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having just read the the helpful list on here of foods to avaoid feeding, I have to adddress the statement that dogs should avoid raw meat. This is a complete and utter untrue myth.

In fact, when meat is cooked its molecular structure is altered and, in particular, all the health giving enzymes are destroyed. Then there are the chemicals. Chemicals are used in most processed, cooked dog foods to preserve it. Chemicals to alter the smell. Chemicals to change the colour. Chemicals to bind it so that it looks like chunks of meat or little dried shapes. And then there’s the added fats in processed food. These are usually of poor quality and could be recycled from deep fryers in restaurants, tallow that rises from rendering plants, rancid fat so on and so forth. Many commercial dog foods have fat sprayed on them as a way of making them palatable to dogs. Cooked meat is actually, therefore, very bad for dogs. There is a lot of scientific research on this.

Conversely, there is considerable evidence to show that a natural, raw food diet results in numerous benefits including a glossy coat, healthy skin, lean muscle tone, robust immune system, sweet smelling breath, healthy teeth and gums, increased energy, better digestion, strong heart and more energy and vitality. It is also probably worth mentioning that raw meat is usually extremely fresh – fresher than much of the meat you will find in your local supermarket. (The same is true of the vegetables added to the food I feed, too). Dogs eating a raw food diet can be expected to live longer and to suffer less illness and disease.

Regarding the statement that raw meat can contain bacteria such as Salmonella, it is actually 100% safe for dogs to eat raw meat. Dogs and their wolf ancestors have been eating raw food – primarily meat - for over a million years. After all, dogs don’t cook in the wild. This is the diet that they not only prefer, but which they are biologically designed to eat. Their teeth and digestive systems, in particular, are designed for it. Whereas a human intestine goes on for yards and yards, (up to 28 feet), a dog’s intestine is never more than two and half times its length. Therefore dogs simply can’t digest all sorts of things that humans can, including grain (of which there is a lot in processed, cooked dog food). And whereas human saliva contains lots of enzymes that aid digestion, canine saliva doesn’t. Instead dogs have the short digestive tracts described above and very strong stomach acids. When food is cooked it alters its chemical structure, destroying much of its nutritional value and killing enzymes that dogs need to digest. A processed food diet – because it is cooked – forces the pancreas to work harder and to draw other enzymes from the blood stream. This can leave a dog physically vulnerable because the enzymes in the blood are supposed to be protecting the body, not aiding digestion. A number of medical studies show that the pancreas enlarges on a diet of processed food. An enlarged organ means excessive function. Excessive function can lead to degeneration. It is a similar story when it comes to amino acids. Cooking at high temperatures alters the arrangement of these acids making half of them unusable by the canine body. The best way to describe the effect of cooking food for dogs is this: In the wild a dog will digest its food in 4 or 5 hours. Processed food, on the other hand, can take 8 to 15 hours to break down, clear the stomach and pass through the small intestine. Also, dogs’ teeth were made for ripping and tearing, not for chewing. That’s why dogs gulp much of their food. They don’t have the molars to break it down mechanically – instead all the serious digestive action takes place in their small intestine. Paleontologists estimate that a period of approximately 100,000 years is required before evolutionary changes occur within a whole species. The most accepted theories estimate that dogs began their association with humans, (at which time they began to eat processes, cooked food), between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. They haven’t, therefore, had time to adapt to eating cooked food let alone the other ingredients in processed food. Additionally, dogs have the most amazing immune system. Consider what they sniff, lick and eat during the course of a typical walk in a park! The bacteria found on fresh meat poses no threats to them whatsoever. Of course, dogs will happily eat unrefrigerated meat that is several weeks old without any ill effects. They’ll bury it and dig it up, too! (However, for safety’s sake, the vendor I buy my raw food from believes we should err well within the recommended rules for human consumption.) Humans also have a high tolerance to bacteria. There is, after all, likely to be more bacteria on the handle of a shopping trolley than on a piece of fresh chicken. Of course, this doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be careful. If you handle raw meat or bones, (although with the raw food meals I buy I don’t actually have to), it is sensible to wash your hands and anything else they have come into contact with.

