To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Description of your first forum.

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by Walter » Mon, 24 Mar 2003 08:42:32



The following is a reprint from HEALTHY PETS - NATURALLY
by Russell Swift, DVM

        At the recent American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
Conference, I discovered that I am not the only one questioning the
use of grains in commercial and home-prepared pet foods. Grains, such
as oats, wheat, rice, barley, etc, are composed mostly of complex
carbohydrates. They also contain some protein, fiber, B-vitamins and
trace minerals.

        However, they are NOT part of the natural diet of wild dogs
and cats. In the true natural setting, grains hardly exist at all.
Wild grains are much smaller than our hybridized domestic varieties.
This means that even a mouse or other prey animal is not going to find
much of its nutrition from grains. Therefore, the argument that "dogs
and cats eat animals that have grains in their digestive tracts"
doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Prey animals that live near farms or
other "civilized" areas are likely to have access to grains. This is
not a truly wild diet.

What other clues do we have that grains are not necessary for
carnivores?

1) Dogs and cats do not have dietary requirements for complex
carbohydrates.

2) Grains must be cooked or sprouted and thoroughly chewed to be
digested Carnivores do not chew much at all.

3) The other nutrients in grains are readily available from other
dietary ingredients. For example, B-vitamins are found in organ meats
and trace minerals come from bones and vegetables. (Unfortunately,
modern farming has striped many trace minerals from produce and
supplementation is usually best.)

        Why have grains become so "ingrained" in pet feeding? To the
best of my knowledge, grains were mainly introduced by the pet food
industry. The high carbohydrate content provides CHEAP calories. In
addition, grains assist in binding ingredients. We have become so used
to feeding grains to dogs and cats that most of us get nervous when we
decide not to use them. I know people who have been "grain-free"
feeding and doing very well. My own cat is one example.

        What are the negative effects? I believe that carnivores
cannot maintain long term production of the quantity of amylase enzyme
necessary to properly digest and utilize the carbohydrates. In
addition, the proteins in grains are less digestive than animal
proteins. As a result, the immune system becomes irritated and
weakened by the invasion of foreign, non-nutritive protein and
carbohydrate particles. Allergies and other chronic immune problems
may develop. The pet's pancreas will do its best to keep up with the
demand for amylase. What does this pancreatic stress do over a long
time? I don't know, but it cannot be good. I suspect that dental
calculus may be another problem promoted by grain consumption.

        Currently, I am making grains optional in my general feeding
recipes. I am going "grainless" in more pets as I explore this area. I
recommend trying to feed without grains if your pet is not improving
on your current protocol

The following is an excerpt from the 1996 revised edition of

REIGNING CATS & DOGS by Pat McKay

For the past several months my own two dogs and two cats have been
eating their fresh, raw food meals without grains, and I see a decided
improvement in their overall healthy, especially, digestion and
stools.

The interesting part is that they are eating considerably less in
volume which more than makes up for the higher cost of meat and
vegetables as compared to grain.

The reason I continued to search for another formula was because my
***er-mix had a chronic yeast infection (Candida albicans) which was
exacerbated by grains containing gluten.

The problem improved 50 percent in the first few months and continues
to improve by discontinuing the grains. She was not even able to
tolerate rice, millet and legumes which are ordinarily acceptable.

Symptoms of Candida albicans are excessive scratching,***ing,
chronic eye and/or ear infections, rashes, hot spots, colitis, chronic
cough, vaginitis, kidney and bladder infections, arthritis,
hypothyroidism and even diabetes.

Celiac disease is another intestinal disorder (although more rare)
that is caused by the intolerance of some animals to gluten, a protein
that is in barley, oats, rye and wheat. Malnutrition often accompanies
this disorder because of the greatly reduced absorption of nutrients.

Symptoms of celiac disease include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal
swelling, foul-smelling stools, weight loss, anemia and skin rashes.

All in all, I believe for most cats and dogs, grains should not be a
regular part of their fresh, raw food program.

