I’ve written about the whole “complete” concept a number of times. We non-vets are painfully aware of the terrifying INDUSTRY vet nutritionists that found 62% of “complete” dry and a staggering 94% of “complete” canned foods sold in the UK fail to meet the minimum nutrition levels set out by AAFCO. That was published in Nature. Still, they manage to ignore the dire implications of it.
Then I had a slightly testy exchange with a pretty senior vet who had been telling clients of mine that what they were doing (feeding fresh food) was extremely dangerous. This happens a lot but this time I couldn’t hold it in, so I contacted them.
If we ignore the fact that the dogs were perfect specimens of health, in the heat of battle, the vet said that dog owners do not need to add anything to “complete” food. It has been “scientifically formulated” to “provide everything your pet needs day to day”. On these points, the vet is absolutely and categorically wrong.
If you are feeding dry food to your unfortunate dog you MUST supplement it with some fresh ingredients. Here are three studies that explain why:
1. Authors of a recent study (conducted for Hills Pet Nutrition) found that supplementing a pups “complete” dry food diet improved their immune response to vaccination.
Groups of puppies were fed a “complete and balanced” dry food, only one group had extra antioxidants in the form of added vitamins (vitamin E, vitamin C, B-carotene and selenium). Then a combination CDV and CPV vaccines was used to assess their immune reaction. The puppies consuming the high-antioxidant foods showed improved vaccination response and increased memory T-cells.
The authors concluded that “the minimum AAFCO recommendation for dietary vitamin E (50 IU/kg) may not be sufficient to protect cells during periods of immune stress”.
2. Dogs fed Alaskan blueberries while exercising are better protected against oxidative damage (oxidative damage from free radicals plays an important role in several diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease).
3. In a 2005 study of Scottish Terriers, adding fresh vegetables to dry commercial kibble slowed and / or prevented down the development of transitional cell carcinoma (aka bladder cancer)! In the study, dogs ate a diet of dry commercial pet food, while some got an assortment of vegetables added to the mix at least 3 times per week. They found that dogs that ate any green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, had reduced the risk of developing bladder cancer by 90% and the dogs that consumed any yellow–orange vegetables like carrots reduced the risk by 70%.
There are many more studies like these, which I am saving for the book, but what these sorts of studies tell us that in times of need such as to elicit a stronger immune response (after a needless booster or chemical parasite control), to better protect from oxidative damage (from eating a dry food where the fats were sprayed on top a year ago) or simply to better protect against cancer, dry fed dogs will never receive the vital nutrient boost to get them over the hump.
If it’s “complete” then why are supplemented dogs clearly doing better?!
The truth is simply adding processed food to a homemade dog diet will significantly shorten their life span (by up to 30%).
When they say “scientifically formulated” here’s what they mean.
Oh it’s “complete” alright. Like so many other products too regularly fed, sprayed and injected into our dogs, the notion of “complete” is actually a complete gimmick.
You can and should be supplementing your dog’s dry diet with some good stuff. The only ones benefiting from you not doing so are the dry food companies who have been using vast cash reserves to drive their “dangers of scraps” campaign from as far back as the 60’s.
Great additions include a raw egg, a cod liver oil tablet, a tin of sardines (in brine, pour off), and even your table scraps. They will benefit from anything you put in there because the less crap you put in there and the more good stuff, the longer they will live.
There is absolutely no alternative to a fresh diet guys, in them or us. Here’s how to do it. It’s easy, affordable, infinitely tastier and vastly more nutritious. Don’t be like the vet above who refuses to even try it. Give it two weeks. If I’m wrong that synthetic, over-priced bag of high carbohydrate, low protein, high salt, high chemical, stale fat, vitamin defunct food stuff you bought in the vets will be sitting in the cupboard waiting for them, not going off, as even bacteria know it’s COMPLETE garbage.