More on Sojos Home Made Style Dog Food

More on Sojos Home Made Style Dog Food

What do you really know about the dangers of processed foods? We hear a lot about the dangers of junk food for humans, and yet many pet owners continue to feed their pets a steady diet of junk – read: processed commercial pet foods.  What dogs really need is natural dog food, and you won’t find it on your supermarket shelves.

Sojos Home Made Style Dog Food

Here’s a really interesting article which has been written by one of my former readers, Bob Willhite, who also had a website about holistic health – for both humans and companion animals, although he seems to have discontinued the site currently.  He’s another advocate of natural dog food (like me!), and particularly likes Sojos dog food and Wysong dog food (also like me).

Sojos Home Made Style Dog Food … and/or … Wysong Dog Food?

Here’s the article:

Processed Foods Are Poisoning Our Pets

by Bob Willhite, A.M.P. 2004

Holistic veterinarians are stating that America’s pets are increasingly becoming diseased and are needlessly dying for the same reason as humans: processed and preserved foods.

Veterinarian Don Hamilton clarifies that most commercial pet foods contain large quantities of rancid animal products. The meat used is usually from animals that died before reaching the processing plant and may have been diseased. The animals used are ground up with added preservatives, artificial colors, and “fillers” before the blend is processed into nuggets or cans. “These pet foods provide physical nutrients, but do not nourish the life force of the body & Rancid products lead to gastrointestinal illness in dogs and cats.” (Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs, 1999). Also it’s likely that hydrogenated or other low quality and unhealthy oils are used. Like humans, pets may be tempted to go for artificial taste instead of wholesome nutrition. Or, Dr. Hamilton notes they may submit out of hunger and eat foods that are not good for them.

Another veterinarian, Randy Wysong, notes that, “A pet’s body is very adaptable and for a time can survive on whatever food is provided. But with typical processed and rancid foods, the body will ultimately be stressed beyond its limits. Loss of vitality will eventually result, followed by degeneration and ultimately disease. The consequences are so far removed from the earlier years of inappropriate foods that few make the connection in understanding the problem” (The Truth About Pet Foods, 2002). High-heat cooking and food preserving have sadly misled us down a path of illness.

This is not newly-found wisdom. Dr. Francis Pottenger’s nutrition studies in the 1930’s using cats had groups receive the same basic diet: meat, milk and fish oil. One group received raw meat and raw milk, while others received cooked meat and pasteurized (high heat) milk. Cats feeding on all raw ingredients flourished, while those offered a cooked diet became weak and malnourished. Also, diseases with the cooked groups intensified with each generation, thus revealing a genetic effect. Skeletal, metabolic, reproductive, behavioral and dental problems escalated over time in the processed food groups, but were absent in the animals fed raw, whole foods (Dr. Francis Pottenger’s).

Sojos Home Made Style Dog FoodWysong ArchetypeDr. Wysong says, “Most pet nutritionists ignore the perfect model, which is nature itself. You simply must supplement raw, fresh, natural foods to the diet of your pet if you are hoping to achieve its optimal health.” Try a dry, ready-mix called Sojos (by Sojourner Farms) for dogs or cats to which you simply add fresh, raw meat, raw bones and ideally some raw veggies. It takes only a couple of minutes a day. Working with your local butcher, you can add chicken necks and wings, animal organs and meat scraps; or buy meats as they’re discounted to sell before the expiration date on the package. Organic meats are best, for you and your pets.

If you do not want to use raw foods, at least use Wysong’s canned food that’s as close to the natural diet as modern processing can mimic. It contains only the freshest of meats and organ ingredients with cold or low heat processing to maintain the food’s vitality. Only natural and beneficial compounds are used for preservatives. Dr. Wysong says, “Take control by being informed- and seek advice from those who have grown in their understanding of nutritional prevention.” Health begins with knowledge. Order from InBliss the Sojos, or Wysong products at a discount, which can be shipped to your home.

Note: Bob Willhite is an Alternative Medical Practitioner that is Board Certified through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. In his interaction with his wife’s business, InBliss, they facilitate wellness through education and holistic products (Idaho Statute, Title 54-2104 [f]).
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Well, what do you know, … Bob recommends Sojos as well!

