01.11.2007

Real Food for Cats and Dogs

The subject of natural diet has been discussed on manyoccasions, but remains the most important step ownerscan take in having a healthier pet. Over the last 20or so years, I have witnessed a significant improvementin the health of many animals coming to my veterinaryclinic with chronic health problems with a simple changefrom processed (dried, tinned or 'dog roll') pet food,to fresh, raw food.

This means trying to feed dogs and cats the carcass-baseddiet they would naturally eat, and which they are physiologicallyequipped to digest.

This is a much easier process than most people mayinitially imagine, and the results can be surprisinglybeneficial.

But, due to the difficulty in supplying whole, freshcarcasses in a suburban environment, it is up to uspet owners to supply as close an approximation as wecan to the whole carcass diet cats and dogs would naturallyeat.

Dogs with itchy skin conditions can improve withina month or so of changing from a diet of processed petfood to a diet consisting of fresh meat, bones, vegetablesand fruit with a correct balance of fish oil, and kelp.

Natural diet is a mainstay of holistic veterinary (andhuman) treatment for many degenerative conditions suchas autoimmunity and cancer, combined with herbs, homoeopathicsand other therapies. There are now many clinical trialsthat have shown this to be the case.

What is Wrong with Commercial Pet Food?

Tinned foods contain cooked meat, and cooking destroysmany of the useful nutrients in meat for carnivorousanimals.

Most commercial dried foods (even premium brands)may contain 25% to 60% carbohydrate. The carbohydratecomponent is usually present as rice or corn meal.The carbohydrate in dried food makes the food lessexpensive to manufacture, and gives it a long shelflife. Veterinary physiology text books tell us thatdogs and cats should have no more than 3% to 5% carbohydratein their diet, because any more than this reducesthe liver glycogen metabolism, thus reducing the detoxificationof chemicals and toxins from the liver and fat stores.

Full liver metabolism, which can only happen witha very low, or no, carbohydrate diet, will thereforereduce the likelihood of degenerative conditions suchas autoimmune or infectious disease, liver and kidneydisease, arthritis and cancer.

It has been shown scientifically that cats are muchmore likely to suffer diabetes, inflammatory boweldisease, bladder stones and hepatitis if their dietcontains dried commercial food. It has been shownscientifically that puppies are more likely to develophip dysplasia on a diet containing carbohydrate.

Just Feed What Nature Intends the Animal toEat!

Dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores. Theyobtain their essential nutrients from the raw meat,bone, sinew, offal and fermented vegetable gut contentsof the carcasses they eat, plus dogs also eat a lotof dropped, rotting fruit, berries, dung and leaflitter from the jungle floor.

We can easily add the "jungle floor litter"and "carcass gut contents" in the form ofkelp, alfalfa powder or spirulina (to add trace elements),a quarter to a heaped teaspoon depending on size ofcat/dog.
Fresh, real food will provide essential nutrientsin a more useable form for the animal than as separateadditives artificially incorporated into heated andpressurised processed food.

Meat, Fish and Eggs

The easiest and most economical raw meaty bones fordogs are chicken wings, lamb necks, ox tails or rootails.
For cats, raw chicken necks and lamb cutlets are themost popular.

Fish oil, 1 to 6 g depending on animal size, isneeded for the essential Omega 3 fatty acids. Alternatively,feed tinned or fresh fish, such as raw white bait,two or three times a week.

Eggs are fine (complete with crushed shell for dogs)to give whole, raw or cooked, 2-3 times a week.

Vegetables and fruit

Basically, any you eat are fine for animals. Ideallyraw, pulped or grated vegies and herbs are ideal -carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, peas,beetroot, squash, parsley, cress, sprouts, coriander,basil, dill.

Vegetables can be pulped raw, or cooked. The pulpleft over from your juicer is great animal food.

Cats may eat mashed pumpkin or sweet potato withcheese or sour cream, roast potatoes or pumpkin, stirfried vegetables, mashed banana, yoghurt or soup.

Remember cats can tolerate 10% fat diets, so feelfree to add cheese, eggs, fatty meat off cuts andother fatty foods to taste for cats.

Make it Cheap and Easy

Many of us lead busy lives, so make it all fit withthe household routine. Keep a dog bowl on the counterand put in all leftover fruit, vegetable and saladscraps - apple cores, tomato and carrot tops or leftoversalad, yoghurt or cracked eggs from the fridge. Goaround the garden and gather herbs, nasturtiums, dandelions,or over ripe fruit from the fruit bowl - strawberries,melon, bananas, apples, pears. Then add kelp and fishor fish oil and some raw meat and raw bones.

You will find this natural diet will be cheaper thancommercial food, even paying for the fish, kelp andoil.
Your pet will feel more included in the family having"human food" and will be happier and healthier.
It is a joy seeing your pet's healthy, nurturing dietmanifest easily from the household kitchen routine!

For more on a healthy diet for yourpet visit www.claremiddle.com

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