Dog and cat lovers want the best for their companions and are constantly being challenged to make changes that will assist them in living long, happy and healthy lives. We stay on the alert for the latest advances in training, exercise, and diet that will facilitate their longevity and quality of life.
We are also always comparing what we do with the methods used by fellow pet owners and may “jump on the bandwagon" because some things are just in vogue and we feel like better pet parents if we do. So exactly who feeds raw diets to their pets? Breeders, veterinarians, pet groomers, trainers and pet owners that regard their companions as “valued family members", feed raw food. This includes cats and dogs; all breeds, ages and sizes. Vegetarians and people that shop at health food stores feed raw diets. Feeding raw fits with their holistic lifestyle. These people believe in the benefits of whole foods. They know that raw foods provide nutrition that heat processed foods do not.
Another group that feeds raw consists of people who may not be health conscious, but recognize the need to feed their pets a diet suited to their species. Some people learned about raw diets because they may have experienced the pain and/or expense of caring for a chronically ill pet. They might have lost pets to illnesses that may have been preventable and they don't want to make the same mistakes again. Often time, pet owners that learn about raw food for their pets take on a new approach to their own health and eating habits making it beneficial to everyone.
The old saying “you are what you eat” is so true and applies equally to dogs and cats as well as people. Pet owners may find it surprising to learn that domestic pets are also what their ancestors ate. Just as individual genetics influence nutritional requirements, millions of years of evolution have also shaped domestic pets' need for specific nutrients. The genes of the dog and cat, which control every function of their body, are essentially the same as those of their wild ancestors. In fact, a study, conducted by UCLA scientist Robert K. Wayne, concluded that all dogs are the direct descendants of wolves and in 1993, the American Society of Mammalogists officially designated the domestic dog and wolf as the same species.
Unlike their cousin, the fox, who sometimes eats as much fruit as meat, wolves subsist primarily on dead animals. They nibble a little grass or eat an occasional wild blackberry, but their primary diet is animals that they have killed or scavenged. Most of the animals that are killed by wolves are ungulates such as white-tailed deer and moose. They also may grab a rabbit, fowl, vole, or even insects, but, deer stuff; hair, soft tissue, muscle, bone fragments, and even skin, are what is most often detected in a wolf's stomach.
When wolves or wild cats catch their dinner, they eat the soft tissue first, the lungs, spleen, heart, kidneys, and intestines. During follow-up meals at the kill site, they will continue eating the animal's muscles, hide and bones. The stools from these meals contain mostly hair wrapped bone fragments. By the end of the feast there will be few leftovers, maybe a jawbone or hoof.
Even though dogs and cats are domesticated, we must respect the fact that they are still carnivores with strong carnivorous instincts, and a palate that is suited to eating primarily flesh. Beneath the purring and wagging tails lives a wolf and a wildcat, and although domestic companions may not have the survival instincts of their wild equivalents, they still have the dietary needs of a predator and scavenger.
So, if you, the perfect dog owner, choose to feed your dog or cat the diet of his ancestors, you would do best to feed him a diet consisting of primarily raw meat, organs and bones and a bit of vegetables and fruit can also make up part of the diet for an optimally healthy and long life for your pet.
Know Good Health When You See It !
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