Principles For Choosing The Best Pet Food
Nature knows best!Dogs and cats have survived for thousands of years without the need for medical intervention. For them, survival depended on having an immune system that was able to defend the body against all the diseases they would encounter from birth, until death. A sound body, that could reproduce equally viable offspring in abundance, was necessary for the health of future generations. This could only have taken place because their diet promoted self-sufficiency, long life and the continuation of their strong genetics to another generation.
When you compare the natural diet of carnivores in the wild to the ingredients in most commercial pet foods, it becomes obvious how far we have deviated from what NATURE provides.
Nature's diets for carnivores have distinct characteristics and properties. They are high in quality animal protein, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and their derivatives, while being virtually devoid of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and fibrous material. They do not contain artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, sugar or toxins. Nor do they contain substances that may damage vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys and thyroid, or that interfere with nutrient availability or reproduction.
The importance of adhering to the natural principles of feeding cannot be over-emphasized, because, the further diets deviate from nature's dietary structures, the more health problems animals are likely to experience. Also, the closer the diet is to what nature provides, the more healthy and beautiful they will be. The commitment to natural principles of feeding is what separates Abady canine and feline diets from all others.
The basic principles of nutrition
The first basic principle of nutrition is to supply calories.The second basic principle is to supply tissue building nutrients. Protein is the #1 tissue building nutrient. The word “protein” comes from the Greek word “protos,” which literally means, “of the first importance.” We’ve got to realize first that the dog and cat are carnivorous mammals. No human being has the ability to change what a species was created to be. There is not one single zoological reference that refers to the cat as an obligatory carnivore or the dog as an omnivore. They have not adapted to an omnivore lifestyle.
Adaptation means, survival, which is very different from a thriving status. The phrase “This ___is well tolerated by most individuals,” really annoys me. What does the word “tolerate” mean? Tolerate - to endure hardship, forbearance, accept something unpleasant or disliked, be capable of continued subjection to without adverse reaction. I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t have an adverse reaction to something they tolerated. Who wants to survive or tolerate anything in this life? All vets, dog breeders and pet food manufacturers and retailers should not strive to get dogs and cats to “survive”. I want my pet to thrive and I know you do too.
When it comes to calories and tissue building nutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrates can be from animal sources, which include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Protein:Animal, fish and poultry protein is very good. All fruits, vegetables and grains have got some protein in them, but that protein is questionable, because it does not contain sufficient quantities of essential amino acids, in the correct proportions, to be digested and absorbed, much less in the exact same time-frame as those from the animal, poultry and fish sources.
Protein is made up of amino acids, of which 10 must be supplied by the die in a specific ratio to each other in order for the protein in the ration to be fully convertible to tissue in the dog's body. For example, if all the essential amino-acids are fully represented but one, is under-supplied by 40%, then all the other essential amino acids will become under-supplied by the same %. As a result of the shortage of one essential amino-acid, all the protein in the ration will only be 60% usable for tissue building.
That is why it is so important to balance the protein in a ration, and why Abady includes whole dried egg to complement the animal protein ingredients in the ration. Other products often combine gluten or soy as the dominant protein source, whether or not animal meat or meat meal is the first ingredient listed. Gluten and soy have a lower biological value, making them far less effective. Gluten is a concentrated source of protein (75%), but it is of very low quality with a biological value of only 40, which is much lower than that which is required to sustain the growth or maintain a dog without breakdowns. For dogs to thrive, they must have a protein of the highest biological value - as close to 100 as possible, and it must be derived almost exclusively from animal-based ingredients.
Another shortcoming of gluten is that because it is a plant protein, it is absorbed at a different rate than animal protein and in order for tissue growth or repair to take place the amino-acids from all sources must be available at the same time or repair may not take place at all.
Another characteristic of gluten is that it is like 'glue'. When large amounts of concentrated gluten are included in a ration, it can infuse itself into the intestinal villi, harden and cause them to break off. Since the body cannot regenerate its villi, permanent areas of malabsorption may be created. It is one thing to include grain containing gluten in a diet and quite another to include large quantities of the concentrate. However, it is best to restrict the amount of grain present in the ration.
