Just had the most insane conversation with blogger Terrierman. Here’s the entire to and fro!
In good faith, a friend of mine contacted me a while back and asked had I heard of Terrierman’s (a.k.a Pat Burns) blog. I hadn’t. She sent me some links to some of his stuff that I might like, which I did. He really doesn’t like vets teaming up with the drug companies etc, something I can relate to. I posted these links to my Facebook page last week to see what people thought. Most of the feedback was good but then a few people started coming up with some serious issues, which I’m not going to get into right now. You can get a good feel for what people are saying about Terrierman elsewhere.
That sort of stuff aside, the reason I contacted him was his stance on dry food. One poster states “I was enjoying his articles until I got to the ones on food for dogs. Very disappointing that he supports junk food”. This was in relation to the following quote in one of his articles:
The FDA is warning dog owners that “grain free” dog food may cause heart disease. I would not freak out too quickly. That said, there is a reason I advise folks to buy grocery store kibble from long-established dog food manufacturers.
Quite the statement. Of particular interest on the Facebook post was the talk of him aligning himself to folk in Purina and hence all the dry food nonsense. If true this grated a little, considering his stance on how he gets paid clearly indicates he aligns to no man, so I said I’d ask him myself! Below is how it went.
For the record, I wasn’t going to post all this but the man went and posted about it himself a few days ago, likely as I told him “I have to publish your responses, they’re just too good”. Unlike him, I don’t carefully edit, so you can see exactly what was said. As you will see it descended incredibly quickly! It’s a long one, but of all the stuff I said below I really, really, really wish I didn’t open with “I think me and you are very similar”.
1. Me to Terrierman
Just dropping you a line to say hi! Conor here from DogsFirst.ie. I think me and you are very similar. Read your latest blog on vet collusion (https://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2013/04/your-veterinarian-should-probably-be-in.html). This is a big penchant of mine as you will see from my blog and it’s nice to meet someone as mad (if not madder) than me about the whole disgusting situation! Sometimes I feel like a bit of a raving lunatic but as our followers grow and most of us pop up, you know we’re on the right track.
Good luck with your blog and keep it up, for dogs everywhere.
2. Terrierman to me
Thanks! I own the http://www.dogsfirst.org URL — bought it some years back when in discussion about dog health and Kennel Club dysfunction.
3. Me to Terrierman
It’s a great name!
I’ve shared your stuff a few times from my FB page. A couple of people were cautious, wondering why, with your loathing of the corrupt veterinary industry, you hadn’t tackled the raw / dry controversy, it being one of the biggest health affecting parts of the whole thing? A couple more wondered what your connection to Purina was? I said I’d ask, it’d be disingenuous of me not to. I’m clearly a pro-fresh food guy. Thanks man
4. Terrierman to me
No connection to Purina at all. No connection to any food, vet, or other company. My day job is tackling frauds. Mostly health care fraud, but other stuff too. Just today lawyers associated with my outfit settled about $150 million in fraud. They nail about $3 billion a year. A semi-public person in the fraud fighting arena has to run clean, and I do.
I’m fine with whatever folks want to feed. For 99 percent of all couch potato dogs, it hardly matters. What matters is that about half of all dogs get fed LESS. Obesity is the #1 food health issue for dogs and people. Most working dog folks are feeding dry kibble, and it’s mostly Purina or Pedigree or something cranked out by Diamond. It’s all fine, though Purina and Pedigree have long term suppliers, feed trials, and a name to protect and Diamond does not.
Raw diets are fine provided the meat is fresh and stored well, but it often it is not. There’s a reason humans don’t eat raw meat! That said, I am a fan of raw frozen chicken wings a few times a week as a tooth cleaner and chew activity.
Skin issues are rarely food and even more rarely grain. Most skin issues are due to fleas and dirt (wash your dog every week with pyrethrum shampoo), and the #1 food allergy is actually beef.
5. Me to Terrierman
That’s great to hear you’re not sponsored by a dry food company. Great stuff.
Don’t quite agree with some of the rest of it, but the world keeps spinning.
I don’t think the key to feeding fat dogs is feeding them less of a high carbohydrate diet, per se, but reducing the amount of carbohydrate. Here’s all the reasons why
And wheat is the number one cause of food intolerances in dogs, by a very long way, with high carbohydrates being one of the second biggest cause of itch. More here.
