February 4, 2019 | General
By Dr. Karen Becker
Dogs and cats are designed by nature to eat living foods, unprocessed, raw, nourishing foods. Feeding commercial processed kibble formula is a bit like feeding meal replacement bars.
Concerns about parasites…you will not find guts in the raw food formulas because guts contain parasites and there is an extra precaution taken with freezing which successfully avoids exposing your raw fed pet to parasites.
Salmonella is the reason for most recalls of DRY PET FOODS.
The bottom line is potentially harmful bacteria resides in your pet’s GI tract whether you feed raw foods or the processed stuff. Dogs and cats are built to handle bacterial loads with highly acidic stomachs and produce tremendous amounts of anti-parasitic and anti-pathogenic bile.
This is why it is important to help keep your pet’s digestive system strong and resilient to handle the bacterial load and support overall immune function with SOUND DIET, HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, DIFESTIVE ENZYMES and PROBIOTICS, all of which will nourish your pet, support healthy immunologic function, and bring over all vibrancy to their body.
In this article we will discuss the reason why dogs and cats can, and should, eat raw meat. Dogs and cats have consumed living, raw meats for thousands of years.
To this day barn cats catch and kill mice, and no one calls poison control. Farmers also don’t call poison control when their dog finds a litter of baby bunnies and pops them in their mouth like little Tootsie Rolls. In these cases, no one thinks to induce vomiting or say, ‘Oh my gosh! My pet just ate raw meat!’
The truth is both cats and dogs are designed specifically to consume raw meat. Their bodies are adapted to process raw, living foods.
The first bags of commercial pet food entered the market about a hundred years ago. From a historical perspective, processed dog and cat food is a relatively new phenomenon.
However, your pet’s GI tract has not evolved in those hundred years to make good use of an entirely kibble-based diet – and it never will.
Fortunately, the bodies of dogs and cats are amazingly resilient and therefore, capable of handling foods that aren’t biologically appropriate, like most dry pet foods. Unfortunately, this adaptability has led to a situation of ‘dietary abuse’ among the veterinary community.
Commercial pet foods – especially dry bagged foods – are so convenient the majority of vets recommend them to all their patients. Processed dog and cat food is convenient, inexpensive, and there’s no preparation or cleanup required. You stash the bag in the pantry, scoop out a portion at meal time, drop it into your pet’s food dish and you’re done.
Because commercial pet food has been so successfully marketed (dog and cat food products are a multimillion dollar industry, after all), and because pets’ bodies are resilient and can survive, if not thrive on the stuff, we have been lulled into a sense of complacency about the food we feed our precious four-legged companions.
It doesn’t take much research to uncover the fact that dogs and cats are designed by nature to eat living foods – unprocessed, raw, nourishing foods. Feeding a commercial formula is a bit like deciding your child can be healthy on an exclusive diet of meal replacement bars. No real food, just meal replacement bars.
A meal replacement bar is fine now and then, but no sane parent would ever consider raising a child on just those alone. Yet that’s what we’re doing when we feed our pets nothing but commercial, processed foods. Living foods in your pet’s diet are necessary for successful overall immune and organ function.
It seems the biggest problem most people have with a raw meat diet revolves around parasites.
Parasites – roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms – are passed up the food chain and wind up in the guts of animals.
We don’t feed guts to our pets! If you buy a commercially available raw food diet, you will not find guts in the formula because guts contain parasites.
If you prepare a homemade raw diet for your dog or cat, you don’t include guts. Do not feed the stomach and small and large intestines. Those are the parts of the prey we get rid of, because those are the parts that harbor parasites.
Muscle meat – the part of the prey used to prepare raw food diets – is sterile except in rare instances when parasites escape the GI tract (guts) and travel there.
Certain parasites, like toxoplasmosis, that get into muscle meat can make your pet sick, which is why you should freeze raw meats for three days before feeding them to your dog or cat.
By freezing meats three days before serving (a lot like how sushi is handled), and by removing the guts of prey species, you can successfully avoid exposing your raw fed pet to parasites.
The second most frequently asked question I get about raw meat diets is, ‘What about salmonella?’
The most important thing to understand about salmonella or any other contamination absolutely does occur. It’s a fact of life.
Salmonella is the reason for most recalls of dry pet foods (and human foods as well). When a salmonella outbreak occurs, there has been contamination in the food chain.
The word Salmonella is used to describe over 1,800 serovars (species) of gram-negative bacteria. This bacteria lives in many species of mammals. The most common bacteria riding around in your dog or cat is Salmonella typhimurium.
Dogs and cats naturally have some Salmonella in their GI tracts much of the time – it’s not some unknown foreign invader but rather one their bodies are familiar with.
If you’re familiar with reptiles, the situations are similar. Reptiles are known to naturally harbor Salmonella in their GI tracts.
In an article written by Rhea V. Morgan DVM, DACVIM, DACVO for the VIN, the doctor asserts the following about illness resulting from salmonella:
“Factors that increase the likelihood of clinical disease from Salmonella include the age of the animal, poor nutrition, the presence of cancer or neoplasia, and other concurrent diseases and stress, as well as the administration of antibiotics, chemotherapy or glucocorticoids [which are steroids].”
The bottom line is potentially harmful bacteria reside in your pet’s GI tract whether you feed raw foods or the processed stuff. In other words, your pet is already ‘contaminated’ with Salmonella. Dogs and cats are built to handle bacterial loads from food that would cause significant illness in humans. Your pet’s body is well equipped to deal with heavy doses of familiar and strange bacteria because nature builds them to catch, kill and immediately consume their prey.
Your dog’s or cat’s stomach is highly acidic, with a pH range of 1-2.5. Nothing much can survive that acidic environment – it exists to keep your pet safe from potentially contaminated raw meat and other consumables.
In addition to the acid, dogs and cats also naturally produce a tremendous amount of bile. Bile is both anti parasitic and anti-pathogenic. So if something potentially harmful isn’t entirely neutralized by stomach acid, the bile is a secondary defense. And your pet’s powerful pancreatic enzymes also help break down and digest food.
To help your pet’s digestive system remain strong and resilient enough to handle a heavy bacterial load and to support overall immune function, there are several things you can do.
This is in direct contrast to feeding a commercial formula of highly processed rendered byproducts, chemicals and grains – the typical mainstream pet food sold today. The sooner you transition your dog or cat to the kind of diet they were designed to eat, the sooner they will be on their way to vibrant good health.
Article courtesy of http://healthypets.mercola.com