00:00:33 Glenn:       Welcome back to episode five of Natural Health for People and Pets. Can you believe it's episode five already?  

00:00:39 Narelle:       I know, where's the time going? It's Covid time.  

00:00:42 Glenn:       Well, I'm your host, Glenn Cooke, but to hand you over to the person who has all the technical information, I'm gonna introduce you to the real host of the show. Narelle Cook.  

00:00:52 Narelle:       Hello everyone.  

00:00:53 Glenn:       How are you?  

00:00:53 Narelle:       Good.  

00:00:54 Glenn:       It's kind of weird that I ask that question 'cause we live together.  

00:00:57 Narelle:       I know, but that's okay.  

00:00:58 Glenn:       Everyone needs to know, what are we talking about? 

00:01:01 Narelle:       Today I wanted to talk about the concept of complete and balanced when it comes to pet food.  

00:01:06 Glenn:       Oh, that's a big one.  

00:01:07 Narelle:       You know, a lot of our listeners who are passionate dog owners may already be familiar with some of the concepts that I'll be covering today. But I think it's really important because a lot of pet owners won't know this information, but it's important that they do because the fear of not feeding a product labeled as complete and balanced is a big reason why many pet owners are too afraid to switch to raw, for example. Right. One of the main points I wanna get across today is that just because you're feeding a food labeled as complete and balanced, it doesn't actually guarantee that your dog won't develop health problems due to nutritional deficiencies or excesses  

00:01:45 Glenn:       Shut the barn door.  

00:01:46 Narelle:       Well, that's pretty significant.  

00:01:48 Glenn:       No way. There's no way people would lie about what's on labels and marketing. No way. I don't believe you.  

00:01:58 Narelle:       What we are not covering today is the topic of whether you should or shouldn't feed kibble. That's another whole podcast.  

00:02:04 Glenn:       Oh, yeah.  

00:02:05 Narelle:       Today I am just focusing on the phrase, complete and balanced on your dog food label and whether you really can put as much trust in that term as people tend to do?  

00:02:15 Glenn:       So can you,  

00:02:16 Narelle:       Let's start with what does complete and balanced really mean?  

00:02:19 Glenn:       Yeah, go on. I need to know I'm on the edge of my seat now. I need the answer to this question.

00:02:25 Narelle:       Complete and balanced. When you see that on a dog food label, it means that it should contain a combination of ingredients which provides things like, protein, fat vitamins and minerals at levels needed to prevent most diseases that are caused by nutritional deficiencies. So we can think of them like our human, recommended daily intakes, our human guidelines. And as I've said on previous podcasts, they're there for the most part to prevent disease, not to promote optimal health. But at the end of the day, they're just guidelines and they may not always address factors that affect two nutrient needs. Even if we just think about Ladybug, a dog that's undergone extreme trauma, especially surgery, has a vastly increased nutrient requirement then the average healthy dog.

00:03:18 Glenn:       Or even when she had puppies.  

00:03:20 Narelle:       There are foods that are designed for gestation, lactation which technically should meet those minimum requirements for that period.  

00:03:29 Glenn:      What I found absolutely mind boggling was when you laid out her diet, when she was having puppies and feeding and, and lactating, you were showing me how much she really needs to eat as opposed to what she would be recommended to eat. And it was staggering the amount of food she was putting away. But you said in order for her to sustain all these puppies and maintain good health and pass it on in the milk, and be able to maintain her own wellbeing, there was a lot of food  

00:03:59 Narelle:       That was phenomenal. 

00:04:01 Glenn:       I must say she ate like a rottweiler  

00:04:02 Narelle:       For a 13 kilo, or she probably bulked up to about 14 kilos after pregnancy. For a 14 kilo dog she was consuming more calories per day than I consume on a daily basis.  

00:04:16 Glenn:       But she didn't look fat when she was having it.  

00:04:19 Narelle:       Well she had eight puppies. 

00:04:20 Glenn:       She really needed everything she was getting.  

