Should you Spay or Neuter?

posted Dec 16, 2011, 8:44 AM by James Cass

Here's a very interesting article on the long-term effects of spaying and neutering your dog...

Why Kibble is a recipe for Bloat (Gastric Torsion)

posted Nov 20, 2011, 4:50 AM by James Cass

Dog bloat -- the unexplained bloating and twisting of the stomach, that mainly occurs in large-chested breeds -- but usuallly happens when the dog eats too quickly, and drinks too much, gulping air, and possibly exercises too much after eating.  Don't mention that the non-raised bowl adds to it as well right?  WRONG!!

It's in the ingredients, and the way kibble tries to force the dog's digestive system to do something it wasn't intended to do.

The ingredients (I'll mention 2) in many kibble brands add to the problem of bloat - like the 1) dehydrated beet pulp - whose sole job in the digestion process is to swell and absorb liquid from the interstitial fluid in the small and large intestines.  Kibble companies need this for two reasons: 1) To slow down the digestion rate, so the body can have more time to get valuable nutrients out of the kibble (the dog's natural digestive system works much, much faster than ours);  and 2) Without this function, the undigested waste would be far too runny and soft, which would make it appear that the dog is getting sick (diarrhea) from this food, and people would discontinue purchasing.  So it firms up the stool by dehydrating the animal.  It also blocks up the animal from being able to evacuate through diarrhea if needed, like in the case of bloat.

The other ingredient (which isn't listed - because it's a component on many plants) is the large amount of saponins , which when shaken with water, cause a foaming property (like shaking a bottle of water with soap in it).  It causes lots of tiny bubbles to be formed, and this fills the stomach with foam, which causes it to bloat.  A secondary issue that the saponin adds to the bloat condition is that it naturally relaxes the gag-reflex -- which makes it difficult for the dog to vomit, even though he feels the gastric discomfort.  Since the dog cannot vomit, and the dog cannot evacuate via diarrhea due to the slow-digesting, dehydrated intestines, the stomach has not alternative but to try to flex and twist (gastric torsion), and it can happen in the small intestine too (gastric volvulus).

In short - kibble is a recipe for disaster!

Coconut Oil

posted Jul 25, 2011, 7:44 AM by James Cass

This is some wonderful information I came across on a yahoo group, that I completely agree with.  Please feel free to share it.

*Coconut Oil and other foods: Scientists claim you can teach an old dog new tricks if you feed them right*

A Toronto University study, published in the *British Journal of Nutrition*,
showed that dogs fed an anti-age diet containing special dietary fats found
in some natural vegetable oils such as coconut oil, can improve their memory and learning skills.

An article, “*Scientists claim you can teach an old dog new tricks if you
feed them right,”* in the* Telegraph* reported these special dietary fats,
called medium chain triglycerides or MCTs, are unique in that they can
easily be converted into energy that can be absorbed by an aging brain,
providing fuel that it needs to help maximize brain function.

*Coconut Oil Benefits For Dogs*
* *By Robin Plan

If you are already using coconut oil you might have wondered if it's as
healthy for dogs as it is for you. The answer is positively yes. There are
many benefits to feeding your pup this healthy oil. Most dogs love the
taste, making it one of the easiest, natural supplements to feed.

o Control doggy odors without excessive bathing. Virgin coconut oil
deodorizes anything it comes in contact with and it helps to deodorize my
Shelties as well.
o Use it as a doggy toothpaste. The dogs will lick it off the toothbrush so
I have to be fast when brushing their teeth.
o Helps with any skin problems such as allergies, dermatitis, dry flaky skin
and itchy skin. Helps heal sores. Add it to their food and use on their body
for best results. It is very slow absorbing so you can give a doggy massage
for a few minutes to let it soak in.
o Gives super shiny fur without extra expensive and time of using coat
o Helps to trim down a thick canine waistline. Coconut oil is gaining
respect for being a fat burning food. I've been feeding my Shelties about a
tablespoon on their food and they have lost that roll of belly fat.
o Many dogs have found relief from painful arthritis, sore joints due to
over exercise and age related stiffness.
o It has been shown to help balance the thyroid in people and their canine
o Improves digestion, prevents and helps stomach problems in dogs and
o Prevents and helps control yeast infections, ear infections and viral
o Conditions dry cracked paws.
o Helps to detox, very important if your dog has been raiding the garbage or
eating a low quality food.

