In a nice change of pace, a major daily newspaper has actually published an article that is pro raw feeding.
Vets tell you: ‘Live with canine epilepsy, not for it.’ Good advice, but much easier said than done. We went entirely the other way and buried ourselves in research, starting on a journey that would take us far beyond canine epilepsy.
A concerted internet trawl through scientific journals, veterinary publications and pet-owner forums revealed a huge and growing incidence of dogs with diseases of the joints, internal organs, immune system, eyes, ears, skin, teeth and nervous system; not to mention cancers, behavioural disorders and, yes, epilepsy. And, this being the internet, the suggested treatments encompassed everything from fancy pharmaceuticals to collective prayer.
There was one piece of advice, however, that cropped up far too often to ignore – ‘get your dog off commercial pet food’.
At the time we were feeding Dave what we thought was a high-quality dried food or ‘kibble’. According to the description on the side of the packaging, it was ‘rich in meat’ with ‘wholesome ingredients’ and ‘100 per cent complete and balanced’.
But the ‘ingredients’ section on most petfood packaging is notoriously vague and misleading. Manufacturers don’t really want you to know what’s in there. After some serious delving, I could understand why.
In all probability we had been feeding Dave the waste by-products of industrial grain processing, vegetable pulp (and possibly woodchip), a grounddown mix of non-nutritious animal parts, along with used fats and oils, possibly from restaurant fryers and industrial food-processing units. This mixture is preserved with powerful antioxidants banned in the UK for human consumption and linked to liver and kidney damage, stomach tumours and cancer.