What's the Healthiest All-Natural Diet for Your Dog?
The humor columnist Dave Barry once described the dog's dietary philosophy: "If it falls on the ground, eat it. You can always throw it up later."
That dogs are omnivores is no secret. It does seem sometimes as if dogs have no limits on what they'll put in their mouths; most dog owners have had the experience of trying to keep their pet from consuming something absolutely gross. But your pet does need to eat well, and there's no shortage of products on the shelves promising to keep him in glowing good health, make his coat shine and extend his lifespan.
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There's also no shortage of advice on how to feed your dog for good health, and some of it is daunting. Should you cook your pet's food instead of buying a commercial food? Should you feed your pet raw foods? What about organic? Dogs Naturally magazine even provides a list of superfoods it says no dog should be without—raw eggs, organ meats, coconut oil, green tripe, milk thistle. The magazine advocates these foods as things that can give a dog a little extra nutrition boost.
Holistic health counselor Barbara Laino is one of those who promotes making your own dog food, preferably organic. She told The Bark in a feature How and Why to Cook Your Dog's Food, "Organic is a great thing, along with grass-fed meat, which is even better than organic. Most premium dog food is not certified organic and, considering how expensive [those foods] are, it’s actually cheaper to buy organic ingredients and make your own dog food. With chicken, it’s even more important to buy organic to avoid the genetically modified soy that makes up the bulk of non-organic chicken feed. However, if you can only afford to buy non-organic ingredients, it’s still much better to make your own food."
If that's too much for you,there are plenty of products out there that promise they're healthy and "all-natural." As with people foods, "all-natural" has no particular meaning; it just sounds good. You'll want to give the ingredients a close reading. Artificial coloring might make a food look more appealing to an owner but dogs don't care. Meat, meat meal and meat byproducts should be top ingredients. Keep in mind that while "byproducts" might sound alarming, it means the animal parts you wouldn't necessarily eat but that aren't bad for your dog.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims they're safe, many pet owners prefer to buy a food that doesn't contain synthetic preservatives like BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin that extend a food's shelf life for long periods of time. The latter, made by Monsanto, has a possible link to liver disease, allergies and other canine health issues, and it is banned in Australia and the EU but not in the U.S.
“There is a debate about whether there is a need to avoid artificial ingredients like these, as conventional safety testing says they’re fine,” says veterinary nutritionist Susan Wynn. “I wouldn’t want them in my diet every day though, and I try to avoid them in my dog’s daily diet.”
Some foods have natural preservatives such as vitamins C and E or herbal extracts, or you can simply buy food in quantities you know your dog will quickly consume.
What about that trendy raw diet? Some pet specialists insist this is the best diet because it's closest to what dogs consumed in the wild, a sort of Paleo diet for canines. Others say it's expensive, unnecessary and even risky for today's housepet. It involves feeding only raw meats, bones, fruits and vegetables. Working dogs such as sled dogs have long been fed such a diet but exactly how beneficial this is to the average pet is an open question. There are risks that the mix of food it's getting isn't nutritionally appropriate, but there are commercial raw food blends available that help eliminate this problem.
A doggy diet that's even more controversial is the vegetarian diet. While some insist that such a diet is desirable and there are vegetarian dog foods on the market, it's perhaps the most difficult to maintain and requires close supervision to make sure the dog is getting the nutrients it needs.
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By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
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As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
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