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A Pain In The Butt

Yesterday, I re-ran a post from April 2010 where I wrote about taking my dog, Scooter (who is a dachshund/beagle mix), to the vet.  I made a humorous story out of it, which was fine since there were many humorous elements to it.  But the reason for the visit wasn’t humorous, and it isn’t today – mostly because what was wrong with Scooter is still wrong with him.  In fact, he will suffer from it for the rest of his life.

Scooter has an autoimmune disease centered in his anal glands.  This basically means that his own immune system is attacking his body.  Because of this, he has had several infections and been on several rounds of corticosteroids.  Prednisone, to be exact.  And while it breaks my heart to see my sweet little dog suffering, either from the disease or the medication we must give him to treat the disease (long term corticosteroid use is no joke), I have to face the fact that I am responsible for his illness.

You see, I feed my family, which includes the dog.  And until about 6 months ago, Scooter ate dry dog food – Kibbles ‘N’ Bits Beefy Bits to be exact.

I can’t say he enjoyed it.  We never had to portion it – I’d pour about a cup in his bowl in the morning and it would be gone by the next morning, but it took him a full 24 hours to eat that small amount.  He ate it very grudgingly and only when he was very hungry.   In the meantime, he’d follow anyone and everyone every time they walked into the kitchen, hoping for a handout of “people food.”  (Yes, he often got it.)

The fact that he did not particularly care for his dog food never really struck me as odd – I mean, if you lived in my house and got a taste of the food that came out of my kitchen, would you want to eat dry dog kibble?  However, once we eliminated processed food from our diet, it occurred to me to think about the processed food I was feeding my four-legged baby.  So, I read the ingredients and was immediately appalled.

Corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (bha used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, beef, water sufficient for processing, animal digest, propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, caramel color, potassium chloride, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, titanium dioxide, calcium sulfate, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, BHA (used as a preservative), potassium sorbate, dl methionine.

How on earth anyone could possibly pass that off as nutritious for any living thing, even a dog, is beyond me.

Unlike cats, dogs are not obligate carnivores; their digestive tracts can handle a certain amount of vegetable matter.  However, if people are not adapted to refined grains, soy, corn syrup, preservatives such as BHA and artificial food colorings (and we’re NOT), how could a dog be?  Especially when you consider that commercial dog food didn’t even exist until the late 1860s.  Our pets have not had 11,000 years to “adapt” to a diet heavy in grains.  And just what the heck is “animal digest??”  It sounds disgusting, and this is coming from a woman who is planning on cooking a cow’s tongue this weekend.

At any rate, there is growing evidence that autoimmune disorders and diseases are linked to the consumption of grains, particularly wheat, and I see no reason why this would be less true for a dog than a human being.  Couple large amounts of corn and wheat with equally large amounts amounts of soy (which I can assure you are GMO), preservatives, inferior sources of protein, chemicals and artificial colors and you literally have a recipe for a sick pet.

The minute we read the ingredients of the food we were feeding Scooter, we took him off of it and I began preparing his food myself.  At first, it was a mixture of cooked ground beef, white rice (which is simply pure starch) and vegetables, with offal of some sort mixed in occasionally.   This seemed to help a great deal for awhile, but he recently had a bad flare-up which has him back on antibiotics and Prednisone, so I’ve removed the rice from his diet and am feeding him mostly raw ground beef (CAFO beef, but it has got to be better for him than corn syrup and “wheat middlings”), eggs, whatever meat we are having for dinner, and raw liver or other offal when I’m preparing it for my human family.

I guess the point of this post is that while you’re thinking about what you feed your family, please don’t forget about those who can’t speak up for themselves.  And I’ll keep you updated on how Scooter does on his new diet.

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday

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