Raw Food “lite” and Pumpkin in Pet Food

I talk a lot about nutrition these days. In the course of exchanging ideas, people relate individual stories and give me new ones. For example, pumpkin is used to help the sensitive bowel of senior pets and those other individuals that have constipation problems. The amount of fiber and moisture in the pumpkin pulp help “move things along”. After seeing pumpkin mentioned on several sites and talking to people that have used it in their food, I decided to give it a try on my “furry family”. Yes I did try the Dog Dish Diet Crock Pot Recipe and a can of pumpkin on the discerning palettes of the Martinez zoo. When I fed the new ingredient, pumpkin, my dogs and cats loved it! The sweet taste of the pumpkin gives a mixture a whole new flavor.

Feeding raw food diets  is also a very popular subject. Why is “raw food” good for pets? It is actually an ancient concept. The raw food diet takes the idea of the “animal package” or prey back to the time when dogs ate things without processing. Believe it or not, we did too. Our food processing started when we cooked  the kill to give it  a longer “shelf life”. The ancestors of our dogs had a simpler method, they gorged themselves then buried the rest. Raw food diets are the whole meat, bones, and internal organs of domestic animals with minimal processing and no additives. Most people are afraid of handling and feeding raw food because of stories of guts and infection. Fortunately you can buy many great products that make the process less scary.(honestkitchen.com, k9allnatural.com, omaspride.com). Or you can try the concept by feeding  a raw chicken thigh, or piece of fish from the market.

When you feed the bones,cartilage, and marrow raw or “Dog Dish Diet Crocked” your dog or cat will get the minerals, protein, fats, and oils necessary for optimum health.  I like to think of this mixture as “raw food” lite. I use this mix of food in my practice, and it helps pets with chronic health problems described in my book, Dog Dish Diet.

Cooked or not, whole food without lots of preservatives, stabilizers, and other chemical additives is less stressful on the body. The less our digestive system and internal organs are bathed in non-nutritive, or irritating substances, the better. Animals with many health problems should eat the best non-stressful diet possible, their systems are already stressed because  their diets are “out of whack”. Dogs and cats often become sick or unhealthy due to diets with too many allergens, too many carbs, too many chemicals, or because it is way too dry.Each animal has it’s tolerances just like we do.

A good example of this is the number of cats that puke or have diarrhea. If you have a “puker” or cat with runny stool, try my crock pot recipe , but increase the meat to 75-90% of the mixture. Many cats will decrease the amount of throwing up , or diarrhea in a week. (The veterinary term for this problem is inflammatory bowel disease…cause unknown. Just in case feeding grain and inflammatory agents in the processed food to sensitive carnivores that do not need grain or chemicals in their food is the cause, give it a try.) In a month of two, affected cats  may need less or even no medication. Course it does take a few minutes to prepare, scoop out the stew, and wash the pot.

So the crock pot is a great way to treat your dog or cat to the type of food they would get “in the wild”. Once you have tried that, you may even  be brave enough to try feeding a real “raw food diet” to your pets. By the way Dog Dish Diet is titled for dogs, but many of the concepts are identical for cats. Cats have a requirement for taurine, an amino acid in meat. Since they are obligate meat eaters, and taurine  was available in all their prey, their body quit making that amino acid . That is why you hear that cats can’t eat just dog food. It does not have enough taurine. A taurine deficiency may cause eye,heart, and other health problems in cats. I love to supplement my cats with a piece of meat. They love it, and the chewing helps control tartar.It took a while , but my cats became used to a raw or cooked “meat treat” several times a week. My tabby, Norman, bats me from his perch on the counter,when I walk by the fridge in the morning. He expects his chicken or ham “meat treat”.

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