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Your cat is an obligate carnivore evolved to use raw meat protein for quick power. A raw diet helps your feline maintain eye health, a balanced immune system, optimal energy, and weight control. Feeding a raw diet to your cat also helps prevent carbohydrate and starch-based diseases like diabetes mellitus, urinary tract infections (UTI), and irritable bowel disease (IBD). Go back to the basics, and meet your cat’s physical and digestive needs with the raw protein for which your cat is metabolically adapted.

1.  Feed Your Cat Like the Wildcat It Is

Feed Raw Cat FoodUnderstanding the nutritional needs of the purring cat draped across your chair back requires a primer in cat evolution. Nearly identical to its Near Eastern and Egyptian ancestor, the species Felis sylvestris lybica (the African wildcat), your cat is a water-efficient hunter, an obligate carnivorereliant on animal tissue to meet its unique nutritional requirements.

Cats awaited the agricultural revolution (approximately 12,000 ago) to decide to live among humans had its advantages. Grain stocks drew mice. Humans welcomed cats for their pest-control value, for not only did the rodent population drop, snakes and other venomous crawlies declined as well. Over time, the more human-tolerant wildcats “self-domesticated,” bred, and linked their fortunes to people. Yet over the millennia, cats have changed little in their digestive abilities; they have a limited tolerance for food other than meat.

Cats, in their natural habitat, consume a natural raw diet including rodents, small reptiles, and birds, which have high protein value, moderate fat content, and few carbohydrates. All cats are metabolically adapted to “preferentially use protein and fat as energy sources.” Cats use protein like athletes use carbs, but a diet heavy in carbohydrates decreases a cat’s ability to digest its glucose-producing proteins. Is your cat getting the meat she needs?

2.  Keep Your Cat’s Eyes Healthy with Raw Meals

Raw Cat Food Eye HealthYour cat’s eyes have six to eight times more rod cells than yours and a 200-degree field of peripheral vision. Keeping cat peepers healthy requires taurine, an essential amino acid that maintains eye and heart as well as growth, reproduction, neurological development, hearing, and proper bile function. In the wild, cats get taurine from a raw diet of birds, rodents, and insects.

If you think your cat gets plenty of taurine from that gourmet canned cat food, think again. Heat destroys a good two-thirds of taurine in canned meat, not to mention other amino acids, enzymes, and nutrients. Cats need raw muscle and organ meats, which are loaded with taurine.

3.  Balance Your Cat’s Immune System with a Raw Diet

Raw Cat Food Immune SystemCats with balanced immune systems can handle occasional fleas, pollens, and ingesting occasional food that doesn’t agree with them. Their bodies respond by producing antibodies. Antibodies are like tiny Y-shaped bouncers that bind to irritants, escorting them out of the body. When a cat’s immune system is compromised, allergy symptoms arise. The antibody bouncers attach themselves to the threatening substances, but they can’t wrestle them out; they circulate in the bloodstream triggering inflammation, itchiness, or worse.

If your cat exhibits an allergic response–scratching, sneezing, wheezing, runny eyes, ear infections, vomiting, snoring, or paw chewing to name a few—see your veterinarian. Discuss a raw diet to rebalance your cat’s immune system. Getting rid of biologically inappropriate foods like corn, soy, and wheat from your cat’s diet your cat removes foods your cat is not equipped to digest. Try for a six-week period a raw protein choice that your cat has not previously eaten.

4.  More Energy, Weight Control and Diabetes Prevention

Raw Cat Food DietYour cat is hardwired to stalk in shadow hours, burst into full-tilt boogie chases, and then recover with a 16-hour nap. If a cat is lethargic or out of sorts, diet may be the culprit.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 58 percent of cats in the United States are obese. Well-intended Americans love their cats to death. Obese cats suffer from bladder and urinary tract disease, but also often develop diabetes. A fresh meat diet can prevent a lot of misery.

Many cat diseases go undetected and untreated. Diabetes mellitus can cause thirst, increased appetite, and unusual grooming habits. If left untreated, a diabetic cat may lose its appetite, vomit, become dehydrated, or have problems with motor function. Should your cat exhibit any of these symptoms, see a veterinarian, and discuss both medications and changing to a raw diet.

