Creating a Balanced Raw Food Diet for your Dog or Cat

Feeding your dog or cat a raw food diet is more closely related to the primitive diet of their ancestors. Many pet owners are opting to return to this more natural approach to feeding their pet in order to decrease the side effects associated with ingesting processed dry foods. While not all dry foods are created equal, some can contain harmful and unnatural ingredients like grains. Not all grains are bad but some such as corn and wheat are not typical in a wild dog or cat’s diet as they are mainly carnivorous. These grains are not easily digested and can lead to health problems including allergies and obesity. Synthetic chemicals and preservatives are also not meant to be eaten by animals, or humans really, and pet owners are seeking healthy alternatives.

Though their intentions are good, it is important to do some research in order to avoid problems such as dietary deficiencies which can lead to illness and disease. Taking on the task of feeding your dog or cat raw means that you will be responsible for creating the right balance of macro nutrients (protein, fats, and carbs) as well as micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, probiotics, etc).

The four primary components in a balanced nutritional program for your dog or cat should include:

  • Meat, including organs and bones
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamin and mineral complex
  • Beneficial supplements like omega, probiotics, and enzymes

An optimal diet for a canine should contain about 75 percent meat/organs/bones and 25 percent veggies/fruit which closely resembles the GI contents of prey they would be feasting on in the wild. For felines, the ratio is a bit different and should be about 88 percent meat/organs/bones and 12 percent veggies.You are what you eat and your pet is what he ate. This means that the quality of meat is also very important in order for it to be a rich source of nutrition for your pet since you are no longer relying on the synthetically formulated nutrients added to dry food.

Fresh, whole food provides the majority of nutrients pets need. It is important for them to consume the entire animal carcass of small animals of prey such as rabbits and chickens, though they will gladly indulge in beef and veal portions (pork however is not recommended). This is because key nutrients are stored in different parts of the animal carcass from the bones to the muscle and each of the different organs offer a variety of important nutrients. Depending on the quality of the animal, much like with our human diet, a micronutrient vitamin/mineral supplement can help to take care of any deficiencies that do exist. Dog and cat specific formulations are available.

Trouble can arise when any of the four categories are neglected. For example, a meat only diet without bones or organs will be detrimental to your pet’s health and severe nutritional deficiencies will likely occur. Choosing to add supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and probiotics will further enrich your pet’s quality of life by protecting against some allergies, skin, and coat issues, as well as helping maintain gut health.

If you have decided to go au naturel and feed your dog or cat a raw food diet, then do it with excellence. Continue your research in order to develop a meal plan that is nutritionally balanced adding supplementation where necessary. When done right, a raw diet offers immense health benefits and disease prevention, and can save you money on vet bills in the long run. That is an improved quality of life that you will both enjoy.

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