00:04:22 Narelle:       She needed that energy. Glenn and I were up literally around the clock, every three to four hours trying to get food into her. 

00:04:29 Glenn:       Waking her up and feeding her.  

00:04:31 Narelle:       Waking ourselves up. Not that we slept much for that first little bit. 

00:04:35 Glenn:       No, that was an experience.  

00:04:37 Narelle:       Anyway, better get back to the topic. So the guidelines, they should be considered just one piece of the puzzle of what we feed our dogs. And before I get into the details of how companies can actually go about making that claim on their labels, I thought I'd just touch really briefly on who's behind it. So you've got AAFCO, they're the Association of American Feed Control Officials. They're a private US organisation that establishes non-binding guidelines for the production of pet foods and animal feeds in general, but in the US. Many other countries adopt their guidelines. But again, a lot of people may not realise that AAFCO don't enforce their guidelines, they don't inspect or regulate anything. They don't test and analyse the foods of those companies that claim to meet the AAFCO guidelines.  

00:05:28 Narelle:       They're just basically aiming to minimise the risk of malnutrition in dogs by outlining minimum and some maximum nutrient levels that they know. The problem is, no one, not even AAFCO, really know what the biologically optimum levels of the different nutrients are. So they admit that the guidelines for the most part are just a collection of educated guesses and opinions based on some research and science. But we don't truly know what our dogs need, like what's optimal for our dogs. The other thing is that in Australia, the pet food industry is self-regulated so there's a set of voluntary standards for pet food manufacturing and marketing. While compliance with the Australian standard is encouraged, it's not mandatory. And if there is a problem with a pet food in Australia, there's no one to enforce the recall. So it's up to the goodwill of the manufacturer to recall a problem food.  

00:06:29 Glenn:       Is that a fact? Even now with all the issues that happened with those dogs. 

00:06:32 Narelle:       Well that's my understanding, at least in the US, the FDA I think can enforce recalls, but I don't think we have that same level of regulation. People let me know on the Facebook page if I've got it wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's still the case in Australia. 

00:06:49 Glenn:       There was a brand of dog food, which I won't name. It was under the banner of a company and a brand of dog food that led to a lot of dogs having some sort of trachea issue.  

00:06:59 Narelle:       Megaesophagus.  

00:07:01 Glenn:       Yeah, that's the one. That was terrible and that was linked back to a kibble.  

00:07:05 Narelle:       There's many examples of similar things happening like that for recalls. Now that you bring it up, the one that just really gets me is the fact that the FDA acknowledged that there's pentobarbital in pet food. It's used as a tranquiliser, but also as a euthanasia agent and it came about that vets were complaining that the drug wasn't as effective as it used to be. They thought, well maybe dogs are getting exposed to it at very low levels in the food that they're eating. So the FDA actually did some studies and they came back and they said, yes, there is pentobarbital in pet food, dog food, but the levels are so low that it's unlikely to cause any serious health concerns. I think that's mind blowing. We wouldn't accept that as human beings with our children, we wouldn't say, oh yeah a little bit of pentobarbital in your lunch today, don't worry about that, it's not gonna hurt you. But for dogs apparently it's fine.  

00:08:03 Glenn:       I remember the big one back in the day was that pet foods were using a product called Ethoxyquin in their food. The parts per million for humans were so low of what a safe level was considered safe, but in pet food it was like 10 times that amount and they were saying that's safe for pets. So there was concern. I'm not a scientist, I've never studied it and I was basing it on research that people were putting up on the internet at the time, and this was 30 years ago. But certain dog foods were using a product called Ethoxyquin as a stabiliser, and they said that it was for stabilising things like rubber and all sorts of things like that. So as listed as a product, it's listed as a flat out poison. 

00:08:47 Narelle:       Again, there are actually more examples about that sort of thing still happening. I might have to do a podcast on those sorts of ingredients that are still actually in pet foods. We have gone a bit off topic, but like the melamine recall in 2007, that was found in dog food and human infant foods.  

00:09:09 Glenn:       Infant baby powders. 

