The Pet Food Industry
The manufacturing of commercially processed dry pet foods constitutes a thriving industry worth billions of dollars.
Pet food manufacturers exert influence by funding research in veterinary schools, and educating future veterinarians on nutrition.
While pet foods are intended to be balanced and nutritious, concerns have arisen regarding their safety due to the increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses in pets and recalls of pet food products. Consequently, consumers have begun scrutinising the ingredients used in pet foods and exploring more natural options like raw food or homemade diets.
Although the pet food industry is primarily self-regulated, several organisations play a role in establishing the regulations and standards, including the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO). The Food & Drug Administration / Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA / CVM), The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and lastly the National Research Council (NRC)
The FDA does not require pre-market approval, additionally, the FDA does mandate that pet foods must be pure, wholesome, free of harmful substances and accurately labelled. However, pet food labelling can be perplexing as manufacturers employ a labelling technique known as “splitting” meaning even though a meat ingredient is listed first, various forms of corn take presence as the primary ingredient.
Pet food manufacturers base their formulations and nutrient profiles on NRC guidelines. Feed trials last for a duration of only 26 weeks, while growth food trials span 10 weeks.
Nutrient profiles do not assess nutrient bioavailability. Moreover, feed trials or nutrient trials can be conducted under a family member rule, meaning that if a product is similar to another in terms of nutritional composition, it does not require testing.
How is SARF Different?
A SARF diet – Species Appropriate Raw Food is in coherence with nature
Issues become evident when a dog that consumes a highly processed diet is given a raw bone, or a meal or raw meat. Due to the meat protein content of their diet, these dogs already have a less acidic stomach, which affects the softening and breakdown of raw bone material.
Furthermore, their stomach pH is unable to handle a high bacterial load. The consequence can manifest as a sudden “rejection” of the bone or meat, leading to vomiting.
Alternatively, it may result in an episode of acute gastroenteritis caused by bacterial overgrowth, or even a blockage in the stomach due to a bone obstruction
It typically takes approximately 7-10 days on a meat-based diet for the gastric acidity levels to gradually decrease to the natural and preferred pH level of 2. While the changeover can be swift, uncomplicated, and problem-free, it is essential to consider the current diet of your dog or cat.
If they have prior experience consuming a variety of homemade foods, whether cooked or raw, the transition is likely to be easier, and they are less likely to experience stomach upset, diarrhoea, or vomiting.
However, if they have been primarily consuming dried food or kibble, the change can have a more significant impact on their system.
We offer and recommend two methods for transitioning to the SARF diet: the “Quick” method, which is generally preferred and easier, and the “Slow” method.
We strongly advise following our guide to facilitate a smooth changeover to the SARF diet. In most cases, we prefer and primarily use the quick changeover method, while the slow changeover procedure is rarely necessary.
Our 8-week program consists of two versions that we guide and recommend you to follow. The first version is designed for dogs aged 3 weeks to 6 months, and the second version is for dogs older than 6 months.
If you’re looking to start your SARF journey today, contact us.
If your dog is suffering with any health issues that you are struggling to understand and deal with at the root, don’t hesitate contact Gareth @ Alpha Canine Health 07908090892 and arrange a consultation.