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Corn and Your Dog: Secrets Food Companies Don’t Want You To Know About!

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (194)

On a recent radio show, In The Dish (which has since found a new home with the Dogs Naturally family and is now called On Air with Dogs Naturally). Dr Becker and I discussed the dangers of grains in the veterinarian lines of pet foods and in other commercial pet foods found on pet store shelves. We finished the show and I didn’t think much about it – until the next morning when I awoke to hundreds of messages on my Facebook page from an angered veterinarian community. They felt that we unnecessarily attacked the bags of processed pet foods they carry on their shelves. After going over each comment, I found the main point of most of the remarks was that corn and grains are terrific for our pets. Really? That’s news to me. It’s About Corn, Kinda To be clear, this wasn’t a shot at veterinary foods, nor was it a shot at any particular manufacturer for adding corn, rice, or any grains into their pet food formulas. And I’m not going to talk about whether these ingredients are appropriate or not for dogs. Let’s say, just for a minute, that corn and starches are just as nutritious and wonderful as the vets claimed. Let’s focus on a bigger and much less talked about problem. A problem that starts, not with corn, but the farms where that corn comes from. Have a seat on that hay bale over there, Jimmy. It’s time for a story. When you think of a farm do you envision a beautiful red barn, maybe a silo, and acres of bountiful goodness, just like Mother Nature intended? Smell that fresh air and look at all those beautiful rows of nutritious foods. Ah, I can see now why vets think this corn stuff is a really good idea. But wait! What are those containers behind the barn? Well, Jimmy, those are pesticides and larvacides – and that bag over there is a fungicide. But look at the corn, Jimmy! There are no bugs on that stuff. It’s special corn called genetically modified Aflatoxins and Mycotoxins. Welcome to today’s farmer and the transformation of foods! Without focusing on the hundreds of problems this presents, let’s talk for a moment about the following statement that was quietly made by the Pet Food Industry: “Problems with toxic mold residue may worsen as farmers blend tainted corn held in storage bins.” Not that any of us needed something else to worry about, but there’s a new danger in your dog’s pet food bag and it goes by many names. My nanny, God love her, would probably call it mold. However, science has given it more official names – like aflatoxins and mycotoxins. I can hear you now… “Afla-whaaaa?” “Myco-who?” Well, pull up a chair, Jimmy. I’m about to tell you how things really work on the farm these days. A lot of marketers spend a lot of time and a lot more money trying to convince the public, pet owners, and veterinarians that corn and certain grains are an excellent source of proteins, vitamins and minerals. But has anybody taken a moment to research what’s been happening back on the farms where that corn comes from? Here are some interesting bits I found at “Dog food recall underscores toxic danger in drought-hit U.S. corn.” There’s more. Aflatoxin is the byproduct of a mold that flourishes in dry conditions, and last year’s historic drought in the US Midwest put everyone from farmers to grain handlers and food industry officials on high alert. According to crop insurance data from the US Department of Agriculture, payouts for mycotoxins, of which aflatoxin is the most common, totaled nearly $75 million, triple the level of a year ago.” Seventy-five million bucks in insurance claims. Triple the level of a year ago! Now you don’t need me to tell you that eating mold is a really, really bad idea. But for those of you who scrape the green stuff off your bread and eat it, this might be news. Molds like aflatoxins and mycotoxins can cause kidney and liver damage, suppress the immune system and disrupt the absorption of nutrients – among a bevy of other problems you don’t want to happen to your best friend! So we now know the poor farmers who were suffering from last year’s drought have corn and other grains that are loaded with mold. And I know what you’re thinking: the farmers just throw that moldy stuff out, right? Not exactly. Where does it go? You see, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found a use for it. They granted approval so more aflatoxin ridden corn can be blended with the “good” corn in animal feeds. Professor of agriculture from Iowa State, Charles Hurburgh explains, “Livestock producers may be willing to purchase contaminated corn. There will probably be a discount to the price received, but there may be no other options. Basically, the so-called safe levels of molds that were once allowed in pet foods have now been raised so that crappy, moldy corn can be used up. On top of that, the pet food marketers can still say, “It’s OK! We use the safest levels of aflatoxins deemed by the FDA, don’t worry!” And the really scary part is, the food wasn’t all that safe in the first place! Mold contaminations have caused a ton of pet food recalls over the years. Pets have died from eating pet foods contaminated with mold. Dr Max Hawkins explains, “The pet food industry is no stranger to recalled products due to mycotoxins. The earliest documented aflatoxin outbreak dates back to 1974 when hundreds of stray dogs in India died due to the consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated corn (Krishnamachari et al, 1975). In December 2005, 76 dogs were killed from aflatoxin-contaminated pet food in the US, causing a large recall. Now with higher mold levels allowed, are we setting the stage for disaster? Test Results Researchers have begun pulling food samples off the shelves and testing them for all types of molds. One facility, Alltech, has analyzed 965 samples to date. The samples included grains, protein sources, by-products and animal feeds, including dog food.
Here are some of the things they found:

  • 98% of the samples were contaminated with one or more mycotoxins.
  • 93% of the samples contained two or more mycotoxins.
  • 39% of the samples contained more than five mycotoxins.

