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Back to Basics with Dr. Billinghurst

Several years ago, as Highmeadow Farm began producing its first fresh food for dogs, I had the pleasure of listening to an interview of Dr. Ian Billinghurst during the Healthy Happy Dog Summit.

Dr. Billinghurst is the founder of raw feeding for dogs and cats, and has been using his common sense fresh food formula for over 40 years, for the ultimate health of his own dogs and the health of his lucky patients. He created BARF, "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food", has written several books on the topic, and is the creator of our original NAPA FRESH formula, the formula we follow precisely to this day. We have used these recipes exclusively on our own long-lived, healthy dogs for the past six years. Our giant breed dogs, Russian Wolfhounds, are now living longer than they have ever lived before, without cancer, heart disease, or any other major illness, not withstanding an occasional case of Lyme Disease, and we have owned this breed for 38 years. We now know it's because of the food.

During the interview, Dr. Billinghurst shared his discovery that the dogs that were consuming the diet he fed his own dogs, fresh-killed rabbit for example, and the dogs that were fed other fresh raw foods like the farmers were feeding their working dogs in Australia, were far healthier than the dogs he was treating in his practice that were fed "fake industrial food", i.e. dry food, kibble, or prepared, canned food; the convenience foods most pet owners feed their dogs because they think they are doing the right thing. His veterinary practice was fully supported financially as the years went on by the poor dogs who were fed a steady diet of fake food, and surprisingly, it still is. For many other veterinarians today this is also the case.

Something is very wrong with this picture.

Most dog owners have no experience or memory of feeding their dogs anything but fake industrial food, those convenient dry bits that come in a beautifully-designed bag or can that we see advertised on TV repeatedly, and don't know that they even have a choice. We are all so very influenced by the media, our culture, and by our own veterinarians who also believe that fake food is the best food. After all, if the students in vet school get any nutritional training at all, it is by the industrial pet food manufacturers like Hills or Purina. Ask your own vet. We were fooled for over 30 years ourselves, driving many miles every month to buy what was advertised as the "best" dry food, the "healthiest" dry food, etc. etc. while we witnessed almost all of them, at some point in their lives, even as early as 7, suffer with some form cancer.

Did you know that some of the Big Pet Food manufacturers even pay a vet student's tuition if they commit to represent them during their career? Or train and pay the salaries of technicians to travel the country to teach other technicians about nutrition, and the so-called benefits of a particular dry food? These nice folks are trained carefully to convince the world that dogs are OK being fed feed grade processed garbage, that over time harms their health.

The pet food industry is a financial mammoth because they have found an easy way to "make silk from a sow's ear". They control our thinking, our buying choices, even our veterinarians.

The good news is that there are more and more educated dog moms and dads whose common sense is so strong that they are no longer fooled. Their dogs are becoming healthier, brighter, happier as a result. Some conditions and illnesses have completely disappeared simply by changing their dog's diet. Imagine that - fewer trips to the vet, fewer prescription medications, and best of all, great, yummy food that their dog gobbles up happily at meal time.

So, what's the "beef" with feeding a diet comprised of fresh raw food including bones? Dr. B says it's the three "B's", bones, bugs, and balance.

Next week I will address the three "B's" in detail.

Do you have comments or questions? Call, email or text me -; 508-451-4519.

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