In this blog post, you're going to learn some of the tips that form the basis of what I tell clients every day in my animal naturopathy practice so that their furry companions can achieve optimum wellness. These tips apply no matter whether your cat or dog is sick, appears to be healthy, is a babe or a golden oldie.
We all want our fur babies to be healthy right?
Of course we do.
We want them to live long and happy lives and to ensure that, we need to do everything we can for them to be healthy.
How do we do that?
It starts with my three top tips for improving your pet's health - the tips that form the basis of what I tell clients every day.
Tip #1 - Real Food
The majority of pet food available today is packaged and processed aka"fake food". Generally speaking, the food consists of meat, grains, vegetables, fruits, vitamins and minerals. These ingredients sound fine, however, when you look deeply into the way the product is made, you discover a number of problems with it. For example:
It contains pet grade ingredients (see Tip #2 for more detail on this).
It is lacking in nutrients.
If it is dry food, it doesn't contain adequate moisture and is therefore dehydrating.
It is higher in energy content.
It promotes tartar formation.
It contains artificial additives, colours, flavour and preservatives.
It contains chemical toxins (for example, chemicals used in intensive farming operations).
It contains synthetic vitamins and minerals (to replace the nutrients that have been lost through processing).
It supplies excess carbohydrates.
It is deficient in protective nutrients, for example, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants.
Real food on the other hand:
Contains human grade ingredients.
Is high quality.
Is minimally processed.
Contains abundant nutrients.
Is lower in energy content.
Reduces dental plaque.
Contains nothing artificial.
Is toxin free (or is low in toxins because it is virtually impossible to eat food that is completely toxin free due to the nature of food production these days).
Contains adequate nutrients.
Is rich in protective nutrients.
Provides optimum nutrition.
Is species appropriate.
In a nutshell, real food is essential for optimum wellness and therefore it should form the basis of your pet's diet.
Packaged, processed food is the most popular food to feed. Mainly because it is so convenient.
I get that.
We all live busy lives and so its appealing to make our lives a little easier through convenience. However, consider this.
If your pet gets sick, how convenient is that? You have to pack up your pet, drive them to the vet, spend a lot of money and time getting them better. This doesn't sound convenient to me. Does it to you?
Many diseases suffered by cats and dogs today can be avoided by feeding a diet based on real food. And I can tell you from personal experience, that there are ways and means of feeding your cat or dog a real food diet that is convenient with the benefit of being health promoting.
Tip #2 - Human Grade
When you buy pet food, you can pretty much guarantee that it's of a pet grade quality. What does this mean exactly?
For starters, pet grade ingredients are of a much lesser quality than human grade ingredients.
Human grade ingredients have to meet certain requirements in order to be considered suitable for human consumption.
Pet grade ingredients, on the other hand, are basically the scraps or leftovers from what has been taken away for humans to consume. It is the meat from sick, diseased and dying animals (most of whom have suffered in an intensively farmed environment). It is the leftovers that would never be deemed worthy for human consumption because it is either contaminated or damaged, deteriorated or perished.
Pet grade ingredients are cheap, they are low in quality, contaminated and they can increase your pet's risk of illness and disease.
Human grade food is more expensive but this is because it is of a higher quality than pet grade food.
Feeding pet grade food might be cheap for now, but if your pet becomes sick from eating a diet that is nutrient-poor and contaminated, going to the vet and giving pharmaceutical medication to mask the symptoms of your pet's illness, is not going to be cheap. Especially when you consider the increased risk of your animal suffering from different disease/s later on because of the potential long term side effects of the medication, which will require additional treatment.
If you want to improve your pet's health and reduce risk of illness or disease, I recommend choosing pet food that consists of human grade ingredients to ensure a safer and higher quality food. If it fits within your budget and it's available to you, then I recommend feeding organic food.
Tip #3 - Species Appropriate
Species appropriate food is food that is appropriate for your cat or your dog. It is food that cats or dogs have consumed over the majority of their evolutionary history. For example:
Bones, muscle meats, organ meats, skin and fur.
Plant matter in a partially digested state (to replicate the gut contents of prey) ie vegetables, and to a smaller extent, fruits and grains.
It is food that:
Has a high moisture content.
Is low in carbohydrates.
Is raw, clean, whole and nutrient dense.
Is rich in phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, fibre and good fats.
Some people reading this might be concerned about feeding raw food because of salmonella risks. Raw food can contain salmonella BUT many cats and dogs already have salmonella bacteria in their normal gastro-intestinal flora and naturally shed it through faeces and saliva.
Also, dogs and cats have a natural ability to eat bacteria-laden food - the highly gastric acidity of their stomach favours the breakdown of raw meats and is very effective at killing bacteria. The rapid transit time of their gut assists in the digestion of a species appropriate diet.
In most cases, it's not possible to feed a diet that exactly replicates an evolutionary diet. This is particularly the case with respect to the inclusion of skin and fur in your pet's diet, and to some extent, organ meats. Therefore some additional supplementation will be necessary to provide the nutritional benefits that your pet would get from eating skin, fur and uncommonly available organ meats such as pancreas, gallbladder, brains etc.
When you feed your cat or dog a species appropriate diet, you are feeding food that slows the ageing process and prevents disease.
When you feed your pet a diet that consists of real food, human-grade ingredients and is appropriate for their species, you are giving your cat or dog the opportunity to achieve optimum wellness.
Do you want to learn more about how you can help your cat or dog achieve optimum wellness? Perhaps you have a pet who is suffering from illness or disease and you'd like to learn ways to help them heal, naturally?
Until 31 December 2018, I'm offering a very special animal wellness program that will help your pet thrive in 2019. The program includes consults, a treatment plan, email and phone support and so much more. Find out more and get started here.