Happy 2020! The festivities are complete for another year, and the new decade has begun!
Are you starting the new year a little bit tired, or are you perhaps refreshed and ready for a positive change?
Most of us are probably a combination of both. A bit exhausted from the hype of Christmas but also wanting to commence the year with some healthy adjustments in our life, and our pet’s life too.
It’s time for a fresh start and most people do this with a New Year’s Resolution. Statistics show however, that not too many see them through to fruition, so I always recommend choosing something that is very important to you but equally both realistic and achievable.
What better way to start the new year with a decision to feed your dog, cat, puppy or kitten a raw food diet?
Feeding a fresh raw food diet to your pet is very achievable if you know how. As a pet nutritionist, I find that many pet owners fit into one or more of the following categories. Can you relate to any of the below?
- You are wanting to get your pet off their highly addictive and processed commercial pet food diet
- You don’t know a great deal about a raw food diet, but are aware of the life changing health benefits
- You are aware of the benefits of a raw food diet including the foods your pet requires, but need a bit of help putting it all together
- You are already a raw feeder but need to ensure the diet is balanced in terms of protein, calcium and nutrients
- You want to feed a raw food diet, but are apprehensive because of the negatives on the internet and your vet does not support it
- Your pet suffers with health issues such as a sensitive stomach, food and skin allergies, irritable bowel disease, pancreatitis, anal gland blockage, struvite stones and crystals, obesity and early stage kidney disease
- You have a puppy, or a kitten and you want to give them the best start in life to support growth and longevity
- You don’t have the time to prepare a myriad of raw meals daily
A big factor in today’s world is time, which most of us don’t have enough of, the reason commercial pet food is unfortunately still a popular choice on the market today. Most of us have the sense to realise that cooked pet food packaged in a bag with a long shelf life can’t be good for our pets, in much the same way that packet food in the supermarket isn’t great for our own health and longevity.
Whether you purchase a cheaper brand of tinned or dry pet food from the supermarket, an expensive brand from the vet clinic or a popular grain free brand from a pet warehouse, they are all in the same category in terms of poor nutrition.
Evolution may have changed many things, but the basic workings or physiology of your cat and dog is almost identical to their wild ancestors, the African wild cat and the grey wolf.
If we look at the eating patterns of a wild dog for example, their diet mostly consists of muscle meat, offal, raw meaty bones and vegetable matter contained in the stomach of their prey. As omnivores and natural scavengers by nature, they rely on other food sources when food is scarce which can range from old bones, insects, raw eggs, fruit and grubs, non-mammalian prey makes up about 10% of the diet.
Cats on the other hand are obligate carnivores and must eat meat to survive. In the wild they mostly eat raw meaty bones, muscle meat and offal. This is because they have a higher protein requirement and must obtain their key nutrients from meat. Vegetable matter from the stomach of their prey forms a small part of the diet.
If your domestic cat has the freedom of the outdoors, you no doubt have seen them catch a garden bird, consuming the whole animal from the beak to the tail feathers. The entire digestive system of your cat, and dog, starting from the teeth and saliva to the organs, intestines and digestive enzymes is designed to crunch, grind, digest and absorb all the important nutrients found in whole raw foods.
When we alter the natural feeding practices, we see a deterioration in health which can lead to disease such as allergies, irritable bowel disease, hip or elbow dysplasia, growth issues in puppies, thyroid deficiency, early onset arthritis, autoimmune disease and even cancer.
So, what is the best diet for your dog and cat and how is it achievable?
My meal packages are customised for the specific needs of your pet and are based on feeding the BARF diet (biological appropriate raw food) and you can purchase 98% of the fresh ingredients from your local supermarket making it super convenient for you. Meals can be made in batches and frozen ahead of time.
The BARF diet consists of whole raw meaty bones (if your pet has sufficient teeth, or a minced version will be recommended for pets without teeth) muscle meat, fruit and vegetables, offal and a range of additional food supplements to enhance the diet.
Raw meaty bones provide a myriad of important nutrients which are required by the body to maintain optimal health. For dogs to function biologically, they require 22 amino acids of which they can synthesise 12 of those. The other 10 (11 for cats), which are known as essential amino acids, must be obtained from the food and the protein that they eat. Animal sources provide the best kind of protein as they contain all the essential amino acids required.
Raw vegetables contain a myriad of immune boosting nutrients which replenish and support the body throughout life. Vegetables are packed with both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre which offers protection from conditions such as chronic constipation, pancreatitis, colon cancer and irritable bowel syndrome.
Organ meats such as liver, kidneys, heart and brain are important because they contain vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as iron, copper and chromium.
A variety of different types of food groups must form part of a balanced diet for dogs and cats. Raw food is ‘living food’ as it will provide your pet with all the nutrients required to maintain optimum health, even well into their senior years. Pets consuming a raw food diet are rarely plagued by health issues such as obesity, diabetes, digestive issues and kidney disease we often see in pets consuming commercial pet foods on the market today.
When you transition your dog or cat to a raw diet, it doesn’t take long to see the wonderful health benefits. Eyes are brighter, the coat is super shiny, the condition of the skin is excellent (no dryness), the gums and teeth are healthy including fresher breath and energy levels are increased.
In 2020, I hope you make the New Year’s Resolution to transition your pet to a raw food diet to provide the best kind of nutritional support your pet not only needs, but also deserves.