This week, I was thrilled to dive into a groundbreaking research article led by researchers from Oklahoma State University and the University of Florida. This study compares kibble diets and raw food diets in pets, focusing on detailed markers like microbiome composition, serum metabolites, and inflammatory markers. The findings? Remarkably, dogs on raw food diets showed significantly higher fecal anti-inflammatory markers, hinting at improved gastrointestinal homeostasis, immune function, and digestibility. 🐾

Mindblowing, right? Despite their cautious conclusions, the researchers clearly highlighted these benefits.

🎉 This is an exciting leap forward, as it represents the first article of its kind from a reputable academic institution. It finally examines what many of us have observed clinically in pets on diets outside of traditional kibble.

Reflecting on my days as a vet student—many moons ago—we had big-name kibble companies visiting us, offering free food for our dogs. As poor students, this was a welcome gesture, and these brands became the ones we knew best. Our curriculum included a nutrition course and a senior year rotation, but it barely scratched the surface of what nutrition can truly be for animals. Most of our training focused on the role of different nutrients in the body, rather than the types of food and the choices we can advocate for our pets. During my clinical rotation, we did learn about customizing fresh food diets, which was thrilling, but fresh food approaches weren’t widely recommended due to concerns about balance when prepared at home.

Think about it—if you ate the same food every meal, every day, you’d need to ensure it was nutritionally complete. But how boring would that be? As humans, we balance our diets with variety. Perhaps it’s time to rethink our approach to pet food too. The notion of feeding pets the same thing every day emerged around the same time as the commercial pet food industry. It makes sense commercially, but there wasn’t much incentive to explore other options.

Years ago, I had an enlightening conversation with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist who was a strong advocate for kibble diets. I loved that she was open-minded and non-defensive about exploring other options. Her main concern about alternative diets was the lack of research documenting their benefits. The holistic community has faced stigma due to the scarcity of research backing our approaches. Acupuncture, for example, was once dismissed as “voodoo medicine” until research began to validate its effects. It’s challenging to secure funding for holistic modalities, as they typically aren’t backed by large companies with deep pockets. Research, alas, costs a lot of money.

The good news? We now live in a world where we can share our experiences openly and connect globally. Ideas that make sense gain traction. This research article is a significant step toward other food choices being taken more seriously.

I’m not here to tell you that raw food is best. Nutrition should be tailored to each individual pet. Raw foods come with their own risks and benefits. No matter the choice, every option has its pros and cons. The key is finding what makes sense for you, your pet, and your lifestyle. Always consult a qualified professional to make the best decision for your furry friend. 🩷

p.s. here is the link to the research article.

In good health, wishing you a beautiful weekend, 
💜, Dr. Lily Chen 

Starlight Stories

Hello Bright Spirits! 🦄✨

It’s Starlight here, whisking in with some delightful news! Introducing Good Paws Treats – crafted with love and without gluten, grains, corn, wheat, or soy. 🍪🐾

Not just for furry friends, these treats are so safe and tasty that even humans, like you and me, can enjoy them. They’re non-GMO, human-grade, and stay fresh for a whole year.

Swing by and get your bag of these magical treats! Perfect for sharing, they’re sure to bring smiles and wagging tails.

Sparkles and nibbles,
Starlight 🌟🦄