Diet

 

Raw vs. Homemade

The Story Behind Raw

What most pet food companies don't want you to know is that as the rate of pet diseases rise, the simplest thing you can do to help your pets heal is feed raw. Cats are obligate carnivores meaning that biologically they have to have meat. When it comes to dogs some professionals say they are carnivores, and some professionals say omnivores. What most people can agree on is that cats and dogs need meat. Where the real argument comes in is whether the meat should be cooked or raw.

Wild canids ate a diet of raw meat, bones, and the occasional fruit or vegetable. The basis for the 'pro-raw' side is that if their ancestors ate raw, then that is the closest to a 'natural' diet you can feed your furry friends. Not to mention this food is less likely to be recalled than commercial kibble as the ingredients are healthier and the facilities are cleaner. Yes, sometimes raw food is contaminated with salmonella or other bacterias, but if you choose a raw brand that has never been recalled then no sweat. The other argument is that a diet of strictly meat is unbalanced; which for the record it is. Your cat or dog should be getting vegetables, and healthy oils in their food in addition to the meat base.

I was a little skeptical to try it at first, but Kaia was struggling with digestive issues even on 'sensitive stomach' kibble. I gave her a week 'grace period' for her system to adjust and we haven't had a problem with her food since. She now eats all her food, her teeth are whiter and her coat is shinier. All I can is, I'm glad I made the switch.

 
Homemade Pet Food

I have absolutely no problem with people who feed homemade pet food. My only complaints would be the sheer time investment of cooking regularly and the cost of all the additives (eggs, kelp, powders, fish oils, etc). The main benefits of homemade food is its customizability (not that raw food can't be customized). If your pet has a specific allergy to a base protein, then you can use alternative sources and include as little carbohydrates as possible. You also know that all your ingredients are fresh and there is no danger of contamination.

The difficulty is keeping a balanced diet with all the necessary amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals while feeding the right amount for your pet's size. The simplest way to do this is to find holistic vets who have made pet cookbooks or recipes. Make sure to vary your pet's protein source so they don't develop vitaminosis from sources such as liver.

 

Grain-Free Food

Do you think your body would fare well with a diet that is 80% carbohydrates? Do you think you think eating foods with sugar contents over 50% would be a good basis for a healthy life? So why do we feed our pets this?

Did you know that there are still pet foods marketed as 'grain-free' that have higher starch contents than regular kibble! Why? Dogs and cats have no biological need for carbohydrates, and kibble can be made without grains, but not without carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are necessary to physically hold the kibble together! However, the governing boards that control pet food don't require starch contents to be listed on pet food labels. Unfortunately, this means that they replace the grains with starches that are converted into sugar in your pet's body!

According to Dr. Karen Becker who is one of my favourite holistic vets:

  • "The optimal diet for healthy dogs is meat-based and raw, grain-free, moisture-rich, living and fresh"

For horses, the majority of their diets should be strictly grazing. If they are working or sporting horses, then some small meals throughout the day is tolerable for their digestion. Commercial horse feed is majority carbohydrate-based and their intestines cannot process that large of a meal at one time, which explains why colic is so common.

 

Bone Safety

FIRST, ABSOLUTELY NO COOKED BONES.

They splinter easily and it can puncture your pet's esophagus, stomach or intestines. Not to mention that your pet could choke. You can grind up edible raw bones (chicken wings, turkey necks, etc) and put them in your pet's food.

 

When it comes to recreational chewing, the general rule is no bone smaller than your pet's head.  They don't supply significant dietary nutrition for your dog and are for gnawing only, not eating. Make sure your pet isn't hungry when they eat or they may start to break pieces off. Do not give them to those that have restorative dental work or crowns as heavy chewers can chip or fracture their teeth. Do not give them to pets with pancreatitis as marrow has a high calorie content, or replace the marrow with pumpkin and freeze. 

If you have a multi-pet household, make sure you separate the pets before giving the bones as resource guarding can become quite serious.

When your dog chews on a raw recreational bone, especially a meaty one with cartilage and soft tissue still attached, his teeth get the equivalent of a good brushing and flossing. This helps break down tartar and reduces the risk of gum disease. With any bone, always make sure your pet is supervised.

