CLEO

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

WE ARE CARNIVORES! Part II

Many pet owners want the best for their pets, and are willing to spend tons of money getting their beloved companions the best of everything - the prettiest collars, the coolest t-shirts and premium or even ultra premium pet food. 

In the past, I used to feed my dogs and cat the best kibble there was on the market. Why? Simply because I did not know any better. And surely if my vet thinks that I should feed my pets kibble, who am I to disagree? 

I was one of those who thought I was doing the best for my furry companions by buying them the "best" and "most expensive" kibble there was in the market. But little did I know that I was actually slowly but surely "poisoning" my kids. 

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Click on the following link to find out  
 
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And then of course, there are those pet owners who will go to great lengths to prepare home-made meals for their canine or feline companions in order to ensure that their beloved pets get a balanced diet. Very often however, these home-made meals include fruit and vegetables. And some even go so far as to advocate a vegetarian diet for their pets which is completely inappropriate.

The ideology that including fruits, vegetables and grains in your pet's diet will make it a wholesome and balanced diet is completely and utterly wrong. Your canine and feline companions do not need these types of food and by feeding them these foods, you are actually putting unnecessary stress on their internal organs. 


When I first started raw feeding I was sort of following the BARF method which included a small amount of pureed fruit and veges. Why? Well, it was because the few raw feeder friends that I had included fruit and veges as part of their dogs and cats diets, and because I was desperate to try anything that would improve Cleo's health. 

*Yes, I only made the switch to raw feeding after Cleo was diagnosed with a severely enlarged heart and her condition deteriorated so rapidly and there was nothing the vets could do except give her medication to alleviate the symptoms.Thankfully, two years down the line, Cleo is doing really well on her prey-model raw diet which does not include any grains, fruits or vegetables.

Anyway, since we first started raw feeding almost two years ago now, I have been doing extensive and continued reading, and I have learnt that dogs and especially cats have no use for fruits or veges. (I should have realised this on my own after the first month of raw feeding. In the first few meals, yes they would eat the pureed fruit and veges, but then later on they would just go for the meat and bones only!).

Picture from www.vetmed.wsu.edu

Picture from www.vetmed.wsu.edu
Now let's take a look at the teeth of our furry companions. Note that both dogs and cats have no flat molars which are required for chewing and grinding veges, fruits and grains. They only have sharp incissors, canines and molars which are meant to cut and rip meat off bone as well as to crush non-weight bearing bones. If you observe your dog carefully, they do not chew... they merely crush  their food a couple of times (if it's a big piece) and then swallow. Dogs and especially cats, are unable to move their jaws from side to side to provide the grinding movement required to chew. This is also another reason why many dogs choke on kibble or other "small" pieces of inappropriate food - because they are unable to chew and therefore will inhale or swallow small pieces of food.


Additionally, dogs and cats do not produce the enzyme amylase in their mouths like humans (and herbivores and omnivores) which is very important for breaking down starch and carbohydrates before they enter the stomache.

Their digestive systems are that of true carnivores, i.e.a they have a very short digestive track which means that it cannot digest plant matter which requires a much longer time to be broken down. How many of you have noticed that if your dog ate some grass, it would come out the other end completely undigested?

This means that if you feed your dog or cat grains and carbohydrates, you are stressing your pets digestive system and you may cause excessive strain on your dog's or cat's pancreas.   

For a more detailed analysis on whether or not your dog or cat requires fruits, grains and veges, check out the following links:

The Great Debate: Do Dogs Need Fruits and Vegetables?
Myth: Dogs are Omnivores 
What is Wrong with Dog Food?
Canine Evolution and Anatomy

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Note: This post is intended as a guide or reference and is not meant to replace veterinary advice. The information on this post is based on conclusions that I have made after extensive reading, advice from other raw feeders in particular the Raw Feeding and Raw Chat Facebook groups, and on my experience with my own dogs. Please consult your holistic veterinarian for advice on the most appropriate way to feed and supplement your dogs.

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