A Copy of a email I sent to the Chris-1 email list of Shar-Pei people.
It maybe of intetrest to many others. If you wish to comment please email me.
Hi all
A thought came to me recently and I would be interested to hear members views.
Many of the comments I make are purely from personal observations and have had no scientific research done on them to my knowledge.
I live in NZ which is still fortunately a very clean green country though signs of pollution of our country have developed in the last 20 years or more. So can we say that we are more pollution free than most developed countries.
Also having a strong agriculture base of sheep and cattle and readily available meat and poultry at low prices we have not had the exposure to the pet market food that other counties such as America has had and our exposure time has been less.
Actually pet foods have only taken off here in the last ten years and there is 3 times more cat pet food available than dog pet food.
It has really only been in the last 5 years that the pet food market here has upgraded to more expensive balanced pet foods that have been scientifically researched.
Prior to that much of the pet food was offal and waste that were either chilled with minimum preservatives or very heavily laced with preservatives so it did not require chilling or freezing.
These were, in my mind, put out by the quick buck merchants who received payments for disposing of the wastes and turned them into a sellable commodity that made big bucks.
I have had two German Shepherds die in the past from cancer which I believe was a result of eating too much of these cheap pet foods.
The more expensive pet foods available here are imported from countries such as America and not produced locally.
I am not an expert in animal care and my expertise lays in Nature, plants and gardening and from that aspect I would like to introduce another interesting aspect.
Fields that are sprayed with herbicides, (weed killers) then browsed later by animals such as sheep, then the droppings, manure, of the sheep are taken and used as a manure/fertiliser in the home garden, it is found that plants such as beans, tomatoes, potatoes, roses will then show signs of herbicidal reaction (deformed new leaves, distorted growth, stunted growth and in some cases death) Other types of plants may show no signs of herbicide stress)
Now it is obvious that a chemical has passed through the sheep and stayed active in its droppings. I would then also presume that in the fatty tissue of the sheep, liver, kidneys and other vital organs, that this herbicide could still be present and maybe for a long period of time.
The parts per million maybe low and the residual period maybe long and if so then over time a build up would occur.
Now we may eat that animal one day and maybe the pet food manufactures might turn the waste into a pet food and maybe the residual of the herbicide is passed to us and even more so to our pets.
I am sure that the manufacture of the herbicide would say that their product in parts per million is not harmful to the environment and likely a Government authority would also say that in such and such parts per million is an acceptable toxicity.
Yet it did effect the tomato plant noticeably to the home gardener. His sprouting beans did die as they grew. I am not aware of any control measures in checking the toxicity of animal meat (and certanly none on their droppings) that has had contact with herbicides. (There maybe)
There are pollution toxicity tests for lead, DDT arsenic in meat, in some countries (Including ours) especially for meat that is exported to counties that do the tests anyway.
I would presume the meat that contains over the acceptable levels is not exported and remains in the local domestic market for consumption by humans and animals.
Otherwise if too contaminated for that market, is then turned into meal that is feed back to the grazing animals. No wonder cows go mad.
We also have select herbicides that can kill the weeds in corn, wheat, barley, soya without killing the crop. It may not kill our preferred plants but as sure as God made little apples these plants have been exposed to the chemical, it has been absorbed through the foliage and taken up by the roots.AND logically it will stay in the plant and be present when the crop is harvested.
The proof of this is simple, for instance an area of land can be planted in certain quick growing crop of annuals, of a deep rooting nature, harvested at maturity and then gold that was present in the land can be extracted from the plants.
Insecticides used in agriculture and horticulture is another aspect also. There are more stringent testing for toxicity levels in fruit and other exportable produce and I wonder what happens to the produce that does not pass the tests. Does it get feed to pigs? Does it get to be composed and then reused in our gardens? And even if it does get dumped it will be going back into the earth.
So we get to eat a lot of things that have in parts per million, toxic substances that man has made and used in our food chain and more importantly we use the same foods that are likely worse, in pet foods for our animals.