As you know, I’ve been talking about Sojos for a while as one of the very best alternatives for healthy petfood. It’s on my list of the best dog foods ranked.

For more info, don’t forget you can check it out at www.HealthyHappyDogs.com/Sojos – it’s well worth it!

You can order it directly online. Now that’s convenience for you!

Bob also mentions Wysongs canned dog food in his article – this is another very good dog food product – other types of Wysong foods are on my best dog foods ranked list, but I personally don’t favor canned dog food. But Wysongs is certainly one of the better canned dog food varieties, if your preference is for canned food for any reason.

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9 thoughts on “More on Sojos Home Made Style Dog Food

  1. Liz Tufte

    Brigitte,

    I really appreciate the great info you share, and your perspective on dog health. I’m glad you’re getting this out there — more people need to understand this stuff.

    A suggestion: when you publish a guest article on your blog, please include a link to their site. There is no reason to protect yourself from people leaving your site to learn more about a subject or another person’s work. You would be providing a much-needed service to your readers.

    You introduce Bob Wilhite as “one of your readers,” and mention that he has a website, but don’t provide a link. This is just plain irritating and doesn’t fit in with the values of the Web 2.0 content-sharing community. If you would easily let us visit his site, it would lend credibility to the article, and to your relationship with him.

    I’m trying to find Bob online, but he isn’t popping up in the searches. Could you please provide a link to his site?

    Thanks.

    Liz

  2. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I actually always provide links to the sites of other authors – including the link to your site that you have included in your comment.

    There may also be some internal linking within the article if there is other related information on this site, or links out to useful products, etc.

    With Bill Willhite, the above author, I have not included a link to his site, because unfortunately he does not seem to have a site any longer. He used to have a very interesting site, called InBliss, and he and I exchanged emails occasionally.

    But Bill’s site has been taken down, and my several attempts to contact him after I noticed this, went unanswered. I also searched for him in Google to see whether I could locate him, but I couldn’t. I didn’t try the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, of which he is/was a member – perhaps they would be able to give you some contact details.

    Regards,
    Brigitte

  3. Gwyn

    Just F.Y.I. I noticed in the latest Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Magazine, (JAVMA, Vol 234. No. 8 April 15, 2009) an article and case study involved SOJOS brand dog food. The study revealed clinical findings that this food is grossly nutritionally imbalanced, and induced severe metabolic, orthopedic, and neurologic abnormalities in a growing Sheltie. In layman’s terms, he grew with bone deformities, which resulted in a fracture, had neck pain, collapsed, and was unable to rise, had rickets from lack of Vitamin D, and problems with his thyroid. BE VERY CAREFUL FEEDING THIS FOOD !!!
    Do your homework and learn all you can about feeding naturally. This dog’s diet was “imbalanced in macronutirents and macrominerals.”
    That’s why it’s called a science. Perhaps that is why Bob has discontinued his site currently……

  4. Brigitte Smith

    Gwyn,

    I hardly think that’s why Bob would have discontinued his site!?! Bob’s site was not only about Sojos food!

    As for the study on Sojos food, I was very surprised to see that myself, and emailed Ward Johnson, the developer of Sojos food.

    Here is his response:

    “Hello Brigitte

    The article you mention was very confusing for us. First off, it refers to our food as a “muesli” and “organic” so it was our assumption that Monzies Organic Muesli was the product in question. Later they said that it was “Sojos European Style Dog and Cat Food Mix” which was also confusing because we don’t have a food that is for cats AND dogs. We attempted to get the specific numbers of the nutritional analysis that they said in the article was independently collected. The authors responded that they never did such a test and that the numbers were given to them by us. When we expressed that the numbers in the article don’t match our numbers that we would have sent out, they responded that they indeed did have an independent test done, but they would not send us a copy of the results. With all of this in mind, we were very skeptical of the article, and we submitted a letter to the editor, which was published in the following issue of the JAVMA journal:

    Regarding the article “Diffuse osteopenia and myelopathy in a puppy fed a diet composed of an organic premix and raw ground beef”, we would like the opportunity to defend our reputation, based on 25 years of exemplary results..

