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I have been reading Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats and I don't exaggerate a bit when I tell you it has completely changed my life as a pet owner in understanding how domestic animals are fed; how poorly pet food is manufactured, how none of it is government regulated.
I was horrified to learn that even the best intentioned of pet owners (myself included) can unknowingly feed their dogs toxic residues of factory-farmed, antibiotic-fed, hormone-laced cows, chickens and sheep, mixed with spoiled grains and rancid oils, not to mention artificial preservatives and sweeteners they load up to sell more.
Disgusted to find out that some 100,000 pounds per day of diseased animal tissue from the slaughter houses are discarded as not fit for human consumption and what do you think happens to that rotten meat? It gets shipped out directly to the pet food manufacturers.
The USDA does not regulate the multibillion dollar industry and many veterinarians don't speak out against it because it's the executives at these pet food companies that fund their school and business grants.
As a result of the corruption and greed - what we end up putting into our beloved pet's food dishes everyday may very well include rotten flesh and diseased tissue, feathers, ashes, sawdust, toxic metals, artificial flavors, colors, and seasonings that are loaded with known carcinogens.
After reading Dr. Pitcairn's book, I don't think I will ever in good conscious be able to own another dog without cooking their food myself and knowing exactly what ingredients go into their bodies..
I realize all of this may sound a bit extremist and Antiestablishmentarianism but for me the proof is in the pudding...
Just look at the dogs in Europe and South America - they are fed a natural diet of raw meats and real whole foods and the cancer and disease rate over there is miniscule to none. It's a fact that domesticated dogs live longer lives in other countries and die of natural causes and old age.
Furthermore in the 4 short weeks I've been feeding Plum her home cooked diet (based on Dr. Pitcairn's recipe's) I have been able to wean her fully off of her: cortisone pills and shots, toxic antifungals, twice weekly skin baths and I have scaled back greatly on her anti histamine. Her itching, biting, and rubbing has already decreased by about 40% and we won't even realize the full benefit of the home cooked diet for a good 2 months.
Previously she would be scratching and biting her ears, neck and feet raw until they were bleeding with open sores that she self inflicted.
It's already clear to me that commercial pet food was making her sick. To compound her problems the medication she was receiving to relive her symptoms (not treat the root cause) were depositing even more toxins into her body, weakening her already compromised immune system further. No wonder why she couldn't get ahead of her issues.
Yes she is still battling a couple secondary infections but that is to be expected as an initial healing crisis that occurs from flushing out the toxins in her system. It may be a bit premature to say this but I believe once we clear her lingering infections this new diet is going to make all the difference for her. It's the first ray of hope I've had over the past 5 months anyway - and believe me when I say I have tried everything else and spared no expense. I am so excited that it's beginning to show!!
Dr. Pitcairn believes that dog's and cats should be fed as natural a diet as possible,
"Although we have come to accept commercial foods as being normal or natural ways to feed animals (and indeed ourselves), in fact they are not. They are simply what we've gotten used to in the last few decades. But nothing we can produce commercially ever can rival those mysteriously complex foods manufactured for eons by nature itself."
--Richard Pitcairn, DVM
All of this learning has led me to read even human ingredient labels very carefully and I have recently made the switch to a mostly organic dairy diet myself. It has already made a big difference in my hair, skin, and stomach.
I am sure there are some dog foods out there that are ok but the scary thing is there is really no way to tell which! Regardless of whether you have a dog with allergies or not, keep an open mind and pick up Dr. Pitcairn's book, whether you decide to homecook or not.....it is an enlightening read.