Fat:When it comes to tissue building nutrients, fat comes in as a very close second, in terms of importance. For both dogs and cats, fat is the #1 source of calories, followed by protein and then small quantities of carbohydrates. So, fat is very, very important! Many companies put a decent amount of fat into puppy food and then decrease the amount of fat in adult food and reduce it even further in senior food, and they proudly announce “reduced fat”, “low fat”. And then people wonder why they’ve got couch potato dogs who are hopelessly over-weight at 6-7 years of age. This is a totally wrong thing to do. Fat is extremely important in dog and cat nutrition. The fat from animals is very good. The fat in the flesh of fish is excellent. And, yes, some vegetables contain fats in, the form of omega fatty acids, but 90% of dog and cat foods contain mostly poultry fat from chicken, which is a carbohydrate fat; made from the carbohydrate (grain) diet the chicken eats. It is a cheap fat. Carbohydrate fat is a very poor substitute for fat that is made from fats, because fat made from carbohydrates does not have the omega fatty acid profile that fat made from fat has. Dog, cat and even humans cannot utilize carbohydrate fat properly, so it accumulates and creates the overweight aspect. That’s why we remove the fat and skin from chicken when we sit down to eat! Remember that kibble foods require high amounts of carbohydrates to produce the kibble form, so chicken fat is used as a source of carbohydrate, in addition to grains.
EFA's:The fatty-acid components of all Abady products has been perfected and deliver the best omega-3 and omega-6 profile in the market place. This vitally important aspect of nutrition is not addressed in a number of diets and this conceptual error is expressed in skin eruptions and other disorders, including coprophagy (stool eating).
Carbohydrates:Dogs and cats do utilize very small quantities of carbohydrates. With regard to carbohydrate sources, all muscle meat contains glucose, so animal muscle meat is a good source of carbohydrate. The requirement for carbohydrates in carnivores is very low, so the small amount of carbohydrate in chicken meat and fish is good, but fruits, vegetables and grains have massive amounts of carbohydrates. When you look at this, it becomes obvious why feeding raw food; supplying the protein, fat and carbohydrate from animal meat (animal, poultry or fish), is such a brilliant form of feeding a dog or cat.
And of course, vitamins and minerals are very important. However, good food that has been formulated properly, does not need supplementation.
How things workWhen the correct type of protein and other ingredients are fed to a dog or cat, which are derived from different animal meats, organs and whole eggs, the amino acids in the protein stimulate the stomach to produce mucous and hydrochloric acid. This creates the correct pH, which is 1.6. By the way, no bacteria can survive a pH that low; acidic. That is why wild dogs can eat a carcass that has been sitting in the heat of the sun for hours and not get sick. When pre-digestion is complete (about 2-4 hours) the very acidic contents of the stomach pass through the pyloric valve, and that acidity stimulates the production of a hormone that then stimulates the gallbladder to push bile into the small intestine to further process the fats. At the same time, the pancreas pushes juice and digestive enzymes into the small intestine, but these enzymes are extremely sensitive to an acid pH. So, coming with the enzymes is a certain quantity of sodium bicarbonate, which raises the pH to 3.5. This is the correct pH for digestion in the small intestine. Food must remain in the stomach long enough for complete pre-digestion and then travel slowly down the small intestine for proper and complete digestion and nutrient absorption.
For protein to be pre-digested in the stomach of your dog or cat, the pH must be 1.6; very acidic. The plant fibers, grains and other fillers that manufacturers put into pet foods raise the pH of the stomach above 2, because the non-animal protein has less amino acids to stimulate HCL. As a result, the animal proteins are not completely broken down into individual amino acids. When the stomach empties prematurely, because the pH is not right, sufficient time is not given to completely pre-digest the animal protein, which has to compete with all the bulk created by the expanding (by 250-500%) plant material.
This fiber expands, bringing in the aspect of the stretch reflex of the stomach. The appetite center shuts off and the dog walks away from his food, before he has consumed his caloric needs. One hour or so later, his appetite center is re-stimulated and he is hungry again, so he eats some more. These foods contain far more carbohydrate than the dog can utilize efficiently, so the excessive carbohydrate turns to carbohydrate fat on the dog, and predisposes it to developing diabetes. The dog is literally starving, very slowly, but it doesn’t appear so, because he looks fat; inflammation and visible fat. The dog or cat that has an accumulation of fat on the body are not getting the nutrition (tissue building nutrients) and they are not getting the calories they need on a daily basis. All they are getting are carbohydrates.
Lipomas are fatty cysts that are the accumulation of carbohydrate fat, which is trying to turn itself into a tumor with a cancerous status. They are caused by excessive carbohydrates in the diet that are not being properly digested, which is a very good indicator that the dog has been on the wrong food. Put these dogs on an Abady raw meat or granular diet, and these Lypomas that are there - will stay, but no new Lypomas will form.
Then food leaves the stomach by way of the pyloric valve, the pH is not sufficient to stimulate the gallbladder to secrete the correct amount of bile, to digest the fats. The pancreas is not properly stimulated to release the correct amount of sodium bicarbonate and enzymes. The pH in the small intestine is then insufficient to complete the digestive process and it empties prematurely. These partially digested proteins (amino acid chains) are the cause of allergies, and other health problems in your dogs and cats. It’s not the individual ingredients in the food that causes allergies, but the proteins that have not been completely broken down (amino acid chains) that cause an immune reaction.
