Should we feed our pets real food?
Just like Human’s our pets have basic needs. I am not a vet but as a Naturopath I have a good understanding in the power of nature to heal and nourish. These recommendations are made after hours of research and applying basic principles of natural health across the board. See the Naturopathic principles here. Here is why I thing our pets should be fed real food
It makes sense to me that animals will benefit from eating a diet as close to nature as possible. Unfortunately pet food manufacturers have made us believe that the only food our pets should eat comes out of a can or it a biscuit. Our pets are suffering from the same chronic illnesses that we are. In the wild you do not find animals with food allergies, arthritis, ibs/ibd (crohns and ulcerative colitis is on the rise in captive animals), epilepsy, diabetes and of course cancer. Animals either die from predators, survival of the fittest or old age. So why are our pets mimicking human degenerative diseases. The solution is simple. There are many holistic vets championing the cause.
Pet food is generally packed full of wheat, corn, additives, msg and colourings. All of which can be toxic to our pets and certainly do not support their immune system needed to help them to detoxify from all this ‘fake’ food. The food is generally canned or biscuit form- neither of which are found in the natural diet. Today I am mainly talking about dogs and cats but this is largely seen across all domestic and zoo reared animals.
Most food sources for pets are also GMO and grain dominant. Animals would not choose to eat any of this food in the wild. So why do we insist on feeding them this in our homes.? A cat or dog in the wild will catch a kill every two or three days and would eat that kill over those few days. Compare this with the calories they ingest in a normal day in a domesticated environment and it is clear how they are mostly overweight. Combine this with their less active lives indoors and their lack of interaction in a pack (which they would do in nature) and the weight piles on. Most household pets eat the same thing day in and day out- we would never eat the same thing everyday- we have different needs as the climate changes and pets will have cravings too!
Of course their bodies are also always combating inflammation and their immune systems are constantly turned on. Then they are packed full of vaccinations, anti-biotics and pharmaceuticals like steroids also pet supplements (not always in absorbable forms) to try and ‘keep them healthy’. This is also impacted by a bacteria and enzyme free diet (highly processed canned and cooked foods when they would be feeding on prey they killed themselves and eat raw). They are rarely allowed the bones and sinew they would feast on, organ meats and freedom to drink bacteria from mineral rich natural water sources. It is no surprise that they suffer from chronic illness, mood swings (pets are often labelled with depression) and are overweight.
So how can we enhance our pets lives and help them to heal and thrive in our homes. We can start very simply with their food. Research what your animal would eat in the wild. In the case of cats and dogs it would be largely made up of raw meat from small animals (birds, frogs, bugs, mice, snakes, fish- if a cat is lucky!), and mainly bones from those animals. You would rarely catch a cat or dog eating vegetables-they are carnivores after all. They do eat grasses and plants like cat nip to aid digestion, feed bacteria levels and fibre to help digestive transit (prevent constipation).
I feed my cat the following;
Dehydrated raw fish
Fish/bone broth jelly
Tinned tuna in spring water
Raw salmon belly (my cat is still a kitten so I help her by mincing it in a food processor- then mix it with the jelly as above)
Pet food with absolutely nothing added!
Raw chicken wings
She gets the thigh bones to gnaw on and left over slow cooked chicken.
Scrambled egg or the raw egg left in the egg shell to lick out
A little water kefir in her water with some rescue remedy from time to time
If you are interested in reading more, this book is invaluable full of inspiring stories and experiences he has had in his busy practice.