New to raw, or just need some tips on how to better balance your pet's diet? Visit the FAQs section of our site for answers to specific questions regarding raw pet food diets, and our Blog is a great place to find a wide variety of information about how to keep your pet happy and healthy. You can also connect with us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/3pnaturalsraw4pets, as well as Twitter @3pnaturals & Instagram @3pnaturals.
What are the differences between commercial dry diets, holistic high protein dry diets, low protein diets and raw?
I am often asked if feeding a high protein dry diet is comparable to a raw one. The human and pet wellness industries are growing at an alarming rate. In the past 10 years, there has been an explosion of “natural” and “holistic” products for pets and it’s important to understand the differences between each type of food. But what does “natural” and “holistic” really mean?
Enzymes are biological molecules responsible for thousands of chemical processes in nature that sustain and support life. Most enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for thousands of metabolic reactions in the mammalian body. They play a major role in the digestion and absorption of food. Complex starches and proteins are broken down into smaller molecules that can be digested in the intestines. Several enzymes can form metabolic pathways, each enzyme working in a specific order to complete vital cellular processes. Enzymes help maintain the homeostasis of the body and if there is a mutation, change or termination in production, disease can occur. It is important to provide your pet with live enzymes every day for a body that functions at its best.
All raw foods contain a unique set of enzymes. Heating food denatures live enzymes, destroying vital “keys” that “unlock” nutrients and make them available within cells. It is important to understand how enzymes are utilized within the body to see how important they are in maintaining health. Every organ, every tissue, and all the trillions of cells in the body depend upon the reactions of enzymes and their energy factors. Nutrition cannot be explained without describing the part that enzymes play. Unfortunately, live enzymes are not considered essential when it comes to the manufacturing of processed foods. As more research becomes available, it becomes clear that enzymes cannot be excluded from a healthy diet. A species-specific approach to feeding will naturally provide animals with the correct enzymes for the healthy function of all cells in the body.
The senior years of your pet’s life are some of the best, give your senior the treatment that they deserve! Whether you’re switching your pet from commercial foods, or your pet is getting older and has always been on raw, there are things you should know when caring for your aging family member. As you pet grow older, his/her diet may need to be adjusted. Age, in part, is the product of oxidization on a cellular level. A raw diet contains high levels of antioxidants which help to slow the oxidation process and the process of aging. Below, the dietary possibilities for senior pets are discussed.
Switching a Senior to Raw
Dogs and cats that are beginning to show their age (eg. decreased energy, arthritis or stiffness in the joints, hearing/vision loss, etc.) can greatly benefit from a natural diet. The process of oxidation can cause a plethora of issues in old age and while it can’t be avoided, it can be slowed so that your pet can age with gracefully and comfortably. Many pet owners report a noticeable increase in energy after switching their older pet to raw and a reduction in symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions associated with old age.
All of the below nutrients are found in a balanced raw food diet. Biologically-appropriate sources for each are listed. Ask us for help on building a balanced diet for your pet.
Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. They are essential for several biological processes including growth, repairing body tissues, neurotransmitter transport and biosynthesis. There are 10 essential amino acids that dogs cannot produce on their own and therefore must obtain them from diet. There are 11 for cats. For dogs, the essential amino acids are: Arginine, Methionine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Leucine, Tryptophan, Lysine and Valine. For cats, the list is the same except one addition: Taurine.
Arginine: Elk, beef, buffalo, ostrich, kangaroo, venison meat, spinach
Methionine: Pheasant, turkey, quail, beef, elk, ostrich
Histidine: Venison, beef
Phenylalinine: Quail, beef, turkey
Isoleucine: Pheasant, beef, chicken, turkey
Threonine: Beef, pheasant, quail, turkey, venison, elk, chicken, rabbit, buffalo
Leucine: Beef, pheasant, turkey, quail, elk, chicken, buffalo
Tryptophan: Elk, pheasant, turkey, quail, rabbit, buffalo, chicken, spinach
Lysine: Beef, turkey, pheasant, elk, chicken, venison, rabbit, buffalo
Valine: Beef, pheasant, turkey, quail, duck, lamb
Taurine: Heart, liver, all muscle meat
Infant carnivores and expecting mothers have special dietary needs that can be addressed easily with a raw pet food diet. The raw diet is so nutritious that pregnant/lactating mothers and growing animals don’t need excessive supplementation. Certain foods can be added to provide extra nutrients needed during these times.
Expecting mothers will need smaller meals as their bellies become full of babies. Her stomach will not have as much space to expand so feeding 3-4 small meals per day is more appropriate than one or two larger ones. Pregnant dogs and cats will also need extra folic acid and vitamins to help their babies grow. Giving foods that naturally contain these nutrients will ensure your pet is absorbing them and staying healthy during this demanding life process. Liver is the most natural source of folic acid for carnivores as well as dark leafy green vegetables. The mother’s body will also need extra essential fatty acids, best given in the form of cold-pressed salmon, mackerel or sardine oil. Contact us or your vet to find out how much oil is appropriate for your dog or cat’s weight and health status.