The functions of the tissues and organs of the body depend on the nutrients and calories, which make up the biochemistry that is needed for all the functions that are occurring throughout the entire body, all the time; 24 hour period. When the biochemistry comes up short, either because the food is devoid of nutrition or due to interference factors, or both, then that will influence the digestibility of the different nutrients, and consequently the total biochemistry that the body needs will not be reached. As a consequence, all the organs and tissues suffer, because there is a loss of function. Over time, the deficiencies of nutrients and resulting insufficiencies in the biochemistry will slowly become a total deficiency in a particular area of the body. There is nothing wrong with the genetics or the pet, but the fault is with the food.
Feeding too much protein?The #1 tissue building nutrient for dog, cat and human is protein. The word protein comes from the Greek word, “protos,” which literally means - of the first importance. There is nothing more important than protein! Don’t ever forget that. There are stories circulating and vets will say that you must not feed too much protein, because it will create problems, etc. When you hear that, just ask, “Well, how much protein is too much?” There is no answer to that question. The second questions is, “If too much protein causes harm, then above a certain value protein can become toxic and poisonous. So, please describe to me the pathogenisis of protein toxicity.” And, there is no such thing. So, don’t listen to all that nonsense.
If you give a dog or cat a high protein meal, it is made up of amino acids. Amino acids cannot be excreted, peed out, pooped out, sweated out or exhaled. Once an amino acid is inside the body, it’s there. In addition to that, no dog, cat or human has the ability to store one single amino acid. We can store proteins, but we cannot store single amino acids. So, once we’ve got excessive amino acids in circulation, those amino acids are taken up by the liver and converted to a substance called “neoglycogen.” Neoglycogen is dumped back into circulation and then it is taken up by the skeletal muscles. And, in the skeletal muscles the neoglycogen is converted into a substance called glycogen, which very rapidly converts to glucose. This glucose is then utilized by muscles as a form of energy. That’s why feeding muscle meats provides the correct quantity of carbohydrates (glucose) to both dogs and cats. That’s why you cannot over-feed protein and why raw food feeding is superior.
The biological value of PROTEINProtein is the most important tissue building nutrient for the individual dog or cat. Companies do not want to speak of the biological value of the protein in their formulas, because it is a tremendous embarrassment to them. The #1 question you need to have an answer to is, “What is the biological value of the protein in this food? (How much of the protein, that you tell me is in this food, can my dog or cat actually utilize for all it’s biological processes). This biological value (BV) is measured by an index which ranges from a maximum of 100, all the way down to zero. A BV of 50 is a very important cut-off point, because if your dog, cat or you are on a diet that has a BV less than 50, your dog, cat or you will die. That’s how important protein is to LIFE.
Many dog and cat foods have grains in them (wheat, oat, sorghum). The protein from grain is called gluten. Today we see a lot of potato in pet foods. The potato has protein in it. The protein from potato and gluten behave in almost exactly the same way. They have a BV of 54, which is slightly above the 50 line, so the dog will “survive” by eating these ingredients. If they add a little bit of soy to push that BV up to 56-58, it is still very low, when it comes to survival. In order to have a thriving status, one needs to have a BV of between 90-100. A value of 90 is reached when the value of the protein in the formulation is derived from animal sources. That is why, vegetarian diets are not healthy.
With regard to Abady, they do not have one single formulation that has a biological value below 90. Abady kibbles have all got between 80-85% animal protein. Abady granular foods are between 90-98% animal protein. Abady canned and raw foods are all 100% animal protein.
You can give all the correct sources of tissue building nutrients (animal protein), but if the process of digestion is not working properly, because the plant ingredients prevent the dog or cat from being able to digest them, you may as well not feed your pet. Commercial dog and cat food manufacturers put all sorts of ingredients in their foods, that sabotage digestion and cause malnutrition. The nutrients must be digested and absorbed to make up the total biochemistry in all the different tissues and organs, that create all the different functions of the body. The correct digestive process is needed to accomplish this.
If your dog or cat has a problem, first ask yourself, “Would feeding a different food assist this animal?” The brand is not important, but the ingredients in the food is what’s important. The only way you can get this right, and correct the problem, is if you know what is happening inside the animal. Veterinary prescription diets contain more of the same ingredients that are causing the problem, so changing brands isn’t going to make much difference, if the ingredients are those listed in the beginning of this article. You can email your pets blood work to me and I can explain to you, from a nutritional perspective, not a pathological perspective, what’s going on in the biochemistry of your dog.
