Sunday, February 15, 2015

Coconut Oil: Why Your Pet Needs this Superfood

For centuries now, people around the world have been using coconut oil and now it is one of the trendiest supplements you can give to your dog or cat. While coconut oil is being studied as a cure for many different ailments and diseases around the world, people are starting to give it to their pets for the many well known health benefits.

Coconut oil is easily added to food, or applied topically. Unlike some fish oils, coconut oil has a pleasant smell and is highly palatable. You can even use it to get your finicky dog or cat to finish their food. Pure coconut oil below 75degrees is a solid, and above it a liquid. You should try giving both versions to your pet to find out their preference. Here are the five most important reasons you should give your pet coconut oil.

The Top 5 Reasons to Supplement Coconut Oil
  1. Digestion and Nutrient Absorption:   Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids or MCFA's and these are digested differently than other fats. While the science is very complicated, in short these fats are broken down easier than other fats, and this causes less strain on the digestive system. They are also absorbed easier than other fats, which mean that the nutrients are almost immediately available for fuel.

    This dog clearly doesn't like his new low fat food.

  2. Weight Loss and Increased Energy:   For dogs that need to lose weight, many people put their dog on a low calorie diet. While it works, it is an unnatural process as dogs need fats in their diet. Rather than buy a low fat food, you can supplement coconut oil. The MCFA's mentioned above do not get stored, as they are transported directly to the liver to be burned for fuel. This triggers the metabolism to increase beyond what is sent to the liver, and your pet loses weight naturally, through the use of GOOD fat. On a side note- it is much tastier than low fat pet food, so your pet will thank you!

  3. Brain Health:   The main benefit coconut oil will bring your pet is improved cognitive function. Our brain cells need fuel, or they die. Most of the time the brain uses glucose as a fuel source, but the conversion process can create problems and inefficiencies within the cells. By using coconut oil which contains medium chain triglycerides, it allows the brain to use ketones as an alternative fuel source, repairing damage and boosting cognitive function. This is very important for pets of all ages, but especially the young and old.

  4. Dental Health:   Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. By adding coconut oil to your pet's diet, or by brushing your pet's teeth with coconut oil, you will eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath and gum disease. If the idea of brushing your pet's teeth doesn't appeal to you, there are some other things to try. For dogs, smear the coconut oil on their favorite chew. You can dip the ends of antlers in coconut oil to make an all-natural toothbrush, fill hollow marrow bones, or even just let them lick if off of your fingers.
    This dog has a lustrous skin and coat, look at it shine!

  5. Skin and Coat:   Above all else, the most common reason people supplement coconut oil is to improve the skin and coat of their pet. Whether they want to alleviate dry, itchy skin, or if they want to cure hotspots or yeast infections, coconut oil is the perfect supplement to help. Coconut oil is one of the best natural moisturizers for your pet's skin and coat. To eliminate dryness and itchy skin, add coconut oil to the diet, and also use it topically on scabby areas. By adding the coconut oil topically, you will help to reduce itching by eliminating the inflammation that causes it. This will start the healing process. The look, feel, and smell of your pet's coat will improve with coconut oil. You can even apply it to their pads during winter to avoid cracking.

    It is also great for skin care as it can help treat and cure hotspots, yeast infections, or acne. The same anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties that help with dental health, also helps with these common skin problems, and because it is natural you don't have to worry about them licking it off.

How to Select your Coconut Oil

Now that you know why you should be supplementing coconut oil, you need to know what to look for when you go to buy your pets supplement. Not all supplements are created equal, and without careful consideration you might not be getting the desired health benefits. There are several keywords on the packaging that will clue you in on what type of quality is included in the jar. Here is a list of the most important keywords to look for:

These island cats know the value of eating coconuts.
    • Extra Virgin
    • Cold Pressed
    • Organic
    • GMO/GE Free 

The packaging will probably include many other marketing terms, but those have little value to you in your decision making process. The two most important keywords on this list are extra virgin and cold pressed. Extra Virgin coconut oil is the only coconut oil you should be buying. If you are buying virgin, or unnamed coconut oil it has been processed several times already, and the product is no longer as nutrient dense as it was previously. On top of that, there isn't much of a savings between the two. Similarly, Cold Pressed coconut oil ensures that they are not treating scrap coconut pieces with heat to extract the very last little bit of oil. The nutrients in this oil will not be as bio-available because of the extra processing.