 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by culpri » Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:15:36



Quote:
> The following is a reprint from HEALTHY PETS - NATURALLY
> by Russell Swift, DVM
>         However, they are NOT part of the natural diet of wild dogs
> and cats. In the true natural setting, grains hardly exist at all.
>     Why have grains become so "ingrained" in pet feeding? To the
> best of my knowledge, grains were mainly introduced by the pet food
> industry.

 i see this type of argument for a lot of things, "wild dogs didn't do this,
wolves don't do that".  is that really applicable?  for how many generations
have our dogs been domesticated?  animals can evolve depending on their
settings, correct?  do you really think dogs were never fed grains before
commercial dog food?  personally, i doubt it.  when i was traveling in
Thailand, i found that commercial cat and dog foods were not often used.
instead, the animals were fed a diet of primarily rice and table scraps.  i
seriously doubt these people got their idea from western comercial dog
foods.  in many less affluent cultures, meat is precious.  why give
something you have little of to a dog?  instead, the diets are supplimented
with rice or whatever grain or vegetable that culture has in abundance.  i
think it's likely that dogs have been fed rice for many hundreds of years,
so i'm not sure this argument is applicable.

i'm not saying you should or should not feed your dogs grains, i'm just
saying i don't think this argument is 100% sound.

 -kelly

 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by Walter » Tue, 25 Mar 2003 00:34:42


Quote:
> i'm not saying you should or should not feed your dogs grains, i'm just
> saying i don't think this argument is 100% sound.

And you ask a good question. Many humans have intolerances to grains
and yet grains are in most every product you eat. But the industry
prospers and the medical industry simply doesn't understand the extent
of how many common conditions today are directly related to grains in
the diet. Worst off is most humans who are intolerant to grains never
know their entire life. See its not about your dad eating grains or
your grandfather. Its about millions of years of evolution. You didn't
develop hands because your great grandfather needed to pick something
up, you developed them millions of years ago. It takes some 80,000
generations for DNA to change. Most cultures never ate grains in the
history of humankind. In terms of evolution, grains have been around
for about 5000 years, less than 1,000,000,000 of a second in
evolutionary terms. Hence many folks are intolerant to grains. In the
US grains were only introduced to any degree in the last 150 years.
The wheat you know is that old. In fact you can watch how grain
intolerence in humans is directly related to its growth and use moving
from the east(Asia) to the west ending up being the most allergic to
folks from european decent. Dogs never in their evolution ate many
forms of grain. We know this because of the way their digestive system
developed. But the by-product of the human grain industry is a cheap
way for dog manufacturers to make dog food, yet sell it at high prices
making more profit than they would had they used meat proteins let
alone that their simply is not enough meat product to feed us and our
dogs properly. There is a substantial difference in how meat proteins
are absorbed compared to cereals. In fact we assign protein sources a
biologcal value based on how well they are utilized by the body. In
humans like dogs who have similar systems to ours, almost 90% of the
protiens in some meats are readily and efficiently abosrbed by the
body where with grains it's between 40 and 60% depending on the grain.
See if you developed to eat cereals than your body would be use to the
precise quantity of amino acids found in grains and would readily
absorb them and be able to utilize the make-up properly. But in
reality, like your dog, your body developed in evolutionary terms
based on the way you ate. So if you were to eat grains all your life
and no meat, your body would not be getting appropriate balances of
amino acids that it is used to getting from a million years of eating
certain foods. Eventually something goes wrong.In dogs it's often seen
as pruritus and other conditions. Look at it like a recipe that you
don't have all the ingredients for. You're too lazy to go back to the
store so you make it anyway. It will not be as good because some thing
are lacking but you could eat it. Over time when you deny the body
appropriate forms of nutrition, it malfunctions .On a bigger scale you
can get scurvy from lack of vitamin C. On a cellular level when amino
acid make-ups are incorrect, the body suffers on a cellular level
causing problems with how DNA is manufacturer and how information is
passed around the body. We have seen recently in the news that when
you feed an herbivore as in cows and sheep a grain based meal that
includes meat (something it never ate in evolutionary terms),
eventually(after years of mixing it in with tehir food) you develop a
disease (BSE) that eats away at their brain. Some conditions we see in
dogs today are because of the mismatch of food sources we are feeding
them. Grains were never on the evolutionary menu for dogs, so feeding
dogs a menu that is primarily grains can and does cause problems.
Recently we talked about how some dogs cause brown spots on lawns
while dogs fed meat based diets don't that is a result overabundant
by-products of digestion and DNA manufacturer that are produced by
inappropriate an inefficient forms of protein ingestion. We know dogs
have very acidic digestive systems that are short in length compared
to herbivores and are designed to eat primarily meat proteins. While
dogs can eat grains we see many problems in dogs who are fed grain
based diets while dogs fed a more evolutionary appropriate meat diet
don't suffer these problems. Hence why may vets who study nutrition do
not suggest diets that are high in grain content. Look at it as a car
engine designed to run on high octane gas. While you could use a lower
octane gas in the car, it wasn't designed for that lower octane fuel
(like an inappropriate amino acid balance). Will the car run? Yes, but
it will ping, be a bit more sluggish, and not accelerate as well. Can
you live with that? Yes but what you don't see is on a smaller level
that eventually cases you more repair bills as the valves get dirtier
faster and parts wear inappropriately faster eventually causing you a
problem that manifests itself like a disease in dogs does after years
of eating inappropriate food sources.
 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by KarolusMagnus32 » Thu, 27 Mar 2003 01:29:21