 Raw marrow bones:       Roasted marrow bones:

 

Foods to Avoid

Dogs and Cats: Chocolate, grapes, raisins, currants, macadamia nuts, garlics, onions, avocado, xylitol (artificial sweetener), alcohol, raw salmon, tomato, green potato, rhubarb, fruit pits, sugary treats, large amounts of grains and yeast, bread dough, dairy, mushrooms, caffeine

Horses: high carbohydrate foods, Alsike clover, Kleingrass, Johnson or Sudan grass, Buffel, Panic, Pangola, Kikuyu and Setania app grasses, corn or beet pulp (in large amounts), molasses, sucrose, syrups, dairy in mixed pellets

 

Supplements

Virgin Coconut Oil

 

  • huge aid for skin and coat issues

  • anti-fungal, anti-bacterial

  • disinfects cuts

  • improves digestion

  • aids with bad breath and other teeth/gum issues

  • helps regulate diabetes

  • increases energy

  • aids with arthritis and ligament problems

Cinnamon

 

  • regulates blood sugar and raises insulin resistance

  • anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory

  • improved brain function

  • mild anti-clotting on blood

  • immune boosting

  • increases food palatability

  • aids with bone and cartilage development

  • improves bad breath

  • warms bones during winter

Pumpkin Puree

 

  • one of the best digestive aids I know for both solidity and regularity

  • promotes eye health

  • immune booster

  • moisturizes skin and coat

  • prevents urinary incontinence

  • can expel most digestive parasites

  • aids in weight loss

  • increases food palatability

Carob Powder

 

  • aids in toxin elimination

  • lowers cholesterol

  • improves digestion

  • helps coughs, flus and anemia

  • aids calcium absorption

  • anti-oxidant

  • gluten free

Norwegian or Deep Sea Kelp powder

  • removes heavy metals

  • improves thyroid function

  • aids skin and coat condition

  • controls flea manifestations

  • increases metabolism

  • speeds tissue repair and post-surgery healing

  • anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-rheumatic

  • balances acid/alkaline balance

  • immune booster

Mint
  • aids digestion

  • great for bad breath

  • anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal

  • diminishes seasonal allergy symptoms

  • natural decongestant

  • calming effect

  • increases desire for food

  • helps with side effects of chemo and radiation

Noni

  • anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, and anti-parasitic

  • aids in tissue repair

  • immune booster

  • proteins that are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and analgesic

  • helps destroy reactive O2 free radicals (cancer)

  • aids pain or skin pain

  • good detox agent

  • can be used topically for allergies and skin inflammation

Colostrum​

  • anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral

  • strengthens immune system

  • promotes growth of positive microflora in intestines

  • improves coat and hair quality

  • helps with respiratory diseases

  • digestive aid

  • improves periodontal diseases

  • decreases symptoms of aging

Cannabis/CBD Oil

  • decreases pain and inflammation

  • increases appetite

  • decreases seizures

  • improves anxiety

  • greatly benefits Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

*contact holistic vet before using due to the variety in product form and availability*

Omega 3s

  • great for joints, skin and coat

  • aids cognitive and eye development

  • improves attention, memory and trainability of puppies

  • helps Canine Atopic Dermatitis

  • aids with cardiovascular disorders

  • anti-inflammatory

  • helps with autoimmune disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and GI disorders

*do not feed your pet avocados*

Olive Leaf Extract
  • anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory

  • decreases blood pressure

  • improves ear and skin infections

  • aids Feline Leukemia & Immundeficiency Virus

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

  • anti-flea, anti-parasitic (internal and external)

  • good detox agent

  • aids digestion

  • deodorizer

  • immune booster

  • garden pest control

Cranberries

 

  • prevents struvite crystals and bladder stones​

  • anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory

  • strengthens blood vessels

  • increased oxygen delivery to cell membranes

  • helps with bad breath, plaque and gum diseases

  • improves digestion

  • immune booster

Zucchini

  • great for weight loss

  • rich in vitamins and minerals (immune booster)

  • anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory

  • benefits coat and skin

  • improves eye health

Blueberries

  • anti-oxidant

  • good for weight loss and bowel regulation

  • improves bone strength and heart health

  • benefits skin and coat

  • regulates blood pressure

  • aids diabetes management

  • can be used as a training aid (memory)

  • cancer prevention

  • increases energy

Unpasteurized Raw Goat's Milk

  • good for digestion, malnutrition, and GI tract

  • high in enzymes, trace minerals, concentrated vitamins

  • essential fatty acids

  • anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory 

  • benefits Kidney and Liver conditions

Sweet Potatoes

  • improves digestion

  • low in fat and sugar

  • high in vitamins, minerals and energy

  • helps muscle function

  • maintains body fluid balance

  • beta-carotene helps skin health, the immune system and eye health

  • easy, healthy treats (dehydrated, steamed or boiled)

Spinach

  • vitamin dense (A, B, C, E, K)

  • high in fibre and protein

  • benefits skin, coat and bone strength

  • improves appetite and nerve control

  • immune booster

  • boosts the reproductive organs

  • prevents hemorrhages

  • benefits intestinal health

  • improves blood circulation

Peas

  • vitamin dense (A, B1, B6, C, K)