Looking for coconut oil? Buy Now: Wholistic Pet Coconut Oil

How much should I give?

This is the standard dosage, although you can alter it.
With coconut oil, you should give enough coconut oil to maximize the health benefits without causing digestive upset or loose stool. Generally speaking you should give 1 teaspoon for every 10lbs and 1 tablespoon for every 30 lbs, although you know your pet better than I. If your pet is experiencing stress, use less. If you are supplementing to improve certain conditions, and your pet has a healthy digestive system, use more. When using it topically, you can apply it as needed throughout the day.

Fish Oil or Coconut Oil?

Customers always ask us which type of supplement they should add to their pet's diet. The short answer is both. By including both or by rotating between both types of supplements you truly maximize the nutrition you are giving. Whether you give coconut oil one day and fish oil the next, or simply rotate once you run out of one, it shouldn't matter. Each supplement is better for some conditions versus the other, but both are better than not giving any at all. The one area coconut oil shines over fish oil is in purity. Unfortunately, fish oil can contain contaminants and toxins from where the fish were harvested and how it was preserved. If you are looking for an omega supplement but are concerned about heavy metal toxins, mercury, artificial preservatives or sustainability- than coconut oil is for you. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Salt in a Wound Can be a Good Thing! of the most important but sometimes forgotten aspects of being a pet owner is first aid.  When adopting or purchasing a pet for the first time, the necessary items that come to mind include: food, treats, bowls, a collar and a leash.  But what happens when a pet gets a scratch or scrape or bug bite?  A trip to the vet may not always be necessary and being prepared for an injury at home can be simple.  So what first aid items are necessary and which are all natural?  With the ever growing list of products out there, you need to be sure you are choosing the right one.  Cherrybrook is here to help!

Two first aid wound treatment products we recommend are Vet-Aid Sea Salt Wound Care Spray and Vet-Aid Sea Salt Wound Care Foam.  Both are all natural products used to accelerate the healing process and treat and prevent infections.  They differ from other first aid products because they are formulated with a special ingredient called Lysozyme.

Lysozyme is an enzyme that helps prevent bacterial infection.  It attacks the protective cell walls of bacteria.  Bacteria cells have a delicate membrane but are high in osmotic pressure.  Bacteria walls build a tough skin of carbohydrate chains, interlocked with short peptide strands that protect the cell membrane against this pressure.  Lysozyme works by breaking the carbohydrate chains and destroying the structural integrity of the cell wall.  The bacteria then burst under their own internal pressure.

Sea Salt, another key ingredient, is a natural anti inflammatory and antibiotic. Sea Salt for treating wounds seems contrary to the expression we often hear about rubbing salt in a wound.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go rub a pile of sea salt into an open sore…the appropriate formulation and quantity is important when used for healing.  Sea salt works by entering the wound and forcing the moisture out of the cells that are causing swelling.  By removing the moisture, the cells shrink taking the bacteria with them.

Vet Aid is an all-natural product that was created to clean and heal wounds without using antiseptics and disinfectants.  Antiseptics and disinfectants kill bacteria, but they are also harmful to healing tissues.  Vet Aid products kill microbial invaders and provide essential minerals to enhance cell growth and repair resulting in a faster healing time.

Vet Aid SpraySea Salt Wound Care Spray can be applied, then wrapped under bandages or left open.  The spray can be used on the following:

  • Topical cleansing
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Surgical incisions, and post operative infections
  • Skin infections, including pyoderma and hot spots
  • Sun burn and insect bites
  • On or around mucous membranes including lesions in the mouth, nose, eyes and genital areas. 