Use only organic virgin coconut oil.
Start slowly with a half teaspoon a day for each 20 pounds of body weight. 
It's best to divide it and give a little though out the day. 
Work up to a full teaspoon once or twice a day for a 20 pound dog.

If your dog seems to feel bad and has loose or greasy looking stools you
should cut back on the oil for a few days. Remember that coconut oil helps
to detox the body so you need to give it in very small doses so your dog
doesn't feel the effects of detoxing all at once.

*Do you know about Coconut Oil?*

Added to the diet coconut oil can help slim overweight dogs, condition dry
shabby-looking coats, offers some relief to painful arthritis or ligament
problems, can help balance the thyroid, gives dogs a natural source of
energy and helps keep dogs smelling better. My favorite use of coconut oil -
improves digestion and nutrient absorption. I replace all oils in the doggy
treats I bake with Coconut Oil.

People have found with topical use their dogs ear infections improve, as do
flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and other skin irritations. It's also
been shown to help get rid of moles, heal sores and condition the dog's dry
cracked feet pads.

The oil can be applied to sores. It is slow absorbing so try to keep the dog
occupied for several minutes after applying it. Try it on hot spots, sore
foot pads, minor bites or even to clean ears.

Coconut oil will deodorize anything it touches and will make your dog smell
better when it's fed to him.

Dogs love the taste of coconut and many will lick it off a spoon. It can be
feed alone or mixed in dog food. Start very slow. Work up to a teaspoon a
day for each 20 pounds of body weight. If you notice greasy stools cut back
the oil for a few days. The oil will help detox the system so it's important
to go slow and over several weeks

Using natural dog products doesn’t have to be expensive. The best coat
conditioner I found is coconut oil. Coconut oil
is also good for health inside and out. It’s not expensive and the dogs love
the taste.

Heartgard Ineffective???

posted Jun 6, 2011, 7:30 AM by James Cass

The maker of Heartgard Plus, a heartworm drug used by millions of dog owners, “extortionately fired” its head of “global pharmacovigilance” after she refused to destroy documents questioning the drug’s effectiveness, the Ph.D. claims in federal court.

In her suit against Merial LLC, the animal drug division of Sanofi Aventis, Dr. Kari Blaho-Owens says that she was hired in 2006 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concern about reports of Heartgard Plus being ineffective in preventing heartworm in dogs.

Blaho-Owens said that after reviewing the situation, she became aware that Merial had known of the problem since at least 2002 but had done nothing to update its labeling to specify that Heartgard Plus was not 100 percent effective in preventing heartworm.

Blaho-Owens said that in one discussion, Dr. Felipe Dolz, then Director of Regulatory Affairs, U.S., said that a labeling change would put Merial at a marketing disadvantage compared to competitors’ products and that the company would prefer that FDA make the labeling change “product wide,” meaning that it would also apply to competitors’ drugs.

The suit alleges that internal studies conducted by the company were unscientific and used “cherry-picked” data to support the company’s contention that the product was safe if used as indicated.

The suit also says that in 2005 the FDA instructed Merial to change its labeling and to stop claiming 100 percent effectiveness and the company agreed to do so–but didn’t. In August 2006, the FDA warned Merial that it was in non-compliance.

In June 2007, seven months after Blaho-Owens began working at Merial, the FDA again issued a warning letter stating that the company had misbranded Heartgard Plus – this time because of its claim that the drug would prevent the spread of animal diseases to humans, even though Blaho-Owens said the company had no information to support that claim.

Blaho-Owens also said that the company supposedly had evidence that heartworms had developed resistance to the active ingredients in Heartgard Plus and the company was actively working to reformulate it.

The suit contends that when Blaho-Owens questioned the company’s practices, she was fired.


Flea Treats, Nutritionally complete diet, dewormers, and ivermectin...

posted Mar 14, 2011, 1:48 PM by James Cass

Here's an email discussion I had with someone in regards to complete health, especially as it pertains to immune systems health and the ability to naturally repel parasites...  She asked about the product "Flea Treats".

