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Philosophy Of Healthy Dog Food

In today’s modern world, many people have lost touch with what ‘real’ food is and how important it is to health and wellbeing. This applies equally to us and our dogs. It is a sad reality that humans are the only species on the planet that has lost the ability to feed themselves healthily (Bill Tara, Eating As If All Life Matters), but what may be even sadder is that humans make all the decisions on behalf of their dogs, including what and when they eat.

By making the best informed food choices for our dogs, not only can we be helping them live a long and healthy life, but we are also helping the planet and the other species that are currently needed to feed our dogs. Modern-day marketing has been very successful in helping humans lose all track of what real food is, and this is reflected by the escalation of chronic health issues in humans, which is now alas mirrored in our canine friends. At ROCKETO we are here to help educate and inform, share and learn, so that you can make the best food choices possible for your pets. We do the research for you.

Feed a species appropriate diet, in as natural (unprocessed and un-contaminated) a form possible, whilst respecting animal welfare in the supply chain and the sustainability needs of the planet.

Some of the challenges facing our dogs today include:

  • 🟡 Our dogs no longer live in the wild. They live in the ‘modern’ world, domesticated by humans who make all their decisions for them. Many dogs now live in environments that bear no resemblance to their natural habitat, and are exposed to many stresses, toxins and foods that put extra pressure on their bodies;
  • 🟡 Today’s food chain is often depleted in key nutrients, vitamins and minerals, due to decades of intensive and chemically driven agriculture. Even though we only use organic and wild harvested ingredients in Rocketo food, much of the food that our dogs have been exposed to, and indeed also many current foods, are lacking many of the vitamins and minerals in the required levels that our dogs need to thrive. In a domesticated environment it is virtually impossible to recreate a wild diet, hence we need to add extra at times, to make up for deficiencies, or where dogs have extra support requirements due to specific health or environmental challenges;
  • 🟡 In the wild, if a dog gets old it will die if it can’t hunt and keep up with the pack. In addition, dogs are allowed to move like dogs and keep themselves very fit through daily hunting and roaming, etc. They eat when they can, and are not overfed with processed food that can put stress on their organs such as their pancreas. They are not exposed daily to a multitude of chemical toxins in their food and environment, the list goes on. At Rocketo we recognize that if we want our dogs to thrive in a human environment, many need extra support. We also recognize that as owners we are not perfect and that sometimes we make decisions that later we learn from, if and when our dogs develop problems. Our supplements, therefore, fill this gap.
  • 🟡 In the wild there is much scientific evidence to show that dogs, and all wild animals, supplement their main diet with medicinal herbs, clays, algae etc. as and when needed. As generally, our dogs do not have access to this diversity in their human environment, we need to bring this nature to them. This is what we aim to do in the Rocketo food (and supplements).

The philosophy behind our food is simple – as nature intended. So what would a dog eat in the wild, and how do we need to adapt this to take into account the modern challenges faced by dogs in a human environment?

A dog’s wild diet

There is a lot of controversy at present about whether a wolf’s diet should be taken as a healthy model for our domesticated dogs. That is the beauty of science – we are always learning, and beliefs shift as new evidence is understood.

Here is a brief summary of the latest research relating to feeding our dogs like wolves:

  • 🟡 Wolves have only one pair of genes for amylase whereas dogs have many. Why is this significant? Amylase is an enzyme that enables the breakdown of starch in foods,. Humans contain amylase in their saliva, but dogs saliva does not. Dogs do excrete amylase from their pancreas, allowing for the digestion of starches in the gut. It is thought this is because dogs have eaten a mix of raw and cooked food scraps for the last 11,000-130,000 years. However – even though a dog’s gut may be able to break down and absorb some starch, their jaw, mouth, saliva and other body parts are not specialised for starch consumption, indicating a limited ability to cope with ‘human’ starchy foods.
  • 🟡 Dogs that evolved with farming communities, as with their human counterparts, have a higher amylase producing capacity (a human example is that European and Asian humans have a higher amylase producing capacity than Africans due to the foods available to them).
  • 🟡 A wild dog is physiologically and metabolically evolved to eat small game such as rodents, birds and rabbits, or to hunt in packs to catch larger prey like deer or boar. They can also successfully scavenge carrion, wild fruits, grasses, and seeds.

Common sense dictates that a wild dog can’t cook for itself! Only those dogs living in captivity would be exposed to cooked food, or those scavenging from human food waste.

