Friday, May 04, 2007

Dod Food Rant from a great Bulldog owner and Doctor

I would like to begin by pointing out your mentioning of the similarity between the DNA sequences between wolves and domesticated dogs. Since they are now classed as the same species, why would that not be true? Poodles are also in the same species as Mexican Hairless and St. Bernards. Are they very similar in appearance? It is said that approximately 95% of the genetic material is junk. It only separates the coding sequences that are used. And of the coding sequences used, many are repeated throughout nature, because they simply work. Over time, there can be mutations and things might vary, but not to a great degree. In The Biotic Message, on page 449, Walter ReMine noted that DNA is not always so important. There are two virtually identical species of fruit flies that share only 25 per cent of their DNA in common. If human and chimp DNA is 96 per cent similar, then the DNA of those fruit flies is "30 times more different than that between humans and chimpanzees." This is due to the fact that some genes are more crucial than others, acting as "switches" for certain traits. This is certainly something to keep in mind. In fact, evolutionists frequently fail to mention (except when it's convenient) that it also depends on which study you use as to what is our closest relative. If you compare eyes, it is the octopus. If you compare teeth and palates, we are more closely related to orangutans than chimps. If you compare hearts, we are closest to pigs (ever stop to wonder why they are cloning pigs for organ transplants rather than chimps?). Compare cytochrome C and our closest relatives are sunflowers!

Although dogs are classed as Carnivora, they are omnivores. Same thing with poultry, Even in nature, they will feed upon animal matter, and some are even cannibalistic.

Salivary Amylase does not have a huge impact on digestion, but more or less starts things along. The digestive tract of the canine may be shorter, but in proportion to body size, the difference is not that great. Also, what section makes up most of the difference? The large intestine. This makes some sense seeing that canines eat very little fiber. However, some species have somewhat flexible intestinal tracts, and morphology can change depending on diet, and can change again if the diet changes at another point. One example would be poultry. If fed a diet low in course feedstuffs, the gizzard (grinding stomach) will shrink, while the proventriculus will expand. If fed a diet with a lot of course material, the opposite is true.

The pH of the human stomach s closer to 2, as may be the pH of the canine stomach. Maybe you saw references to the proximal duodenum?

Actually, dogs do not have much of a problem digesting grains, as long as they are processed. Now, if you fed an intact kernel of corn to a dog, and it swallowed it whole, it might not get anything out of it. But if the fibrous cell walls are disrupted, the dog is able to get use out of it. Oh the wonders of modern feed milling technology. Also, the moist heat from extrusion is able to make more of the starch available, which is useful since you feel a dog is not able to break down starches well. See how easy commercial dog food makers make things for dogs? May complex carbohydrates pass through, but only in 'cheap' dog food, that contain a lot of fiber. Much of the starch is utilized. Carbohydrates are not really broken down in the stomach, but rather the small intestine. Proteins are broken down to some extent in the stomach, and lipids coalesce, but it is not a primary site for carbohydrate breakdown. You state 'dogs have a very difficult time digesting and utilizing protein from carbohydrates'. Actually, carbohydrates are a different class of nutrient than protein, so I would assume that to be very true. Though, animals can use ammonium molecules to add to the sugar molecules and make proteins if need be. If properly balanced (based on the amino acid profile), there is no difference between an animal protein and a plant protein based diet. Some companies may not balance things well, but that is not necessarily a shortcoming of the feedstuff itself. If the protein is a poorer quality, how does it become a stressor to the kidneys? If it is of poor quality, it would not be absorbed, and it can only pass through the kidneys if it is absorbed. I agree carbohydrates are not absolutely necessary in a canine diet, but they can be used as a quick energy source. The trick is just not to feed an excess, as this leads to deposition of adipose tissue. Cooking animal protein (or plant protein for that matter) does change many of the amino acids chains, BUT, this I for the better. It opens up the chains, making the amino acids more accessible to the proper enzymes in the stomach and intestines. The acidity of the stomach accomplishes the same thing, so it is not necessary, but it is not a bad thing. Sure, raw meat contains amino acids needed for good tissue health, immunity and good coat and skin for omnivores, but so do plant proteins. If commercial dog food contains as much indigestible complex carbohydrates as you say, its passage through the digestive tract should be more rapid than that of raw meat. Fiber tends to shorten gut passage time, while high fat tends to slow things down.

You stated that raw food contains bacteria that aid in digestion? How is this so if as you state, the stomach acid kills all microbes? Are you meaning lactobacilli that attach to the upper part of the stomach (esophageal region) and guard against bad bacteria? Also, digestive enzymes are inactivated by stomach acid, so their only action is pre-ingestion. And as you pointed out, cooking helps open up these protein chains, so it helps out digestive enzymes of the stomach as well as those coming from the pancreas. I am not sure any nutritionists call bacteria or enzymes nutrients. If they are added to the diet, they are referred to as non-nutritive feed additives. Maybe the bacteria build stronger immune systems by triggering an immune response, but that may be a bad thing in a dog unable to handle it. True, dogs began to develop coat, skin and allergy conditions. Could this also be correlated to a boom in the number of animals allowed to breed, and the fact that lesser animals make it into the gene pool? Yes, nutrition helps, but is not the cause of everything. If dog's' teeth are not meant for chewing, then why is it a good thing to CHEW bones to clean teeth? I once had a dog that had strong jaws and clean teeth, and he liked to chew rocks and eat cow manure. Maybe I should market that?

True, some fats used in processed foods can easily go rancid. But, these are essential, and the dogs requires them to function. If you only fed saturated fatty acids, the dog would not be able to synthesize these on their own. I am sure since you feel ethoxiquin, BHA and BHT are bad, you do not buy any processed meats for yourself? Actually, many of the quality kibbles include Omega-3 fatty acids. These are among the fatty acids you referred to as easily going rancid earlier.

Fat in itself is not crucial to omnivores. They can be synthesized in the body. That is, all except the essential fatty acids. And why rely on fats to produce glucose, when feeding feedstuffs like corn or rice supply it in a readily available form?

I notice you refer to Ian Billinghurst as both a Doctor and a DVM. He is Australian, so he has a B. V. Sc., not a DVM, and as you can see, it is not a doctorate. Also, he is possibly the worst source of nutritional information out there. His reasoning in wrong in many places in his books, and some things just can't happen the way he explains. Even if you just look at the dogs on the covers of his books, one knowledgeable in nutrition can point out several nutritional deficiencies just from the photos.

Dr. Andrew Bateman

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