• Anita Costa

Raw Feeding: Facts vs. Fear-Mongering

I wish my dogs could live forever, or at least as long as I do. But the sad reality is they won’t, and they are dying younger and younger, but why? The leading cause of death in dogs is cancer, and would you believe me if I told you that commercial pet food is one of the biggest reasons? Between 2013 and 2015 I lost two of my precious dogs to cancer. At the time, I thought I was keeping them healthy by feeding them a quality brand of kibble. Cyrus, my 140 pound English Mastiff, was a sight to behold. He was massive, a fiercely loyal companion and my best friend. His little buddy, my Basset Hound Max, was the funniest, most playful and energetic clown you could ever imagine. His personality was larger than life. They were both so full of love, energy, and had an insatiable zest for life. Cyrus was ten, and Max was just six years old when they died of cancer. I spent every penny I had and charged thousands of dollars to my credit cards on conventional medical care and a team of veterinarian's in an attempt to save their lives. Their loss and my desire to change the fate of my two surviving dogs inspired me to seek the real path to health, and I found it. And it is so simple and so evident that it took me months to forgive myself for being so unaware and oblivious.

The true path to health and nutrition.

Real health for dogs and cats is found by honoring their nature as predator carnivores and feeding them a species-appropriate diet of raw meaty bones, and organs. But why hadn’t any one of my team of veterinarians ever told me this? After all, they are the authority on healing animals, right? It turns out that most veterinarians aren’t taught much about nutrition in school, and most of what they learn is funded by the $20+ billion a year pet food industry whose sales reps convince them that balanced and complete nutrition can only come from their pet food. The very pet food that veterinarians “prescribe” and sell in their practice is making our pets sick. Is it a coincidence, or perhaps a conflict of interest, that veterinarians are making a lot of money from pet food sales? I don’t think so.

Despite what the pet food industry would have you believe, your dog and cat have not evolved into omnivores. That’s right, your furry friend is a meat-eating, predator carnivore. Don’t believe me? Take a peek inside their mouth, and you will see teeth designed to rip, tear, shred and shear. Ever wonder why your dog seems to inhale his food? It’s because he can’t chew. The carnivore jaw, teeth, saliva, and digestive tract are designed for eating large chunks of meat and bone. I am often asked if bones are dangerous and while it’s true that a carnivore should never eat cooked, smoked, dehydrated or boiled bones, raw bones covered in meat are soft, easy to digest, and don’t damage their teeth. Another question I get asked all the time is about the danger of salmonella in raw meat. The fact is, most cases of salmonella are from touching or ingesting contaminated dry pet foods and treats- not raw meat. And there are no known incidents of a pet owner being infected with salmonella by a raw-fed dog or cat. Dogs and cats need the vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients provided by raw meaty bones and organs. Since making the switch from commercial pet food to raw in my dogs, the results are remarkable. They have cleaner teeth, fresher breath, smaller stool, more energy, beautiful coats, and better overall health. And the best part is I no longer fear them getting cancer. If only I had known this years ago. Being informed, and feeding my dogs according to their need has given me a newfound sense of confidence in my ability to make decisions about their health and well-being. There is such a tremendous sense of relief that comes from doing what you know is best for your animals. I admit change can be scary, but once I learned the truth about commercial pet food the thought of feeding it to my pets for even one more day was far more terrifying than raw feeding.

The truth about the toxic ingredients lurking in commercial pet food.

Commercial pet food is highly processed and full of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and allergens like corn, rice, and wheat, this includes many of the so-called “grain-free,” “holistic,” and “natural” brands. It often contains “4-D” meat from disabled, diseased, dying, and already dead animals. You may have heard about a recall as recent as last year of pet food contaminated with pentobarbital, a euthanasia drug. That’s right; the contaminated food contained euthanized dogs, cats, and other animals. Other dangerous ingredients include propylene glycol (anti-freeze!), preservatives like BHA and BHT, food dyes, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and animal by-products like diseased organs and tumors. Even if the ingredients in the food are “organic” to begin with, it is cooked at such high temperatures for so long that it makes the food toxic and destroys essential vitamins and nutrients. Pet food manufacturers attempt to “add back” some of the lost nutrition by spraying it with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that cooking food at high temperatures causes acrylamides which are classified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the WHO (World Health Organization) as a probable carcinogen.

The unrelenting fear-mongering.

Health does not and cannot come from a bag or a can. Human beings don’t eat processed junk food every day and expect to be healthy, and the same goes for our pets. But the lengths to which conventional veterinary medicine and the pet food industry will go to hide these truths and attempt to convince you that raw feeding is dangerous are limitless and relentless. In fact, I recently read an article about a study conducted by the University of Melbourne that came with a dire warning from veterinarians about raw feeding dogs. They claim that a bacteria called campylobacter in raw chicken necks triggers a rare condition that causes paralysis. The article states that most dogs recover without treatment so why publish the article at all? To invoke fear about raw feeding, that’s why. Campylobacter bacteria are found in most dogs, even the healthy ones. It is no coincidence that they recommend dog owners “stick with regular food.” Regular food being commercially processed kibble. Ask yourself, who stands to benefit from pet owners fearing raw feeding? Certainly not our dogs and cats. The study concluded that the bacteria was “likely” what caused the dogs’ immune system to dysregulate causing symptoms of paralysis even though they had no proof, only speculation. The article calls the increase in raw feeding “concerning given the risks.” Risks of what? A rare condition caused by a weakened immune system? And what about their alternative, “regular dog food” AKA commercially processed junk food? What are the risks of feeding that to your dog? They don’t mention that feeding a

commercially processed diet puts pets at high risk of allergies, cancer, arthritis, liver and kidney diseases, and every other known chronic illness.

Facts about bacteria and the immune system.

The truth is, bacteria is not what causes paralysis or any other symptom of illness; an ineffective and weakened immune system does. The innate carnivore digestive and immune systems have protected them from dangerous pathogens for millennia. When operating correctly, the immune system naturally keeps bacteria in-check and balanced. Cooked protein is toxic, and kibble is statistically more likely to contain harmful bacteria than raw meat. In fact, most of the documented cases of severe bacterial poisoning are from kibble-fed animals. Commercial pet foods have been recalled multiple times due to bacteria or worse. For those who don’t remember, in 2007 one of the worst consumer recalls in American history occurred causing as many as 3,600 dogs and cats to die because the pet food was contaminated with melamine. Melamine is an industrial chemical used in fertilizers in Asia that causes kidney failure. WHSV news recently posted an article about the toxic ingredients in pet food, and in some products they found lead quantities exceeding fifty times those seen in the Flint, Michigan drinking water travesty.

Seek the truth.

American’s spend billions of dollars on their pets each year, and we love them like family. Our pets don’t have a say in the matter, so do your research and seek the truth from facts for their sake. Please don’t let anyone have so much power over you that you believe what they say without finding the truth for yourself. It is my hope and prayer that you never have to watch the ravages of cancer take a young animal or watch helplessly as they die in your arms as I have. Our pets offer us nothing but their unconditional love and loyalty, and in return, they deserve to be cared for according to their need.

Max & Cyrus 2010

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