The Benefits of Organ Meats in Dog and Cat Foods

As veterinarians who are actively promoting the benefits of natural raw food diets, it is important for us to remember that raw meat and bones alone, does not constitute a balanced diet. Combining carbohydrates, vegetables and vitamin/mineral supplements goes a long way to creating perfect balance, but the addition of organ meats is the final step in re-creating the “ancestral” or “evolutionary” diet for dogs and cats.

Organ meats are highly prized in the wild environment, with carnivores actively seeking out the liver, internal organs and stomach lining and content in initial preference to the muscle meat and bones. Organ meats will make up about 20% of the “meat” content of a carcass, and offer a much higher nutritional value than plain muscle meat alone – they are the nutritional powerhouse of a prey animal

Liver contains more nutrients gram for gram than ANY OTHER FOOD. It is the most concentrated natural source of vitamin A, is high in B vitamins, especially B12, along with folic acid and iron. It also has tremendous levels of nitrogen containing compounds that are used to form DNA and RNA in the body.

Heart is also nutritionally rich, being the single biggest natural source of Co-enzyme Q10, along with high levels of collagen and elastin. Heart muscle is also high in vitamin B12, iron, potassium and has significant levels of selenium, phosphorous and zinc

Kidneys are low in fat, high in protein, and provide vitamin b12, riboflavin and iron, as well as useful levels of B6, folate and niacin.

The principle of Organotherapy, which involves feeding a specific organ meat to treat failure of that specific organ in a patient, is coming back into vogue after many years of neglect. By including a range of organ meats into our raw pet foods, we can rest comfortably that we are feeding our dogs and cats the absolute best formula, and one that is most closely matched to mother nature’s recipe.

This is why Vets All Natural’s new RAW kangaroo and RAW 76 range of meats have been specifically formulated to contain 20% organ meats, including liver, heart and kidney. This new addition has significantly improved the nutritional value compared to other plain kangaroo meats that contain only muscle meat, and represents a significant advancement in our formulation process. The organ meats are sourced solely from kangaroo (so we are not introducing any new protein species), and are fully inspected by government meat inspectors to ensure they are fit for consumption.

Protein in Pet Food

Puppies eating proteinThis essential ingredient in dog and cat food is perhaps the most manipulated of all components in processed pet foods. Dogs and cats are carnivorous, and they require significant levels of meat in their diet (60-80%meat), which includes muscle meat, organs, offal and bones. One of the most common substitutions for meat protein is the use of “meat by products”, these include many indigestible body parts like feet, feathers, hoofs and horns – which are rendered at high temperatures into a protein powder. Whilst this end product can “claim” to be high in animal protein, it is not biologically appropriate protein, and is not well utilised or assimilated by dogs and cats. When a pet food label is described as having “meat and/or meat by products”, you can almost bet the quality of the animal protein will be poor (and if the price is cheap, most likely the word “or” is most appropriate).

plant proteinThe second most common substitution is the use of plant proteins to boost up the overall protein levels in pet foods. If a dry pet food has 20% protein, just how much of that is animal protein (meat based or not) ? The use of cereals that are high in carbohydrate and also contain some protein is now very common in nearly all processed pet foods. Soy is a very common source of plant protein used in pet foods, and corn and wheat are also regular bulking agents. The problem with plant protein is that it is also not biologically appropriate for a carnivore, and it actually causes alkalising of the body fluids – most importantly of the urine (it loses its natural acidity) which can lead to crystal and stone formation, and repeated bouts of infection. In the stomach it also causes a loss of gastric acidity, which results in poor digestion (particularly of bones) and increased susceptibility to gastro-enteric bacterial pathogens like salmonella. Plant based ingredients are also high in natural phytates, which will bind dietary zinc, and cause a deficiency. Zinc deficiency leads to chronic skin disease and also contributes to early onset of degenerative joint disease (arthritis).

Meat based proteins are by far the most expensive ingredient in any pet food, and unfortunately, as a result, many companies look for ways to reduce the levels and quality of these ingredients. This is generally reflected in the price you pay for a commercial pet food, and by the protein level. A good adult dry food should have protein levels above 30%, and wet foods should be above 10-12%. One great advantage of fresh raw foods is that you can see exactly what you are getting, and what you are feeding, and there is little chance for any substitution – they may seem more expensive than some dry foods, but remember, you get what you pay for, and the long term health of your pets will be a direct expression of the food you choose to feed them.


For more information about your dogs diet please ring

Healthy Pets Veterinary Clinic

9 Elizabeth St, Castlemaine VIC 3450
(03) 5472 5477

Holistic medicine and nutrition

acupuncture in dog

At Healthy Pets vet clinic we strive for total animal health, and that means looking at the “whole” animal, in terms of physical health, mental health, preventative health, lifestyle, and of course, nutritional health.

