Holistic Veterinary care


Commercial pet foods – a slow poison

Here’s a take-home message!

A study published in 2003 looked at a sample size of 552 dogs over a 5-year period. This study showed an incredible difference between dogs fed commercial processed diets as compared to dogs fed table scraps or fresh foods. The dogs in the second group (fed table scraps or fresh food lived longer on average by nearly 3 years).

(Please note – there are a very few commercial pet foods that are good- more about that at the end of this post.)

Here are the top 6 reasons that commercial pet foods harm your furry friends.

Number 1: Commercial pet foods are high in carbohydrates.

Dogs and cats are carnivores (see my article on why a complete raw diet is best here). Carnivores have evolved over millennia to eat meat and fat and bone. Their digestive system is optimised for this sort of food. However, high-quality meat, fat and bone is expensive. Carbohydrates are cheap calories, much, much cheaper than meat and fat. Pet food is a HUGE business, worth billions of dollars, and profit is king. The carbs in pet foods come from industrially farmed grains (or industrially farmed peas, potato, pulses, soy etc if the food is ‘grain free’ – and these ‘grain free’ pet foods are just as bad for your pets as the others, as they are still high in carbs. High carb food means your pets are running on a sugar metabolism. This is a chronic stress on their metabolism, and leads to all sorts of health problems over time. I nearly always see mostly high carb ingredients dominating the first ten ingredients on the label.

Number 2: The proteins in commercial foods are nearly always processed at very high temperatures.

Meat and bone ‘meals’ are a very common ingredient in commercial pet foods. Basically, this is all the leftover bits, deep fried in their own fat, drains and ground up into a powder. This process denatures the proteins, making them less digestible and more likely to damage the immune system.

Number 3: Unhealthy additives.

Commercial pet foods are designed to be addictive. They are made highly palatable by adding salt (bad for the kidneys, dehydrates the body, very harmful), and flavourings. These additives mask the fact that the food itself is really pretty awful. Most dogs wouldn’t touch it without these addictive and harmful additives.

Number 4: Commercial pet foods are dead food.

Anything that has been so highly processed has no life force left in it. Every fresh food has a ‘biophotonic charge’ – it’s like a battery that holds the energy of the sunlight that fed the plants (if a vegetable ingredient) or the energy of the animal that harvested this plant energy to grow muscle. Dead food is a drag on the body – it’s empty calories that even though they seem to feed your dog, will never lead to healthy vitality. Imagine how sick you’d get if you only ate packet foods!

Number 5: Your vets have a financial interest in selling you commercial foods (and have been brainwashed by the big companies to boot).

Yep, it’s a profit line. Employees are expected to shift a certain amount. And the big companies that makes these foods (especially the ‘prescription’ diets) influence the curriculum at universities. We were lectured on nutrition by these companies, and they own all the research dollars too.

Number 6: It’s simply crap, let’s leave it at that…

Yep – I could go on for months here. Misleading marketing. Ingredients like herbs and so on present in only trace amounts that couldn’t possibly have any benefits yet being prominently featured on the packaging. Prescription diets that are much more expensive yet actually have poorer quality ingredients. Sick and euthanased animals being used as ingredients. Heavy metal and plastic contaminants. Restaurant grease thrown into the mix. Fungal overgrowth and subsequent toxicity. Many pets being killed by dodgy pet foods, with huge recalls. All packaged in plastics that disrupt the endocrine system. Made by an industry with no oversight, that essentially regulates itself, and is way more interested in making a fat profit that the health of your pet.

Commercial pet food is awful, dead, unhealthy, addictive rubbish that takes years off the life of your pets. The single most important thing you can do for your pets’ health is to get them onto a complete raw (BARF) diet, or feed them home cooked low carb, high meat food along with your tables scraps (remember, no onion!).

There are a few commercial pet foods that are good ones. Ziwi Peak is my favourite one of these – its 90% meat and bone, air dried, and very high quality. There are a few other brands with a similar method of preparation and proportions of ingredients. Their tinned food is the next best thing for cats who won’t eat raw food or BARF. Check out their ingredient labels if you can’t get it where you are, and compare carefully.

If you’re not sure about a food, paste the brand and ingredient list into the comments below and I’ll critique it for you for free.

Change to a complete raw diet for your pets, and be prepared to see your dog lose weight, their coat get shinere, chonic health conditions improve, the poos get smaller and firmer, less stinky dog farts, and they’ll live longer too!



Comments (16)

  1. 19/12
    By Toni

    I agree, but disheartened when my dog (a papillon) died at 10 years of age a month ago from squamous cell carcinoma in the throat. Raw food and home made healthy treats his whole life and no vaccination after the initial ones as a puppy. Also no toxic chemical flea or tic treatments. Makes you question it.

