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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I found this on the DOG FOOD PROJECT site. Whats the truth, guys? Some here walk a very fine line on these issues....

All commercial dog foods are bad
A very general statement with little credibility and even less proven facts to back it up. Anyone who puts even just a little time into research will see that the quality of products varies just as much as the ethics and philosophies of the manufacturers who make them. It is true that there are foods of good, average and downright bad quality, but there are companies who take great care in choosing the ingredients for their food.

A dog's digestive system is not able to fully digest and utilize grains
This one at least has some truth to it. Compared to herbivores a dog's digestive tract is much less specialized for digesting grains, or carbohydrates in general for that matter - especially in their raw, unprocessed form. However, dogs are not true carnivores but opportunistic feeders and can digest and utilize the starch from grains in dog food that has been converted by the cooking process. Digestibility depends on quality and type of grain used: rice (72%) is for example more digestible than wheat (60%) or corn (54%). Dogs can absorb the digestible carbohydrates from rice almost entirely, of the other grains about 20% are not absorbed. Indigestible fiber from grains contribute to intestinal health.

A dog can only truly be healthy if you feed a raw diet
This is another claim never backed up by scientific proof. Any animal can only be healthy if its diet supplies all essential nutrients in sufficient quantities. If even just one of them is missing or not present in at least the minimum required quantity, the animal will start showing signs of malnutrition, eventually become sick and die. Some deficiencies don't take very long to become apparent, others develop over a long time before the critical state of health becomes obvious and some diseases are even caused by excessive intake instead of deficiency. The key to a healthy dog is not either raw or processed food, but an overall diet that meets the individual requirements of the dog in question.

Dogs are carnivores
All scientific evidence points towards the fact that dogs, while not true carnivores, are opportunistic, carnivorous scavengers. Cats on the other hand are true, obligate carnivores, requiring animal protein to survive. There is a difference between a carnivorous scavenger and an omnivore though - dogs lack the dental characteristics, longer digestive tract and specific enzymes of true omnivores like humans. That is the reason why they can not digest grains and vegetables unless they are "predigested" by processing, mincing/grinding, breakdown by enzymes, or fermentation through bacteria. Once converted, they are fully available to the dog.

This does, however, not mean that your dog will thrive on a diet mainly made up of poor quality grains or grain fragments, which is what most cheap foods are. Whole grains, including their entire complement of nutrients are much more valuable - and this does not only apply for a dog's diet, but for humans as well!
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