ATTEMPTING TO DIGEST
75 years ago the pet food industry made it's debut. Whether this is a good thing or not is up for debate. Regardless it is important to fully understand the industry to recognize why Prey Model Raw feeding is so important.
Nothing makes you jump out of bed faster than a cat throwing up in the middle of the night. Nothing smells worse than explosive diarrhea or that silent but deadly fart your dog just let loose. Do your companions suffer from irritable bowel syndrome/disease, vomiting, diarrhea or flatulence? Are you trying everything to resolve the problem with no avail? Have you wondered why so many of our companions are having stomach upset and other digestion problems? Outside of trauma to the organs involved in the digestive tract, genetic predispositions and illness including parasites, bacteria or viruses, diet is a leading culprit for preventable gastrointestinal distress. Even the pet food industry's leading prescription “sensitive stomach”, “gastrointestinal support” and “GI” formulas are causing problems.
Cats, dogs and ferrets are carnivores. Anatomically they are designed to consume meat and bones as their primary diet. If we take a look at their digestive system we start at their mouth we can see it contains sharp pointy teeth for tearing, ripping and gripping meat. Unlike herbivores and omnivores, they do not have amylase in the mouth whose purpose is to start breaking down carbohydrates like fruits, veggies and grains. Digestive enzymes like amylase (that break down carbohydrates), cellulase (that break down plant matter) protease (that break down protein) and lipase (that break down fat) come from two sources. These include those obtained from the diet and those naturally created in the body. These enzymes break down the materials consumed so they can be properly digested and utilized.
Although the pancreas can produce amylase it doesn’t like too because it does not produce it in large amounts. If it is constantly producing this enzyme to compensate for the large amount of fruits, veggies and grains in the diet, it taxes the pancreas. This also means the pancreas cannot perform all the regular functions it is supposed to which includes enzymes that maintain the immune system nor the countless other hats it wears. Imagine when you were in college trying to maintain a social life, go to class, study, eat and sleep. You are juggling so many things it’s hard to keep track of everything and handle it all. Often you become stressed and sometimes you get sick. This is very similar to the pancreas and how it is easily overworked given the current and common fuel of commercial pet foods that our companions are fed.
Raw foods like those of meat, organs and bones contain natural enzymes that not only make digestion easier for the body but help replenish enzymes that have depleted. If the digestive enzymes are fueled the wrong type of food such as those from plant material, they cannot quickly and effectively digest the material. This results in the food sitting longer in the digestive tract rotting away. This is evident by the foul smelling feces your companions produce and even the cause of flatulence due to fermentation and gas build up in the body.
Plant materials are not the only problem but the manufacturing process of commercial pet foods. These foods are cooked and heated at such high temperatures not only are essential nutrients cooked away, but so are natural enzymes. Some recommend to make up for this adding yogurt or probiotics/prebiotic powders to the food. One must be very careful because most commercial yogurt and digestive enzyme powders are not live enzymes. Some powders even derive their enzymes from plants. Enzymes are also destroyed by common additives in pet food such as coloring dyes and chemical preservatives.
Indications of a reduction in digestive enzymes or enzymes fed the wrong fuel include flatulence, bad breath and burping, large, stinky and frequent feces, diarrhea, allergies, impaired immune system and even cancer.
Another source of digestion concerns come from genetically modified organisms or GMO’s. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that genetically modified organisms became available to the public. Some Greek Scientists assert in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition that the modified pieces of DNA called RNA may not be broken down properly and may unfortunately enter the blood stream or be excreted especially in those with gastrointestinal issues. Many fragments unfortunately are found in bodily tissues and once residing there, can affect gene expression resulting in ill health effects throughout the body. This includes incorporation into the gut microflora affecting their ability to digest food stuffs effectively.
Health experts are saying that there is a rise in gastrointestinal disease in the human population most often connected to the consumption of soy which is one of the leading genetically modified crops. However, studies performed on laboratory animals are showing abnormal cell growth as well as inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and other body systems. Currently there are no regulations on GMO labelling so unless something is labelled as genetically modified you don’t know if your companion is consuming GMO’s.
Bt Toxin which is often the genetic modifier of corn to prevent pesticides in the human population is known to cause leaky gut syndrome in newborns. Grains which make up a large portion of pet foods especially low quality ones are also a leading cause. This syndrome causes food stuff to leave beyond the intestinal walls into the blood stream leading to allergies and autoimmune diseases.
If you weren’t aware the most common genetically modified organisms in commercial pet food and even the human food industry include corn, soy, canola, cotton by-products (oil) rice and sugar beets.
Because digestive illnesses have been so common place among our companions the pet food industry has taken advantage of this. There are now various prescription diets both in the form of canned wet foods, dry pet foods and even treats. There are also medications and supplements. Unfortunately, there is nothing in these pet foods or treats and even some of the supplements that do anything towards aiding and soothing the canine and feline stomach.
Let’s look at the difference between a GI formula and the same company’s adult formula:
Sensitive Stomach Formula
Brewers Rice, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum, Cracked Pearled Barley, Pea Protein, Pork Fat, Soybean Oil, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, … Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.
Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Flaxseed, … Oat Fiber, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.
Yellow represents grains
Green represents common genetically modified ingredients
Underlines represents unneeded carbohydrates
(… represents vitamins and minerals)
Not only do we have over 4 sources of grain in each of these foods, both also include at least two sources of ingredients known to be genetically modified. Although the sensitive stomach diet doesn’t contain wheat or corn, it contains other no-no grains like rice and sorghum. Although some of the ingredients differ from the adult to the sensitive stomach diet, the sensitive stomach diet is heavy in grains where no meat is the first ingredient, but there are no ingredients in this formula known to soothe a sensitive stomach. You will however pay $12.29 for the adult formula for 5 lbs ($2.45/lb) and $12.29 for only 4 lbs (3.07/lb) of the sensitive stomach. So it seems you are paying for more grains and the title of sensitive stomach.
Although raw feeding isn’t a cure all, it can greatly aid in soothing the stomachs of those already suffering from digestive issues. Raw meat, organs and bones are much easier to digest than any wet food and especially all dry foods. In its natural state enzymes and protein structure remain intact promoting a healthy gut that does not tax the beneficial microflora. If a prey model raw diet is followed, absolutely no fruits, veggies or grain are used reducing further stress on the body’s digestive tract including the pancreas. Finally, this natural food often will eliminate flatulence, burping as well as large, frequent and very stinky feces. For those companions that do not suffer from digestive complications, by feeding a species appropriate prey model raw diet, you can most likely avoid all these problems. A raw diet only benefits your companion who will thank you with a long and happy life relatively free of disease.