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Feeding our animal companions a diet of raw meat is a widely debated topic. Over the years there have been experts in the field of nutrition who have designed and promoted specific diets for our animal friends. Some advocating high meat protein diets, like Atkinson’s Diet and the Paleo Diet. Then there are the diets that promote only raw veggie diets, which is currently hitting South Africa with a bang. Professor Tim Noake’s revelation on high meat protein diets with little carbs is also extremely popular.

However, none of the experts have ever promoted a diet that contains raw meat. They have advocated diets that contain a high-meat content or loads of raw veggies, but not raw meat. The dangers are too risky.

There have been many recorded instances of illness as a result of raw meat intake. While some people will insist that they feed their dogs raw meat with no negative effects, the fact remains that there is a risk factor for dogs who may not be used to raw meat or who’s digestive system may not agree with the raw meat diet. The question is, why take the risk?

James O’Heare knows wolves better than most. He runs a large Wolf Sanctuary in North America. He is one the most outspoken experts against the feeding of raw meat to companion animals. In his own admission, one of the most common deaths in his wolf sanctuary, after feeding raw meat, is pancreatitis. And this is feeding a certified carnivore. Imagine now, feeding a raw meat diet to our companion animals, which have been domesticated for 15000 years and have little or no relationship to wolves from the past. The consequences could be dire.

Anne Martin is a legend in her writing and an acclaimed researcher. She pioneered exposing the impurities in commercial pet food, “Food Pets Die For”.  In her most recent book, “Protect Your Pet..More Shocking Facts” she includes a chapter on the dangers of  raw meat diets.

Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition has spent more than a decade educating the public about natural diets and alternatives to the mainstream commercial processed pet food. Great progress has been made and pet owners are starting to have faith that natural diets are safe, balanced and successful.

There is a vast amount of writing done on this topic and we advise the you take the time to read up on as many sources as you can. At the end of the day, it is your animal companion’s life at stake.

Spirocerca lupi – warning against feeding raw meat

Recent newspaper reports have brought this little-known parasite to the attention of the dog-owning public.   What is it and why have we not heard of it before?

“This is definitely not a new parasite” says Professor Joop Boomker, of the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria.   “It just hasn’t been prevalent in recent years.” 

“Pet owners who feed meat and chicken to their dogs should ensure that it is properly cooked, and neverfed raw,” advises Prof. Boomker.

More interesting reads on the dangers of Raw meat diets for dogs;

http://www.wdcusick.com/raw.html

William D. Cusick  Author of “The Animal Advocate” Website. William provides a fascinating information on the ancestry of our dogs and wolves, as well as facts about the dangers of a raw meat/bone diet.

http://www.wdcusick.com/raw.html

Mike Richards, DVM Dr. Mike addresses frequently asked questions about the raw meat diet, and explains the dangerous and misconceptions of feeding raw meat and bones.

– http://www.vetinfo.com/drawmeat.html

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                           WHAT VET’S ARE SAYING…                    

Dr Gérard Lippert and Bruno Sapy, landmark 5 year study on the life expectancy of domestic dogs showed that:

Dogs fed industrial food lived an average 10.4 years.

Dogs fed home made food lived an average 13.1 years. The difference is just over 32 months nearly 3 YEARS LONGER!!!

”Nutrition is serious health business. The public is not well served by exclusively feeding products from companies without any real commitment to health… or knowledge of how to even achieve that. Recent studies have shown processed foods to be a factor in increasing numbers of pets suffering from cancer, arthritis, obesity, dental disease and heart disease”. Dr. Randy Wysong, DVM 

Regarded the „pandemic of periodontal disease in pets‟ as a major cat and dog health issue, calling the canine condition “Foul-mouth AIDS”, because he saw the bacterial proliferation in dog‟s mouths as suppressing their immune systems, leading to a host of health problems. For his advocacy, he was expelled from the Australian Veterinary Association. Dr. Tom Lonsdale DVM  

“Every time a pet trustingly eats another bowl of high sugar pet food, he is being brought that much closer to diabetes, hypoglycaemia, overweight, nervousness, cataracts, allergy and death.” Dr. R.Geoffrey Broderick DVM 