You see from reading this list over the last 3-4 years it has amazed me the number of deaths of Shar-Pei through health problems at an early age.In NZ we do not have the number of Shar-Pei that there is in America and currently I would estimate there to be under 5000 here.
I have yet to hear of early deaths in the breed due to ill health.
I know of deaths by accidents and birth defects and though there may be some early deaths from other reasons they are likely few and far between.I do know that there are skin problems, eye problems etc and all of these I can trace back to first or second generations of puppies born from imported dogs.
Then third generations show less problems and more often forth and fifth generations are fine.
Now I don't see that these have come right from selectively breeding out, or culling out, to any great degree by local breeders. So I can only assume that the possible toxicity levels of the imports, (note that except for Australian imports, here we have regulations that imported dogs from countries such as America are going to be just about a year old before they arrive at our kennels. Most of this time is spent in the country of origin.)
Thus I am going to make a hypothesis here, Toxicity exposed Shar-Pei, breed from and their off spring also exposed to similar toxicity will be an accumulate effect that will result in health problems and premature death.
Yet if a toxicity exposed Shar-Pei is taken to another environment where there is less pollution and a reduced level of toxic substances in their food they will produce off spring with some problems, but to a much lesser degree, and within a few generations of less exposure to toxic substances, their immune systems are able to cope and overcome the problems.
Now we talk about the big A disease and the number of young Shar-Pei that die as a result.
I am sorry to report that I have never seen any sign of the disease in the country and that I have never heard of any premature deaths here that could be attributed even distantly to it.
But in my mind that is impossible as ALL of our breeding stock has originated from America, UK and Canada and even Shar-Pei imported from Australia can quickly be traced back to America or else where. So we should be seeing some instance of Amyloidosis.
The only factor that I can see is diet that is the difference and maybe a less polluted environment, air and water.
I also recognize that the Shar-Pei is a very resilient dog that can take a lot of pain with hardly a whimper, (birth and accidents) their skin heals incredibly fast when cut, ailments are far and few between and a dog that becomes poorly and off its tucker, will recover very quickly.
I hear from the list that deaths from A are often very sudden, a healthy dog one day and next day very sick with death in a short time. It would appear from this that the animal is capable of fighting the problem without any outward sign until the problem becomes too great and the final demise is then quick. This once again attests to the Shar-Pei's extremely strong resilience.
Another aspect to consider also is the comparison between the Shar-Pei and other breeds of dogs.
We know in developed countries since the introduction of pet foods that the health in our animals has deteriorated by over 30%. Pets that never saw a vet except for its annual shots now can see the vets for many complaints through their life time, skin problems, eyes, ears, teeth, bowel disorders, kidney problems, etc etc.
Now the Chinese Shar-Pei came from a country that never had chemicals for control of insects, weeds etc, no pet foods in the shops and the Shar-Pei lived on scrapes and rice and what ever it could scrounge.
We bring this "clean" dog into the western world and subject it to more and more chemicals over the years. It has not had the time to adapt, its immune system is being asked to handle things its never encountered before. Will it have problems? Will it get sick?
You can bet your sweet life it will!
I can think of indigenous races that were exposed to diseases from explorers of other lands, that their immune systems had no power to overcome causing the natives to die off in their thousands.
Even the English took over 200 years to be able to handle the drink, Gin, after its introduction, without the problems this new drink caused initially.
So we have a remarkable animal in the Shar-Pei, it has come from a "Clean & Green" country China, been placed in the most modern, go ahead country in the world and similar (1950's) then after a number of generations has arrived in a near "Clean & Green" country New Zealand (late 80's) To build up the current numbers to date.
One must also consider that the early imports in NZ (who often had problems) were likely the overseas breeders stock, that they wanted to cull out. Not true in all cases but likely in many.
(I heard what happened when Russia opened its doors to Shar-Pei and the problems that occurred since then. [ Big bucks for any Shar-Pei] Mind you the pollution in Russia is far worse than America and many other countries, also)
Finally here is another thought.
