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Astronaut Food

I often look at dry dog food or dog kibble, and I think to myself it is like those science fiction movies you watch. The ones where a bunch of astronauts living in space sit down to their meal of tablets, or some vacuum packed delicacy. Dehydrated, colourless, odourless, but nutritionally balanced diet. Recommended to keep astronauts in top physical condition?

Are we turning our dogs into Astronauts?

Even cooked foods were never part of a dog's diet. In fact, dogs existed, and thrived off live prey, fermented carrion, and they foraged for any scraps they could obtain. They have only been introduced to cooked and processed foods within the last 80 years. The history of dogs and their wolf ancestors, clearly indicates that they are carnivores. Their teeth, gut and digestive system strongly support this.

Dogs have hinged, powerful jaws, with canines and triangular shaped carnassial teeth, for ripping and tearing flesh and crushing bone. They don’t have the typical molars for the grinding of plant material, or a four chamber stomach for the slow digestion and fermentation of starches from plants and grains. They have a large stomach, short digestive tract and very small cecum, indicative of consuming large amounts of high protein food in a short time period. They are designed for fast digestion and rapid absorption of nutrients.

I think that dry dog food may have been a really good idea when it all started. Dogs were once working class citizens. They were rarely allowed inside the home. Over time this has changed significantly. Dogs have become our companions and treasured family members, rarely left outside. When dry dog food or kibble was first developed it offered many benefits for modern living. You can't argue with that!

It was easy to source, it was easy to store, it was economical, it had good shelf life, and dogs seem to really like it.

Here is a thought - maybe if we were waiting all day for one small meal, we would woof it down to. Just like astronauts eat their highly processed, artificial space food - not much choice!

I think that the first manufacturers of dry dog foods were probably onto something. They may have been producing something with the very best intensions. However, much like any new idea that becomes popular, the potential for exploitation increases. As dry dog food manufacturers began to search for bigger profits, quality may have been the sacrifice.

It has been estimated that 90% of dog owners are feeding their dogs a dry kibble diet that is at least 60% carbohydrate, very little moisture and minimal, low quality protein. As a result we are now witnessing increasing numbers of chronic degenerative diseases, auto-immune diseases, allergies, kidney, pancreatic and liver disease in our pet populations, and cancer rates continue to rise.

Puppies fed a dry kibble diet initially appear to be healthy, but once they reach maturity, they begin to rapidly age and develop degenerative disease symptoms. Puppies raised on raw, uncooked diets do not age as fast, or show the degenerative disease symptoms. They remain healthy. Lippert, Gerard, DVM and Sapy, Bruno, DVM. Relation Between the Domestic Dog’s Well-Being and Life Expectancy. (2003).

What we don't realise is that manufacturers are using substandard ingredients to keep costs down and profits up. Not only that, there are many toxins in highly processed, cooked, kibble diets. These toxins include: aflatoxins, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and most recently discovered in dry, cooked pet foods, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) a chemical used as a flame retardant.

Dry kibble not only harbours harmful toxins, it is also stripped of much of its nutrient value, becoming a “dead” food product. Unfortunately, many well intentioned consumers who want to give their pet a high quality commercial diet choose to buy expensive, “grain free” kibbles, with claims of all natural – or even organic – ingredients, believing they are purchasing a more nutritious pet food.

But the fact is, even if these kibbles contain high quality ingredients with no preservatives, fillers or additives, they are still going through a cooking process which ultimately nullifies much of the nutritional value these quality ingredients would have contributed.

Many manufacturers try to add back some of the lost nutritional value with synthetic vitamins and minerals so their formulas comply with pet food standards and they can call their food “complete and balanced” on their label. However, synthetic vitamins can actually cause more harm than good to our pets, because the body cannot completely use them. Instead the body will processes them as a foreign substance, causing more stress to the liver and kidneys.

A raw, diet is the best we can give our pets for a long and healthy life.

SO! The answer is NO!, we are not turning our dogs into astronauts, we are just, ever so slowly, running them into the ground.


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