By-products (Internal organs)Dogs are carnivores, so they need a diet that is very different from our own. They lack the digestive chemistry to break down grains, fruits and vegetables. In the wild, they would consume the digestive system of the herbivore, who has already digested the vegetation for them. (In the 50s, the largest producer of dry diets circulated an absurd notion that because dogs consumed the plant matter contained in the internal organs of their prey, this justified the production of kibble composed mostly of highly processed grain and plant matter.) These internal organs are better known as "animal by-products” on the label of packaged pet food, and something that has been frowned upon by the pet food industry. They push a diet to consumers that includes the 4 food groups, which wasn't introduced to humans until the 1950's. They market their highly processed, cheaply made, food-like substances to an unsuspecting public who also eats processed foods. They use colorful bags with the food pyramid on it or pictures of fruits and vegetables. As carnivores, dogs and cats were designed to get their veggies in a certain way, from the foods they eat. You don’t see dogs or cats in corn, wheat, potato, beet or other fields of crops consuming those foods in the wild, and you never will. Unfortunately, there are no voices to help guide dog owners.
Most journals that have information to sell, appear to be either over-influenced by industry rhetoric or are simply misguided and improperly informed. Such appears to be the case, for example, with regard to the Whole Dog Journal (WDJ), who’s influence is far greater that the quality of information they provide. For instance, the WDJ’s negative stance against the inclusion of by-products in foods is devoid of both scientific merit and logic. By-products are nutritious internal organs and other body parts of animal, which are rejected by WDJ, because they say, and I quote, “Not because by-products are bad, but because whole meats (I assume they are referring to muscle meat) are better”. They continue, “We select foods that contain ingredients that one could serve at the dinner table, that is why foods containing by-products are rejected”. What the average pet food consumer is unaware of is, that muscle meat used in animal food is largely from downed animals (that have died and were sent to a rendering plant). Also, the use of “human grade” beef muscle meat would be cost prohibitive. By-products, on the other hand, cost far less, because they are largely derived from animals slaughtered for human consumption. This makes the amounts that can be included in the ration much greater. Another point of greatest importance and is totally missed by the WDJ is that by rejecting nutritious by-products, it is impossible to make a dog or cat food that contains enough quality animal protein to ensure its effectiveness and safety. The WDJ claims that evaluating the merits of a food is purely subjective and that there is no need for science, or apparently even common sense, to determine if a ration is adequate. WDJ is misinformed and by it’s statements and omissions, has been misleading people.
Many companies fear being blacklisted by WDJ, so they may avoid including by-products in their formulas. As a result, many rations are impoverished. The campaign waged against the use of by-products by WDJ has caused many pet food customers are avoid them as well, and the degree of suffering dogs and cats continues to escalate.
Under pressure from the Abady Company, the WDJ claims to have modified its stance against the inclusion of by-products, by saying, “The WDJ will now accept by-products, providing they are in a supportive role”. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing! Why? Because as I explained above, the maximum amount of raw meat that can be included in an extruded food is 20% of the ration. This represents 12% of the protein in the ration on a dry solids basis. Still leaving a protein void of 88% to be filled, but with what? Gluten and vegetable protein sources, which are indigestible by dogs and cause a host of serious health problems. If by-product meals were included, instead of whole meat, very little would need to be used, because of the concentration of protein (12%) in the dry meals, still leaving the bulk of the protein in the ration to be filled.
Animal by-products are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. Muscle meat is deficient in many nutrients, including calcium, other minerals and vitamins. Many of these missing nutrients are abundant in meat and poultry by-products. By-products are also an excellent source of protein/amino acids. The carnivore knew this long before the humans figured it out.
By weight vs by volumeUnder the Guaranteed Analysis, the fiber varies between 3-5%, by weight. We’ve got to convert the “by weight” quantity of fiber to a “by volume” quantity of fiber. To do this you’ve got to take into consideration the density of that substance. A pound of lead is much less volume than a pound of feathers. The feathers occupy more volume. Fiber is almost as light as feathers. If 1 pound of food, which is equal to 454 grams, then 5% = 22.7 grams. So, now when we look at the list of ingredients, where we see the word “fiber”, we can write 22.7 grams. The meat is always listed before the fiber. If the fiber is the 3rd, 4th or 7th ingredient, this will tell you approximately how much meat is in the formula. Knowing the quantity of meat in the food gives us the biological value of that food. To know whether you are giving a good food or a lousy food, refer to the list of ingredients and notice that seldom will you see the word “fiber”. Sometimes it will say beet pulp, pea or potato fiber or flour, but otherwise we don’t see the word fiber. So, on average, these different plant materials represent approximately 15% fiber in one pound of dog food. The final Guaranteed Analysis reads 5%. Beet pulp contains 15% fiber. So you take 5%, which is 22.7 grams and divide that by 15%, which is the fiber content = 151.3 grams in 454 grams or 1 pound of dog food, which is approximately 3x. So ⅓ rd of that dog food contains nothing more than compressed fiber by weight. Fiber has a nutritional value of ZERO, because dogs do not produce the enzymes cellulase and hemicellulase, which are needed to break down plant cellulose.
