Nutrition The Raw Truth
by Dr. Swift
There have been some interesting developments
in the area of dog and cat nutrition in the "mainstream" of
research. Although not a surprise to me, I am delighted
to report that the findings are very compatible with
my personal recommendations. (The only difference is
that the researchers probably spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars to figure out what I learned watching the
Discovery channel.) Colorado State University College
of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Oncology (cancer
research) has found that high carbohydrate diets are
conducive to the growth of tumors and should be avoided
in dogs and cats with cancer. They recommend diets high
in protein and fat. A major pet food manufacturer has
begun an advertising campaign for their new food for
senior dogs. Their contention is that older dogs do better
with more protein than previously thought. The higher
protein level increases energy and vitality.
If one understands that by nature carnivores
eat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, the results
of these studies could have been easily anticipated.
Based on my understanding of carnivore nutrition, these
have been my recommendations for several years. The main
difference being that I don't wait until a pet produces
a tumor or reaches a certain age to implement the proper
feeding program. I strongly believe that my dietary recommendations
have increased the quality and perhaps the quantity of
life of many pets with cancer (and many other conditions)
as well as many older pets. Unfortunately the pet food
manufacturers will likely never succeed in producing
a truly healthful diet. The reasons for which I hope
the rest of this article will make clear.
When I graduated from veterinary school,
I thought I knew a lot about health and disease. I was
half right. I learned a great deal about disease. I was
taught pitifully little about health. Removing symptoms
and restoring health are not the same. Drugs and surgery
eliminate symptoms yet they weaken the body further,
resulting in chronic conditions. As a result of such
medical practices, the health of our pets is getting
worse. More chronic diseases ranging from allergies to
cancer afflict our beloved companions than ever before.
The use of processed pet foods plays a major role in
this trend. By nature, dogs and cats are designed to
eat other animals such as birds, rabbits and squirrels.
This means that their natural diet consists primarily
of animal tissues namely, meat, organs, glands, bones
and a small amount of vegetable matter found in the intestinal
tract of prey. In addition, all of these ingredients
are only eaten in the raw state. Raw foods contain enzymes
that assist in digestion and absorption of nutrients.
It is only in the past few decades that dogs and cats
have been given cooked foods.
When raw foods are processed into pet
foods, the molecular structure is altered and enzymes
are destroyed. These changes make them difficult to digest.
The result is stress on the digestive system, especially
the pancreas. Stress on the immune system occurs as a
result of absorbing incompletely digested foods which
stimulate the body's defenses. Canned, dry and home cooked
foods produce these detrimental effects. The best quality
nutrition for dogs and cats is all raw foods, the way
nature intended. The risks associated with feeding raw
meat e.g. salmonella are easily outweighed by the benefits.
Healthy carnivores are naturally able to deal with germs
and parasites. Currently, there are thousands of dogs
and cats on raw foods around the world, yet I have not
heard of one case of salmonella as a result. The long
term risk of chronic disease does not make the use of
processed foods worthwhile. I have used the following
recipe in virtually all of my patients over the past
2-3 years with impressive results.
This is approximately the amount of food
needed to feed a pet weighing 15-30 lbs. Adjust the amount
according to the size of your pet and his or her individual
needs. Generally, one meal daily is adequate if the pet
is allowed to eat its fill. I use the same formula for
dogs, cats and ferrets.
- 1/2 lb. Raw beef, chicken, lamb, turkey,
- 1 Tablespoon bonemeal powder (1/2 tablespoon
if pet eats bones daily)
- 1/2 teaspoon of either spirulina,
alfalfa powder, or other green food supplement
- In addition
to the above mandatory ingredients, there are three
strongly suggested supplements.
- A high potency digestive
supplement containing digestive enzymes and digestive
- A supplement containing a variety of gland
and organ concentrates.
- A liquid, ionic trace mineral
Some pets need additional oil in their diet. If your
pet does, try 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of high quality fish oil.
Leave meat in large chunks. Initially, you may need
to use ground or diced meat to help pet adjust. A piece
of organic liver is advised 1-2 times per week. If your
pet is sensitive to diet changes, start with small amounts
of raw foods and increase slowly. Food may be made in
batches and frozen. RAW bones are important for healthy
teeth (see dentistry article). To introduce bones, allow
your pet to have one for 10-15 minutes every few days
and observe digestive function. Increase access time
as pet adapts.
Don't forget to always have fresh purified water available.
If using distilled or reverse osmosis water, add liquid
ionic trace minerals. The preceding recipe is not meant
to replace consultation with a competent professional.
Raw food diets entail certain risks (but so do pet foods!!)
Holistic veterinarians seek to strengthen pets, enabling
them to heal themselves. The first step is almost too
obvious: FEED PROPERLY! Pets need a natural feeding program
rich in raw foods and enzymes. NO pet food is 100% complete.
(Most aren't even close!!) Your pet deserves better!
Your pet will look and feel better and your vet bills
will decrease significantly.
Article Complements of Dr. Russel Swift, DVM, Classical