Holistic medicine, or perhaps better termed as integrative medicine, is a type of clinical practice that utilizes the very best of modern veterinary science, but also embraces lesser recognized modalities like acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and holistic nutrition. In many cases, the amazing array of modern diagnostic tools allows us to make very accurate diagnoses, only to face a condition for which modern medicine has no easy answer for. Many chronic diseases, like allergies, organ failure, arthritis, and even cancer, can be very difficult to manage using a strictly orthodox approach, and quite often the treatments available can come with some unpleasant side effects. This is where a holistic approach can create many new options for treatment. Allergies can be particularly hard to manage with conventional medications, but they respond very well to dietary changes and combinations of herbs and nutraceutical supplements. A holistic approach is very much a way of working with the body’s own defence and repair systems – stimulate the immune system, remove toxins from the body, accelerate innate repair mechanisms – this is what herbs, acupuncture, chiropractic can all do. There is a vast amount of evidence based veterinary knowledge available on these modalities, and very often the results and outcomes are far superior to more traditional veterinary approaches, and often more cost effective as well.

acupunture, holistic veterinary medicine in horse

Holistic nutrition is very much the cornerstone of good health for all animals. It follows the simple principle that we are what we eat, and if an animal, or person for that matter, eats a highly refined, carbohydrate rich diet, then internal health will suffer. Modern processed dog and cat foods are exactly that – high in carbohydrate and highly refined and processed – and they are NOT the cornerstone of good health. Feeding a carnivore means supplying large amounts of good quality animal protein and fat, and just a small serve of carbohydrate, if any. At HPVC we have a large range of these types of natural foods, which are convenient, easy to feed, and very often cheaper than many of the processed foods available. The amazing bonus of feeding your dog and cat this way, is that they just stay healthy, from the inside out. I would not be exaggerating if I said that feeding a natural diet can eliminate 80% of the common reasons people bring their pets to the vet clinic – itchy skin, gunky ears, urinary tract problems, blocked anal glands, poor dental health….. Feeding a healthy, natural raw diet is the BEST advice I can give any pet parent, and will have more benefit to that animal than any medication or vaccination I will ever give. And its so simple and easy to do.

in horses

Make an appointment today to see one of our holistic vets to get your pet back to health

9 Elizabeth St, Castlemaine VIC 3450
(03) 5472 5477

Vets All Natural Food

The Natural Choice for Healthy Pets

40 million years ago the earliest prehistoric dogs began evolving on planet earth. For the next 39.75 million years they roamed the planet as wild beasts, catching prey, scavenging, hunting as packs and evolving into their modern counterparts. Man and dog first formed a friendship back in the cave man era (250,000+ years ago), forged by a symbiotic relationship of combined hunting skills, early warning of danger and protection, companionship, and the cleaning up of all mans food scraps and waste. “Mans best friend” has continued to provide this service throughout the history of mankind; his role as hunter, pest controller, scavenger and waste disposal provided the dog with its natural diet of raw meats and scraps. It was not until just over 30 years ago in Australia, that the first commercial cooked dog and cat foods were released onto the market….and with that, began the slow and insidious decline in health of modern day dogs and cats.

The average veterinarian today spends more than half his or her working day treating a virtual epidemic of skin diseases, allergies, arthritis, teeth and gum problems, ear infections, anal gland impactions, urinary tract diseases and a huge range of degenerative diseases and cancers previously only thought to occur in man.

It is this background of information that lead respected Australian veterinarian Dr Bruce Syme to begin searching for a solution to this health crisis that did not depend on the continuous use of drugs (like cortisone and antibiotics), and then the need for more drugs to counter the side effects of the original treatments.

“ It was simply out of frustration, as a vet, that lead me to look for a better answer to these problems. I was embarrassed every time my clients came back for more consultations and more drugs for the same old problems..itchy skin, ear infections, arthritis therapy etc..”

And the answer to all these problems…Nutrition !

Dr Syme, along with a growing body of vets, breeders, and every day dog and cat owners, and a wealth of scientific evidence, believes that it is the practice of feeding cooked and processed pet foods, especially those using cheap meat and cereal by-products, that has resulted in the dramatic decline in health of modern dogs and cats.

“Cooking food does a lot more than just destroy vitamins” Dr Syme says, “ it destroys essential fatty acids, denatures proteins and enzymes, damages minerals and micronutrients, and severely decreases the nutritional content and bioavailability of any food source. In short, cooking pet food

creates nutritional deficiencies, which are often worsened by the use of cheap ingredients of poor quality and nutritional value.”

Although many premium brand dry foods are now using far better quality ingredients, they are all still cooked, processed, and use some form of artificial preservatives. Despite the claims that processed canned and dry pet foods will supply all of your pet’s nutritional needs, research has shown that many common brand pet foods supply as little as 26 of the 72 macro and micronutrients required for good health, and there is no legal requirement for them to do otherwise.

It is now an accepted medical fact that the top 8 killer diseases in western society (which include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, alzheimer’s and autoimmune disease) are a direct result of the highly refined and processed western diet we consume. It is also an accepted and proven fact that the addition of high quality fresh fruit and vegetables, and some basic vitamin and mineral supplements (along with exercise), to the average western diet will dramatically reduce the chances of developing any of these top 8 diseases. The simple fact is, that the combination of intensive farming techniques currently used, and the high degree of food processing and refinement that follows, has lead to wide scale nutritional deficiencies.

At Healthy Pets Vet Clinic we stock a wide variety of Vets All Natural food. Please come and speak to one of our friendly nursing team about the food or for more information Click here

Raw Food Diets

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.

Skin 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.

Some 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 :

Skin 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.

Oral 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.

Gastrointestinal 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

Reproductive. Increased fertility and litter sizes. Reduced obstetrical problems and caesareans and healthier puppies with fewer litter mortalities

Urinary. 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.

Growth and Development. Steady growth and maturation in all breeds and vastly reduced incidence of growth disorders like hip dysplasia and elbow OCD

Immune 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.

Denatures 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.

Decreases 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.

Referring 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 diets”

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