Two dogs behind the table

The Heart of the Grain-free Debate

Dr.DOUG_200x200Dr. Doug Knueven has been practicing veterinary medicine in Beaver County, PA since 1987 and practicing alternative veterinary medicine since 1995. He lectures at state and national veterinary conferences. He has written two books: Stand by Me: A Holistic Handbook for Animals, Their People and the Lives They Share Together, and The Holistic Health Guide: Natural Care for the Whole Dog.

By Guest Contributor Doug Knueven, DVM, CVA, CVC, CVCH

Since last July when the FDA released a warning regarding a possible link between grain-free dog food and the development of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), the grain-free debate has raged on. Before we get into the grain-free issue, let’s back up and look at the disease we’re talking about. DCM is an ailment of the heart muscle brought on by a weakening in the muscle tissue. It is the most common cause of heart disease in certain large-breed dogs such as the Great Dane, Boxer, and Doberman Pincer, so there is a genetic component. However, this disease is also linked to a deficiency of the amino acid taurine in a dog’s blood.

The concern with grain-free diets is that they might lead to taurine deficiency. Most caregivers choose grain-free foods because they realize that grains are an unnatural ingredient in a dog’s diet. What they don’t appreciate is that grain-free diets simply replace the grain with ingredients such as peas, lentils, legumes, or potatoes, which are equally inappropriate foods for dogs. In addition, these grain replacers contain anti-nutrients which are natural plant compounds that interfere with the digestion and/or absorption of nutrients such as taurine. So, grain-free dog food manufacturers may formulate their diets to contain adequate taurine, but not account for the amount lost to the anti-nutrients in the diet’s novel components.

The grain-free link to DCM has brought conventional veterinary nutritionists down from their ivory towers and into the media. They are using the concern over grain-free diets to extol the value of grain in dog foods. The mantra of the nutritionists is that, when it comes to pet foods, it’s not the ingredients that are important, but the nutrients. I suppose that they themselves eat “People Chow” [it would be great if you could link People Chow to this video – https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=934204840081266]rather than freshly prepared meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Pet caregivers are understandably confused. They seem to be forced to choose between foods with crummy ingredients, including gains, with adequate taurine, and dog food with nice looking ingredients that might cause heart disease. Some people have become convinced that corn is good for dogs (which is obviously not true unless you’re talking about corndogs).

For me, this whole grain-free debate is moot. The truth is that no mater how “natural” the ingredients, there is no processed dog food (grain-free or otherwise) that is appropriate for dogs. Dogs have evolved over millions of years to eat a balanced, raw diet such as that of wolves. That’s why their dental structures are nearly identical. A truly natural diet for a dog is free of grains, peas, lentils, legumes, potatoes and other starchy ingredients. It has all the needed taurine and no anti-nutrients.

So, skip the grain-free debate and go raw!


13 Nutritional Benefits of Duck Eggs for Pets

flock of indian runner ducks in the gardenOur newest Answers Pet Food Detailed Formula for dogs are now made with organic pasture-raised duck eggs instead of organic chicken eggs.

Duck eggs can have a uniquely beneficial impact on pet health, we’re pleased to bring these benefits to you.

GOOD TO KNOW:

Duck eggs are a high quality source of nutrition

* Duck eggs are an excellent natural source of protein.

* They are nutritionally-dense.

* Duck eggs have more yolk than chicken eggs.

* Pets (and people) with allergies to chicken eggs can often eat duck eggs.

* Pasture-raised ducks have access to the outdoors eat a healthier natural diet (including plants and bugs), which results in the better quality of pasture-raised duck eggs – and better nutritional value. Answers sources its eggs from pasture-raised ducks.

* Nutrients in duck eggs help support the health of bones and teeth.

• Duck eggs are also lauded for their delicious natural flavor.

duck eggs

Duck egg vitamins: naturally ideal

* Duck eggs contain many of the same vitamins as chicken eggs, but a higher amount of these vitamins are found in duck eggs

* Pasture-raised ducks lay eggs that are likely to contain more vitamin D from absorbing natural sunlight.

* Duck eggs are also a good source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B9 (Folate), B12, E, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, Selenium and Choline. Chlorine is an essential nutrient that helps the body’s cells communicate. It helps create neurotransmitters that facilitate nerve communication.