A Modern Way Of Natural Food

When designing a food range that is safe to be used, if needed, on a continual basis, we have taken great care to ensure that the ingredients chosen are safe for this purpose. Our recipes aim to balance what would be a natural prey for dogs, and also how and when dogs would eat.

Human grade ingredients are important, as we all know that many pet foods are full of inferior quality ‘meat waste products’ . However, the issue with ‘human grade’ food can be that dogs need (to thrive) certain body parts that are typically not used in the human food chain – this includes all the organs and would ideally include the gut. We therefore ensure that in our recipes, the right body parts are used to provide the particular nutritional balance. This includes, where appropriate, heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys. Unfortunately food licencing regulations do not allow the gut to be used.

We also like to add ground bones which are not always available. We refuse to use bone-meal from different species. Our fish-based recipes include finely ground bones. We are working on getting bones for our wild-game-based recipes. Until then, we balance our calcium content with algae produced organic calcium carbonate.

Raw food maintains all its nutrients. Many nutrients are lost during cooking and extrusion, especially the high temperature cooking in all kibble and canned food production. In addition, cooking and processing destroy the enzymes present and can affect the structure of the amino acids, which are so vital to a dog’s health.

If you want more information on how kibble is manufactured you will find a great explanation in this article:

No Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals

Rocketo is one of the few ‘complete’ (FEDIAF Compliant) foods on the market that only uses 100% naturally occurring ingredients. We do not use any ‘man-made’ or synthetic vitamins and minerals in our products. Many companies do, and this can have a significant impact on your dog’s health, especially when fed long term. When synthetic vitamins and minerals are used, often the body does not recognise them as ‘the real’ thing. So, on paper, they look good, but in practice, they are not, because they are often not recognized by the body as ‘real’ vitamins and minerals can cause more stress on the body than good when ingested, and they can be difficult to digest and assimilate. Rocketo only uses whole (not isolated) real ingredients, and exceeds the FEDIAF requirements by doing this. This is very unusual.

Like all animals, dogs have evolved to eat ‘real foods’ produced by nature, not made in a lab. In addition, many synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements contain harmful fillers, binders and preservatives which can do far more damage than good! It is really difficult to tell from the packaging if you are buying synthetic vitamins and minerals, so establishing a trusted list of suppliers is key. One way to check is that the ingredient list will not include ‘vitamins and minerals’, or a ‘pre-mix’, and the ingredients should only list real whole food ingredients.

Alas, there have been lawsuits affecting the pet food industry that has been caused by synthetic vitamin and mineral mixes causing harm, and in some cases death, so these should be avoided at all costs. Using organic, or wild-sourced, free from pesticides and herbicides, also has a great effect on the quality, and impact in the body, of the ingredients, used. Any time the body sees a man-made substance, whether it be a chemical used in food production or a chemical substitute for the food, the body triggers a response to eliminate that substance. Obviously, we want dogs to absorb the required nutrients from the food, so keeping all the ingredients in a natural, unpolluted form, is crucial. This is what we achieve.

As the name suggests, whole food vitamins and minerals are derived and made from whole foods & herbs. In this form, the dog’s body can see for what it is – food. Therefore, the body is able to properly digest, assimilate, and use the nutrients for the body’s good. When your body consumes any whole food, the body recognises it as ‘food’ and therefore knows exactly how and where to use it! When vitamins are synthetic they’ve been isolated from the food source thereby eliminating the vital information needed by the body to recognize, and hence be able to use it. This means the body is able to use very little of the already compromised nutrients in the supplement. So even if you are faithfully giving a ‘fully balanced’ food to your dog, if it contains synthetic ingredients, your dog may not be getting very much nutrition at all.

It’s About What’s Missing and What’s Added

Whole Food Vitamins from natural sources offer:

  • Uncompromised essential nutrients – no heating above 40 degrees means no vital compounds are altered or destroyed in any way.
  • No toxins formed because there is no heating or alteration of food structure.
  • Important enzymes remain intact to aid in the digestion and assimilation process
  • Choosing a whole food/herb supplement instead of a synthetic supplement is like eating raw, whole food as opposed to a highly processed one.

What you want to avoid is important as well. Be sure your whole food multivitamin doesn’t contain any of the following:

  • Artificial Colours
  • Preservatives
  • Fillers and Binders
  • Allergens such as dairy, gluten, and soy

So, we use 100% natural ingredients – no synthetics, no additives. Just as nature intended.


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