  • mineral dense (iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium)

  • low in calories, high in protein and fibre

  • benefits skin, heart and eye health

  • strengthens bones and digestion

  • boosts energy and aids aging

  • *don't feed to pets with Kidney problems

Sardines

  • high in omega 3s​

  • improves heart health, brain function

  • benefits the skin, coat and immune system

  • strengthens the Kidney

  • aids osteoarthritis

  • anti-inflammatory

  • helps with weight loss

  • benefits allergies

Strawberries

  • high in vitamins and minerals

  • anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant

  • fights cellular damage

  • improve muscular function

  • boost immune system

  • helps with weight loss

Cucumber

  • vitamin dense (K, biotin, copper, Mn, molybdenum)

  • low in fat, Na, calories and cholesterol 

  • high in phytonutrients

  • anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory

  • good for hydration

  • benefits bones and joint health

  • freshen's breath

  • strengthens Liver and Kidney function

Ginger

  • increase appetite and blood circulation

  • dispels toxins through sweat

  • antispasmodic (cough, nausea, stomach pain)

  • improves digestive health (diarrhea, colic, gas)

  • high in antioxidants

  • benefits muscle or joint pain, and arthritis

Apple Cider Vinegar

  • improves hot spots and itchy skin

  • gets rid of yeast infections

  • benefits bladder infections or stones

  • great insect repellent

  • balances pH in gut

  • improves muscle soreness

  • odour (coat or carpet) and stain remover

  • ear cleaner

  • good disinfectant but not in open wounds

 

*make sure to dilute heavily*

Kale

  • anti-oxidant and high in omega 3s

  • improves energy and digestion

  • benefits eye health 

  • lowers cancer risk 

  • prevents heart disease

  • high in betacarotene, vitamin A, C, E, calcium carotenoid pigments, copper, potassium, iron, lutein

 

*feed dried, raw, chopped, or lightly cooked*

Biotin (Vit B7)

  • benefits energy levels and metabolism

  • helps with even and healthy hair and coat growth

  • alleviates skin conditions

  • aids healthy nail or hoof growth

  • balances blood sugar levels

Electrolytes

  • necessary for all cellular function

  • controls water balance, muscles and nerves

  • balanced blood pH

  • helps recover from vomiting/diarrhea, surgery, whelping/queening, high intensity sporting

  • improves energy levels

  • regulates metabolism

Beets

  • anti-oxidant

  • anti-inflammatory

  • detoxifier

  • lessen tumour cell growth through inhibition of cyclooxgenase enzymes

  • high in folate, manganese, potassium, copper, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6

 

*don't feed canned*

Kefir

  • anti-fungal and anti-bacterial

  • high in probiotics

  • improves digestion

  • helps pets with allergies

  • immune booster

  • relieves gas

  • high in vitamins, amino acids and natural enzymes

 

*don't over feed*

Squash

  • vitamin A, C, E, B6

  • high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium

  • high in dietary fibre

  • antioxidants - betacarotene

  • immune booster

  • benefits vision

  • improves cardiovascular function

 

*remove seeds*

Bone Broth

  • glucosamine and chondroitin 

  • nutrient dense

  • high in protein

  • benefits gut health

  • improves arthritis and joint pain

  • aids skin and hair conditions

To make, simply put bones in pot, cover with 2-3 inches of water, simmer for 8-24 hours. The goal is to produce gelatin and release trace minerals from joints. Next remove the soft bones and place broth in fridge. When ready to serve, just scoop off fat.

Bananas

  • high in biotin, copper, magnesium and potassium

  • high in Vitamin B6 and C

  • benefits gut health

  • improves bones growth 

  • aids vitamin absorption

  • helps produce protein in the body​

Don't feed the peel or overfeed as they are high in sugar. No more than a few pieces for little dogs and up to half a banana for larger dogs. The easiest way to feed is mash and put into a kong, or feed as slices.

Celery

  • high in potassium, fibre, and folate

  • high in Vitamin A, C, and K

  • full of phytonutrients

  • benefits gut health

  • anti-inflammatory

  • low glycemic index

  • alkalizing

If you can't get your pet to eat it, you can juice it.

Spirulina

  • high in iron, the essential fatty acid GLA

  • high in beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2 and B3

  • detoxifier (full of chlorophyll)

  • benefits healthy gut bacteria growth

  • boosts antibody and white blood cell production

  • allergy relief (natural anti-histamine)

  • anti-inflammatory

1/4 tsp per lb. of food (dog); 1/2 tsp per lb. (cat)

Providing Natural / Holistic
Animal Care in:

GTA / Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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