“During my thirty years of veterinary practice I have often been upset by the poor condition I see some of my canine patients in due to inferior quality diets that the owner honestly believes to be adequate. In good faith the dog owner assumes that since the dog food label proclaims “complete and balanced”, “premium”, “high protein”, and so on, that their dog will automatically do just great if that’s all it is fed. Because of ambiguous or deceptive labeling of the dog food, the owner unknowingly will feed an inadequate diet. And it may be decades before the FDA requires more strict guidelines for dog food manufacturers to follow so that misleading, ambiguous, and sometimes phony labelling practices no longer confuse or trick the purchaser.” Dr. T. J. Dunn, Jr. DVM 

“The sad truth is that prepared pet foods help provide patients for vets.” Dr. Ian Billinghurst, B.V.Sc.(Hons), BSc.Agr., Dip.Ed.

 “Feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases their chance of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. Those wastes can include moldy, rancid or spoiled meats as well as tissues severely riddled with cancer.” Dr. P.F. Mc Gargle, DVM “The results of a clinical trial suggest that 74.7% of common diseases in dogs and 63% of common diseases in cats can be eliminated without medical intervention over a period of one year with proper diet modifications and an understanding of the healing process as exhibited through healing episodes. Approaching disease from the perspective of health is the most powerful means of eliminating disease. Poor fuel makes for little momentum in life. The commercial food we are feeding’ is the disease we are treating – so treat on and on, curing one disease after another, again and again.” Dr. William Pollak, DVM 

“The benefits of a natural diet go beyond merely preventing disease. After only 3-4 weeks on the new diet, people usually notice a dramatic improvement in the skin and coat, less odor, fewer fleas, brighter eyes, and better energy and behaviour. Not only can you see the signs of improved health, but you will also save money in the long run due to fewer and lower veterinary bills. The healthier your pet is, the less likely s/he will be to have fleas, skin problems, allergies, heartworms, feline leukaemia, dental disease, and many other common disease problems.” Dr Jeffrey Levy DVM PCH 

“A growing number of vets state that processed pet food is the main cause of illness and premature death in the modern dog and cat. In December 1995, the British Journal of Small Animal Practice published a paper contending that processed pet food suppresses the immune system and leads to liver, kidney, heart and other diseases. This research, initially conducted by Dr. Tom Lonsdale, was researched further by the Australian Veterinary Association and proven to be correct.” From the British Journal of Small Animal Practice

“The most common and most visible symptoms of nutritionally caused deficiencies are allergies of one kind or another. Because many commercial foods are woefully deficient in key nutrients, the long-term effect of these foods makes the dog hypersensitive to its environment. . . . It’s a dinosaur effect. Animals are being programmed for disaster, for extinction. Many of them are biochemical cripples with defective adrenal glands unable to manufacture adequate Cortisol, a hormone vital for health and resistance to disease.” Allergies can be, and often are, unrecognized deficiency diseases.” Dr Alfred Plechner, DVM

  “The prevalence of cancer and autoimmune related diseases in our pets is directly correlated to the processed foods we are feeding them. We are literally starving them to death of nutrients while stuffing them to the point of obesity with garbage.” Dr. Denise Miller, DVM and author of What’s Wrong With our Pets?

 “Their pets may have diarrhoea, increased flatulence, a dull hair coat, intermittent vomiting or prolonged scratching. These are common symptoms associated with commercial pet foods.” In 1981, as Martin Zucker and I wrote How to Have a Healthier Dog, we discovered the full extent of negative effects that commercial pet food has on animals. In February 1990, San Francisco Chronicle staff writer John Eckhouse went even further with an expose entitled “How Dogs and Cats Get Recycled into Pet Food”. Dr. Wendell O. Belfield, DVM

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Just imagine, Granny Rose Sunday Roast with steamed butternut, sautéed green peas and roasted potatoes compressed into tasty saturated kibble/pellets.

How about, grilled Salmon with a lemon and basil jeau, turned carrots and a garden salad, processed and compressed and placed in a take-away carton.

For those who love traditional, how about a baked Bobotie topped with natural chutney and a side dish of steamed turmeric rice in pellet form. And those who long for a Mediterranean dish, there could be Mousaka served with a Julienne of spring veggies – of course in a pellet/kibble form.

