kibble, not raw meat that causes bacteria problems in dogs.... kibble in the intestine not only irritates the lining of the bowels but also provides the perfect warm wet environment with plenty of undigested sugars and starches as food for bacteria.” So, do not be fooled or tricked into believing commercial, processed pet food (kibble) is a sterile, bacteria free source of food. Remember all the recalls! ‘Biology 101’ tells you the starches, rancid fats, and sugars in kibble provide a much better food source for harmful bacteria than proteins in raw meat.

Myth 6: Millions of Dogs Are Safely Eating Complete and Balanced Processed Fast Food Kibble Every Day

Who says processed kibble is complete and balanced? Let’s start with them: The Association of American Feed Control Officials, AAFCO. The AAFCO is a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of dog and cat food. It also defines and establishes regulations for pet food ingredients as well as sets standards for nutrition. Now here comes the problem: as a private organization AAFCO has no regulatory authority! According to Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coates of “”..... “the AAFCO does work to protect consumers, safeguard the health of animals and people, and ensure that the pet food manufacturers compete for your business on a level playing field”. At first I wasn’t sure I read that correctly! Safeguard the health of animals and people? Protect consumers? Make Wall Street ( pet food companies) compete on a level playing field? I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night! Am I the only one who sees the likely occurrence of problems with this system? It’s like having a guard dog with no teeth, what good is she.

The only reason AAFCO exists is because the real guard dog ( the one with teeth), the FDA, due to its limited enforcement resources, are focused on human food safety issues. And we KNOW what a good job they’re doing on that. So, man’s best friend is left with the toothless, and in my opinion conflicted AAFCO. I’m not saying that the folks who work for the AAFCO aren’t good people,( although I have no idea who they are or what their backgrounds are) I’m saying the AAFCO method of overseeing processed pet food made by billionaire corporations for dogs and cats has failed miserably.

And what’s even more frightening, most pet owners who feed this so called AAFCO approved “complete and balanced” diet have no idea what goes on in the method of how this kibble is made or what goes into it! Here’s what else they do if I didn’t make this clear earlier; they certify brands of kibble with the coveted AAFCO seal of approval COMPLETE and BALANCED. How does a kibble brand get this seal of approval? I’m glad you asked! The food in question has to keep 6 to 8 dogs alive on that food for 26 weeks without any noticeable nutritional deficiencies. That’s it! If the dogs don’t die or show noticeable nutritional deficiencies, BINGO the food is AAFCO Complete and Balanced. Again, is it just me, or is this a pretty low standard for approval? I could eat at McDonalds every day for six months and not die ( that would come later) or show noticeable nutritional deficiencies.

To keep you hooked on feeding this processed balanced kibble, you are bombarded with advertising and propaganda stating that this kibble is what your dog needs to maintain a heathy life in all stages of her life. If this were true millions of our dogs wouldn’t be stacked up inveterinary clinics with chronic diseases, skin allergies, periodontal disease, and the list goes on and on. With friends like the AAFCO and the dog food companies, who needs enemies.

Myth 7: Raw Food Diets are Inconvenient and expensive

This last myth bothers me more than any of the others. But first let me say I respect your right to feed your dog any way you wish. There are some situations where it is almost impossible for dog owners to feed their carnivore wolf ( yes I said wolf because that’s exactly what your dog is, a wolf) a species appropriate RAW diet.

I have a blind friend who walks the streets of her community putting all of her faith and trust into a four-year-old black Labrador Retriever Guide Dog. My friend attempted to feed her first guide dog the raw diet, but her disability prevented it. So, let me address the first part of this myth: Inconvenient. It is my contention that at some point or another EVERYTHING in life is inconvenient! Church, my kids, the commute to work, ex-wives, current wives, taxes, funerals,...outside of God name something that isn’t at one time or another inconvenient? I don’t think you can do it.

Okay let me get serious for a second, and this might sound harsh but too bad. Since when does CONVENIENCE interfere with or replace your responsibility and obligation to do the best you can to ensure the health and wellbeing of your dog? I chose the dogs that live under my care. What happens to them , good or bad is on me! The late great American poet Maya Angelo once said...” in the old days we did what we knew how to do, and when we KNEW better, we DID better”. A raw diet is as convenient or inconvenient as you make it. It’s never going to be more convenient than opening a bag of AAFCO Complete and Balanced kibble and pouring it into a bowl. What’s that take, six, seven seconds? Health and longevity trumps convenience every time.

Raw feeding is as expensive as you make it, however if and when you find a meat source that allows you to buy raw food in bulk it will be cheaper than cheap kibble, and much cheaper than expensive kibble or frequent Vet visits. I live in California, one of the most expensive states in the US. The meat supplier I use has just about every kind of meat product you can think of. My dogs eat pig hearts, beef hearts, beef liver, beef kidneys, turkey necks, chicken leg-quarters, chicken backs, pork shoulders and chicken feet. If you want to drastically improve the overall health and longevity of your dog, make the change to the diet with the seal of approval from Mother Nature: raw muscle meat, bones, and organs.

Part 1

Ed Hill

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