00:09:10 Narelle:       At the end of it all, it became mandatory to test for it in infant food, but not in pet foods. 

00:09:17 Glenn:       It’s just double standards.

00:09:19 Narelle:       Yeah I was gonna say it's double standards, but people will be like, oh, you know, they're dogs …

00:09:22 Glenn:       But not to people who own them.  

00:09:24 Narelle:       Yeah, that's right.  

00:09:24 Glenn:       To people who don't understand pet ownership, they're always ones, what are you worried about, it's just a dog.  

00:09:30 Narelle:       I think we're fine, most of our listeners will understand. 

00:09:32 Glenn:       Yeah. The people who are listening to the show are dog related people, they get that. They're all the ones that are insulted by their family going, I dunno what you're crying about, it's just a dog.  

00:09:40 Narelle:       They're the ones that will be as outraged as we are. 

00:09:43 Glenn:       Completely.  

00:09:45 Narelle:       Okay. So back on topic. There are three primary ways that pet food can be labeled as complete and balanced. The first way is if it meets the AAFCO nutrient profiles by formal chemical analysis of the food. The label statement for these foods might say something like, it's formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for maintenance, or for growth, or for gestation, whatever life stage it's targeting. What that means is the food will meet all the minimums set out by the standards and not exceed the maximums. But the issue I have with that is there's only a few maximum levels set for nutrients in dog foods. The key ones are things like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, they've got maximum levels. But I could easily create a toxicity for a dog if I put too much iodine or too much zinc in dog food.

00:10:37 Narelle:       You'd like to think that common sense applies, but technically, as long as they're hitting those minimums and not exceeding those few maximums that are actually set, it's fine. So it tells us that the nutrients are there, it tells us what level the nutrients are at, but it doesn't tell us if the nutrients are bioavailable. And it doesn't tell us if the food is palatable. or digestible, because that's not what they're actually assessing with that method. I actually read online once that you could create a dog food made of cardboard and shoe leather and sump oil and a bit of blood and bone fertiliser, throw in a bit of a vitamin and mineral premix and it'll probably pass with flying colors.  

00:11:19 Glenn:       That's a traumatic thought.  

00:11:22 Narelle:       Because AAFCO doesn't regulate the source of the nutrients in terms of what foods they come from. So, the protein could be from meat or it could be from soy. It could be human grade or it could be rotting roadkill, we just don't know. Which is what happened with that melamine recall back in 2007. Melamine was used as a substitute for protein because when they measure protein, they're not actually measuring the protein, they're measuring nitrogen and melamine.  

00:11:48 Glenn:       So what is melamine?  

00:11:49 Narelle:       It's a nitrogen based compound and it's used to create quite a few products, especially plastic based products. And it was substituted for things like wheat gluten and rice gluten, and a lot of those vegetable proteins to bump up the protein level. So the food looked like it was higher quality with more protein, but it was melamine.  

00:12:08 Glenn:       So it's just used for bulking. 

00:12:09 Narelle:       Yeah, just to make the food look better, and it's probably cheaper. We need to question whether a food that just meets the chemical analysis is actually providing our dogs with excellent nutrition. It really depends on the company that's producing the food and their ethics in terms of the quality. Technically I could eat a synthetically enhanced meal replacement protein bar three times a day for the rest of my life and I'll survive. But that's not my definition of good nutrition. And it just reminds me, I went through a phase where I was addicted to protein bars.  

00:12:57 Narelle:       I was still eating my regular three meals a day. I was having breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but in between every meal and in the evenings, I don't know why, but I was addicted to these bars. They weren't even good quality protein bars. But during that time, I constantly felt like I was nine months pregnant with triplets. I was constipated. But the worst thing is, and Glen can attest to this, and I'm so happy our marriage survived, but I had the most toxic gas you can imagine.  

00:13:27 Glenn:       Yep, I had to come into the room with a canary in a cage and if the canary died, I had to run straight out and that was often the case. Went through a lot of canaries.

