Every order helps feed shelter dogs! Every order helps feed shelter dogs!

News

Why Feed Raw Food?

Why Feed Raw Food?
While still a small part of the overall market, raw dog food is an increasingly popular diet for dog owners to give their pups.  So what's so different about raw?

As it turns out, raw diets can have a huge positive impact on the health of dogs, and for very good, specific reasons!

To understand what makes raw diets so special, it's important to understand a little bit about how dogs went from eating their natural diets, to crunching on the hard, dry little kibbles most dogs eat now.


For centuries, there was no such thing as commercial dog food — dogs simply ate the wild prey that they caught, plus foraged berries and grasses.  All of that food was raw, and that was the natural diet for all dogs.  And of course, domesticated dogs also began to eat leftover food of their human companions.

In the early 20th century, as more and more regulations were implemented to protect the safety of consumers, the manufacturers of human foods were left with increasingly large amounts of low quality, tainted, or non-nutritious foods that they weren't allowed to sell to humans - but few such regulations existed for the production of food for pet animals. 

The first manufacturers to take advantage of this regulatory loophole were actually breakfast cereal companies.  These manufacturers' industrial extrusion cooking process, which involves exposing foods to extreme temperatures and pressures, gave them a cheap, easy, shelf-stable way to turn those subpar foods into crunchy kibbles that they could sell as dog food.

In other words, dry dog food was not created as a healthy option in the best interest of our dogs, but for simple profitability and convenience.

Perhaps more surprisingly, even as our understanding of nutritional science has improved, and we become aware of the damage that highly processed foods made with industrial cooking methods can do to humans and animals alike, very little has changed in this process. 

Regulations now dictate minimum nutritional standards for dog foods, but in many cases very little of that nutrition comes from the ingredients themselves.  Instead, manufacturers meet these minimums by spraying a slurry of synthetic, lab-created nutrients on their foods after the cooking process.

That's why a dry kibble diet is not so different from breakfast cereal.  Can you imagine eating breakfast cereal every single day, for every single meal, for your entire life?  Even if it was a relatively high quality and nutritious breakfast cereal, that's simply not going to be as nutritious as a diet made from whole foods - and that's true for dogs as well as humans.

Nature designed dogs to eat meat.  While they are technically omnivores and can get nutrition from a variety of foods, they require a much higher proportion of protein and fat in their diets than we humans do, and their digestive systems are geared towards a meat-heavy diet that raw dog food does a better job of supplying, simply because it is never cooked.

"Now wait a minute," you might be asking yourself, "the kibble I buy for my dog has meat as the first ingredient!  That means that my dog is eating more meat than anything else, right?"

Unfortunately, that's not the case.  Ingredients are listed on the bag in order of weight before cooking.  Because meat has lots of moisture in it, it shrinks a great deal when it's cooked, so in the finished product, dry and pre-cooked ingredients like grains or grain meals that show up further down that ingredient list may make up a much larger portion of what your dog is actually eating. 

In fact, many popular kibbles have 10% or less actual meat present in their finished product, with much of the nutritional protein in those foods coming from much cheaper grains and veggies which our dogs' bodies just aren't as good at extracting nutrition from.

And besides, just because meat is first on the list, that doesn't mean there's a lot of it overall - just that there's more than any other ingredient.  A food which contains only 5% meat will still have meat first in the ingredient list, as long as no other individual ingredient makes up more than that 5% - which is why many of the cheapest "meat first" dog foods have such long ingredient lists.

Simply put, raw dog food diets completely turn these industry standards on their head, by providing our dogs with the food that nature designed them to eat, in a form their bodies can most effectively digest.

To start with, most raw dog diets are extremely high in meat, making up between 85-98% of the finished product, and the rest composed of fruits, veggies, and other healthy carbs.  Compared to the 10% or less meat that's present in many kibbles, that's HUGE.

Secondly, these foods are never exposed to the heat of cooking which can destroy the natural nutrition present in its ingredients, so, generally, raw food manufacturers don't need to add a bunch of synthetic supplements to the food afterwards to meet minimal nutritional standards.  All that nutrition is present in an easily digestible form.

And the nutritional drawbacks of raw food diets?  Well, to be blunt, I don't really believe there are any. 

Sometimes, the presence of pathogens like salmonella in raw meat is cited as a potential problem, but ultimately, this is overstated, for two reasons: dogs evolved to have strong stomachs to fight off the bacteria sometimes present in their ancestral diets, and commercial raw diets undergo special treatments to kill pathogens (which is one of the reasons you should use a commercial raw diet, rather than simply raw meat or fish from the supermarket).

It's still a good idea to wash your hands after handling raw dog food, but that's actually true of kibble too - in fact, more people get salmonella from handling dry dog food each year than from commercial raw dog foods!

At the end of the day, the truth is that raw food isn't some miraculous scientific advancement - it simply solves a lot of the problems created by the popularity of kibble by offering a return to what our dogs should always have been eating!  