In response to the statement that bones should not be fed, it is actually the case that bones are important for two reasons. Firstly, they provide vital nutrients including calcium, complex (good) fats and vitamins. Secondly, the actual chewing of the bones is what keeps a dog’s teeth and gums healthy. Chewing and gnawing are also, believe it or not, excellent exercise and help a dog to stay fit. That’s why the raw food I feed daily contains finely ground up bone. Thanks to decades of misinformation, (mainly by the dog food industry), there is a perception that a dog’s digestive system is too sensitive to deal with raw bones. This is not true. In the same way that it is perfectly safe for a boa constrictor to swallow its prey whole, it is perfectly safe for dogs to chew and swallow bones. They have been doing it for over a million years, after all. The erroneous - and generally untraceable - stories from dog owners who claim that their dogs have had problems with bones with choking and obstructions miss the real point: Dogs are no different from humans. Very, very rarely something will go down the wrong way or be too much for the digestive system. It hardly ever happens and when it does it could be caused by anything including, of course, dried dog food. In short, raw bones are the natural thing for dogs to eat. It is what they eat in the wild.

I am so sorry to be so longwinded, and detailed. I passionately believe it is important that we all have the full facts before us in order that an informed decision can be made regarding how best to care for our fluff-balls. Food is so very, very important. A growing number of vets and nutritionists believe that many, if not most, of the medical conditions that dogs are being treated for nowadays are a direct result of their diet. Unfortunately most nutritional elements of vets’ training courses are sponsored for by processed food manufacturers, which companies continue to pay practicing vets’ commission for every tin or bag of their food sold. It therefore takes some persistent research to get to the true facts!
 

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I had recently been considering a Raw diet, or part there of, but after giving Lola a raw bone and the worry of both her and our contamination, I just don't feel comfortable with it, so I am now home-cooking and she is one happy girl. I just don't see how you can really avoid contamination. When I cook with chicken, I bleach everything, having raw chicken bones even in a fairly confined area will still contaminate her and her surroundings, I doubt I could clean efficiently and safely enough.
 

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okay I admit, I'm really confused by all the information out there about raw diets.

Is this same as saying that you shouldn't eat carpaccio because it's raw? I love carpaccio but not just from anywhere- it has to be nicely made/prepared and using good beef etc. And I think people who won't eat a good carpaccio may be missing one of the nicer things in life. lol!

I read in an article about the Stella/Chewy's company having a food safety method (or something) that they patented that killed bacteria without cooking the food. So does this make it safer to feed to your dog?
 

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I do not feed raw, so I have no first hand experience. However, I have my opinions. :)

A few questions to think about:

What about anecdotal evidence from thousands of people who have fed their dogs raw food for years without one health problem?

Does their experience mean nothing?

Do we just discard anecdotal evidence and assume all of them are lying, and assume all the others are telling the truth?

Who benefits from public endorsement or condemnation of raw food? If one reads their articles in journals, they are vague. They say, it "may" hurt the animals. Well, if you feed them Science Diet it may hurt them, too. They say that it is a "fad." Hmm. What about the Dog sledders in Alaska who feed their dogs on a diet of raw fish and have done so for years?

There are no guarantees in life. We can get e-coli from raw spinach or lettuce at any given time. Should we all then cook our spinach and lettuce - because life is a crapshoot?

Or do we weigh the postives of eating raw spinach and lettuce against the chance we will get sick?

Driving on the highway can be dangerous. Do we all stay home because there is a chance we might get into an accident?

I don't intend to feed my dogs raw any time soon. However, if one chooses to feed their dogs raw meat, then that is their business. Most who do this have done their homework. There is no need to scare them.
 

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Is this same as saying that you shouldn't eat carpaccio because it's raw? I love carpaccio but not just from anywhere- it has to be nicely made/prepared and using good beef etc. And I think people who won't eat a good carpaccio may be missing one of the nicer things in life. lol!