00:13:36 Narelle:       I wasn't a naturopath back then. I went and saw my naturopath and she said, you've gotta get off those protein bars. And I did and everything settled down and it's been fine since. 

00:13:44 Glenn:       We'd had to repaint the room, and the kids down the road had deformations and everything. It was terrible.  

00:13:53 Narelle:       Okay, my point is just because something's labeled as food, just because something's labeled as nutritionally complete and balanced for our dogs, it doesn't mean it's good quality. And so many dogs have gastrointestinal issues going on and a lot of diarrhea and stinky gas because of the food they're eating.

00:14:10 Glenn:       Well that makes sense.  

00:14:12 Narelle:       The other thing is the NRC,  they're the National Research Council and they're similar in a way to AAFCO, they're a private nonprofit organisation and they also establish minimum and maintenance nutrient requirements for dogs. But they've actually put a caution statement out about the guidelines, because they acknowledged that in some cases the requirements have been established on the basis of studies in which the nutrients used were like highly purified single nutrients. And they know that in real life, ingredients and their nutrients are impacted by the interactions of all the different dietary constituents. So once something goes through processing or interacts with something else in the food, they say it may not actually be meeting the nutritional needs of our dogs. It's good that they acknowledge that at least batches can vary from one batch to the next.  

00:15:04 Narelle:       In terms of the exact ingredients used, manufacturers aren't actually required to test every batch and they can even change the ingredients on a label. They can change the ingredients without changing the label for up to six months. So again, we don't always know exactly what our dogs are getting. That's the first method of how food can be labeled as complete and balanced. The next one is by passing an AAFCO feeding trial. If a food passes a feeding trial, it will state on the label that it's an animal feeding trial test, using AAFCO procedures and substantiate that this diet provides complete and balanced nutrition for whatever life stage that the dog's in. If a food passes a feeding trial, it doesn't actually matter whether or not it passes the chemical analysis method. People need to keep that in mind.  

00:15:55 Narelle:       And it works the other way around too. A food can pass the chemical analysis, but fail at a feeding trial and still be nutritionally adequate. That'll make a bit more sense when I talk about the feeding trial. So just because food passes a feeding trial, because it doesn't have to show in black and white that all those minimums are met and the maximums aren't exceeded, it could be deficient or it could be excessive in certain nutrients. That's not what they're looking at in the feeding trial. Really acute, serious deficiencies in excesses will generally become apparent, but that's generally not the problem. You know, over the lifetime of a dog, it's normally those suboptimal below range or above range, that's going to generally cause more problems over time. To give an example, if we look at an adult maintenance diet, the protocol for that requires a minimum of eight healthy dogs over a year of age. So for those who understand statistics or clinical trials, eight dogs isn't really a significant number and what's worse is that a maximum of two dogs, so technically 25% of the study population can actually drop out of the trial for a variety of reasons and it doesn't impact the trial going ahead. 

00:17:10 Glenn:       So down to six dogs now.  

00:17:12 Narelle:       Yeah, so if we think about that, six dogs completing a feeding trial, and the maintenance trial goes for 26 weeks. This is a food that could potentially be fed to millions of dogs around the world for generations and only six dogs are required to prove that it's a suitable food. That concerns me a little bit with the protocol. 

00:17:35 Glenn:       Absolutely. 

00:17:38 Narelle:       And the other thing is, the authorities think that 26 weeks is enough time to see any major red flags come up with the food. It ensures that it's actually edible, it's palatable to the dogs, things like that. So the dogs obviously only eat that food for the 26 weeks, they have access to water. At the beginning and at the end of the trial period they get physical exams by a vet. They have some blood tests taken, but the protocol only requires four blood markers to be assessed and their hemoglobin, paxil volume, alkaline phosphatase and albumin. But if our dogs had a health problem, or if we were concerned about our dogs and we wanted to get a checkup at our vets, most vets would do a full blood chemistry panel, a complete blood count. They would check the urine, they would check the stools, but none of that's compulsory with a feeding trial. So there's so much information that just isn't looked at.  

