Feeding Your Pets a Raw Food Diet: Is it a fad?

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be... 

Image via Wikipedia

The past few years has seen the emergence of feeding dogs and cats a raw food diet. It is also known as BARF, an acronym for bones and raw food. Advocates of the diet say that it is as close to a wild diet as a domesticated pet is going to receive. However, is a raw diet a good thing? Or is it a fad?

The first thing to look at with the raw diets is how closely they mimic the food found in the wild. Just because we have domesticated cats and dogs does not mean we have domesticated their digestive systems. So on first glance, a raw diet is beneficial. But each species needs to be fed a specific type of raw diet. Dogs are omnivorous, and cats are obligate carnivores.

Commercial pet foods, while not always having the best ingredients, still adhere to a set of guidelines and provide specific nutrients your pet needs. However, a cat is not designed to digest grains, whereas a dog can. Feeding a cat food that is laden with grains is the cause of a stinky litter box. It is a fact that raw diets eliminate smell almost entirely. Dogs also should be fed a diet that is higher in meat than grains, but they can still consume corn and rice.

Ultimately a raw diet is beneficial to pets and is not a fad, but there are nutrients that are lacking in a straight raw meat diet. Research before feeding, and ensure that the necessary vitamins and minerals are supplemented.

 

Pet Food Recalls-FAQ

A Pet's Place store in Hatert, Nijmegen

Image via Wikipedia

Pet owners need to stay up to date on food recalls and be aware of the potential health problems that contaminated products pose to animals. Here are answers to common questions when your pet has been exposed to tainted food.

Why is my pet’s food being recalled?
The FDA tests samples of pet food and will issue a recall if substances like melamine are found.

What is melamine?
Melamine is used as an industrial binding agent and as fertilizer in some parts of the world. It has been known to cause severe kidney damage in children and pets that have ingested melamine-tainted food. In 2007, a massive recall was initiated after melamine was found in wheat gluten imported from China. Pets that ate the tainted food suffered serious illnesses and even death.

What if my pet gets sick from recalled pet food?
Contact your veterinarian immediately. You may also consider contacting a class action attorney Los Angeles or other cities offer to discuss potential settlements.

How can I be sure my pet is getting the best quality food?
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends only high quality, premium pet food because these brands are extensively researched and specially formulated.

Is it safer to feed my pet homemade food?
Recalls are very rare and, as long as you are choosing a premium product, you may never run into a problem. Homemade diets are an option, but will require time, effort and money to ensure your pet is getting adequate nutrition. Consult with your veterinarian or an animal nutritionist before beginning a homemade food plan.

Dye Allergies in Cats

One problem that is very common among cats is sensitivity to food dyes and food coloring. This is a major problem for cats because so many of the cat foods have dye in them. For some cats it can cause occasional minor stomach upset, and in others it can be a major problem.

No matter how serious the case is, you will likely want to get your sensitive cat on a diet that won’t upset her stomach. Even in the minor cases it is likely not comfortable for the cat to feel an upset stomach on a regular basis.

One of the options for helping your cat with this is to change her over to an all natural dye free food. These are often sold at vet’s offices or at pet supply stores. These are very similar to other foods that you would buy for your cat, but they don’t have the artificial colors and other additives in them. This is a great choice because it is easy for you as an owner. This may cost a bit more than buying regular grocery store cat food, but the overall savings in time and headaches is well worth it for you and your feline friend.

Another option is to start making your cat’s food at home. You can look online to find many great recipes for foods that you can cook for your cat. Some of these may take some time and effort to prepare, but you can create a diet for your cat that will be unmatched by any prepackaged food you can buy at the store.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you do something and quickly. You don’t want your cat to suffer from the pain and discomfort of an upset stomach, and you want to save yourself from having to clean up additional messes that can be caused by the cat vomiting or having loose stools from her stomach issues.

Proper Care for Your Family Pet

When you have a pet, you know you need to take care of it. Sometimes, this responsibility can seem very overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. With just a little bit of guidance, caring for your family pet can be easy and even fun! Take a look at the suggestions below to find out how you can properly care for your family pet.

1.       Establish a relationship with a vet. Just like you would get a doctor for your children, you need a good vet for your pet. Establish a relationship with a veterinarian you trust and that your pet likes. Get the proper check ups and vaccinations on a regular basis. Ask your vet to give you a list of regular maintenance for your pet.

2.       Get proper nutrition. Make sure your pet is eating healthy food. Read the labels on the pet food you buy and make sure it is free of preservatives or harmful chemicals. Your pet will live longer and healthier with good food.

3.       Get the right amount of exercise. Along with good food, your pet also needs to exercise. For example, if you have a dog, make sure you take him out on a walk at least once a day. Or, you could even play fetch in the back yard.

4.       Love your pet. Pets, like humans, need love – and lots of it. Be sure to cuddle with your pet and let him know how much you love and need him.

Being a pet owner is a great thing. It’s fun and exciting! It’s also nice to have the companionship that a pet brings to your home. Make sure you have your pet with you for years to come by taking good care of him now. Get the proper care and give him the right nutrition and your pet will live a long and healthy life.