Newman: Well, thanks for having me today, Mike.
Mike: You are the founder of the Azmira Holistic Animal Care product line. You also run a pet care clinic, correct?
Newman: Well, it's not a veterinary clinic. What I have is two retail stores, and my retail staff goes through a correspondence course that I put together so they're fully trained in providing the holistic animal care lifestyle.
Mike: So, your staff can offer pet lifestyle consultations?
Newman: What they do is educate pet owners, and what we also have is a direct phone line people can use. If they call 520-886-1727, they can get educated on their animal's specific needs. We're not a clinic that diagnoses; we're not there to prescribe medications. We do know a great deal of alternative care methods that can be applied to animals and can help reverse disease or prevent symptoms from occurring.
Mike: This is really interesting. I want to get back to this. First, can you give a description of what is wrong with the pet food that is out there right now? Why are we seeing such an epidemic of diabetes in dogs and cats, for example? What's going on out there?
Newman: Well, it is really scary. What we've seen is the lowering of the quality of the food and the addition of many chemical byproducts to cheapen the foods. So, you provide a food to a pet that has no nutritional value. It is pretty, it has different colors in it, it has different shapes in it, and that is all to appeal to the owner. Give your dog gravy bits, doesn't that sound good? Unfortunately, the gravy bits often are killers hidden in a bunch of brown gunk.
Mike: It's processed food just like we see in the human supply.
Newman: It's even worse processed food than what we see in the human supply, because, guess what? Animals can't lobby for themselves like humans can.
Mike: That's right. What else is in there that would shock people?
Newman: What about euthanized dogs and cats? We know this from a San Francisco Chronicle investigative report, which followed euthanized dogs and cats from clinics directly to the rendering plants and directly to the pet food industry.
Mike: Okay, so just as a reality check to people listening, you're saying that when dogs and cats are put to sleep, some of those end up in the pet food supply?
Newman: That's right, because they are "protein." They are animal meat, and the way that they show up on the labels is as animal meat or animal meat byproducts.
Mike: Is this allowed by regulators?
Newman: It is not only allowed by regulators, it is actually encouraged by regulators. If we were to look at the AFCO handbook, which is the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and we were to take a look under protein, for instance, we would also see recycled shoe leather. Now Mike, I'm going to ask you, would you sit down and feed your family recycled shoe leather for dinner? It's a protein Mike, come on. Do you think you want to try and assimilate that as a protein? Not only that but feathers, hooves, hides and horns? These are all sources of protein -- 100 percent protein. My fingernails are 100 percent protein, but my doctor sure wouldn't want me to eat my fingernails and try to survive on that, would he?
Mike: So, without naming brand names, how prevalent are these kinds of ingredients in the popular supply of pet food?
Newman: I would say approximately 60 percent of the pet food that you can get at the grocery store has some sort of animal meat by-product in it.
Newman: Now, that's not necessarily a euthanized dog or cat. It could be road kill, or it could be swamp rats. Nutria is a swamp rat that grows in Louisiana. It is all around and can be easily hunted, or gathered, if you will. They go right into the pet food ingredients as protein.
Mike: Is there something wrong with swamp rats? I don't know. It doesn't sound appetizing.
Newman: I don't think the meat is all that bad, but they grind up the entire rat. You have the disease that occurs in the swamp rats. You have the handling method. They kill these swamp rats and put them in storage, which is just a container sitting on a shore. How long do the swamp rats last out of refrigeration?
So, now you have rancid, putrefying meat. We know that rancid, putrefying meat is perfectly okay in your pet's food because AFCO says you can use dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals. Now, here is where it gets really tricky on a bag food label. A lot of "natural companies" love to say that their meat is inspected by the USDA. They never say that is has been approved, do they? It's only if it's inspected and approved that it is of human quality. But they use the word "inspected." You'll find it splashed all over USDA inspected meats. Well Mike, all meat is inspected.
Mike: It can be inspected and come back with a failing grade.
Newman: Exactly. And that is the grade that goes right into the pet industry.
Mike: People who are not familiar with this information will be surprised. Some people will say this can't possibly be true.
Newman: Well, if you're not outraged, you can't know what's going on. It's the bottom line. I was a consultant for many, many years, where I would refer people to other pet foods and other pet products. I started to have a problem with the consistency and the quality of the pet food. I finally got so disgusted that I decided one day to make my own pet food, because when you're consulting, your reputation means a lot to you -- at least it did for me. My goal was to get the animals healthy. I couldn't believe that I was referring different herbs and homeopathic remedies that I knew should be working, and they didn't work. When I dug a little deeper, I found out that pets would have it on a chemical-based, putrefied meat-based diet. So, it didn't matter what the homeopathic remedy or herbal remedies were. They were fighting this putrefied diet.
Mike: Sure, because if you're going to poison your pet with these pet foods...
