The Effects of Systemic Dehydration in Domestic Dogs and Cats
Hydration is mandatory for true health in all mammalian species. The effects of dehydration are severe and can cause extreme dysfunction of the internal organs, the skin, and all body systems. In acute and severe cases, dehydration is easily diagnosed but mild, long-term dehydration is harder to recognize.
Animals that eat dry commercial foods are constantly fighting a state of dehydration. The ingestion of foods with low moisture content causes the animal to pull water from stores in the body to break down the food into a usable form. When this process occurs, the animal will become thirsty and begin to drink water. A high thirst drive in an animal can be a sign of systemic dehydration. Diets with low moisture content will cause this phenomenon.
Naturally, carnivores ingest foods that have high moisture content so the body does not become dehydrated during the process of ingesting and digesting. The equilibrium of the body is not compromised by the food. Dry foods constantly disrupt the natural equilibrium of the body, causing the animal to have to drink enough water to return to a healthy state. This process has been observed in clinical settings in animals that eat dry foods, canned foods, and raw foods. Canned foods and raw foods are high in moisture and dry food is low. Kidney disease can be an effect of long-term systemic dehydration. Cats are particularly susceptible to this condition and kidney failure has become a leading killer of domestic cats.
Contact us to find out more about formulating a diet for your pet as a preventative measure for organ disease. For animals with existing kidney or liver disease, see your holistic vet and ask how a raw pet food diet can help.
If you have a dog or cat with gastrointestinal concerns, it is important to consider whether or not your pet is on an appropriate diet. Raw food is the most natural form of food for your carnivorous companion and is easily digested and absorbed. Chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea can be due to a variety of underlying health concerns that should be addressed in a timely fashion with your veterinarian.
Liver disease, pancreatic/intestinal/bowel disease, and food allergies are common issues for companion animals. If your pet is chronically vomiting and/or having diarrhea, talk to your vet about doing a comprehensive blood panel to rule out these concerns.
A raw pet food diet can be hugely beneficial for animals with digestive concerns though it must be done safely and be customized for the specific needs of your pet. The switch should be done with the help of your veterinarian and it may be beneficial to do blood work during the transition if there are major health concerns. Contact us for more information.
Kidney & Urinary Tract Issues
Urinary issues are common in cats but can affect dogs too. Many of these problems develop from the urinary pH being too high or too low which is followed by either an infection or the formation of crystals in the urine. The kidneys can also be involved so blood work may be needed if your vet suspects this type of issue.
A raw pet food diet can help to restore the correct urinary pH and is helpful for animals with kidney problems when a proper diet is formulated. How much protein can be given under these circumstances is up for debate but when dealing with cats and dogs in a clinical setting, I have seen several cats with kidney problems do extremely well on a properly formulated raw diet. Proper hydration is essential when tending to urinary and kidney dysfunction in conjunction with proper diet and medical attention. Talk to your holistic veterinary practitioner about the best approach for your pet.
Skin & Ear Problems
Far too many pet owners watch their pets struggle with skin-related diseases. Issues of all kinds can contribute but diet can be a major factor. Skin health is a major indicator of an animal's immune and overall health status. Common factors can be allergies, hypothyroidism, decreased immune function, and improper diet. Your pet should also be checked to rule out parasites such as fleas and mange.
If you live with an animal with a chronic skin condition, you know how hard it is to watch. An itchy animal is not a happy one and the problem should be addressed quickly. There are conventional options to treat skin problems such as steroids but there are several holistic measures that can be taken before considering this route. Diet is a major factor and a raw pet food diet can be formulated to help ease itchy skin. Your vet can help you determine the core reasons why your pet is itchy. Once this is determined, a raw diet can help reduce discomfort and ease symptoms along with medical care and immune support.
Allergies most commonly affect the skin and the gastrointestinal system. They can also affect the respiratory system in extreme cases. Common symptoms are itchy skin/ears/feet, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your veterinarian must determine the cause of the allergies and help find solutions. In many cases, diet is a factor. Many animals have developed allergies to grains (wheat, corn), proteins (chicken, beef), and preservatives commonly used in commercial pet foods. Allergies are the sign of an over-active immune system where antibodies to "passive antigens" form even though they are not harmful to the organism (eg. grass, pollen, wheat, chicken protein). Your vet can help you determine the causes of your pet’s allergies through allergy testing and an elimination diet. A raw elimination diet will cut out the grain and add antioxidants and natural source vitamins that fight allergy symptoms by strengthening the immune system and helping it to become more “intelligent”. Single dietary proteins can also be used to determine which ones your animal is not allergic to. If you have already seen your vet and decided that a raw pet food diet is in your pets' future, ask us for help in formulating a suitable nutritional formula.
Dental health is an extremely important factor in your pets' health. Dental disease causes dysfunction of the internal organs, the immune system and, in extreme cases, can cause organ failure. Many animals suffer unnecessarily from dental disease. Small dogs and cats are particularly susceptible. A raw diet can resolve many cases. Live enzymes in raw foods and chewing bones are often enough for animals to live a lifetime with healthy teeth and gums. Some animals may need a trip to the vet for cleaning and for those with pre-existing dental disease, the healing process can take time to resolve.
Dogs are susceptible to type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) and cats to type 2. Animals with diabetes need special daily care and diet is paramount. Diabetes is a serious illness that affects many domestic carnivores. Carnivores have little to no nutritional requirement for grain-based carbohydrates, especially processed ones. The daily ingestion of these types of foods can increase blood sugar levels. A natural diet does not contain grain but natural sources of proteins, fats, carbohydrates & vitamins that can help reduce blood sugar levels. Overweight animals are particularly susceptible to diabetes and the effects of the disease. Talk to your holistic veterinarian about how a raw diet can help reduce the risk of diabetes and can help control blood sugar levels in animals already suffering from the disease.