health and longevity with the raw food diet…

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    Health problems associated with commercial pet food
    The health problems I would expect to see in a cat on a heavily processed, commercial diet.
    All commercial pet foods are heavily processed and have been cooked at high temperatures. This is of course necessary for any type of food that needs to be stored at room temperature long-term, such as long-life milk, pet dry food and canned produce. Obviously, this type of food cannot even be compared to fresh, natural foods such as raw fruit and vegetables, free-range eggs and fresh, raw meat.
    The contents of commercially packaged dry and canned food are of highly questionable quality and the sources of such ingredients are a mystery. However, this is a multi-billion dollar industry that is supplying the average consumer with exactly what they want, which is something convenient, quick and marketed in such a way the pet owner believes they are doing the best for their animals. This type of diet for a cat or dog will not support the immune system and will not give optimum health. What it will give in the long term is a pet prone to diseases from simple allergies through to kidney failure and cancers.

    Author of Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health, believes there are five important reasons why commercial pet food should be avoided.

    1. Canned foods and dried kibble (biscuits) stick to teeth, which feeds the bacteria, which in turn cause dental plaque. This leads to serious periodontal disease.
    2. Starches, proteins and fats are destroyed and can become toxic at high temperatures. Proteins become denatured (change shape).
    3. Commercial pet food is heavily grain based, which are not only poorly digested but also
    support a population of toxin-producing bacteria in the lower bowel.
    4. There are long and short-term effects from eating this heavily processed food. Diseases include poor skin, diarrhea to major life threatening diseases long term.
    5. Our pets suffer in silence
    , as they have no choice over the food they eat. Veterinarians continue to treat symptoms rather than cause, the owners continue to feed poor quality food and the cycle continues until the pet dies of a seemingly incurable disease. (Lonsdale, Nexus Magazine 2007)

    In agreement with Lonsdale on the subject of
    commercial pet food is junk food for our pets is author of Natural Nutrition for Cats. The heating of proteins and enzymes causes their structure to denature and therefore their nutritional values to change for the worse.
    Fats when heated turn into grease, changing their essential fatty acids into dangerous trans fatty acids. Heated fats have been linked to diabetes.
    Grains, (the cheapest source of filler for pet food) when heated, have been linked to causing cancer. Excessive grains contain high amounts of sugar and cancer cells thrive on sugar. As a result, any decent pet food diet should not contain excessive amounts of grain.

    Interestingly, studies show that when a cat or dog eats processed, cooked foods, their white blood cell count elevates in attempt to defend the body from attack. The immune system appears to know this food is bad and yet the Veterinarians who innocently promote this food obviously do not. (Schultze 2008)

    Taking the matter, why pet food should not be cooked even further, author of Dr. Pitcairns Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs, suggests that, Prolonged high temperatures used to sterilize some pet foods can destroy much of the usefulness of even those proteins that start with high biological value. When proteins are heated they combine with the natural sugars in food and form compounds that cannot be broken down by the body's own digestive enzymes. This is a sure way to poor health and chronic diseases, which can only be eliminated by feeding a fresh nutritious diet.

    A major cause of most diseases are the ingredients in pet food which includes slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoilt food, cheap fillers, heavy metal contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, drug residues from factory farmed animals, bacteria and fungi contaminants. (Pitcairn et al 2005)
    Whilst raw animal produce is very acidic, dry cat and dog food creates a very alkaline environment in the body. This is not only unnatural and physiologically damaging, it causes imbalances in the body, which leads to disease. (Hodgkins 2007)

    Diseases seen in millions of pets on commercial diets tend to be cancer, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, periodontal disease (gum and teeth disease), allergies and problems with the digestive system.

    Author of, The Holistic Cat, strongly believes,
    that one of the major contributors to kidney failure in cats is a poor diet and the cumulative effect thereof.Years and years of dry kibble slowly breaks down the integrity of the digestive system. It is constantly overworked, and eventually the immune system gets sluggish and unknowingly allows pathogens into the body.

    There is no doubt, many causes of cancer include environmental conditions, pharmaceutical medications, vaccines, foods carrying toxic wastes and the various stresses in life. However, Im sure that a change in diet from commercial pet food to a healthy raw (human grade) diet would at least give our pets a fighting chance against this disease.

