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Biophile Magazine -- » A Natural, Wholesome Diet For Your Pets

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." Dalai Lama

A Natural, Wholesome Diet For Your Pets

by Paul Jacobson

FILED IN: Animals and Animal Welfare · Issue 15


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The concept of a natural, diet for our pets is no new revelation. Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, certainly would have fed our pets some delicious and nutritious meals from left overs from the table. Our pets did extremely well on these diets and lived to a ripe old age free of common ailments like skin allergies, irritable bowls, rotten teeth and certainly not cancer.

We have only improved the recipe based on scientific studies, and have learnt which ingredients to eliminate from the meals and which ingredients to include, to reach maximum nutritional value. The nutritional values of certain grains, vegetables, herbs and meat are well documented.

We can now present a totally healthy and natural diet for our pets, very similar to what they would have eaten in the wild.
First prize would still be to bring home a fresh carcass and let our pet “vreet” but that is not going to happen.

However, we have noted and learnt from the natural feeding behaviour of dogs in the wild. We would see the top dogs eating first the pre-digested somach contents of a herbivore, then move onto the liver, kidney, heart, then the juicy rump and meat. They would also consume meat mixed with fat and then last of all chew on raw bones to strengthen and clean their teeth.

Our suggested natural diet has adopted these studies and observations, together with scientific research on correct nutritional values, to formulate a recipe that is both user friendly and incredibly healthy.

There are only two considerations in formulating a natural and nutritious home cooked meal for your companion animals. The first is the ingredients that you use and the second is the method used to cook these ingredients.

Your recipe should include up to third meat, a third grains and a third vegetable and greens. The meat can be beef, chicken (prefferably free range), mutton and/or ostrich.

The grains should include brown rice, lentils, barley and soup mix. Your vegetable mix should include blended raw carrots, garlic, a variety of fresh herbs and cold pressed olive oil.

What is important to note when cooking, is that the grains must be cooked thoroughly. This will make them easily digestible and maintain all there nutritional values. Only afterwards, once you have turned off the gas/electricity will you add your meat content.
Finally you mix in your vegetable blend.

Please note though, that if your pet suffers from aggravated skin allergies or any other ailment, including cancer, we would prefer that you contact Vondi’s Holistic Pet Nutrition and we can prescribe a more specific diet. For example, herbs such as garlic, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, whilst have excellent nutritional components,are also “hot” herbs and may cause your pet to feel uncomfortable. We may recommend, then, that you rather use a blend of various mint herbs.

In general, we advise pet lovers to know their ingredients before feeding. If you do choose to still use commercial pet food, then at very least you should research what goes into the food. What are the animal derivatives or by-products they use, which preservatives are used and their dangers and also the cooking process used to derive at a dry kibble/pellet or sealed can?

What not to feed our pets

Junk food is obviously bad for our pets, sugars, chocolates, dairy, snacks laden with preservatives. What is bad for your children is bad for your pets.

I have a simple rule: food that is not good enough for you is not good enough for your pets.

WHY VEGETARIAN DOGS?

- an extract from the homepage of the book Vegetarian Dogs

Most people would agree that hurting others is wrong. However, many of us have neglected the simple rule: Do no harm. Even though we know, both from a scientific and a subjective point of view, that animals feel pain when we cage, dominate, and kill them, many billions of animals live and die under horrible conditions every year.

Could it ever be right for a person to needlessly cause pain and death to another? Shouldn’t we put the needs of others before our pleasures?

This is especially true if it is our pleasure that directly causes their suffering. But even if one accepts that eating other animals is wrong for humans, does the same logic apply to dogs who eat other animals? Isn’t it natural for dogs to eat meat?

First, whether something is “natural” (presumably defined as arising without human intervention) has no bearing on whether it is good. For example, radiation, famine, and malaria are all “natural,” but this does not make them personally desirable for us or our animal companions.

Second, since it is unlikely that an animal possesses the ability to think, “Gee, I really shouldn’t chase that cat because it isn’t nice,” a dog should not be held to an ethical standard. Therefore, it is not wrong for dogs to eat meat. But, is it right for humans to participate in the killing of other animals by feeding meat to their canine companions?

To answer this question, we need only consider two issues: 1) Does raising and killing animals for food inflict suffering on others? and 2) Must we kill animals to feed our companion animals? If an activity is both cruel and unnecessary, then it is wrong.
Killing to feed domestic canines is unnecessary. Thus, it fails both the cruelty test and the unnecessary test.

NUTRITION

Dogs (and humans) need protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Too much or too little of any may cause problems such as obesity, malnourishment, or even vitamin or mineral toxicity.

But don’t panic! After all, you have been feeding yourself for many years without much thought.

Dogs have many of the same requirements as people do, but may be more flexible in their ability to deal with some imbalances. It is important, however, that you have an understanding of where your needs differ from those of your animal friend.

PROTEIN

Dogs have a higher protein requirement than humans. One study demonstrated a minimum protein requirement of 6%.1 However, at this level, dogs were more prone to disease than at higher levels and the protein they received was carefully formulated to provide all their amino acid requirements. No optimum protein level is known. But no matter what quantity of protein is necessary (even over 30%), a vegetarian diet can meet t he standard with a variety of legumes or other foods.

SUPPLEMENTS

Calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12 must be added to the dog’s diet, as well as vitamin D from alfalfa, and betacarotene from carrots. The most important food in the dog’s diet is wheat germ. Wheat germ is a “superfood”: It provides an extremely large quantity of vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and a large portion of a dog’s zinc requirement.

PROPER FEEDING

Since dogs cannot choose their own food, you are solely responsible for the frequency and quality of their meals. Don’t let them down. Puppies need three or more meals a day and adult dogs need two. Your dogs may prefer to be fed at the same time and place and in the same bowl each day. Leave the food out for one-half hour before putting it away.

Do not put the food out before physical activity, as eating before exercise could cause gastric dilation/volvulus syndrome (GDV)7, a sometimes fatal condition occurring when normal food digestion is interrupted with physical activity. Finally, don’t worry if your dog skips a meal or two, as such fluctuations are normal. On the other hand, don’t try to limit your active dog’s intake of healthy food.

Editor’s Note:

I have three very healthy dogs and a cat and this is what I have fed them for many years:
Organic brown rice cooked with lentils, which I buy it by the sack load from Organic Alive, my local organic shop in Muizenberg (sometimes I interchange this with organic mealie meal when I can get it)

1 raw organic egg each
steamed veg (often leftovers)
raw carrots
heaped teaspoon brewers yeast
half teaspoon kelp powder
quarter teaspoon coral calcium
desert spoon flax seed oil

When I can source organic bones from loved and happy animals that have been humanely killed or which have died from old age, I give them the bones, otherwise they chew on raw carrots and mealie cobs!

My one dog is 16 years old and still climbs up the mountain with me most days!

Anthea

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