Hi, Dr. Haghighat,
Thank you so much for joining us today. We're happy to have you here again.
Thanks for having me.
So the topic that we really want to discuss with you today, that's kind of a burning question from our customers and other pet owners is this idea that we hear a lot about in the pet food industry, of what it means to have a balanced diet for dogs.
We see a lot of companies, either pet food companies that are advertising this idea of whole complete and balanced and we wanted to get your perspective on this is what does the balanced diet mean for dogs to you?
Alright, yeah, a balanced diet. To me, it means that it is a diet that a patient can stay healthy, and try for the most, and do the best that they can, as a living being.
Most of the diets that you see out there mentionthat they are meeting the required requirement of the AFCOO, which is the regulatory body of the pet food industry.
They meet a requirement, it means that they have the necessary ingredient for the for the dogs in order for them to survive. But that doesn't mean that they are thriving on that diet, they can live on it, but they cannot achieve their maximum health.
So we're often confused as pet owners, because there's a lot of information out there. And in particular, through all the advertising that goes on a lot of pet food companies and particularly kibble brands.
They really advocate for feeding their dogs kibble, which is generally the same brand, the same ingredients that they're feeding. And they say that that contains all the vitamins and minerals that they need.
So what's your opinion on this?
And can dogs get the balanced diet and the vitamins and minerals they need from the kibble that they're eating?
Actually, the short answer to your question is no, because what happens with kibble or a highly processed foods, their meat, the grain, the vegetables are cooked in high temperature and extruded material to basically those little brown nuggets, and they have to add some of the minerals.
And why that means is that they have been lost through the high temperature cooking process afterward to just make sure that they are not grossly nutritionally deficient, and then put it in the bag with preservative.
Of course they have to they have to last in that bag. And the whole idea of having a dog on those processed or brown nuggets for the whole life days in days out.
It's not a really great idea, they cannot stay healthy.
That is like me telling you, hey, listen, I have this protein shake that it has all the vitamins and nutrients that you need. And all you need to do is just drink this shake three times a day for the rest of your life. Of course you will be after a while really sick of if you keep doing it.
We as human beings, we cannot do it because we crave different foods. But remember, pets, dogs and cats don't have any choice. They just eat what we feed them and they don't have any say in it.
And so when they make the claim about giving dogs all the nutrients they need, I'm hearing that it's almost impossible from one package to meal to be able to put that many nutrients for a dog's body to be able to soak it up and take those nutrients in is that is that correct?
All that is included in this processed foods is the vitamins and minerals needed to survive and not get grossly deficient in one of those main vitamins.
But it does not mean that they can get all those micronutrients that the body needs to survive. We have about a theory of 96 or 97 different micro nutrients, minerals and vitamins and amino acids that they can take their pets or people should have in this very small amount in their diet and there is no way that they can add all those nutrients in a processed food for them to stay healthy.
so when we look at because when we look at gently cooked or raw food that this is something because a lot of people tend to be scared to turn to gently cooked or raw food because they're scared of not being able to provide their dogs with the nutrients they need.
And so what would you say are the most important components or nutrients of a gently cooked diet for dogs. If people do want to shift away from processed food to feeding their dogs, whole foods, what should they be looking for
in the ingredients?
Yeah, here's what I recommend. Normally, I mean, I an adult dog when you're going to feed them, as long as you have the main food groups, I mean, you add meat, vegetables. And sometimes grain is optional. I don't think that all dogs need grain. Actually, some dogs should not have grain at all. Some dogs can tolerate grain in small amounts, as long as you cycle them, so you don't give them grain all the time.
So they should have an option to have a diet that doesn't have grain in it. So basically, the rough calculation is what I recommend for my adult patients that are in a normal body weight, or maybe even slightly overweight, I normally tell him to have about 40 to 50% meat in the diet, and the rest vegetables and the vegetables can be a combination of green leafy vegetables and root vegetables and refined as long as you cycle through the vegetables and the meats.
And other whole food supplement or food supplement can be like either spirulina, you can do a chlorella, or you can do kelp and added to it because the body needs a little bit of everything. You cannot start adding synthetic vitamins to the food all the time, without running the risk of causing toxicity or nutritional deficiency with one of the other because you cannot add all those synthetic micronutrients in the in their food.
