Is It Better to Feed Your Pets Raw Food?
Homemade Raw Dog Food for Adults
In a large bowl, combine the following:
1 1/2 cups raw beef, lamb, poultry, venison, or whole chicken necks, ground or cubed
If your pet can eat grains (oats, bulgar, cornmeal, rice, etc.): 1 1/2 cups cooked grains mixed.
Your animal’s favorite raw vegetables (three cups worth): broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, potatoes, etc.
Fish oil, flaxseed oil, and other sources of essential fatty acids
Herbal supplements and amino acids
Vitamin and mineral supplements, consumed according to package instructions (only suitable for human consumption).
Homemade Raw Cat Food for Adults
In a large bowl, combine the following:
cups ground or chopped raw beef, lamb, chicken necks, mackerel, clams, or venison, one teaspoon baked eggshell powder or one teaspoon steaming bonemeal
1/4 cup of three or more cooked mixed grains (optional).
One-third cup of raw veggies, chopped or shredded to your pet’s liking (broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, potatoes, etc.
1 tsp steamed bonemeal (human grade only) or 1 tsp powdered baked eggshells
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in flaxseed oil and cod liver
Amino Acids (Taurine in Particular)
Herbs for good health
Mineral and vitamin supplements are taken as recommended.
The meat, grain, and vegetable proportions of the diet can be roughly guessed, but be generous with the meat ingredients, and the process is simple and inexpensive. For instance, the ratio of raw meat to cooked grains and chopped veggies would be a large handful of hearts to two smaller handfuls. The ingredients for a meal can be prepared in large quantities, then portioned out and frozen in plastic bags for later use. Allow it to come to room temperature before feeding, and avoid heating it in the microwave, since this can alter the molecular structure of the meal.
Ideally, dogs and cats should be fed three times a day, but twice is OK if you have to be at work throughout the day.
The notion that raw meat can bring bacteria or parasites is a common concern among animal lovers considering transitioning to a raw diet. While it is true that coliform bacteria, salmonella, or worms can be picked up by dogs, cats, ferrets, and other meat eaters from eating raw meat, this is a highly unusual occurrence. Since dogs and cats have been eating raw meat for millions of years, they have inevitably been exposed to harmful bacteria and viruses.
The more pressing concern is whether or not our dog is fit enough to consume raw meat. Raw food may harm your pet if its immune system is weak or its gut flora has been severely altered by chemotherapy or antibiotics. However, healthy animals often aren’t at risk for foodborne illness unless the meat is spoiled or heavily polluted.
Diarrhea and vomiting are often the first symptoms of a digestive imbalance from a raw meat diet. If this occurs, or if you have any qualms about the safety of feeding raw meat, start with a small amount at each meal and gradually raise the amount over several weeks. That way, the animal’s digestive system can get used to the presence of whatever foreign infections it’s encountering. Due to their different digestion times, raw meat and dry dog food should not be offered together. Changing the pet’s meat diet or adding digestive enzymes and probiotics like acidophilus could solve the issue.
Feeding a wide variety of whole foods is a holistic way to maintain optimal nutrition.
The brain, liver, heart, and immune system rely on essential fatty acids for proper development and maintenance. In reality, both animals and humans require them to survive.
The best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids include seeds like flax, borage, and evening primrose. In addition to cod liver, various fish oils are also high in EFAs. You can supplement your pet’s diet by adding flaxseed or fish oil to their food.
To digest food and absorb its nutrients, the body requires a wide range of probiotic bacteria and yeast (digestive enzymes). Natural enzymes and probiotic microbes are present in varying concentrations in whole raw foods but are destroyed by cooking. The digestion and absorption of the nutrients in any natural diet can be improved with a suitable enzyme supplement. Several high-quality options are readily available.
Vitamin A, often known as beta-carotene, is necessary for healthy vision and provides potent antioxidant protection from environmental and dietary toxins.
Thiamine (vitamin B1) is needed for proper carbohydrate metabolism, nerve, and digestive system function.
Riboflavin (B2) is an essential vitamin that helps produce enzymes necessary for cellular oxygen transport and fat and protein metabolism.
The epidermis and the neurological system both benefit from sufficient B6 intake. It’s essential for a robust immune system and normal blood synthesis, and it aids in absorbing and converting various amino acids. Vitamin B12 absorption requires vitamin B6.
Vitamin B12 is essential for developing and maintaining healthy nervous system structure and function. Spirulina and other blue-green algae are among the best natural sources of vitamin B12.
Biotin is a coenzyme that aids in breaking fatty acids and other nutrients; it is a B vitamin.
Choline is essential for forming cell membranes, the growth and operation of the neurological system, and removing fat from the liver, among other functions. Choline can be found in organ meats, eggs, and dandelions (especially the blossoms), which are high in the nutrient lecithin.
Amino acid metabolism and protein synthesis rely on B12, which folic acid helps facilitate. It’s essential for a shiny coat, radiant skin, and natural coloring.
PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, is a B vitamin required to produce folic acid. Protein synthesis also relies on it.
Coenzyme A, of which pantothenic acid is a part, is essential to break down many different types of fatty acids. The creation of natural steroids also relies heavily on them.
Maintenance of healthy skin, digestive and neurological systems, and blood are all influenced by niacin’s role in fat metabolism.