From inquirer:

Your email about the flea treats prompted one other question. 
I feed raw for a few reasons but mainly like most of us to make my dogs healthier.  I am worried because of your statement, and this is not news, I have heard this before, but you said that a dog with a healthy immune system would naturally repel parasites.  Well my dogs, even though being on raw food, didn't repel fleas so I am worried that maybe I am not feeding appropriately, or I may be missing something.
I think they would be naturally healthier just not eating kibble but maybe I am still missing something.
I feed:  (in raw meaty bone form, not ground)
chicken (probably more than I should but it is cheaper so I do what I have to do)
tripe when I can get it
salmon oil
I just bought some frozen sardines and ground turkey to grind together as my dogs didn't like the whole sardines by themselves when I tried them a few years ago so I stopped buying them.
I don't feed beef all that much as it is so expensive.
I think to sum it up I probably feed chicken as a basis and put the other things in on a rotating basis.  So I feed chicken for a few days, then pork, then chicken, then rabbit, then chicken and so on.  I don't feed turkey much since they get so much chicken. I thought a fowl was a fowl.  Maybe I am wrong and should feed more turkey.
I have been feeding raw for 8 years and am now concerned I may not be doing all I should.
Can you give me any guidance?

My reply:

Well "healthy" is the subjective term in question.  Lets take a step away from nutrition for a moment, and look at toxins, which greatly affect the immune system.  Do you give dewormers?  How about heartworm preventative?  What about their vaccine schedule?

When I started feeding raw, I stopped giving flea prevention and continued to give heartworm preventative, and although my dogs loved the food, and it helped their teeth, ears, breath, and stool, it didn't help with parasites.  It was the stopping of the ivermectin that made a noticeable difference in my dogs.  However, that difference wasn't really noticed for quite some time, > 6 months.  Certain preventatives and meds act as low-grade poisons in the body, that affect far more than the intended recipient that is the parasite.  IT greatly weakens the animal's immune system.

If however, you haven't been giving heartworm meds or dewormers, and they haven't had a vaccine is a long time, it could certainly be due to inefficiencies in their diet, (that's why I try to have all kinds of variety) but then again it could be due to genetic damage done over several recent generations.  I decided to try the flea treats, only because when I read the ingredient list, it looked to be all pretty beneficial (minus the brewer's yeast--which isn't necessarily bad, but not high on my list).

Even though I said that a healthy animal in a flea-inhabited environment will still resist fleas, there are limitations to that statement.  A Healthy dog will still pick up those fleas, but should not succumb to infestation.  There can still be too many in the environment for your pet to repel, which would require your intervention, in a  healthy, natural way.

Let me know how this information coincides with your situation, and I'd be glad to help offer any knowledge I have on a remedy.

Inquirer's reply:

I haven't given vaccines or wormers in years. I give vaccines as puppies so they have a titer but stop after adulthood.  I was too scared not to give vaccines as I compete in Flyball etc. where there are a lot of other dogs and I was afraid not to. I have given spot on flea treatments and HW meds however.  I do though give the HW meds at a very stretched out schedule. How do you not give heartworm meds here in Florida where we have mosquitoes almost year round?  I would really like to know that.  I am getting nervous as they are overdue for heartworm treatment.
I have never vaccinated or treated for kennel cough at any time in my dog's lives and just this year we have brought it home twice. Never prior.  I have hit hard times financially so sadly my dogs have had to eat chicken more than I would like hoping that was still better than going back to kibble, but we are kinda back on track now with more variety.  I also have been giving them Missing Link as a supplement because I was afraid I was missing some nutrient.
Thank you for your time!

My reply:

I empathize with you on only wanting to protect your babies the best you know, but that's why there are people like me, who has no agenda other than to help share good information that in not widely known, for the benefit of animals everywhere.  