The Guaranteed Analysis
By law, every commercial company has to have the minimal daily requirements of the minerals and vitamins, as laid down by the Veterinary Research Council, and show that in the Guaranteed Analysis. The company has to guarantee a minimum % of protein, as well as fat. So, all those foods in the pet store have got the minimal daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, but obviously there’s something in the formulation that’s inhibiting the digestion and absorption of those nutrients, and that’s why the dog has developed nutritional deficiencies, and hence, health problems. Therefore, change the food.
In the Guaranteed Analysis, they must also guarantee a maximum % of fiber and moisture. Note that it does not guarantee a % of carbohydrates. By law, the company is not allowed to give you the % of carbohydrate under the Guaranteed Analysis. In addition to that, they’ve got to give you a percentage of fiber. Yet, the fiber is not a source of calories, nor is it a source of tissue building nutrients. So, what is the fiber doing in the food? It’s an undigestible, filler that is devoid of nutrition, and it prevents diarrhea, nothing more. And, everyone gives their pet water, so why include the moisture? The Guaranteed Analysis is not giving you a tremendous amount of information.
The way to interpret the Guaranteed Analysis is this. That which is given to you as a minimum %; the protein and fat (tissue building nutrients), are of phenomenal importance, and that which is given to you as a maximum; the fiber and moisture, is of ZERO importance.
Now, whenever you utilize a %, it’s imperative that you identify it as a % of something; either by weight or by volume. When they give you a %, is it by weight or by the amount of space that food occupies in the stomach; volume? There is a huge difference to the dog, because when it comes to feeding a dog or cat, it’s never about how heavy the food is, but about how much space the food occupies in the stomach before the stretch reflex tells the cat or dog that they are full. Yet, by law every company has to give you the % by weight, which is superfluous.
When you look at the details of the Guaranteed Analysis, you realize that you are not getting a tremendous amount of value from that, because the list of ingredients has to be the RAW ingredients, in a descending order by weight. And, once again, weight is not the important aspect. To make a kibble or biscuit, the ingredients must first be made into a meal; dry substance. This requires heat. The moisture evaporates, leaving you with very little substance when we are talking about the meat, which always appears first on the list of ingredients, by raw weight (which is 75% water), in descending order. If we were to rewrite the ingredients list in a descending order by volume, the meat would never be the first ingredient. In fact, it would be very close to the bottom of the list.
Keep in mind that which is given to you as a whole product, such as the meat, fruits, vegetables and grains, are all in a wet form, but raw meat is 75% moisture, while the moisture in potatoes, beets and grains is very low. When the plant ingredients are made into a dry form, there is an enormous amount of volume as compared to the animal meat and fat ingredients. Here is where you and your pet are being cheated. The labeling is protecting the manufacturer, not the store owner, pet parent or the pet. This is very wrong, but they must abide by these rules. Commercial companies are not allowed to advertise at all in the Guaranteed Analysis or in the list of ingredients, because if they say they are utilizing premium grade, and another company utilizes the 4th grade, there’s not enough premium to go around.
While it is improbable that dogs would be allergic to flesh (beef, lamb, chicken, fish, etc.), nevertheless, on testing they will show a positive reaction to those ingredients when fiber is the true cause of the allergy. Dogs are frequently allergic to soy, wheat and gluten, and occasionally to corn. The difference is that the allergies to flesh are usually cured by the elimination of the fiber in the diet, while the grain, soy and gluten allergies require the elimination of the offending ingredient from the diet entirely. Rice and barley are hypo-allergenic grains.
Fibrous materials shorten the time the body has to process, but it also interferes with the mechanical process of nutrient absorption. The churning action of the digestive organs vigorously presses the food against the absorptive surfaces of the GI tract, thereby helping to force the nutrients into the thousands of villi that line the intestine, through which the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. The excess bulk of fibrous materials create a barrier between the particles of food and the villi, so the animal protein must compete with all that bulk to have any chance of being absorbed in the time allowed. This impedes the ability of their nutrients to be absorbed.
