Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

The Facts About Pet Foods

Oct 04, 2020 04:25PM ● By Dianne Wagman
For people and their furry companions to live a healthy, vibrant, youthful and clean life, good, wholesome, organic, raw foods are of the utmost importance. With living in a fast-food, nutrient-poor society, there is more focus on taste, feeling full and the quickness of grabbing a meal when in a hurry, rather than preparing a good wholesome healthy meal at home.

The same is true for our pets. We run to the grocery store and grab a bag of cheap food because we don’t have time to prepare a healthier meal for them. However, we must bear in mind that “life-surviving” or “life-sustaining” is very different from “life-thriving” with wholesome, nutrient-dense, fresh foods. To better understand, we need to take a closer look at how “life sustaining” dog food, otherwise known as “kibble”, came about.

The first dry, “life-sustaining” dog biscuit was developed in 1860 by James Spratt, an electrician that noticed soldiers giving dogs their inexpensive crackers that were used by sailors in need of long lasting, imperishable food during lengthy sea journeys. Mr. Spratt developed a “life-sustaining” dog biscuit to sell to well-to-do country men in the UK. Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes contained a mix of blended wheat, vegetables, beetroot and “the dried, unsalted, gelatinous parts of Prairie Beef”. (Interestingly enough, Spratt remained tight-lipped about his biscuits’ specific meat source throughout his lifetime). 

General Mills later acquired Spratt’s U.S. business in the 1950s, and The Ralston Purina Company began experimenting with the machines they were using for their Chex breakfast cereal to create a more palatable dog food. The first dry “kibble” was created in 1956 for a simple way to feed pets.

Since then, and with more manufacturing companies needing to continually reduce expenses, the ingredients have remained life-surviving instead of life-thriving. Dogs and cats may be able to live off high carbohydrate foods with sprayed on nutrients. But they can’t really thrive on a food that is highly processed and nutrient deficient. Pets will start showing the signs related to the stress of being nutrient-starved or malnourished, such as allergies from itching, scratching, bald spots, hot spots, yeast infections, ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, (UTIs) and more.

The most beneficial food for dogs and cats includes an evolutionary, natural and species-appropriate diet, also known as Bones and Raw Food Diet (BARF). The BARF Diet, written by Dr. Ian Billingshurst, explains how the BARF program is not revolutionary, but evolutionary, because it is based on the diet that animals have eaten for millions of years. BARF is actually the return to the biologically appropriate method of feeding that was abandoned 60 to 70 years ago when processed pet foods took over more traditional methods.

Our pets’ bodies malfunction without the food of their wild ancestors. When our pets were forced to abandon their evolutionary diet and were switched to processed pet food, instead of undergoing instant adaptation, they suffered biological damage and bodily breakdown on an enormous scale. This continues today. Our pets’ basic physiology cannot be changed by a few decades of eating processed food. Such a rapid change is a biological impossibility.

By eating a complete and balanced BARF diet, pets can return to brilliant health, and the need for constant veterinary intervention declines. The benefits of BARF include increased energy levels, lean body mass and resistance to internal and external parasites; the disappearance of many dental problems, problems relating to body systems and disease, which applies to forms of cancer; infected ears become healthy again; the immune system strengthens; water balance improves; orthopedic conditions in young dogs disappear; and behavior improves.


Achieving a balanced diet over many meals is the way animals have been eating for millions of years. With nutritionally satisfying, wholesome, organic raw foods, we can turn back the clock in our pet’s physiology to give them optimal health, healthy longevity and a joyful life.

Dianne Wagman, VT, CMG, aPHR, is president and CEO of Hounds N Herbs, LLC, located at 101 E. Broad St., in Dallastown. She specializes in animal nutrition and an all-natural, organic wholistic approach to pet health and vitality. For more information, call 717-804-9111, email [email protected] or visit