How It All Started
I was living with six cats and three dogs back in the 1970s; two Doberman Pincher males, Strega and Baron, and a female Airedale, Lucy. At the time, I was having skin allergy problems with the Airedale, Lucy, and aggression problems with both Dobies. I was trying several brands of high-quality dog food and also talking to company representatives to determine where the meat in their foods originated, but this was not getting me anywhere. They did not seem to know or were avoiding telling me the truth.
During this same period, I was investigating Macrobiotic diets for myself and one day as I sat down to eat my brown rice, steamed carrots and broccoli, the door bell rang and I got up to answer it. When I came back, I watched Baron hurriedly finish up my dinner… all the brown rice and veggies! I yelled at him to stop, but the incidence had me think deeper about what I was feeding to my dogs and cats. On another evening, I was pan-frying a steak when the phone rang, so I went to answer it. When I came back, my frying pan was empty and Baron was standing in the kitchen licking his lips and looking guilty. This time I only laughed. Perhaps my dog was trying to tell me something?
Well, this is when I began experimenting with home-cooked diets. I cooked a stew of mixed vegetables, meat, and brown rice and all the dogs loved it! After three weeks on this diet, I noticed Lucy’s skin problem had totally cleared up, all the dogs smelled sweet, did not have gas, and were a lot less aggressive and hyperactive. This diet truly made a difference and I still cook for my animals today.
A House Call Blessing
When a veterinarian provides a house call for his or her clients, they often see how people live and how they eat. Mrs. T lived alone, she was in her late 70s and Stephen was her wonderful companion, protector, and friend. I was treating Stephen for allergy problems because he had strong smells from the ears, mouth, and skin. He was constantly scratching his rashes, which were all over his body, and he was not a happy camper!
Stephen ate a common commercially advertised food and Mrs. T mostly ate white bread with butter or honey and drank tea. As a treat, she would feed Stephen some of her white bread as well as many different kinds of dog biscuits, thinking this would be good for her dog.
I suggested she try a different way of feeding Stephen to see if his skin allergies could be resolved with a diet change and bathing, but no steroids. She initially objected, so I took the initiative and prepared a large pot of chicken stew with fresh vegetables and brown rice, similar to what I was feeding my own dogs.
When I brought the food over, she could not believe that this food was made for dogs! She tasted it and said she would eat it herself! After a few weeks on this home-prepared diet (both Mrs. T and her dog enjoyed the stew), all of Stephen’s skin problems began to clear up.
He became a lot less smelly, was less aggressive and I did not need to give him any more steroid shots. I advised her to avoid feeding Stephen any white bread or doggie biscuits, and for treats give him string cheese, which he loved. Stephen died shortly after Mrs. T at the age of 18 years old.
Chapter One: The Current State of Canine Nutrition
“Since the Dawn of mankind, what one eats has been related to how long and how well one can survive in the world.” ~Paul Reynolds, Poet and Yoga Instructor
Veterinarians are viewed by the general public as authorities and experts when it comes to what pets should eat. But, do they really know what they are prescribing when they send you home with a bag or can of commercial dog food? Do you know? Where and how were the ingredients produced? What is the grade and quality of the meat? Was this food tested and inspected for the presence of heavy metals and chemicals? Can anyone have certainty to the content, quality and wholesomeness of the dog food we buy? The answer is no.
The recall of contaminated pet food that resulted in the deaths of thousands of pets nationwide was just the tip of the iceberg. Pet foods have had questionable ingredients for decades, because regulations, testing and inspections are lacking. Yet veterinarians, as well as most dog owners, continue to be in the dark and feed their beloved dogs these foods.
Unfortunately, most veterinarians ﬁnd it easy to accept what commercial pet companies and manufacturers recommend. These recommendations only represent one opinion and reﬂect the viewpoint of the commercial animal food companies on nutrition. These foods are branded as “scientifically formulated,” and veterinarians are encouraged to sell and recommend these diets because it is convenient and easy to do so. Many veterinarians do not know where to begin when a client asks them for a recipe of home-prepared food.
With their limited knowledge of nutrition, they are only comfortable recommending those brands they sell.
The practice of “conditioning” veterinarians to prescribe only certain kinds of commercial dog foods begins in veterinary schools, with large donations to the colleges and free samples, tote bags, hats, and sweatshirts for students.
Product recognition begins in veterinary college. It’s a marketing coup!
Veterinarians often say to their clients, “Don’t feed your dog table food, it may cause serious illness and even death.” This is a common phrase and pressures many pet owners into following their vets’ advice. Feeding fresh food is common sense. What could be better?
Fast Food or Scientifically Formulated Diets?
Commercial dog food is “food for the masses,” not speciﬁc enough for your dog’s individual needs. Each breed and kind of dog has different nutritional needs that cannot be satisﬁed by feeding the same dog food every day for months or years. Although the word “scientiﬁc” is used in almost every sentence to help market these foods, these diets have not been tested on all breeds of dogs, living in different climates, with diﬀerent levels of health. Testing is biased (no double-blind studies), and is not maintained for longer than three months: not very scientiﬁc.
“You can’t make determinations about what is acceptable in science if you don’t include in that conversation that the experiments themselves are influenced by funding and who funds what.”
~ Denis Caruso, author, Intervention, Hybrid Vigor Institute
These “tests” do not include other optimal varieties of diets for comparison. Although scientiﬁc claims are made for the nutritional aspects of the food, they do not test their food for the presence of heavy metals, pesticides, and toxic chemicals¹. Unknowingly, pet owners are feeding expensive and potentially harmful “fast food” to their animals. These diets are fast, easy, and convenient. Beyond this, they fall short in comparison to what you can prepare at home.
We are THE fast-food nation: overfed and undernourished. Commercial dog food only guarantees the minimum daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats based upon AAFCO² recommendations. Dogs need much more than this for optimal health.
The “ingredients” in commercial dog foods are neither fresh nor wholesome and cannot compete with fresh meat, ﬁsh and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, yogurt, and cheeses which can be utilized in home-prepared diets. Most commercial foods are below the standard for optimum health. Consider yourself eating a “nutritional health bar” every meal, every day of the week, every month, for years. Does this make sense?
Missing from the mindset (paradigm) of those recommending only commercial diets are: variety, diversity, quality, freshness, individuality, and loving care in preparing meals.
Question to ponder: How did dogs survive for thousands of years without dog-food companies?
This concludes the book excerpt. To finish the chapter and learn more about food therapy and how to create healthy and balanced meals for your dog, please purchase Fresh Food & Ancient Wisdom today!