Both issues highlight the fact we are dealing with an animal with zero requirement for carbs (the very definition of a meat eater) and here we are feeding them twice the amount of carbs meant for an omnivorous humans (and largely of wheat and corn). A fresh, biologically appropriate diet is the number one change you can make to better your dog’s health.
When I finish the book maybe you’ll have a read? I’ll send you one FOC.
Best of luck Terrierman, keep up the posting
6. Terrierman to me
You’re wrong on both carbs and wheat; the science has been done. But no matter. Everyone can feed what they want. The dog food business “advisors” world is full of folks with no nutrition backgrounds, no science, and a lot of funny advertising deals not disclosed. It’s ok. It’s like anything with food; fat people with diet theories, folks who smoke and drink whiskey who worry about GMO, folks who believe aromatherapy is a medicine but vaccines are a poison, etc. The good news is that science does not care either way. And mostly the dogs don’t either. I’ve been running dogs at proper weight for 50 years, and so have most of the working dog folks feeding kibble for 100 years. The pet folks are amusing to us. Cheapest entertainment there is! All good. Not much harm done either way. The working dog folks just go ahead and feed the dogs as always, vaccinate on their own, sew and glue as needed, worm without testing, cross out when it looks like it will help, and smile when everyone wonders how we end up having the hard-bodied working dogs that do the jobs talked about in the all-breed books.
7. Terrierman to me again
Ah. I see you are in the subscription mail order dog dog food business. 😄. Good for you! I’m not. Not in any business. But I’m a little unclear as to your backround. You list yourself as a Dr. ??? A doctor of what? From where? What year? Accredited? By whom? Is Holistic Hound your company? Lots of gibberish on that web site. To tell you the truth it screams “scam”. Not sure if that was the intent, but as soon as you start using the term “holistic”…. there it is. Applied Zoopharmacognosy? No such thing. A term invented by a quack.
8. Me to Terrierman
Wow!! Hilarious! What’s that all about?!
What a touchy little man. Is this because you don’t know stuff about feeding and think that by drinking and shouting really loud people might listen?! Or is because I mentioned Purina? Or is it because I sent you an article suggesting your opinion on starving dogs fed high carbohydrate diets is archaic, idiotic and so, so very clearly incorrect to anything but the youngest child? Is this how you debate with people?! It reeks of weakness.
“The science is done”! Excellent. Can I see some? Your favourite study that convinced you cereal-based food might perform better than a fresh, species-appropriate diet. You not being a quack, I’d really appreciate the guidance.
Mail order dog food business!!! What even is that?!
And no I don’t own Holistic Hounds, as a quick google would tell you. I sell a few Holistic Hound products though, love them. If you google scholar any of the ingredients and the issues it claims to help (eg valerian root being soporific for dogs) have a lot of solid science behind them.
Everything you need to know about me is on my homepage, have a good root through it there, try learn something before spitting your dummy in such an embarrassing manner.
In the meantime, I have to publish your responses, they’re just too good.
9. Terrierman to Me
Still waiting for the answer to what kind of doctor and where you went to school. Simple question. You say a degree in zoology and an MD? Terrific! From where? Not a problem if it’s a foreign school. I looked through your site and found no answer. On my cell phone however, as traveling. Perhaps I missed it?
You DO have an online dog food company. Raised cash for it on TV. Tell me about that. Is your whole marketing push the demonization of grain? That’s been done before!
I have genuine questions. Do you own a dog? What kind? How long? Give me the story or provide links to story. Not necessary to own a dog, but it’s always interesting.
The video of you pitching your dog food on “Dragons Den” (second video) shows an 11-month old Great Dane. That’s a breed that is typically dead at age 6 due to rotten genetics. I assume that’s not your dog, but a loaner or a customer’s? Normally dogs in dog food commercials are not fed for 24 or 36 hours before the shoot. Wet food, high in fat, is typically hoovered up by the dog. You and I were both amazed when the bowl went down and not a bite was taken up. Sorry about that. Truly, I doubt it reflects on the food. That said, I wonder if it reflects inexperience with dogs? It’s not hard to train or get a dog to eat wet food, even if bottle rockets are getting fired off!