Is anyone going to do something about this? Will the FDA step in? While the FDA issues guidelines on the acceptable levels of mold that can be present in grains, they don’t watch the manufacturing of pet foods as closely as foods made for human consumption. This means if we don’t wise up and research what we’re feeding our pets, we’re playing Russian roulette with those molds. Trevor Smith, Guelph University professor and world leader in the field of mycotoxin research has this to say about molds in pet foods:

“A shift in pet food ingredients is on. Instead of worrying about bacteria spoilage or disease contamination, like we have in the past, we now have to focus on removing mycotoxins.” Smith explains that pet owners can help prevent their dogs or cats from consuming mycotoxins by avoiding cheaper pet food that’s more likely to contain vegetable cereals and corn or wheat fillers. He particularly urges pet owners to avoid food with significant amounts of rice bran. “That’s the ingredient that’s often contaminated,” he says. “Although we have no exact numbers, we can estimate that when half of the food is of vegetable origin, there will almost always be some degree of contamination. If the food is mainly of animal origins, the chances of contamination are greatly reduced.” Grain Based Pet Foods Are Risky In my opinion, grain based pet foods are a risky proposition. If you really want to feed foods with grains in them, then try to source human grade grains and avoid anything used for animal feed. Don’t just look on the bag; contact the manufacturer directly and find out if the grains they use are for human consumption or animal feed consumption. So, to those vets who were busy defending corn and grain on my Facebook page, I just have one question. Are you defending fresh, organic grains for human consumption or the moldy, genetically modified grains?

Lifelong Immunity

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (360)

