Even before this show has aired (thursday evening on Ch5 at 9pm) articles have appeared in the press. I am told that food manufacturers declined to appear, leaving non industry experts to comment. Those who have seen the advance screening seem to have some concerns. *Now broadcast and viewed.
It appears that the show claims that 9 out of 10 vet visits are food related yet have no proof to back this up or even expert testimony? They also, correctly say there is no study to show that artificial products in foods cause behaviour problems yet don’t appear to have spoken to behaviourists who could comment on this?
I have been in the dog industry for over 30 years. Foods have changed for the better, and I can write about a large number of cases whose behaviour changed after a food change. So can many of my colleagues, but I wasn’t asked, despite contacting them as soon as this show went into production.
Having now viewed it I feel disappointed. I expected science, debate and conclusions. I saw opinions, mainly from people with their own brands to plug, eccentric owners feeding vegan and vegetarian, no big players and someone feeding wolves, with a job title of “hunter”. Where were the nutritionists?
Without input from the kibble manufacturers, this show was pointless. Criticism of ingredients served no purpose without the science of nutrition giving balance. Showing raw feeding as huge cow legs and carcasses like a home abattoir might make good film, but is not representative of how raw is fed at home.
The good thing is there is now a debate about dog food and what should be fed. I honestly can’t see anyone learning anything, switching or even understanding some of the comment because of the show.
We have known for many years that dogs can have itchy skin, upset stomachs and more because of cheap, low quality food. This means food whose main ingredient is cereal, with soya and the infamous “meat and animal derivatives” in it. Changing to raw, or premium brands has improved if not cured a lot of dogs with these problems.
Almost every behaviourist will tell you that rarely, but really, changing a dog from a food using artificial colours, additives and preservatives to one without has improved behaviour. It is true it hasn’t been studied, but it has happened. Yet there wasn’t anyone on there talking about this? If their argument was that there’s no scientific study, then over half the show shouldn’t have been broadcast.
There has been a statement by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (who have seen it) which makes very interesting reading, It makes some great points. Including the source of the ingredients, which doesn’t seem to match the programme claims.
There is also an article by Guy Blaskey, MD of Pooch and Mutt which makes some excellent points and illustrates there is already a divided opinion.
I hope further discussion and debate improves owner’s understanding of food. I hope owners make good choices in the quality they feed. I hope to see a show exploring the real science of dog feeding.
So what’s the conclusion? Feed the best quality food you can afford. The reason there are bags from £8 to £50 is simply the quality of the ingredients. Go up in price and get rid of the grain and cereal, the rubbish and soya filler and end up with a food with real meat in it. If your dog has skin, dietary or behaviour problems, talk to your vet and a good behaviourist and get help to choose a good food, whether raw (and properly balanced only if you do it right) or a premium quality commercial food.