Quote:
> The following is a reprint from HEALTHY PETS - NATURALLY
> by Russell Swift, DVM

>         At the recent American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
> Conference, I discovered that I am not the only one questioning the
> use of grains in commercial and home-prepared pet foods. Grains, such
> as oats, wheat, rice, barley, etc, are composed mostly of complex
> carbohydrates. They also contain some protein, fiber, B-vitamins and
> trace minerals.

>         However, they are NOT part of the natural diet of wild dogs
> and cats.

So, we have to assume you keep wild dogs and wild cats as pets?!
 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by Walter » Thu, 27 Mar 2003 07:45:34


Quote:
> So, we have to assume you keep wild dogs and wild cats as pets?!

No, but my dogs and cats digestive system is the same as it has been
for the last 15,000 years with little change. Grains have never been a
part of a dogs diet while on this planet, just like they have only
been introduced to human diets a very short time ago in terms of
evolution. If they were part of a dogs diet, they would have learned
to cook.
 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by GAUBSTE » Thu, 27 Mar 2003 09:31:59


Quote:
>> So, we have to assume you keep wild dogs and wild cats as pets?!

>No, but my dogs and cats digestive system is the same as it has been
>for the last 15,000 years with little change. Grains have never been a
>part of a dogs diet while on this planet, just like they have only
>been introduced to human diets a very short time ago in terms of
>evolution. If they were part of a dogs diet, they would have learned
>to cook.

walter, dogs are omnivores and do indeed eat grains, berries, twigs, etc.....IN
THE WILD!!  You really don't know what you are talking about, do you?
 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by Steve Cra » Thu, 27 Mar 2003 11:02:00


Quote:

> The following is a reprint from HEALTHY PETS - NATURALLY
> by Russell Swift, DVM

>         At the recent American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
> Conference,

There's your first clue. An organization consisting of about 380 vets,
not a single one of which is board certified in nutrition. Only 380
out of nearly 27,000 practicing vets in the country.

Quote:
> What other clues do we have that grains are not necessary for
> carnivores?

There's the second clue, dogts are not carnivores, that classification
goes back several hundred years BEFORE we could assess amino acid
requirements. While they are among the genus carnivora, so too in the
Panda, which incidentally is 100% herbivorous.

Quote:
> 2) Grains must be cooked or sprouted and thoroughly chewed to be
> digested Carnivores do not chew much at all.

Clue number 3 - just which commercial pet food isn't COOKED? So far I
haven't found too many whole grain, uncooked pet foods out there.

Quote:

> 3) The other nutrients in grains are readily available from other
> dietary ingredients. For example, B-vitamins are found in organ meats
> and trace minerals come from bones and vegetables.

Clue #4 - No animal cares what the source of any given nutrient is.
Trytophan derived from corn or meat is the same. There is no traffic
cop down in the stomach going "Stop- you're trytophan derived from
corn you cannot pass."

Quote:
>         What are the negative effects? I believe....