Throw away your fridge and freezers. Rather install well organized and labeled shelves that can accommodate your dry food for up to one year. Get rid of your picnic cooler box, cutlery and crockery. But don’t forget your picnic blanket so that you can comfortably sit and enjoy a carton of your favorite dried food.

Just chew on a balanced scientifically proven dry food and you will never need a dentist again.

And those into the “natural” can be assured that this kibble is “totally” natural.

Hey, and when the millions are starving in countries like in Somalia, we can easily ship them this nutritious, balanced tasty food to save their lives.

Dream on. This is just not going to happen. Why?

That is because no human would have faith or confidence in such a recipe or such a formulation. No-one would believe that they can attain maximum health and nutritional values from a dry kibble type food.

But you say it is good and balanced and ideal for our four-legged companions?

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG – ALLERGIES AND FLEAS – AN HOLISTIC SOLUTION

Summer and hot weather impacts on the well being and behavior of our pets. We, as humans, adapt to change in climate and amend our habits accordingly. For example, when the weather is hot we wear lighter clothing and we generally eat less bulky meals. We protect ourselves from the UV rays and we probably shower more often, especially after spending each day at Clifton beach or a trek through Newlands forest. 

Our pets rely on us for their daily activities and feed as well as their general exposure to the environment. It is, therefore, essential that we understand our companion and make the necessary adaptations to the change in climate. 

Offering your companion a variety of different foods or adding tasty tit bits may improve appetite. Identify whether your companion is a “hot” dog and then include cooling supplements into the meal. Remember, not to over do it with washing and shampooing, as their natural skin bacteria is very venerable. Rather rinse with fresh water or even a Natural Rooibos Soak. 

Spring affects our companion in many ways but the biggest irritant is fleas and itchy skin. This is both traumatic for pet owner and pet. Allergens are rife and abundant and our pets seem to react to everything: 

 Long grass, dust mites and flea bites – allergies 

It is important to boost your pet’s immunity during this season. Strong immunity is your pet’s sole protector against allergies. Supplementation is essential and should be administered religiously. 

The use of probiotics and/or spirulina would be well advised. A good quality omega 3 fish oil (not flax) is essential. Include apple cider vinegar daily in your pet’s water or food. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural parasite cleanser and will help rid toxins and parasites. 

A natural diet with vegetables and loads of cooling herbs like mints, sages, lemon balm would help to build immunity and calm and cool irritable skin. 

Fleas and Ticks

In the last few years we have seen an epidemic of fleas. They just will not go away. Whilst it is always tempting to use strong chemicals and poisons to rid these pets, it will certainly impact on your pet’s well being and sensitive skin. Here is the dilemma. If you choose to use flea and tick drops, it may rid fleas, but it certainly will impact on your pet’s immunity and ability to deal with allergens and thus may worsen skin conditions.

The use of natural chemical free repellents is well advised and can be just as effective if applied regularly. Khakibos as a spray is fantastic to apply on your dogs. For cats we would recommend the khakibos powder. Knowing how rife fleas and ticks are at the moment, I would recommend daily use. 

When we go to the beach and sunbath we apply sun protection is advance. We don’t wait to get burnt and then apply a sun cream after. The same is true with regards to applying khakibos onto our pets. Let’s keep them off our pets as a first priority! 

Internally, i would recommend increasing the daily dose of fresh garlic. Another alternative would be the use of aloe ferox bitter crystals (they are extremely bitter and you would have to hide the crystal in some meat or snack). Only one small crystal taken every few days is necessary. 

Spring and summer in South Africa is truly special but it can be problematic for our pets. Fleas and allergies can be contained naturally by boosting our companion’s natural immune system. Extra care and time is required during these months but the results are worth it. After all, a happy pet means a happy owner.

www.vondis.co.za/shop

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A VEGETARIAN DIET FOR YOUR DOG

In Europe, there are plenty of commercially available, healthy vegetarian diets for pets. There is no reason why vegan / vegetarian pet lovers in our country shouldn’t have the same choice. Moreover, vegetarian diets have been incredibly successful in curing many common ailments that we find nowadays like arthritis, bladder disorders, irritable skin and aggression. Remember that vegetable diets are mostly alkaline in nature compared to other acidic diets – SEE TESTIMONIALS BELOW.

