Cats and Dogs: Vegetarian pet food: Why feed our pets with a diet ?

Why feed your pets with a vegetarian diet? Potential Problems
Vegetarian diets for dogs and cats "Checklist" Will the diet meet the nutritional needs of the pet?
Canned food for pets, a good option All About Raw Food
Raw food diets Transitioning to Raw Food

Canned food for pets - Kitten Many people reading this page would be thinking "What? Vegetarian diets to pets such as cats and dogs?! You gotta be kidding! It’s unnatural/depriving/cruel/etc!" Regardless of how "un-natural" it may seem, some people feel it is the right thing to do. But why?

For many people who are vegetarian for ethical reasons or because they are concerned about animal suffering, every time they feed meat to their cat and dogs they face a dilemma. On one hand they care about their pet and want to do the right thing by it, but on the other hand they do not like having other animals slaughtered for its food, and they also don’t like supporting the meat industry. To complicate things further, when they consider a vegetarian diet to cats and dogs they often also have moral concerns about feeding their pet a diet that is opposed to what seems "natural". So it can be quite a dilemma.

Other people who are vegetarian more for health reasons may consider a vegetarian diet for their cat and dogs out of concern about recent outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease in the UK, and about what dangers lurk in the cheap offal and "meat" used in commercial dog and cat foods. Or they simply may feel that a cat and dogs vegetarian food diet, or a diet much lower in animal products, is more healthy for their pets.

Regardless of the reasons why someone would choose a vegetarian food or vegan diet for their pet, studies indicate that dogs and cats can live a healthy and active life on these pet vegetarian food diets if they are properly balanced.
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Pet Vegetarian food: Potential Problems

The nutritional requirements for dogs and cats are very different from those for humans. Thus, a vegetarian diet perfectly suitable in meeting a human’s nutrient needs may be grossly deficient where dogs or cats are concerned. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), in cooperation with the US Centre for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), has developed the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles, which details the known nutritional requirements for these species. Formulating a pet vegetarian food to meet all these requirements is not a simple task but can be done. Canned food for pets - Organic toys

But even the most carefully formulated diet with respect to providing adequate amounts of all essential nutrients is worthless if the dog or cat does not eat it. While dogs certainly enjoy the occasional snack such as a cookie or piece of fruit and cats will chew on grass and other plants, foods without some animal-source ingredients may not be very palatable, so asking dogs and cats to eat only plant-based foods may not be possible in some cases. Even if the cat or dog does eat the vegetarian diet, it still may not be eating enough to meet its nutritional needs.

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Pet Vegetarian food: Canned food for pets, a good option?

Canned food for pets - cat playing Canned food is a good option for those needing the convenience of processed foods but are trying to eliminate grains. It is especially important for cats to be on a meat protein based diet with minimal grains as discussed previously. In addition, too much carbohydrate content in the diet can contribute greatly to the problems of obesity, cardiovascular disease, acidosis, arthritis and immune problems.

Canned food is also a great way to supplement kibble for added variety and nutrition. It can also be used to increase the appeal of healthier diets and raw foods for those animals that are "addicted" to their dry kibble and are having a hard time accepting real food. Many kibbles and regular canned foods have flavor enhancers, sweeteners and sodium in them that dogs and cats become accustomed to, causing them to reject real food or healthier canned varieties. Give them plenty of time and repeat exposures to healthier foods and they will usually make the transition.

Canned food for pets - Nice dog Use as much variety in your companion's canned food diet as they will accept. Cats especially, can be finicky. Sometimes crushing or sprinkling their favorite treat over the food can help lure them in for a taste, and they will then eat the food. To learn more about your pets food, just visit with the most wide and convenient food, supplies and remedies for your pets. I was informed this is the right moment to visit them as they have a special offer with a good discount up to $20.
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All About Raw Food

by Dr. Larry Siegler

Our animal companions are natural hunters and carnivores; just look at their ancestry. The dog at your feet (or on your sofa) has evolved from the wolf, and it’s digestive system is virtually the same despite thousands of years of domestication. They have very short intestinal tracts geared to the consumption and digestion of raw foods. Dogs are considered "omnivores" as they eat a variety of grasses, berries and vegetables in addition to prey. The cat on your lap is a true or “obligate” carnivore (meat only diet) and is specially designed by nature to hunt small rodents and birds. Her digestive tract, as well, is intended to assimilate raw meat best.