Vet Aid Wound Foam
Sea Salt Wound Care Foam differs from the spray because it also contains a silicone ingredient that creates a protective coating over more mature wounds to help protect as it accelerates healing.  It can also be used under bandages or left open but should not be used on mucous membranes.  It is intended for wounds that are further along in the healing process.  The foam can be used in conjunction with the spray or by itself on wounds that are not open.  It is best for treating the following:

  • Sunburns
  • Insect Bites
  • Coat Loss
  • Dry Cracked Skin

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pet Dental Health Starts at Home

It is well known that oral care is vital for general health among humans, but did you know that it is just as important for your furry friend? Just like us, our pets can develop tartar and plaque build up. This not only causes bad breath but can also lead to more serious problems such as Periodontal Disease, Endodontic Disease, and more. Periodontal Disease is the most common clinical condition in pets even though it is preventable. If left untreated, these diseases can spread to the heart, kidneys, and other important organs and become life threatening. Don’t let this preventable problem affect your pets, practice routine dental cleanings in the comfort of your own home.

 Cleaning your pets’ teeth does not need to be a difficult process; starting at a young age and associating positive feelings with this daily routine can make the experience enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Take the time to look at the many different options available for your pets’ oral health. From toothbrushes to dental bones, the pet industry has a wide array of options to keep your pets’ teeth and gums healthy.  Using these oral health products will not only benefit your pets general health but will also benefit your wallet.

By cleaning your pets’ teeth daily you can prevent a costly problem. According to a 2013 analysis by VPI Pet Insurance, “the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82, but it costs $531.71 to treat dental disease.”

The oral health of our pets is important in more ways than one. Prevent disease and dent in your wallet by cleaning your pets teeth everyday.
Check out Cherrybrook's dental products now!

References: “Dog breath? Get ‘em to the vet to prevent a costly problem” “February is National Pet Dental Health Month”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't Brush This Off: the importance of proper brush cleaning and maintenance

Many brushes wear out over time because of a buildup of styling product, debris and oil which degrades the rubber pad causing pins to loosen and repostition. Cleaning your brush after each use will protect the investment of these essential grooming tools.

Here are a few easy steps for proper brush cleaning:
  • Begin cleaning by using your fingers to gently remove as many of the woven strands of hair from your brush as you can.
  • Once most of the hair has been removed from the brush, draw a dry bristle brush cleaner several times across the pin brush from end to end to remove any remaining hair and debris from the brush. We like to recommend the Chris Christensen Brush Cleaner packed with 37mm nylon bristles.
  • Next, apply a bit of waterless bath to the bristles of the brush cleaner. We recommend Chris Christensen OC Magic Foam. This waterless bath makes a fantastic brush cleaner. This "magic" foam breaks away build-up and gives easier control of the application. The foam also greatly reduces the amount of moisture your brush is exposed to. Excess moisture will degrade the rubber pad of your brush over time. It is important to apply the foam to the brush cleaner and not directly to your bristle, pin or slicker brush. Draw the brush cleaner (with the foam) gently over the pins of your brush from end to end to loosen and remove any remaining debris.
  • Shake your brush to remove any excess moisture and set the brush face down to dry completely, so that any remaining moisture will dry and drain away from the pad.
  • Shake your brush cleaner and set it to dry face down as well.
We hope that by following these steps you will enjoy your grooming brushes for years to come. By the way, you can use these exact steps to extend the life of the brushes you use on your own hair as well!

The Importance of Interactive Play with Cats

Caitlin, our Bedminster Store Manager and her feline friend Gadget, have written an article on the importance of cat play.

There is a common misconception that cats are low maintenance pets needing little attention, play or exercise. All you have to do is feed a cat and clean the litter box, right? Wrong! This is the kind of misguided information that can lead pet parents in the wrong direction and encourages cats to be the common stereotype of unfriendly, aloof and even nasty in some cases. Cats are actually very complex animals and need just as much tender love and care as other pets do. You already know that they need to be fed and cleaned, but one important cat care factor which is often left out, is interactive play.

