Sounds like a stupid question doesn't it? Well, I guess the obvious answer is so they don’t die? Perhaps you would say because living things need food? Maybe you would answer because I love them and want them to be healthy and happy. All good answers, but I wonder if you ever really thought about it. I didn't I just fed my dogs because I knew they needed to eat, duh. What I didn't realize was what I put into those sweet, precious bodies would make all the difference in the world to them.
What you feed your dog is probably the MOST important part of having a healthier dog. Seems logical, right? Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the garbage that is in a lot of commercial foods. If the packaging looks pretty or there are words like “Natural”, “healthy”, and of course the sweet, happy dog on the front of the package it must be good. Maybe you are paying a little more for one brand, or your vet sells in their office? It must be the BEST for your beloved dog, right???? I mean there is NO WAY your vet is going to recommend a diet that is lacking in things your dog needs, or could be potentially dangerous? Right??? Hmmmm, well I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but this whole pet food industry thing is more motivated about how rich they can become then how healthy the food is going to make your dogs.
If I step back for a moment and try, TRY to be open minded, so to speak, and see both sides of the coin I do understand this is America and people have all sorts of opportunities to start business and make millions of dollars. Pet food companies have the right to make money. We as consumers, and dog parents need to get smart and start reading the labels of the food we are giving our dogs. I mean, there are lots of unhealthy things for all of us on the market. We eat the wrong sorts of things, or smoke, or drink too much…however, we are not being told by our DOCTORS that it is GOOD and that we should just eat fast food and processed foods and smoke to our little heart’s content, right??? If your doctor told you that wouldn't you run out the door, maybe report him? Certainly you would assume he or she was crazy!! Why is it acceptable for veterinarians to try to persuade, sell and even prescribe food for our dogs that our nutritionally deficient? Veterinarians we trust to have our pets best interest at heart? We all know how healthy foods makes us feel good and garbage food makes us feel sluggish and gross? Our dogs are no different!
Here is an article I read that discusses why vets should NOT be selling us dog food:
IS YOUR VET QUALIFIED TO DISPENSE NUTRITIONAL ADVICE?
This is a sensitive issue that is guaranteed to offend some people, particularly those in the profession. Nevertheless, for the sake of your dog’s health, the subject must be addressed. Should people fully trust the nutritional advice dispensed by their vets?
Most veterinarians are highly qualified individuals and are good caring people that want to help your pet; however, their qualifications are for surgery, conventional disease diagnosis and treatment, and conventional drug prescription, NOT for nutrition (although holistic vets are more aware of the importance of fresh raw foods in keeping animals healthy). When your dog is suffering from a condition that is caused by poor nutrition, how helpful is your vet going to be?
While veterinarians perform much-needed services for our pets, these services should not include a) selling pet food, and b) administering nutritional advice. Veterinarians receive very little nutritional training. The training they do receive is often advocated by or even administered by the pet food companies. Their nutritional training comes from the incorrect view that dogs can safely be maintained on a grain-based diet that is overly processed, all cooked and filled with cheap ingredients and synthetic chemicals masquerading as nutrients.
These foods are recommended even when scientific research has proven that dogs do not thrive long term on these types of diets. Perhaps that is why pets today are soft, doughy, and suffering from a variety of ailments linked to grain-rich, processed food (cancer, diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, seizures, liver problems, bladder problems etc.) – virtually every degenerative disease.
Veterinarians are invariably linked to the commercial pet food industry. They advocate and even market commercial foods, receiving substantial revenue and kickbacks. The pet food companies make sure of this by promoting programs in the universities and by giving FREE FOOD to the up-and-coming vets to sell in their practices. For example, Colgate-Palmolive, the company that manufactures Hill's Science Diet, spends:
"hundreds of thousands of dollars a year funding university research and nutrition courses at every one of the 27 US veterinary colleges. Once in practice, vets who sell Science Diet and other premium foods directly pocket profits of as much as 40%" (Parker-Pope, T. 1997. For You, My Pet. The Wall Street Journal. 3 November 1997. In Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. p266).
The veterinary profession is tied closely with commercial pet food companies at every turn. A tour of veterinary teaching hospitals or vet clinics shows equipment, products, and posters sponsored by and endorsing commercial foods and pharmaceutical companies. Due to this influence, vets are hardly in a position to offer sound nutritional advice.
They are in direct violation of the oath and creed they swore to uphold: "First do no harm."
In spite of their oath they are promoting foods detrimental to animals' health, advocating a product that will harm their patients and ensure a returning clientele and source of revenue. This is likely and hopefully unintentional.
But the biggest blame is due in large part to the great lack in the education the universities have administered to them! Nothing but commercial pet food dogma is being repeated in university after university after university; these are institutions of higher learning where people are supposed to be thinking critically and evaluating things analytically, yet in reality are being told to shut off their common sense and ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence against commercial pet foods.
MSU Presents Partnership Award
"Topeka, Kan. - Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine recently presented the 2004 Partnership Award to Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.
"The award recognizes the working relationship between MSU and Hill's."
"Hill's provides financial and educational support to nearly every veterinary college in North America, as well as to veterinary students attending those institutions. This commitment to the profession includes Hill's sponsored teaching programs, residencies and faculty programs in veterinary schools and teaching hospitals all over the world."
“‘Hill’s is incredibly responsive to anything students or faculty have asked of them,' says Dr. Lonnie King, dean of the college of veterinary medicine at MSU.’Their steadfast support, generosity and collaboration in advancing the college's mission is recognized as a vital part of our veterinary medicine program.’
"Hill's has shown its commitment to the partnership with MSU by providing support to many student groups and student activities; covering costs for students to attend the SCAVMA Symposium; providing students with the textbook Small Animal Clinical Nutrition and other various handouts; providing employment to student representatives; and by supporting the awards banquet for seniors graduating from the program."
--DVM News Magazine, August 2004
Let us stress once again - your vet is a good person. But simply put, vets are not educated on proper nutrition. What do you do when your dog has a condition that is directly tied to a lack of proper nutrition like a liver shunt, poor liver health, bladder stones, bladder infections, pancreatitis, kidney problems etc – the list is almost endless? Is the taking of medications going to allow your dog’s body to heal these conditions on the cellular level and create a lifetime of health OR are the medications just taking their symptoms away?
Dog Liver Hunt
Does this make you angry? It makes me very angry! I trusted my vet for YEARS and in doing so I failed to give my dogs what they needed to have the best quality of life possible!
I hope you stick around and let me teach you what I have learned.