00:18:35 Glenn:       So basically what you're saying without saying it, is that the bare minimum is done just to make sure it gets to market.  

00:18:41 Narelle:       The bare minimum is done to make sure the dogs don't die and the food gets to market. Companies can choose to go above and beyond the minimum standards set out in the protocol.  

00:18:52 Glenn:       And do they?  

00:18:53 Narelle:       Well, that's the thing. Looking at the label, there is no way to know whether some companies have done, and I can't remember the names to give examples off the top of my head, but some companies have done 10 year feeding trials, basically with dogs in homes on their foods to prove their adequacy and their health.  

00:19:12 Glenn:       Well that's substantial.  

00:19:14 Narelle:       But if you look at the label, it will say exactly the same wording as for a brand that had six dogs for 26 weeks and did the bare minimum. That's a shame for those companies that do go above and beyond on their packet, as we can't see the difference. But you know, that's generally where their website will probably be promoting all of the extra stuff they do.  

00:19:35 Glenn:       And the average pet owner wouldn't be educated to look for any of this either. I mean, all they're looking for is a product that they feel is safe. They're trusting the brand, not the ingredients. They're trusting what they pick up off the shelf, and what looks nice and if the colors are appealing, and the puppies on the front look cute. And the reason I know this is because I've asked people, why'd you buy that food? 

00:19:59 Narelle:       Yeah. I've read somewhere that companies probably spend more on the labeling and the packaging than the food itself, 'cause that's what draws people in. 

00:20:08 Glenn:       Of course it is. 

00:20:11 Narelle:       People love the pretty pictures, and that's what my point is about today. Just because a food says, complete and balanced it doesn't mean it's gonna give your dog what it needs. It could certainly create problems for your dog. The other thing with the feeding trial is because there's so much they don't test at the beginning, in terms of blood tests. Let's say a dog's got particularly high stores of vitamin A in its body prior to starting the test and then it's fed a food that's suboptimal in vitamin A and then it gets to the end of the 26 weeks, but there's no sign of deficiency because it just happened to have super awesome stores of vitamin A, so you've got through that period no problem. But another dog over a five year period, or whatever time period, might develop signs of vitamin A deficiency because their stores are lower to begin with. There's all these little bits and pieces that aren't factored in. That's the first and the second method. You've got your chemical analysis, then you've got your feeding trial and in an ideal world, a company would do both. They would do the feeding trial to prove that it's palatable, and then they would do the chemical analysis to prove that it meets the minimums and doesn't exceed the maximums.  

00:21:19 Glenn:       I guess that was a question I was gonna ask you: if you were in control, if you were the person who got to make the decision on it, what would you do?  

00:21:25 Narelle:       What would I look for or what would I …? 

00:21:27 Glenn:       Well you are saying that some of these people have minimum standards that are quite low, there's a minimum to their minimum standard. What would you do as an expert in health and nutrition? What would you recommend is the minimum standard?  

00:21:41 Narelle:       Welolo in terms of the guidelines that exist, I think definitely doing both the feeding trial and the chemical analysis, but then my whole personal opinion is just to avoid kibble altogether.  

00:21:51 Glenn:       Okay. 

00:21:52 Narelle:       And I guess I'm focusing more on kibble today, but there are commercial raw food brands that are starting to do feeding trials to get that complete and balance claim on their label because it has such a powerful effect on dog owners, because they just don't feel like they're doing the right thing by their dog if the food doesn't have that claim on it, even though I'm highlighting all the holes in the complete and balanced argument. Raw food companies have been forced to go in that direction now, just to give people peace of mind. The third way is the weakest of the three. If a product resembles a product that's passed a feeding trial, it's called the family designation, and Company X might have put product Y through a feeding trial and it passed, and this other product in their range is close enough nutritionally to their lead product that passed the feeding trial, it can have that claim. It's worded differently. It's gonna be worded along the lines of Diet X provides complete and balanced nutrition and is comparable in nutritional adequacy to product Y, that sort of thing. But it can get that complete and balanced claim without passing a feeding trial and without having a chemical analysis.  

