Diet & Nutrition

Healthy Pets With The Raw Food Diet

Through evolution, the bodies of dogs and cats have superbly adapted to maintain health on the foods that were most easily available to them in the wild. These would have been raw foods, also known as a biological diet. It goes without saying that the foods our pets bodies have evolved to thrive on throughout millions of years are not the processed commercial foods of the last fifty years.

Look inside your dog or cat’s mouth. Their teeth are designed for tearing into flesh, not tearing into kibble.

Natural, raw foods set up and maintain healthy, natural biochemical reactions. These biochemical reactions set up a natural line of defense – a healthy immune system – that fights off bacteria, viruses, and parasites many times a day.

So by restoring your pet to his natural diet, healthy-giving diet, you can restore the myriad natural biochemical reactions that give strength to his immune system. This is the magic that keeps pets who are fed natural diets free of today’s inevitable diseases.

But Why Include Bones?

Bones are living tissue comprised of living cells. They are a complex source of a wide variety of nutrients. They contain minerals AND fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E. Bones provide natural antioxidant and anti-aging factors including enzymes. Bones also contain a perfect balance of calcium and phosphorus, which is vital to the health of your pet.

Vegetables And Fruit

Vegetables play an important role in a pet’s diet. Vegetables contain many important health-promoting nutrients. They also contain carbohydrates, but they also supply fibre. The fibre found in raw vegetables is important in both preventing and treating certain diseases of the digestive tract.

Dogs and cats don’t have the ability to break down vegetable matter, so in order for our pets to benefit from the vitamins and minerals in produce, they need to be pureed to expose the cell walls.

What About Salmonella?

According to an FDA news release, “salmonella is not harmful to dogs”. The danger of uncooked meat is to us, not to natural carnivores who have a highly acidic digestive system. Dogs and cats bodies have a short digestive tract and a simple stomach – carefully designed by nature to thrive healthily on meat.

Employ basic hygiene practices, wash your hands and keep surfaces clean – just as you would when handling your own food.

Myths About Feeding Raw Meat

One of the most common misconceptions is that your dog or cat will become bloodthirsty. Actually the opposite is true. The informal research we have done indicates that pets become calmer and more satisfied eating raw foods. It would stand to reason that a diet, which is closely mimicking the diet eaten by their wild cousins, satisfies a deeply ingrained need for raw meat and fresh foods.

How To Feed A Raw Food Diet

We recommend chicken (necks and backs) comprise about 60 per cent of the meat portion your pet’s diet. You can also substitute with duck (necks) or turkey necks. Vegetable matter will comprise about 25% of a dog’s diet, while only make up about 10% of a cat’s diet.
Include muscle meat and organ meat to the diet a few times per week. This will make up about 15% of a dog’s diet and about 30% of a cat’s diet.

Raw Bones

A recreational bone would be a beef, lamb pork, or any other large mammal bone and it should be uncooked of course.

If you have access to fresh/frozen fish, you can include that in the diet.

Making The Switch To Raw Food

Most dogs and cats cannot make the switch to raw foods cold turkey. It is best to start with a few days of ground chicken only. Get their bodies used to raw foods with few variations; we can add variety in time. You should also include a digestive enzyme, which can be purchased at your pet supply store or health food store. Sprinkle this on the raw food, to help with digestion.

After two or three days on chicken only, start including vegetables and fruit. Start with half the recommended portion of vegetable matter. Increase slightly every few days, until you’re at the recommended portion. Mix the vegetable content with the meat portion for each meal. If your pet is straining to defecate, increase the vegetable content and reduce the meaty bone portion of the diet. Conversely, if your pet is having too many loose stools, reduce the vegetable content and increase the meaty bone content.

Add supplements, such as kelp and an essential fatty acid after getting your pet settled on raw foods. We recommend adding back digestive enzymes for a couple of days each time you introduce a new protein source.

You know your pet best, if you feel your pet suffers from any severe illnesses, it may be best to make a slower transition. Talk to your veterinarian (who is not opposed to raw food feeding) on how to make the switch.

Never fast cats in order to make the transition to raw foods. Cats should never go more than ½ a day without food. If your cat is not accepting the raw food, just add the tiniest amount to their kibble or canned meal and try to make the transition slowly. Some cats can be tricky to switch to raw food. The benefits to cats are well worth the trouble.

Recommended Supplements

Kelp contains vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, C and E, plus zinc, biotin, bromine, calcium, choline, copper, inositol, iodine, PABA, potassium, selenium, sodium and sulphur. Its iodine content is very good for glands and organs, especially the thyroid and liver. It can bind with chemical pollutants in the gastrointestinal tract and prevent their absorption by the body. It increases the contractile force of the heart, improves circulation and is often used for hair loss, goiter, ulcers, obesity and mineral defi­ciency.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are extremely important for health and vitality. EFA deficiencies are correlated with degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, skin afflic­tions, dry skin, behavioral problems, poor wound healing, arthritis, and weakened immune functions.

Alfalfa For dogs, if you’re not feeding a variety of vegetables and fruit, we suggest supplementing with alfalfa, which contains vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, E, K and U, plus beta-carotene, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, protein, amino acids, trace elements and fibre.

Benefits Of Feeding Raw Food

Most people believe their pet is healthy, but they just don’t have a healthy animal to compare it to. A raw food diet will:

  • restore and strengthen immune system
  • eliminate or greatly reduce allergies
  • get rid of that “doggy” smell
  • eliminate fleas & parasites
  • reduce shedding
  • enhance skin and coat condition
  • cure the pickiest of eaters
  • reduce and/or eliminate tartar build up
  • restore vitality and energy
  • reduce excess weight
  • eliminate bladder and urinary problems
  • substantially reduce the volume of fecal matter

Dr. Nancy Appleton

Nancy Appleton is a nutritional consultant and author from Santa Monica, California. She lectures extensively throughout the United States and Canada on nutrition, and has written two popular books, "Lick the Sugar Habit" and "Healthy Bones".

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