I read in an article about the Stella/Chewy's company having a food safety method (or something) that they patented that killed bacteria without cooking the food. So does this make it safer to feed to your dog?
Haha, Andrea. I totally agree. What is life without carpaccio, beef tartare, eggs hollandaise, shabu shabu with raw egg??? Many cultures have survived on these items.....I wouldn't just eat these things at any restaurant, like you said.....

At the same time, I am so scared to feed raw to my babies because I respect my vet, and she always raises an eyebrow when the subject of raw comes up. She hates S&C...even though as you mentioned, they do post the lab results of every batch online.

Last time I mentioned that I sometimes use S&C as a topper on home-cooked food, she asked me to check out another food as a topper called Freshpet Freshpet - Natural, fresh refrigerated pet food for healthy dogs and cats She said all these vets are now way into how great this food is and how impeccably clean and pristine the manufacturer is. I haven't tried it, but I will soon...Freshdirect even delivers this food!
 

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I bought S&C when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, as a first time buy. But today (before I started reading about raw foods), I gave it to Bisou- crumbled on her dinner and she ate it like it was doggie crack. But now I'm concerned about giving her anymore especially if Vets seem to be concerned as well. I don't want to contaminate her or us. I'll look for Freshpet here.

ummm hollandaise is bad??!?!?! Other than the fat in it?? whoa! lol.
 

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Raw feeding just needs smarts about it

I fed a raw diet to my Labradors for years, about 7. I had one dog that was allergic to every protein source out there, except chicken and fish. She started having allergy issues again (around year 6 1/2)on the raw chicken, so switched fo fish. It was difficult to find enough to sustain large dogs on a weekly basis and, it was extremely expensive. this was all before the prepackaged stuff...and I could control what I put in, because the prepackaged stuff all has surgar in its ingredients (fruits/veggies), which is a big no-no for dogs w/allergies. So, I gave it up.

I did alot of research on it before I chose to go that route. I work for a vet, so had my boss telling me, I was going to kill my dogs. :) They were going to get salmonella. I challenged him and said, find me ONE true case or ONE article that substantiates or supports this statement and I'll consider it. He couldn't. Dogs have been eating spoiled food for as long as they have been around, they are made to eat spoiled food. (dogs that eat dog food and one brand only, have had senstive stomachs created, it is not natural for them to be this way)

My dogs did go through a "cleansing" period of diarrhea for about 2 weeks. I remember it well and it was extremely difficult. I stop diarrhea at work for people, not create it ;) Because I remember that so well, I chose to not go that route with my Maltese.. toooo scary. And, while I fed my Labradors, chicken backs daily and whole raw fish, I worry about these little tiny dogs eating raw bones (specific ones..you MUST do research on this, if you are going to feed it OR go to a holistic vet that will support you as you go through the change over) You don't have to feed the raw bone but you do have to then supplement so they get the benefits that raw bones supply. I didn't want to go that route either.

I knew one dog that got a bone stuck. she was a large breed dog and a gulper. Dogs naturally will gulp down their food and then gag it back up to finish rechewing it. this is natural, though sorta hard to watch LOL. Never were sure, why it happened. neither were the holistic vets, it was a "fluke" is what they said.

So, my point is... everyone has opinions and everyone is entitled...but if you have some negative opinions on a subject, check in with yourself on why you do, if you have no experience with it... sometimes, just fear of the unknown makes us have opinions of something because that gives our psychy a reason to be valid in its fear. If you are interested in raw, go educate yourself first. You CAN do damage to your dog (feeding broccoli every day can cause hypothyroidism) so you must know the ins and outs. Is it healthy to feed raw, yes it can be. Am I going to feed it to my Maltese, I think about it, but I'm afraid to and the few times I have tried it, mine won't eat it. Realty, if I'd get them to eat it and have some guidance from a holistic vet (closest is 3hrs away, which I've done before and it isn't ideal when you get into problems, because oftentimes, things just don't get accomplished as they should with a vet that is closer, for a variety of reasons) I would feed it. I do believe in it.

