Have you ever questioned the truthfulness behind any of these rules? What would you think if your family physician told you that eating from a bag or a can of factory processed meals provided a complete and balanced diet that eliminated the need for fresh food? Would you like to extend your passion for eating fresh, local food to your four-legged best friend, but need a little guidance and support from a veterinarian?
Few people realize that commercial pet food did not even exist until the early 1900’s, and prior to that time cats and dogs thrived on a varied diet of prey, table scraps and locally butchered meat. Most of the dry and canned pet foods available today are the by-products of the human food industry and are so highly processed that they do not resemble real food at all. Do you have to feed your pet this way? Absolutely not!
Do you make smart, healthy choices for your own diet and for your family? An easy way to begin doing this for your pet is to eliminate one of their meals of processed food per day and share your healthy cooking with them. While cats are most likely to prefer meats, most dogs can tolerate a wide variety of food, including cooked rice, oats, quinoa, beans, potatoes, vegetables and meats. Another option is to decrease the amount of commercial pet food at each meal, and top dress it with the healthy left-overs from your plate. A third alternative (and my personal favorite) is to feed a completely whole food diet – either following recipes for home-prepared meals or buying a commercially prepared raw diet.
Are you vegan or vegetarian for ethical or health reasons? Although this is often a hot topic of debate, there is a great deal of mounting research that shows that pets can be fed vegetarian and even vegan diets as long as proper supplements are provided. For more information, please see the following references.
References for Pet Guardians
- Home Cooking for Your Dog: 75 Holistic Recipes for a Healthier Dog, by Christine Filardi.
- Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD. The third edition of this book is available now; the fourth edition will be released in spring of 2017 and will include vegetarian and vegan recipes.
- www.dogaware.com. An excellent website written by Mary Straus providing valuable information on various methods of fresh feeding for pets.