Republished with permission from the Organic-Pet-Digest.com Natural Dog Care Guide, originally published here:
Guest Article By: Laurie Montean, President of mORIGINS Raw Food Diet for Dogs & Cats
From many years of research and direct observation of our own dogs, we have confirmed that canines are inherently and instinctually carnivores. Canines in the wild (wolves) rely on their prey animals to eat biologically appropriate food and then convert it to meat, organs and bones which the canine predators can then use.
For those who believe that a dog and a wolf are not the same or think that a dog has evolved to eat a diet including plant matter, know that an autopsy of a dog and a wolf reveals there has been no change in their digestive system as a result of domestication. The key word is bioavailability!
Therefore, our approach has been to stick as closely as we can to a diet that mirrors what our canines would consume if we turned them loose and let them hunt. This starts with the prey animal...
The research shows that, when prey is plentiful, the wolf pack’s diet is made up of over 99 percent herbivores. No exotics, no poultry, no fish.
Chickens, for example, are much higher in methionine and tryptophan which means they are lower in some of the other amino acids. In addition, poultry fat is a covered fat which researchers have confirmed is more difficult for canines and felines to digest and use properly. In contrast, the marbled fat from a naturally raised herbivore has been shown to be very bioavailable.
After singling out cattle and sheep as two of a canine’s would-be natural prey, we then ensure that the prey animal’s diet is a healthy one. The closer the prey animal’s Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio in the fat can get to 1:1, the better. Since the Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio of grain-fed cows and sheep can be as high as 20 to 50:1, using only their grass-fed counterparts is a must as their fat’s ratio is around 3:1.
To counteract any soil deficiencies of needed minerals like selenium when feeding our sheep, we feed a free feed mineral supplement (in other words, the animal takes as much of it as they want or need when they need it) in addition to their grass-based diet.
Unlike cows and sheep, canines’ digestive systems are not designed for the rigors of breaking down plant matter, so you won’t find any plant fiber added to our products. Research shows that wolves vigorously shake the stomach and intestines to rid them of their contents and then proceed to strip off the lining of the stomach and intestines (the lining is rich in fat!). It is fat they are after, not plant matter that can ferment in their stomachs and cause bloating.
After much direct observation, we have had very few animals bloat on our food. The few who did and had no underlying illness revealed some valuable information. Upon examining their stomach contents, our diets had passed through just fine. What was sitting in their stomach was plant matter which was fermenting and causing the gas buildup.
Furthermore, research on cats has shown that plant fiber actually absorbs nutrients and passes them back out in the feces. Food passing through a cat is very quick. Food passing through a dog is almost as quick -- a difference of only one hour -- mouth to colon. So it makes sense to assume that the same phenomenon is occurring in the dog.
We also don’t add any eggs or oils. If we are making a beef diet, just like the wild canine we only look to a healthy cow for the ingredients. Same goes for the lamb diet. Since so many animals are diagnosed with severe allergies, it seems best to stay away from the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to formulating.
We have had customers who did well for years on our foods switch to other raw diets that contain a wide variety of ingredients (fruits, herbs, vegetables, oils, etc.) and many have come back. Dogs that suffered from allergies and low-weight (among other conditions) prior to starting our diet were “cured” relatively quickly after the change. Then shortly after making a switch to the more ingredient-intensive diets, their problems reappeared (see Zeus’ story for a prime example).
So what happens over the long-term when a dog is fed an exclusive diet of naturally-raised, biologically appropriate prey animals?
The impact to the dog’s immune system is nothing short of amazing. We have truly been witness to the saying, “The Body Heals!”
Here are just a few examples of the health impact of our raw food diet for dogs…
The list continues… complete recovery from Fanconi’s Syndrome, several forms of eye disease, long term chronic infections, allergies, Addison’s disease , Cushing’s disease, you name it.
Anal glands are another wrinkle in the dog’s anatomy. We have had a 100 percent success rate with curing anal gland problems in dogs that have chronic anal gland issues. Why is our diet so effective? Canines’ fecal matter on our plantless diets is very small and firm. Diets containing plant matter produce softer, bulkier stools which just slide out. On our diets, the dog has to push hard to eliminate which aids in the emptying of the anal glands.
Our raw food diet for dogs also works wonders on their more “minor” conditions. If you think it is normal for a dog to pass gas, to smell “doggy”, to have bad breath, to need frequent bathing and grooming because they look greasy or dirty or have a bad odor, to need the services of a veterinary dentist, to need antibiotics for even the smallest cut, to refuse food (where’s the meat!) or to practice copraphagia (I’m starving. Where’s the meat!), to suffer with fleas, to be attractive to mosquitoes, to have arthritis at a young age, to suffer from chronic ear infections (often blamed on floppy ears)… I would encourage you to give the wolf’s diet a second look. None of the above is “normal” for any dog. All are signs of a diet that is not supporting health.
For a final example, consider dogs with weight issues. Old skinny dogs coming to us on diets of 1,895 calories per pound have gained weight and muscled up on our formulas. Young obese dogs coming to us on a diet of 1,225 calories per pound have lost weight and muscled up once switched to our formulas. Our diets are around 1,450 calories per pound, but calories don't seem to have anything to do with this as our diets seem to balance out the body to a healthy level.
What about puppies? Is the the raw food diet for dogs appropriate for them as well? Again we turn to what happens in the wild…
Puppies raised on a meal of naturally raised herbivores do not have the funny growth spurts many of us have been conditioned to consider “normal”. They grow slowly and evenly. No oversized paws or knobby knees when they are young. No weeks of looking too leggy or two dogs long. No periods of being higher in the rear than the front end of the growing pup.
If mom was fed the food when the pups were in utero, they are more vigorous at birth. Eyes are open earlier and they are up and (unfortunately) out of the whelping box much sooner than predecessors from the same lines who have been fed conventionally. And each successive generation seems to improve upon the last one.
And we can’t forget cats and kittens in this discussion! If you live on a farm like I do, you know what that means… kittens are dropped off along the roadside with regularity. Adults show up pretty badly damaged by some attack from a predator or a passing vehicle. Many are feral which makes it difficult to get near them to treat them unless they are really about to “check out”.
Now, one would think that these guys have a better chance than a pampered house cat. They can hunt bugs, rodents of all types, birds, bird eggs, so they should be good to go! That hasn’t held true in our experience. If the outdoor cat is healthy enough to get pregnant, the kittens rarely are born alive and most that do die shortly thereafter.
Our diets have been revolutionary for them.
The proof of a good diet is not only the health of the animal, but the ability to reproduce healthy offspring. Our diets excel at this. To illustrate our personal experience, consider my spay bill which last year was over $500. Cats constantly wander onto our farm starving at best or critically ill at worst, and we have to get them healthy before they can undergo surgery. They get healthy so darn fast that before we know it, they also get pregnant! I sent a 5 ½ month old kitten born here in the dead of winter in to be spayed and she was already with child.
Humans have also been impacted. One retired breeder of Cocker Spaniels reported that she would break out in a rash when she groomed her seven dogs, presumably from the dander which floated around when she blew them dry. No more rash once the food was changed to our raw food diet for dogs. In addition, over a dozen people have contacted us directly to report a complete reversal of allergies to cats placed on our foods.
Again, the key word is bioavailability! Allowing nature’s cycle to operate freely – soil nutrients are converted by plants into bioavailable food for herbivores, plant nutrients are converted by herbivores into bioavailable food for carnivores -- allows our dogs’ bodies to operate the way nature intended, leading to health, vitality and long-life.
Organic Pet Digest, thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell our story!
Laurie Montean, President
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