Pet Food and Optimum Health – 7 Reasons To Avoid Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are included in many pet foods these days – both processed and raw.

But are they the healthy addition to a dog or cat’s diet many manufacturers would have us believe?

Here are 7 reasons why, if you want your pet to be as healthy as they can be, it’s worth avoiding fruit and veg.

1. 123 Toxic Chemicals

This is the disturbing number of pesticide residues found in a wide range of vegetables and fruits – as highlighted by a recent investigation by the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK)

In the samples analysed:

      • 84% tested positive for one residue
      • 66% tested positive for multiple residues

And amongst these the chemicals found were:

      • 24 known carcinogens (cancer causing agents)
      • 43 suspected hormone disruptors
      • 25 neurotoxins (nerve poisons)
      • 15 developmental or reproductive toxins (affecting sexual function), and
      • a wide range of compounds which can damage the liver, kidneys, immune system and other organs

Given the risks to health posed by chemically laden, non-organic vegetables and fruits, it’s wise not to feed pet foods containing these.  (Examples highlighted in red on the ingredient label below)

Ingredients label

For other ingredients to avoid see – Cutting Chemicals 3 – Food Additives in Pet Food, Supplements and Treats

2. Poorly Digested

Dogs and cats lack the digestive enzyme called cellulase, which is needed to break down plant cell walls.

And so, unless they are pulped first, vegetables and fruits go in one end and pass out the other largely unchanged. (Try feeding your pet chopped carrots and watch them appear in the stools).

Added to the diet therefore, they act as a ‘filler’ providing bulk in the form of fibre, but little in the way of nourishment.

3. Low Nutritional Value

The mineral content of soil has plummeted 72% in the last 100 years, which means that crops today contain a fraction of the nutrients they once used to.

In addition to this, the selection of rapidly growing and maturing varieties dilutes nutrient content even further (less nutrients in bigger produce).

As a result, modern day vegetables and fruits are not only indigestible, they are poor sources of nutrients too.

4. Allergenic

More and more dogs and cats are becoming sensitive to vegetables and fruits.

If these are fed to such pets, health problems often result.

Typical signs include:

      • itching
      • skin eruptions
      • inflammation of the ears, paws and perineum
      • irritable bowel
      • sloppy stools, often with mucus and / or blood
      • excessive wind
      • belching
      • loud abdominal noises
      • vomiting small amounts of food and / or bile

This being the case, the greater the number of vegetables and fruits there are in a food / the diet, the higher the number of potential allergens there are, and the greater risk that a pet will react badly to one or more of them and develop health problems as a result.

5. Lowers The Nutritional Value of the Diet

Because they are poorly digested and low in nutrients, adding vegetables and fruits to the diet reduces the nutritional quality as a whole, because in effect, more nutritious ingredients are being replaced by an indigestible filler.

This leaves pets significantly worse off, than had they been left out altogether.

6. Fuel For Yeast

The sugar content in fruits and sweet vegetables (carrots, for example) can feed yeast causing overgrowths and infections in the gut and on the skin.

For many pets, this manifests as recurrent ear infections and a characteristic smell to the body. Acetate impressions of discharges or sore areas in affected pets often reveal abnormally high numbers of the yeast Malassezia pachydermatis.

Successful treatment means addressing the underlying cause, which in this case involves eliminating vegetables and fruits from the diet so that the microorganisms are no longer being fed by unhealthy sugars.

7. Far healthier alternatives

Why feed vegetables and fruits when there are far cheaper and more effective ways of promoting optimum health in pets?

VITALITY is a specially formulated and clinically proven example of this which:

      • contains around 20 times the antioxidant beta-carotene as in carrots
      • has approximately 5 times the antioxidant ability as blueberries
      • supplies as much calcium as milk
      • is twice as rich in protein as meat
      • provides an exceptionally rich supply of numerous amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, co-enzymes, RNA, DNA and many other nutrients important for optimum cellular health

And whereas 90% of most vegetables and fruits in the diet pass straight through the body and out in the stools, over 90% of the nutrients in VITALITY enter the bloodstream within several hours of eating.

