Flax... this tiny little seed is jam-packed with controversy in the pet nutrition world. Flax is heavily marketed as a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids; which it is for humans. However, there is mixed research as to whether or not dog's can convert the Omega-3 fats in flax to EPA and DHA (the usable Omega-3 fatty acids for canines). This is where flax's bad reputation stems from, and there is some truth to it: flax is not a great choice for adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your canine's diet.
Now that we've addressed the negative, let's look at some of the other aspects of flax and the main reason why we love it. Although flax contains protein, B vitamins and other dietary minerals, we use it in our GreenSea+ daily supplement as an excellent source of fiber.
Fiber is something that should not be overlooked, especially in a raw diet; depending on how your dog processes natural foods, not all raw diets will contain enough.
We definitely do not view a small amount of flax in a canine diet as a 'filler,' and encourage it as a great supplement, as long as your canine is not relying on it for valuable Omega-3 fatty acids.
Food for Thought:
Looking to add some Omega 3s to your canine's diet? Salmon oil or ground chia are excellent sources.
Spirulina has become increasingly popular in human diets over the past 10 years, but did you know it’s origins date back as far as the 16th century? It’s thought that the Aztecs in Mexico dried spirulina into patties which then they used for the base of broths for cooking. Although it may seem like a new trend, the benefits of spirulina have been widely explored for centuries. And since dogs historically ate scraps, perhaps it’s not such a new trend for canines either.
Spirulina is currently the single most complete source of essential nutrients on the planet. It contains over 60% protein, a high concentration of beta-carotene, vitamin B12, iron and fatty acids.
Although spirulina is a powerhouse of nutrients, it’s exceptional value comes from it’s uniqueness. Spirulina contains certain phytonutrients which only occur in blue-green algae - and these phytonutrients are typically completely absent from a canine diet.
Some of the benefits of spirulinas unique phytonutrients include:
Stimulate antibody growth
Enhance immune system
Promote cellular health
Cleanse environmental toxins
Reduce risk of stroke
Reduce allergies, by reducing inflammation
Reduce kidney toxicity
Promote gastrointestinal health, improve digestion and bowel function
Suppress E.Coli, yeast and other harmful bacteria
Reduce risk of cancer
Interested in adding spirulina to your dogs diet? Check out our GreenSea+ daily supplement for a truly unique blend promoting overall health and vitality for all canines.
Food for Thought: The blue pigment phycocyanin, found in spirulina, is a protein which has actually been shown to inhibit cancer colony formation.
I try not to make a habit of comparing our products to others, but the science behind what we do and why is actually super cool and since I really want to talk about that, it's important I at least touch on the differences between dogs fed kibble and raw diets.
The not so fun part of my research was realizing how damaging kibble actually can be on a dog. It doesn't stop at low quality ingredients, a dog who regularly consumes a kibble diet actually undergoes an invisible physiological change. Their stomach acid gradually changes from it's natural ph of 2 or lower (very acidic) to a ph of 4 or higher (much more alkaline), this can introduce a whole series of future problems for the dog.
This physiological change can be reversed if a raw diet is introduced. For a successful transition, it's essential to make the switch gradually (see our free ebook for tips on transitioning to raw).
Instead of comparing a raw and kibble diet, we need to focus on the actual dogs eating the different diets, since a pet's nutrition actually alters the functionality of certain organs.
Food for Thought:
If a raw fed dog and kibble fed dog were to ingest exactly the same thing (no matter what is was) the raw fed dog would absorb more nutrients, process it faster, and be at a much lower risk of illness.
Trendy marketing terms and claims are becoming increasingly prevalent in the pet food industry. With pet food packaging regularly making unfounded claims, and misrepresenting ingredients it can be impossible to find the truth. As a company, one of our core values is to be as transparent as possible. We are real, honest and in-touch with our customers - because your pets are the reason we do what we do.
Industry standards allow companies to use 'pre-processed' data when calculating percentages of ingredients. For example, before cooking, meat may make up 60% of the food, and for simplicity let's say grain makes up the remaining 40%. This looks like a 3:2 ratio of meat to grain - however, meat looses approximately 3/4 of it's weight when cooked and grain only loses approximately 1/5. The resulting product is actually closer to 1:2 meat to grain ratio - it's shocking that this can be advertised as 'at least 60% meat,' when the final product actually has double the amount of grain to meat.
Another key strategy companies use when listing their ingredients is breaking certain items down into the smallest components possible. What I mean by this is, again, meat could be listed as the first ingredient if the product has a higher percentage of meat than any other item. Where this becomes misleading is when ingredients, such a rice, get further broken down into different types of rice. This can move the item further down the list, as each type, for example, could be 10%, instead of the combined 20%.
The reason I am bringing this up, is that I want to assure you - Raw Feeding Victoria does not do this! We back up our claims 100%. Not only do we use natural ingredients intended for human consumption, all our raw blends also Maximize Nutrient Absorption, and I am absolutely dying to explain how.
Food for Thought:
When the term "with added vitamins and minerals," is used on pet food packaging, it actually means there are not enough naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in that product to meet minimum requirements - and synthetic alternatives have been added. More on this topic coming soon.