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Not Fit for a Dog! The Truth about Manufactured Dog and Cat Food
Quill Driver Books; $25

The past decade has seen a steady increase in the number of pet nutrition books on the market, all geared toward helping people learn more about commercial diets, natural feeding and how to provide optimal nutrition for our companion animals. One of these offerings, Not Fit for a Dog!, written by three distinguished veterinarians, takes this literature to a new level. A thoughtful look at the larger problem of food sourcing and safety, it offers plainspoken advice on how to address the challenge of feeding our dogs (and cats) well.

 

Not Fit for a Dog! covers a lot of territory, including a review of commercial pet food ingredients, with a focus on what to watch out for; a detailed exposé of the 2007 pet food recalls; problems with prescription diets and why they may not be optimal solutions; and an important overview of chemicals in the environment — toxins that infiltrate not only pet foods, but our foods as well. The authors also take an in-depth look at genetically modified foods and their potential problems. Throughout, two overarching points are made and reinforced: that our own and our companion animals’ myriad health problems are largely preventable through diet, and that problems with food safety are universal. These are points that cannot be made too loudly or too often.

 

And herein lies the strength of the book: It links multiple topics in ways that shed new light on the subject of companion-animal health. For those new to holism, this book provides an overview of several key issues as well as strategies for challenging the existing paradigm by patronizing local farmers’ markets, growing one’s own food, buying organic products, minimizing toxin exposure in the home and seeking holistic veterinary care. Recipes are included, with supplement and substitution suggestions to help provide nutrient balance as well as fresh, palatable ingredients. Though I would like to have seen more resources for consumer education in canine nutrition — a list of books, sites and tools for furthering owner knowledge and fluency in canine diet would have been helpful — it represents an impressive effort.

 

In his introduction, veterinarian Richard Allport writes, “If I was able, I would lock every veterinary student and practicing veterinarian in a room with a copy of this book and not let them out until they had read it from cover to cover.” As a canine nutritionist who deals every day with health problems related to poor diet, I would take this a step further and say that I’d like to lock all dog owners in a room until they’ve read this book. Knowledge is indeed power, and this book is a powerful and important resource.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 60: Jun/Jul/Aug 2010
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Submitted by Anonymous | December 12 2012 |

The book has been quite a disappointment to me. A good part of it is nothing more than repeating all things bad about pesticides, herbicides, and artificial preservatives, but one will not find any data linking a particular ingredient to a specific disease or disorder that has been supported by sound research. Although there is solid evidence coming from human studies, the authors chose to remain as vague as possible, leaving it to readers to fill in the gaps. The book has not been thoroughly proofed: according to the authors citric acid is same as vitamin C. On several occasions, the reader will have trouble following the authors' logic and feel confused. What surprised me most is that the authors find it acceptable to support their claims using the information from websites, such as dogster.com that promotes so-called designer breeds and BYBs.

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