Healthier Pet Food Alternatives
If you’re a pet owner and you shop at Fresh and Natural then it’s likely you are just as conscious about your pet’s health as you are about your own health. Since diet plays a huge role in determining health, more than supplements, the right type of food for your pet makes all the difference. There are a lot of choices when it comes to picking the right type of pet food.
Over the last decade, the raw food and the grain-free diets have grown in popularity. Proponents of these diets, whether doctors in veterinary medicine or simple pet owners, feel from experience that these diets offer better nutrition for their animal companions. Considering the ancestral history of the domesticated dog and cat, these diets seem to offer nutrients that are more natural, in terms of the animal’s genetic make-up. Depending on factors such as the types of ingredients used, the degree of processing and the length of time between the date of production and feeding, these foods may also be much lower in or completely void of other nutrients which may be a challenge for the animal to digest or metabolize. Compounds or nutrients such as carbohydrates, gluten, free radicals, oxidized fats and denatured proteins are often brought into this spotlight of discussion of some of the negative aspects present in commonly processed pet foods. There are a number of veterinarians like Dr. Richard Pitcairn, Author of “Dr. Pitcairns Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats” and founder of the Animal Natural Health Center, who feel that a lifetime of processed foods can’t be any better for our pets as it is for us. Christina Chambreau, D.V.M., and also a holistic veterinarian, has stated that “Meat should be raw. Cooking destroys enzymes and denatures proteins, rendering them less digestible to cats and dogs.” Although I still have yet to find any large scale scientific studies documenting the health benefits of animals on a raw-food or grain-free diet, many pet owners and some veterinarians, such as Dr. Lea Stogdale, have observed signs like less inflammation, better digestion, increased energy, healthier weight management and shinier coats in their animal companions.
It should be noted that many veterinarians advise pet owners that unless they specialize in the field of animal nutrition and have been trained in on proper preparation and storage techniques, a raw food diet can increase serious risks of their pet from either developing nutritional deficiencies or food poisoning. Nowadays, as the raw and grain-free pet food movement has grown, it is much easier to find prepared, nutritionally-well formulated raw and/or grain-free pet food for purchase. If it’s raw food, you’ll likely find it packaged and located in a freezer. And while a raw food diet for you pet may seem unrealistic, at least you may be happy to hear that there are pet food brands that offer cooked, grain-free pet food.
What exactly is the right food for your pet? I think it depends more on an individual basis, taking into consideration specific individual needs tailored towards addressing not just the breed, age and activity level of your pet, but also any preexisting conditions or possible predisposed risks for developing a health condition in the future. A doctor in veterinary medicine will likely be able to help you in making that decision.
http://www.drpitcairn.com/ (The Animal Natural Health Center Website)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC340283/ (The national center for biotechnology information)
http://christinachambreau.com/ (My Healthy Animals website)
http://animal.discovery.com/guides/dogs/dog-food/should-i-buy-grain-free-dog-food.html (Animal Planet Website)
Further reading: Do Dogs and Cats Need Grains? – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor(http://www.campaignfortruth.com/Eclub/240205/Petfood.htm)