Lifelong Immunity – Why Vets Are Pushing Back.
The duration of immunity for Rabies vaccine, Canine distemper vaccine, Canine Parvovirus vaccine, Feline Panleukopenia vaccine, Feline Rhinotracheitis, feline Calicivirus, have all been demonstrated to be a minimum of
7 years
by serology for rabies and challenge studies for all others.
In the Duration of Immunity to Canine Vaccines: What We Know and What We Don’t Know, Proceedings – Canine Infectious Diseases: From Clinics to Molecular Pathogenesis, Ithaca, NY, 1999, Dr. Ronald Schultz, a veterinary immunologist at the forefront of vaccine research and chair of the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Pathobiological Sciences, outlines the DOI for the following vaccines:
Minimum Duration of Immunity for Canine Vaccines:
Distemper- 7 years by challenge/15 years by serology
Parvovirus – 7 years by challenge/ 7 years by serology
Adenovirus – 7 years by challenge/ 9 years by serology
Canine rabies – 3 years by challenge/ 7 years by serology
Dr. Schultz concludes: 
“Vaccines for diseases like distemper and canine parvovirus, once administered to adult animals, provide lifetime immunity.”
“Are we vaccinating too much?” JAVMA, No. 4, August 15, 1995, pg. 421.
Yet vets continue to vaccinate annually.  Dog owners feel that their vets are doing their dogs a great service by vaccinating every three years instead of annually – why do we allow it when these studies were done over thirty years ago and have been replicated time and again by other researchers?
Ian Tizard states:  “With modified live virus vaccines like canine parvovirus, canine distemper and feline panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis the virus in the vaccine must replicate to stimulate the immune system. In a patient that has been previously immunized, antibodies from the previous vaccine will block the replication of the new vaccinal virus. Antibody titers are not significantly boosted. Memory cell populations are not expanded. The immune status of the patient is not enhanced.
After the second rabies vaccination, re-administration of rabies vaccine does not enhance the immune status of the patient at one or two year intervals.  We do not know the interval at which re-administration of vaccines will enhance the immunity of a significant percentage of the pet population, but it is certainly not at one or two year intervals.
Tizard Ian, Yawei N, Use of serologic testing to assess immune status of companion animals, JAVMA, vol 213, No 1, July 1, 1998.
“The recommendation for annual re-vaccination is a practice that was officially started in 1978.”  says Dr. Schultz. 
“This recommendation was made without any scientific validation of the need to booster immunity so frequently
. In fact the presence of good humoral antibody levels blocks the anamnestic response to vaccine boosters just as maternal antibody blocks the response in some young animals.”
He adds:  “The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given. Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated. Annual vaccination for diseases caused by CDV, CPV2, FPLP and FeLV has not been shown to provide a level of immunity any different from the immunity in an animal vaccinated and immunized at an early age and challenged years later. We have found that annual revaccination with the vaccines that provide long-term immunity provides no demonstrable benefit.”
Why then, have vets not embraced the concept of lifelong immunity in dogs?
“Profits are what vaccine critics believe is at the root of the profession’s resistance to update its protocols. Without the lure of vaccines, clients might be less inclined to make yearly veterinary visits.
Vaccines add up to 14 percent of the average practice’s income
, AAHA reports, and veterinarians stand to lose big.  I suspect some are ignoring my work,” says Schultz, who claims some distemper vaccines last as long as 15 years. “Tying vaccinations into the annual visit became prominent in the 1980s and a way of practicing in the 1990s. Now veterinarians don’t want to give it up.”
The report of the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Taskforce in JAAHA (39 March/April 2003)3 includes the following information for vets:
‘Misunderstanding, misinformation and the conservative nature of our profession have largely slowed adoption of protocols advocating decreased frequency of vaccination’; ‘Immunological memory provides durations of immunity for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations for annual vaccination.’
‘This is supported by a growing body of veterinary information  as well-developed epidemiological vigilance in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination is extremely long lasting and, in most cases, lifelong.’
Both the AAHA and the AVMA must do more to “step up to the plate” says noted immunologist, Dr. Richard Ford. But the reality is the vets do not have to listen to the AAHA or the AVMA and it appears the state veterinary medical boards are not interested in enforcing vaccine schedules, opting to leave it up to the individual vet.
Dr. Bob Rogers hired a Chicago based law firm and initiated a class action suit for pet owners who were not given informed consent and full disclosure prior to vaccination administration. His article entitled “The Courage to Embrace the Truth”, states “While attending conferences like WSVMA and NAVMC I have asked over 400 DVMs from various parts of the country if they attended the seminars on New Vaccination Protocols. I was told by all but one, “I don’t care what the data says, I am not changing.” One DVM here on VIN even said “I am not changing until the AVMA makes me change.”
It seems that pet owners are against the wall when it comes to vaccination. The obvious conclusion is that pet owners who are concerned about the long term health of their companion animals must take it upon themselves to research vaccines, duration of immunity and vaccine dangers. At the very least, question every vaccine that goes into your animal – but none of the above information indicates you will get an honest or well-informed answer.
Be your dog’s advocate – protect him with knowledge and by taking a stand against unnecessary vaccination. His life may well depend on it!

Free Feeding Your Dog

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (204)
Meals Versus Free Feeding
Information excerpted from Pat Miller's Positive Perspectives 2.
I cringe internally when a client tells me she free-feeds her dog, that is, she keeps the bowl on the floor filled with kibble all the time. I’m a strong believer in feeding meals for a number of reasons, in addition to the medical fact that a dog’s digestive system is designed more to gorge than to graze. There are numerous advantages to feeding your dog specific amounts of food at specific times:
  • You can monitor intake. If you feed meals, you’ll know the instant Buster goes off his feed – sometimes the first sign that he’s not feeling well.
  • You minimize your dog’s opportunities to guard his food.
  • You can utilize feeding time as training time.
  • You can take advantage of feeding time to reinforce your role as the higher-ranking member of your social group. You can’t be the “alpha dog” – your dog knows you’re not a dog – but you are a member of his social group.
  • You know when he’s full, and when he’s empty. Your training sessions are more likely to be successful if you train when Buster’s stomach is empty rather than full.
  • You can use his meals as training treats.
  • You can control your dog’s weight.
You may spark his appetite. People with fussy eaters often make the mistake of leaving food out constantly. The dog grazes all day, never gets hungry, thus never gets eager for food.