How is it you came to email me? I have owned the dogsfirst.org URL for some time. I assume you know that as it would have been looked into as part of your trademark search?
Why did you name your site “dogsfirst?” Surely a for-profit company is profit first? That’s why I registered the dogsfirst.org URL — because dogs deserve more than profiteers and registries based on failed eugenics theories. Failed genetics is what kills and cripples dogs. Obesity is what kills and cripples dogs. Any part of those two statements you disagree with?
In your “Dragons Den” pitch you say your food is made of “human grade” meat. Is that a legally defined term or just a marketing term? You say you also add organs and herbal supplements. So your food is NOT made from scraps of meat left over from butchering for the human food trade? That’s what most dog food meat is made of; it’s not ground up steak about to be served in a restaurant, but cow neck, udder bags, chicken and pig offal, fat, and meat mechanically separated from bone.
And what were the green peas to be seen on top of the bowl? Peas are typically added to dog food as a low cost filler to boost protein. Nothing wrong with it, but then there’s nothing wrong with corn either. But the peas were not mentioned.
And you also sell “salmon and vegetable” dog food? Starting to sound like every other dog food company now.
I assume you are familiar with two things: the science and the history. The science is here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/01/diet-shaped-dog-domestication. I assume you know this?
“Dogs had four to 30 copies of the gene for amylase, a protein that starts the breakdown of starch in the intestine. Wolves have only two copies, one on each chromosome. As a result, that gene was 28-fold more active in dogs, the researchers found. More copies means more protein, and test-tube studies indicate that dogs should be fivefold better than wolves at digesting starch, the chief nutrient in agricultural grains such as wheat and rice. The number of copies of this gene also varies in people: Those eating high carbohydrate diets—such as the Japanese and European Americans—have more copies than people with starch-poor diets, such as the Mbuti in Africa. “We have adapted in a very similar way to the dramatic changes that happened when agriculture was developed,” Axelsson says.
“Dogs and wolves have the same number of copies of another gene, MGAM, which codes for maltase, another enzyme important in starch digestion. But there are four key differences between the sequence in dogs and wolves. One difference causes dogs to produce longer versions of maltase. That longer protein is also seen in herbivores, such as cows and rabbits, and omnivores, such as mouse lemurs and rats, but not in other mammals, suggesting length is important to plant-eaters. These differences make the dog maltase more efficient, the researchers report.”
In short, dogs are dogs and not wolves. Dogs and wolves communicate differently, mate differently, mark differently, and think differently. They are also different at the level of gut and gene, and provably so. This research has not been closely hidden.
And, of course, wolves (if you insist) eat plenty of plant material as do lions, leopards, bears, and wild dogs the world over. Let me know if you want the links, but I assume you know them?
You know what zoos feed their wolves? Bagged kibble dog food. True stuff.
Genetics and science through a microscope is interesting, but experience trumps anything short of a double blind study.
And, as I am sure you know, there have been no long-term, peer-reviewed, double-blind studies which show that ANY dog food is better than another. And this is a multi-billion dollar industry! Makes you wonder…
The good news is that we have experience, and that has shown us that what dogs eat matters very little, while how much they eat matters a great deal. A billion years of working dog lives have been raised on kibble. Fox hounds, bird dogs, and running dogs raised on whatever was around and easy, and that’s mostly kibble. Imagine having 50 fox hounds and spending 100 Euro a month feeding each one! Not happening.
That said, I am all for people feeding their dogs whatever they want. Huge profits in the dog food business, which is why everyone is trying to break in with a “special” recipe. But no one actually has a better product at a better price, which is why it’s all about story. And, of course, no recipe can be copyrighted or patented.
Your business model seems to be selling a frozen tubed meat product online through the mail. How is it kept frozen while shipped? What’s the delivered cost per pound? If it’s tubed meat, you’re mostly shipping water weight, which is why dry kibble has an advantage.
Here in the US, small producers have had a hard time avoiding salmonella and other contamination. Again, let me know if you want the links to the stories there, as the stories of what the FDA finds when it visits are always illuminating. I have no idea what regulation there is in Ireland, so perhaps there is not as much inspection. That said, the slaughter and grinding up of carcasses is a problematic thing from a sanitary perspective, which is why we cook meats for ourselves and why fired kibble has an advantage.
