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Canine Trauma

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats

Kymythy Schultze

Each new day brings validity to what wise nutritionists, and your mother, have been saying for years; eat your vegetables and stop eating junk food! We are encouraged to consume fewer processed foods and relymore on unadulterated natural ingredients in our meals if we wish to enjoy an optimal quality of life. Surely, our beloved animal companions are entitled to the same consideration.

Why does the quality of food make a difference in your pet's health? Simply put, food is body fuel and life does not exist without it. The strength of your pet's immune system, its resistance to disease and its quality of life all depend on the food that it eats. Most commercial pet food products are derived from the waste of our food industry. Many contain ingredients such as 4-D animal parts, which include the dead, dying, diseased, and disabled, along with cancerous tissue and non-food items, euthanized pets including the euthanasia chemicals, preservatives, mold, fungi, and rancid fat. Even if superior ingredients were used, these cooked products would still lack vital enzymes and provide only a fixed formula, with no healthy variety. The pet food industry is an unregulated business without quality control or longevity guidelines. Take a moment and ask yourself if you would want to eat these products. Would you feed them to your human children, day after day, year after year, for their entire life? Of course not. Common sense and current knowledge has proven that we must eat a wide variety of fresh, wholesome foods to enjoy good health. The same wisdom applies to our pets.

Just as commercially processed foods are a fairly new addition to the human diet; they are also a recent substitution for whole foods in the diets of our canine and feline friends. Until very recently, about sixty years or so ago, people shared their own food with their dogs and cats. In fact, people have been making their animal companion's meals at home since the beginning of the human-animal relationship, perhaps 14 to 100 thousand years ago. And it is no coincidence that our pets today are suffering from an of epidemic of ill health with many of the same diseases as their human caretakers.

Each species on our planet has been shaped by eons of evolution to thrive in good health by eating specific foods. These food requirements vary with each species. The digestive design of our domesticated dogand cat is still identical to that of their wild relatives. According to their physiology, dogs and cats are carnivores. But make no mistake, they should not eat an all meat diet. Surely, we have never seen herds of pot roasts and filet mignons galloping over the plains. Carnivores such as our dogs and cats have evolved to derive their needed nutrients from eating other animals; including that animal's bones, organs, and stomach contents, all raw. Over a period of ten years, in a strictly controlled experiment, Dr. Francis Pottenger, Jr. proved the importance of feeding raw food in his in famous cat studies.

Dr. Pottenger found a startling contrast in health between cats fed a cooked food diet and cats fed a raw food diet. The cats on the raw food diet thrived in good health, never needing veterinary care. The cooked food cats swiftly deteriorated in health until, by the third generation, they could no longer reproduce. When those cats were placed on a raw food diet, it took four generations for them to recover from the effects of consuming cooked food. Biologists have yet to discover any wild carnivore that cooks its food. Their entire physiology is designed to eat raw food. The closer we can simulate a natural wild diet, including a variety of species-appropriate raw foods, the closer we will be in providing nutrients in the form that our animal companions must have to enjoy good health. Since few of us are willing or able to provide whole prey animals for our pets to eat, making a well-designed homemade diet is the next best thing.

A few of the benefits of feeding a species-appropriate diet of raw foods to your dog or cat include: stronger disease and parasite resistance, elimination of bad body odor and breath, healthy skin and coat, improved digestion, and the satisfaction of knowing exactly what your pet is eating. Dr. Pottenger's invaluable work is as important today as it was 60 years ago, perhaps even more so, because with the increased use of processed pet food products, we are actually conducting his research on a much grander scale. But, by switching our pets to a raw food diet, we may enable them to enjoy the optimum quality of life that they deserve.

Copyright 1997 Kymythy Schultze. Reprinted from the PPNF Health Journal with permission of the author. No part of it may be copied/distributed. Kymythy Schultze is an Animal Health Instructor and published her new book The Ultimate Diet: Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats in March 1998.

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