Dog Food: Ten Scary Truths

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 4:51 PM Comments comments (1524)
Did you know that 40% of dogs are obese. 46% of dogs and 39% of cats now die of cancer. Heart, kidney and liver disease are epidemic. Like people, dogs are what they eat. Save your dog a lot of suffering, and save yourself a fortune in vet bills, by learning the truth about your dog’s diet.Here are 10 important things you may not know about what your dog is eating:
1) Commercial dog food is “fast food.
Heavily-processed fast foods (burgers, fries, tacos, etc.) as a big diet component can cause major health problems in people. How can fast foods be good for dogs? Only dog food manufacturers think this nonsense makes sense. Dogs and people share roughly 75% the same genetic makeup, and we have similar nutritional needs. What we’re doing to our own health with processed foods, we’re also doing to our dogs. And it’s happening faster.
2)  People food is good for dogs.
Despite what you’ve heard from friends, vets and pet food manufacturers, wholesome ”people food” is good for dogs.  People food is only bad for dog food makers. The same fresh, nutritious foods people eat can offer your dog the nutrition he needs and save you a mountain of vet bills.  It just takes a little education to learn the small differences between human and canine nutritional needs. (Hint: no onions, grapes or raisins. Rinse off rich spices and sauces. Go easy on carbs and avoid wheat and corn.)  
3) Don’t presume the food your vet sells is a superior product. Veterinarians, like medical doctors, learn relatively little about nutrition in school. Much of what they do learn comes directly from pet food company vets, sales reps, articles, studies, and seminars. If your vet hasn’t studied and experimented on his or her own with raw or homemade diets, it’s unlikely that he or she  knows bad food from good, and may be acting on outdated information or superstition. And if vets profit from selling one brand, and not another, they have a conflict of interest that may influence their opinions. (Some may even be prohibited by a manufacturer from selling more than one brand.)
4) The quality of processed commercial foods is suspect.
Dog food may legally contain “4-D” meat: meat from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals. Add a little road kill, mill floor sweepings labeled as grain, and corn contaminated with high levels of pesticide (yes, really) and you have a recipe for ill health. The cheaper the food, the cheaper the ingredients, the worse the nutrition. Read the labels!
5) Kibble does not clean teeth.
Almost all dogs age three and over have dental diseases. Most of these dogs eat kibble. That should tell you something.  Although a small study once suggested that kibble might clean teeth better than canned food, better doesn’t mean effectively. Hoping to avoid brushing our dog’s teeth, we too willingly grasp at kibble’s unsubstantiated health benefits. But pretending that kibble or hard treats will keep teeth clean will only lead to huge vet bills, lost teeth and much canine suffering.
6) “Complete and balanced” does not mean “optimum.”
“Complete and balanced” means that a food meets minimal theoretical health requirements for the average dog.  Food boasting that it conducted Feeding Trials often just test only the lead product in a line of foods.  Trials, too, are for only a small number of dogs for a short period of time. Over time, nutrient and enzyme deficiencies are inevitable. Of course, complete and balanced is better than not complete and balanced, but again, better does not mean good.
7) Feeding the same food day after day limits nutrition.
Imagine eating corn, rancid fat and chicken wings (without meat) every meal of your life, with the same mix of cheap vitamins and minerals added. Nutritionists urge people to eat a variety of foods, both for improved nutrition and also to prevent allergies. Dogs need variety, too. But variety can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs, right?  In the short run, yes. Nutritionally-deprived animals have sick guts. In fact, intestinal upset when switching foods is a sign your dog needs more variety. Once good nutrition has healed a dog’s digestive system, the dog can eat different foods every meal — just as people do. Just switch foods gradually over several weeks while your dog’s gut heals.    
8) Kibble is not better than canned. 
Whereas canned food is preserved by the process of canning, most kibble is preserved artificially. (Ever contemplate how much preservative must be required to retard spoilage of food left out all day?) Kibble begins as a dry cooked meal whereas canned food is canned fresh.  Kibble is exposed to more heat than canned (destroying nutrients). Worse yet, kibble is linked to kidney and bladder problems in cats, and to bloat, a deadly problem especially for large, broad-chested dogs. It’s also dehydrating. Of course, canned isn’t perfect either. Fresh is best, raw or cooked. Next best is frozen prepared food and then dehydrated and freeze dried foods, all available at better pet stores.
9) Some common foods can be hazardous to canine health.
Cooked bones and rawhide chews can cause major health problems requiring emergency surgery. Wheat-based treats can bring on allergies. Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, the article sweetener Xylitol and other common foods can be toxic for dogs and must be avoided.
10) Corn kills. 
Most kibble is loaded with corn, a cheap filler. Unfortunately, the corn isn’t the luscious kind you and I eat. It’s feed corn (like cattle eat), or cheap feed corn remnants. Even corn meal dust counts as corn. The corn may even have been condemned for human consumption, there being no upper level of pesticide contamination for pet foods. If that weren’t bad enough, corn (which gives us both high fructose corn syrup and corn oil) is fattening. Any wonder so many dogs are obese and suffer from diabetes?

Improving your dog’s diet can add years to your dog’s life and save you a fortune. It doesn’t require a lot of work or expense. It just requires a little knowledge and the desire to give your dog the healthy body he or she deserves.