Excess fiber can interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients by chemically rendering them un-absorbable. Iron is absorbed early in the digestive phase and by speeding up transit time through the GI tract, this limits their absorption. The binders in some fibers link chemically with a number of vitally needed minerals, including calcium, zinc and manganese. They may carry them out of the body. This can be serious for a number of reasons. Imbalances in the calcium/phosphorus ratio can create innumerable problems including lameness, uterine inertia, and eclampsia. Second, the binding of trace elements can cause all other nutrients to be mal-absorbed. For example, in the gastric phase of digestion hormones are released which initiate the enzymatic breakdown of food. One of the most important hormones is gastrin, which is released by the cells in the back of the stomach; this release is initiated by dietary protein. Meals that are too low in protein, or are reduced in protein value, which can be seriously undermined by large quantities of fiber, do not stimulate the secretion of gastrin . This may result in poor digestion. Gastrin stimulates cells within the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, acidifying the ingested food, which is a necessity for full digestion to take place. The protein splitting enzyme pepsin is also released and begins the breakdown of protein. Most of the digestive enzymes, such as pepsin, are initially secreted in inactive forms called zymogens. This prevents the body from digesting itself. The conversion of these enzymes to their active forms requires adequate levels of other converting enzymes called co-enzymes, which are affected by the levels of zinc and manganese in the diet. The binding of trace minerals by fiber (phytic acid) can, in this way, also interfere with protein breakdown, contributing to the nutritional impoverishment of the subject, while courting the potential allergic response created by the presence of improperly broken down proteins in the small intestine. The depressing effect of roughage on nutrient availability, including protein, is only one of the consequences of including too much fibrous material to the diet.
Excess fiber and colon health is another area of concern in our dogs and cats. While the small intestine is the site for the digestion and absorption of most nutrients, the large intestine or colon is the recovery station for moisture from the stool and the bacterial action that produces some B vitamins. A few nutrients and other substances are also absorbed in the colon, including the valuable tripeptide glutathione. Fecal material is composed of water, dead bacteria cells, the breakdown products of hemoglobin, bile salts and undigested fiber. The colon is extremely important in the maintenance of nutrient balance and gastrointestinal function. There are millions of bacteria that inhabit the colon and, if the colon is healthy, the bacteria are of a beneficial variety. A small number of pathogenic bacteria also live in a healthy colon, but are relatively harmless in the presence of the overwhelming numbers of the host-friendly bacteria, which are single-celled organisms that occur in pairs and in short chains, and which convert sugar into lactic acid. They are called lactobacilli and are normally present on the skin, in the digestive system and in the vaginal mucosa, where they perform many functions and protect their hosts against the action of harmful bacteria. These lactobacilli keep the numbers of pathogenic bacteria in check by competing with them for attachment sites and growing room. Furthermore, the lactobacilli create an acid environment around themselves that is hostile to pathogenic bacteria. The base products of lactobacillic fermentation all have significant antimicrobial action. In addition, the various strains of lactobacilli produce antibiotic substances which inhibit the growth of some of the most dangerous pathogens, including staphylococcus aureus and e-coli. Unlike chemical antibiotic like penicillin, the substances produced by symbiotic bacteria do not indiscriminately attack useful bacteria. They only attack pathogens. Obviously it is very important to foster and encourage these friendly bacteria in every way possible. Abady's New York Natural Kibble Dog food includes quality yogurt product as a source of food for the colon's lactobacilli population.
Other benefits of a healthy lactobacilli colon. When the bacteria living in the colon are provided with a healthy environment, the intestinal tract stays healthy. Wastes are properly eliminated and good absorption takes place. If bacteria in the colon are in a state of chaos, or are killed off as a result of antibiotic use or as a consequence of feeding an improper diet (very high in fibrous material) which causes an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the colon, the attachment sites of the "friendly" bacteria are quickly taken up by the resident, fast multiplying, opportunistic pathogens. Pathogens are parasitic, non-symbiotic and if there are enough of them, they will begin to produce toxins in the colon. Toxic colon disorders, such as colitis, are associated with higher levels of anaerobic bacteria (those that do not require oxygen). The integrity of the colon is controlled by the acidity of the mucosa (produced by the friendly bacteria) and by the level of fiber in the diet. If there is too much fiber in the diet, it will bring indigested food into the colon which will ferment and putrefy, causing large numbers of pathogenic bacteria to be generated. These anaerobic bacteria can proliferate wildly, potentially reaching levels a thousand times greater than normal. The delayed colon transit time associated with high levels of fiber encourage the absorption of toxins and pathogens into the bloodstream, especially if corrosive toxins are also present in the food supply.
Example: A typical dog food that contains 5% fiber, of which 3.5% or 4% is derived from commonly used fibrous materials like beet pulp, tomato pomace or cellulose (wood pulp) can include up to 113.5 grams of fiber in each 454 grams (one pound) of product, making beet pulp (or its equivalent), by weight, 25% of the ration. All of this mass of fibrous material, when saturated by digestive juices in the GI tract, can expand by as much as 250% in volume, making it the material that occupies a greater volume in the digestive tract than all the other nutrient sources combined. For any product to be presented as being easier to digest, allergy preventing, colitis preventing, etc., it would seem logical that lowering the excessive amounts of fibrous material to within species relevant bounds would be the first place to start. Naturally, Abady foods contain only as much fiber as is contained in the ingredients themselves, and none are added.
