Raw Diet Basics Part 1
We get questions daily about feeding a raw diet to cats and dogs. I thought I'd take a few minutes today to cover some "DO's" when considering making this transition.
WHY feed a raw diet?
Cooking destroys the delicate nutrients that our pet's body needs for a strong immune system and a healthy digestive tract. A dog and cat's body needs more than the unspecified "vitamins" provided in dry kibble to support their immune systems so that they can effectively survive their environment. They need active digestive enzymes like bifidobacterium and a host of minerals as well, such as zinc, plus essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6.
When you switch to a raw diet, YOU are in control of what your pet eats, not necessarily a company who purchases ingredients from who knows where. You can put together a protein-rich, enzyme filled, energy giving diet to help provide your pet the longer healthier life he deserves.
Protein: Here are some meaty proteins that your dog and cat needs on a daily basis.
- Ground beef
- Ground turkey
These are perhaps the least expensive meats that you can purchase. They are filled with protein and good fats as well.
- Menhaden fish
These are all fish with the highest amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Good fats are crucial to the condition of your pet's skin and coat, brain function and joint health. If his diet is devoid of these fats, his skin will be dry, flaky and itchy. His coat will be dull and lack shine. It will also mean he will shed more, and his coat can become thin and patchy. Meat protein is the most important nutrient in any dog's or cat's diet. Without it they cannot survive.
Cats are obligate carnivores....Dogs are omnivores that lean heavily toward carnivore. This may sound a little confusing considering we just learned that too many carbs and grains are not good for canines and felines. However, a little white or brown rice can be beneficial to dogs. They are known as complex carbs. In addition to providing energy, carbs maintain the health of the thyroid, liver, heart, brain and nerve tissue. They regulate how much starch and fat will be broken down and used. Once in the digestive tract and assimilated, they are stored in the liver as glycogen, which controls energy. The central nervous system requires carbs for proper function, as well as the brain. The brain can't store glucose, and therefore depends on the minimum supply of glucose from the blood. With insufficient carbs in the diet, protein and fat are converted into energy, making the immune system weak and preventing a body from building enough antibodies to help fight infections, and illnesses.
NOTE FROM DINOVITE: Cats are obligate carnivores. Dogs-there are two camps. One is that dogs are obligate carnivores; one is that dogs are mainly carnivores. See the Raw Diet Part 2 for more details about carbs in a canine's diet and how best to prepare carbs if you choose to add them to your dog's diet. THANK YOU to folks who commented on this article and who are raw diet zealots! This article is mainly for getting started...in an affordable way. We will be covering the more scientific, species specific raw diet for those who are ready to jump in with 2 feet, later in our blog.
Cats do not have a nutritional requirement for veggies however, some veggies such as spinach and kale, are good for dogs. Spinach contains iron which is good for weak or nursing dogs. It also contains antioxidants which help to protect the heart and improve overall health. Kale is loaded with fiber, and it also contains beneficial vitamins and minerals needed for the immune system. You can also feed the occasional piece of broccoli or green beans or leafy veggies. These all are good sources of vitamins that can benefit your dog's health.
Vitamin and mineral supplements: An important step to creating a healthy and balanced raw diet for your dog or cat is to add a high grade vitamin/mineral supplement. Why feed a supplement when you are creating and feeding a raw diet? Our soil has been depleted of nutrients and minerals needed to fully enrich the fruits, veggies, grains and grass (that the protein source survives on) and other foods we and our pets need on a daily basis. Even the beef you feed your pet is not loaded with all the nutrients that it could be. Sure, these still contain things that won't be found in commercial foods, but adding a supplement rich in vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids and other required nutrients can help give those ingredients the punch your pet's body needs for optimal health.
Now that you know some of the benefits of feeding your pet a raw diet and have learned a few of the basics for creating your very own diet at home, we recommend giving it a go! It's the least (and perhaps the best) thing you can do for your furry best friend!
Next we will go over some of the DON'Ts of the raw diet. Keep an eye out for our video on how the owners of Dinovite feed the raw diet to their pets and for our follow up articles on a more strict variation of a raw diet for your pet!
Continue Reading: Raw Diet Basics Part 2
Is your pet itching, stinking, shedding like crazy? Tired of spending on things that don't work? Confused on what to do next?
Don't be overwhelmed! Here's an easy recipe for a homemade diet using simple, economical ingredients from your local grocery store that can help you get started! Just watch this short video: Making a Homemade Diet for your Pet