**Every animal is an individual and has different requirements – you need to find out what will satisfy their personal nutrition needs.
- Dogs need 65% – 85% protein, and a few can be healthy with a vegetarian diet.
- Cats need at least 70% protein (and up to 95%), mostly MEAT, and therefore cannot be vegetarian.(Some cats do best with up to 90% meat, even ones with kidney problems.)
- RAW MEAT is the best. Raw meat is best since cooking destroys enzymes and denatures the proteins rendering them less digestible to cats and dogs. Feeding chunks of meat lets your pet exercise jaw muscles, form saliva and enzymes in the stomach (most animals swallow their food relatively whole) needed to digest food properly. Ground meat is passable for most animals, but Juliette de Bairacli Levy said, “Minced meat is lethal to animals”. Supplement ground meat with Taurine when feeding cats as the Taurine is in the juices which may not be present in commercially ground meat. You can buy in quantity and freeze in portions. (Freezing only slightly decreases the nutritional value). An excellent meat is heart meat (good price, too). A must to read on the topic of raw meat is Pottinger’s Cats. An M.D. in the 1930’s kept 3 groups of cats in large outdoor enclosures. He found that feeding raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil produced great health, including reproductive and offspring’s health. When either the milk or the meat was cooked, health deteriorated rapidly. We rarely see Salmonella, E. coli, and toxoplasmosis due to the intestinal flora of dogs and cats. Raw bones, yes bones, are great on a regular basis as long as there is a lot of meat and cartilage attached. If the animal is eating the bones, you need not supplement with Calcium. Now some of the frozen raw food companies are pasteurizing their foods because of FDA pressure from fears of Salmonella and E. Coli. This is not as good as not pasturized as it is slightly cooking the meat.
- Calcium supplements. The newest books are very specific about the different calcium sources. For centuries dogs and cats have just eaten bones and done fine. For generations they have eaten farm scraps and done well. Generations of dogs seem to have done well on the following calcium sources, so I still feel it is fine to use any of these. I like to rotate them if you are not letting them eat bones. 1. Ground eggshells – 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat or fish; 2. bonemeal from a “good” source – says no heavy metals in it. NaturVet is one good one; 3. Calcium from Algae from Animal Essentials; 4. Wysong’s Call of the Wild supplement (has lots of great stuff including calcium from all of the above.
- MILK products are fine. Only a few animals get diarrhea from milk, cheese, and cottage cheese.
- VEGETABLES (cooked and raw) need to be ground finely for the main meal. They can be given in chunks for treats or for pacifiers. See the Whole Dog Journal for toys that you fill with peanut butter or other food for all day chewing enjoyment.
- CARBOHYDRATES, if fed, must be overcooked/soggy and raw since dogs and cats have very short digestive tracts. In the wild, the intestinal contents of the prey are seeds, which are high fat and protein, not our modern grains which are high in carbohydrates. While many animals will tolerate carbohydrates, others can not be fully healthy and need few, if any, grains. Unless your animal is in good health, omit the carbs at first. The reason for giving grains is to decrease your food budget and because some animals love their oatmeal and other carbs and are healthy eating them.
- OTHER FOODS As with people, some animals do not thrive on specific food items, so individually adjust your companion’s diet. There are no really taboo foods, although I do not recommend chocolate, a lot of sugar or refined foods or large amounts of onions..
- DIGESTIVE ENZYMES are useful while the animals are healing, and may or may not be needed once they are really healthy. A “WHOLE FOOD” OR “SUPER FOOD” supplement is essential since soils are poor. (Blue green algae, colloidal minerals, wheat grass, spirulena, Missing Link, etc.). Rotate these every few months or less rather than just using one.
- ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS and ANTI-OXIDANTS are often needed.
- MEAL TIMES: Don’t leave food out. Feed what they will eat then pick up the food. This is more important in cats than dogs. Do NOT feed dry food to cats, and possibly not dogs either. A normal, healthy cat is NOT THIRSTY!!! (You may see them drink rarely.) Feeding dry food can make cats and dogs thirsty and may stress the kidneys. This should be fun for both you and your companion. BE PATIENT while switching to the new diet.
If there are appetite problems – finicky or ravenous – your animal needs treatment.
Jan 10, 2016 – Cathy Corradi Koproske Keatts I cook for my dogs and since I started their coats are amazing no ear infections(knock on wood) unlike previously weights are good – well worth the time I put into it. I started after reading about dry dog food. My dogs prefer lightly cooked to raw. Ultimately it was reading about how all of the nutrition is cooked out of the food and the horrible parts of the animals that they put in it. Also about how in the past veterinarians nutrition information has often been information garnered from studies funded by the dog food.