This past weekend, Wondercide checked out the newest Tomlinson's in north central Austin, one of our local retailers, for their grand opening party. We met some great pet brands whose high-quality products are carried in the store, and we sat in on Stella & Chewy's presentation about raw feeding, which they refer to as "The Wild Diet."
Here's how the presentation went:
Lori from Stella & Chewy's talked about the close relationship between dogs and wolves. They are essentially "wolves on leashes." They share 99.8% of their DNA and are the only distinct species that can mate and create offspring who can also mate (their offspring aren't sterile like mules, for instance)! Plus, all dogs descended from a single female wolf. Isn't that cool?
With this background information, the audience learned that dog food as we know it today has only been around for about 60 years. 1931 was the first time commercial dog food hit the grocery store shelves. Before then, people were feeding their pets table scraps, which was still healthier than a lot of things pets are eating today.
Food is food is food, Lori explained. There's really no such thing as "dog food" or "cat food" the way that large pet food companies portray it. Most things that are healthy for humans: real meat, fresh vegetables, etc. are healthy for pets as well. At some point in time, convenience beat out common sense, and we were left with pet food in which ingredients were chosen for profit, not for health.
Today, pets' higher rate of obesity, diabetes and cancer can in part be attributed to the unhealthy fillers many of them eat daily in their low-quality kibble. (Here at Wondercide, we don't think the chemical pesticides in monthly spot drops and pills are helping, either!) The way much of today's pet food is manufactured uses very high temperatures to increase the products' shelf life, but the heat destroys vitamins and minerals that are naturally present in raw, whole foods. The pet food options in order of most to least processed were described as:
- Kibble: also known as extruded pet food, uses very high heat and needs unnecessary carbs to meld together
- Canned: cooked in the can, which still destroys nutrients, and contains a lot of added water
- Dehydrated/air-dried: uses some heat to remove moisture from the food, though often has better ingredients than kibble
- Freeze-dried raw: does not use heat to process and maintains much of the original nutrients from fresh raw food
- Frozen raw: ground up meat, bones, organs and sometimes produce that is frozen but not processed
(For those with more knowledge of prey model raw or the BARF diet, we'd also throw in fresh raw as the very least processed, as many of our friends and customers successfully feed raw at home with meat from the grocery store, butcher shop, etc.)
We even did a quick experiment with kibble, deli meat, and freeze-dried raw food. Audience members poured a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on each item, and it bubbled on the freeze-dried raw food because of the unprocessed blood plasma and meat, which contains catalase, a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms!
The presentation also outlined the benefits of raw feeding and reminded the audience that a little bit of raw can go a long way. So even adding just a little more nutritious, raw food can help your pet get:
- The original nutrients from their food
- Healthier weight
- Healthier skin
- More energy
- Cleaner teeth
- A stronger immune system
- Higher absorption of nutrients
- & more!