health and longevity with the raw food diet…

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    Fruit in the Diet
    Although fruit is not an essential inclusion in the diet of the dog or cat, there are valuable nutrients contained in both fresh and dried fruit

    The composition of fruit in general is mostly water, soluble carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars, soluble and insoluble fibre, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants, small amounts of protein, a small amount of fat, vitamin A, carotene, vitamin C; all in varying amounts according to the fruit type (Billinghurst 1993). Unlike refined sugars, which do nothing for our health, raw fruit is full of nutrients including natural sugars. Such nutrients are known to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. (Schultze 1995)

    To obtain the most nutrition from our fruit, it should be organic. Non-organic fruit contains dangerous toxins, which include pesticides, herbicides and fungicides (Goldstein et al 2005). Although more expensive by weight, the nutritional value of organic produce far exceeds their non-organic counterparts. Whilst organic farmers use natural substances to replenish the soil, non-organic farmers are using synthetic chemicals that end up in the fruit and (via the soil) into our waterways. It has also been documented that non-organic produce may be carcinogenic due to the high amounts of toxic chemicals sprayed directly onto crops. (Schultze 2005)

    Fruits that can be given to both cats and dogs are:

    -Avocado (this is debatable amongst animal nutritionists)
    -Grapefruit
    -Pear
    -Coconut (milk, water, coconut flesh)**
    -Apple
    -Bananas
    -Pineapple
    -Melon (some cats really enjoy mashed up honey dew melon)
    -Strawberry**
    -Blueberry**
    -Raspberry
    -Kiwi fruit*
    -Guava*
    -Blackcurrants*
    -Cherries* **
    -Peaches
    -Plums
    -Camu camu berry*
    -Apricots
    -Papaya*
    -Goji berry**
    * indicates fruit high in Vitamin C
    **indicates fruits high in antioxidants

    Blueberries are thought to be an excellent addition to the diet due to their being high in antioxidants and having the ability to acidify the urine to prevent or treat urinary tract infections. Dogs and cats can be given crushed blueberries in some live yogurt as a tasty, healthy snack. (Brown 2006) My dog loves this treat before a morning walk.

    Although fruit in our dog and cats diet is not essential, it adds to the variety of nutrients in the diet, can prove to be a very enjoyable and tasty addition to the diet and tropical fruits in particular, certainly assists digestion with their live, natural enzymes. Fruit also reduces the major cause of ageing, ‘cross linking.’ The theory of cross-linking, is the process of glucose and protein binding together in the presence of oxygen. Once the binding has taken place the nutrients become impaired and no longer viable. This oxidation process can be seen when an apple is cut open and left without cover. The white flesh of the apple eventually turns brown and becomes tough as a result of the oxidation. Cross-linking can also be seen when we toast a piece of bread. The change in texture and structure indicates the protein molecules binding to the sugar molecules. Such activity promotes aging. (Billinghurst 1993)

    If it seems like a strange idea, giving fruit to our pets, their wild relatives readily eat fruit whole or in its partially digested state, from the intestine of their prey. Therefore, to mimic this, fruit should be given ripe to very ripe but certainly not rotten. (Billinghurst 1993)

    According to author of, ‘The Goldstein’s Wellness & Longevity Program Natural Care for Cats and Dogs,’ fruit and vegetables should never be given together in the same meal. “The sugar content in many fresh fruits mixed with the protein in the food mix can often ferment in an animal’s intestine, causing gas and incomplete digestion.” (Goldstein et al 2005) However, author Andi Brown who wrote, ‘The Whole Pet Diet,’ suggests that too much fruit alone will cause fermentation to occur in the gut and result in diarrhoea and an upset stomach. (Brown 2006). I occasionally give my cats berries mashed up with plain yoghurt. However my dog has a piece of fruit almost everyday.

    There are several rules to follow when feeding fruit to our cats and dogs. Dogs should not consume the seeds of apples; the pits inside cherries should also be removed (Young 1985). Grapes and raisins should not be given to cats or dogs (Schultze 2005). However, raisins are somewhat debateable, as they can be a good source of iron (Billinghurst 1993).

    Ideas for feeding fruit is to:

    -mix them with plain yogurt
    -juice them and feed the pulp with a little of the juice and save the rest for yourself
    -during hot summer months freeze portion size fruit pulp and juices as a treat for dogs to eat outdoors. My dog loves this, he takes his giant frozen fruit block out onto the grass and spends the next half an hour licking and crunching on fruit flavoured ice.

    Dried fruit is also a great idea for dogs. It can be fed to a dog as a natural laxative, especially after consuming too many bones (Billinghurst 1993). Fresh organic fruit is of course the most nutritious source for our pets and us; rather than dried or dehydrated fruit. Fruit in its natural state is far more hydrating for the body and contains intact, undamaged, live enzymes and powerful antioxidants.

    Its all about moderation and variety in the diet to ensure an abundance of all the necessary nutrients for health, vitality and a long happy life.


    References:
    Arora, S 2006, ‘Whole Health for Happy Cats.’ Quarry Books USA
    Billinghurst, I 1993, ‘Give your dog a bone,’ Warrigal Publishing, Australia.
    Brown, A 2006, ‘The Whole Pet Diet, Eight weeks to a Great Health for Dogs and Cats. Celestial Arts, USA.
    Goldstein, R.S. V.M.D. & Goldstein, S.J. 2005, ‘The Goldstein’s Wellness & Longevity Program Natural Care for Cats and Dogs.’ TFH Publications USA.
    Martin, A. 2008, ‘Food Pets Die For, Shocking Facts about Pet Food.’ NewSage Press, USA.
    Pitcairn, R. H. & Pitcairn, S. H, 2005, ‘Dr. Pitcairn’s guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.’ Rodale Inc, USA.
    Schultze, K.R. 2005, ‘The natural nutrition No Cook Book, Delicious food for you and your pets.’ Hay House, USA.

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