The development of a RAW diet.A more recent addition to the pet food isle is a raw diet, that consists of raw meat and vegetables. In an attempt to solve or prevent the health problems that are so often associated with dry commercial diets, an industry has emerged in which frozen raw meat is added to plant matter or offered in various blends to be added to dry commercial rations. It is assumed that these problems will disappear if raw meat is substituted for the foundation ingredients in dry diets. This has not happened.
The problem with the current raw diets is that most of them are primarily composed of plant matter, which is indigestible to carnivores. In the 1950s, the largest producer of dry diets circulated an absurd notion that because dogs consumed the plant matter contained in the internal organs of their prey, this justified the production of kibble composed mostly of highly processed grain and plant matter. This mistake is now being applied in an attempt to justify the use of voluminous amounts of undigestible, saponin containing raw vegetables, which are included in today’s raw diets.
Grain can be used by dogs, if it is highly processed. Raw vegetables cannot, regardless of whether they are masticated by the animal or ground mechanically. In addition, the pulp produced is not suitable to the feeding of carnivores.
In short, while raw diets are supposed to prevent the problems created by commercial kibble, the concept of them, as it is elaborated today by companies other than Abady, is so faulty that their remedial effects are put in doubt.
In order to produce a fresh diet that works, one must understand which factors, both in composition and structure, cause the dry diet to be so faulty. Modern raw diets (again, other than those produced by the Abady Company) are, on the whole, improperly focused. Only the Abady Company has mastered these profound nutritional issues and addressed them in its dry products. As a result, Abady’s complete fresh frozen raw diets have been designed without the drawbacks of the dry diets, and the benefits of using raw meat and organs are amplified.
Some large pet food manufacturers have prepared a list of “myths” about the raw diet.They claim that raw meat and poultry may be contaminated with harmful microorganisms, such as salmonella and that feeding raw meat to pets can expose them to bacteria, parasites and protozoa. They claim that members of the household will also be exposed to the same microorganisms.
THE TRUTH: Handling raw meats for pets is no more exposure to bacteria than handling raw beef, chicken or fish for yourself. Precautions, such as thawing in the refrigerator, using non-porous surfaces that can be disinfected after use and even wearing gloves are all common sense practices when handling raw meats.
They claim that salmonella was found in fecal samples from pets fed raw diets.
THE TRUTH: What they fail to mention is that the majority of those “raw” diets also contain raw vegetable matter which raises the pH of the stomach so that microorganism can survive the stomach. Whereas Abady raw meat pet foods promote the proper 1.6 pH, which effectively kills microorganisms. Feeding the correct ingredients, as what carnivores in the wild eat, eliminates this potential problem.
Concerns about Salmonella: Robert Abady Dog Food Company make it their first priority to produce foods with great care and keeping in mind the safety of pets and their owners. They have many safety measures in place to prevent the growth of salmonella, and continue to search for the best technologies and procedures to ensure product safety.
In June 2013, Abady voluntarily updated processing standards and equipment to meet FDA standards equal to those for handling foods for human consumption.
At home: When handling these raw frozen pet foods, please make sure to wash hands and all food preparation surfaces thoroughly after handling the product. Personally, I recommend wearing disposable medical rubber gloves, which I use whenever I am handling any kind of raw meat.
Thawing instructions: For best results, thaw overnight in your refrigerator.
They claim that as part of a raw diet, raw bones can fracture teeth. Jagged or sharp points can tear the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Fragments of bone may become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract.
THE TRUTH: Ground bone in Abady’s raw diets are so fine that it is barely distinguishable from the other ingredients. In the wild, dogs would eat the raw bone of the animals they consumed. As long as the bone is raw, it’s not usually a problem. Cooked bone will splinter, which is extremely dangerous.
Raw diets may not be nutritionally balanced or complete. Diets made of mostly meat or poultry, and bones may be lacking in important nutrients. Calcium deficiency is a common problem with these diets, which can lead to impaired growth, spontaneous fractures and loose teeth. Vitamin A toxicity can occur if large amounts of raw liver are fed.
THE TRUTH: The fault is with the plant sources of ingredients in the formula that prevent the animal meat from being completely digested and not in the meat itself.
They say that a raw diet may not be the best choice for your pet.
THE TRUTH: A raw diet has served carnivores for thousands of years, up until the past 70 years, when man decided he knew better and began manufacturing highly processed food-like substances for himself and his pets. The best choice in both instances is to eat food that is close to the way Nature created it as you can get it, and you will enjoy health and longevity in your pets, and yourself.
They claim that food allergies are most commonly caused by proteins. That is only partially true.