    • 20/12

      Our world is so full of so many toxins, that even when we do the best we can, sometimes it’s all too much. He probably lived longer than he would have otherwise because of your care and choices, I reckon!

      • 20/12
        By Toni

        thank you, yes maybe, he was healthy all his life until then.
        A question regarding my new puppy (tenterfield terrier), she just will not eat raw, I am still trying by mixing it with other things, but am giving the Ziwipeak a try in the mean time, she is loving it. Do I need to supplement that with anything else like veges? She will eat a raw chicken neck, and is chewing on bully sticks for her teeth. many thanks, love your work 🙂

  2. 19/12
    By Bettine Nordsejl

    Hi, what do you think about Orijen Original:

    Fresh chicken meat (13%), fresh turkey meat (7%), fresh whole eggs (7%), fresh chicken liver (6%), fresh whole herring (6%), fresh whole flounder (5%), fresh turkey liver (5%), fresh chicken necks (4%), fresh chicken heart (4%), fresh turkey heart (4%), chicken (dehydrated, 4%), turkey (dehydrated, 4%), whole mackerel (dehydrated, 4%), whole sardine (dehydrated, 4%), whole herring (dehydrated, 4%), whole red lentils, whole green lentils, whole green peas, lentil fiber, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, whole pinto beans, whole navy beans, herring oil (1%), chicken fat (1%), chicken cartilage (1%), chicken liver (freeze-dried), turkey liver (freeze-dried), fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole zucchini, fresh whole parsnips, fresh carrots, fresh whole red delicious apples, fresh whole bartlett pears, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh beet greens, fresh turnip greens, brown kelp, whole cranberries, whole blueberries, whole saskatoon berries, chicory root, turmeric root, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rosehips, enterococcus faecium.
    ADDITIVES (per kg): Nutritional additives: Zinc chelate: 100 mg.

    • 20/12

      That’s pretty damned good. Nearly all meat. The veggies and herbs are in such small amounts that they are not really having much of a benefit.

  3. 19/12
    By Angelina Hales

    Royal Canine Obesity Management

    • 20/12

      Could you please copy and paste the actual ingredient list?

  4. 22/12
    By Julie Hallam

    Black Hawk Kangaroo

  5. 22/12
    By Julie Hallam

    I use Black Hawk Kangaroo, is it a good diet?

    • 08/01

      Hi Julie – in a word, no, I would not feed this to my pets – as you can see in the ingredient list – no actual meat (all meat ‘meals’, processed at very high temperature, very poor quality protein), 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th ingredients all high in carbs. Not good!

  6. 22/12
    By Renay

    What about advance brand dry dog food?

    • 08/01

      I don’t recommend any dry food/kibble. They are all harmful for your pets.

  7. 23/11
    By Corinna

    Hi Dr Edward, I’m really enjoying reading your blogs. Thank you for sharing your insights and information! It’s really good to hear from a holistic perspective.
    Is there any chance you could post a link to the study you mention from 2003? And any others you have for raw feeding?
    Thanks very kindly 🙂

  8. 09/01
    By Kecia O'Sullivan

    Stay Loyal dry food:
    Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Potato, Tapioca, Peas, Beans, Natural Chicken Flavouring, Sugar Beet Pulp, Fish Meal, Marine Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Fruit and Berries, Vegetables, Green Tea, Rosemary, Garlic, Inulin, Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin Supplements (A ,D, E, K, B1, B3,B,.B6, B12, Biotin). Trace Mineral Supplements (Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Iodine, Selenium), Natural Antioxidants (Mixed Tocopherols and Rosemary Extract) Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Yucca, Taurine.

  9. 16/03
    By Rachael

    Hi I have a 5 month old German Shepard and use Meals For Mutts. Is he too young for a raw food diet? or could I do 50/50?

    Ingredients List
    Turkey meat, salmon & sardine, seasonal vegetables, ground brown rice, alfalfa, natural fats & oils, omega 3,6 & 9, coconut oil, turmeric, parsley, pre & probiotic, kelp, vitamins A, C, D3, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, pantothenic acid, folacin, biotin, natural organic acids, plus minerals, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese and iodine. Also contains Yucca shidigera extract and natural flavours, and is preserved using natural vitamin E and rosemary extract.


    Ingredients List
    Turkey meat & chicken, sweet potato, seasonal vegetables, alfalfa, natural fats & oils, omega 3,6 & 9, coconut oil, turmeric, parsley, pre & probiotic, egg, kelp, vitamins A, C, D3, E, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, pantothenic acid, folacin, biotin, natural organic acids, plus minerals, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese and iodine. Also contains Yucca shidigera extract and natural flavours, and is preserved using natural vitamin E and rosemary extract.

    • 01/04

      I suggest a fresh whole foods diet from weaning…

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