At The Happy Body, we’re very passionate about helping people choose healthy, life-supporting foods. It was therefore a natural progression for us to look at the diet we were feeding our dogs (we don’t have cats, but the same would apply to them, just in smaller amounts), with the same principles in mind. Having read a vast amount of research on the subject, here are our thoughts.
What is natural food for your dog?
Our domestic friends are descendants of the canine-lupus (wolf). Although it’s true that domestication of dogs happened many hundreds of years ago, their genetic coding is still that of the wolf. In the wild, these creatures thrive on fresh, raw meat, plus bones and offal. Also required is a small amount of partially digested vegetable matter (usually found in the stomach of their prey).
Think about what you currently feed your dog. Most often, it comes out of a bag or a tin. It’s been processed and has added to it cheap oils, soy proteins, fillers and a large percentage of grains. Some of the more expensive stuff is made with better quality ingredients, but is still processed.
Grains, in particular, are detrimental to dogs (and cats), as these aren’t foods that would naturally have been consumed. Their consumption can lead to blood sugar problems, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. In fact, they can lead to these conditions in humans, never mind animals.
Putting it together
Far better would be to mimic your pet’s ancestral diet by feeding them an equal-part combination of the above-mentioned raw animal parts. In other words, muscle meat (pet’s mince, gizzards, offcuts); offal (lung, liver, heart, kidneys) and bones (chicken necks, heads and feet, lamb and/or beef bones). Add to this a small amount of vegetable pulp. You can use either the leftovers from your juice extractor or vegetables grated on the small side of a cheese grater. In addition, add some good quality omega-3 oil in the form of flax oil.
Now you have a complete and balanced diet that will keep your pets healthy, their teeth clean (through chewing on bones) and their body weight optimal.
We can attest to the benefits for dogs, as ours have been on a raw diet for a number of years and have experienced outstanding health (and no fleas!).
As an example of ideal amounts, we feed Lily, our (+/- 30kg) Pit-Bull cross, approximately 500g food once per day. Chicken, our (+/- 12kg) Staffie gets about 250g. On top of this, we add a few tablespoons of vegetable pulp plus one tablespoon of human-grade flax oil. To combat any constipation problems we add more veggies; for too-loose bowels we add more raw bone.
If you’re interested in further reading, we recommend ‘Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats’ by Kymythy R. Schultze (Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Animal Health Instructor). You could also go to www.healthypets.mercola.com.
One of Port Elizabeth’s local high-quality, ethical meat farmers, Melanie Volker (firstname.lastname@example.org), provides all our dog food requirements at a very reasonable cost. If you live outside of this area, you may need to do a little research into who’s offering what in order to understand your options.
Whichever way you do it try and mimic as closely as possible, a completely natural and raw food diet. Nothing beats it for improving the health, vitality and longevity of your best friends!