Note: switching to a low-carb diet if your cat receives insulin requires lowering the insulin dosage – otherwise, you will be putting your cat at significant risk for a hypoglycemic crisis. Talk to your vet.

5.  Prevent Feline Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) by Feeding Raw

Urinary tract disease in cats is one of the most common reasons cats are abandoned to animal sheltersFeline UTM IBD. Sadly, this problem stems from grain-based starchy foods that drive up the pH of a cat’s urine, and that’s when Struvite crystals form in a cat’s concentrated urine.

Likewise, feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be caused and can be alleviated by diet. IBD is a group of gastrointestinal disorders that occur when inflammatory cells infiltrate and thicken the gastrointestinal tract, inhibiting the intestine’s proper functioning. One of the identifiable causes is a “food allergy.”

Prevention is key. Feeding cats food that supports a proper intestinal pH is essential for prevention and long-term therapy. Because dietary allergens are a recognized possible factor in IBD, a food trial using a fresh meat diet that the cat has never eaten may be recommended by your veterinarian.

6.  YOUR CAT WILL LOVE a Raw Food Diet!

Raw Cat Food from Darwin's PetCats do things on their own schedule. Rediscovering their inner wildcats may take some time. Therefore, if you decide to start your cat on a raw diet after it has been conditioned to fly into the kitchen when kibble hits the bowl, you’ll have to work on a transition plan. Regular feeding times, no grazing, feeding your cat in a flat dish with its food at roughly body temperature, and remaining patient is all in your cat’s best interest. Once these adjustments are made, your cat will love a raw food diet.

7.  YOU WILL LOVE THE CONVENIENCE of Home Delivery!

Raw Cat Food Home DeliverySome raw-meat enthusiasts formulate their own raw food diets with grocer meat. The origins of that meat are sometimes dubious. It’s time-consuming and messy. Darwin’s is free-range, cage-free, and free of steroids, hormones, or chemical preservatives. Your cat’s meals come to you vacuum-sealed and frozen to keep vital nutrients intact. Darwin’s ensures balance and top-quality sourcing. You ensure you feed your wildcat at the time she pleases.

Meet your cat’s physical and digestive needs with a diet it will love. You will love the deliver-to-your-door convenience. Darwin’s Natural Selections™ Raw Cat Food Premium Line and Intelligent Design™ Raw Cat Food, our Prescription Line for cats with special health needs.

Great Article by  By Dana Scott

why not just give them meat-DNM2

At a Waltham Nutritional Sciences Symposium, researcher Professor Wouter Hendriks presented more evidence that dogs are carnivores (you can see the video summary here). Those of us who feed raw are inclined to say, “Yeah? So what?”

We’ve all taken that for granted, given the dog’s sharp, pointy carnivore teeth and carnivorous ancestors. So when I saw some web pages discussing this “new” finding, I was curious to see what anyone would get excited about.

Well, it seems like this might be news to some vets. “In veterinary school we learned that cats are carnivores; horses, rabbits and ruminants are herbivores; and pigs and dogs ­­— like people — are omnivores” says veterinarian Dr Patty Khuly in a recent article.

The vets further solidified their position of dogs as omnivores when a study was published in the scientific journal Nature earlier this year. The summary of that report was:

“Our results indicate that novel adaptations allowing the early ancestors of modern dogs to thrive on a diet rich in starch, relative to the carnivorous diet of wolves, constituted a crucial step in the early domestication of dogs.”

Dogs Are Carnivores…

Last month, professor Hendriks added another dimension to this study. His work shows that just because dogs have adapted to omnivorous diets doesn’t make them omnivores. Although the researchers in the starch study found a few genes that reflected adaptation to starches, “just a few genes’ difference is regarded as an adaptive shift to a condition. These alone can’t possibly alter the entire digestive evolution of a species” says Dr Khuly.