THE TRUTH: Food allergies are caused by proteins that have not been completely digested or broken down into individual amino acids. Amino acid chains are partially digested proteins that interact with the immune system and cause an allergic response. You can only be allergic to partially digested proteins, not to completely digested proteins. It’s the plant ingredients that interfere with the complete digestion of proteins. The fault is not with the animal proteins, but with the plant matter in the formula.
In addition to the above “myths,” they also make the following statements.
They claim that food dyes do not cause allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset in pets. They add that all dyes are approved by the FDA, who has thoroughly tested and found not to cause any health problems.
THE TRUTH: Rich color does not always = healthy nutrition. FD&C Yellow #5 may cause hay fever, gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes; may be carcinogenic. FD&C Red #40 causes thyroid tumors in lab animals; may be carcinogenic; FDA recommends banning use. FD&C Yellow #6 causes tumors in lab animals; contaminated with carcinogens. Unsafe and very poorly tested. May cause allergic reactions. FD&C Blue #1 & 2 may cause itching, low blood pressure, may be carcinogenic, cause brain tumors, and has not been adequately tested. FD&C Red #2, Green #3 carcinogenic. All artificial colors have been found to contribute to hyperactivity in children, behavioral changes, allergic-like reactions, birth defects, learning and visual disorders, nerve damage; may be carcinogenic. Caramel color is a suspected carcinogen; may cause inflammation of the tongue, scalp lesions, dry skin and hair loss.
It makes sense that as mammals, this would also be true of our pets. Many pet owners I have met who have fed their dogs and cats foods with artificial colors and artificial flavors have told me that their pets have died of cancer, almost without exception. Many were 7 years old or younger. Until I mentioned it, they never made the connection. Food coloring interacts with the immune system that is far worse than “allergies”; it causes cancers and neurological problems, as well as gastrointestinal distress.
They say that corn is an excellent source of nutrients, including protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and that it is easily digested by dogs and cats. They also say that corn is not a common cause of allergies.
THE TRUTH: Corn is indigestible to carnivores, just like every other plant cellulose ingredient. Corn is a common allergy among humans, who can digest it. They say that the most common allergies among pets is to beef, dairy products, wheat, lamb, egg, chicken and soy. Of course, allergy to soy is not a surprise, however as I have already explained, it is the plant ingredients that prevent the complete digestion of the animal protein ingredients, which results in an allergic response, not the animal protein ingredients themselves. If fed 100% animal protein, a dog or cat who is allergic to that meat will thrive, because it is the plant matter that interferes with digestion of the animal protein, causing long-chains of amino acids, which interact with the immune system and cause symptoms. Without the plant matter, the animal protein is completely broken down and the individual amino acids are able to do their job, building tissues.
The basic principles of a successful raw or dry diet are:A. Most of the protein must be derived from meat, internal organs (by-products) or other highly nutritious animal sources. Only Abady offers this.
B. The calories must be derived principally from animal fats (beef fat, lard (pork fat), fish fats, and oils). The plant-derived oils serve as fatty acid precursors. Pork fat (lard) is the most nutritious of the land-based fatty acid sources and closely approximates the nutritional index of fish fat.
C. The grain levels should be as low as is practical. In Abady dry granular foods the carbohydrate levels are significantly lower than in commercial dry diets (kibble). In some of Abady’s raw diets a small amount of grain helps to regulate glucose levels and moderate growth. Without it some puppies do not grow steadily. Grain is preferred over vegetable matter, because it is usable by the animal. Abady frozen diets do not contain raw vegetable matter.
D. The fiber content should be minimal and most raw diets manufactured by companies other than Abady contain enormous amounts of vegetable cellulose. Large amounts of cellulose (crude fiber) can reverse the digestive processes. It speeds up the passage of food through the stomach and small intestine, lowering its nutritional value, and slows the passage of food through the colon, potentially generating enormous quantities of damaging bacteria and creating widespread allergies. In most Abady complete fresh frozen raw diets a small quantity of meat-based fiber is supplied by a small addition of beef meal. Some is also provided by the raw tissue itself.
E. We know that a lot of fuss is being made about the advantages of including bone in raw diets. Bone provides a natural source of calcium and phosphorous, but has to be balanced correctly. This does not appear to have been done in most commercial diets that include bone. The massive inclusion of cellulose in most raw diets lowers the nutritional value of the food and binds many of the minerals, making them unavailable to the body for bone building and repair. The large amounts of fiber sources (cellulose) in most raw diets unbalance the critical ratio between calcium and phosphorous by binding phosphorous. Serious growth and other problems can ensue.
In Abady, most of the key minerals are provided by ground bone, while some of the minerals and natural fibers are provided by a small amount of beef meal and the entire diet is balanced with the addition of dicalcium phosphate (of animal origin) and trace minerals. There are no fiber sources (cellulose) in Abady formulas capable of lowering the nutritional value of the food, or of generating damaging bacteria, or binding essential minerals.