The age-old and currently resurging culture of providing your pets with natural home-made food is shrouded in misperceptions. These are carefully crafted by large marketing budgets of the influential multi-national pet food industry, out to stop this return to common sense. Some people even fear that that natural foods are nutritionally inferior or even dangerous and harmful. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Let’s get the fact facts straight and look at the following myths:
Home-Cooked does not clean teeth – FALSE
Probably this is the biggest farce but yet the strongest tool that the industry uses to scare off consumers from using home-cooked meals. The powers that be claim that our pets can only clean their teeth by chewing on processed pellets.
This argument holds no logic. When we go to the dentist he certainly does not recommend that we clean our teeth by chewing on a rusk or a cracker. Moreover, dogs are gulpers. They are accustomed to swallowing large chunks at a time. They are not used to chewing pellets that form a paste between tooth and lip. Dogs do not have the ability to lick this paste clean. Thus, the food eventually ferments, builds up bacteria and leads to tooth decay.
No, this is certainly not true. Dogs clean their teeth by chewing raw bones and chewies or at very least by swallowing their food whole and not having to chew.
Dry food produces dry stools – FALSE
Another misperception is that dried food produces dry and firm stools and wet food produces sloppy wet stools. This is not true. What happens when we go to the movies and eat a whole container of dried popcorn? The next day is spent on the toilet. Compare that with consuming a wet noodle soup from your local Chinese restaurant. You produce the perfect stool.
Garlic is dangerous. – FALSE
For years enlightened people preparing food from home have included various herbs in their pets food, which included garlic. Esteemed authors like Margaret Roberts promoted the use of garlic for medicinal purpose and to rid fleas and ticks. After the last and recent commercial pet food recall many people lost confidence in the industry and started to produce their own pet food from home. Suddenly, there were various dubious articles published making unsubstantiated claims about how harmful garlic is and that it could be killing your pet.
However, these articles failed to mention the most important criteria, dosage. Every food and component thereof can be deemed to be dangerous in mega doses. The same applies to garlic and the evidence would show that if you fed your pet copious and ridiculous amounts of garlic it may lead to Heinz Body Anemia (the thinning of the blood).
The evidence shows that you would have to feed 5% of your pet’s body weight for a prolonged period of time to be deemed dangerous. In other words, you would have to feed your average size dog half a tub of garlic every day for a long period of time.
Which fool would do so? Please, the industry must not undermine our intelligence. Any normal and logical person would only feed a reasonable quantity of herbs and garlic.
Home-cooked food is not balanced – FALSE
The whole question of balance is over rated. In fact, all and every commercial pet food has to be balanced by law, but balance is not the only criteria for a nutritional and healthy meal. As humans we aspire to have a correct balance of minerals and vitamins but we do not judge our health on every meal that we consume. Rather we measure it against a period of time, say one month. We certainly do not a have a balanced meal each and every time we eat a meal.
Moreover, to balance a meal and present a composition of minerals and vitamins is an easy task. The question is which ingredients have you utilized to obtain this spectrum of nutrients? To amplify my point I will use an extreme and exaggerated example.
Whilst, a metal nail contains a lot of iron, spinach would be preferred. The left over oil from your car after it has been serviced contains omegas and fats but olive oil is recommended. Melamine or coal has a large protein content but a nice cut of meat is more desirable. Yes, you can balance your food with synthetic minerals and vitamin but nothing beats whole, real and natural nutrition, preferably organic.
Veterinarians do not promote natural diets – FALSE
World-wide there are vets promoting natural diets for pets and warning against the feeding of commercial processed food. The trend towards a more natural life style is very evident for both human and animal.
If you are still unsure about anything regarding what your pet should eat, consult Vondi’s Holistic Pet Care.
By Paul Jacobson, Pet Food Nutritionist