Does it matter what we feed our dogs and cats?
Karen Conell-Owner The Bark Market LLC
If you want a pet that is happy and healthy into old age the answer is “YES”.
We know for a fact that dogs descended from wolves and that wolves are carnivores.
We know cats are also strict carnivores. A carnivore is a mammal whose calories and nutrition should come from meat. They don’t graze on grass like a cow or horse .In the wild, dogs,wolves, foxes, raccoon’s,cats eat the flesh/organs of other animals to survive. Not a pleasing thought but 100% true. This has been going on for thousand of years. One look inside your dog or cats mouth and it is obvious that their teeth were designed to tear things (Prey/meat) apart, and that’s just the beginning of the digestive system! Keep in mind, your pet may look different than a wolf,thanks to generations of selective breeding but on the inside, still very much a wolf!
So who decided that processed food was suitable for our 4 legged friends? A 100 years ago as more humans left the farms for cities, and domesticated animals became increasingly popular ,along came products that would make feeding them easier. While the convenience can’t be denied was it the best thing for our pets? Not if the hundreds of pets that are overweight,have skin/coat issues, ear infections, dental disease or cancer are any indication. A pets genetics are only part of the health equation. Luckily, a change in diet can make a huge difference.
A sick animal can be financially crippling and heartbreaking. Since we can control/choose what we feed them and contribute to their health at the same time,why wouldn’t we? So what does proper nutrition for a dog & cat look like? Ideally it would look like what they ate thousands of years ago. If you have a dog or cat that will hunt everything in your yard, he is telling you what he wants to eat, Meat! Vegetables and fruits appropriate in limited quantities as well. Since most of us don’t want to make our pets hunt for every meal the next best thing is a high quality commercially made diet that is not highly processed. (Homemade diets are possible but require a big commitment) Corn, Wheat, soy and other filler grains are not appropriate and never would have been an option thousands of years ago. Preservatives,dyes and fillers offer no benefit, so steer clear of those as well.
There is plenty of marketing out there trying to convince you that Pet Food XYZ is “the best”. Look beyond the pretty labels and amusing tv commercials and look at the ingredients list. For some, it will be hard to find the meat or anything else recognizable! This is one red flag that your pet food needs an update. The other is an ailing, unhealthy pet.
Education is the key to knowing what to buy in a sea brands. There are loads of books, blogs and websites devoted to this topic, as well as pet professionals, knowledgeable about nutrition Invest in your pets health and happiness by giving them the appropriate nutrition they deserve.