Manufactured Feeds & Supplements
Table of Contents
It stands to reason that an animal’s diet provides the building blocks for body growth, development and healing and provides the fuel and raw materials for function. Sub-standard food brings sub-standard structure or function, or both. Good nutrition in our patients is the platform upon which we try to build health.
Healthy animals need a healthy diet to maintain health.
Sick, injured or ill animals need a healthy diet to optimise healing capability.
Performance animals need a healthy diet for optimum performance and stamina.
Young animals need a healthy diet for optimum growth and development.
Older animals need a healthy diet to preserve their faculties and energy levels.
Each species has its own special requirements, dictated by its evolutionary development and its natural ecological niche. Whether feeding dogs, feeding cats or feeding horses, the principles are the same. Only the special needs, susceptibilities and capabilities of each species have to be considered. The basis of all good medicine must be a wholesome diet, which is designed and formulated to be compatible with the evolved needs of that species.
Watch out for fancy and seductive advertising. Fish is not horse food! Manufactured and processed foods are no better for animals than they are for us. They serve profit as the chief master, not health. Animal-derived ingredients and products should not be fed to herbivores. Pappy food is not suitable for animals with carnivorous dentition. Artificial colourants (colorants), preservatives, anti-oxidants, gelling agents, anti-caking agents, humectants, lubricants and flavourings are not good for any species. There is absolutely no dietary requirement for them and they can be harmful, depending upon the circumstances. Processing itself is not good for food.
If a farm animal is producing heavily, each nutrient (whether energy, protein, oils, minerals or vitamins) has to be in sufficient supply and in balance with other dietary components. These are nature’s rules, not ours.
Tooth health is critically affected by diet. Manufactured foods for dogs and cats permit or encourage plaque and tartar formation, resulting in gingivitis, gum recession and eventual tooth loss. Sugars in horse diets lead to enamel weakness and concentrate feeding can lead to tartar and to incorrect tooth wear – Teeth (Horses & Ponies) : Teeth & Teething (Dogs & Cats).
At the AVMC, we set about ensuring that full, clear and unequivocal feeding advice is given, whatever the species being treated. This is a cornerstone of our medical input. Fresh is best.
NEW! – eBooks available on line – November 2012
Feed Your Dog the Natural Way – Feed Your Cat the Natural Way – Feed Your Horse the Natural Way – Homeopathic First-Aid for Pets – Homeopathic First-Aid for Horses and Ponies and other titles.
Also FREE eBooks!
“Scientists should be on tap but not on top” – Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
The UK pet food market is of staggering proportions. Annual turnover was approximately £1.5 billion in 2001, with Whiskas the top brand at £87.5 million (http://www.tutor2u.net/business/marketing/casestudy_petfood.asp).
The horse feed market is also massive. With an estimated 1.35 million horses in the UK, there's a lot of money spent on horse feeds and supplements. Our rough estimate is £70 million on compound feeds alone, in 2001.
The profits generated by this market are jealously guarded and fuelled by attractive packaging and seductive advertising.
Colourful shelves of pet foods in a supermarket testify to the huge market enjoyed by the industry
We try, also, to make this advice practical and achievable, according to personal circumstance. While we support the use of organic food across the board, we realise this is not for everyone. We also stress those items in a diet which really must be organic, for health reasons. We do not support off-the-shelf ‘prescription diet' products, which are highly processed and suffer all the disadvantages of feeding manufactured food.
Hippocrates is credited with saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” He saw the point and we err if we ignore this. Good and appropriate food is fundamental to health.
In addition to important nutritional questions, there are ethical questions to address. Many of the most popular brands of pet food (including rabbit, ferret, and bird food) are manufactured involving animal experimentation. Reducing this fact to its essentials, buying such foods is funding meaningless laboratory cruelty. Such research has little or no scientific justification but brings great commercial rewards.
- Procter & Gamble (Iams & Eukanuba)
- Colgate-Palmolive (Hills Science Diet, Hills Prescription diets etc.)
- Nestlé Purina (Alpo, Bakers Complete, Bonio, Felix, Friskies, Go Cat, Gourmet, Omega Complete, Proplan, Spillers, Vital Balance, Winalot)
- Masterfoods (Mars Inc.) (Bounce, Cesar, Chappie, Frolic, James Wellbeloved, Katkins, Kitekat, Pal, Pedigree Chum, Royal Canin, Sheba, Techni-cal (US & Canada), Walthams Prescription diets and Whiskas along with Thomas rabbit food and Trill bird food.
Visit: www.uncaged.co.uk who have some vital campaigns. We enthusiastically support their aversion to animal-experimenting pet food manufacturers (http://www.uncaged.co.uk/petfood.htm). However, unlike them, we are unable to recommend feeding ANY manufactured pet food. We advocate feeding natural, fresh and preferably organic alternatives to this commercial approach.
Other Pages of related interest:
- Nutrition as Therapy
- Pasture Management
- Artificial Nitrogen Fertiliser
- Poisonous Plants
- Food Poisoning
- Positive Health
- Teeth (Horses & Ponies)
- Teeth & Teething (Dogs & Cats)
- Farm Management & Nutrition
- Dietary Issues
- Natural Feeding (article)
- Feeding Dogs (article) (written for and appeared in ‘Your Dog‘ September 2007)
I have just (2012) been greeted by a free sample of dog food (freeze-dried fresh meat and other ingredients) from New Zealand! Has the human race really gone that barmy that we in the UK should import dog food all the way from New Zealand? On the pack it even claims environmental points as the freeze-drying reduces 70-80% of weight for transport. Nonetheless, flying dog food half-way around the world seems utter madness to me*, not to mention the fact that the food claims to be ‘natural' when there is nothing natural about freeze-drying! Evidence is emerging that proteins are altered by the process, polyphenol (a cell-protecting food constituent) and some vitamin content (e.g. ascorbic acid) may be lost. The packaging states “just by adding warm water, every fresh food detail returns”. One wonders if there are trade description issues here.
*Don't come the environment with me Sonny J!
Manufacturers somehow persuade us that it is safest and best to feed our animals on formulated and processed products. If manufactured feed were to be the correct, safest and best way forward for our animals, then it would also be best for us. We should all be buying and eating a complete, pelleted diet all our own lives if it were so healthy to do so. Shopping and meal planning would be so easy!
Books by Christopher D:
Christopher D has written a book(let), ‘Feeding Dogs the Natural Way‘ – Chinham Publications, available from the AVMC (see address etc. below).
He has also written a book(let), ‘Feeding Horses the Natural Way‘ – Chinham Publications, which can be ordered from the AVMC (see address etc. below) [Not yet in print].
Likewise ‘Feeding Cats the Natural Way‘ – Chinham Publications [Not yet in print].
Books by Tom L ‘Raw Meaty Bones‘ and Ian Billingshurst ‘The BARF Diet‘ (bones and raw food) have been recommended to us and have a great following but we have not yet read them (so cannot comment).