Pet Food Industry Secrets

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 9:31 PM Comments comments (220)
The 2007 Menu Foods recall brought to light some of the pet food industry’s dirtiest secrets. Most people were surprised — and appalled — to learn that all Iams/Eukanuba canned foods are not made by The Iams Company at all. In fact, in 2003 Iams signed an exclusive 10-year contract for the production of 100% of its canned foods by Menu. This type of deal is called “co-packing.” One company makes the food, but puts someone else’s label on it. This is a very common arrangement in the pet food industry. It was first illustrated by the Doane’s and Diamond recalls, when dozens of private labels were involved. But none were as large or as “reputable” as Iams, Eukanuba, Hill’s, Purina, Nutro, and other high-end, so-called “premium” foods.The big question raised by this arrangement is whether or not there is any real difference between the expensive premium brands and the lowliest generics. The recalled products all contained the suspect ingredient, wheat gluten, but they also all contained by-products of some kind, including specified by-products such as liver or giblets. It’s true that a pet food company that contracts with a co-packer can provide its own ingredients, or it can require the contractor to buy particular ingredients to use in its recipes. But part of the attraction of using a co-packer is that it can buy ingredients in larger bulk than any one pet food maker could on its own, making the process cheaper and the profits larger. It’s likely that with many of the ingredients that cross all types of pet foods, those ingredients are the same. Are one company’s products — made in the same plant on the same equipment with ingredients called the same name — really “better” than another’s? That’s what the makers of expensive brands want you to think. The recalled premium brands claim that Menu makes their foods “according to proprietary recipes using specified ingredients,” and that “contract manufacturers must follow strict quality standards.” Indeed, the contracts undoubtedly include those points. But out in the real world, things may not go according to plan. How well are machines cleaned between batches, how carefully are ingredients mixed, and just how particular are minimum-wage workers in a dirty smelly job going to be about getting everything just perfect? Whatever the differences are between cheap and high-end food, one thing is clear. The purchase price of pet food does not always determine whether a pet food is good or bad or even safe. However, the very cheapest foods can be counted on to have the very cheapest ingredients. For example, Ol’ Roy, Wal-Mart’s store brand, has now been involved in 3 serious recalls. Menu manufactures canned foods for many companies that weren’t affected by the recall, including Nature’s Variety, Wellness, Castor & Pollux, Newman’s Own Organics, Wysong, Innova, and EaglePack. It’s easy to see from their ingredient lists that those products are made from completely different ingredients and proportions. Again, the issue of cleaning the machinery out between batches comes up, but hopefully nothing so lethal will pass from one food to another.

P & G Product Recall

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM Comments comments (337)
CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) has voluntarily recalled specific lots of dry pet food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. These lots were distributed in the United States and represent roughly one-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of annual production. No Salmonella-related illnesses have been reported to date in association with these product lots.
Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.
Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
The affected product was distributed to select retailers across the United States. These products were made during a 10-day window at a single manufacturing site. P&G’s routine testing determined that some products made during this time-frame have the potential for Salmonella contamination. As a precautionary measure, P&G is recalling the potentially impacted products made during this time-frame. No other dry dog food, dry cat food, dog or cat canned wet food, biscuits/treats or supplements are affected by this announcement.
P&G is retrieving these products as a precautionary measure. Consumers should contact P&G toll-free at 800-208-0172 (Monday – Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM ET), or via website at or Media Contact: Jason Taylor, 513-622-1111

Mother Natures Diet

Posted on July 27, 2013 at 10:31 AM Comments comments (25)
When someone said to me to feed my 2 dogs a raw diet I thought they were bonkers!!! But the more they told me, the more I had to find out.
So after tons of research and pouring through dozens of websites, I found out just what the leading manufacturers were making their 'top quality' kibble from!!!!

I found out that these kibbles are slowly poisoning our pets, and are full of fillers and enhancers as this is the only way a pet would stomach such poor grade food.

Added to that, the materials used to break down the products to mush up into a pulp (before being dried), are responsible for horrid ailments such as poor dental health, gastric problems and many cancers.

There have been many recalls from within the pet manufacturers in recent years due to causing death and distress to many animals.

These manufacturers are focused on making multimillion dollar profits each year, not on the health and well being of our beloved pets.

Since I switched to raw I have seen my 5 year old black labs teeth go from yellow to white, no smelly breath, no smelly poop, less poop (and it biodegrades so you pick up less) He drinks less because raw food has more water, whereas kibble needs lots of water to enable the pet to digest the food.

I have lots of references for interested parties and urge you to try our high quality, HUMAN GRADE, raw food with your furever friends.

Do your own research like I won't regret taking this step for your pet.