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Why Feed a Natural Diet
We have been feeding our cats and dogs natural food for so long, that this question has become "Why feed anything else?"
But we remember how nervous we were in the beginning - advertising had convinced us that hard dry pellets filled with grains and preservatives (and other ingredients that we could not see) were the only path to pet health.
We had been led to believe that we were incapable of feeding our beloved dogs and cats a balanced diet.
A look at the history of commercial dog food makes for interesting reading. There are many articles available on the internet and we don't want to simply repeat what they say here - both NYC Dogs and Raw to the Bone provide details. Essentially, pellets/kibble have only been widely used since the 1950's when corporations discovered the enormous profits that could be made in the pet food industry via the technology of heat extrusion. Already in the 1930's, when most commercial pet food was canned and horse-meat based, the Natural Pet-Rearing Movement was started by the herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy. She promoted a diet of raw food for dogs and cats, and the treatment of ailments via natural remedies.
The modern natural feeding movement has been spreading since 1993 when Dr Ian Billinghurst published his work which talked about the illnesses that have arisen since the feeding of pellets and strongly promoted feeding "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food" (barf). Both Billinghurst, and Dr Tom Lonsdale (2001) researched the diet of wolves and wild dogs and showed us that the natural meal plan of our dogs’ ancestors can help us to keep our beloved pets as happy and healthy as they were meant to be.
Other vets like Dr Jean Dodds and Dr Karen Becker have taken this work further and we find their publications very useful. For cats, there is an advocacy group called The Feline Nutrition Education Society - their website is packed with useful articles. The basic philosophy that all these and many other writers share is that optimal pet health will only be obtained if we mimic the foods that our pets would eat in nature.
It was only when our much-loved dog and our cat fell sick from eating an expensive brand of pellets that we opened our eyes to raw feeding. An article by Born Free USA entilted What's Really in Pet Food put us off pellets for good. With raw food, you can see exactly what your animals are eating. Your dogs and cats are getting a varied diet filled with fresh, high quality ingredients.
A raw diet is the way nature intended. A species appropriate diet for dogs is one that mimics the way wolves and wild dogs eat in their natural habitat. Dogs and cats both feed on whole carcasses - meat, bones, offal, and the stomach contents of the prey (vegetable matter). Cats are natural hunters and are pure carnivores. Wild puppies eat a variety of food including soil, grass, stomach contents of prey, raw meat, bones, offal, vegetables, fruit, berries, insects, bark, roots, faeces. They also forage for additional nutrients. And they never cook!
This is what is true for us. It is why we are called As Nature Intended, and is the guiding philosphy behind our "Give a Dog a Bone" and "Cat of the Day" raw dog and cat food recipes.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
People who have switched their cats and dogs to a raw diet have seen that ...
|Thank you to the Feline Nutrition Education Society for this video:
More information on feeding your pets a raw natural diet can be found in books and on websites. Here are a few recommendations:
Give your Dog a Bone by Ian Billinghurst
Raw Meaty Bones by Tom Lonsdale
The Herbal Handook for Cats and Dogs by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Schultze
Dr Pitcairn's Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard Pitcairn
Raising Cats Naturally by Michelle Bernard
Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Anne Martin
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