In may ways, it is the equivalent of exceptional intravenous nourishment, but given orally.

With such a option available, which has none of the drawbacks or ill-effects of vegetables and fruits outlined, why risk feeding the latter?

 

 

Cutting Chemicals 2 – Slashing 123 Toxic Substances From Your Pet’s Diet In A Single Stroke

Pesticides are toxic chemicals designed to kill.

They are used to destroy insects and other organisms which can damage crops in the belief that although they are lethal to pests, they are safe for us and our pets to ingest in small amounts.

What this fails to take into account however, is:

      1. The cumulative effects of exposure to pesticide residues day after day, month after month, year after year.
      2. The impact on the body of mixtures of these toxic chemicals, which no studies have assessed.

The Damage They Can Do

Pesticides can cause acute or chronic poisoning.

Acute

This usually occurs following exposure to either a large amount of pesticide, or a particularly toxic chemical.

This is most commonly seen in pets following accidental ingestion of a poison (e.g. slug bait)  or the direct administration or application of an insecticide (such as a flea or tick product).

Signs usually appear quickly and can include:

      • skin and eye irritation
      • breathing problems
      • triggering of allergies
      • nausea
      • abdominal cramps
      • vomiting
      • diarrhoea
      • weakness
      • nervous system disturbances
      • bone marrow suppression
      • blood disorders (which can result in excessive / uncontrolled bleeding)
      • death

Chronic

Long term exposure to pesticides, has been linked to the development of many serious diseases, for example:

The scale of the problem

But does all this really affect pets?

In a recent investigation, the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) found that that a wide range of vegetables and fruits being given to children as part of a government scheme aimed at promoting healthy eating habits, contained a staggering 123 different pesticide residues.

Some of the produce tested contained as many as 13 toxic chemicals.

And these are the same vegetables and fruits being added to many commercial dog and cat foods, including tinned, dry and raw.

Here are some examples, showing percentages of single and multiple pesticide residues present in vegetables and fruit commonly used in pet food (source: Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food 2005 – 2016) :

Veg and Fruit Residues v2

In all the samples tested:

      • 84% tested positive for one residue
      • 66% tested positive for multiple residues

Slashing The Risk To Pets

Given these findings and the potential pesticide residues have for causing serious harm to health, it makes sense to stop feeding non-organic vegetables and fruits to dogs and cats – either directly, or in commercially produced pet food.

This is a vital step in:

    • lowering the chemical burden on modern day pets
    • reducing the risk of cancer, liver and kidney disease, immune system disturbances, neurological problems, endocrine gland dysfunction, behavioural changes and many other conditions
    • promoting and maintaining long term health

Steps To Take

1. Switch to a pet food which doesn’t contain non-organic vegetables and fruits (or grains, herbs and other plants, many of which are heavily treated with pesticides).

Look for these and similar ingredients listed on product labels: apple, broccoli, butternut squash, kale, spinach etc.

2. If you want to give vegetables – buy organic

Some pets benefit from a little plant fibre in their diet. Most dogs and cats however, don’t need vegetables or fruits in the diet because they can’t digest plant cell walls.

3. Supplement with Superfood

There are far healthier and much more nutritious alternatives to vegetables and fruits, which don’t have the risks that these do.

A spoonful of VITALITY, for example:

      • contains around 20 times the antioxidant beta-carotene as in carrots
      • has approximately 5 times the antioxidant ability as blueberries
      • supplies as much calcium as milk
      • is twice as rich in protein as meat
      • provides an exceptionally rich supply of numerous amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, co-enzymes, RNA, DNA and many other nutrients important for optimum cellular health

And whereas 90% of most vegetables and fruits in the diet pass straight through the body and out in the stools, over 90% of the nutrients in VITALITY enter the bloodstream within several hours of eating.

 

Why Cutting Chemicals Is So Important for Pets

Feeding Raw 2 – A Checklist of What To Look For When Choosing a Raw Food

The purpose of feeding a raw food diet to a dog or cat is to promote the very best of health, so that they can live the healthiest and happiest life possible.

