health and longevity with the raw food diet…

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    The Controversial Vegetarian Diet
    The canines we live with today are genetically far removed from their wild counterparts.even a wolf or a coyote is not a true carnivore. A wild canine nibbles on grasses and other vegetation, as well as the stomach contents of his vegetarian prey..its reasonable to assume that our dogs can rely on non-animal sources for a healthy diet. (Allegretti et al 2003)

    Although a vegetarian diet for dogs is not what nature intended, there are several points which are in support of the vegetarian diet:

    1. When both grains and legumes are fed in the diet, together, they provide a balance of all the essential amino acids. As a result they are a major source of protein.

    2. As the vegetarian diet is lower in protein than the carnivorous diet, it means there may be less chance of degenerative diseases such as kidney disease. From this perspective the vegetarian diet may increase longevity.

    3. It is high in fibre. This means less likelihood of obesity, which means increased activity.

    4. Vegetarian foods are higher in potassium than the animal produce diet. Vegetables are high in potassium and low in sodium. (Billinghurst 1993)

    And now for the reasons why a vegetarian diet for cats and dogs is neither appropriate or what nature intended.

    "In the world of humans there are political, religious, ethical and health reasons for becoming a vegetarian. However in the world of carnivorous cats and dogs such beliefs and rules do not and never have applied. Thousands of years of natural selection has shown us that dogs and cats are still perfectly adapted to eat meat." (Puotein 1999)

    According to author of, Give Your Dog a Bone, vegetarian diets have several aspects that do not meet the nutritional requirements a raw animal produce diet meets:

    * It is basically a cooked diet (e.g.: legumes, grains). If rice and lentils form the bulk of a diet, many of the essential nutrients in the food are being destroyed during the heating process. Most vitamins, all living enzymes and anti-oxidants are destroyed. As a result, supplements will need to be added to the diet in order to provide a balanced diet.

    * Grains are not a natural food for dogs. In the long term, feeding a rice-based diet may encourage health problems such as allergies, cancer, diabetes, pancreatic problems and arthritis. To reduce the likelihood of such problems occurring, more juiced or pulped green leafy vegetables, raw sprouted grain and legumes can be added in place of cooked rice and legumes. When grains form the bulk of the diet it can also cause zinc deficiency in dogs.

    * Vegetarian diets are low in essential fatty acids. As a result, oils such as evening primrose, flaxseed, salmon, and cod liver oil need to be added to the diet.

    * There are several nutrients which are also low in grain based diets such as:

    Methionine for skin health
    Taurine for brain health
    Calcium for bones and teeth
    Magnesium, an essential mineral
    Iodine for the thyroid gland

    When feeding a vegetarian diet, Dr Billinghurst author of, 'Give your dog a bone,' places a large emphasis on the importance of completely crushing vegetable matter into a pulp before feeding. This can be achieved by placing all the vegetable matter into a juicing machine, and then remixing the juice and the pulp. This will ensure that all nutrients can be absorbed through the gut wall, rather than passing through the body as fibre, which will surely cause huge deficiencies. (Billinghurst 1993)

    Author of The Complete Holistic Dog Book, suggests eggs to be included into the canine vegetarian diet. They can be bought cruelty free in the form of free range eggs and provide excellent protein. The diet should also have a great deal of variety, which includes black beans, lentils and tofu, cottage cheese and live yoghurt. Multivitamins and a vitamin B12 should also be added to the diet on a regular basis. (Allegretti et al 2003)
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    Bella says....she'll stick to raw meaty bones and her mom can have the tofu;-)



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