Dr Khuly also adds that dogs have the following carnivorous traits:

  • Dogs’ teeth are adapted to a carnivorous diet (for tearing muscle and crunching bone to extract marrow).
  • Many of their innate behaviors are carnivorous in nature. Consider digging, for example. Like wolves, dogs dig to hide parts of meals for future ingestion.
  • Dogs, like many large mammalian carnivores, are metabolically able to survive for long periods of time between meals.
  • Dogs have a lot of flexibility in metabolic pathways to help make up for a feast-or-famine lifestyle and a wide range of possible prey.

I’d agree with her up until this point. Dr Khuly then concludes, “The result of these findings, argues Dr Hendriks, is that the dog is undeniably a true carnivore. The dog just happens to have an adaptive metabolism as a result of living with humans for millennia. That’s why the dog is perfectly capable of eating a grain-based diet, as most commercially fed dogs do.

…But Not To Vets

Hold on there. How did we get from “dogs are undeniably carnivores” to “keep on feeding them a grain based diet” in the same paragraph? What just happened there?

Diabetes, a condition where the body is  unable to properly metabolize glucose from carbohydrates, is the most common endocrine disease affecting dogs today and its prevalence is growing every year. Thirty years ago, 0.19% of dogs suffered from diabetes. In 1999, the rate tripled to 0.58%. Today, up to 1.5% of dogs suffer from diabetes.

I’d be the first to admit that diabetes is an autoimmune disease and I’d happily attribute it to vaccine damage. But it also bears stating that unnatural foods lead to unnatural outcomes … like diabetes.

I know that when this article is published, the conventional vets and proponents will say what I’m writing is mostly speculation, there’s no science to back it up. And they’d be right.

But to those vets who continue to feed carbohydrate-laden foods, despite the growing body of research showing that dogs are carnivores, and despite the rise of metabolic disease related to carbohydrate intake, I have this question to ask:

Where is the research backing your carbohydrate-based diets? Feeding trials? Give me a break – just because a dog lives for three months eating your food without any overt signs of disease doesn’t mean that food will sustain him and keep him healthy for a lifetime.

I’m tired of being asked for references and research when vets and kibble companies continuously make huge leaps in logic, despite the overwhelming evidence that dogs are carnivores. Somewhere along the line, shouldn’t somebody stick up their hand and ask why we started feeding dogs corn and rice in the first place? What drove that initial decision?

My vote is MONEY.

Kibble Is Made For People With Wallets, Not Dogs

From the time James Spratt tossed hard tack off the side of his ship to the dogs on the docks, to the first kibbles that had dogs chasing chuck wagons around the house, kibble has had one goal and one goal alone: make money from pet owners.

Does your dog have a wallet?

Mine don’t, so I buy all their things for them. And the kibble manufacturers figured that out a long time ago, and directed their marketing to the people with the wallets, not the furry beings who would be consuming their food. So we as humans watched the chuck wagon commercials and thought our dog would really like that stuff. We never paid much attention to what was in the bag, just that it looked cool and we loved potatoes and corn, so why wouldn’t our dogs? Now that we pet owners know better, I have to wonder how much thought vets have given to what’s in the bag.

Now there are two kinds of vets. Those who mindlessly chase chuck wagons and those who don’t. Do you know how to tell the difference between them? That’s simple. One will have shelves full of kibble in their waiting area and one won’t.

I for one wish vets would wake up and see kibble for what it is. It’s a relic from days long gone, when we didn’t know any better. Nobody took the time to figure out what dogs should eat and when people started pumping money into dog food, the pet food companies were more concerned with making their brand better than their competitor than asking, why are we putting starches into these foods? Well, they probably did ask that question and the answer was likely, “because it’s cheaper.”

So now, pet owners are starting to see their furry family members as the little carnivores they are, and the kibble manufacturers are up against it. They need those starches to hold that food together – without starch, those little kibbles would disintegrate into a bag of dust. That’s why the so-called grain free diets are still full of starches like potatoes. They’re just as unnatural for carnivores as corn and wheat, but they’re needed to hold that stuff together.