I too believe in core vaccines for puppies, based on the probability of coming in contact with other dogs (kennels, dog sports, etc).  However, I stop after the 1 year vaccines are given.  The Immunity obtained after one successful titer is enough to last a lifetime.  A dog that will get sick after having a successful titer for the same disease is just as likely to get sick from additional rounds of the vaccine itself.  That is a case of damaged genetic immunity due to years of over-vaccination.  So in short, it sounds like your vaccine schedule is a good one, but you don't need to keep doing it for your sports dogs, more vaccines does not mean more immunity, it means just the opposite--weaker immune system due to vaccine damages.  As for bordetella, do not let the misleading statistics of bringing it home twice scare you into wrongful assumption.  The reason many people forgo that vaccine is a good one.  The bordetella vaccine only provides a very short-term protection from about 25% of the types of kennel cough out there.  And of that 25% of types, only a fraction of those vaccines are proven effective, since the antibody response is so unnatural that is often times does not provide a proper titer response.  Further, you have to weight the risk vs benefit on non life-threatening diseases and illnesses.  Kennel cough is not a fatal or even serious illness, unless the dog is severely immuno-compromised, in which case vaccines shouldn't be given at all, since they stress the immune system even more.  The cost of unnatural  cancer-causing adjuvants at injection site, and spread throughout the lymph system, outweigh the short-term kennel cough protection that's possible to achieve from such a small percentage of strains available.  You are right in your assumption not to vaccinate bordetella.

Spot on flea treatments are very damaging to the skin, just read the safety precautions on the label.  It clearly says not to let it come in contact with you skin, but to put directly on your dog's skin.  I have seen many dogs that have permanent hair loss completely down their back where it applied over an over.  Also, I have had dogs that develop a terrible itchy reaction to their own skin once it's been applied, which is very common, which defeats the purpose of protecting them from fleas in the first place.  My suggestion for flea treatment is a natural one, but if you have to use pharmaceuticals in the meantime, use Comfortis.  It's not perfect, but definitely better than the rest.

As for heartworm meds, I already shared the negative impacts, but your question on how to get away without it's use is not an uncommon question.  The way my dogs don't get heartworms is not magic, it's due to strong immune system.  It takes a while after getting off the meds to become strong, and some dogs are so damaged they wont ever get strong enough to naturally repel everything.  However, once the immune system is strong enough, it will naturally kill off microfilaria in the blood, preventing new heartworms from growing.  In the meantime, a few can get through, and develop into heartworms.  The good thing in that situation, is that it is a small number, and small numbers of heartworms do not affect a healthy dog.  They go completely unnoticed, which is the design of parasite and host.  No where in nature does the parasite want to kill it's host, its completely counter-productive.  The few heartworms that grow cannot reproduce in the host, they need an intermediate host, like the mosquito for the larval stage.  That can happen, but next time around, the body has learned how to deal with the microfilaria, and so it stops them from becoming heartworms.  The existing heartworms are constantly engaged by the body, weakening them, until they either die from age of are killed and removed by the body's natural defenses.  In addition to the above, the healthier an animal, the less appealing the blood tastes to the parasite.  Mosquitos will bite a strong healthy animal less often.  All of this is how animals in the wild, who are certainly bitten by positive mosquitoes, rarely ever have heartworms, or infestations of them.  There are some with a few heartworms that go unnoticed, and there are some that get infestations, but those are typically at juvenile and end-of-life stages, respectively.

For me, I'd rather have my pets become exposed to negative things naturally (that they can fight off and get stronger from) and therefore have natural immunity and protection from them for a lifetime, without negative side-effects of pharmaceuticals and toxins/poisons.

This isn't theory, this is how mother nature works with the body.  This is how the strong survive, and how animals get stronger.  If it were not, whole populations would have been wiped out long long ago before all these man-made remedies were invented, for profit I might add.  When you consider the profit motivation, you can understand how the scare-tactics of their marketing campaigns came to be, and why you naturally think of those things when it comes to considering whether to "protect" your animal or not.  We have all been subjected to it since we were little kids, in vet's offices all over America.

There is a great place for a vet, in my opinion it's called acute care.  Emergencies, surgeries, and the likes.  But nutrition, preventive medicine, and how to maintain health is something that has stopped being taught in vet schools decades ago.

Hopefully I haven't bored you too much, and hopefully you find at least some of this information useful.