00:23:08 Glenn:       It's almost like a grandfather clause.  

00:23:10 Narelle:       Well if we think about it, we've just said a product that passes the AAFCO feeding trial may not be hitting the minimums and it could even potentially have excessive levels of nutrients, so just because a product is similar to a product that passes a feeding trial, it could also be deficient and have excesses that we don't want. We don't really know what we're getting with those family designations. They've set guidelines with regard to the ballpark values that it needs to be in terms of the lead product re energy and protein and calcium and a few things, but it's not identical. So it's gonna vary nutritionally, but we don't know because it hasn't been tested. That's a red flag for me too. As I mentioned, the recalls of pet foods due to nutrients don't happen a lot, but they do happen and they're the exception to the rule.  

00:24:06 Narelle:       My concern is more about those suboptimal levels, they're so subtle. The signs and symptoms that develop over years and we don't realise that our dogs are suffering. But in terms of recalls, just back in 2018, there was a massive recall of pet food due to vitamin D toxicity. There have been multiple recalls over the years due to thiamine deficiency, and thiamine is vitamin B1. This is interesting because there was a paper in 2017 and they actually looked specifically at thiamine deficiency and they said that even with the complete and balanced claim, the risk for deficiency still exists because it's such a fragile vitamin. It breaks down really easily with processing, and even in this paper, they acknowledged that a lot of companies will compensate for this by adding in excess levels of thymine before processing.  

00:24:59 Narelle:       But they went on to say that with all their testing and all their analysis, a lot of those foods still didn't contain adequate levels. So again, we just don't really know what's in the foods that we are giving our dogs. There was also a case of kibble being recalled due to excess methionine. Methionine is an amino acid that comes from protein, and people might think, well, how do you even get a toxicity from an amino acid? But this is what happens with commercial pet foods. They isolate nutrients and put them back in, and so things can easily go wrong when you're just dealing with individual nutrients rather than nutrients in whole foods, that balance each other out and have checks and balances. We also need to consider, particularly with kibble, the effect of storage.  

00:25:48 Narelle:       When people buy kibble, and this is more so for kibble buyers than raw food feeders, because when I feed raw, I know I've got a very limited window of the number of days within which I need to feed that food before it goes off. It's really obvious if it goes rank. But with kibble we have a mindset that the kibble can just sit there in the bag indefinitely and we don't think too much about it. But as soon as you open that kibble bag, the nutrients start to break down as soon as heat, and particularly oxygen gets to that food, you're gonna start to lose nutrition. So you feel that buying bulk bags is more economical.  

00:26:32 Narelle:       The worst thing you can actually do is tip that food out of its pre-packaged bag into a bin of some form, a lot of people do that. A lot of businesses, like kennels, will do that, a lot of private people because it's just easier to scoop out of a bin. But the company's actually put a lot of resources into designing the bags, and the inside of the bags to prevent oxidation, because that's the enemy of food and they want it to last on the shelf a few years, or a couple of years at least. But as soon as you get home and you open that bag, your food is degrading and that can lead to all sorts of problems, not just nutrient deficiencies.  

00:27:08 Glenn:       So your best advice is buy a suitable bag of food if you've got one dog, and rather than buy an enormous bag of food that's gonna sit there for months, buy a smaller bag of food.   

00:27:19 Narelle:       Yep, go through it more quickly. And I do that sometimes I'm like, oh, I could get this cheaper if I bought … 

00:27:25 Glenn:       A giant bag.  

00:27:27 Narelle:       Yeah, not that I'm buying kibble, but even some of the air dried, or freeze dried products, I've still got that mentality, don't buy the biggest bag, buy the smaller bags and go through it. And Steve Brown, a lot of people may have heard of him. He's like the godfather of raw food feeding, he was like the original man that created the movement. 

00:27:48 Glenn:       I thought it was Dr. Ian Billinghurst.  