Cats are naturally curious creatures
Cats are easily bored if there is nothing to challenge them on a daily basis. Boredom leads to depression and bad behavior such as marking and unwanted scratching. To avoid these behaviors, interactive play is key. One great and simple way to instigate interactive play is to purchase a cat teaser toy with a lot of feathers or ribbons and dangle it around for your feline friend. Catnip infused teasers are also great if you have a cat that is resistant to play.

Cats need exercise too 
Cats are natural hunters. In the wild they have plenty of time to burn off their last meal by hunting the next one. Our domestic furry friends, however, don't always have that opportunity, aside from the occasional bug. Playing with your cat and getting them to run and jump is essential to keeping them healthy. Cat towers, scratchers and tunnels are good furniture to purchase that will encourage climbing and jumping. You can bring that teaser back into play as well by having your cat chase it up the tower and through the tunnel.

Cats get anxiety
Maybe you just moved, got a new pet, work long hours or even recently had a baby. All of these things can stress your cat. Interactive play is especially important during these times to release anxiety and reduce stress. Playing with your cat for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night can help keep them happy. It can even use up some of their extra energy so they spend their down-time sleeping instead of scratching on your new sofa.

Cats are part of our family.
What better reason to play with your cat than to create a lasting special bond? Interactive play creates special bonds between us and our furry feline friends leading to a happier you and a happier kitty.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Supplementing your Pet's Diet: Omega Fatty Acids

How to Choose an Omega Supplement for your Pet

Though pet nutrition has advanced and there are many holistic options available, there has been an influx of information over the past few years about the need to add supplements to our pets' food in order to meet their "specific" nutrition and health needs. Your pet will greatly benefit from added supplements, like omega fatty acid. Pets, like us, require omega fatty acids to help ensure good health, and they aren't necessarily getting the correct amounts or ratios from their pet food. Follow these three steps and you will be able to choose the appropriate supplement for your pet.

Step 1:  Evaluate your pet's health
Is the food you feed your pet rich in the essential omega fatty acids?

All pets can greatly benefit from an omega supplement as not all foods provide omega fatty acids, and not all foods provide the optimal ratio of them. There are some definite tell tale signs that your pet is experiencing a deficiency in omega fatty acids. You will typically notice the following:

  • Dull coat color, lacking a radiant sheen
  • Dry, flaky, cracked skin
  • Suffers from allergies
  • Experiences joint stiffness and joint pain

 Many people only supplement omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, but the benefits are far reaching. Omega fatty acids are critical to proper brain function, retina function, a reduction of harmful inflammation throughout the body, and the daily maintenance and production of cell walls.

Step 2: Learn the difference between Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s

One of the most important things you need to know is that omega-3’s produce an anti-inflammatory response within the body, while omega-6’s produce an inflammatory response within the body. This is why the ratio between them is so important, and should be taken into consideration when choosing a product to supplement.  Many pets (and humans) suffer from an omega-3 deficiency. This leads to inflammation within the body, which can increase the prevalence of disease throughout the body.

How can you tell which fatty acids are omega-3’s and which are omega-6’s? The majority of manufacturers list them on the packaging, and you will see them under their appropriate abbreviations. EPA, DHA, and ALA are all omega-3 fatty acids.

LA, AA, and GLA are the most commonly listed omega-6 fatty acids. The most important omega-3 fatty acids to pets are EPA, DHA, and ALA. All of these are essential for life, but they come from different sources. The omega-3 fatty acid ALA comes from the ingestion of seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. The health benefits of flaxseed oil are largely credited to the ALA that is naturally occurring within the seed.

However, the beneficial ALA that is obtained from flaxseed oil must be converted into either EPA or DHA, and pets are not efficient in the conversion process. This means that some of the benefits are never realized. This is the primary reason fish oils have surpassed flaxseed oil as the most commonly used omega supplement for pets.

