A Biologically Appropriate Raw Food
Dr. Monique Maniet
The most important step for health is good nutrition!
This is critical: common commercial foods are NOT adequate. Dog and Cat Food was developed shortly after the Great Depression as the cheapest (not the best) way to feed your pets and keep weight on them. Returning to a more natural, vital and logical diet will help restore your pet’s health and can and will prevent many health problems. It is worth the effort: You and your pet will be happier. Because of the widespread adoption of processed pet food in America for the last 50 to 70 years, what was once common knowledge – “How to feed our pets a fresh food diet” – has become a lost art! With proper guidance you can use diet to transform your pet.
When I started practicing veterinary medicine 30 years ago, the pets with the most problems were pure breeds. Now ALL dogs and cats including the mixed breeds are increasingly plagued with degenerative diseases: Arthritis, Auto-Immune Diseases, Allergies, Chronic Ear Infections, Anal Glands Problems, Liver, Kidney and Heart Diseases, Epilepsy, Bladder Stones, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Pancreatitis, Obesity, Hyperlipidemia (high fat in the blood), Dental Diseases, Diabetes, Hormonal Imbalances (Thyroid, Cushing Addison, Incontinence) and Cancer (Mast Cell Tumors!). You would think that, with the billions of dollars Americans spend on their pets every year, the health of our companion animals would have improved instead of dramatically worsened over the years. Our pets are not living longer but it does take them longer to die! Frightening, isn’t it!
Beside our polluted environment, the two other causes for this explosion of illnesses are an Unnaturally High Grain DIET and Over-vaccinations … fortunately two factors over which you, the guardians, have control! Processed pet foods with grains as their first ingredient give your animal a much higher percentage of carbohydrates than its body is designed to break down. Dogs and cats in the wild eat almost no grains, ingesting only a small quantity of the stomach contents of their herbivore prey.
Feeding your pet processed food based on grain and starch will cause a chronic elevation of blood glucose, which in turn will cause a pathological rise in insulin called Hyperinsulinemia, which in turn will cause numerous diseases involving excessive inflammation (see list above).
In my experience, I have found that the best way to avoid these conditions and the optimal way to feed your pet is by following the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet (B.A.R.F). The B.A.R.F. diet is about feeding dogs and cats the diet they evolved to eat over millions of years of genetic adaptation: meat, bones, whole eggs, crushed vegetables (with low glycemic index) and organ meats (from organic source!)…. No or minimal carbohydrates. This diet is EVOLUTIONARY not revolutionary! Our pets’ basic physiology cannot be changed by only a few decades of eating processed food; this is biologically impossible! Often clients have reservations about starting this diet, some of which come from the more conventional veterinary establishment’s insistence on processed food and the remainder which seem to center on three main fears:
Fear of Whole Bones, Fear of Bacteria and Fear of not achieving a complete and nutritionally balanced diet.
Pet guardians are afraid that Whole Bones will produce blockage or damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Dogs and Cats are carnivores and they do have a digestive system designed by evolution to digest raw bones with great efficiency and safety thanks, for example, to the high acid content of their stomachs. If your dog or cat is used to kibble and cans, a good quality digestive enzyme such as Florazyme or Prozyme can be added to help with digestion until the GI tract gets back in shape. Let’s be real though, choking on food, including bones, does happen (didn’t President George W. Bush choke on a pretzel once?) but it is rare. If your pet is used to “inhaling” food without chewing, crush the bones in the beginning, or serve bigger bones; this diet is very satisfying, eventually your pet will slow down and chew this food.
The presence of bacteria in raw food often worries pet owners and vets. Remember animals are already exposed to a great amount of bacteria without ill effects by licking their genitals and anus or by eating the feces from other dogs, cats (a true delicacy, so they tell me) or deer!
Regarding the fear of not achieving a complete and nutritionally balanced diet, THERE IS NO SUCH DIET, even among the “premium” dog foods. Why? Because nobody knows the absolute nutritional requirements for any species of animals on this earth (including dogs and cats) and probably never will!!! That is why cats, for example, developed cardiomyopathy and retinal degeneration due the previous lack of taurine in cat’s processed diet. Organ meats, especially liver and heart, are naturally very rich in taurine (as well as mice muscle meat!!!). Our objective has got to be balance over time, as it is with our own diets. With the B.A.R.F. diet, you will achieve nutritional adequacy over a series of meals, by feeding a variety of whole nutritious raw food. The supplements (Essential Fatty Acids, Kelp, Vitamin E….) needed are minimal and do not have to be given on a daily basis, either.
There is no doubt that from time to time pets eat raw food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. In most instances they will handle it without any problems except in case of a severely compromised immune system. If your pet is very immunosuppressed, suffering from cancer or on immunosuppressive drugs like chemotherapy or cortisone,you may want to start by giving him a cooked homemade diet and then, if possible, slowly switching him to raw. It is essential that you consult one of our doctors before making any diet changes. To prevent problems for healthy animals as well, we do recommend that you clean your pet’s dish thoroughly with scalding hot water (do not use plastic bowls) after each feeding.
It is not because your pet LIKES the food that it is necessarily GOOD for him (i.e. kids and potato chips or sodas!). We understand that it is not always possible to feed your pet optimally, as it is not always possible to take care of ourselves in the way that is most ideal. To this end VHC is still offering some good quality prepared food Like California Natural, Prairie and Innova. These foods try to use good quality proteins as a first ingredient, and are preserved without chemicals. If your pet is already on this food and is doing very well on it (no signs of chronic disease) you may want to continue with the same diet. Still, we recommend to supplement these foods with vegetables (steamed or grated raw), raw meat or fish, yogurt, soft boiled or raw egg, and other specified supplements.
So relax! Once again, The B.A.R.F. diet is very simple once you understand the basic evolutionary principles!
If you are now convinced (I do hope so!) about feeding your dog a raw nutritious raw food but are still stalling at making it yourself, Veterinary Holistic Care offers an array of frozen raw food.
NO MORE EXCUSES!
For the sake of your pet, we will still ask you to provide your pet, at least once a week, a RAW MEATY BONE (chicken necks, wings and backs from organic sources)
VHC also does offer private consultations on raw food feeding
to help you understand these basic principles and get you going in the context of your own lifestyle! We also sell several books on the raw food diet.
Your pet will LOVE his new diet and you will enjoy his vibrant health!
Do not forget to add plenty water and exercise for your pet’s optimum physical and mental health program!