Two good books: best one and simplest to read: Kymythy Schultz: The Ultimate Diet and Ian Billinhursts, "Feed Your Dog A Bone" (or something close to that, been a long time). Be cautious of companies or people that distrube raw, who "educate" you. If they have been doing it for years, then ok...but someone that has just decided to sell it for a franchise, etc.. they are giving you lines from the company. They have no real experience/education and when and if you get into trouble there is no way, they will/can help you out of it. (my biggest pet peeve in the world)
 

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Vets and Nutrition

Oh and one other thing.. vets (who do not specialize) don't have experience in two departments: behavior and nutrition.

Vets are educated by Hill's, not even for an entire semester. Hill's recommends they feed their presciption diets, so they do. If a vet is giving you advice on not feeding raw, make sure that vet is not doing what I said in my last post, giving you advice w/lack of education in the subject and from a place of fear. If they are saying "don't" ask them why not and ask them to give you good solid reasons for their recommendations. Vague comments such as "because it is dangerous" is not good enough. WHY is it dangerous? Give me some background on it.

Just an added thought...
 

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The reason we cook meat and fish is not only to kill harmful bacteria like e. coli and salmonella, but to kill parasites. Raw fish carry a type of roundworm and tapeworm. I have heard of people becoming ill eating Sushi and contracting harmful parasites. The beef tapeworm can be passed to humans and dogs. Other harmful parasities contained in raw meat are toxoplasmosis, and the trichinella worm. Toxoplasmosis will kill your dog. Just because we buy meat at the grocery store does not mean it is free of parasites. Freezing may kill some parasites, but not always. If you eat raw or feed raw meat to your dog, you are playing Russian Roulette. This is not a risk I am willing to take. :thumbsup:
 

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Before we assume the validity of any reports/tests we must ask:

Who benefits from the findings?

Who is funding the testing?

What was the test environment like?

What were the ages of the dogs/cats?

What were they eating before they were fed raw?

What was their health like?

How good was their immune system?

What type of raw meat were they fed?

What was the source of the meat?

It would be wonderful if someone could do a clinical test on animals who haven eaten raw or home-cooked food since puppyhood and are now around 5 years old.

But we have to ask ourselves:

Who would fund that test?

Who would benefit from that test?

Yes, we can get parasites/diseases from raw (and cooked) foods, sushi, carpaccio, steak tartare, etc. However, if we eat truly healthy foods, and are keeping our immune system in good shape, by eliminating environmental toxins, we are much less likely to get sick.

Since we have introduced over-vaccinating, commercial pet food and pharmaceuticals to our pets, please show me the double blind, unbiased test results that indicate our pets our healthier today then they were 50 years ago. Yes, the may live longer, but they are overwhelmed with chronic conditions, like allergies, IBD, Colitis, Pancreatitis, Diabetes, Asthma, Cancer, Heart Disease, etc. Similar to us humans. We all live longer, but we all seem to be a little bit sicker and some of us have to take pharmaceuticals on a regular basis to suppress symptoms.

Show me the evidence that what we have been doing all these years to "help ourselves and our pets" - introducing junky food, and drugs, has really helped us and our dogs.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Okay, rant over. Carry on. Nothing to see here.
 

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I have started feeding raw to my 3 dogs and cat. For those of you who don't know I have a Havanese who is prone to pancreatitis, a Brussels Griffon, and a 4.5 lb Maltese.

I am very careful about the amount of the fat in the formulas I choose so as keep the pancreatitus at bay however all of my animals are currently thriving on a raw diet.

I think that Susan is correct one must truly look at all the information available and question both sides thoroughly before making a decision. Feeding raw is not for everyone or every dog but it can have wonderful effects for those willing to try it.
 

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I've seen a few cases of salmonella and a couple of e.coli. The e.coli was from bad batches of kibble. So yes, dogs can contract such food-borne illness...it is up to you to decide your dog's risk level. Most healthy dogs will probably do fine. Dogs with some health concerns probably aren't worth the risk. I don't do any raw in my home because I have a dog extremely prone to infection. Not a chance I'm willing to take.
With our furry faced dogs, you should consider the people in your home as well. If you have anyone at risk for infections, at the very least, be washing the face (and paws if used to eat) after meals is.
I am a firm believer there is no one perfect diet for every dog. We should treat each dog as an individual and find the best possible diet for that dog.
 