Now knowing that pets are most often deficient in omega-3’s, you want the product to contain as much of these fatty acids as possible, while minimizing the amount of omega-6’s. There isn’t an exact ratio to seek out, but you should look for products that contain a ratio of 8:1 or more. By doing so you ensure that you increase the omega-3’s while decreasing the amount of omega-6’s to achieve balance within the body. Omega-6’s are still essential for healthy living, because of the helpful inflammatory responses to injury, sickness, and disease.

Step 3: Choose your source of Omega Fatty Acids

Now that you know what the omega fatty acids are, and where they come from, you can select which supplement you need, and how you want to administer it to your pet. Below is a list of the six most commonly used omega supplements, and their benefits.

  1. Flaxseed Oil:  Rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, flaxseed oil is a good skin and coat supplement. The anti-inflammatory properties helps regulate skin conditions such as allergies, while also benefiting dogs that suffer from joint problems. This is a good supplement to rotate into your pet’s diet, but because ALA must be converted, you will need to supplement other products that contain EPA and DHA.

  2. Soybean Oil: Soybean oil contains the omega-3 ALA, as well as the omega-6 LA. Linolenic acid helps optimizes skin permeability to fight off bacteria and infections. It will also have the same anti-inflammatory properties as flaxseed oil. You should note that if your pet is allergic to soy, they are also likely to be allergic to soybean oil.

  3. Cod Liver Oil: This is one of the newer oils on the market for pets today. Cod Liver Oil contains high quantities of the omega-3’s DHA and EPA. This concentrated source of omega-3’s helps relieve joint stiffness, improved cardiovascular health, and helping with wound repair with the skin and coat. While not as popular as salmon oil, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, creator of the BARF diet, recommends that you give this over any other omega supplement.

  1. Pollock Oil: This oil contains both omega-3’s and omega-6’s, but the ratio between them is around 13 or 14: 1, which is amongst the highest ratios in all natural fish oils. The benefits of pollock oil are numerous. It is the best oil to supplement for improved skin and coat health. It also helps maintain cardiovascular health, the nervous system, eyes, and a high fertility status.

  1. Coconut Oil: This oil lacks the essential omega-3’s, but contains a lot of omega-9’s and omega-6’s. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and contains antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal compounds. It is also the richest source of lauric acid, which naturally fights yeast infections and parasitic infections. This product can be consumed, or used topically directly on your pet to help heal wounds, and relieve itching.
  2. Salmon Oil:  Salmon oil is the most widely available omega supplement for pets. It contains a high ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s. Many people use this as a skin and coat supplement, but it is a better brain supplement. Fish is brain food for humans and pets. You want to seek out wild caught, cold water salmon oil from Alaska if possible. This will ensure that it isn’t contaminated, and the omega-3 levels will be much higher than farm raised salmon oil. 

 Final Thoughts

This is a great example of a dog with a healthy coat. 
 Your pet will greatly benefit from an omega fatty acid supplement, but like anything related to the health of your pet, please consult your veterinarian or nutritionist before doing so. Along with supplementing one or more of these oils, you should also look to include whole food sources that contain essential fatty acids where possible.

A healthy coat should have sheen, and the skin will not be dry, cracked, or brittle. One of the most obvious times to supplement more omega fatty acids is during winter. During winter your pet is often kept indoors, and the heating in your house will cause a dull coat and flaky skin. This is a time where you should be boosting the amount given. As a general rule you should supplement between 20-55mg of omega fatty acids per pound of body weight for dogs and cats. While you may only supplement 30mg /lb for most of the year, your pet will benefit from a 15-20mg boost during winter.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Shared Blog Post: 5 Anti-Raw Food Arguements- Dr. Becker

*By Dr. Becker
According to an article I ran across recently, veterinarians at the highly regarded Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital do not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. This is disappointing, but not surprising.
Many veterinary schools tend to gloss over the entire subject of nutrition, leaving it up to a handful of major pet food industry players to conduct seminars for students that are heavily slanted toward the products they sell.
The information (and misinformation) contained in the CSU article is typical and predictable, touching on five common arguments used by the anti-raw movement to discredit raw feeding and scare off pet owners.