Low-carb duck eggs are a natural boost for a healthy diet

* Duck eggs have more Omega-3 fatty cells. Omega-3 fatty cells are believed to help dogs with skin conditions, heart health, kidney health, cognitive function, and arthritis issues.

* Low in carbs, yet high in fats and a large amount of cholesterol (more than twice as much as chicken eggs), duck eggs are perfect for low carb (and Keto) diets.

* Reports suggest that the peptides in the whites of duck eggs can help body absorb other important nutrients. It is also reported that they can potentially help prevent other diseases (such as heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases).
To learn more about the Answers Pet Food formulas that now feature duck eggs, please visit our site to see our complete range of pet foods.

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Transparency matters

Take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in our pet food manufacturing. We’ve accepted Netflix’s Pet Fooled “Talk to Us” nationwide request of pet food companies to lift their veil of operations on an otherwise very secretive industry. With no restrictions, we give you an insider’s look at our farms, plants, sources, and practices. Meet Answers.

 



ANSWERS™ Pet Food Challenges the F.D.A. for the Public’s Freedom to Choose Safe, Healthy, Raw Pet Food

Fleetwood, PA, July 8, 2019. – Lystn, LLC d.b.a./ANSWERS™ Pet Food, announced today that the company has filed a Declaratory Judgment Complaint and is seeking Injunctive Relief  against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in the United States Colorado District Court. The complaint challenges the lawfulness of the FDA’s actions, with cooperation provided by various members of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), by adopting a nationwide, zero tolerance standard for Salmonella in pet food that is noncompliant with federal law, unsupported by science, and beyond the FDA’s scope of power as delegated by Congress.

While the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A) permits allowable quantities of Salmonella in human food, the FDA who regulates pet food, rather than following federal law  as set forth by the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C ACT), has instead adopted an unsustainable, zero tolerance standard for Salmonella presence in pet food, based on a “Non-Binding” Compliance Policy Guide (CPG). FDA guidance policies do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities, yet the adopted, supposedly nonbinding CPG has the FDA taking enforcement actions against manufacturers and imposes obligations upon the manufacturer creating legal consequences flowing from it.

The FD&C Act defines when a product is adulterated. It requires in addition to several other steps a suspected harmful substance be quantified, and a Health Hazard Evaluation be performed to determine if the product ordinarily renders it injurious to health. Currently the FDA does not follow the law for the more than 2,500 strains of Salmonella, most of which do not cause illness, but does quantify other contaminants such as aflatoxin in dry pet food, creating allowable tolerances. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) grants the FDA authority to mandate a recall, but only after following the FD&C Act.

ANSWERS™ approach to food safety and controlling pathogens is unique. In lieu of using high heat, high pressure or irradiation that denatures proteins, ANSWERS™ employs fermentation, Hurdle Technology and other proprietary processes, to preserve the integrity of the food, controlling pathogens and potential pathogens by either eliminating them, reducing them or inhibiting growth whereby good bacteria can survive and out compete harmful bacteria.

Keith A. Hill, President of Lystn, LLC, stated, “ANSWERS™ Pet Food would be the first party to initiate a recall if there was any indication of one of their products being a likely health risk to either pets or their owners, but when the science proves otherwise as provided by federal law, a manufacturer should not be coerced based on administrative policy view in contrast to the law.”

A report published in 2007, “FDA Science and Mission at Risk”, cited the FDA couldn’t fulfill its mission due to such issues as: a weak scientific organizational base and structure, with insufficient capacity and capability, and an inadequate information technology infrastructure. Using the CPG is easy and inexpensive to quote, but expensive for the public to present meaningful science to challenge these guides and deprives persons their due process and right to participate in regulation. As a result, the FDA, AAFCO and participating states are deciding what the public can and should feed their pets based on administrative policy views, not science or the law – taking away the public’s freedom of food choice.

Also addressed in the complaint, is the alleged extensive FDA regulatory abuse. ANSWERS™ asserts the FDA is unlawfully targeting the raw pet food industry, seeking to eradicate true, raw food from the marketplace through discriminatory and selective behavior. The FDA has been open in their bias against the raw pet food industry, despite the fact that the majority of reported illnesses occur in cooked and heavily processed food.