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I have been feeding my dogs a commercially prepared raw diet. It is deyhdrated. I think that if you are preparing your own raw diet, you must be extreme selective about the meat you choose. Yes, animals in the wild eat raw. The meat they are eating was not caged, fed an unhealthful diet and slaughtered in horrible dirty conditions. There's a reason they tell people not to eat a rare hamburger!!
Since I switched to the food I am currently using, my dog Lola was 12lbs due to prednisone (which she takes for a medical condition that she has). She was rather miserable at that weight. On this diet, she is currently 8.8 (much closer to her normal weight of 6.2) She is running again, can play with the other dogs. All of my dogs are happy, health, have no tear stains and have gorgeous coats.
And Suzan is right. If you just read studies it will drive you crazy. I kept doing that and couldn't ever decide what the heck was the right thing to feed! But I finally decided to try this after listening to members here who were having very nice results with the raw diets. So glad I made that leap of faith!!
 

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I've seen a few cases of salmonella and a couple of e.coli. The e.coli was from bad batches of kibble. So yes, dogs can contract such food-borne illness...it is up to you to decide your dog's risk level. Most healthy dogs will probably do fine. Dogs with some health concerns probably aren't worth the risk. I don't do any raw in my home because I have a dog extremely prone to infection. Not a chance I'm willing to take.
With our furry faced dogs, you should consider the people in your home as well. If you have anyone at risk for infections, at the very least, be washing the face (and paws if used to eat) after meals is.
I am a firm believer there is no one perfect diet for every dog. We should treat each dog as an individual and find the best possible diet for that dog.
I've had vets tell me this, but it was not truly a case of documented salmonella, just suspect and was not due to eating raw. So are you saying that you have seen documented (confirmed w/lab results) proof of a dog contracting salmonella from eating a raw diet? I'm not disputing you, just asking if that is what you are saying.

Agreed, re: your statements that contribute to: know your dogs, know your situation and know what is right for you both.
 

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Oh and one other thing.. vets (who do not specialize) don't have experience in two departments: behavior and nutrition.

Vets are educated by Hill's, not even for an entire semester. Hill's recommends they feed their presciption diets, so they do. If a vet is giving you advice on not feeding raw, make sure that vet is not doing what I said in my last post, giving you advice w/lack of education in the subject and from a place of fear. If they are saying "don't" ask them why not and ask them to give you good solid reasons for their recommendations. Vague comments such as "because it is dangerous" is not good enough. WHY is it dangerous? Give me some background on it.

Just an added thought...



Today's veterinary graduates have at least one semester of nutrition. I doubt Hill's wrote their textbook. I've had a semester long human nutrition course in college and it was the hardest class I had.

I'll agree that Hills and Vet. schools collaborate on some of their research and I think that's a good thing. Vet. schools would never have the money to do the indepth studies they do without financial support from dog food companies. Neither would holistic vets. have money for their educational programs if they weren't supported by supplement companies.:thumbsup:

Vets. get their nutrition information from numerous credible sources:

Controlled studies at veterinary schools which have specialized veterinary canine and feline nutrition programs. Programs like Ohio State, UC Davis

Then there's other veterinary schools who do studies for other species in which they indirectly learn about canine and feline nutrition. Cornell, Rutgers, Penn State, Kansas State, Viriginia Tech, . . . . .

The studies are submitted to the National Research Council of the US National Academy of Sciences and are combined to be a sources for nutrient recommendations for dogs and cats.

There's canine nutrition studies being done continuously at dog food companies. I know that Hills, Purina, and Royal Canin have board certified veterinary nutritionists on their staff. There may be other companies as well.

Vets can get nutrition information from many, many professional journals which report studies on canine nutrition.

There's many, many professional organizations that support and educate about canine nutrition : the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the Pet Food Institute, FDA, USDA, . . . . . .


THEN THERE'S THE RESEARCH PERFORMED IN OTHER COUNTRIES BY VET SCHOOLS, DOG FOOD COMPANIES, ETC.
 