The Benefits of Raw Food

Raw food diets have been shown to help the body deal with many common ailments such as flea infestations, hot spots, continual shedding, poor dental & gum health, allergies, gastro-intestinal problems, immune disorders and degenerative diseases. Diet is the foundation of health. The fresher the diet, the more nutrients are available for the animals system to utilize in building immunity, healing from illness and warding off disease.

Canned food for pets - Nice cat Raw diets have been common practice in European countries for decades, especially Germany, where it is commonly recommended by veterinarians. The fear of feeding raw meat in this country seems to stem from a fear of salmonella, e. coli and parasites.

In over 10 years of feeding raw food and seeing countless animals on raw food diets, salmonella and e. coli have not been seen to be a problem. (Remember, their digestive systems are designed to accommodate raw meat.) Parasites could be contracted through eating wild, whole prey or game meats, but is much less likely from properly handled human grade meats. Infection is more likely to occur through ingestion of feces or soil, or poorly handled meat.

The actual research sited in the US in support of a raw diet is rather convincing. A long term study conducted by Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., M.D. between 1932 to 1942 was initiated a bit by accident. Dr. Pottenger kept cats as laboratory animals for experiments in human health. As his research and cat population grew, he resorted to feeding them raw meat scraps from a local packing plant instead of cooked kitchen leftovers.

Within a few months, he noticed distinct improvements in the cats eating raw meat. This prompted Dr. Pottenger to undertake a whole new experiment: he segregated cats into different groups - some of which were fed a cooked meat diet and others who received a raw meat diet. All observations were noted in great detail over many generations of cats.

At the end of the study Dr. Pottenger concluded that cats fed a heat processed diet were deficient and suffered from innumerable ailments ranging from low immunity, irritability, and allergies; to skeletal deformation, organ malfunction, poor development during kittenhood, low birth rate, birth defects, infertility, and shortened life-span. (If you wish to learn more about the Pottenger study, you can purchase a summary of the study as book or video from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.)

Some exceptions to “raw is better” are the older, weaker animal who may not tolerate raw food, or animals with certain gastro-intestinal problems where the gut has to be restored to a healthier state using herbs and/or supplements. In these cases, a home prepared, cooked diet the best substitute for a raw food diet

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Raw Food Diets

Ideally, our companions would eat an all raw diet that includes some viscera and bones. Generally, the more raw food you can include in your companion’s diet, the better – but some is better than none. Some guardians choose to feed their companions a ½ raw and ½ dry (dehydrated or kibble) diet; either mixing the two or feeding raw for one meal each day and dry or cooked for the other. It does not have to be complicated – you can feed raw chicken and turkey necks and chicken backs as part or all of a meal several times a week.

Raw poultry bones do not splinter, they crunch. This is a great way to clean teeth, exercise chewing muscles, and provide a natural source of balanced calcium and phosphorus, as well. As always, naturally raised, hormone and antibiotic free or organic meat is best.

Canned food for pets - good friends When introducing raw bones to dogs they may experience diarrhea, constipation, or both as their systems adjust. Remember to go slowly and feed small amounts at first. When beginning the introduction of raw bones, it may be helpful to crush them with a hammer or in a meat grinder until your dog becomes fully transitioned to a raw diet. For cats bones should always be ground.

If your companion has a delicate digestive system, consider grinding meat and bones through a 1/4 inch blade before feeding. Ground bones do not have the same teeth cleaning benefits as whole bones, however. You may also see similar symptoms as your companion's system goes through a detoxification process during the transition to a healthier diet. Again, the key is to go slowly and persevere. In the long run, your companion's increased health and vitality will be the ultimate reward.