Anti-Raw Tactic #1: Marginalize Raw Feeding as a Trend or a Fad

According to a CSU Pet Health column written by veterinarian Dr. Camille Torres-Henderson in June:
“We often hear about new trends in diet and exercise for people, so it may not be surprising to encounter dietary trends for pets. One gaining interest is the raw food diet.”
I first have to ask, how is it that raw food for pets is a “new dietary trend?” Feeding raw isn’t some new-wave movement; in fact, I call it a return to common sense. It’s about feeding animals food that contains natural ingredients with names you can pronounce, that aren’t rendered, and are minimally processed. Feeding pets a raw diet isn’t some quirky new trend, it’s what animals did before “pet food” came into existence. It’s feeding them in accordance with what medical doctors are now encouraging people to eat: real food.
Secondly, raw pet food diets aren’t just “gaining interest.” The natural/fresh/raw pet food market saw the biggest growth rate in the industry last year, posing a notable threat to the dry pet food industry.

Anti-Raw Tactic #2: Discredit Testimonials of Pet Owners, Holistic Vets

Torres-Henderson describes a typical raw pet food diet and says that advocates of raw feeding point to “shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, improved immunity and easier weight management” as proof of the value of the food. She says such “impassioned testimonials” often include anecdotal information that “might seem persuasive.” But, she says, there is no scientific evidence to support such claims.
It’s true that in today’s world, we are told not to believe our own eyes (especially when corporate profits are at stake), but to demand scientific evidence to prove one thing is better than another thing. I was asked to “prove” wolves were carnivores by a group of veterinarians three years ago… absurd, but true. The good news is that the holistic veterinary community is actively raising the tremendous amount of money it takes to fund unbiased nutrition research. This will ultimately allow us to hand skeptics and naysayers the scientific proof they demand so that they, too, can recommend nutrition for pets that pre-dates the low-quality, biologically inappropriate diets the pet food industry has produced since the 1920s.
The vast majority (90 percent) of pet foods on the market today are produced by just five giant pet food companies: Mars, Nestle Purina, Colgate-Palmolive (Hill’s), Proctor & Gamble, and Del Monte (now Big Heart Brands). Those of us who have doubts about the quality of most commercially available pet foods have done our own research on the nutritional needs of the animals in our care.
And then there are those people with pets with health issues that require nutritional intervention, who have learned that by switching from processed to real food, they are able to dramatically improve their pet’s health. I have transitioned literally thousands of patients from poor-quality dry food diets to nutritionally balanced raw foods, and their owners can see with their own eyes the positive changes in their pet’s health. This is all the proof they require.

Anti-Raw Tactic #3: Demand Non-Existent Scientific Research on the Benefits of Raw Diets for Pets

Next Torres-Henderson advises pet owners thinking about feeding raw to “look for references to research that has been both published and peer-reviewed,” as “this approach is built on scientific rigor and helps ensure valid data.”
This is rather disingenuous, as I’m sure this CSU veterinarian is well aware that almost no research exists on raw diets for pets. The reason is simply lack of funding, as scientific studies are enormously expensive. It’s also not surprising that virtually all the research “proving” the dead, inorganic, over-processed foods studied are the only safe options, is funded by the five richest pet food companies that monopolize the industry and can afford to complete research that validates the “benefits” of what they are selling.
The scientific research the major pet food companies and traditional veterinary community rely on is funded by the companies themselves or similarly motivated “independent” sponsors. Since pet food manufacturers are only interested in selling more processed pet food and are certainly not interested in studying the benefits of natural foods for pets, very little research has been conducted.