Who actually produces the dog food for you? Based on your capitalization, you cannot own the machinery for slaughter, grinding, packaging, flash freezing, etc. Are you actually on site everyday when the food is made? This is a real problem in the dog food world where “lick and stick” companies are designing packaging and story boards, but the actual production is contracted out to nameless, faceless folks 200 miles, or more, away. I am always amazed at how little day-to-day oversight of product goes into all these boutique dog foods. Say what you want about Pedigree and Purina, but they own their own equipment, dry-fire their kibble to kill contaminants, and have vertical control of longtime suppliers. It’s not perfect, but it helps.
10. Me to Terrierman
Again, I don’t own a dog food company Pete (going to call you Pete as you don’t use your name). I had one for 2.5yrs and moved it on in 2015, as per front page of my website.
I have a doctorate from UCD, Ireland 2006. I studied the effect of nutrition on behaviour. We don’t buy or pretend to have doctorates here in Europe, for the most part.
How could I know you have dogsfirst.org when even Whois.com doesn’t? And I don’t want it you lunatic, it is a very weird coincidence. If I was going to pull the trigger on anything it would be the .com but as I have 100k reading my site each month and 70% are from the US the .ie (Ireland) is working just fine as my content is solid.
I was put on to your blog by a friend who thought your stuff was good (as you can see from this FB post, where you came in for a bit of flack so I said I’d put it straight to you as I thought it was unfounded after a browse and liked your vitriol for industry-sponsored vets, which you will see I am very vocal and active about on my site dogsfirst.ie).
You’re totally misunderstand the findings of Axelsson. I go into the omnivorous habits of dogs here in this post on “should we feed veg to dogs“. The Axelsson study gets a good mention there as folk with limited understanding of the science can misunderstand the interesting findings in a very big way, though lead by the nose by the dry food industry who leapt on the study like a fat kid to cake. Studies show dogs, given free access to food, include little to no carbs in their diet. 7% at most (and they were previously dry fed, truly feral dogs who were never fed plant handouts by humans, do not touch plant ingredients). For a deeper understanding here you could check out my videos on my home page. They’re called What do Dogs Eat. They explain why the dog is a meat eater (go to my homepage, scroll down, it goes through everything from diet studies, to the dog’s evolution (not a wolf, all agreed there) to his digestive machinery etc.
Lastly, there isn’t a single, independent (not on the industry teet) canine nutritionist that agrees a high carb diet is good for a meat eater. Not one. You are out there on your own as a person who hates industry influence, blogs a lots about it, but supports the very biggest con they have. I was getting on to see why and I still don’t know.
Good luck Pete, I honestly thought we could be friends, that we were fighting the same cause. Perhaps the dogsfirst thing threw you. I can’t spend any more time on this as I find you too abrasive and I feel like my words are just stopping in front of your face. You read like a skeptic (good) but behave like a cynic (bad). Over time, as the raw movement gathers pace, your support of high carb dry food will destroy your credibility, something you clearly value, considering how poorly you received my info on dieting obese dogs above (which was complete with copious amounts of studies). I was getting on to help you with that as a lot of your stuff is great.
All the best.
11. Terrierman to Me
A doctorate? That’s not an MD is it? You put MD after your name. Am I missing something about this qualification in Ireland? It means Medical Doctor everywhere else in the English speaking world.
Not a DVM either from what I can see. DVM’s tend to tell you!
It looks like you have a 4 year undegraduate degree from University College Dublin. The proper title, unless I am mistaken, is BAgrSc, which stands for Bachelor of Agricultural Science. It’s an undergraduate degree in a trade. Nothing wrong with that. But not a doctor of any kind; a 4-year undergraduate degree. Am I missing something?
On Linked In it say you studied nutrition privately. I have no idea what that means, but I’m pretty sure it means you are not an accredited nutritionist.
I don’t care, but I like to get the full and real story.