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I've had vets tell me this, but it was not truly a case of documented salmonella, just suspect and was not due to eating raw. So are you saying that you have seen documented (confirmed w/lab results) proof of a dog contracting salmonella from eating a raw diet? I'm not disputing you, just asking if that is what you are saying.
I would like to know this as well. Not to dispute it but because I sell raw food in my store and get the questions about salmonella and e.coli. To date I do not know of any documented cases of salmonella or e.coli. If there are cases I would like to be able to address customers concerns appropriately.
 

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Today's veterinary graduates have at least one semester of nutrition. I doubt Hill's wrote their textbook. I've had a semester long human nutrition course in college and it was the hardest class I had.

I'll agree that Hills and Vet. schools collaborate on some of their research and I think that's a good thing. Vet. schools would never have the money to do the indepth studies they do without financial support from dog food companies. Neither would holistic vets. have money for their educational programs if they weren't supported by supplement companies.:thumbsup:

Vets. get their nutrition information from numerous credible sources:

Controlled studies at veterinary schools which have specialized veterinary canine and feline nutrition programs. Programs like Ohio State, UC Davis

Then there's other veterinary schools who do studies for other species in which they indirectly learn about canine and feline nutrition. Cornell, Rutgers, Penn State, Kansas State, Viriginia Tech, . . . . .

The studies are submitted to the National Research Council of the US National Academy of Sciences and are combined to be a sources for nutrient recommendations for dogs and cats.

There's canine nutrition studies being done continuously at dog food companies. I know that Hills, Purina, and Royal Canin have board certified veterinary nutritionists on their staff. There may be other companies as well.

Vets can get nutrition information from many, many professional journals which report studies on canine nutrition.

There's many, many professional organizations that support and educate about canine nutrition : the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the Pet Food Institute, FDA, USDA, . . . . . .


THEN THERE'S THE RESEARCH PERFORMED IN OTHER COUNTRIES BY VET SCHOOLS, DOG FOOD COMPANIES, ETC.
Well, I did say "unless specialized" but maybe I should have added in, in my experience (which is vast, but of course, it is my experience). Yes, there are really good sources, and these are GREAT! but many vets don't "further educate" because they have Hill's. (sad but true)

I've worked for/with a lot of vets and most of them are satisified to give out Hill's because it a) does the job they need it to and b) gives them time to focus on the medical part of the problem.

I'm sure there are many that know more about diets but for the most part, I don't think they bother with it, because honestly they believe what they were taught (BTW, I don't feed nor recommend Hill's)

And maybe that is just in the past and I sure hope you are right, though!!! and that times are changing!!! This is really good information. thanks for posting it!
 

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This is what my highly respected vet told me. This is also what my doctor told me. Because I asked:

The problem is that science of nutrition is constantly changing and once vets/doctors get out of school, they have little time to study or pore over reports, journals, clinical trials, etc. They just have enough time to listen to a sales rep or read a short descriptive handout, and go on the internet once in a while.

And the other thing that the doctor told me is that he is one doctor who reads a lot of stuff, and he said that many of the published studies in respected journals have great information, but simply come to wrong conclusions contrary to what the actual study indicates. (I have read this type of thing myself - like the latest Vitamin D study. I sent the entire thing to my doctor, and he went ballistic. He said that the conclusions at the end actually contradict the study!) So guess what the doctor/vet who has no spare time reads? Only the conclusions drawn at the end.

So while clinical trials, testing, studies, and other information out of respected Vet Schools, and Medical Schools may be a good source of information, it is also often inconclusive and really should not be taken as the last word on everything.

And while many pet food company employees really have the dogs best interests at heart, many more don't give a fig about the dog's health and just want to make their money.

And while many vets disseminate good, helpful info, I still believe that personal anecdotal evidence MUST be taken into consideration, because the average pet owner has nothing to gain (like money, prestige, career advancement) from telling others about their positive experiences, except perhaps to help other pet owners.

And I also agree that every dog is an individual. You must take into consideration their environment, lifestyle, overall health, etc. before you decide on a feeding/health plan.
 
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