The History of Grain-Free Pet Food
Guest Blog from Michael Dym, VMD,
As a veterinarian with almost 30 years of clinical experience, I have certainly seen the evolution and expansion of the pet food industry, especially when it comes to more natural, less toxic diets. This was especially evident when consumers started becoming educated many years ago on the nature of meat by-products found in many foods (including prescription pet foods from veterinarians), as well as the dangers of preservatives like BHA, BHT and ethoxiquin, and artificial colorings, etc. Many pet foods, including those available from veterinarians, had been using cheaper, lesser quality grains and grain extracts as major protein sources for pets in many commercial foods. Our carnivorous and omnivorous animals digest such poor quality grains insufficiently, leading to GI tract inflammation, overgrowth of non-friendly bacteria, and a subsequent “leaky gut” which contributes to all sorts of chronic allergies and inflammatory diseases of multiple organ systems. The pet food industry responded to this knowledge by developing newer formulations and thus the “Grain-Free” pet food movement was born and exploded to where it is today.
However, what pet food manufacturers and Petguardians were ignoring on this issue was that it was the quality of the grains, and those foods using them as the primary ingredients in the pet food that was the real problem, and NOT the simple presence of grains. In fact, the wild relatives of the domestic dog and cat will often eat the stomach or rumen contents of the prey they catch in the hunt FIRST, which actually contains the digested grains of those animals. The wild canine and feline will eat the muscle meat AFTER first consuming the stomach/rumen contents of those animals. In my opinion and experience, pets thrive on a variety of fresh wholesome ingredients from the various food groups, rather than a solely meat/bone-based diet typical of the BARF recipes. My mentor in holistic veterinary medicine, Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, and the pioneering veterinarian in this country encouraging raw meat diets back in the late 1960s and 70s. Dr. Pitcairn has always included fresh meats and grains in his early recipes, in addition to veggies and other wholesome nutrients. In fact, this recent “Grain-Free” craze has now been linked to a type of heart disease in susceptible dogs who were fed some of these formulations. Investigations by veterinary nutritionists and cardiologists are still on-going as to specific causation in certain grain-free formulations. It is for these reasons that I have always supported a balanced fresh diet recipe, as is present in all of the PetGuard formulations. I have recommended and endorsed this food going back many decades when the PetGuard company was first started by Sharon and Steve Sherman. Their integrity and trustworthiness in the business has been unmatched. They have never compromised their ethics in preparing and marketing their wonderful dietary formulations to both the holistic veterinarian and the client alike. That excellent quality and integrity continues today with the production of excellent quality, balanced, varied, fresh and minimally processed formulations.
- Michael Dym, VMD
Dr. Dym is available by appointment both by phone/skype, as well as through house calls locally in the South Florida Area. For more information about Dr. Dym or to learn more about his services, visit his website www.doctordym.com or email email@example.com.
It is for these reasons that I have always supported a balanced fresh diet recipe, as is present in all of the PetGuard formulations. - Dr. Dym