health and longevity with the raw food diet…

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    Making the switch takes a little courage
    munching on a raw chicken carcass
    I have been feeding my cats and dogs a raw diet now for the last 6 years. The transition to raw from cooked and processed foods was no problem at all with my dogs. However changing my cats diet from commercial to raw certainly took more time, patience, and trial and error.

    My cats at the time were both approaching 13 years of age and like most cats were incredibly fussy eaters. During their first 12 years of life I had fed them cooked processed foods consisting of supermarket canned pet food and dry cat biscuits (Royal Canin) from the local veterinarian.

    Changing from a commercial diet to a raw diet with cats was certainly a challenge. Some combinations of raw meat and pureed raw vegetables worked wonderfully. However, there were certain supplements and plant material that proved the most difficult such as cod liver oil, kelp, brewers yeast, alfalfa, garlic, and parsley.

    The biggest challenge switching a cat from cooked to raw were (in my experience) the meaty bones. My cats had no idea what to do with a chicken neck or any other bone for that matter. I tried blending chicken necks into a puree but my cats were not impressed and preferred some raw beef and organic liver mixed with pureed pumpkin and supplement mix. Then, I tried mincing whole chickens (including the bones), they loved it!

    As both cats kidneys were not, at this time performing as well as they used to, I was advised by their Veterinarian to switch their diet to a processed dry food specific for Renal Disease. Based on my own knowledge of processed food I decided against this. This was certainly a step into the unknown and I had doubt about what I was doing many times.

    However, I battled on and read every book on raw food for cats and dogs that I could find to ensure my animals were receiving all the nutrients they needed. In the process, the diet I gave my cats and dogs became a work in progress.

    I do confess that on occasions I gave in to commercial pet food with my cats and several meals were made up of raw food with dry pet biscuits scattered on the top. This was a great way of enticing them to eat their food when they were being extra fussy. ‘
    Commercial pet biscuits are sprayed with fats prior to them being packaged. This is what makes them taste so incredibly good and why they can be such an addiction, especially to cats.’

    I was actually so involved in creating the best raw food diet for my pets that at first, I failed to notice how my cats and dogs health was changing for the better. My cats were more energetic, muscle tone increased; their breath didn’t smell anymore, their coats became shiny. My Golden Retriever no longer suffered from ‘hot spots,’ his teeth and gums looked like an advertisement for the best dog dental health, he lost weight and his muscle mass increased. This was occurring after approximately 4 weeks of raw food and improved for months after. My hard work was paying off and the high quality of life my pets were displaying gave me incredible confidence to continue on my chosen path.

    Now, 6 years later, I do believe the raw diet is the diet of choice for both humans and animals alike. My two dogs are pictures of health and adore their home-prepared food, which I feel is even better than the diet I consume myself. One of my cats with ‘renal disease’ is still doing well at almost 19 years of age.

    At this stage I fully support the raw diet. I strongly believe that food is medicine and that health is a direct result of what we put into our body.

    It takes courage to make the switch, but it’s certainly worth it.:-)

    Billinghurst, I 1993, ‘Give your dog a bone,’ Warrigal Publishing, Australia.
    Coscia, J. A, 2005, ‘The Holistic Cat, A Complete Guide to Wellness for a Healthier, Happier Cat. North Atlantic Books, USA.
    Martin, A. 2008, ‘Food Pets Die For, Shocking Facts about Pet Food.’ NewSage Press, USA.
    Olson, L 2010, ‘Raw & Natural Nutrition for Dogs, The definitive guide to homemade meals.’ North Atlantic Books, USA.
    Pitcairn, R. H. & Pitcairn, S. H, 2005, ‘Dr. Pitcairn’s guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.’ Rodale Inc, USA.
    Schenck, P. 2010, ‘Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets Second Edition.’ Blackwell Publishing, USA.
    Schultze, K.R 2007, ‘Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats, The Ultimate Diet.’ Hayhouse, USA.

    Internet website references:
    RSPCA 2011 ‘Is the pet food industry regulated in Australia?’ Viewed 13th August 2011 Last updated: 27 Jan 2011
    Pet MD website 2011, Article by Dr. T.J. Dunn, viewed 14th August 2011
    Pet MD website 2011, Article by Dr. T.J. Dunn, viewed 14th August 2011

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