Anti-Raw Tactic #4: Overplay the Risks of Feeding Raw

Predictably, Dr. Torres-Henderson then moves on to a litany of the “risks” associated with raw feeding. The first item on her list is contamination with harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. “These pathogens can cause dangerous illnesses in pets – and the people who handle raw pet food,” she says.
What she doesn’t say is that over 50 percent of the commercial raw pet foods on the market are sterile, and in fact, the cleanest foods available are high-pressure pasteurized (HPP) raw foods. There have been countless recalls of dry pet food for potentially pathogenic bacteria, and only a handful for raw foods. And if you choose to feed a non-HPP raw diet to your pet, it carries precisely the same risks as the raw ground beef you buy to prepare hamburgers for your family. In fact, most raw pet food is inspected twice, a higher standard than most human foods. The majority of raw pet food companies that choose not to sterilize, perform batch testing to ensure their products have not been contaminated.
Next Torres-Henderson points out that raw food diets have been shown to have nutritional imbalances. It’s absolutely true that poorly prepared homemade raw diets can be unbalanced – which is why pet owners must follow recipes when preparing homemade pet food, raw or cooked. I completely agree that an unbalanced diet (raw, cooked, canned, dehydrated or kibbled) does a complete disservice to our animal companions.
However, if Torres-Henderson is referring to commercial raw diets as well, she’s misinformed. All of the raw food diets sold in big box stores, upscale pet boutiques, and vet clinics require the same nutrient analysis testing that any other pet food undergoes in order to be AAFCO compliant. I don’t know of a single widely available raw pet food that doesn’t meet AAFCO standards. If the package of pet food (any type of pet food) you’re about to buy doesn’t state that it is nutritionally balanced, don’t buy it. And if you are preparing your pet’s food at home please, PLEASE don’t just assume the meals are nutritionally complete. Follow a recipe that has been analyzed so you know you’re nourishing your pet correctly.
Torres-Henderson also mentions that the bones in raw diets cause damage to a pet’s teeth and “intestinal trauma.” Again, if she’s referring to commercially available raw pet food, she’s misinformed. Commercial raw food diets use finely ground bone or bone meal, so there’s no risk of fractured teeth or an intestinal blockage.

Anti-Raw Tactic #5: Dogs Have Evolved to Eat Grains

Finally, Torres-Henderson makes the increasingly popular but misinformed claim that dogs, due to their close companionship with humans over thousands of years, have evolved with different nutritional needs than wild canines. This argument is usually given in an attempt to justify the heavy use of grains and other carbohydrates in pet food, especially dog food.
This argument is, in a word, baloney. Today’s dogs and cats have no more nutritional requirement for grains than their ancestors or wild counterparts, as is evident by the fact that their bodies are not designed to process grains. Dogs may be expressing genetic adaptations for a starch-rich diet after being fed starch-rich diets over many years (and thank goodness their bodies have that capacity), but this is not proof dogs are omnivores or moving towards vegetarianism.
And speaking of grains, they are not “harmless” fillers in pet food that provide “energy” (empty calories). One of the first things I do when I have a patient with any sort of digestive or allergic issue is insure the pet is eating (or is transitioned to) a grain-free, moisture rich (this means no dry food) diet. Very often, this one simple but powerful change clears up the problem completely and permanently.

What This Means for You and Your Pet

The only way processed pet food manufacturers and their advocates can respond to the growing demand for healthier, natural pet foods is to develop a competing product, buy one from another company (for example, Proctor & Gamble bought Nature’s Variety), or try to discredit raw food diets, as Dr. Torres-Henderson has done in her article.
I encourage you, if you’re already feeding raw successfully, to believe your own eyes when it comes to the health and well being of your pet. This is especially true if you’ve transitioned to raw to solve a health issue.
If you’re thinking about switching to a raw diet for your pet, it’s important to put all the anti-raw hype aside, do your own research, and get guidance from a holistic or integrative veterinarian or animal nutritionist who is well-versed in raw feeding.

* This blog was written by Dr. Becker and was shared from: 5 Anti-Raw Food Arguments by Dr. Becker (original source)