Some may argue that a vegan diet for a dog is unnatural in some way, but its important to note that in nature dogs wouldn’t eat anything like what is commonly found nowadays – in a can or in pellet form. Most commercial pet food is made of very questionable meats, not fit for human consumption that would otherwise be thrown away. These foods are filled with preservatives and other additives that, over time, can detriment the health of your pet.

Fortunately, even though many people would assume that a dog couldn’t possibly be fed a 100% vegetarian diet, nothing could be further from the truth!

Unlike an obligate carnivore, a dog is neither dependent on meat-specific protein nor a very high level of protein in order to fulfill its basic dietary requirements. Dogs are able to healthily digest a variety of foods including vegetables and grains, and in fact dogs can consume a large proportion of these in their diet.

One should be very weary of diets fed to our pets that contain copious amounts of raw meat. Just as raw meat can be dangerous to humans, so it can be so for our pets. There are many reputable veterinarians and researchers who warn of the dangers of raw meat.

Still, in preparing a vegan or vegetable diet for your dog, one should adopt scientific procedures and utilize nutritional data to formulate a recipe that is balanced and nutritious.

Herewith some of the ingredients that we feel are paramount to a basic vegan diet for your dog: brown rice, millet, lentils, peas, barley, wheat germ, rolled oats, beetroot, butternut, sweet potato, carrots and a variety of freshly picked herbs and green veggies. To ensure the perfect balance we also supplement with calcium gluconate, zinc gluconate, taurine, yeast, lecithin, kelp, dandelion and vitamin c.

So, not only is it possible to feed dogs a non-meat diet, it can also be very nutritious and balanced.

TESTIMONIALS:

Just to let you know that I have been feeding my spaniel with the vegan diet since the beginning of Nov 2010 and he has never been so healthy or happy.

Previously, he was diagnosed with bowel disease (NOT IBS!!) at 6 months old and also had bouts of pancreatitis too.  He has been on 20mg to 40 mg of steroids (Cortisone) daily ever since to control the disease. He has also been taking buscopan for tummy cramps and allergex.  He would normally see the vet at least 2 – 3 x a month with severe pain, distended tummy, inflammation of the bowel.  He has been for scopes etc.  I was told by my vet that he would have to take steroids for the rest of his life and that he wouldn’t live past about 8 yrs old.  He said I had to weigh up “Quality vs Quantity” – meaning that the quality of his life would be better with steroids but he wouldn’t live long. Also, due to the high amounts of cortisone, my spaniel (Harley) is extremely overweight and his thyroid function has been depressed – which means that he will struggle to lose weight even on a “diet.”

At the age of 4 1/2, I found the Vegan diet online and changed him to that.  He has never looked back.  No more visits to the vet – only for a vaccination – and the vet was amazed at the change in Harley.  His cortisone dosage is down to 2.5mg per day!!!  No more buscopan or allergex. No more tummy cramps/severe pain and he has not had a single flare up of pancreatitis either. He is a happy, healthy and content dog now and has lost 3 kg’s.

So, thank you very much for this wonderful vegan food.  It is awesome and has changed not only my dog’s life but mine too!

Val

Over the past few years we’ve discovered Vondi’s amazing range of what I like to call Wonder pet food.

Interestingly enough now that I think back at the time we made a decision to move away from a dry pellet food, there we’re several occasions that led us to believe that by changing the diet of our beloved companions to a more nutritious and healthy one, we are going to naturally eradicate many common problems. (Which is what happened J)
In just three weeks we were amazed to see that drastic changes in our two companions once we started feeding just the Vondi’s food … three years later and our companions are just as excited before meals.
Their skin condition is now amazing, their eyes are sparkly, their teeth are spotless, their coats silky soft and shiny, and they have no odour… for the past two years our Vet just wants to know “What is your secret….”
The only good answer we could think of was, “ You are what you eat!”  and this happens to be so true.
All the Best
Thomas

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Paul’s Response:

This is a sure sign that your companion is lacking something nutritionally. It is not uncommon for your dog to eat its own stool, the wood from your skirting board, toilet paper or other unusual objects. Also very common, but pleases me greatly, is when your dog eats your garden, the herbs within, the flowers, roots and grass.

He is merely fulfilling the nutritional void from his daily feed and finding relief in other nutritional ingredients.

