Diet plays a major role in the health and wellness of domestic animals. It is the cornerstone of health and its effects on the cells of the body over a lifetime are significant. Improper nutrition can deplete the body and cause dysfunction in many forms. Systemic dehydration is a leading issue with animals that are fed commercial diets and can lead to diseases in all organ systems. Below the most common health problems associated with domestic carnivores are discussed.
We can help! Once your pet has been examined by a veterinarian, we can suggest the best course for feeding your pet. Nutritional supplements can also be useful and, in some cases, conventional measures too.
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 from the diet and 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 for one addition: Taurine.
Arginine: Elk, beef, buffalo, ostrich, kangaroo, venison meat, spinach
Methionine: Pheasant, turkey, quail, beef, elk, ostrich
Histidine: Venison, beef
Phenylalanine: 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
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 your pet grows 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 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.
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, the 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.
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 do “natural” and “holistic” really mean?
Some pet owners are faced with the task of creating a balanced diet for a less than enthusiastic eater. There are several tricks to help you switch your pet to a raw diet no matter how fussy the animal. Switching from a commercial diet to raw can be frustrating when your pet chooses the old food over the new. There are some commercial foods that add taste enhancers and other additives that cats and dogs become virtually addicted to. It is difficult to convince some animals that they can enjoy new foods.
I am often asked by pet owners about carbohydrate requirements for canines and felines. Most pet owners have heard a variety of answers from multiple sources and it can be a source of utter confusion with the array of pet foods available on the market today.
Carbohydrates are a source of energy that can be utilized by animals that have the metabolic abilities to do so. In addition, the quality and a particular source of the carbohydrate must be considered. Dogs and cats each have their own unique metabolic abilities to obtain nutrients from food. There are three sources of energy that can be utilized by most mammals: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It has been scientifically proven that carbohydrates are not required for dogs and cats to survive. Their evolutionary path has allowed them to live long and healthy lives without this form of food, presumably because they have evolved for millions of years without it.