But while vets may now concede that dogs might not be omnivores, they’re clearly still reluctant to move away from kibble and they’ll continue to view every piece of research through their kibble-colored glasses. They have to, because they’ve got too much invested in it to change so readily. It must be tough to stand in front of a longtime client and say, “Sally, it seems that I’ve been wrong all along and that kibble that I told you to feed Spot might be making him a little sick. You see, I thought he was an omnivore, despite his pointy teeth and relative lack of digestive enzymes to make any use of starches and grains. And then, when research came out saying that he wasn’t an omnivore, I ignored it because, hey, I’ve got all that kibble sitting in my front lobby and all the other vets are doing it. So I hope you’ll forgive me when I still charge you $100 a month for Spot’s insulin.”

Yeah, that’s a tough conversation to have. But wouldn’t we pet owners so love to hear it?

But pet owners have grown up and we can see past the politics and marketing ploys; we just want our dogs to be healthy. That’s why many pet owners don’t see dogs as carnivores as big news; we knew it all along. It’s just common sense – something that’s severely lacking in the conventional world today.

Are you still chasing chuck wagons?

A fun article FOR DOG LOVERS | By 

This article was verified for accuracy by Katie Grzyb, DVM, written by Diana Bocco.

5 Mistakes People Make When Feeding Pets a Raw Food Diet

Raw food diets might be the oldest form of pet food; after all, they are very close to what ancient dogs used to eat. As more people become aware of the benefits of raw food diets for humans, more pet owners are switching their dogs to raw diets, as well, for a variety of reasons.

“As pet owners investigate what builds their own good health, they realize good food applies to the whole family—including the four-legged family,” explains Dr. Cathy Alinovi, DVM, a holistic veterinarian who is also certified in Veterinary Food Therapy and Chinese Herbal Therapy.

In fact, many dog owners switch to a raw diet because their dogs have health problems. This is exactly why dog owner Jessica Winstead put both her Chihuahua mixes on a diet of raw food mixed with canned pumpkin and sweet potato, even though the diet has had different, though positive, effects on the dogs.

“My older dog moved in along with my boyfriend about five years ago and he was slightly overweight, but the raw diet leaned him out,” Winstead says. “He also seems to have more energy.”

Her other dog, a four-year old rescue, went on a raw diet to address hair issues. “He was missing hair on the back of his spine and was slightly underweight, but since he’s been on the raw diet his hair has evened out and he even gained a little weight,” Winstead says.

“Our older chi-mix weighs about five pounds more, so we feed him a half portion more than our other mix—but he still leaned out and our smaller guy still gained weight!”

Switching to a raw diet, however, is not always that simple. Here are five common mistakes owners often make when switching their dogs to a raw diet.

Mistake #1: Not Understanding the Basics of Nutrition

dog raw food, barf diet, dog eating raw meat

 

In simple words, a raw diet consists of uncooked meals. In reality, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

“Some pet owners consider throwing a pound of raw hamburger in the bowl as being a raw diet,” says Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM, who is certified in Acupuncture and food therapy and is a member of the Botanical Veterinary Medical Association. This type of feeding, however, doesn’t provide complete nutrition and can lead to health problems later on.

Ideally, a raw diet consists of uncooked meat plus what Alinovi calls additives.

“The additives range from bone to organ meat to vegetables and supplements,” Alinovi says. In addition, raw diets can also include some cooked grains or veggies. “And many people combine freeze dried products (base mixes of veggies, vitamins, and minerals) with raw meats,” explains Morgan.

The one problem with raw diets, according to Alinovi, is that there are no vitamin/mineral standards established for them.

“The 2006 NRC (National Research Council) guidelines are based on a dry dog food diet,” Alinovi says. “The possibility exists that supplementing a raw diet to meet NRC standards for kibble may provide excessive, possibly dangerously so, nutrients that may build up in the dog’s body.”

What exactly does that mean for pet owners? It means that owners who are interested in raw diets should talk to a professional rather than just feeding their dogs uncooked meat.

“The difference is not so much in how a nutritionist and an owner define raw, the difference is more in what is considered balanced,” Alinovi says. For example, some dogs lose too much weight on raw food diets and might need the help of a nutritionist to figure out what to add to the mix (such as cooked grains or additional fat) to solve the problem.