In the wild, dogs and cats would graze a variety of mineral enriched grass, flowers and herbs, instinctively identifying the healing and cleansing agents that they contain. The medicinal and mineral wealth in herbs is well documented and is essential to the health of allanimals.

It still amazes me that after thousands of years of being domesticated, our canine friend is still able to instinctively know what his body requires to make him nutritionally complete and to treat sickness and ailments.

Therefore, if your companion is exhibiting strange eating habits, then I would certainly include a variety of natural and wholesome ingredients into his meal. You will be surprised what fantastic results you will gain from just adding vegetables into your companion’s diet.

Most people have fresh herbs at home or can easily acquire some. Having a variety of herbs at home is the equivalent of having a walk-in pharmacy on your door step. Depending on the mood of your companion, health and ailment he will automatically know which herbs to choose. This is quite amazing.

I would also supplement diet with supplements that we know to support digestion:  pro-biotics, spirulina, diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar, a natural vitamin supplement.

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IF YOU WERE A DOG OR CAT WHICH WOULD YOU PREFER? 

The first set of ingredients is commonly used in commercial processed pellets. The second set of ingredients is commonly used in natural home-made style pet food. If you were a companion animal (or human) which would you prefer???? 

Ingredients:

Chicken meal   Lamb meal   fish meal   chicken   chicken digest   pork liver   barley   sorghum  dried whole egg    cracked pearled barley   ground whole grain corn   pork by-products soybean meal   dried whey   maize  wheat   oatmeal   brewers rice   potato flour   millet ground yellow corn   chicken fat(preserved with mixed Tocpherois)   animal fat   rice flour dried beet pulp   chicken liver flavor   soybean oil   natural flavoring   flaxseed   linseed yeast culture   brewers yeast   salt   iodised salt   sodium scienite   sodium chloride   potassium potassuim chloride   chloride   chlorine chloride   dl-methionine hydroxyanalogue  l-lysine vitamin e supplement   vitamin d3 supplement   d-activate animal sterol   vitamin a acetate niacin   calcium carbonate   calcium iodate   dicalcium phosphate   d-calcium pantothenate biotin    vitamin b12 supplement   riboflavin supplement   thiamine mononitrate   ascorbic ascid pyridoxine hydrochloride   folic acid   iron oxide   manganous oxide   magnesium oxide ferrous sulfate   copper sulfate   zinc oxide  ethyenediamine dihydriodide   zinc proteinate manganous proteinate   iron proteinate   magnesium proteinate   copper proteinate glucosamine hci   marigold extract   chondrotin sulphate

VS 

Ingredients

Chicken   mutton   beef   ostrich   spinach   carrots   celery   parsley   broccoli    sweet potato Butternut   beetroot Brown rice   pearl barley    split peas    lentils    rolled oats    wheat germ Cold pressed olive oil    fennel    basil    rosemary    garlic   mint   sage   thyme   oregano Yeast    lecithin   kelp   calcium  dandelion  vitamin c 

Don’t understand the ingredients??? Don’t  feed it! 

Despite the fact that the pet food industry is a much regulated industry, and that all pet food has to be labeled in terms law, it is very clear that the industry is not open, transparent and forthcoming with their labeling and ingredients. 

Still, it is our responsibility as pet carers and responsible consumers to understand the food that we and our companions consume and understand the jargon written on our labels

The labeling is so complex and the script so small that it is no doubt that the consumer has no chance of understanding the label and deriving at an informed decision.  So often we read of preservatives, colorants, stabilizers and emulsifiers without really understanding what they are or mean. Other terminology that is used which leaves us confused is: “meal, digestives, by-products, fat, flavouring, etc.”  

Remember, your pet food contains very little meat and most of the composition of your companion’s diet is made up from the “other”. This makes it even the more important that you understand what is in fact the bulk of your companion’s diet. 

Most people pick up a bag of kibble or a can of food and read “with chicken or “with beef” and think that they are feeding a diet that contains plump whole chickens or choice cuts of beef. But the law is very clear: 

the “With” rule allows an ingredient name to appear on the label, such as “with real chicken,” as long as each such ingredient constitutes at least 3% of the food by weight, excluding water for processing.

As a responsible and discerning consumer and protector of your companion animal, one has an obligation to scrutinize and understand the labeling and the ingredients contained within your pets nutrition. 

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ImageDRY PELLETS = ITCHY SKIN. IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT!! 