    Our time-tested pet food pre-mixes have been around since 1985 with a track record of consistently fantastic results. We have a loyal network of vets and breeders across the country that use and recommend our foods – there are tens of thousands of dogs using our foods. In all of that time that our foods have been around, this is the first time it has been suggested a link between any of our foods and any malnutrition cases like this. While our hearts go out to the dog and owner alike, we respectfully disagree that our food was the cause of this ailment. At the same time we don’t want to minimize the severity of the situation, and as a precautionary measure we have again sent our foods in for independent chemical analysis to confirm our previous results.

    It should be noted that we at Sojourner Farms believe variety is an essential part of a healthy diet, and thus strongly encourage pet owners to add veggies and other healthy foods to our mixes, in addition to meat. Though we’re confident in the nutritional adequacy of our mixes, we believe that using only a chemical analysis to determine a food’s nutritional adequacy ignores crucial information on the biological availability and digestibility of a food. Digestive enzymes found in fresh food enhance biological availability, whereas extreme heat (common to the preparation of commercial pet foods) leads to the depletion of enzymes and, therefore, depressed levels of digestible energy. As a result we believe that all of our foods are more than adequate nutritionally.

    In addition, nutrition experts have long advised against replacing all nutritious foods in the diet with synthetic supplements because supplements do not contain all of the known and unknown nutritional benefits of nutritious foods.

    Our foods have been tested for nutritional content and they are all formulated to have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.4:1. I am perplexed by the numbers published in this article. The only explanation that I can think of is that only a small sample was tested and not an entire bag. Our foods are not homogenous kibble. Finer ingredients, namely powders (like calcium carbonate and nutrient-rich kelp), settle toward the bottom of the bag. Thus, unless an entire bag of food was tested, the full spectrum of the ingredients would not be represented and thus the results would not be accurate.

    Ward Johnson, President, Sojourner Farms

  5. David Geiger

    I am a co-author of the article and clinical case report mentioned here. An abstract of the publication can be viewed at http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.234.8.1041 The sick puppy described in the report was under my care through her illness and recovery. I am disappointed that Mr. Johnson has not been more forthcoming with accurate information about his products, either in 2006 when we first attempted to alert him to the serious calcium imbalance in his diet, or when we later published our findings in an international medical journal in an attempt to bring this information to light.

    When the puppy was critically ill in our hospital, we strongly suspected that metabolic bone disease from calcium deficiency was to blame. While waiting for the results of specialized metabolic testing, we attempted to confirm our hypothesis by contacting Sojourner Farms, so that we might be certain how best to treat the puppy as soon as possible. To our surprise, Sojos refused to provide us with nutritional content information, and insisted that there could not be anything wrong with their product.

    We did perform independent laboratory analysis of the diet (Sojourner Farms European Style Dog Food Mix), and both the lab’s contact information as well as the detailed data were listed in our published report.

    Anyone who has a basic understanding of nutrition is familiar with the importance of a balanced calcium/phosphorous content in the diet. A quick review of Sojo’s ingredient list for the European Style Dog Food Mix showed that, in the 2006 formula, there were no ingredients which contain significant calcium. Worse, meat is high in phosphorous and contains little to no calcium. When mixed, the diet contained several sources of phosphorous and no significant source of calcium. The result was an 88% calcium deficiency when fed as per the instructions.

    While most people feeding BARF and other raw-food diets are aware of the need to add bone meal, whole bones, or another high-calcium ingredient to offset this imbalance, Sojos made no such recommendations. I was able to find postings in multiple raw-diet discussion forums by individual pet owners pointing out the need to add calcium to Sojos food.

    Sometime in the year following our phone calls to Sojourner Farms, the ingredient lists for their dog food mixes quietly changed, with a single ingredient added: calcium carbonate. Mr. Johnson has been very quick to point out the balanced calcium content of his new diets, which is now possible due to the addition of this additive. What he fails to mention is that this change was made several months after we brought the imbalance to the attention of his company.

