Prior to watching Pet Fooled I knew that feeding raw was the healthiest option for my dogs. However, I only started feeding raw a couple years ago so I’m definitely not the perfect example. I was fooled by the dog food companies just as much as anyone else. I went with the “natural”, gluten-free, grain-free, soy free, corn-free foods too. No matter what I bought, Bolt was still throwing up stomach bile on a daily basis. He did this for almost 4 years before I learned about raw feeding. Since then I’ve noticed a change in his overall health and behavior.
I ordered Pet Fooled because I wanted to learn. I’m not an expert and won’t ever claim to be. This documentary features some of the best holistic veterinarians in the industry. Dr. Karen Becker is one to follow if you don’t already. She’s the expert. My background is kinesiology and in college I studied anatomy, physiology and nutrition, for humans that is (although it isn’t much different than canines). I know how food is broken down and used within the body. We all know that fresh, natural, preservative-free foods are ideal. What I didn’t know was just how rigged (for lack of a better word) the pet food industry is. It disguised me to learn about what is really in the food that we all think is “healthy” and “natural” for our pets. It also leaves me heartbroken to hear about animals who have lost their lives from contaminated food. So, here are 10 things that I learned while watching this documentary.
#1 – Physiological Fact: Dog DNA is 99.9% Identical to Wolves
Canis Lupus is the genotype for wolves and dogs. This is basically saying that they are all of the canine family. The phenotype is then responsible for the color, length, and type of coat. Phenotype determines eye color, size and the other identifying factors. Genotype means canine, Phenotype would be the breed. When I look at Bolt, I am reminded of this.
#2 – Physiological Fact: Stomach Acid will Kill Bacteria in Raw Meat
Dogs have a stomach acid with a PH level of 1. So the idea that raw food can carry bacteria that may be detrimental to a dogs health is debunked with that one fact. Bacteria cannot survive in that environment.
#3 – Dog Food Industry is Run by Candy Bar Companies.
Wait, what? The same companies that are filling their products with addictive sugar/sweeteners, toxic preservatives and radioactive colors are making our dogs’ food!?!?! Yep! Mars Brands include: Cesar, Eukanuba, IAMS, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Temptations, Whiskas, and Banfield. They know how to make addictive and cheap food but lack the knowledge of what is actually healthy and biologically appropriate for dogs.
#4 – The Dog Food Industry has Only Been Around for 100 Years
Prior to that people fed their dogs raw food, canned meat or table scraps. During WWII the US government needed tin to make ammunition and therefor couldn’t use cans for dog food anymore. Dry kibble was then introduced.
#5 – Dry Food is Convenient
Once dry kibble was introduced it was easily the most convenient and affordable means of food. It still is. However, domestic dogs/wolves eat moist, rich foods. As do cats. Recently, dry cat food has been linked to kidney disease because of its high carbohydrate base. The kidneys in both dogs and cats aren’t meant to break down dry kibble. Raw protein is easier to break down than dry kibble.
#6 – 2007 Recall Killed Thousands of Dogs
In 2007 thousands of dogs died from “tainted” wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is a source of protein and was being imported from China. As dogs were getting ill and dying from eating certain dry foods, the company began testing the contents of the food. A chemical called Melamine was found in dog food. That same chemical is used to fertilize our lawns. Knowing that this chemical was present the dog food industry continued to sell the food for three weeks before reporting its contamination.
#7 – Protein Content Doesn’t Need to be Meat
The protein in dog food can come from many different sources. Wheat, gluten, meat by-products are all considered protein sources.
#8 – By-Product is Leftover Crud
When a dog food bag says chicken, beef, lamb, goat, pork by-product they are using the leftovers of the animal. All the edible parts of the animals are removed and what is left is considered the by-product.
#9 – Rules for Words on Packaging
When a dog food says “WITH” it only needs to contain 3% of that product. When it says “dinner” or “formula” it only needs to contain 25% of that product. When a package says chicken, beef, lamb, salmon flavor it doesn’t even have to include that meat source. The word “natural” can be put on the package even if it has been rendered through chemical processes that are not natural. Organic can be placed on the label with only 3% of the product being organic. Although many of the bags have appealing labels and keywords, the ingredients are far from what any consumer would assume are actually in the food. Not to mention that all the radioactive colors that are infuse in the food aren’t even for the dogs. Dogs see black and white. We, the humans, get tricked into thinking that it looks so delicious.
#10 – Vets Aren’t Taught to Research Raw
It is saddening to know that the people who love dogs just as much as us are being fooled too. Students in veterinary school are taught about nutrition from “kibble” companies. Guest speakers come in to talk to students and give out free product. Some companies even give products to vet students for the entire duration of their schooling. Who wouldn’t want to take free dog food as a college student? Rarely, if ever, are they taught about a biologically appropriate raw food diet.
Pet Fooled Take-Away
Companies should be eager to be transparent. The documentary showed footage from a conference that was geared towards holistic dog health. When they approached booths the people were so excited and willing to share information about their food, what was in it, where it was sourced from and how they package it. Other companies, avoided the conversation. If a company isn’t transparent, they are probably hiding something. Take a minute to scratch you head and think about why they aren’t eager to share everything with you.
It is our job as consumers to make the change. The more we buy and feed raw, the more affordable and convenient it will become. It might seem like a lot of work but once you get used to it, it isn’t all that bad. If you’ve thought about feeding raw but don’t know where to start check out Our Raw Feeding Journey and 5 Steps to Feeding Raw. And please, don’t just take my word for it. Watch Pet Fooled, do your own research, education yourself, question what is being said. Make an informed decision based on what you know. As always, send an email or comment below if you have any questions.