00:27:50 Narelle:       Look, I don't know the timeline exactly off the top of my head for when each of them came on the scene. 

00:27:55 Glenn:       Ian Billinghurst started at around 28 years ago. ‘Give Your Dog a Bone’ that was the book that he put out.  

00:28:01 Narelle:       I've got in my head, Steve Brown was about 30 years ago. So maybe it was a similar timeframe.  

00:28:16 Narelle:       What I was gonna say is that Steve Brown quite strongly states that once you open a kibble bag, it should be used within two to three weeks max. How many people could honestly say that they use a bag of kibble within two to three weeks.  

00:28:29 Glenn:       Only people who have got multiple dogs or very hungry dogs.

00:28:31 Narelle:       Well then, those people tend to buy bigger bags and they sit there for longer and the fats go rancid.  

00:28:38 Glenn:       People wouldn't think of that. It's not listed anywhere, it doesn't say it on the bag. There's no caution or instruction that that's going to happen. So unless you know, you don’t know.  

00:28:47 Narelle:       That's right. And you know, the worst place you could store kibble if you're feeding it, is in environments that are variable in their temperature like an outdoor garage or shed, which is a terrible place because it gets really super hot. The cold's not a problem so much, but heat is just gonna destroy your food, and then it's like an anti health food then because it's actually probably doing more damage to your dog by feeding rancid fats, for example. Anyway, that's a bit off topic to the complete and balanced. But even though I'm not greatly impressed by the guidelines, if I'm creating recipes for my dogs, or for clients' dogs, I still do use the guidelines because even though they're not perfect, in my mind, some guidance is better than no guidance at all.  

00:29:31 Narelle:       And at least if I can meet those guidelines, I can be a little bit confident that no major nutrient deficiency and disease is gonna come up for that dog. And I often hear the argument that human diets and human recipes aren't formulated to be complete and balanced for every meal that we eat and that's true. But you know, we are in control of what we put into our mouths and I don't know anyone who has picked one meal that they're eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day for year after year after year. We just don't do that. 

00:30:04 Glenn:       No, that's right. We have variation and we eat three times a day where we're getting dogs to usually eat once,  

00:30:09 Narelle:       Yeah, once or twice a day, but often it's the same food over and over. And you know, my little soapbox rant is always that as a population, we are doing terribly nutritionally. And you know, the surveys are showing that children as young as two years of age are showing nutritional inadequacies due to poor diets.  So I guess my take home message for today is whatever you're feeding your dog, whether it's kibble, whether it's raw, you need to rotate your food. You need to feed variety, you need to change up your brands. You need to change up the flavours within the brands., because most people who feed kibble, they find a kibble that doesn't give their dog diarrhea, doesn't give their dog stinky gas, you know? The dog likes to eat it and they just stick with it, and it could be 10 years that that dog gets that food. Raw feeders, you know, have similar habits, because we're all creatures of habit. Again, they'll find a set of ingredients, they'll find a couple of recipes perhaps, that agree with their dog that doesn't give their dog diarrhea. The ingredients are easy to buy from their local butcher or supermarket, but anything else is sort of a bit more challenging.  

00:31:15 Narelle:       So they can't be bothered, or it's too much effort. But it's really, really important that we give our dogs as much variety as possible to avoid the likelihood of nutritional deficiencies or excesses occurring. Because if you feed one food exclusively year after year and that food happened to have passed a feeding trial, but wasn't meeting the minimum standards for some nutrients, you're doing your dog an injustice and similarly, that food could be too high in things, which is gonna cause problems as well. So take home message, rotate your foods.  

00:31:49 Glenn:       Okay, that's food for thought.  

00:31:51 Narelle:       Food for thought, so I think we'll leave it there for today, but if anyone's got any questions, they can post them on my Facebook page, Natural Health for People and Pets. You can also check out my website, naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au. I'd love to hear back from you about complete and balanced dog food. 

00:32:08 Glenn:       Powerful topic.  

00:32:09 Narelle:       Food for thought.

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