As much as we love our pets, we have to keep a close eye not to shower them with affection in the wrong form: food they shouldn’t be eating. If we’re following a healthy diet and excluding refined grains because they’re not good for us, why would we give those very same fillers to our dogs and cats?
Here is an excerpt from a recent article in a newsletter from a local veterinarian:
“Corn, wheat, and soy are three very common ingredients in commercial dog food, but, generally, are not very beneficial for your dog’s health. Unlike high quality, fresh protein corn, wheat, and soy provide little to no nutritional value to your dog. A diet high in these ingredients likely is not supplying your dog the complete and balanced meal he requires.
Generally, the most economical and healthy dog foods are those that the dog can digest. The higher the digestibility, the less you will have to feed your dog (and the further a bag of dog food will stretch). The lower the digestibility, the more you will have to feed to meet the dog’s nutritional needs. A dog’s digestive tract is designed primarily to digest and extract nourishment from meat and fat products. Accordingly, a dog cannot digest the corn, wheat, and soy ingredients nearly as well as quality meat products…”
Read the labels of your pet’s food and see what is in it. Many people switch their pet to a raw or natural food diet once the pet is old or ill, in an attempt to cure them, which it sometimes does. But why not approach it from the opposite angle and just keep them healthy from the get-go so they never get ill in the first place? And the same goes for us humans! If we stay healthy from the beginning by not inflicting horrible processed filers on our insides, we’ll be a much healthier lot!
How sad it is to see an overweight pet. It’s completely avoidable. We determine what our pets eat, so why would we feed them table scraps – bits of food that humans should not even be eating, and fatten them up, cause health problems and ultimately shorten their lifespan. Even if you yourself are not at your healthy weight, and have some foods in your diet that leave a lot to be desired, please think twice before you inflict the same dire outcome of a poor diet on your pet!
So, what does a healthy dog or cat’s diet look like? It’s easy: Meat and vegetables, but it doesn’t stop there. Our pets need more than just that. A great resource for making your own food is Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.
Unfortunately, most of the dog food on the market has got quite a few undesirable ingredients on the label. Would a dog’s ancestors really have been eating corn, wheat and rice? Yes, that ‘food’ is cheaper, but how much are you really saving in the long run when your pet develops health problems at an early age and you’re faced with the horrible decision of whether to treat or not, based on cost.
Check with your vet to ask what enzymes, minerals and vitamins your babies need to make sure they are getting a balanced diet that is not lacking in anything. When dogs are given proper food and exercise, they’ll stay lean, healthy and live a longer, more comfortable life.
Our Weimaraner, Daisy, is the perfect illustration of how healthy a Paleo dog can be. At 14 ½, she’s going strong, still lean and healthy as a….horse!
Nell Stephenson, the original “Paleoista,” is the author of Paleoista, Gain Energy, Get Lean and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat (Touchstone, 2012) and co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook with Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD (Wiley & Sons, 2010). In addition to her work as nutrition consultant and trained chef, Stephenson is a personal trainer and competitive endurance athlete who credits the Paleo diet for her transformed health and athletic success. Visit her blog at www.paleoista.com.