Inquirer's reply:

Oh no, not boring in the least.  I find it very fascinating but not using heartworm meds frankly really scares me.  How do I know if my dogs are strong enough to kill off the heartworms?  Especially if they are falling prey to things like kennel cough? Do you do a heartworm test yearly or anything?  I would never forgive myself if they came down with heartworms, a totally preventable situation...  Not to mention, the cure certainly isn't pretty.
Good. I know I am on the right track with the vaccines and have been for years judging by what you have said about them. (and other things I have read)  I agree with what you say about bordetella and never give it for those reasons.  When they did come down with kennel cough, I helped them through it with colloidal silver and Insure which is an echinacea product that I use for myself.  And they handled it just fine.  It is funny how people in the dog world really vilify kennel cough like it is parvo or something.  I am like... It's a cold for God's sake, jeez. lol 
As far as the spot on treatments... well you know I don't use them anymore since using the Flea Treats and I am really happy about it... forgetting about how bad it is for the dogs for a moment, talk about gouging the public... That stuff is exorbitantly priced.
I was having lunch with some friends today and one of them who hopes to go into rescuing on a larger scale than she has said to me... well dogs are living longer than these days than before because of medicine/pharmaceuticals, etc... I said, don't get me started. I am glad I didn't get into it as I forgot for the moment her son is a Vet, lol  People really believe this I guess.  In defense of raw feeding, I always say to people, what do you think dogs ate before kibble dog food was invented?!  And what do you think happens to the meat they start out with when it goes through the process of becoming a hard crunchy lil ball with sprayed-on nutrients?  It can't be good, no matter how premium you think the dog food is.
I am ranting and getting off track :) So getting back to making my dogs as healthy as I can.  Do you feel I am feeding enough variety?  Is there anything else I should add or anything else, in you opinion, I should be doing?  And do you think the kennel cough is kind of proof that they aren't as healthy as they should be?

My reply:

Valid concerns, esp about heartworms.  Getting kennel cough doesn't mean they are weak, you can't always avoid the cold.  It gets even the best of us.  However, heartworm meds make you susceptible to heartworms, as soon as you stop...very ironic double-edged sword there.  You can ask yourself, "how often will they be exposed to heartworm mosquitoes?"  A good time to stop taking heartworm meds would be when it starts getting cooler.  Keep them away from mosquitoes as much as you can.  As it gets colder, the risk decreases substantially.  Within about 6 months, they should be significantly stronger.  You just have to do your best for them during that time, and know, not guess, but know that you are making them healthier.  Chances are slim they would succumb to an infestation anyway, seeing all the precautions you already afford them, and the good diet.

As far as variety, just keep regular organs in the mix, and believe it or not, feed your table scraps fairly regularly, it doesn't need to be a lot of volume there.  Don't feed from your plate (to teach bad habits) and try to avoid the carbs and dairy as much as possible, but the different seasonings, and differences in your diet to theirs will give them trace amounts of things they don't normally get, which can be very helpful.  Also, feed whole prey or close to it whenever you can.  By whole, I mean a whole chicken, or parts there-of, maybe a whole piglet, or pieces towards the whole, then rabbit, fish, birds, etc.  Stay creative, and keep in mind they wont always go for it, but it sounds like you're on track pretty closely anyway.  The flea treats are a nice addition of b-vitamins too.   

And yeah, don't even bother getting into it with others about their vet friends and family...they have been so blindly indoctrinated that they wont hear you anyway.  You can only help those who want the help.  They will get there eventually.

If you decide you want to take them off heartworm meds, you can also get some heartworm nosodes, which will keep them healthy while they're getting stronger.  Dr Wessner in Summerfield at is a good source I used.

Fleas, comfortis, and Heartworm Preventative...

posted Mar 14, 2011, 1:40 PM by James Cass

Here is an email discussion I had with someone that may have some useful information for someone...

This discussion started out by someone claiming that comfortis is all-natural, so that must mean it's safe...

My reply...

First of all, comfortis is NOT natural. Yes, it is derived from naturally
occurring bacterium, but it doesn't happen that way naturally. However,
with that being said, it is considered the most mild
of pharmaceutical flea/tick treatments available.

Second, you're right, a raw diet does not prevent fleas, nor does the
garlic. What prevents them is a very healthy immune system, which is
typically supported by a healthy raw diet. Anything that compromises
health, adds to the susceptibility of parasites...heartworms included.

