Feeding the Allergic Dog — Naturally??

1c6eef4ac41546ad85de9669607f3444.aspxMy daily dose of inspiration arrived today, in the form of an advertisement in a veterinary publication from the Blue (formerly Blue Buffalo) pet food company. They were promoting their latest venture, a line of natural veterinary prescription feeds. I call them feeds, because that is the approved term for what animals eat. Only humans (or those lucky animals who eat “people food”) can correctly be said to eat food. Crazy, right? But that’s not what prompted this blog…

It’s the word natural. Or as they put on the label, NATURAL. Dictionary.com defines natural as:

1. existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial):
2. based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature:
3. of or relating to nature or the universe:
4. of, relating to, or occupied with the study of natural science:
5. in a state of nature; uncultivated, as land.
6. growing spontaneously, without being planted or tended by human hand, as vegetation.
7. having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives

When I think of natural salmon, I think of these:

salmon2 salmon cut

salmonhydrolyzed protein concentrate I do not think of this, which is hydrolyzed salmon protein concentrate. Is this natural? Does that look like food to you? Wonder how it might be made? Just visit Ridgedale Permaculture, where they show you their process, step by step.

Now I suppose you could say enzymatic breakdown, rotting, decay, and other processes that result in decomposition of something that was once alive are natural. I don’t believe that material that has undergone those processes can be called food.

So, what are the ingredients of this “natural” prescription veterinary diet? According to the Blue website, the food contains:

Salmon Hydrolysate (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Pea Starch, Potatoes, Peas, Pea Protein, Canola Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Pumpkin, Dried Kelp, Fish Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Dried Chicory Root, Salt, Choline Chloride, Caramel Color, Vitamin E Supplement, DL-Methionine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), L-Tryptophan, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Parsley, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Turmeric, Oil of Rosemary, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Taurine, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Zinc Sulfate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Copper Sulfate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Manganese Sulfate, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite.


The prescription food company approach to the food intolerant dog is to super-process some ingredients so they are not recognizable by the body, and fill in with parts of whole foods that are left over from making human foods (pea starch, pea protein). And then they add vitamin and mineral products to approximate the dog’s needs. And, in many cases, charge owners several dollars per pound for the food. Have you heard of the prescription Royal Canin food made whose protein is made from hydrolyzed chicken feathers? The new term for that feather product is “hydrolyzed poultry by-products aggregate”. You can purchase it for about $5.00 a pound!  ­

My approach to feeding dogs is quite different, whether they have food allergies or intolerances or not. I want to take the mystery out of what is being fed. If I am feeding fish, it will look like this:

FreshFishI’m very comfortable calling this food, recommending it for my patients, and feeding it to my own dogs. Anything less just isn’t natural. Despite what Blue and other pet food companies try to sell tell you.

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