By Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons)
Canines and felines have been evolving on this planet for millions of
years. During all of that time they have been eating raw food, and it
is common sense to see that they are not yet adequately designed to
fully digest, process and absorb cooked foods which are purported to
supply ALL their nutritional requirements.
In the wild
dogs and cats eat the stomach content of the prey animal (vegetable
matter), raw organs and muscle meat and then chew on the remaining meaty
bones. This forms the basis of the perfect diet, formulated by Mother
Nature herself over millions of years of evolution. Our domesticated
canines and felines have the same genetic make-up, and the same
digestive functions as their wild counter-parts, so this diet is
logically also ideal for them.
Their mouths, teeth,
stomach, intestines, organs and pancreatic enzymes have all evolved to
masticate, digest and absorb the breakdown products of raw food. There
is a growing stockpile of scientific evidence that links the long term
consumption of cooked and highly processed pet foods, to the development
of a vast array of common illnesses and degenerative diseases.
disease and allergic dermatitis, teeth and gum disease, arthritis,
renal failure and urinary tract disease, recurrent ear infections,
obesity, reproductive failure, anal gland blockage can all be linked to
improper nutrition, and can all lead to a poorer quality of life and
often a reduced longevity.
Conversely, when an animal’s
body gets what it needs, in the correct ratios and in the correct form,
it thrives – improved health, longevity, fertility, energy, resistance
to parasites and diseases and the distinct lack of degenerative diseases
that we often just accept as part of our pets growing old.
dry foods and canned foods have greatly improved in quality over more
recent years; however they are all still cooked at very high
temperatures, include higher levels of poorly digestible vegetable
proteins, and high levels of carbohydrates, and are topped up with
synthetic vitamins and mineral to compensate for what’s damaged during
processing, and to meet AAFCO standards.
For those of
you committed to promoting high quality dry foods, I encourage you to at
least recommend including a reasonable portion of balanced raw meat to
assist overall health and longevity. As vets we place too much
confidence in the fact that dogs and cats can live to their optimal
health and longevity on a diet of total dry food, and I challenge this
concept completely. I remain committed to the fact that a total raw diet
is the best way to achieve optimal nutrition.
A vast and
comprehensive study of cats by Dr Francis M Pottenger and my own
observations over many years for both cats and dogs have shown that a
variety of health improvements can be expected when they are fed a
natural, balanced raw food diet.
Here is a summary of some observations :
and Coat. Reduced skin disease, allergies, itchiness. Dogs and cats
have a softer coat, more natural shine with no dandruff. I have also
found that it reduces odour and reduces the need to bathe.
Cavity. Vastly improved teeth and gums with reduced halitosis and
significantly reduced need for veterinary teeth cleaning. The natural
acids formed when eating raw food combined with appropriately sized raw
meaty bones is natures tooth brush.
Tract. Reduced flatulence and solidly formed faeces. A balanced raw diet
with appropriate indigestible roughage reduces anal gland blockage and
can correct inflammatory / irritable bowel disease
Increased fertility and litter sizes. Reduced obstetrical problems and
caesareans and healthier puppies with fewer litter mortalities
Reduces chronic urinary tract infections and crystal formation,
naturally acidifies the urine in dogs and cats. A raw diet reduces the
incidence of renal failure by maintaining correct dietary fluid levels
Parasites. Reduced gastrointestinal worms and fewer fleas.
and Development. Steady growth and maturation in all breeds and vastly
reduced incidence of growth disorders like hip dysplasia and elbow OCD
System. Improved immune function and disease fighting capabilities with
a lower incidence of auto-immune diseases. I’ve also observed lower
incidence of degenerative diseases and cancer and increased longevity
The cooking process has numerous negative aspects which contribute to reducing the quality and digestibility of food.
Protein. This means it changes the molecular structure of proteins.
Sometimes this change is so small that the digestive system doesn’t
recognise the change and absorbs the denatured protein across the gut
wall, and these molecules can then trigger adverse reactions in the
immune system and result in diseases like allergies. Seriously denatured
meat proteins can be carcinogenic, and super heat-treated carbohydrates
also form carcinogenic acrylamide.
Destroys Vitamins and
Enzymes. Vitamins, needed for normal growth and metabolism, are
proteins and are susceptible to the same denaturing as other protein.
The relationship exists that the higher the cooking temperature, the
worse the damage and loss of function of the vitamin or protein. This is
especially important with regard to imported pet foods, that must
super-heat treat products to meet AQIS import standards for Australia.
It is also important to recognize that intracellular enzymes that are
capable of digesting cell contents (eg capthesin), are destroyed by
cooking. These enzymes must then be replaced by the animals own body
exogenous supplies (pancreatic enzymes), at the animals own energy
expense. This can lead to a higher incidence of pancreatitis and
sub-clinical pancreatic insufficiency.
Digestibility and Bioavailability. By creating these changes some
available nutrients are rendered useless and are not recognised by the
intestinal villi to be absorbed as normal food molecules. This means
that although an animal may be ingesting foods that are known to contain
certain nutritional elements, the animal’s body may not be able to
utilise them in the cooked form.
Dr Richard Malik, a
highly respected specialist veterinarian with over 25 years experience,
published an article in the Australian Veterinary Journal August 2007
about the association between poor diet and disease. The article titled
“Feeding cats for health and longevity” noted several important points.
to Premium pet foods and Prescription diets Dr Malik said, “I think it
is time more common sense was brought to bear on this issue. Many
experts believe that there is an association between the feeding of
these diets and the sporadic development of hepatic lipidosis (and
diabetes). The increasing prevalence in Australia seems to parallel the
penetration of the Australian cat food market with these US style
Dr Malik also said, “There is a re-emergence of the view that ‘natural’ foods are necessary for cats in Australia”. This is also true for dogs.
For more information talk to our friendly staff at Healthypets
9 Elizabeth St, Castlemaine VIC 3450
(03) 5472 5477 or go to https://vetsallnatural.com.au