I am so frustrated. I want to bang my head. I want to write to all pet publications. I want to contact Carte Blanche. I want to grab all the veterinarians together. This happens each year after completing a major Expo Event, like The Good Food and Wine Expo which ended this weekend past. 

Vondi’s participates at many high profile exhibitions throughout South Africa. Despite being involved with Expos that target human interest, we represent, proudly, our furry friends. This draws much attention and interest and I believe that we are one of the most popular exhibitors. Certainly, we are one of the most interactive and passionate traders, talking to hundreds of people with animals. 

So why am I so frustrated and angry? 

Every single pet owner complains that their pet has a skin related allergy or irritation. I am not exaggerating. EVERY person who has a dog (and even cat) complains that there companion animal is struggling. I would hazard a guess and say that 99% of our dogs have a skin allergy of some sort – hot spots, redness, loss of hair, bumps at the tail, bumps on the stomach, itchiness, smelly skin, smelly mouth, itchy smelly ears, etc. 

Do our vets really know how dire the problem is? Or is the condition not so grave that warrants and expensive visit to the vet. The problem is not unique to Cape Town and The Good Food and Wine Expo. No, it does not matter where we exhibit, where we are represented. Each and every pet is struggling. Do our esteemed vets know this? 

Even more astounding, astonishing, amazing, ridiculous, degrading and unfair is that EVERY SINGLE pet that has skin ailments is being fed DRY PELLETS. We interview hundreds at an expo. Thousands during the course of the year and the ONLY common denominator is dry food. Where are our consumer journalists? Where is Carte Blanche? Where is Noseweek? We know the reason, we know the cause and without any doubt the cause is dry pellets/kibble. 

The only explanation given is that our pets are “Allergic”. Allergic to fleas, allergic to long grass, allergic to dust mites, allergic to the sand, allergic to sand fleas, allergic to the carpet, allergic to the detergent on the carpet, allergic to being allergic etc, etc, etc. 

Yes, but what is the cause? Why is their immunity so low that they are vulnerable to every allergen? We don’t fall apart when we step outside and are confronted by hundreds of allergens in the air and elsewhere. Our immunity is strong enough to cope with normal daily “interferences”. 

Why is no one putting the dots together?  Why is no one bold enough to blame the food that they are feeding? With humans we always blame our diet. 

There is no doubt that the cause of our pet’s allergies and skin condition is as a result of dry processed pellets. It is the only reasonable explanation. In essence, our pets are allergic to the food itself. They are allergic to pellets. To support this, the contrary applies. When people change their diets to normal food, real food, wholesome food, even food prepared at home, they immediately show positive signs and eventually are free of skin related sicknesses. 

The essence of well being is strong immunity, a strong digestive and glandular system. The core of health and well being comes from nutrition. How can any being expect to perform on food that has been exposed to abnormally high temperatures, that has been so preserved that it can sit on a dry shelf for 24 months, a diet that has no moisture, a diet that is essentially made up of refined carbs and a diet that is saturated in unnatural fats, so as to entice our pets to eat this inappropriate and unpalatable food. 

No wonder our pets are struggling with an array of human illnesses. This is just simply stated an inappropriate diet for any being, human or animal. Three hundred thousand years our companions have been fed human grade food, sat within us at the dinner table. In the last 50 years, for convenience sake, we have chosen to feed our dear ones some of the most highly processed and preserved foods on earth. 

As far as I am concerned the feeding of dry processed pellets is an abuse of animal rights and I believe that more animal rights activists should become involved. In fact “Animal Rights Africa” is very outspoken but has a full agenda of other priorities. 

Every dog is scratching. Every dog has a skin condition and EVERY one of them is on dry pellets. That is the reason and you know the solution.

 

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Flea and Tick Drops – A Savior or Killer? – continued….. 

Last months blog, “Flea and Tick Drops – A Savior or Killer?” drew so much attention. Many concurred with our stance that poison remains a poison, and whether applying to a human or animal, it has the same inherent dangers. Many offered their own horrendous stories of what prevailed after applying this poison on their pet’s neck.  

However, there were other followers of my blog who claimed that the alleged side-effects were as a result other elements not related to the application of the drops. They claimed that these drops are scientifically proven and are safe. Despite the 35000 complaints registered with the EPA in The States, they claim these testimonials are not credible and that they applied to other non related pet activity.

