21 Aug Feeding our companions for health.
In this post, I hope to discuss one of the most basic factors that we influence in the care of our pets – diet. As I describe my thoughts on how we should feed our pets, I feel the need to explain a few assumptions that I make in determining my recommendations for their diet. Because I feel by understanding my thought processes you will have a better appreciation for how I came up with my recommendations. The assumptions I use are the following. As I’ve stated before, our pet’s bodies are built with and fueled by what they eat. What we feed our pets should be easy, because if it isn’t, then it will be hard to do daily because of the daily stresses we all face. And finally, it should make sense to us.
I feel that our pet’s food should not consist of by products or products left over from the creation of other products in our highly manufactured diets. Yes, by product could be healthy, just cause it’s not the piece of chicken or beef that I would eat doesn’t meant it’s not quality protein. The problem is its all grouped together. It has been shown that with oil, shoe leather and vitamin mix you could create a diet that looks adequate chemically but was significantly indigestible to dogs and cats. It’s interesting how most diets are not tested by feeding trial but by chemical comparison of previous diets. The feeding trials are not years but rather weeks to prove that the food is healthy. Diets should not consist of flavor enhancers cleverly labeled as natural flavors. There is nothing natural about them. They are designed to unnatural increase the flavor of the food.
Our pet’s food should be easy to make. If you have to follow ten steps of an elaborate process to create your pet’s food you’ll be less likely to keep with it week to week. One of the major benefits of a kibble diet is the ease of use. Nothing’s easier then dumping out of the plastic container into their bowl day after day, week after week until the bag is done. What food in its right state will stay stable for so long under any conditions like kibble?
For the kibble to be formed into this exceptional dry and stable kibble, the food has to be processed under very intense pressure and temperatures. The temperatures are so high in fact that they will damage and degrade vitamins that naturally occur in the food. These vitamins are then added back by spraying the kibble after processing with a mineral and vitamin mixture. When you think of a vitamin mixture, you naturally think of nothing more basic and organic. But these vitamins could be nothing further from the truth. Most of these vitamins are chemically manufactured in china starting from oil. It makes me wonder if this is the difference why studies that show positive effects of diets high in certain vitamins can’t be repeated with vitamin supplementation.
I feel that for our pet’s variety is important. Their diet should be changed frequently. To believe that their diet is complete and balanced and can be feed for a lifetime with no ill effects is naive. Nutrition is a study that in the human world continues to change and question beliefs we had just a few years ago. But to feel that we have nutrition of our companion animals completely determined, where a significantly smaller amount of research money and time is spent, is hard to imagine.
If you follow nutrition in our companion animals, the arguments I make may not be new to you. Some points where I differ from other holistic veterinarians is I don’t believe in raw diets. I feel that there are no advantages. In fact, cooking food helps to breakdown proteins and carbohydrates allowing for easier digestion. The raw diets they are eating are not the pray they hunted down and killed and consumed but in fact chicken or beef that was killed and processed and shipped for hundreds if not thousands of miles. Hardly my definition of fresh. I also feel that most dogs can digest and utilize carbohydrates. Some do benefit from a grain free diet because of allergies but not all and food allergies are quite rare.
We at Helping Paws Veterinary Hospital feel that diet is one of the major factors in our companions’ health. We would love to help guide you down the path of good health. In following posts, I plan to discuss some specific guidelines for a home prepared diet for our pets. Continue to watch our Facebook page or website for blog for upcoming information.