Clue #5 This is OPINION only, an emotional held BELIEF, not a fact.
And an opinion not held by a single board certified veterinary
nutritionist.
 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by Walter » Thu, 27 Mar 2003 22:34:51


Quote:
> There's your first clue. An organization consisting of about 380 vets,
> not a single one of which is board certified in nutrition. Only 380
> out of nearly 27,000 practicing vets in the country.

An excellent cross section of vets. Most vets know little about
nutrition other than what companies like Hill's teaches them in school
so it is a fantastic representation of what is out there.

Quote:
> There's the second clue, dogs are not carnivores, that classification
> goes back several hundred years BEFORE we could assess amino acid
> requirements. While they are among the genus carnivora, so too in the
> Panda, which incidentally is 100% herbivorous.

Nice try. Dogs do not have a digestive system designed for grains, and
neither does the panda. While dogs can process grains, they must be
cooked to mush. The proteins in grains are not as available and as
usable in grains as they are in meat sources.

And once again you are wrong about yet another animal and it's diet.
You must watch too much TV and believe it all or you must think your
degree in business marketing allows you to speak about animals and
nutrition as if you know anything. While the pandas diet is know to be
95% bamboo, they also eat small animals, fish and other vegetation.
Sorry to spoil your fantasy once again. If you were to feed a panda
cooked corn, they would suffer serious health problems. In fact pandas
are a very interesting animal in that they have a digestive system
designed as an omnivore but choose not to eat that way. As a result
they must eat constantly as they only absorb about 10-15% of the
nutrition from the food they eat. They must also drink water
constantly or they will die. Pandas can not even expend enough energy
to fight or to move very much as their diet is so inefficient that
they would easily become fatigued if they did anything more than just
move. Actually, they have trouble even climbing as a result of eating
a diet that is so anti their digestive system. I guess in a way the
panda is a good comparison to  today's dog that eats a diet of
processed grain which is so against how their digestive system
developed. Like the panda, dogs can survive on grain, but they do not
thrive. It's no wonder why pandas have such trouble mating. They are
starving themselves of the food sources they were designed to eat and
hence their reproductive systems do not work well.

Quote:
> Clue number 3 - just which commercial pet food isn't COOKED? So far I
> haven't found too many whole grain, uncooked pet foods out there.

The point is that if dogs like humans were meant to eat as many grains
as they are forced to, they would have developed a system which a
digestive track for it or they would be born with matches to make
fires to cook them.

Quote:
> Clue #4 - No animal cares what the source of any given nutrient is.
> Trytophan derived from corn or meat is the same. There is no traffic
> cop down in the stomach going "Stop- you're trytophan derived from
> corn you cannot pass."

Actually it's not about try individual amino acids, but the
relationship of all of them. Like every animal, dogs require specific
quantities that are found in natural food sources such as meat but not
in grains. And as for animals not caring, you are correct. That is why
as their caretakers, it is our responsibility to feed them
responsibly.

Quote:
> Clue #5 This is OPINION only, an emotional held BELIEF, not a fact.
> And an opinion not held by a single board certified veterinary
> nutritionist.

I know two board certified vets who disagree with your 'fact' and
could probalby find more (as long as they were not employees of Hills)
so I guess it really isn't 'fact' at all.

Clue #6 -Steve you haven't a clue, but you sure talk like you do.

 
 
 

To Feed or Not to Feed... Grains

Post by GAUBSTE » Fri, 28 Mar 2003 07:55:51


Quote:
>> There's your first clue. An organization consisting of about 380 vets,
>> not a single one of which is board certified in nutrition. Only 380
>> out of nearly 27,000 practicing vets in the country.

>An excellent cross section of vets.

You think that 380 (that might more closely agree w/ your emotional beliefs)
out of 27,000 is an "excellent" cross section??  You must be out of your mind!?

Quote:
>You must watch too much TV and believe it all or you must think your
>degree in business marketing allows you to speak about animals and
>nutrition as if you know anything.

walter, you don't have a degree in animal nutrition, so you really shouldn't be
talking as if you do.

Quote:
>Like every animal, dogs require specific
>quantities that are found in natural food sources such as meat but not
>in grains.

Grains are just as "natural" as meat.  Why do you open yourself up like this?