(NaturalNews) Processed, packaged pet food is usually an unhealthy diet for dogs and cats. This article examines the pros and cons of a raw food diet for domestic animals and looks at providing a quality, natural diet for pets.
Long before commercial pet food came onto the market, animals were expected to hunt for their ration of food, with scraps and left-overs from the family dinner added as an additional luxury. Dogs and cats would have hunted for and eaten rats, mice, snakes, insects, lizards and so on. They would have ingested the total body components, including organ meats, bones and so on. Dogs may have buried the carcass in the earth, to be dug up and savored later on.
Modern pet food companies insist that their foods contain all the vitamins and nutrients a dog or cat will ever need. The modern pet diet, however, is based almost entirely on human food chain wastes and by-products. Fortunately, the industry has changed somewhat and the pet food industry has begun to improve ingredients in the last few years, with some companies offering healthy, organic foods for animals.
Pros of Raw Food Diet for Dogs and Cats
Raw bones are softer and less likely to cause problems when chewed, such as splinters.
Pro-raw pet food advocates maintain that raw foods contain all the nutrients, food groups, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that your animal needs to stay healthy.
Cons of Raw Food Diet for Dogs and Cats
Sourcing and preparing an organic, free-range diet (meats and vegetables) to give to domestic animals can be a time consuming and expensive exercise.
Caution should be exercised when feeding animals a raw food diet because dogs and cats these days are more prone to degenerative disease and are weaker than their ancestors, due to the highly processed "junk food" diet that has generally been fed to them in the last few decades.
Supermarket meats can be laced with hormones, antibiotics and contaminates, making raw meat a potentially toxic option for dogs and cats.
Raw bones can splinter occasionally, and the intestinal tracts of domesticated dogs and cats these days would appear to be weaker than that of their ancestors.
The perfect balance of predator versus prey in nature is now largely unbalanced and it is very hard to mimic nature when it comes to incorporating the exact quantities of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins in your pet's food. Small deficiencies in the meal preparation can become a major deficiency leading to disease if the meal plan is not exactly balanced.
While there is a lot to be said for a healthy, raw pet food diet, many vets err on the side of caution when it comes to offering dogs and cats a raw food diet. Some vets suggest sourcing raw, organic protein and vegetables to incorporate into the diet, with the recommendation that meats, poultry, eggs and vegetables get lightly steamed first. This will reduce the possibility of bacterial contamination and parasites.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.