Dogs rarely unless they are grossly deficient in any of the major vitamins, they should not have added vitamin in their food.
Thank you. And over the years, we've had a lot of extra education and information on the type of foods that we should be eating. And we haven't had the same level of information for dogs.
One of the things that we advocate for our furry friends, is that unless there's a specific allergy or intolerance, our customers dogs should be cycling through our different recipes and that we really encourage the different proteins, fruits and vegetables so that they are getting those different macro micronutrients.
Is that is that what we should be doing as pet owners and making sure that we are giving the variety of the proteins fruits and vegetables rather than looking to the same one each day?
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. This is a great idea. They should be cycling through the meats and through the vegetables.
We never eat the same food days in days out because we craving which is your biological language of the body tells you
Hey, listen, you need to eat this or you want to eat this I feel like eating this.
Our pets, they don't have any choice because they live with us. So just make sure that we provide a variety for them.
Even at the beginning because you you asked what we recommend for patients that want to switch their diet from kibble to either raw or cooked diet.
Just start slowly even if you don't feel comfortable at the beginning. Just start slowly adding some chopped steamed vegetables to your pet food. add a tablespoon of yogurt, sometimes crack your fresh egg in the in the kibble that you're feeding just just add some life just jazz up the food more interesting.
Marisa and I even give out different fruits and trees and make sure the treats that we're giving them a healthy as well.
That's great. You know, that's great.
To see a great idea because you know, what was there just couple of fruits and nuts that pets cannot have.
I mean, grapes and raisins, you know that some of them can be really problematic for some dogs that can be really problematic. So we generally recommend to avoid them.
What have you seen, you know, and as we've discussed today that this is not beneficial and dogs are not getting all the nutrients they need in this way.
So what have you seen in your practice of, of dogs that have been fed this way, like what happens with dogs are not getting the nutrients they need.
If you want to make her human comparison, kibble and processed food is the is almost the equivalent of a Western diet, which we know is causing lots of health problems. So it's a diet that is high in refined carbohydrate, lots of protein, and almost no fruit and vegetables. And add that pet food version of it is highly processed, and most of them are not even here and grade.
They are fifth grade in human population at the start of the diet 80% it because 80% of the cardiovascular disease that you see in the society, about 30 to 42% of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, they're all coming from these sorts of processed food.
And I see it in practice all the time.
When I see when I see your your typical, let's say five, six year old golden retriever when he or she walks through your office, the dog smells. the ears are bad, it cannot walk properly.
It's arthritic is overweight, really the first thing that they remember, you're here most of the time on a processed food and processed kibble.
First thing that they do, I change their diet, I put those dogs on food that is more vegetables than meat, I sometimes have them to put about 60 to 70% vegetables and the rest meat, I want to just make sure that we have we have a diet that is anti inflammatory. And they deal with less calorie dense. I also ask them to add some nutrient like spirulina, I kept it a diet for six to seven weeks.
And you will be amazed that you see just by doing this. And of course, if there's anything specific that we have to deal with, we deal with that, let's say if the severe ear infection, or let's say if there's a mobility issue we try to correct that. And you will be amazed just in six to seven weeks, when the dog comes back how much they change. They shed lots of weight, the coat looks better, they move better. And and it's amazing in short periods of time, how you're able to correct those problems.
So we really can turn around the health of a dog and it's not too late if someone's been feeding their dog kibble for years. And they're now hearing this and are concerned about oh my gosh, let me get my dog healthy. You're saying that they still can make a difference. And dogs can still turn around from a health perspective.
But yeah, that's most of the time there is with the with the correct dietary intervention, you can make a difference in pet's life and remember, relatively speaking, because they live so much shorter than us, they have such a shorter lifespan, everything happens much quicker.
So they get sick much quicker than us. And they get better much quicker than us because the just the time is so much more compressed. I have seen amazing transformation here in the clinic, just by changing their food.
Maybe sometimes they have to get used to the idea, okay, we can add some fresh food to the diet or even if they cannot do it for for various reason. They're not able to do 100% at least change 50% of the time to fresh food. Okay, and then start with a better food that is less processed, maybe dehydrated raw, or a kibble that is not at least as human ingredient and it doesn't have too many grains.