An edited transcript is provided below:
Today, we are going to go back to talking about food. I know it’s like every other blog that I do is talking about diets, but there’s always so many questions about it and there’s also so much marketing that is being put out there to try to get to your precious dollar for food that it tends to be a hot topic. These companies are all trying to out-compete each other. So understandably, it’s the Wild West with diets and trying to get you to feed whatever the newest trend is with food.
I’m going to talk about one of those trends, today, and a specific company called Just Food For Dogs, because this is something I’m getting a lot of questions about and the marketing is a little extreme, I think. Just Food For Dogs, if you don’t know, it’s a fresh pet food company, it’s not extruded kibble. I have no problem with them and what they’re trying to do. I think that, theoretically, it’s a good concept. Fresh cooking, made daily with human-grade ingredients. That’s fine. If you want to feed that, great. The thing I want to talk about, though, is, is it better? And they really are aggressive with their marketing, trying to make you believe, just like very other company, that they have all the answers and everybody else is wrong.
I want to talk about the one aspect of it which is some marketing material they were handing out to other veterinarians at a recent conference they were at and can be found on their website. Their concept is that their food is proven healthy and that it boosts cells of the immune system. So, the marketing claim is that if you feed this diet, your dog’s immune system is going to be so robust and healthier than any of these other sucker dogs on kibble. That’s what I take issue with. And what I want to show you, why the fact that they are even claiming this, is probably not very good, because the study is a little embarrassing, actually.
First let’s discuss the claim “proven healthy”. Now one of the things that the reason why they’re able to claim that is because they are doing actual feeding trials with their diet, which I really encourage and I think it’s great. They’re not formulating the diet based on a recipe, they’re actually putting these dogs through feeding trials where they’re taking that diet, giving it to the dogs for a year and then doing tests on them afterwards. That’s the gold standard to determine if this diet safe and healthy Companies like Purina and Hill’s have been doing that for years, and that’s great. The fact that this company is doing that, I give them a big A+ for, nice job on that.
Then the other marketing part that comes out – boosts the immune system. So this is a study that they use to justify their claim and it’s just one little page talking about how it boosts their immune system. I think very few people actually read the study and that’s why they feel comfortable putting it out there, but we do, because that’s what we like to do in our free time. The study actually showed that there was an increase in white blood cells on these dogs being fed this diet. Now, white blood cells are your immune system, they are your immune cells, but there’s certain white blood cells that have certain effects. And the two types of white blood cells that were elevated in this study, were the granulocytes. Granulocytes are neutrophils and eosinophils. Neutrophils are what make up pus. So when you have a lot of pus, that’s all neutrophils. Those cells increased when dogs are being fed this diet. The other type of cell is the eosinophil and that gets elevated when you have things like parasites or allergies, and that white blood cell also increased. So the two white blood cells that increased are your pus white blood cell and your allergy white blood cell. That’s not a good thing if you’re trying to say that this diet is healthier. It means it’s creating more inflammation in the body than actually boosting the immune system. So it’s boosting your immune system, just the bad type of immune cell, right? So, that wasn’t very good. Plus, one of the kidney values elevated, the creatinine, which maybe that’s due to just increased muscling, possibly, but it’s also, maybe it’s doing some damage to the kidney. They didn’t do the follow-up it needed to really figure out why that increased. So, also, not a good thing. The third thing was the other immune system indicator we have, are globulins. Globulins also increased. Maybe that’s because the immune system is healthier or maybe, again, that’s due to just inflammation, the body is reacting to it.
Now, these findings are probably not significant, probably not a big deal, but the fact that they’re claiming that it made them healthier, based on this result, is really a tough stretch. And, likely, if they were to do more studies it would show that it’s not creating inflammation. But what we have right now, is showing that this actually might not be a healthy diet. And so, Just Food for Dogs, you should probably, kind of tone-down on bringing up the study again, because it’s kind of embarrassing. Like stop talking about it, make it go away. Probably would be better than really kind of holding that up as truth, “That we are a better diet.”
So, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. There are just these outrageous marketing claims that can be way over-the-top. When you do see something on the internet that you think might be suspect, come in, talk to us, let’s break it down. I can give you the facts, and the science behind it, and whether or not there is any facts or science behind it. That’s where we really can come together and I can help dispel these myths, in person. Go to our website. You can find all of our information there, plus a lot of other interesting blogs on these topics that we like to break down, and try to dispel the myths, and give you actual, real information on the health of your pet. I’m Dr. Brian Evans, hope to see you again soon.