The month of August is all about learning the RAW facts for pet nutrition. We like to call it... RAWGUST!
The thought of feeding an all raw diet tends to divide people into two groups- those that are all for it and those that oppose. Feeding an all raw diet to your cat or dog is considered biologically appropriate, as the specific combination of foods benefits your pet’s species in numerous ways. Biologically appropriate foods are formulated to match the eating habits of our dogs and cats who evolved from carnivores in the wild. In the modern world, dogs and cats have become more domesticated. However, their DNA still matches their ancestors and their diet should reflect the same!
Simply put, our pets are carnivores and a raw meat-based diet offers them the greatest nutritional values. Dogs are opportunistic carnivores and cats are obligate carnivores. As carnivores, our pets have sharp and pointy teeth for grabbing and shredding meat, unlike herbivores and omnivores who have flat molars used for grinding plant matter. Dogs and cats have wide mouths made for swallowing pieces of meat whole, with no significant chewing or digestion taking place in the mouth. Evidence of this is in their saliva, which doesn’t contain the enzyme amylase. Amylase is found in saliva and pancreatic fluid and converts starch and glycogen into simple sugars. Without this enzyme, our pets don’t have the ability to break down carbohydrates, so there is minimal benefit to having carbs in our pet’s diets.
So what makes a raw diet different from processed foods like kibble? Raw foods are rich with nutrients necessary to maintain a thriving pet. Alongside an abundance of vitamins and minerals are enzymes and amino acids. These are all required for our pet’s bodies to function appropriately. Raw food offers three distinct nutritional advantages over processed foods like kibble; enzymes, amino acids, and intracellular moisture.
- Enzymes act as a catalyst for chemical reactions in various parts of the body, allowing it to function in the best possible manner. There are three classes of enzymes, those produced by the body — metabolic and digestive enzymes — and those found in raw foods.
- Amino acids are builders: they build proteins which in turn build new cells in the body. They also repair damaged areas when tissue proteins break down during metabolism. Every inch of your pet grows and thrives on a cellular level with the help of amino acids.There are 20 different amino acids, each with a specific function. As your pet eats a variety of different foods, he or she formulates them into the amino acids needed. Some of these varieties are designated as Essential Amino Acids, or ones that cannot be made by the body. A perfect example of this would be taurine for a cat. A cat lacks the ability to form this from other amino acids and must instead consume it through food; and meat is the best source of taurine!.
- Perhaps one of the biggest disparities between raw and processed food is intracellular moisture — the most effective way for our pets to absorb the moisture they need to maintain optimum health. When your pet consumes food, the moisture it contains is absorbed during the digestion process, effectively hydrating his body. Moisture content is naturally higher in raw meats, fruits and vegetables. Processed food is cooked, which destroys its intracellular moisture. Even though canned foods are wet, they do not provide the same moisture benefits of a raw diet on a cellular level. Raw fed pets still need access to fresh, clean water, but if you’re a raw feeder, you might notice your pet drinks very little water compared to their kibble-fed friends. Dogs — and especially cats — that do drink a lot of water should be checked for dehydration, as this can be a warning sign. Dehydration is a major contributor to many common illnesses that plague pets, and can present as urinary tract infections, struvite crystals, renal failure and many other common issues. A pet’s body cannot and will not operate at its fullest potential without the proper hydration level.
Feeding your dog or cats a complete and balanced raw food diet should be a year-round goal, not just for RAWGUST. When feeding your pet a biologically appropriate diet you’ll find:
- Less shedding, shinier coat
- Less likelihood of allergies
- Maintain proper weight
- Smaller less odorous stools
- Healthier teeth and gums, better breath
- More efficient digestive system
- Maintain proper hydration
- Healthy skin, healthy immune system
- Healthier joints
The good news? You don’t have to feed ONLY raw to get these benefits! According to the University of Helsinki, just 20% raw is enough to show improved health!
Biologically Appropriate Foods For Your Pets: https://blog.petflow.com/biologically-appropriate-foods-for-your-pets/
It’s Rawgust!: https://nw-naturals.net/blog/its-rawgust/
Raw vs. Processed Food: The Haves and The Have-Nots: