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Dogs and Diet: A Story of Processed Food

Dog food has its place in this world. Dog food is convenient and recycles food of limited value and unfit for human consumption, but still of some value to pets. These are animal parts that would otherwise end up in landfills and instead are made into a convenient way for dogs to get enough nutrition to live pretty good lives.

However, if you are shooting for maximum longevity and increasing the odds of avoiding cancer and other chronic disease, dog food out of a bag is unlikely to provide that.

Dog food is highly processed and heat extruded just like most of the snack food and cereals found in boxes in the center isles of your grocery store. Humans are told to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store to eat healthy. Does it surprise you that the same goes for dogs?

A typical dog food diet is comparable to a human eating only processed or boxed food – think breakfast cereal with a multivitamin to make it healthy! You get the picture — a dry, high-carbohydrate diet, extruded with heat, full of inflammatory carbohydrates, synthetic vitamins and industrial oils. These foods are not good for people, and we are now realizing they are not necessarily good for pets either.

Most folks try to live healthy lives — eating a good diet, getting enough exercise, seeing your doctor regularly. These are the things we are told will help us be healthy and avoid health problems that could affect our longevity and quality of life. Dogs have almost the same biochemistry as people, and the exact same advice applies!

What we are seeing in people that feed their dogs more whole foods, keep them thin, exercise them a lot, and get them to the vet at the first signs of trouble is healthier, happier dogs and cats living surprisingly longer, happy lives well past what is expected.

And it doesn’t really take that much more effort, it’s just a different mindset about using what we know is true for our own bodies and realizing that our biochemistry is the same, and with a few caveats applying it to dogs and cats. We can help you figure out the best option for your dog or cat — fresh food, less processed commercial, raw or a combination of things. It’s important that the diet is balanced and you work with a veterinarian who has knowledge about nutrition. Some dogs can only eat kibble and we work with that. Every animal is unique!

Our animals are such an important part of our lives. Our goal is to be an information resource for you so that we can build a community of healthy people and animals living wonderful fulfilling lives together.

Dr. Turner practices integrative veterinary medicine for dogs and cats at Heal in Stateline, Nevada. She can be reached at 530-580-6062 or [email protected]