Domestic dogs health generally isn’t very good. Compared with their healthy, wild cousins, dogs are not as vibrant and do not produce such healthy puppies. To some extent the problem is with inappropriate breeding, but this happens more with the pedigrees. When a female dog gets to choose her own mate, she is more discerning and will reject those males who will not give her healthy pups. She doesn’t want to waste valuable energy raising sickly pups.
So a ‘Heinz 57’ variety of dog (non pedigree) is more likely to be healthier than a pedigree dog, all things considered. We know this as most breeds have a weak link. Humans select breeding on what the dog can do for us (eg hunting, lap dog, shows, sniffers, looks, etc) rather than on the natural health of dogs. Because of the deformities, many breeds of dogs cannot reproduce without the help of humans or veterinary care. How sad is that?
However, breeding is only part of the story.
The other, perhaps more significant parts of the story, that have a great influence on natural dogs health are: the diet, the health care and the lifestyle factors.
This article deals with the diet, as that is one of the most important aspects of anyone's health.
Dogs are omnivores and scavengers. They are opportunists. They hunt in packs when their prey is plentiful. In leaner times, they scavenge what they can. An old, decayed carcass won't do them any harm at all. They can even survive on earthworms. They will eat many plant based foods, such as roots and berries, if there's nothing else. They are very adept at surviving. This diet and life style supports robust, vital and natural dogs health.
Now let’s look at the typical ingredients of commercial dog food.
Meat is expensive, so all the good cuts of meat are sold as human food. Even some left overs are used to make the cheaper meat products such as sausages. What is left tends to be heads, feet, intestines and fat. These are taken to rendering plants. Rendering plants are not subject to the same scrutiny and hygiene regulations that slaughter houses are. This is why so many pet foods are constantly recalled due to salmonella or other contamination, as they are rife.
Road kill, diseased and dead farm animals, euthanised animals from veterinary clinics and small laboratories also find their way to rendering plants. Storage of the carcasses is usually outside, unprotected.
When there is enough ‘raw material’, it is cooked at high temperatures and pressures. If you think there may have been any nutrition present, there certainly won’t be much after that treatment. The resulting product is dried and sold to, among others, the pet food industry. Usually this is listed as a by-product on the list of ingredients on the pet food. The rendering plant may add a preservative, which the pet food buyer doesn’t have to list as they didn’t add it.
Depending on the company and the country of origin as well as sale, the list of ingredients don’t have to be complete and can be misleading. There are few laws defending animals rights and virtually none that are enforceable regarding the safety of pet food. Be assured, that anything can, and does, happen.
So the meat content of the typical dog food is unbalanced, is often contaminated, is far from fresh, is often high in fat and has been cooked, which alters protein and kills enzymes at the very least.
The story doesn’t end here. This ‘food’ is bulked out with any cheap source of food, such as grain or anything in surplus on the world market, usually plant based. Often this is unfit for human consumption for one reason or another.
Finally, synthetic colours, preservations, ‘nutrients’ and appetite stimulants are added. Anything synthetic is toxic to the body, even the so-called vitamins and minerals. Nutrients should come from food, not a laboratory. Nutrients are never found in isolation in nature, as they co-depend on each other for maximum benefit to the consumer.
Some higher end pet foods may start out with slightly better quality ingredients, but most are still subjected to much of the processes already described.
Do you think this diet promotes natural health for dogs? Do you think this diet will prevent canine diseases such as renal problems, heart failure, liver failure, mouth issues such as gingivitis, stomatitis or loose teeth or auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, leukaemia or cancer? Do you consider this diet to be healthy and natural dog food?
Never underestimate the importance of a natural, healthy, balanced diet. That alone can resolve many health problems. And quite quickly.
Do you care about the fuel that you put in your car? It's just as important with your dog. Or you. Or anyone.
Commercial dog food, for the most part, is akin to our junk food. It doesn't matter how pretty the packet is, or who tells you how wonderful it is. Check out the ingredients and see for yourself how suitable they are for your dog. Even those that do contain some meat, the chances that it will be of a very poor quality one, a contaminated one, a stale one or an excessively fatty one, are high.
Do you understand what the weird sounding ingredients are? They are likely to be artificial flavours, preservatives, colours. Which are all synthetic/chemicals and so toxic.
Commercial dog food may keep your dog alive, but it won't keep them healthy.
Although the conversion to a healthy diet can go easily, a few 'junky' dogs can take a bit of convincing! And there can be a period of de-toxing, which may look alarming if you aren't prepared. However, once past these hurdles, the health of your dog can improve exponentially.
It's the single, best thing only you can do, for your dog.