Thursday, January 15, 2009

Talking Real and Natural

Have you ever tried to float something picked up from the doggie dumpsite (or the kitty litter box) in a pail of water? This question may sound ridiculous, but it's the best way to find out if your pet is getting real digestible food, that's actually good for him or her!
Dr. Richard Patton is a well known animal nutritionist and consultant. He says "The fate of animals the world over, whether wild or captive, is in our hands,. We need to clearly understand our impact on their lives. Wherever possible, we must apply the latest knowledge in the in the care of our companion animals. This means not only providing the best diet for them, but also clearly understanding the effect on their lives of living with us. With the best of intentions, we sometimes unknowingly compromise their innate behavior, and mistakenly blame nutrition for the problems that result.") He also talks about a wondrous find he made, the "Fecal Densitometer", with both humor and pride. He states the best way to check the pet food's digestibility is by this cost free water bucket test. If the discharged fecal matter floats like a boat, your current pet food products are more likely to be made of ingredients that are easy to digest. If it sinks, you can bet it stinks, both in its awful smell and type of ingredients. Animal health is not the pet food manufacturer's greatest concern here.
Have you ever seen a dog or cat, wild or domesticated, run deep into a cornfield to retrieve a cob of corn? I am sure you haven't. What they are after is surely not corn. It is the real meat that darted in front of them and they are going to risk exhausting every ounce of energy they have just to chase it down and sink their teeth into it. Impulsive instincts kick into high gear, regardless of how long the dog or cat has been domesticated, but it's poor health may prevent it from catching the prey; mouth watering real meat and by-products that would have naturally maintained its strength and vitality if it had been a daily diet.
Why all this talk about corn and poor animal health, and what does it have to do with your pet's food? To answer this question, let's take another look at what we find at the doggie dumpsite and/or litter box. If it helps, pretend you are a research scientist specializing in animal health and wellness. What goes in must come out, right? Many commercial pet foods use corn and/or other grains as the primary ingredient, low cost fillers to keep prices down. Additionally, it would be impossible to hold the pellets together without some sort of chemical adhesive because corn and grain just do not naturally stick together.
In the above scientific research project, you may have found cracked corn, and a good amount of it. What if the stool in your first experiment sunk, but you have not found any cracked corn? That's because a multiple number of pet food manufacturers simply adjusted the grinders on the corn and grain machines and ground those grains even finer, so that the primary substance was less identifiable! However, corn and grain are typically not digestible to a dog or cat. This is a scientific fact and if it is not digestible, your pet is not gaining any nutritional value from it either. Filler with no health related function, stuck together with adhesives, and sprayed with animal fat to fool the nose of your pet. with all those valuable nutrients readily absorbed into the body and blood stream. Excess fat is replaced by strong and healthy muscle and a wide array of medical problems disappear. Plus, a well balanced pet food will produce a much smaller amount of stool with very little odor, and be much lighter in weight.
Let's look at this from a different perspective. Dogs are direct descendants of the wolf, a carnivore, thriving in the wild on real meat for eons-and, not as omnivores eating both meat and vegetation. Then came man, who captured, tamed and used them for benefit and companionship. Breeding upon breeding has provided us with a wide array of domesticated versions, however we have not bred them with plant eaters, have we?
In their natural habitat, they thrive on meat (like muscle tissue) and on meat by-products (like organ meats, blood and bones). Both, large and small prey are completely consumed. It is dining on nature's perfectly balanced diet for carnivores. When the pack brings down a large prey, the "Alpha" male and "Beta" female eat first and, almost always begin their feast with the organ meats. When they are done, the rest of the pack, the "Omegas" move in to finish the leftovers. The muscle meat, without the by-products, is just fine for us humans because we are omnivores, gaining our nutrients from a wide variety of consumables that we can easily digest. Sadly, the Omegas will never be as strong and healthy as the Alpha and Beta leaders because they do not get the same powerful nutrients; however, our domesticated carnivores dogs and cats can, if we feed them the food what nature has intended for them.
Our beloved pets, our companions (aren’t they family too?), can be free of needless suffering and so many of those medical problems caused by malnutrition. Knowledge is the key. If we really want to care for our pets as if they truly are part of our families, wouldn't we want them to benefit from our knowledge?
So, where is all this leading to? Right: Raw Food. This is the first of a new series of articles I am planning on writing on the so often talked about, but to so many pet owners mysterious and complicated, yes, even sometimes considered scary subject. So stay tuned for much more in nearest future…

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