Newman: That's exactly what we're doing: Poisoning our pets. Ethoxiquin is a common stabilizer in pet food. It is a rubber and lethal herbicide. It is two chemical compositions away from Agent Orange. So, it does the same thing Agent Orange does when you spray it on the plants. It dries up the root system of the plants and the plants die. When you put it in rubber, it stops the moisture molecules from breaking down, so the rubber is stabilized. Now, it doesn't know the difference between a moisture prohibitive in the food or a moisture prohibitive in the digestive tract.
Mike: So, you're dehydrating your dog.
Newman: Right. So, when you're dehydrating the digestive tract, all that old, rancid fecal material hardens in the digestive tract and actually creates a barrier to assimilating nutrients into the blood stream.
Mike: Wow, so not only is the dog malnourished, its whole digestive tract is cancer-causing.
Newman: Exactly. That is why we have seen such an increase of dog cancer. Now, you mentioned diabetes. Another reason for diabetes is that you don't maintain proper blood sugar. Then you put on top of that all the sweet treats. Do you know that most of the pet foods at the grocery store are sweetened to some degree?
Mike: I've seen these ingredients, like corn syrup.
Newman: Yes, corn syrup and actual sugar is listed on the label. I couldn't believe it.
Mike: Why does your dog need sugar? Amazing...
Newman: He doesn't need sugar. He wants a good-tasting, highly palatable food that tastes like meat. That is what he's looking for.
Mike: There was a popular brand treat I bought at a big pet store. I'm not going to mention the name, but I bought this to do an article on it. The ingredients blew me away. Not only was there sugar, it had propylene glycol and artificial colors. Basically, artificial colors and white flour with no nutrition were shaped into a dog treat with sweeteners and propylene glycol.
Newman: Yes. Propylene glycol is a plasticizer that maintains the moisture in the product. And so it gives it that chewiness. That is why they use that. It is also a preservative.
Mike: Isn't that the same thing they use to winterize RVs?
Newman: Yes it is. And it's very similar to antifreeze. Antifreeze has that sweetened taste to it, and that is why animals will die from it. They will lick up puddles of it off the ground, and then they will go into kidney failure. Kidney disease is the third-highest ranked disease in pets today. Is it any wonder that pets have kidney disease when people put salt and propylene glycol in their products?
Mike: Here is, I think, a really important point: Isn't it true that when you feed a human being processed food and chemical ingredients, there is a certain metabolic timeline? In a pet, it is accelerated. In a pet, the damage is happening much faster than in a human being. Is that true?
Newman: Yes it is. The way animals metabolize different chemicals is different than how we do. They're not as good at processing them as we are. There are a lot of different things, like chocolate, with dogs. They can't digest chocolate, especially dark chocolate. This can send them into kidney failure. Cats can't handle white willow bark, which is the basis for aspirin. You would think that it is a very safe ingredient, yet it sends them into kidney failure, too.
Mike: There is one more ingredient that I would like to ask you about, and then I would like to ask you what's in your food. I see a whole lot of white rice out there. It is the number one ingredient in some of these brands. Isn't this contributing to diabetes?
Newman: Absolutely. It interferes with the glycemic index. Now, I don't mention other brands of food -- that puts them down because I make my food better. I feel my food is so good that I don't need to use negative marketing. However, I will share this with you -- because it has been publicized -- that IAMS performed a study on white rice. They found that it caused diabetes in dogs. But IAMS still uses white rice as its number one grain. This gives you an indication as to how this industry is thinking. This industry could care less about the health of your pet. This industry cares that white rice is the cheapest grain you can buy.
Mike: It takes up a lot of space in the can.
Newman: Yes, it takes up a lot of space in the can. It takes up a lot of calories in the bag, if you will. These were empty calories, so they went to brown rice. Brown rice is a little bit better, but if it's not whole grain brown rice, you are still dealing with just the flour. That is what most of the companies are doing. They are putting flour in their food. It can look like they are doing a little bit better, but it is still not whole grain. That is another thing people don't realize on their label. If it is whole ground grain, then it should say whole ground grain on the bag. If it just says brown rice, white rice or corn, then it's just the flour out of it. It is the by-product. If it is really bad and has just bits and pieces in it, then it will say brown rice bits. You are getting the bottom of it. You are getting the sweepings.
This interview continues in part 2 (published tomorrow), where Dr. Lisa Newman reveals the health-enhancing ingredients found in the Azmira Holistic Animal Care product line.
Dr. Lisa Newman's pet care product line (Azmira) is available online through these websites:
CarefreePet.com (search for "Azmira")
PurelyPets.com (Azmira supplements and remedies)
A complete list of U.S. and international distributors, including Canada, is found at http://www.azmira.com/Retailers.htm
More information on the Azmira product line, including supplements and remedies for pets, is published at http://www.azmira.com/Products.htm
Dr. Lisa Newman's pet health consultation clinic can be reached at 520-886-1727.