How to Slow Down Your Dog’s Aging Process and Help Her Stay Young Her Entire Life
Over the years, lots of people have asked me why they should consider switching their dog off kibble or canned food when their dog appears healthy. No diseases, no skin allergies, no lethargy…everything seems good. So why should they change?
I get it. I really do. When we’re in the habit of scooping some kibble into a bowl and moving on, it may seem foolish to go through the transition process and upend the whole routine. It’s not as convenient as just doing what we’ve been doing all along, right?
Slow Down Your Dog’s Aging Process With a Raw Diet
Unfortunately, if you want to slow down your dog’s aging process and keep her young, you can’t keep feeding her processed food. If you do, eventually she’ll reach what I’ve come to think of as the “breaking point.”
Think of a rubber band—it will stretch and stretch, but eventually, it snaps. Perhaps it got stretched too far, or perhaps it was stretched regularly over a long period of time. It’s different for every rubber band, but all of them have a point where they break. It’s the same for our pets. We don’t usually know, just by looking at them, what their breaking point is. Will it come after years of eating processed food? Or will it happen much sooner, when they’re still in what should be the prime of life?
Internal Damage Happens First
Whether it’s rubber bands or our dogs, by the time the damage shows on the outside, the inside is already affected. By the time the rubber band breaks, it’s already been made weaker by microscopic tears and stretches we don’t notice until it snaps completely. Similarly, by the time the hot spots appear on your dog, or he presents with cancer, or his teeth show a buildup of plaque and tartar, the internal damage has already happened.
I’m going to state it clearly for you right here and now: processed pet food is not a source of nutrition for your dog. Between the ingredients used and the processing itself, it’s a source of toxicity, no matter how much you paid for it or how “premium” it claims to be. Now, if that comes as a shock to you, I understand. We’ve been trained to think about processed pet food—kibble and canned—as the best food to feed our dogs. But the facts tell a different story.
Fact #1: Cooked protein is denatured protein
Processed pet food is often cooked, which renders the protein unusable (or significantly less usable) by your pet’s body. Think of it this way. Imagine you’re planning to build a wall, and you have all the blocks laid out, ready to stack up and form the wall. Then, imagine someone comes along and smashes the blocks with a sledgehammer. The blocks are still there, but not in any form that will allow you to build the wall, and even if you manage to piece the blocks back together, they’re weak and won’t provide any real strength or support to the structure. Because the blocks are broken, you isolate them and put them aside, and eventually you throw them away.
Now here’s the thing: The high heat and processing to which the proteins are exposed to make the kibble are like sledgehammers destroying the amino acids (which are the building blocks of protein). The broken, weak amino acids can’t form strong proteins, just like the broken, weak blocks can’t form a strong wall. And, since the body can’t use the processed amino acids to form strong proteins, it isolates them and sets them aside. However, if they just sit in the body they become a source of toxicity, so they must be dealt with: the body must eliminate them.
The problem arises when we continually flood our pets’ bodies with these toxic and fundamentally unusable proteins (and this is part of the reason why, no matter what the pet food marketing departments tell you, no processed food will ever be a source of health for your pet). Their systems go into overdrive to shed out the toxins their bodies are encountering with every processed pet food meal.
Fact #2: Synthetic vitamins and palatants
Kibble and canned food is sprayed with synthetic vitamins to increase palatability (and make it smell appealing enough to your dog that they’ll eat it) and to give pet food companies the ability to say their food contains vitamins and minerals (which otherwise were cooked out of the food). This, of course, can cause a whole host of problems: most of the synthetic vitamins are made overseas (mostly in China), and they often contain toxins that can be harmful or even fatal to your dog (remember the massive pet food recalls about a decade ago?
In many cases, the synthetic vitamin packs—also called “premixes”—were to blame). But pet food manufacturers have to get your dog to eat the food, which means they have to trick them into believing it’s food. And that’s another place the synthetic chemicals come in: as a palatant. Pet food manufacturers know if the food isn’t sprayed with this synthetic mixture, it won’t smell like food to a dog. And, if it doesn’t smell like food, dogs won’t even try to eat it. That’s right—animals that are notorious scavengers and will eat just about anything won’t eat processed food unless it’s been sprayed. Says something about kibble, don’t you think?
Fact #3: Toxic preservatives
Processed pet food contains a myriad of preservatives that, unfortunately, are also toxic. And those toxins have been proven to cause the exact same problems we take our dogs to the vet for. In other words, every time you put a bowl of kibble down for Fido, or slap some canned food in a dish for him, you’re flooding his body with the same toxins that have been shown to cause allergies, cancers, tumors, and other chronic health issues. Eventually, it will catch up to your dog unless you start doing things differently.
So, whether your pet appears healthy on the outside or not, if they are being fed a processed food diet, they aren’t in optimal balance. Think about when you get a cold or the flu. You were sick before you presented with full-blown symptoms, it just took a while to catch up to you. Same for our pets, but this is something that we can have an impact on.
To switch or Not to Switch? (Is that the question?)
If you’re hesitating about switching your pet to a raw diet because you feel like they’re healthy and it seems inconvenient to start doing something different when there doesn’t seem to be any cause, I would invite you to look more closely at whether your pet is truly healthy. You can check out our easy wellness quiz. Where does your dog fall on the spectrum?
Truthfully, it’s never too late to start your dog on the path to true vitality! And, by changing how you feed her now, you can slow down your dog’s aging process and help her thrive her entire life.
If you want to start learning about switching you dog to a raw food diet, read our article about it here!
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