A healthy animal can naturally prevent parasites, at least in part, from
becoming an infestation. Many times, a healthy animal is just not appealing
to the parasite.

Topical flea treatments, heartworm preventatives, and commercial food (with
it's correlation to poor oral health) all add to a compromised immune
system, which makes for a tasty target to parasites.

Once an animal is on the road to better health through diet, lack of
poisins/toxins, exercise, and positive mental health (through training,
play, and happy environment), then it wont need anything it doesnt naturally
get in the wild. So flea/tick treatments, heartworm preventatives, and
vaccines all qualify. A healthy dog or cat will not succumb to flea, tick,
or heartworm infestation. The problem is, many people, including many vets,
wrongly classify their animals as healthy. For example, my neighbor and I
have a shared gate in our backyard, so our dogs can roam between both yards.
My dogs and cat(raw diet, very healthy) do not need flea treatment and dont
get fleas, except for the occasional one or two. At the same time, their
dog and cat (crap-tastic food, who has tried every flea preventative known)
is constantly fighting infestation.

It's not the area or environment, it's not the individual breed and it isnt
anything in particular that one eats or is supplemented with, it's overall
immune system health. That's one thing that takes a long time to build, and
can be compromised very easily with pharmaceuticals, toxins and drugs.

If anyone wants more information, I'd love to share it with you in detail

James Cass
V.N.D. Candidate
Kingdom College School of Natural Animal Health

Her reply:

Thank you for the Comfortis info!!  I have asked the vet techs about it and all I could get out of them was how safe it was, what a great product it was, etc.  Then the bad news that my dog couldn't take it because he has seizures occasionally.  What is that all about?  My sister in law gave comfortis to her dog and it did not work. (?)

My dogs and cats have had flea medicine only occasionally over the last 20 years.  Every few years some fleas infest and I have no choice.  It does seem that fleas are becoming tolerant of the "spot on" flea treatments too.  The dogs are fed raw only for the last 3 years.  I wish I could figure out what the magic is that keeps their immune systems healthy and fleas away.  

Even though I give them the best of everything (that I can) last spring the fleas invaded.  After two months of cleaning and bathing and washing everything in sight did I resort to the chemicals.  Everone has been fine all summer and now that the colder weather is here life should be good again here in Central Florida.

All info that can help keep my pets healthy is welcome!

My reply...

Vets and Techs never give the whole picture, and that is frustrating.  It's always about the positive benefits of something, never the risks.  I'm not saying there isnt a place for drugs and pharmaceuticals, but I am saying they should be talked about truthfully, so owners can truly make educated decisions.

Nothing works for all dogs and cats.  And sometimes, fleas get bad due to weather and outside influences, but there are natural ways to combat them, even though it seems they dont work as well as pesticides.  The advantage there, is that the fleas dont build resistance, and the environment gets more balanced over time.   Things like cedar sprays, DE, and beneficial nematodes do work, but you have to apply often, and it's frustrating during the current year's battle, but the following years, the results are really observed.

For me, when I first started feeding raw, I stopped the vaccines and topicals, but my dogs still had fleas, for over a year. During this time, they still received heartworm prevention.  Several months after stopping the heartgard, is when I noticed the flea problem getting lighter.  Of course, the entire time I was battling the yard and house with the methods I described above, so I'm sure those had some effect, but I do believe the heartgard is a major factor.  When considering how ivermectin works, it makes complete sense.  It is probably one of the biggest contributors to poor immune system health, besides booster vaccines, that one can give to your dogs and cats.  It acts like a low-dose poison, much like arsenic, to kill (not prevent) heartworm microfilaria circulating in the blood.  This constant barrage of poison to the system keeps them sick enough to be an easy target to parasites, but still appear healthy.

A healthy dog will not succumb to heartworm infestation.  They may get a very small amount of heartworms, that will go unnoticed by the animal, with no negative effects (much like having a few fleas onboard).  Soon, the dog's own immune system learns how to naturally kill the microfilaria, so no new heartworms take up residence.  In about 1 to 2 years, those few heartworms that did get through, will die, and no more should take hold.  In the learning phase (of your dog's immune system) you can use heartworm nosodes, a homeopathic defense against heartworms.  By fighting heartworms naturally, and getting off the ivermectin, you will boost their immune system substantially.  Hopefully that is some of the magic you are searching for, even if it doesnt sound that appealing.  Knowledge is the key, it just isnt always a pretty key.