--

Canine Sciences in a firm believer in the benefits of feeding raw.  That's why we created our raw freeze-dried Naturally Scrumptious diet and Nutrient Heaven treats using a special, extra-gentle freeze-drying process to lock in raw nutrition and flavor.  See what a difference raw nutrition can make for your dog, by placing your order today!
 

The right nutrition for your dog: the Good, the Bad, and the Yucky

The right nutrition for your dog: the Good, the Bad, and the Yucky


There are so many different dog foods on the market, and they all claim to be totally healthy and nutritious, with packages showing pictures of what looks like delicious premium ingredients.

But unfortunately, this is often just marketing. 

The commercial pet food industry in the United States was built on the back of the human food industry, with products designed for convenience and a long shelf life over the health of our dogs.  These foods undergo extreme processing that destroys the nutrition naturally present in its ingredients, and synthetic chemical supplements are added back in after cooking to meet minimum nutritional values.
 
These foods aren't just less nutritious for your dog - studies have shown, the chemicals and low-quality ingredients present in many commercial dog foods may increase the occurrence of common health issues like inflammation, bacterial infection, digestive upset, joint pain, and over the long term, even cancer and organ failure.

Simply put: our dogs deserve better.

So what can we, as consumers, do to make sure our dogs are getting healthy nutrition that doesn't just meet their minimum nutritional standards, but actually protects or improves their health?

There are two solutions I recommend to dog owners who share these concerns:

-Add a source of natural, raw nutrition to your dog's diet in the form of raw or only lightly processed natural foods: USDA certified meats, fruits and veggies purchased from your local market and prepared at home, or frozen or freeze-dried raw commercial dog diets

-Supplement your dog's regular diet with a natural, comprehensive multivitamin to boost nutritional intake

Supercharging your dog's diet with natural foods or vitamin supplements will not only improve their nutritional intake, it can even help fight the damage caused by low-quality foods!

For example, Canine Sciences' own Radiant Canine multivitamin supplement contains over 45 healthy, nutritious ingredients chosen to improve every area of your dog's health through good nutrition:
  • probiotics and digestive enzymes to reduce digestive upset and increase nutritional absorption
  • natural anti-oxidants that fight free radicals to improve immune health, protect organ function, and reduce the effects of aging
  • omega fatty acids associated with reduction in inflammation, and improvement of skin and coat health
  • joint health compounds that keep your dog's joints healthy, mobile, and pain-free as they age
...and a whole lot more!  Click here to check it out for yourself, risk-free!

Spotlight On Superfoods: Nature's Nutritional Miracles

Spotlight On Superfoods: Nature's Nutritional Miracles


Nutritionists - both the human and animal variety - have concluded that natural foods are generally much better for us than heavily processed foods.  But even among natural foods, not all nutrition is created equal.

Enter superfoods!

If you haven't heard this term before, a superfood is a food which is very nutritionally dense, and contains a higher proportion of beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals than other foods, so you get more healthy nutrition out of every bite.

Even better, not only can humans benefit from a diet rich in superfoods, but dogs can, too!

You're probably already familiar with many of these amazing foods, like:

-Leafy greens like kale, parsley, and broccoli, that are packed with so many essential minerals like calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium for organ function and strong bones that they reduce the chances of some canine cancers by as much as 80%

-Berries and fruits such as blackberry, pineapple, and strawberries which are rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins C and K to promote immune health and fight the effects of aging for a longer, healthier life

-Root vegetables and squash like pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots that contain huge amounts of fiber to improve digestion and maximize the nutrition your dog gets from their meals, and beta carotene to protect coat health and vision

Feeding your dog a diet which includes plenty of superfoods like these, raw or lightly cooked to retain their natural nutritional benefits, is a great, easy, and delicious way to protect your dog from many potential health problems.

Every meal and snack that your dog eats is a chance to provide the essential nutrients they need to be healthy.  The next time you're mixing up your dog's meal, try chopping up one of two of these raw superfoods into their dish for a boost of vital nutrition, or serve them alone as a special treat.

That's why the veterinarians who helped to formulate Canine Sciences products included multiple healthy superfood ingredients in each, like the blackberry, sweet potato, and kale in our doggie favorites Nutrient Heaven Freeze-Dried Duck Delights, or the carrot, kelp, and parsley in our Radiant Canine Full-Spectrum Dog Nutritional Supplement

As an added benefit, crunchy veggie superfoods like carrots, zucchini, or cucumber served raw also help clean your dog's teeth while they chomp, for stronger teeth and better breath in addition to better nutrition!

Another fun way to introduce superfoods to your dog's diet, is with frozen smoothies!  If you blend up some superfoods, portion them into ice trays (or pour into a food toy!), and freeze, those cool and crunchy treats will keep your dog occupied as they nibble, provide tasty nutrition, keep them cool on a hot day, and even soothe the pain from puppy teething!