Why does the quality of food make a difference in our pet’s health? Simply put, food is body fuel, and life does not exist without it. The strength of our pet’s immune system, its resistance to disease, and its quality of life all depend on the type and quality of food that he/she eats.
If our pets are to reach their genetic potential in terms of health, longevity, physical activity and reproduction, their modern day diet must mimic as closely as possible their evolutionary diet. The further an animal’s diet departs from its evolutionary diet, the more health problems that animal is likely to develop.
Each species on our planet has been shaped by eons of evolution to thrive in good health by eating specific foods. According to their physiology, dogs and cats are carnivores. They have short digestive systems designed to digest food quickly, and are equipped with the digestive enzymes and other natural chemicals needed to digest the specific foods that they have evolved to eat.
Even with the many changes that humans have made to the exteriors of our domesticated dogs and cats, they still retain their original carnivorous features. Internally they have never changed, with the dog and the wolf classified as the same species, while the domesticated cat belongs to the family of flesh eating mammals along with the lion and tiger. Being a carnivore however, does not mean that our cats and dogs should eat an all-meat diet. They have evolved to derive their needed nutrients mainly from eating other animals, including those animals’ muscle meat, bones, organs, and stomach contents - all raw.
A carnivore’s body has been designed to derive its needed nutrients from raw food. Many successful zoos and other captive habitats have discovered that they cannot keep their animals healthy and able to reproduce unless they are fed raw food. Cooking or heat processing actually changes the molecular structure of food, binding food molecules tighter together. This makes them more difficult to digest and transforms them into “foreign” or unfamiliar food.
Cooked food takes longer to digest and therefore requires more of the animal’s energy. Heat also destroys enzymes and antioxidants, which are very important for good health. Enzymes are needed for every biochemical activity in our dog or cat’s body, and unfortunately, the body has a limited supply of its own enzymes. It is designed to consume enzymes in raw food which aid in digestion and a healthy immune system.
The benefits of feeding a species-appropriate diet of raw foods to our dog or cat will appear in stronger disease and parasite resistance, elimination of bad body odor and breath, healthy skin and coat, improved digestion, clean teeth, strong nails, and healthy eyes and ears. The links between improper diet and numerous diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are well documented and we are urged to eat more fresh, whole foods. It is time to respect the dietary needs of our pets as well, to ensure an enhanced quality of life for them. Our pets have added years to our lives, it is now time that we add years to theirs.
Written by Leslie Charlton, Franchisee, Tail Blazers MacLeod Trail Co-op Centre - (Excerpts from Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats: The Ultimate Diet by Kymythy Schultze)