Mixing Kibble and Raw Food

posted Jan 17, 2011, 12:57 PM by James Cass

This article was taken from a Raw Feeding distro list with permission...

There is nothing neutral about a dog's stomach contents, no matter how much grain/carbs you feed. If you've ever seen a dog vomit up bile, or even food, even exclusively kibble fed food, onto a metal crate pan, you would have seen "proof" - the contents will etch the galvanized metal!

Dogs were "designed" to eat meat and bones, and perhaps a little bit of plant material - being carnivores. They produce a strong gastric acid, somewhere in the range of 1-2 on the pH scale (neutral is 7). In comparison, humans, who are omnivores and are "designed" to eat a greater variety of food but under different conditions, have a pH average of 5. This is the reason why humans would quickly become very sick if they ingested the level of bacteria dogs are able to tolerate. I think most people know that commercially made white vinegar is a good agent to clean and disinfect with, because it inhibits the growth of bacteria - vinegar is about 2.4 or so on the pH scale.

Thing is, acid isn't the only thing involved in digestion - there are also enzymes. Carnivores are not designed to process carbs (grains, etc) efficiently because they do not make the appropriate amounts or type to digest them - omnivores have the appropriate enzymes to do this. Dogs CAN digest plant materials, but they do so very inefficiently, and often incompletely (making the nutrients not always bio-available to the dog, despite being fed and IN the dog's gut). If the dog is fed a plant based diet, for example as with some kibble, their digestive systems can be "trained" to produce more of the enzymes needed, but it's never what is optimal, or even acceptable, which is why many dogs end up with a very large volume of stool. Some of it is indigestible fiber, but a lot is undigested plant material because it's not possible for the dog to to so.

There was an old study done on digestion rates when fed different foods to determine stomach emptying time for administering anesthesia. Raw meat was fastest, kibble slowest (and what remained of kibble in the stomach a day later was putrid, if I remember correctly) - I am trying to find either a reference or the text of it but haven't yet. Prolonged and incomplete digestion may be relevant to problems like bloat (which is why many breeders of breeds with bloat issues choose to feed raw exclusively), but in general, most dogs manage to get rid of all sorts of unsavory stomach contents without incident, although some do it with a great deal of excess gas.

The mixing issue - such as it is - is not so much from the actual mixing. The dog will digest - eventually - what's in the gut, and in most cases no apparent problems will occur - the strong acid takes care of that. That's why many people feed all sorts of combinations and never have any problems... Until they do. Problems can occur if the dog is under additional stress, so that it's not digesting "up to standard", if it's old or young and it's digestive system is not working up to par, or if the bacterial load is particularly heavy and overwhelms the gut. Depending on the degree of the problem, and the specific bacteria, there may be a transient problem with loose stools or a prolonged, serious illness. So, basically, you CAN feed whatever combo you want, likely without problems, but there is a risk involved. Separating raw from kibble helps to reduce the risk.

Update - Puppy Class at DTCT

posted Nov 30, 2010, 7:51 AM by James Cass

Update  --  After completion of the first class (7 weeks) I am excited about the next one, which should be starting in January.  The puppy class is a great one, because so many of the owners/handlers are first-time dog-owners, and don't know much about natural pet care.  Most only know what their shelter/rescue agency or vet has told them.  Often that is just information of ignorance that is given, and really isn't sound advice.  This setting gives me an opportunity to educate people that there are natural alternatives out there that work, and enable your pet to live a longer, healthier, happier life.

Dog Training Club of Tampa

posted Oct 28, 2010, 6:41 AM by James Cass   [ updated Nov 30, 2010, 7:51 AM by James Cass ]

I have started training at the Dog Training Club of Tampa.  I am helping Sarah Guess in the Puppy Obedience Class on Thursday evenings at 7:30p.  Come by as a guest to see what it's about, and see if you might be interested in a class.  Not only is it beneficial for your dog, they have a lot of fun.

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