A recent ‘Daily Mail’ article reawakens the old raw food controversy arguing that dog food companies are getting away with murder feeding our pets unhealthy processed foods:
“The big businesses selling us processed dog food use ingredients unsuitable for human consumption – and unsuitable, in my view, for canine consumption.
They make vast profits from something that would otherwise be thrown away. It is a consumer scandal waiting to happen.
We all know there is a connection between our diet and health. The same applies to dogs, and every other species on the planet. But what is the best, most biologically appropriate diet for dogs?
The diet your dog should be eating is that of a grey wolf in the wild. If you dissect a dog and a grey wolf you’ll find that their digestive systems are identical. The two animals are essentially the same species and so closely related that they can interbreed.”
When I, a Veterinarian, read writing like this, I feel sad. Sad because views like this, entirely unscientific as they are, have gained immense popularity with the public. Sad also because so many ‘experts’ have fallen for the easy option of blaming multinational companies for all that is wrong with the world, once again without an inch of evidence.
True enough, grey wolves have a digestive systems similar to dogs. And yes, in the wild their diet is high in raw protein (there are no microwaves in the forest) but this doesn’t equate to the wolves living longer or healthier lives. Wolves in the wild do not survive to the age of ten, whereas most of our pet dogs can expect to reach 14-15 and many will barely miss their twentieth birthday. This is due in large part to the fact that modern manufactured diets, likes as we do to blame them for all ills – are nutritionally balanced and offer health benefits grey wolves could never dream of.
In my practice I encounter many disasters – gastroenteritis and pancreatitis are just some of them, caused by the misguided belief that dogs are better off with natural diets. Some of it, I believe is due to ‘Google mis-education’. Some of it due to unhealthy romanticizing of ‘natural’ lifestyles. At any rate, it would be preferable to conduct the debate based on evidence rather then emotionalism.