    Mr. Johnson is quick to dismiss our careful work by suggesting that “powders, like calcium carbonate settle to the bottom of the bag”. Unfortunately, there never was any calcium carbonate in this puppy’s food bag, nor in any other bag, until we discovered this problem and until after Sojourner Farms presumably quietly confirmed our findings with their own tests.

    I have devoted my career and my life to advancing the health and well-being of animals. We decided to publish this report not only to share information about this puppy’s disease (there is nothing at all new about rickets or metabolic bone disease!), but more importantly, to illustrate the dangers of feeding diets which have not been tested to ensure their nutritional balance. This was not an attempt to discredit natural, organic, or raw foods – we made no such points – but rather to use this error as an example to educate the veterinary community and the public about a growing risk. Whether you choose to cook your pet’s food, buy organic, or otherwise, the nutrient balance is critical. This is why we have independent organizations that test and certify the ingredients in our food and the food that our pets eat.

    Any food company can make a mistake – commercial operations like Sojourner Farms and other commercial pet food manufacturers are not perfect. The measure of a company’s integrity is what they choose to do once a mistake has been brought to light – do they fix it with transparency and honesty, or with denial and a “sweep it under the carpet” attitude? How can consumers trust a company’s claim to have a “perfect track record” when the same company denies clear proof that their product has caused an illness? How many other complaints have been ignored over the years? I am glad to have been able to help motivate the reformulation of Sojourner Farms’ products to reduce the chances of another pet falling ill.

    I will also note that the other imbalances in Sojo’s previous European Style diet, most importantly a serious vitamin D deficiency, do not appear to have been corrected. I urge Mr. Johnson to submit his products for validation by AAFCO (the oversight group which protects pets and consumers by testing animal food to be sure it meets minimum nutritional content standards) so that further illnesses might be avoided. There are many reasons why healthy adult dogs may not fall ill eating these diets; as pointed out on the Sojos website, they are remarkably versatile at accommodating malnutrition when forced to. Puppies, geriatric dogs, and dogs already suffering from malnutrition or illness are at highest risk.

    Our response to Mr. Johnson’s above letter, which was published alongside it in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association last month, follows:

    We appreciate the comments provided by Ward Johnson, President of Sojourner Farms. Our report was not an attempt to denigrate the quality of his product. Rather, our intent was to illustrate the importance of feeding a balanced diet. Our data demonstrating the nutritional imbalances of the
    Sojos European Style diet refer to the premix as formulated in 2006, when the puppy of our report became ill. We are pleased to now note Mr. Johnson’s assurance and Sojourner Farms’ advertising that the current premix formulation is supplemented to achieve a more appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. However, we reiterate our concern that when the premix is mixed with meat, as the product label instructs, the calcium-to-phosphorus
    ratio becomes substantially inverted. In addition, vitamin D, another nutrient whose deficiency contributed to the disease in our puppy, was not and still does not appear to be supplemented in the premix.

    Sincerely,

    David A. Geiger, DVM

  6. Brigitte Smith

    Hello David,

    Thank you very much for this comprehensive explanation.

    Indeed, I agree that refusal to supply information when requested to do so, and then later altering the ingredients to include the calcium which your study found was lacking, and then stating it was an ingredient all along is, if correct, quite worrying in that it appears to indicate a lack of accountability, or willingness to be held to account.

    I am pleased to see that the change in formulation has met, to some extent, with your approval, although I note the continuing concern in relation to Vitamin D.

    I will be making appropriate alterations to my list of the best dog foods that I recommend to my readers in view of this. I am disappointed for the need to take this action.

    Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Brigitte Smith

  7. kathy

    After reading about Sojo, now I am wondering if Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health premix is alright? I just started using it, changing from Acana prairie harvest by Champion Petfoods grainfree previously on Evo should we use a supplement vitamin with this premix also? My girl is a five year old Keeshound great health!!

  8. danny seymore

    After hundreds of hours of study and use here are my top ten. Orijen,Acana,Wellness,Solid Gold,Go Natural,Blue Buffalo,Fromm,Instinct,Natural Balance,Taste of the Wild.It’s hard to argue with these.

  9. Brigitte Smith Post author

    Indeed, Danny. That is a great list of your top ten dog foods.

    Thanks for your contribution!

    Regards,
    Brigitte

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