Only Natural Pet Store offers a wide range of commercial frozen raw foods that are available either in a formula of raw meat, grains, and fresh vegetables designed to provide complete nutrition, or as pure raw meat designed to be added as a supplement to other types of food. We also offer a product called Honest Kitchen that is a dehydrated vegetable and nutrient mixture designed to be added to raw meat. You simply re-hydrate the mixture and add raw meat.

Obvious precautions should be taken when feeding raw meat – wash hands thoroughly after handling the raw meat. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not sitting on the counter at room temperature. Warm water can be used to thaw or warm the food after it has been mostly thawed in the refrigerator. Do not microwave raw food as the live enzymes are damaged and bones will harden even in just 30 seconds of micro waving. We do recommend avoiding pork as it has been shown to be a source of Trichinella. If you are concerned about bacteria, you can rinse it with several drops of food grade hydrogen peroxide in a sink of water or 1/2 teaspoon liquid grapefruit seed extract in a sink of water to help kill bacteria on the surface.
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Pet Vegetarian Food: Transitioning to Raw Food

Canned food for pets - good friends It is best to introduce raw food slowly into your companion’s diet over the course of two weeks. If your companion is used to having food available throughout the day, first transition him or her to eating only once or twice per day for dogs, and two to three times per day for cats before beginning the transition to raw food. Consider transitioning fully to raw in the beginning even if you ultimately intend to feed a mix of raw and cooked or dry.

This will give your companion’s digestive system the optimal environment for generating healthy enzymes and flora. Start with 1 teaspoon for small dogs and cats and 1 tablespoon for larger dogs for three days or so. Then increase to 2 teaspoons or tablespoons for several days, decreasing the amount of regular food by ¼ to ½ in general proportion to the raw. Work up to replacing at least ½ the normal diet for several days. Finally replace one full meal with raw for a day or two, then fully transition to raw.

We recommend supplementing with digestive enzymes and probiotics for at least the first two weeks to help your companion’s natural digestive processes kick back in after eating cooked foods for so long. If your animal is resistant to the raw food at first, you may want to use a bit of canned raw food to entice them. Cats, in particular, can be resistant to a change in diet.

They tend to fixate on whatever food they are weaned onto and will resist switching to a healthier diet. We have found that grinding or shredding their favorite treat on top of the raw food can help. Halo’s Liv-A-Littles or Whole Life Dehydrated Meat Treats work well for this. Cats will most likely take some persistence on your part, but it is well worth it for the health of your companion

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Pet Vegetarian food: Vegetarian diets for dogs and cats "Checklist"

If you decide to put your pet on a vegetarian diet, two important factors need to be considered:

Am I prepared to do it properly?

Eliminating meat or all animal products from the diets of dogs and cats to meet one’s personal philosophy, regardless how well intentioned, may not be the correct choice if it is not done properly and potentially compromises the health of the pet itself.
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Pet Vegetarian food: Will the diet meet the nutritional needs of the pet?

Many homemade recipes, including those found in some books and magazines, may be seriously incomplete or unbalanced. Ask yourself whether they have been shown by scientific testing to meet the nutritional needs of dogs and cats. For commercial products, check the label for an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement as required for all "complete" and "balanced" pet foods.

The label may say that the product "is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (or Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles." However, since palatability and bioavailability of nutrients are of concern, look for product labels that bear the statement that "Animal feeding tests following AAFCO procedures substantiate that (the product) is complete and balanced."

After a month or two on the diet, and occasionally thereafter, try to objectively assess the performance of the diet compared to your pet’s previous food. Has the pet lost or gained weight with the vegetarian diets? Is it enjoying its vegetarian pet food? How’s its skin and coat? Energy levels? Stool volume and consistency? Ask your veterinarian for an examination and professional opinion going to on your dog’s or cat’s health status. (You may like to consult one of the vegetarian-friendly vets listed on their Doctors and Naturopaths page.)
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