Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beware of Internet recommendations: Holistic or conventional?

I just couldn’t make up my mind on what I am going to talk about today and almost decided to take a break for the day and come back tomorrow. And while I was getting ready to log off the Internet I came across a site catching my interest. You know that I am against product and competitor bashing, so I am not going to disclose where I found it. So much only: The site is not selling any other products than animal pictures and some e-cards. I guess the idea behind it is being kind of a portal for pet owners with info on pet related topics. They have a forum, which is made looking like it has hundreds of participants (unlike this blog). And it appears as if their main objective is soliciting advertising. Though it looks like they are not too successful in doing so, I haven’t located any ads on the few pages I was looking at. What really sparked my interest was the one page they have about holistic pet nutrition. Now, just for fun, see what these guys have to say, and I quote:

“Holistic Dog Nutrition
Cancer, foreign antigens, allergies, skin disorders, and other problems result from holistic dog nutrition. Holistic dog nutrition is a topic of consternation for some and wonderful to others. No one can really agree, but there are definite rights and wrongs to a dog’s nutrition schedule. Each dog requires a certain amount of amino acids for their body type, size, and genetic code. Meats have plentiful doses of amino acids that build proteins for skin, eyes, bones, neural development, and muscular maintenance. Plant food is not recommended because dogs naturally eat this to throw up. They use it as an emetic. Therefore, dogs need a lot of meat and no vegetable foodstuffs. Holistic dog nutrition also deals with nutrient supplements like treats laced with vitamins and minerals. However, these aren’t recommended because synthetic, inorganic minerals and vitamins can become instigators to cancer. The best diet is a raw or cooked meat diet. Look at hyenas, wolves, and other wild dogs for an answer to why your dog doesn’t have a lot of energy, motivation, or enterprise. Follow the natural rules of the wild with your dog’s daily diet.
You may be thinking that by adding vitamins and exercising your dog more is enough to keep them healthy. But it isn’t enough. You may have to change your dog food as well. In order to get a full evaluation of your dogs’ health, you will need to ask the vet for a full blood work up. When the results come in and you want to switch to holistic remedies, talk to your vet about holistic dog nutrition.
Your vet may not think that your dog needs the holistic dog food but you may. Do yourself a favor and listen to what your vet has to say. Holistic dog nutrition is a new trend that people are talking about, listen to what the vet says. Some dogs because of certain healthy issues or even their weight should not be on anything but regular or special dog food. Your dog’s health should be the most important thing and not what the greatest thing in the holistic field is.
Your dog may benefit from holistic dog nutrition, but if you make the switch and change the diet, they may not get to the food right away and they may get sick from you changing their diet so fast. Try to incorporate the holistic information that you have learned and see how your dog takes to it. In the meantime, read as much as you can about holistic dog nutrition before you radically change your dog’s diet.” –end of quote

So what exactly are we supposed to do? Listen to our vets only? Granted, I always recommend to consult your vet. But that does not mean that I support the idea of that you listen to the vet exclusively. Especially not since in these days our pets are suffering from diseases and illness in pandemic dimensions. Pandemic is what I call it when over 60% of all companion animals are having health problems. That just can’t be right. And the holistic movement, if you want to call it this way, is trying to change that. While the veterinarian community obviously does not show too much interest in such a change, for obvious reasons: The way it is now is much more lucrative. Therefore, to me, the comment above does not make any sense whatsoever. Contrary, I’d say it is a very good example of what I have been warning of on this blog before: Don’t take everything you read for granted.

For the site itself, there is hope though. On another page, about dog food, they say:

“The quality of dog food varies greatly. A conscientious owner should use common sense and research to find the better products. A good start would be to select a dog food with a meaty protein source and no by-products; it shouldn't contain corn or wheat. Avoid products listing grain as the first ingredient, and avoid products that use meat by-products like bones, feet, and intestines, chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT and difficult-to-digest grains like corn, wheat, gluten and soy. These grains are sometimes listed as a protein source in place of meat. If you have to feed a kibble, choose one of the holistic brands that use human-grade ingredients.
Many health problems, like allergies that cause itchy skin, are simply caused by a poor diet and improper allocations of the wrong kinds of food. It is recommended that you switch brands, and start making note of the ingredients until you notice an improvement. Many holistic dog food brands offer hypoallergenic formulas with recommended ingredients such as duck, venison, and rabbit that are easily digested.
The dog food you choose to feed your pet should meet the nutritional needs, and it will make a difference in both you and your pet's happiness, determining how often you visit a vet. Purchase only high-quality dog food types suitable for your dogs.”

I guess it is not quite as hopeless as I thought, let’s just wait until they make up their mind.

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