How healthy is your pet? Most people feel that if their pet is not actually sick, that s/he is "healthy". But health is more that just the absence of symptoms. There are many levels of health, and most dogs and cats, even those that are not overtly sick, could be a lot healthier. The essence of preventive medicine is to strive for the highest level of health, thereby precluding the need for the body to produce symptoms.
Many factors influence an animal's health: diet, vaccination, exposure to toxins, drugs, and infectious agents, exercise, emotional factors, and many others. For many of the animals I see, poor quality diet has commonly been a factor reducing health and contributing to health problems.
Commercial pet foods, whether dry, canned, or soft-moist, are highly processed convenience foods, and that convenience usually carries a high price in terms of nutritional quality. Nearly all of them use inexpensive poor quality protein sources, such as diseased meat and organs condemned for human consumption. Most are laced with preservatives and food coloring. Canned foods have high levels of lead, dry foods have rancid fat, and soft-moist foods contain up to 25% sugar. Even the best commercial pet foods are highly processed and thoroughly cooked, so there are no fresh or raw foods in the diet. This also destroys many of the vitamins, which are added at low levels to begin with. Commercial pet foods bear little or no resemblance to the diets that dogs or cats would naturally choose for themselves in the wild.
So, you now ask, what should I feed my pet? I strongly recommend a homemade diet of fresh wholesome foods, such as raw meat, dairy and soy protein, whole grains, fresh vegetables, and a variety of supplements. A homemade diet must be nutritionally complete and balanced for your pet's species, age, and physical condition, so they must be prepared knowledgeably.
It is neither very expensive nor especially time-consuming to prepare a really high quality pet food. There are many ways to save time by preparing larger quantities in advance, freezing certain items, and so forth. The cost is comparable to or less than that of higher quality commercial foods. I have developed a comprehensive nutritional program that is practical, economical, and, of course, nutritionally excellent. It is entitled Natural Diet for Dogs (or Cats): Guidelines for Optimal Nutrition. The Natural Diet program is available to download from this website for $15.00.
The benefits of a natural diet go beyond merely preventing disease. After only 3-4 weeks on the new diet, people usually notice a dramatic improvement in the skin and coat, less odor, fewer fleas, brighter eyes, and better energy and behavior. Not only can you see the signs of improved health, but you will also save money in the long run due to fewer and lower veterinary bills. The healthier your pet is, the less likely s/he will be to have fleas, skin problems, allergies, heartworms, feline leukemia, dental disease, and many other common disease problems.
diet is one of the many factors that influence
your pet's health. Regular exercise, grooming,
and plenty of love and attention are also
quite important. There are many health problems
that are not completely responsive to nutritional
measures, which is why I recommend homeopathy
for treatment on a deeper level. But preparing
a high quality food for your pet is a first
major step toward taking responsibility
for your pet's health, toward practicing
preventive medicine, and toward a healthier
and happier pet.
Supplementing Commercial Pet Foods
When it comes to nutrition for your pet's health, there is nothing that surpasses the quality of a natural diet of fresh unprocessed foods. I strongly recommend to my clients that they avoid all commercial foods, and spend the hour or two every few weeks that it takes to prepare a really high quality homemade diet.
There are many folks that are concerned about their pet's health, and recognize the importance of nutrition, but are unable, for whatever reason, to prepare a natural diet. It is for these people that I have formulated these nutritional suggestions based on supplementation of commercial food. Whereas it is less than ideal, it is certainly a considerable improvement over most pets' diets.
First of all, feed one of the better quality commercial foods, such as Wysong, NaturaLife, Nature's Recipe (not the non-meat kibble), PetGuard, Solid Gold or Cornucopia. In general, canned foods are best, and, for dogs, can be combined with dry kibble. Cats should be fed canned food only. Never feed soft-moist foods, or dry kibbles that contain 'bits' of spongy junk food.
The brands that I mentioned are more expensive than poorer quality pet foods, but are worth the extra cost. There are some popular "top of the line" foods that cost as much, but contain preservatives and/or food coloring, or have other substantial problems. Also beware of "natural" pet foods with "no preservatives" that contain the same by-products (waste products) and poor quality ingredients as most pet foods.
Although there is a great deal that you cannot tell from the label on a pet food, there are certain things to look for. Any commercial food that you buy should be clearly labeled as "nutritionally complete and balanced" for your pet's species and age. Read the ingredients. Is an animal protein listed first? If not, don't buy it. Look for any by-products or "digest". Look for preservatives, food colorings, additives, or long chemical names (other than vitamins and minerals). These should all be avoided.
Even the best commercial pet foods have some big problems, so by all means stay away from the cheap ones. If you save money in the short run by buying cheaper food, you, and your pet, will certainly pay in the long run.
dogs and cats should be fed no more than
once daily. I do not advise leaving dry
food out between meals. In addition, most
dogs and cats should be fasted at least
once weekly. That means no food for 48 hours
(e.g., Saturday's meal to Monday's meal).
Fresh spring or purified water should always
of natural supplements for protein, vitamins,
and minerals will significantly improve
the quality of any commercial pet food.
Improved nutrition is a basic first step
towards improved health. The next step is
homeopathic treatment, which can do even
more to allow your pet to enjoy a longer,
healthier, and happier life.
Printed from Jeffrey Levy DVM PCH, http://www.homeovet.net/