Roger Meacock, a vet based in Swindon, UK says: “What people need to understand is that while on the outside dogs and cats have been domesticated into cuddly pets, inside a dog is 99% related to the wolf, while a pet cat’s digestive system is no different from a wild lion’s.” He says that their diet “should revolve around raw meat, as it would do in the wild, which is good for their teeth and gums as well as the animal’s general health.”
Many pet foods contain chemical additives. TV vet Joe Inglis says: “Over the past few years, many additives have been banned from human food, but pet food is still pumped full of similar chemicals.” (ibid) The way raw ingredients are processed into pet food that will sit in a bowl without going off, or that can be stored in a can or bag for years, means that many of the nutrients are destroyed. This is why additives such as preservatives and vitamins need to be added. Jackie Marriott of the UK Raw Meaty Bones Support and Action Group says: “Although our pets digest them, their digestive systems have to work flat out to derive the best benefit… Most importantly, processed food also sits like a sludge on their teeth.”
An alternative to commercial pet foods is the BARF – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food – diet. (BARF is also translated as the ‘Bones And Raw Food’ Diet.) It was devised by Dr Ian Billinghurst, a veterinary surgeon, writer and lecturer from Australia. He wrote a book entitled “Give Your Dog a Bone” which changed many people’s thinking around how they should feed their pets. He says:
“I realized that most of the disease problems I was seeing in cats and dogs were due to nothing other than poor nutrition. That most of those diseases did not have to be. They could be eliminated with correct nutrition. To me this was both a revolutionary thought and an incredible revelation. I wanted to tell everybody! The only problem as I saw it back then was that this philosophy of feeding may not be accepted by my fellow vets who rely heavily on ill health in their patients for their daily bread.”
His website states:
“A biologically appropriate diet for a dog is one that consists of raw whole foods similar to those eaten by the dogs’ wild ancestors. The food fed must contain the same balance and type of ingredients as consumed by those wild ancestors. This food will include such things as muscle meat, bone, fat, organ meat and vegetable materials and any other “foods” that will mimic what those wild ancestors ate.”
Specially prepared packs of raw foods can now be purchased from several online outlets (such as Honey’s, Raw2Paw, and Barf Pet Foods) making them more convenient, and the price is similar to feeding an animal on a good quality tinned food.
Some people voice concerns about these raw food diets. In the last part of this series I’ll look at what these might be and how to make sure your pet stays healthy.
If you are interested in nutrition for your pet and would like to explore this further, contact me for a no-obligation chat where we can discuss your situation and see what simple changes you might be able to make to enhance their wellbeing. My contact details are:
You can also read more about my work on my website:
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