To do this a raw food needs to:

      1. Provide a rich and balanced supply of the nutrients the body needs to function as effectively as it can, in an easy to assimilate form.
      2. Leave out anything which is potentially harmful to health. 

To help you choose the best product for your pet, we’ve compiled a simple checklist of what to look for in a raw food and why.

 1. Source of the Ingredients

Animals reared and slaughtered in the UK are the freshest source of meat, bone and offal.

For this reason, raw food made from recently slaughtered animals reared in the UK will tend to be more nutritious than those made from frozen meat, and animal by-products imported from Europe.

Look out for: ‘Manufactured in the UK’ is NOT the same as stating that the meat, bone and offal used comes from UK farmed animals.

2. Defra Approved

For it to be legal (and safe), commercially produced raw food for pets has to be made by a Defra approved manufacturer.

This is to ensure that only meat, bone and offal which has been passed fit for human consumption are used, and that strict hygiene measures are adhered to – which includes regular microbiological testing for potential pathogens, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.

This helps to protect pets from the risks posed by unregulated products sold from the back of a van or elsewhere.

Look out for: an approved manufacturer number should be visible on the label or sleeve to show that the product is legally made.

3. Nutritional Analysis

In addition to displaying the Defra approved manufacturer number, a raw pet food label should also provide the following nutritional information:

% moisture; % protein; % fat, % ash and % fibre

This is important, because it shows that the food has been correctly analysed by a food laboratory. It also helps with choosing the best food for a pet, particularly those with health problems, such as poor body condition, kidney disease, digestive disturbances or pancreatitis, for example.

Look out for: if nutritional analysis figures aren’t displayed, the product doesn’t conform to animal feed regulations put in place for the protection of pets, and is therefore, best avoided.

4. Protein

Dogs and cats need a high percentage of good quality protein in the diet.

Lean muscle meat is the best source, as it supplies high quality protein which is easy to digest and provides a rich supply of the amino acids the body needs for optimum health.

Heart supplies less protein than lean meat and is harder to digest, but it is often used because it is a much cheaper alternative. The drawback with this however, is that if too much is fed (typically more than 10% of the raw food) it can cause diarrhoea and other problems – particularly in pets with health issues.

Tripe is the poorest source of protein out of the three, and the hardest to digest. Because of this, around twice as much needs to be fed to provide a similar amount of protein as muscle meat. It’s commonly used because it is cheap.

Look out for: a high percentage of lean muscle meat is the best choice (Vince the Vet Superfood Raw lamb and beef recipes for example, contain 70% of the highest grade meat, and our poultry recipes have extra muscle meat added).

If a lower grade meat is used (lots of gristle etc.) or a large proportion of heart and / or tripe, the nourishment provided by the food will be significantly less. 

    

5. Offal

Organs are an important source of:

      • essential fatty acids
      • fat soluble vitamins
      • minerals
      • trace elements

and other nutrients vital for nerve function, the immune system and the body’s natural healing mechanisms. And the 3 most nutritious are the heart, liver and kidneys, which is why these are best included – but in the correct amounts.

Look out for: if heart, liver or kidney are missing or are replaced by less nutritious organs such as tripe, lung or spleen, important nutrients may be in short supply and the benefits of feeding raw reduced.

6. Bone

Bone is a good source of calcium and other minerals for healthy teeth, bones and nerves. Also important for good bowel function and for emptying the anal glands.

Although the exact percentage in the diet which suits each pet varies, around 10% is good for most.

Look out for: too little or no bone can contribute to musculoskeletal, heart, nerve and bowel problems, whereas too much can cause constipation.

    

7. Vegetables, Fruits and Grains

There are 7 compelling reasons (these will be listed in an upcoming blog this week) not to include these or similar ingredients (such as herbs, botanicals and plant / fish oils, for example) in raw food for dogs and cats (or any other pet food for that matter – including tinned and dried).

Look out for: the more vegetables, fruits, grains and other ingredients there are, the higher the likelihood that a pet will experience health issues as a result – particularly if these are fed every day for long periods.