You absolutely had a mail order online subscription dog food business. Your online presentation says dogsfirst.ie sells dog food. I provided the link to you selling that gRaw frozen tubed meat. Now you are saying what? That the business failed? Not too surprised if it did, and no shame in it. But don’t tell me you “moved it on” if it failed. Failure is Ok. Own it. I cannot find the brand today. Am I missing it?
From what I can see here, you have an undergraduate degree in ag science and you are presenting yourself as a medical doctor or veterinarian in order to sell dog food. The dog company failed and your sales are now seaweed and 25 pound telephone consultations. Income sources are a bit vague.
I’m not trying to break anyone’s begging bowl, but it’s all a bit odd. You still have not told me what school or degree, and you have dodged away from your history and motivation.
Did you actually start dogsfirst.ie or did you simply pay for someone to give you a turn key? No problem either way, but the latter would explain how you know so little about URLS. You will pardon me if I laughed at your “who is” search. Who Is is a voluntary directory. It will tell you the URL is not available to buy, and it maps to my web site. Not hard to figure out. The .com version of the URL is also not available.
You trained guide dogs for the blind? I know a bit about dog training. Where did you study and with whom? You trained for what organization and to what level?
12. Me to Terrierman
When did I ever put MD after my name, you sad little lunatic? Snapshot that for me, please.
If I was a DVM I wouldn’t be here educating you on the obvious benefits of fresh food for animals. You can’t have it every way Pete.
Jesus, turning a key in dogsfirst, now you’re going about Guide dogs…maybe there’s a weakness there?!!!!! Presenting yourself as a doctor….as I have a “doctorate” (the keys in the word Pete, focus grasshopper), that’s how it works. Vets are honorary doctors with 5 years study, I studied to get mine (8yrs). Attacking credentials Pete, is the refuge of a poorly versed scoundrel. Why is it always the ones with no qualifications that do that? They attack as they can’t debate the very obvious, very clear, very articulate and, most importantly, very referenced points I make (a trained scientist with firm grasp of the literature) in the attached articles on obesity, which is what upset you in the first place. You’re not in the arena Pete. Deep down your tiny little ego, which gets little hits of satisfaction every time someone reads their unsupported nonsense, has conned you into thinking you can enter the arena of debate with an actual scientist. You can’t Pete. You lack the smarts and that hurts you so, like a dog in fear, you attack character but never points.
Your vitriol is utterly pathetic but I have to say, highly enjoyable. Still, I have to say cheerio Pete, go put your tinfoil hat on and get back to fighting crime again in your underpants from your armchair.
And say hi to Purina for me.
13. Terrierman to Me
Let’s go back.
Are you an MD? Yes or no?
A DVM? Yes or no?
What education where?
Degree says what EXACTLY?
Where did you learn to train dogs?
Did your dog food company go broke?
14. Terrierman to Me Again (after ignoring him for a bit, hoping he’ll go away)
Is this your linked in profile? Lists 4 years of college and a degree in animal behavior. Puts MD right after your name. An accident? Cannot find your book on Amazon. Was it ever published?
You see I am just asking questions, nor hurling insults. But the questions do not get cleanly answered. Let’s start with the fact that you had a dog food company. Did it fail? You have a degree in animal behavior? Greasy! Where did you learn to train dogs? How do you ship frozen food economically? Was that a problem? Why do you think zoos feed their wolves and wild dogs kibble? Are they fools?
15. Me to Terrierman
That’s linked-in. Managing Director. The PhD Anim Behav tells you it’s not a medical doctor (the same PhD it tell’s you on my website, FB page and everywhere else).
Zoos feed kibble to wolves! You’re an absolute waste of time. Not a single in Europe does that (I was educational officer in Dublin Zoo for months). Maybe one or two zoos in the US, but that’s no surprise, considering the absolute state of your diet and corporate influence at the highest levels. But how about this, tell me one reputable zoo in the US that feeds cereal-based kibble to wolves and I’ll verify it? Or, ideally, attach a reference to your meandering dribble so that I can check it myself.
And wild dogs are not domestic dogs. They are omnivores that haven’t been dogs for 5mil years, back when we were climbing out of the trees, which is like looking at what the chimps eat and feeding your kid that way. We’d be past all this if you watched my videos.
You’re completely wasting my time.
