When Naomi’s diet was changed to homemade organic food, the original goal was to eliminate the questionable, perhaps even dangerous, commercial dog food and feed her the best food possible.
I had recently read several books about the pet food industry and found several other stunning articles about what our pets are really eating.
“Pet food provides a convenient way for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered “unfit for human consumption,” and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, heads, hooves, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.” (http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=359, http://www.api4animals.com)
“What can the feeding of such products do to your companion animal? Some veterinarians claim that feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases their risk of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. The cooking methods used by pet food manufacturers — such as rendering, extruding (a heat-and-pressure system used to “puff” dry foods into nuggets or kibbles), and baking — do not necessarily destroy the hormones used to fatten livestock or increase milk production, or drugs such as antibiotics or the barbiturates used to euthanize animals.” (http://www.housepetmagazine.com/article3_housepetmagazine_industry.htm)
“Commercially manufactured or rendered meat meals and by-product meals are frequently highly contaminated with bacteria because their source is not always slaughtered animals. Animals that have died because of disease, injury, or natural causes are a source of meat for meat meal. The dead animal might not be rendered until days after its death. Therefore the carcass is often contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Dangerous E. Coli bacteria are estimated to contaminate more than 50% of meat meals. While the cooking process may kill bacteria, it does not eliminate the endotoxins some bacteria produce during their growth and are released when they die. These toxins can cause sickness and disease. Pet food manufacturers do not test their products for endotoxins.”(http://www.housepetmagazine.com/article3_housepetmagazine_industry.htm)
“A recent fad, low-carb pet food, has some companies steering away from grains, and using potatoes, green peas, and other starchy vegetables as a substitute. Except for animals that are allergic to grains, dry low-carb diets offer no particular advantage to pets. They also tend to be very high in fat and, if fed free-choice, will result in weight gain.”(http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=359, http://www.api4animals.com)
I found a great recipe for homemade organic dog food and eventually modified it to suit Naomi’s tastes.
Using this dog food recipe for all of her meals had a very surprising and unexpected additional benefit: We won The Great Battle Against the South Florida Fleas. It has been one year now since this recipe was started.
The nearby dog parks are teeming with fleas. A nice morning walk through any neighborhood used to be enough in South Florida to start a flea infestation at home. But, now, fleas are no longer a problem no matter where Naomi has been. There hasn’t been any need for expensive prescription or non-prescription flea prevention or pesticides since the new home-cooked dog food was begun.
The reasons cited as to why balanced homemade organic dog food works against fleas, in addition to improving your dog’s overall health, usually fall into one of two categories:
- The theory that the fleas will not attack a very healthy dog, that fleas go after dogs who are at least somewhat nutritionally compromised. Dogs who are fed a commercial dog food diet are often nutritionally deficient in some way and are perhaps targeted by fleas as a result.
- The theory that nutritional yeast in dog food wards off fleas. In the past, I tried adding nutritional yeast to premium commercial dog foods to get rid of fleas and it never worked, so it can’t be just the nutritional yeast.
Perhaps, it’s both? The nutritional yeast is a wonderful source of vitamins. A small amount can work synergistically in an organic whole food diet as a health benefit for dogs and make a dog unattractive to fleas at the same time. A dog who is not nutritionally deficient will not be attractive to fleas. The mechanism that makes the nutritional yeast work as a flea preventer is an extra side benefit in the food.
There were other noticeable benefits to making the food. Within a few months, Naomi’s coat, which was already nice, got thicker and richer. She doesn’t have dog breath. According to several published sources, feeding dogs this way can also make them more energetic and alert.
You can find a list of resources HERE.
If you currently have a flea infestation Dr. Fox has a page on his website with more suggestions for eliminating and controlling them: http://www.twobitdog.com/DrFox/Preventing-Fleas-Ticks-Mosquitoes