At the time, I had video footage links, showing the immediate negative reaction to this poison, after application, but chose not to attach the links because it was too disgusting and offensive. I, however, have collected a few local testimonials, which I believe is worth sharing. These testimonials were meant to be part of a Carte Blanch feature on the dangers of flea and tick poison, but were never featured:

“The Flea Drops Ruined my Table” – from Denise, an 80 year old Sea Point resident.   “Not so long ago I tried to apply a well known brand of flea and tick drops on the cat’s neck. Fortunately, it missed the cat’s neck and fell on my beautiful table. To my amazement, the drops started to eat away at the paint on the table and it eventually ruined my table. – I can only imagine what it does to our poor pet’s sensitive skin.”  

Our story about our cat

“One Saturday we applied Advantage to our Labrador. Three days later, on the Monday we noticed that our cat is having convulsions after licking the dog. The vet did not hold much hope for our cat surviving. Thankfully our cat pulled through after spending three days in hospital on a drip. It took another fourteen days for the cat to fully recover as he still had spasms from time to time also blurred vision  Francois  

My cat lost all the hair on her neck and back

My cat lost all the hair on her neck and back after I had applied one of those flea poison ampoules you get from the vet. The baldness wasn’t just  where the ampoule had been applied. It spread over several square inches.  It took a long time for her hair to grow back. I felt dreadful  Louise van der Merwe SA Representative: Compassion in World Farming Editor: Animal Voice 

Grant lost both cats after applying the drops.

”There were no tests done but I am convinced that the death was related to the application of the drops” Grant  

Owner of Cape Towns Top Grooming Parlour

”I am extremely upset about these flea and tick drops and I assure you that should any cat lick the product they will be dead. These toxin/poisons are not absorbed immediately into the blood stream which means that it sits on the surface for a while. This makes it very toxic and dangerous to our children and members of the family” 

These toxins are fatal  “The most serious problems are caused by systemic accumulation of toxins with horrific and often fatal consequences. We have seen horrific chemical burns from a leading flea poison ampoule, causing huge lesions that become totally necrotic. In one dog it was so bad that it developed septicemia and almost didn’t pull through. How these products were ever registered, I’ll never understand – it just proves again that there is very little in terms of law and ethics protecting animals in this country” Nesta  

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Please refer to other important comment and links at the end of her article.

Vet corner… By Dr. Joanne Reichertz DVM

BARF and other Homemade Diets Revisited

Because of the problems associated with processed commercial kibble food, many dog owners are now feeding a raw food diet. Most are based on Dr. Ian Billinghurst ‘s book written in 1993, 20 years ago. 

Raw food diets have been around long enough now that “we have been able to see the harm they are doing to many dogs”. This has been well documented. Ann Martin, who wrote the book

Food Pets Die For has a new book out, “Protect Your Pet : More Shocking Facts”. It has chapters on the “Dangers of Commercial Pet Foods and ” “Raw Meat Diet Controversy,”  I urge all pet owners who are thinking of feeding their companion pets with a raw food diet to read the chapter “Raw Meat Diet Controversy” in Ann Martin’s new book.

Ann is joined by many canine nutritionists, including myself, who now urge dog owners to be VERY CAREFUL about feeding raw meat to their dogs. The meat that we can buy at the store (the same meat you and I buy and cook before eating) is NOT the same as the meat that a wild carnivore eats from a natural kill. Commercial meat has been processed and exposed to many factors that make feeding it to our companion pets potentially harmful. If we could provide the same fresh raw meat that the ancestors of today’s dog had access to 600,000 years ago, including the hot fresh guts – what wild carnivores still go for first in a kill, then it may be ok to feed them with that food source. Unfortunately, today’s pet owners can’t.

Meat that is processed and sold through retailers may have been exposed to a number of chemical agents. These MUST be destroyed by using heat to generate temperatures that will break them down.

At his internet website Dr. Belfield states, “As a veterinary practitioner for thirty-seven years and a veterinary meat inspector for seven years, I , in good conscience, cannot recommend raw meat diets to my clients. My advice to my clients is ‘cook the meat until the redness is gone.’

