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"We just seldom see the so called inevitable diseases in our patients, when we can get the owners to raise their pets on their natural foods."

Marty Goldstein, DVM;
Robert Goldstein, VMD;
H. Robertson, DVM;
Richard J. Kearns, DVM

Located in Calgary, AB
Proudly Canadian

Calgary Based Locally Owned and Operated Pet Stores

The Truth About Raw Pet Food


The Raw Meat Diet for Dogs Cats and Ferrets "Without exception, no processed dry kibble, cooked, canned, freeze dried or dehydrated pet food is equivalent to the nutrition in a fresh, natural raw food diet.

The recent invention of dry kibble is the "alternative pet food", where as raw food is, and always will be the baseline for health."

Awareness and feeding of raw pet foods has grown exponentially in recent years.

The growth has been in response to the growing rates of unhealthy companion animals.

Our pets are stricken with ailments ranging from skin problems, allergies, diabetes, irritable bowel, kidney problems, weight control issues to cancer and ever shorter lives.

This is the reality facing modern pets today, subsisting on the same nutrient damaged, dried, highly processed, "100% Complete" unnatural pet foods, often for an entire lifetime.

Many of the above issues can be traced back to one place - the food dish.

The industry is a causal factor. Commercials and advertisements flood images of real fresh chicken, healthful grains and coloured kibble bits.

While this may appear wonderful and healthy, in reality it may paint a bleak future for the pets subjected to many of these highly processed foods.

What is Raw Pet Food?

Raw food is a species approprate diet for dogs, cats and ferrets. A species appropriate diet closely resembles the natural diet an animal's anatomy and physiology were designed to eat.

As Dr. Karen Becker puts it, to argue whether raw food diets are appropriate for dogs and cats is moot; they have thrived consuming a variety of small prey for thousands of years!

Raw food is commonly referred to as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or the Bones and Raw Food diet.

The Reason for Raw

Our dogs, cats and ferrets need raw food. Quite simply, as carnivorous animals, they are designed for it! Raw food is what they are supposed to eat.

When we domesticate these animals it is our responsibility to feed them an appropriate diet.

Before the invention of cereal based kibble some 70 years ago, our pets were thriving on their natural foods. The kibble craze did not come out of necessity, but of convenience.

This western phenomena caught on quickly, but not without ill effect.

Dr. Kollath of the Karolinska Hospital located in Stockholm ran a study on animal nutrition, comparing cooked & processed foods to raw food. The results cite the animals fed the processed diet initially appeared healthy as young animals, yet quickly developed chronic degenerative disease symptoms and appeared to age at a much faster rate than the raw fed control group. The control group of animals raised on raw food were free of degenerative disease and aged less quickly.

What's wrong with processed foods? We hear a lot about trying to avoid processed food for ourselves, and this is what we also need to heed when it comes to pet food.

Processed Foods

Processing in the case of pet food requires very high temperatures to achieve a hard, dry kibble.

Humans and pets are the only creatures on the planet that regularly eat highly processed foods. Likewise companion animals are the only canines and felines in the world forced to eat dry processed diets.

Unfortunately the further we deviate from a natural diet the more problematic our health becomes.

This is why the majority of integrative and holistic veterinarians believe processed food is the number one cause of the problems pets face today.

The effects of heat processing include:

Denatured Proteins

Proteins are no longer intact, instead they become damaged as chains between amino acids are broken and destroyed.

In the case of allergies and irritable bowel these denatured proteins illicit immune responses that manifest as itchy skin, ear infections and loose stool.

immunologists see many cases of pets thought to be allergic to a specific cooked protein, only to find they are not allergic to the same meat in its raw form.

Expensive allergy testing also utilizes processed protein isolates and therefore cannot effectively determine the reactions to raw proteins.

Enzyme Inactivation

Enzymes naturally present in raw food are destroyed, creating a difficult to digest product, placing a high burden on the pancreas to produce enzymes to digest and break down protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Destruction of Vitamins

Naturally occurring vitamins are destroyed. To replace these nutrients poor quality synthetic vitamins are added, only replacing some with bear minimums required for survival. Any beneficial bacteria or pro-biotics are also destroyed.

Production of Harmful Compounds

Well known carcinogens known as nitrosamines may form as by-products of heat processing.

Fat Rancidity

Heat accelerates the reaction between oxygen and fats, producing rancidity in fats and oils.

One other important distinction to make is that unlike cooked human food, pet food is processed to such a high degree that almost all of its nutritional value, at least in the case of vitamins and micro-nutrients, is altered or lost.

Dr. Pottenger carried out a 10 year study on the effects of cooked food vs raw in cats. The study clearly demonstrates the devestating effects caused by feeding cats cooked food. The damage caused can actually span several generations, while in some the damage becomes irreversable.

Although there are numerous studies on raw vs cooked food diets, it's clear that studies aren't required to justify what an animal has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to eat, that it's anatomy is unchanged and designed for, for notions that processed pet foods or cooked foods that humans eat are superior in any way to a raw diet. See the Are Dogs Omnivores Myth if there is question whether a dog is a carnivore.

Some veterinarians will point to genetics and poor breeding practices when questioned as to the cause of their pet's illness or condition without regard to their diet. As many have found these so called inevitable conditions mysteriously resolve when switched to a raw food diet, or maybe it's not so mysterious after all?

If a pet food needs vitamins, minerals and supplements added to it to make it balanced after processing, then the animal should not be eating it in the first place. The parts of the whole cannot possibly be made up with the addition of synthetic nutrients as the original value the food possessed prior to processing can never be regained.

While in comparison, raw food is frozen fresh and maintains its nutritional value and naturally occuring enzymes, vitamins, minerals and organic compounds.

The Unnatural Diet

Grains in Pet FoodThe high levels of processing used are not the only case against dry foods.

The grocery store brands and many foods available at big box stores are completely unnatural to carnivorous animals, including our dogs, cats and ferrets.

These foods are loaded with inferior protein sources, including by-products, incomplete vegetables proteins, and are laden with empty carbohydrates.

Many contain artificial additives and dangerous petroleum based preservatives while lacking any human grade ingredients.

Dry processed foods create a chronic state of mild dehydration. Dry food absorbs moisture from the body and stresses vital organs, including kidneys that must work harder to function.

Like canned foods, raw foods contain up to 80% moisture content, providing the natural source of water pets require. This is especially true in the case of cats, who as desert animals have virtually non-existent thirst drives. Carnivores were designed to obtain the majority of their water intake from prey animals in the form of raw food.

Through out the decades, processed foods claimed to be 100% complete and balanced have created imbalances and nutrient deficient animals. Each time they are reformulated, the same claim is made. If they were truly 100% complete to begin with, corrections would not be necessary.

Without exception, no processed dry kibble, cooked, canned, freeze dried or dehydrated pet food is equivalent to the nutrition in a fresh, natural raw food diet.

Doctors and nutritionists persistently insist that we eat less processed food. This same recommendation applies to any living creature, including our pets.

The recent invention of dry kibble is the "alternative pet food", where as raw food is, and always will be the baseline for health.


The Transformational Benefits of Raw Feeding