The ability of an animal to handle metabolic stress depends on its vitamin C intake. It aids the immune system, prevents joint disease, acts as an antioxidant in the blood, and hastens healing after illness or injury. Some animals may experience stomach distress from vitamin C supplements because of their acidic and sour taste. However, the vitamin C product under the trademark Ester C is an excellent choice for your pets because it effectively treats this issue.
Bone health and calcium/phosphorus absorption can’t be achieved or maintained without vitamin D.
Muscle and reproductive system growth, repair, and maintenance require vitamin E. It’s also essential for the body’s defense mechanisms. Muscle tissue disintegration, infertility, and compromised immunity are all possible outcomes of vitamin E insufficiency.
TRACE MATERIALS AND MINERALS
Calcium, along with phosphorus and the other elements found in raw meat diets, is an essential component. Since the ratio of phosphorus to calcium in a raw meat diet depletes calcium in an animal’s body, calcium-rich foods must be supplemented. Without enough calcium, bone growth and strength suffer. Inadequate digestion of calcium can cause kidney and bladder stones in pets. Because of this, it’s recommended that you feed your pet entire or roughly chopped chicken or turkey necks.
The bones are tender and nutritious, with a healthy ratio of calcium, phosphorus, and fat to protein. Steamed bonemeal or broken-up eggshells (rich in calcium carbonate) can be added to the pets’ meals if the meat does not contain bones (ground meat usually does have bones). Bake empty eggshells for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to make baked eggshell powder. Make it into a powder by crushing it. One teaspoon of powdered eggshells contains the same amount of calcium as one and a half cups of milk. Calcium-to-phosphorus ratios between 1:1 and 2:1 are ideal for canines, whereas 1.1:1 and 1.3:1 are ideal for felines.
Calcium can also be abundant in dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard. Milk and other dairy products can’t independently meet your animals’ calcium needs.
Together with calcium, phosphorus helps to create robust skeletal and connective tissue. Calcium excess causes issues when there is too little, and phosphorus shortage causes issues when there is too much. For calcium, the inverse is true. Raw meaty bones are a simple solution to this issue. Bones should not be COOKED in any way.
Potassium helps keep your muscles, brain, and heart working usually. Vegetables with dark green leaves are rich in this nutrient. Potassium is abundant in dandelion and nettle leaves.
Salt or sodium. Raw food for pets cooked at home should not have salt added.
Magnesium is essential for the growth of bones and muscles. Too much magnesium, found in many commercial cat feeds, can cause persistent issues with the urinary tract.
Trace amounts of iron are essential for everyday oxygen transportation throughout the body. Rich sources include raw meat and leafy greens. Anorexia, weight loss, and other chronic diseases can emerge without selenium and vitamin E when iron is consumed alone. Pets’ health can deteriorate over time if they consume organ meats (particularly liver) high in iron but low in vitamin E due to cooking.
Copper is an essential trace mineral for proper skeletal development, blood cell creation, and general body repair.
Iodine is an essential trace element for proper thyroid functioning and energy homeostasis.
Zinc is helpful for the immune system and many other bodily processes that involve proteins.
Bone building, lipid and protein metabolism, and energy production all benefit from the trace mineral manganese.
All living organisms rely on amino acids as the functional building blocks of enzymes and proteins. They link the metabolism of food and drink to the building of tissues and organs. The body can’t develop, fight off illness, or cope with the ravages of time without a full complement of these elements. The body can make its amino acids, but it also needs to get some from food. The body can only build the amino acids it needs if a wide variety of healthy meals are consumed, and a full complement of amino acids must be present to supply what the body cannot generate.
A unique need must be satisfied at every mealtime with a cat. Taurine, an amino acid that cats can’t make themselves, should always be included in cat food. Reproductive disease, heart difficulties, and, most obviously, retinal degeneration and blindness, result from taurine insufficiency. Eat raw heart meat (beef, lamb, or fowl), clams, or mackerel. Cooking destroys taurine, so if you plan on adding a taurine supplement to your pet’s meal, you’ll need to do so afterward.
ADDING HERBS AS A SUPPLEMENT TO YOUR DIET
Some plants have so many nutritional benefits that they are utilized as dietary supplements or pharmaceuticals. Herbs are a great way to get the nutrients your body needs without overloading on substances it can’t process. Potassium and iron can be found in dandelion leaves in high concentrations but not at dangerous levels. Instead of forcing your liver, kidneys, and digestive system to work overtime to clear the surplus, nutritive herbs allow your body to absorb nutrients while effortlessly flushing out excess selectively.
Numerous herbs can be added to a healthy diet to boost its nutritional value. The only way to know for sure which nourishing herbs are best for your pet is via firsthand experience with them, however here is a simple dried herb mix that can be used for most dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, and other animals:
An Herbal Supplement for the Regular Diet
Mix the following herbs at a ratio of 1:1:
Ingredients: Spirulina, Nettle, Dandelion Leaf, Alfalfa, Flaxseed Powder
Give dogs one teaspoon per pound of food daily, and give cats 1/2 teaspoon daily. A food-like concentration of fully assimilable proteins, vitamin C, and B complex, including B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, will supplement an animal’s diet.
Noble Canine’s founder and CEO, Pamela S. Mayer, has been a dog advocate and animal rights activist for as long as she can remember. Her goal is to improve the lives of dogs and their owners by discovering or creating novel pet items.
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