In addition to this, because they act as indigestible ‘fillers’ the higher the percentage of these in a food, the more has to be fed to compensate for the reduction in nutrient content. This increases the daily cost of feeding a pet in some cases, by 10%, 20% or even 30%.

8. ‘Complete’

A ‘complete’ raw pet food in theory, is one that supplies a dog or cat with ALL the nutrients they need to be healthy.

In reality however, it’s impossible to create such a food because:

      1.  Dogs and cats vary far too widely in their nutritional needs.
      2. Raw food – although far healthier than processed food – is still deficient in important nutrients because of soil depletion.

The only way to truly ensure that a dog or cat receives a diet that is healthy, balanced and complete, AND promotes the very best of health, is to feed a high quality core raw food and to supplement with a small number of other, highly nutritious foods – as detailed here.

Look out for: don’t be misled by the word ‘complete’ on a product. It simply means that the raw food concerned satisfies EU regulations regarding the minimum levels of certain nutrients, and it is NOT a guarantee that is supplies all a pet needs nutritionally to be healthy.

And ‘complementary’ simply means that other foods need to be fed in addition to the product for a dog or cat to receive the nutrients necessary for optimum health – which is in fact true for all raw pet foods.

9. Ingredients

The make up of a raw food can markedly affect quality and whether it has a positive or negative impact on health.

The more ingredients there are for example, the greater the number of potential allergens present, and the higher the risk one or more of these will trigger problems in sensitive dogs and cats. These can include skin eruptions, itching, digestive disturbances, ear infections, anal sac problems and self-trauma to name but a few.

The inclusion of vegetables, fruits, grains and other additions exposes pets unnecessarily to potentially harmful pesticide residues, as explained earlier.

Poor quality ingredients lower nutritional value significantly along with the health benefits of feeding raw.

Unbalanced formulations such as too much or too little bone or the absence of high quality offal in the right proportions for example, can result in nutritional deficiencies and other problems

Look out for: a healthy blend of high quality meat, bone and offal is the best core raw diet. It’s easy to add other highly nutritious foods to this, to suit the individual needs of each particular pet.

10. Texture

The more finely ground a raw food is, the more the nutrients it contains are exposed to air and break down, and the quicker nutritional value declines.

Coarsely mincing on the other hand, preserves nutrient content for longer, slows eating down (for most pets!) which aids digestion, and for many dogs and cats is more pleasing than pate-like food.

Look out for: easily identifiable pieces of meat, bone and offal.

Large bowel - sml

11. Nutritional Expertise

Feeding raw if done correctly, can promote the very best of health and help a pet live the healthiest and happiest life possible.

To achieve this, it’s important not only to feed a high quality core raw food, but to supplement to ensure that the diet:

  • is completely baklanced
  • supplies all the nutrients necessary for optimum well-being
  • takes into account the individual needs and circumstances of a dog or cat

This means taking into account genetic make up, breed, age, sex, medical history, activity, temperament, environment and many other factors.

This isn’t always easy – but with 30+ years clinical expertise, we’re experts at it.

And so, when you purchase Vince the Vet Superfood Raw,  you have the reassurance of knowing that not only are you giving your pet the highest quality raw food, which is specially formulated to promote the very best of health, you also have access to nutritional advice provided by an expert Holistic Vet.

Beef - Beef 1kg-min

Checklist Summary

‘Yes’ for each of the following is best.

1. UK farmed animals = Yes / No
2. Defra approved number = Yes / No
3. Nutritional analysis figures = Yes / No
4. Protein – high lean meat content = Yes / No
5. Offal – heart, liver and kidney = Yes / No
6. Bone – approximately 10% = Yes / No
7. Vegetable, fruit and grain free = Yes / No
8. Meat, bone and offal 80 / 10 / 10 = Yes / No (ignore ‘complete’)
9. Ingredients = low in number high in quality = Yes / No
10.Texture = coarsely ground = Yes / No
11. Nutritional Expertise = Yes / No

Vince the Vet Superfood Raw – request your FREE bespoke feeding plan today by emailing ‘Raw Diet’ to info@vincethevet.co.uk