    In addition, Dr Lonsdale, author of Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health, claims very strongly that commercial foods promote disease,
    Modern processed diets are known to be responsible for periodontal or gum disease which effects more than 85% of domestic cats and dogs. Foul breath odour is an early sign suggesting that more severe heart, liver and kidney disease may follow.
    Taken from Dr. Lonsdales own research, the December 1995 issue of British Journal of Small Animal Practice, confirms that periodontal disease leads to disease in our pets. This courageous and highly ethical Veterinarian is still fighting today to raise awareness to pet owners on the dangers of highly processed pet foods. Pet owners should be informed that feeding processed pet foods is likely to lead to ill health, suffering and unnecessary vet bills. (Lonsdale 2001)

    After reading Dr Lonsdale
    s highly enlightening book, I now understand why after so many years of feeding commercial dry and canned food my cats teeth always had to be cleaned on a regular, yearly basis at the Vets. The build up of tartar on the teeth and the red swollen gums were an ongoing problem. Whilst I was always concerned about my cats discomfort from possible toothache, I never thought that periodontal disease could lead to disease in other areas of the body. I was oblivious to the toxic poisons produced by the bacteria in the mouth being the possible cause of renal failure in my 19-year-old cat.
    For domestic pets the single most important factor which helps increase plaque accumulation on teeth is an artificial diet.Secondary diseases arising from periodontal disease are many, but there are problems of interpretation. Pets tend to obscure the presence of disease, owners tend not to notice. (Lonsdale 2001)

    In my understanding, artificial diets, which promote
    periodontal disease, can then lead to secondary problems such as:
    - Heart disease
    - Hepatic (liver) problems
    - Kidney disease
    - Cancer
    - Joint disease
    - Lung disease
    - Gastrointestinal tract disorders
    - Malnutrition (too fat or too thin)
    - Skin diseases
    - Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

    In my own experience, by the time I changed my cats diet from commercial canned and dry food to a raw food diet, the only way I could get my cats to eat bones and cartilage with the meat, was to put whole chicken carcasses through a meat grinder (which I still do for them today). I have tried them with whole chicken necks but their interest was zero. Unfortunately this has still left me with the problem of how do I keep their teeth and gums healthy if the food they eat is not helping to do the job for me. I am reluctant to subjecting my 19-year-old cat to regular veterinary dental cleaning, due to the anesthesia being harsh on the liver and kidneys. However, after taking note of Dr. Lonsdale
    s advice I will take my cats one last time to the Vet for teeth cleaning and then I will be cleaning their teeth each day. The best method I have found so far is to use a make up brush with a little cat toothpaste, and rub the teeth and gums quite firmly. I do this every day now to my cats and it doesnt take more than 5 minutes of my time.
    Bella, my sister's rescue dog being the teeth cleaning demo

    Whilst I understand that the raw, healthy food I
    m giving my pets will not cause the problems commercial pet food certainly does, there is still the matter of the raw food sticking to gums and teeth, providing a platform for bacterial growth and tartar build up. The research continues..but in the meantime, Ill brush their teeth each day:-)

    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.
    Coscia, J. A, 2005, ‘The Holistic Cat, A Complete Guide to Wellness for a Healthier, Happier Cat.’ North Atlantic Books, USA.
    Hodgkins, E.H, 2007, ‘Your Cat, Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life.’ Thomas Dunne Books, USA.200
    Lonsdale, T. 2001, ‘Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health.’ Rivetco P/L, Australia
    Lonsdale, T. 2007, Junk Pet Food and the Damage Done.’ Nexus Magazine
    Messonnier, S, 2001, ‘Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats’ Three Rivers Press, New York.
    Pitcairn, R. H. & Pitcairn, S. H, 2005, ‘Dr. Pitcairn’s guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.’ Rodale Inc, USA.
    Schultze, K.R 2008, ‘Natural Nutrition for Cats, The Path to Perfect health.’ Hay House, USA.
    Wolfe, D. 2009. ‘Superfoods. The food and medicine of the future.’ North Atlantic Books, U.S.A.

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