By Guest Blogger Linda Zurich
Is the concept of raw pet food a little too out of the box for you? Have you been incorporating raw unprocessed foods into your own diet and that of your children to improve health, vitality, and immunity but are still buying store pet food for your furry friends?
If so, consider that Dr. Weston A. Price’s groundbreaking research on diet and its connection to human health has profound implications not just for our own health but for our pets’ oral and systemic health as well!
gum disease epidemic in pets fed store pet food
Just as with human beings, one of the biggest health issues today in pets is that of poor oral health. The sad truth is that the majority of domestic cats and dogs fed a diet of commercial pet food these days develop either gingivitis or full blown periodontal disease by the age of 3.
This is due in large part to the fact that all commercially available pet food is highly processed, and as such is extremely unnatural for our beloved animal companions to eat.
Also, cans and bags of pet food usually contain large amounts of soy, grains and/or other starchy plant based foods that are neither nutrient dense, nor are they natural fare for carnivores. So whatever nourishment these products may contain is not well assimilated by the animals consuming them.
the form of the food we feed our pets is crucial
Another factor is that the form of the food our carnivorous pets eat is critical to their oral health. And unfortunately, neither extruded, cereal-like kibble, nor mushy, ground, cooked canned pet food are the natural form of food for a carnivorous canine or feline to consume.
Here are some graphic photos demonstrating the difference between the oral health of conventionally fed pets as compared to that of properly raw fed pets:
degenerative disease rampant in conventionally fed pets
Once we begin to understand how inferior and downright damaging these highly processed diets of commercial pet food can be, their potential connection to the dramatic rise of chronic ailments in pets we’re seeing today becomes abundantly evident.
Such health issues include things like obesity, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, respiratory infectinons, ear infections, skin rashes, digestive issues like IBD, IBS, food allergies, constipation, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, urinary issues including cystitis, struvite crystals (common in cats) and CRF (chronic renal failure), among others.
In contrast, many people who feed their pets a diet of whole raw foods, which includes raw meaty bones, hunks of raw meat, and raw organs, often notice a variety of benefits and improvements to their pets’ health.
** It’s important to note here that although I wholeheartedly support and promote raw feeding for dogs and cats, in no way am I suggesting here that raw diets for pets are a panacea, or that feeding your pet raw will assuage or resolve any or all maladies. **
Here are just a few of the many great benefits reported by people who feed their pets a diet of whole raw foods:
#1: stronger, healthier gums
When carnivores eat hunks of raw muscle meat and raw meaty bones, including attached sinew, tendons, cartilage, and other connective tissues, the ripping, tearing and gnawing they’re compelled to do with their teeth and jaws provides these animals’ mouths with a naturally beneficial scrubbing and flossing action.
The consumption of the proper, natural form of food for carnivores, along with all its scrubbing benefits, as well as the bioavailable nutrients such minimally processed foods contain, all help to promote both superior gum health as well as excellent overall oral health.
#2: clean white teeth
The plaque and tartar that develop on the teeth of most conventionally fed domestic pets is due largely to the starchy, carb-rich ingredients found in most all kibble, and/or the unnatural (for carnivores) mushy texture of canned pet food. Conversely, the consumption of whole, minimally processed raw foods does wonders to keep a carnivore’s teeth clean,healthy and white.
No more expensive pet teeth cleaning bills at the vet!
#3: improved nutrient assimilation
Since the digestive systems of carnivores like cats and dogs are specifically designed to digest and derive their nourishment from the raw meat, bones and organs of other animals, it’s this food which supplies them with the most ideal, bioavailable, and easily assimilated nutrients.
#4: weight control
Overweight and even obesity in pets, especially those that eat mostly kibble, is an increasing problem. But most all pets that are started on raw very early in life as puppies or kittens have no problems with their weight, and many overweight animals that are transitioned to raw tend to lose excess ounces and pounds with time.
#5: less stinky stools
The stools that come out of dogs and cats fed commercial pet food are usually unnaturally large and extremely foul smelling. They also seem to take forever to break down. By comparison, a raw fed pet’s poop is much smaller, has very little odor, and rapidly crumbles to ash, quickly and easily biodegrading back into the earth – just like the natural scat of a wild carnivore.
#6: fresher breath
Most dogs and cats that eat nothing but junk pet food day after day have notoriously and often seriously nasty “doggy/kitty breath.” However just about anyone who has a totally raw fed dog or cat will tell you that their pet’s breath is MUCH less offensive than that of pets that eat nothing but conventional pet food.
#7: reduction in yeasty ear gunk/infections
When carnivorous canines and felines eat starch-filled kibble day after day, this can often trigger the accumulation of dark, rank smelling gunk in the ears, or perhaps even contribute to chronic ear infections. Starting pets on raw early in life as puppies or kittens can often prevent such conditions outright, and switching adult pets to a raw has been known to help mitigate or even heal them.
#8: softer, shinier coats
Many people whose pets are conventionally fed are unaware that their animals’ coats actually have a slightly greasy feel to them, and may even be somewhat dull in appearance. By contrast, most everyone who switches their pets to raw is amazed at how much softer and cleaner feeling and glossier their pets’ fur becomes.
#9: friendlier, more affectionate demeanor
Many folks who switch their pets are pleasantly surprised to discover that their animals suddenly seem to get friendlier and more interactive, and some even become more sociable and affectionate!
#10: healthy mental, psychological and physical stimulation
When a dog or cat eats some whole raw food, they’re compelled to use their minds, psyches and bodies in ways they never would just mindlessly lapping up a bowl of kibble or canned food. Feeding our pets raw puts them in touch with their natural, innate, dynamic instincts in a way that feeding them junk pet food simply never can.
If you’ve only ever watched cats and dogs eat kibble or canned pet food, and have never seen one dive into and enthusiastically tackle a meal of whole raw foods, please check out the videos and photos below.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well once you’ve seen these pictures, I think you’ll agree that witnessing these animals eat first hand the way nature intended them to, truly does say it all – infinitely better than any words ever could!
Raw Fed Puppies:
Raw Fed Kitten:
Raw Fed Dogs (and some cats too!)
about the author
Compelled by a passion for both learning as well as sharing about the most effective and natural holistic paths to healing and wellness, Linda Zurich is an ardent independent researcher with a deeply curious mind.
A prodigious writer, herbalist, foodie, educator and perpetual student of health, she is the author of Detoxification: 70 Ways to Cleanse, Clear & Purify Your Body, Space & Life. She has also written an ebook called Raw Fed Cats: Feeding Cats a Diet of Whole Raw Foods Based on Nature’s Model, and is the creator and author of the website http://rawfedcats.org where her ebook is available for sale.
Linda is devoted to empowering people with the knowledge that our bodies are imbued with a profoundly intelligent, natural healing wisdom – a capacity which is actuated by nourishing our bodies deeply and being proactive about detoxification, thereby exponentially strengthening our ability to regain and maintain vibrant health.
Linda’s book along with details on her upcoming speaking engagements can be found by clicking here. She can be contacted at linzurich (at)yahoo.com