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.

Are commercial pet foods safe?

The health standards and the average life span of the pets are falling gradually in the recent years and it is noticed that a fair percentage of pets suffer from various health problems which includes physical as well as behavioral problems . Upon analysis, the pet nutritionists seem to agree that this is mainly due to the poor nutrition which is the root cause for all these problems among the pets. It is also found out the pet foods available in the market are not really as nutritious or healthy as it is being claimed.  The vets believe that the chemical additives used in these commercial pet foods are responsible for the deteriorating health of the pets.

It is found that the pet food contains huge amounts of BHTs, BHAs and Ethoxyquin which are responsible for producing the odor and also release certain gases which in turn make the packed pet food unfit for human and even animal consumption.

Even these pet foods sometimes contain traces of animal wastes and pathogens from the diseased meat. The Ethoxyquin used in these animal foods as preservative is in fact a potent herbicide and which is capable of causing damage to the liver and kidneys in the humans who are in prolonged contact with it. It is also found to be carcinogenic in humans. This chemical also has a range of harmful effects on the animals which include immunodeficiency syndromes, cancer of stomach, spleen and liver and many more which answers the rise in health issues in pets which are fed commercial pet foods.  Also the use of sweetening agents like sucrose and cornstarch causes a lot of stress on the pancreas which can cause diabetes and other ailments. Choosing the right food for the pets, preferably natural will help it lead a healthy life in these conditions homemade pet foods seems to be the safest bet.

Homemade pet foods

There are a lot of different brands of pet foods available in the market. With so many options popping up on the supermarket shelves with a wide range of prices and not to mention the claims made by the manufacturers one cannot be so sure about what they are feeding their pets with and how safe or nutritious are these foods really. Adding on to the confusion is the frequent recalls of the products by the manufacturers. There is only one way to overcome this and that is by preparing our own pet food which is safer for the pets and also comforting to the owners as they will know what goes into their pets.  One can feed some of the nutritious food which they eat to the pets as well as they will be safe, wholesome and nutritious for the pets and also cost effective as well. The main ingredients of the pet food are meat, vegetables and starch. One can prepare large batches of the home made pet food and store in the freezer and use it as and when required.   Meat is one of the main ingredient and it supplies adequate proteins required by the pet.  The ideal pet food can be prepared by adding 40% of meat and 30% each of vegetables and starch. While switching the diet of the pets from commercial foods to homemade foods, it is preferable for the owners to do it under the guidance of the vet until the complete transition is done and the pet gets used to the homemade foods.

Feeding the pets with healthy homemade foods will reduce their exposure to various unhealthy preservatives, chemicals and additives which may affect their health.  The homemade pet foods helps the pets have a healthy and a long life and reduces the frequency of visits to the vet as well.

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.