16. Terrierman to Me
“Feeding requirements of red wolves have generally not been a problem in the RWSSP, as long as good quality commercial (dry) dog food is provided. Because of the number of commercial foods made, their availability, and cost it is difficult to recommend a specific brand. Wolves maintained in Tacoma have done well on food with label guarantees ranging from 22-28% protein, 8-18% fat, and 2-4% fiber. Vitamin supplements for red wolves are normally not required. Adding commercial carnivore log to dry chow may be needed to encourage some wolves to eat, although should not be the primary component of their feed.”
So what do they feed wolves in zoos? Dog food. And what kind? It does not really matter (though Purina ProPlan gets a shout-out here) >> https://nagonline.net/wp-
So feed your dog like a wild wolf (with the diseased rectum of a downer cow) or feed it like a zoo wolf (with Purina), but either way it will be fine.
17. Terrierman to Me
Ahhh, perfect, I see, you read Skeptvet. Enough said.
You left out the rest of that quote above pal by the Aza, did you know that? I wonder. AZA is a heavily INDUSTRY-SPONSORED organisation (and thus lose all credibility, just not to people like you or Skpetvet) actually states they recommend meat for their wolves but for two subspecies, the red wolf being one. They feed kibble to so they can swop and change them among zoo’s without dietary issues.
They also feed Hill’s COMPLETE to their raccoons but supplement it heavily with fresh ingredients, so not that complete.
This is all likely to keep someone happy as, and I can only reiterate this though a quick Google on your behalf and not just regurgitating someone else’s nonsense would tell you, good zoos do not feed their wolves that way.
How many references would it take to convince you of that I wonder?
And better teeth! Jesus man. 8/10 dogs are dry fed and 8/10 have gum disease by three years. What’s your solution there, more smarties yeah?!
Keep it coming Terrierman, you’re making me feel smart.
18. Terrierman to Me
Actually Skepvet reads me. She says so. Look it up. She’s a veterinarian too; a real animal doctor who treats dogs every day. Not too much theory with her.
And that was that!!!
For the record, I was never going to post all this, I didn’t want to sound like this guy, but I had to set the bloody record straight! I had tried to comment on Terrierman’s post (twice, one from my name and one from another just to check) but he doesn’t put up counter-arguments to his rants, he’s not that sort of a guy. To combat this, people have been forced to create blogs (TerriermanUncensored) where people can put up their counter comments!
I was trying to address some of the mistakes and outright slander he was coming out with. In relation to some US zoos feeding their wolves kibble (it happens, if you can believe it) I had sent him a link to a random survey of seven wolf centres in the US and Canada, the vast majority of which feed raw meat and bone. I addressed his snide use of quotation marks around the “seaweed for cancer” by linking to said article which uses 13 peer-reviewed studies that show seaweed is anti-cancer, which he failed to point out to his readers. I corrected his lumping in the term “holistic” (a study of the whole which is the foundation of most medical practices) with homeopathy. I wanted to address his too-numerous-to-count nutritional musings, such as his reference to wolves eating plenty of plant material (most don’t and those that do don’t include much, and it’s by no means a reason to a feed a dog what is largely a plant-based diet of 60% cereal, cheap plant protein and some meat meal from a Chinese rendering vat), as do lions (they don’t, it’s medicinal), leopards (they don’t, it’s medicinal), bears (yes, they eat a diet of 75% vegetable material Pat, what next, pandas?!), and wild dogs (whom Pat makes constant reference to, an animal that eats some plant forage but hasn’t been related to the dog in 5mil years, akin to looking at chimps to see what humans should eat, this was pointed out to him twice).
Finally, I wanted to highlight to him that the video he spent so much time attacking for, as he well knows, is my proud appearance on Dragons Den in 2013 (a video I posted myself), a TV business show where you compete for investment for your growing business. Pat odiously switches this around and uses my (successful) pitch to these investors to defame me any way he can, acusing me of a profiteering pirate. He thinks I should of stood there and said I’m giving the food away for free because Pat, if it’s not clear already, is a borderline idiot.
He wants me to answer all his aggressive questions, maybe he’s used to that being the clear bully that he is, but Pat doesn’t deserve the time of day because the man is nothing but a coward who censors his blog and puts down everyone else to make himself feel like the terrier he wishes he was.