Among the many unfounded rumors floating around the raw feeding community is the one claiming that adding fruits and vegetables to the diets of dogs causes skin issues, notably yeast.
If a dog’s itchiness seems to ramp up after a meal that includes fruits and vegetables, there’s a reason, but the foods themselves are not to blame. The problem is in how they are combined.
Food Combining 101
Typically, dog owners do not feed plant foods alone, they feed them in the same meal with meat. This is a mistake, because dogs have a single chambered stomach in which to digest food. Therefore, they cannot simultaneously create an alkaline environment for the break down of carbs and an acidic one that is required to break down proteins. Since acid and alkaline neutralize each other, the result of the combining of these two types of food is that more of the food will not be digested and will instead become waste. This is important because when wastes overwhelm the primary organs of elimination, the body sends them out via other avenues, namely skin, ears and eyes.
FAT is the culprit, NOT sugar
The other factor that complicates the body’s ability to make use of simple sugars is fat in the bloodstream. Fat is what causes insulin resistance and other blood sugar issues in humans, and it makes sense that this is true for dogs as well, given the unnaturally high percentage of animal fat in their diets, whether they are commercially or home fed. That’s because the animals we are feeding them are extremely high in fat, having been deliberately fattened by producers. These animal foods are quite different from the foods that dogs evolved eating, which were (and still are) extremely lean in comparison. Insulin unlocks the door of the cell to allow sugar inside to be utilized, and fat inhibits this process. (Here is a great video that explains how FAT is the real cause of insulin resistance.) So sugars can build up in the bloodstream just like they do in humans, and create a food supply for yeast. This often leads to diagnoses that pin the blame on yeast, but …
Once again, microorganisms are innocent scapegoats
Unused sugars in the bloodstream and other wastes represent an appealing food supply to yeasts, bacteria and other microorganisms that feed on morbid matter. Microorganisms are NOT to blame, however. As I said in my last blog article about ear issues, they are nature’s clean-up crew, sent from within the body to do your dog the favor of consuming the excess wastes that would otherwise quickly accumulate to life-threatening levels.
People often not only feed plant and meat foods together, they put in all kinds of other crap that complicates digestion, such as coconut, krill and cannabis oils. This causes the body to have an even more difficult time because oil coats the food and makes it harder to digest, creating an even greater likelihood that the food will become waste instead of nourishment. If part of this mess consists of fruits or vegetable matter, the wastes will be the kind that are appealing to yeasts. This is, after all, their food supply.
Human health issues have similar causes
You might be thinking, humans also have a single-chambered stomach in which to digest foods. Does this combining business apply to us as well? It may seem crazy to think that two micronutrients that we civilized humans LOVE to combine, like protein and starch, could be responsible for health issues when they are combined. But if you’ve ever tried the misguided Paleo or Keto diets and experienced health improvements, it wasn’t because you suddenly developed the faculties of a carnivore or omnivore (you are neither), it’s largely because these diets involve either eating proteins and starches separately, or excluding the latter altogether. Starch is closer to ideal for humans than meat, but it’s the combination of the two that is the real digestive disaster. Paleo and Keto type diets can only take a person so far health-wise, however, since they only represent a slight improvement over the truly self-destructive way that most people eat. The same can be said for the dog versions of these diets, which I will discuss in a future blog article. The bottom line is that food combining does apply to humans as well as dogs, and lots of people have been experiencing health improvements just by observing these few simple rules and nothing more. Until now, however, nobody’s been paying any attention to the consequences that develop from mixing lots of foods together when feeding dogs.
The wild model
Plants are secondary foods for dogs. You may have noticed that when your dog isn’t hungry, s/he won’t eat plant foods. That’s because the only time in their biological history that a dog would have had occasion to eat plant foods is when prey foods were not available and the stomach was empty. A dog with a belly full of meat would have no reason or desire to eat secondary foods. And dogs have had no opportunities to combine the two macronutrients, either. Although wild dogs likely DO eat stomach contents of small prey like birds and rodents when doing so cannot be avoided, they have been observed by researchers shaking loose the contents of large prey before eating the stomach itself. So even veggies and fruits that are pureed or otherwise prepared to closely resemble “pre-digested” plant fare can cause problems when they are combined with meat in the same meal.
Problems begin in middle age for dogs, too
It is also the case that young dogs can get away with being fed these mis-combined meals for a good long time before problems crop up. Young dogs have a much greater capacity for eliminating wastes than older dogs, and middle age is when wastes tend to pile up faster than they can be eliminated. When the body deems it necessary to send them out via other routes like skin and ears, owners typically seek out blind alleys like allergy testing and remediation, rather than just trying things like feeding plant foods separately from protein foods, making sure their dogs’ meals are uncomplicated, not feeding oils, and feeding less fat. That’s mainly because dog owners have been brainwashed to do what is best for industry, and industry makes NO MONEY when people figure out problems on their own. The information that I share here on this website, for example, is unfamiliar to most people because it makes nobody any money.
Personally, I have a lot of anecdotal experience with dogs getting well, even from severe skin issues, when plant foods are INCLUDED in the diet. The key is to feed plant foods separately from meat and, better yet, on separate days. This serves a two-fold purpose: It allows digestive rest between meat meals and prevents overfeeding of the fatty products of modern animal agriculture, which is responsible for a lot of health issues, including most skin and ear conditions. This is all explained in my $20 book.