It appears that at least one Pet Food Giant has resorted to big words and “new science” to market their substandard, by-product laden, and overpriced pet foods.
“Predictive biology” is the new buzz phrase they’re using to make you, a committed and loving pet parent, believe that the food has a tremendous amount of science behind it. By breaking “predictive biology” down into three main sections (genetics, genomics, and microbiomics), it sounds impressive for the average pet parent. But stick with me; I’m not going to get into a huge science debate (because you don’t want that and neither do I). Just let me tell you why this company feels the need to spit out big words and explanations.
When they talk on their website about genetics, here’s the key phrase: “Genetic research helps us to determine how a pet will react to certain ingredients and nutrients.” Their research involves swabbing a cat or dog’s cheek, extracting the DNA from the cells, and study it to “help determine which pieces of a pet’s DNA affects which trait in their biology.”
Did you catch the singularity of their statement: “…a cat or dog’s cheek…”? Aren’t all animals “different”? Is the mass production of their pet food going to be good for all pets? Of course not, but that’s what they want you to believe.
About genomics (which is a broad term to describe the study of how ingredients & nutrients affects a living organism’s genome, or entire genetic makeup), the company states, “…by studying how genes react to different nutrients, we can determine the biological effects of our pet food formulations.”
I think they meant “nutrigenomics”, which is the ability of a good diet to alter the body’s genes positively, or how a bad diet detrimentally affects the genes. I beg you to read a food label from one of the major pet food companies (that touts their food as “veterinarian-recommended) and see just how processed the food IS. After all, dry food is the most highly-processed type of food on the shelves, and we all know how a processed diet leads to inflammation, a poor nutritional plane, and chronic disease.
So since it’s probably pretty evident that dry food could cause unnatural genetic changes, would this company divulge their information or try to hide it? You know the answer. How much pet food would they sell if the food caused bad genetic alterations?
Lastly, they mention “microbiomics” (the study of how bacteria inside of the body affect health). In a nutshell, this means how healthy or deficient the natural gut flora is and how they can work on food formulas to “support the beneficial bacteria to keep pets healthy”. Most of you already know how important a healthy intestinal tract is to overall health.
Yet how the beneficial bacteria can be in a healthy number when most commercial pet foods are high in sugar and carbohydrates is beyond my guessing ability.
When you toss out all the fancy research descriptions and 1) read the label on the back of the bag of food 2) see how your pet responds to processed commercially-prepared pet food, you have the real evidence of how good or bad a food is.
Bottom line in this whole blog is when you feed a dog or cat what it is biologically adapted to (meat, organs, fat) it will thrive!! There should be NO need for fancy research, expensive synthetic ingredients, modified grains / starches put into pet food (at least in my not so humble opinion)!.
My patients who have pet parents that put together a very simple, homemade recipe, whether its cooked or raw, do amazing well with their health. They use minimal additives such as flax, a taurine supplement, and /or a calcium supplement because I teach how over-supplementing can cause nutritional imbalances.
If we keep in mind that feeding our pets a diet that mimics what they would eat in the wild is best for them, we’ll have much happier, healthier pets – and relieved pet guardians. – Dr. Barb