Deciding what to feed your family and that includes your pets of course is a constant worry these days. With so much marketing all focused on getting your money its hard to know what to do. So I have found that personal experiences are the best way to make a decision! Scientific studies are great and have their place but you can't go wrong with actually trying something new and seeing and feeling a difference. From humans to animals thousands of people report feeding their family and their pets REAL FOOD really improves their health and wellbeing.
Our eating habits can mean the difference between a long and healthy life and one that leads to doctors, vets and other health professionals. I lead by example and have been eating a whole-food diet since suffering with arthritis, I have gone from eating anti inflammatories every day and not being able to put my own socks on to running marathons and half ironman. All due to diet and exercise.
I want to inspire you to follow these eating habits with your pets because they are suffering like humans. Obesity, allergies and other inflammatory diseases that food can help to control.
If you’re happy with the current food you’re feeding, then incorporating even some of these suggestions will benefit your dog.
1. Discard the marketing hype and take the label test
- Poultry by-product meal. An excellent protein source created after poultry is processed for human consumption. ...
- Corn Meal. It's simply ground whole corn. ...
- Corn gluten meal. ...
- Brewers Rice. ...
- Soy flour meal. ...
- Taurine. ...
- Animal Fat.
Never trust labels! The people creating the label did not make the food. Their job is to sell sell sell and try every way they can to make the product sound healthy,
Product labels always list the ingredients in order, from the largest to the smallest.
Google-search each of the first five ingredients. First, type in each ingredient followed by “bad for dogs” and then “good for dogs.” The results may surprise you.
When you start researching, you’ll soon see why I’m against prescription foods sold by vets.
They may suit a diagnosed condition but can cause many other problems (and that’s not even taking into account the cooking processes or packaging).
2. Avoid feeding shelf-stable foods as a staple diet
Processed foods can have a 12 to 24 month shelf life. This is because it is a dead food with no live organism that your stomach needs and they rely on synthetic supplements to meet supposed nutritional standards.
My gripe with these products is not that they exist, but the way they’re marketed … as a staple, daily diet.
If we could create a biscuit that was full of every nutrient you needed to thrive healthily people would be creating it for humans!
Biscuits, kibble and canned foods have their place – in shelters, charities, on long trips, or on occasions when we’re pressed for time – but they should not be fed as a staple diet.
3. Introduce fresh whole foods
Fresh whole foods are full of live enzymes and fibre which aids digestion, encourages pooping and improves stools.
Cooking and processing destroys nutrients that is why the manufacturers add synthetic nutrients back into the products.
Whole foods contain items that work together to help the body absorb, assimilate and make use of nutrients.
There are a list of vegetables that dogs and cats must avoid and you’ll be amazed at which parts of the vegetables are the most nutritious. For example, broccoli stems contain more nutrients than the head, and beetroot leaves are full of goodness.
Puree vegetables for maximum nutrient absorption or feed whole as a bone substitute for teeth and gum maintenance.
4. Feed a variety of ingredients rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is a major cause of disease and researching ingredients and manufacturing processes will help you determine what is inflammatory and rid it from your pets diet.
Inflammation leads to premature aging, not only in dogs, but in people, too and most commercially processed food are high in inflammatory ingredients.
Whole foods are high in antioxidants you can google long lists for cats and dogs.
5. Avoid cooking meats
Cooked meat loses so much nutrients. Humans might enjoy cooked meat but animals all enjoy raw meat. It’s best to avoid cooking meat for your dog whenever possible.
Irrespective of the stated nutritional values, here’s one of many reasons why commercial pet foods are fundamentally flawed:
When the muscles of mammals, fish, or birds are cooked at high temperatures, carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines are created that may increase the risk of breast, colon, lung, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. Risky cooking methods don’t just include barbequing, frying, and grilling. Even just baking chicken at around 350 deg F for 15 minutes leads to significant production of these cancer-causing compounds. – Michael Greger MD
6. Use apple cider vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is like a wonder drug! You can scrub insecticide off vegetables, you can treat puppy mange, stomach upsets, fleas the list goes on! I
7. Avoid gluten
Many dry pet foods contain gluten meal it is a residue made from corn and is added to pet food prevent it from becoming rancid. This product is known to cause strain on the kidney and liver. Corn gluten in small amounts even can harm your pets organs.
This is probably one of the highest allergy producing ingredients.
8. Cats and Dogs don't need grains!
They don’t eat them in the wild, and most cats and dogs are allergic to wheat.
If you have to use grains lentils that are soaked overnight are the easiest of the grains to digest. It’s best to soak them first and rinse before cooking, then rinse again after cooking.
They have the highest protein content. They’re also rich in fibre and minerals, particularly iron and magnesium.
They’re rich in lysine, an essential amino acid that can help boost the immune system.
9. Add raw coconut oil as a source of fat
Coconut oil can help you manage your dog’s weight. It goes straight to the liver and is converted to energy.
The more energy your dog has, the more he exercises; the more he exercises, the leaner he stays; the leaner he stays, the less chance of obesity-related diseases.
Since fish oils can turn rancid very easily, consider sources of Omega-3 oils like chia seed, flaxseed or hempseed.
10. Do not over-feed … and limit treats
Is your pet over or underweight? Feed them an appropriate diet at the appropriate time.
If he’s overweight, feed him earlier in the day so he has more time to work it off.
If your dog needs to gain weight then feed more regularly and especially before bedtime, preventing the dog from burning off those calories.
As your pet grows older, they gain weight more easily, so don’t set them up for failure by over feeding to early – it will come naturally over time
Just like marketing gurus once convinced mothers they should be putting snacks in their children’s lunchboxes, they’ve tricked dog owners into believing that giving our dogs treats is normal.
The worst part is that it’s near impossible to find ready-made healthy treats.
So let me ask you… when you’re feeling guilty for not spending enough time with your dog, is compensating with a treat about how you feel or about how your dog feels?
Without realizing it, many of us are slowly poisoning our dogs with treats. It can be easy to spot the dog who gets far too many treats – usually it’s the obese one.
If you’d like to feed treats, consider making fresh and healthy treats at home. Dried coconut flakes are a great choice.
15. Take Charge
You know your dog better than anyone so it makes sense that you should be in control of your dog’s diet.
I couldn’t even cook for myself when I started making food for Augustine but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it – and now she’s an icon of health.