Wellness Learning Center

What is a raw food diet?

The benefits of species appropriate nutrition


To understand the nutritional needs of a dog or cat, it is important to first think about (in an evolutionary sense) where they came from.  The dog’s closest relative is the grey wolf that survives in the wild as a hunter, omnivore and scavenger.  A raw food diet mimics what dogs have evolved to eat which is whole raw foods, bones and plants.  Cats have also evolved from hunters/carnivores and rely on whole, fresh raw foods.  The raw food diet is biologically appropriate for cats and dogs; it is a proper way to approach feeding your companion.

Despite domestication, the digestive system has not changed much, “A biologically appropriate diet for a dog is one that consists of raw whole foods similar to those eaten by the dogs' wild ancestors. This food will include such things as muscle meat, bone, fat, organ meat and vegetable materials and any other "foods" that will mimic what those wild ancestors ate. Please note that modern dogs of any breed are not only capable of eating the food of their wild ancestors, but actually require it for maximum health. This is because their basic physiology has changed very little with domestication despite dramatic changes in their current physical appearance and mindset. http://www.barfworld.com

Cooked and processed foods are not best situated for cats and dogs and can cause numerous health conditions. They did not evolve eating grains, cooked foods, or artificial colorings. Our companion’s require what will best meet their nutritional needs and support a healthy life.

How much wellness do you choose to create?

A healthy cat or dog is one that has a shiny coat, bright eyes, clean teeth, lacks bad body or breath odors, is not overweight, and requires very little veterinarian intervention.  A healthy pet ages well, is joyful, playful and rarely ill.  Your pet’s health is in your control and to create wellness depends largely upon how you feed your companion.
So how do we feed our animals to create wellness? We must honor the nature of cats and dogs with species appropriate nutrition: a biologically appropriate diet that provides an animal with what it needs to live a long, healthy life.  There are many ways to feed your pet a raw food or holistic diet depending on how much wellness you choose.  Discovering a proper diet for your pet can take time and may require small steps at first.
Pet food can be viewed as a choice we make for our companions based on the following chart.  On a low to high spectrum, each type of nutrition can be considered.  This chart can be followed to discover the best diet that will fit your pet’s needs.

Raw vs. commercial pet food

Commercial pet food is a convenient way to feed a companion animal.  The bag of kibble is in bite sized pieces, it can be stored for a long period of time, and its condensed form requires little clean up.  However, what is in commercial pet food?  How is it made?  What are the effects on health?  The answers to these questions may be a deciding factor in how much wellness you are willing to create.

Many commercial pet foods are comprised of discarded wastes that cannot otherwise be used for human consumption.  WHY?  Because discarded wastes are “least-cost ingredients;” which can lend profitability in a competitive market.  Some of the items in commercial pet foods occur during processing; some of them are to make the “wastes” more appealing with the addition of artificial flavoring and coloring.  Here is a list of what commercial pet foods may contain:

•    Slaughterhouse wastes
•    Toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs
•    Non-nutritive fillers
•    Heavy-metal contaminants
•    Sugar
•    Pesticides and herbicides
•    Drug residues
•    Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
•    Bacteria and fungi contaminants
•    Euthanized companion animals from shelters

This list is referred from “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats”.  Dr. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD maintains that commercial pet foods are created with substandard ingredients and furthermore, “the prolonged high temperatures used to sterilize some pet foods can destroy much of the usefulness of those proteins that start with a high biological value.  That’s because the heat causes proteins to combine with certain sugars, naturally occurring in the food, to form compounds that can’t be broken down by the body’s digestive enzymes.  After all, these foods that are heat-processed at these high temperatures have never been encountered by the digestive systems of animals before.  How could evolution have prepared them to break them down?”  

Indeed, this list is rather disturbing and can play a major role in the health of a companion animal.  Commercial pet foods do not provide the live nutrients, digestible proteins; vitamins and minerals that an animal needs to thrive.  These highly processed diets introduce toxins into our companion animals and are contributors to chronic degenerative diseases, auto-immune diseases, allergies, cancer, kidney, pancreatic and liver disease.

Click Here for simple checklist to evaluate your pets health. You can fill this form out and bring to your next veterinary appointment for an efficient assessment.


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