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  • Writer's pictureSacha Packer

"it's a trend"

The dumbest I've heard is that feeding a dog real food aka their natural diet is a trend.

If you want to geek out, this is the thread for you, grab a cuppa and settle in for a look back at history and what scientists say today.

One of the oldest fossils of a dog dates back to 33,000 years ago, a wolf-dog type hybrid.[1] A DNA sample of the fossil discovered that the animal was more closely related to a dog than a wolf.[2]

Scientists know that dogs evolved as a result of the domestication of wolves, but the specific time and location of this domestication are still poorly understood - The discovery of the fossil further complicates that picture. Most experts agree that dogs predate the invention of agriculture (which happened roughly 10,000 years ago), but some say that domestication may have occurred as long as 100,000 years ago.[3]

Breed development around the times of agriculture saw some breeds evolve to carry 4-30 copies of the gene for amylase, a protein that starts the breakdown of starch in the intestine. Wolves have only two copies, one on each chromosome[4] - This means that some breeds are more capable of breaking down starch than others, depending on where the breeds were developed and what was happening in agriculture at the time in their geographical location.

This finding led some kibble promoters state that dogs should consume starch i.e. high carb diets aka kibble when in fact scientists state that dogs have zero requirements for carbs.

The amylase finding simply shows us that some breeds evolved because the food available at the time was starchy and in order to survive in those environments, they needed a digestive enzyme to actually break down the food so it could be absorbed and utalised by their bodies.

Kibble promoters also reference a 2021 study that found links between dogs eating raw meat and excreting resistant E. coli. The research supports a recent study by the team, published in the journal One Health, which looked at 16-week-old puppies. Both studies, which used data from different dogs, demonstrate that dogs may excrete resistant bacteria regardless of their age or the length of time they are fed a raw meat diet.

Now, what these kibble promoters don't also reference from this study is that the environment a dog lives in also played a part in the potential for them to excrete resistant bacteria. They believed that raw feeding was a strong risk factor for dogs living in the countryside, while in city-dwelling dogs, risk factors were much more complicated, probably reflecting the variety of lifestyles and exposures among city dogs.

This was also stated in a different 2021 study[5] in which scientists surveyed the gut bacterial diversity of 27 domestic dogs, which were fed commercial dog food (kibble not raw), and 31 wolves, which were fed uncooked meat - They found that the living environment of dogs and domestic wolves has led to increased numbers of bacteria with antibiotic resistance genes, with exposure to antibiotics through direct and indirect methods. In addition, the living environment of dogs has allowed the adaptation of their microbiota to a starch-rich diet. These observations align with a domestic lifestyle for domestic dogs and captive wolves, which might have consequences for public health.

𝗦𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗸𝗶𝗯𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗱𝗼𝗴? 𝗺𝗺𝗺𝗺, 𝗜 𝗱𝗼𝗻'𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸 𝘀𝗼, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂?

Matthew Avison, Professor of Molecular Bacteriology from the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, who led the microbiology aspects of these studies, said: "Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are everywhere, but some antibiotics are considered critically important for use in humans. We have shown that dogs fed raw meat are more likely to carry bacteria resistant to these important medicines. This doesn't mean that the animal, or the owner, will become sick.[5]

An extensive international survey[7] conducted at the University of Helsinki indicates that pet owners do not consider raw food to considerably increase infection risk in their households. In the survey, targeted at pet owners, raw food was reliably determined to be a contaminant only in three households. A total of 16,475 households from 81 countries responded to the survey.

In total, 99.6% of households feeding their pets raw food did not report any pathogens being transmitted from the raw food to humans. The time the responding households had been feeding raw food to their pets ranged from several weeks to 65 years, with 5.5 years as the mean value. The reported cases of illness covered whole time frame that raw food was consumed in the household.

𝗦𝗼, 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁 𝗮 𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗱? 1956: The Ralston Purina Company started to experiment with the extruding machines that made their Chex Cereals, they were looking to create a more shelf-stable and palatable dog food.

1960's: Other companies started to make extruded dog foods and new flavours became available. In 1964, “The Pet Food Institute (a group of pet food industry lobbyists) launched a series of ad campaigns to convince consumers that commercially prepared dog food was the only option to feed. The campaigns were hugely successful in convincing the American public that their dogs’ diets should be kibble-based”.

1990's: Dry food starts to become more of the norm in Australian homes.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝟯𝟬,𝟬𝟬𝟬 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗿𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝟵𝟬'𝘀...𝘀𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝘀...

Kibble promoters will try their hardest to scare you off feeding a dogs natural diet, the below are common scare tactics used:

𝗡𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱

The term "balanced" is in relation to an organisation called AAFCO which sets down the nutritional profile for pet food companies when formulating their dry foods.

Dogs and their ancestors coped just fine without AAFCO telling them what they should and shouldn't be eating.

Regardless, "balanced" natural diets can and are formulated by scientists, researchers, nutritionists, and pet food companies all the time. You can learn more about "balance" here:

Clinical Naturopath, Narelle Cooke discusses this topic very well and in a very scientific manner here:

𝐃𝐫𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐨𝐠 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬 Dry dog food is put through an extruding process that cooks ingredients up to 4 times which degrades the protein and the nutrients. This process means that the "food" has to be balanced with synthetic nutrients which the body doesn't process the same as whole food nutrients. You can learn more about this here:

𝗔 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝗳𝗲 Clinical Naturopath discusses the safety of raw vs kibble very well and in a very scientific manner here:

Narelle also discusses the dangers of kibble here:

We discuss safety here at our communities platform:

𝗕𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝗳𝗲 Vets of course see the worst of situations such as people feeding cooked bones and inappropriate bones that can cause obstructions. We discuss bones here:

𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗼𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗽𝗼𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 Whilst dogs can technically get food poisoning, it's certainly not like what it is in humans and this is because Mother Nature made the dogs digestive system to handle raw food, you can learn more here:

Share your thoughts and feelings below on this topic.

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