When this is done, there is no vomiting, the cholesterol level is normal, the risk of infection by microorganisms and parasites diminishes.”  Any diet that gets a dog eating foods that are not filled with preservatives and other chemicals is considered by most canine nutritionists as a step in the right direction. But the raw meat diets which are on the market today fall into the same trap as the all-breed/any-breed kibble.”

Most companies selling their raw meat diets are promoting this type of diet with the claim that all domesticated dogs descended from the wolf. For years, scholars have debated the origins of today’s domesticated dog. A direct link showing the wolf to be the sole forefather of today’s domesticated dog has never been proven. The wolf may only be a distant cousin and no more related to our modern companion pet than a jackal, a fox, a dingo, or a coyote 

The truth is that wild-born wolves taken into captivity are typically malnourished. We know from their carcasses that they die of splintered fowl bones and have very bad dental problems. Here is what the Director of NAWA (North American Wolf Association) has to say about this: “As for the statement that raw meat is a biologically correct food, humans have survived healthfully on cooked foods for thousands of years. It is more than safe to say that diseases such as cancer are not caused by cooking your meat.”

Another argument for not feeding today’s domesticated dog a raw food diet is that we know domesticated dogs have been eating cooked food for over 300,000 years. In the Middle Pleistocene period companion pets (dogs included) were buried alongside their masters. Our present-day domesticated dogs have been eating cooked foods long enough to cause a change in their digestive and glandular systems and the way that they will react to raw food.

The issue of feeding raw meat as part of a domestic dog’s diet, has caused quite a stir in the veterinary community and dog industry. Veterinarians have grave concerns about raw meat and bones in a dog’s diet. History (and current statistics) has shown us that both wild and domestic dogs who eat raw meat and bones can and do become very ill for a number of reasons. Veterinarians across the United States have seen a significant increase in a variety of illnesses due to a raw meat diet. Some dogs become ill right away and others have severe pancreatic, kidney, heart and brain illnesses due to a long- term raw meat diet. Most dogs that die from a raw meat bones diet do not show signs of illness until a few days before it kills them. This is true with pancreatitis and with the raw chicken or turkey necks and backs that injure the stomach and intestinal area, intestinal parasites from the raw meat causing a slow death or severe illness.

Some people see what they perceive to be immediate results from the BARF diet … a shiny coat, or some type of condition has cleared up. Raw meat has a high fat content that will sometimes give a dog a shiny coat (at least initially). While coat texture can be a sign of good health, it’s not a reliable measure of a dog’s health.

The truth is that it’s NOT the element of raw meat that improves a dog’s health. They would see the same results with cooked meat . Oftentimes it’s simply the absence of one or more ingredient (s) in the kibble they were feeding. You could have taken your dog off their current food and put them on another commercial food, or possibly a vet -supervised homemade diet with small amounts of cooked meat , and seen an improvement in the condition – without the dangers of raw meat.  

The numerous claims of the health benefits of raw food diets are all anecdotal. Even without considering the lack of evidence for benefits of these diets, there are a number of important concerns you should have regarding raw food diets.

First there is the nutritional balance of the diets. The results of the analyses of diets have indicated that there are clearly nutritional and health risks associated with feeding raw food diets. All the diets tested had nutritional deficiencies or excesses that could cause serious health problems when used in a long- term feeding program.

Of equal concern is the health risks associated with bacteria in the raw food diets.  Although owners feeding raw food diets often claim that dogs are more resistant to these potentially deadly bacteria, there is no evidence to support that claim.

More interesting reads on the dangers of Raw meat diets for dogs;

1. http://www.wdcusick.com/raw.htmlhttp://www.wdcusick.com/raw.html

Author of “The Animal Advocate” Website. William provides  fascinating information on the ancestry of our dogs and wolves, as well as facts about the dangers of a raw meat/bone diet

2. http://www.vetinfo.com/drawmeat.html

Dr. Mike addresses frequently asked questions about the raw meat diet, and explains the dangerous and misconceptions of feeding raw meat and bones

3.Spirocerca lupi – warning against feeding raw meat

“This is definitely not a new parasite” says Professor Joop Boomker, of the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria.   “It just hasn’t been prevalent in recent years.” 

“Pet owners who feed meat and chicken to their dogs should ensure that it is properly cooked, and never fed raw,” advises Prof. Boomker.

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