I see the "Better?" pet food companies with their greatly funded research facilities and their scientifically produced pet foods claiming very correctly that their diets are nutritionally balanced.I believe them. They have with their millions produced the very best scientifically concocted food for pets to cover each stage of the animals development.
Wonderful, the vets promote it (they are on commission and sell it as well) and we who only want to do best for our beloved pets diligently read the labels and see that every good thing that one can think of (plus several we have never heard of), so THEY must be good! Its all in these Pet foods.
Not only that the food is based on Chicken or Fish or Beef or Kangaroo Tongue or what ever and we think wow. My dog is going to get a better diet than me.
These high profile diets with their high price tags are poison to our animals, in my mind, when used as the animals main diet.
They are addictive over time as well. (likely many of you have noticed).
If you don't believe me then you try eating them yourself as your sole diet. You can, and you too will be getting all those wonderful vitamins and minerals.
{You have seen the labels on Pet Food saying "NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION" well if it aint fit for humans why should it be fit for my Shar-Pei?
My dogs eat many of things I eat and I should be able to eat most of the things they eat, thats lodgics and you can see from the bolow diet that I have its not a problem}
Back to our expensive dog dietand what would likely happen if we ate it,:
Firstly after a short time you will be bored with your "new" diet and you will only eat it when you get very hungry.
If you persevere with your "balanced diet" long enough you will become lethargic, you will begin to grave for your new diet and other types of diets will make you sick.
We as humans are not designed to eat a balanced, "balanced" diet and our dogs systems are less designed in that aspect than us.
Sure we all need a balanced diet but NOT in a totally balanced form.
We and our dogs need an balanced, UNBALANCED diet.
I know with my dogs if I serve then up the same dish two nights in a row they will turn their noses up at it and rather go a bit hungry than eat it. So my dogs get chicken frames, chicken mince often mixed with cereals or rice, vegetables, mutton, beef, liver, kidney, eggs, cheese, milk, bread, scraps, sweets, ice cream, chocolate (yes Chocolate) as a treat and sometimes even a bit of pet food.
My puppies, current litter 5 weeks old, can be given the choice of tinned puppy pet food, special formulated puppy bites and raw chicken mince and which one do they eat?
The chicken mince has the bowls licked clean and the other foods are only eaten if there is nothing else and they are hungry. (They just about like scrambled eggs as much as the raw chicken mince.)
I also notice that the pet food always gives them the skiteries. (Diarrhea) and the natural foods don't.
So I adjust the food as I believe that the special pet foods do contain vitamins and minerals that are needed in their development.
Thus they will get one meal a day with the special balanced pet food added to the mince or whatever.
If you have a litter your self some time and the puppies are about 5 weeks old try it yourself, say with pieces of raw or cooked liver or sardines. Watch you fingers though as you are likely to loose them..
The metabolisms of Shar-Pei or any other dog will in my mind deteriorate over time with a BALANCED, balanced diet.
The metabolisms are not designed to cope with the ideally perfect combination of nutrients. It becomes lazy and does not have to crave for the missing aspects of the diet.Thus the immune system becomes lazy too and does not have to function to control changes.
Then we have another reason for a sick dog and a possible immature death.
Besides one must also consider the source of the ingredients of our special pet foods.
Are the original animals and plants carrying toxic substances?
I would be very surprised if the answer to this was not yes.
Oh by the way I was told that: a Graduate research team in our leading agriculture University did an analysis of the top selling pet foods for dogs in NZ (many of which I have heard mentioned here in this group and come from the states)
Their independent findings would likely shock you and it was a very damaging report (non public) on the Pet Food industry.It was actually only done as a graduate activity.
I hope the above was caused you some food for thought. (pun intended)
I also hope that you look very closely at your Shar-Pei's diet (as well as your own)
Remember that pet food are the human equivalent of fast foods, they fill you up and make you addictive to them but they don't do you much good otherwise as a total diet.
Neat as a treat but not to survive on.
Now lets see some flack flying or do you guys say "flames"
Wally Richards
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Breeding and Whelping a Shar-Pei Litter. (Can apply to other breeds too)