Mistake #2: Thinking a Raw Diet is All About Raw Meat

dog raw food, barf diet, dog eating bone

While raw diets do contain a large amount of meat, they are often complemented by other ingredients. For example, Morgan says she likes to see muscle meat, organs, bones, eggs, veggies, and sea creatures (cooked mussels or oysters) in a raw diet.

“It takes variety to cover all vitamins and minerals that are needed and to get the proper balance of omega 3:6,” Morgan explains.

Even commercially manufactured raw diets contain “extras.” The most famous example is BARF (Biologically Active Raw Food), a diet pioneered by Dr. Ian Billinghurst. According to Alinovi, a BARF-based meat patty is 50% raw meat, with an assortment of additions making up the other 50% of the ingredients.

“These additions may include eggs (raw), cheese, kelp, liver, vegetables (minced, raw), cod liver oil, and salt,” Alinovi says. “Obviously, the cheese in the BARF diet is processed.”

Other variations of a raw diet may include cooked vegetables.

“Vegetables are more difficult for dogs to digest than for humans,” Alinovi says. “Therefore, vegetables should be minced, juiced, or cooked to aid digestion.”

Mistake #3: Forgetting Fruits

dog raw food, barf diet, fruit for dog

Fruit can be a great addition to a raw diet for a number of reasons. For example, Morgan likes to add berries to raw diets because of their antioxidant content, while Alinovi uses large chunks of apple or watermelon as chew treats. “Fruit provides fiber, vitamins, flavor and variety,” Alinovi says.

Fruit can be added to a raw diet whole (after removing the pits), diced, puréed, stewed, or any other preparation method.

“Like vegetables, it’s best to keep under 30% fruit as the majority of a dog’s nutrition comes from meat,” says Alinovi. “Do not feed grapes or raisins as they can cause kidney damage, and avoid fruits canned with sugar.”

Mistake #4: Ignoring the Potential Need for Supplements

dog raw food, barf diet, crushed egg shells for dog

While not all dogs eating raw food diets will need supplements, some will.

“Calcium is probably the most important nutrient to be sure there is enough of in a raw diet,” according to Alinovi.

Fortunately, calcium is quite easy to add to the diet.

“For those who purchase commercially prepared raw diets, the calcium is already balanced,” Alinovi says. “For those preparing raw food at home, ground egg shell or oyster shell can provide the dietary boost in calcium that is needed beyond what is provided in bone.”

Dogs on raw diets can also benefit from a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil or flax seed oil. “Both of these oils are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits,” says Alinovi.

Most other supplements are based on owner preference and the dog’s individual needs, according to Morgan, although she recommends the addition of kelp and seaweeds, as they are rich in trace minerals.

“Depending on the pet and the problems, additional joint supplements, vitamins, or minerals might be necessary,” says Morgan. “It’s very individual, at least in my hands.”

Mistake #5: Letting Safety Issues Scare You

dog raw food, barf diet, salmonella dog food

The FDA warns about potential risks of feeding and handling raw meats, as they can be contaminated with Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli.

“The concern is not only that animals will become ill from contaminated food, but, more importantly, humans will become ill from handling the food,” says Alinovi.

However, these dangers might be exaggerated.

“With good handling practices, raw dog food diets are no more dangerous than handling raw hamburger meat before cooking it on the grill,” says Alinovi. “Good hygiene, frequent hand washing, and using food in a reasonable time period prevent human (and dog) illness.”

Still worried? Purchasing meat from a reputable source and using thawed meat within three days will keep bacterial levels low, according to Alinovi.

“Minimal bacterial levels do not present health issues for most dogs,” says Alinovi. However, she adds, “for the owner of a dog with a compromised immune system, raw feeding may be inappropriate.”

One thing to keep in mind: Some dogs do develop gastrointestinal issues—including diarrhea—when first switched to a raw diet. This is especially true of dogs with a sensitive intestinal tract, although the problem is usually not permanent.

“In some cases, the owner will need to add one new ingredient at a time to the diet until the dog can handle a full formula raw food meal,” Alinovi says. “In other cases, adding digestive enzymes or slightly cooking the food for a few days will help sensitive dogs transition to the new food.”

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