~Thoughts for Thinking People~


Feeding Pets as Nature Intended–Part 2

(Dr. W.) Armed with understanding it becomes possible to sort through all pet feeding fables and lore. The best pet food is clearly that food which animals are genetically adapted to, the food of the pre-modern ‘276 miles’ as previously explained. For cats and dogs, that would be primarily prey – whole prey, uncooked, including their vegetation- and probiotic-filled viscera. Modern, cooked, carbohydrate-based pet foods are a far cry from that!

Do we think our pets’ bodies don’t notice? Animals were designed for natural foods, therefore health will best be achieved by feeding natural foods. When scientists succeed in making animals in their laboratory (they can’t even make a single cell), then they can feed them foods made there.

But alas, pet owners throw their hands up in dismay since they are led to believe that pet feeding principles are different than what common sense would dictate for them and their children. Is it reasonable, as nutritionists would have everyone believe, that the only way we could know what lions should eat, or bears, ants, elephants, rhinoceroses, hyenas, robins or eagles should eat, is to cage several of each and perform long, complicated, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover scientific feeding studies? Would you not reasonably say, "What? I already know what they should eat. It's what they’re already eating."

We don’t need a nutritionist to tell us how many milligrams of vitamin B6, or international units of vitamin E, or grams of protein these creatures need. They obviously get what they need by eating their raw, whole, natural food. The simplicity of this is so overwhelming it is essentially passed over by the entire food industry and scientific community.

What does your pet need to eat? The answer: What it would eat if it were released into the wild. Granted, today’s companion animals cannot be turned loose, but that does not mean we should not model their diets to retain as much of the character of the archetypal pattern as it is possible to achieve.

Use the same intuitive sense I have urged you to use when feeding yourself and the family. You know that fresh, whole, natural foods eaten in variety are healthy. This is not nuclear physics. But people will subject their pets to something they would not ever tolerate for themselves – eating the same lifeless processed food at every meal for a lifetime. It’s like nutritionally torturing your pet’s body. But hey, if it’s in a pretty bag and claims to be 100% and is seen on television endorsed by a movie star, why not?

Okay, since you will not be opening your door in downtown Chicago or New York – and about everywhere else in the modern civilized world – to let your pet seek its own natural food, you must bring the proper food to them. That means fresh raw grocery foods, at least in part or in rotation. The most healthy foods are those an animal can eat and digest without requiring cooking and would include meats, organs, bones, fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, and nuts.

Conventionally processed pet foods are a compromise and should be selected from manufacturers you carefully scrutinize to determine that they know what they are talking about and are truly committed to health first. Packaged foods (even those heat processed) and properly selected supplements can be rotated into the diet with benefit. You don’t have to be a purest.

It is a very important principle in toxicology that dose makes the poison. Anything can be harmful if in excess. So feeding well-made processed foods in rotation and variety with raw foods is not a problem. But note the words 'rotation' and 'variety'. Feeding anything, regardless of its health merits, day in and day out creates a dose that can be a poison.

Fresh and dried non-thermally processed foods are also now available and combine convenience with doing what is most correct. (Caution is advised for fresh frozen foods since almost anyone can produce these in their kitchen and introduce them into commerce. The dangers of food-borne pathogens are increased with such products.) Variety is critical. You do not need to feed every essential nutrient at every meal. Fasting a day here and there to mimic the natural fasts forced in the wild is beneficial as well.

Think about what your pet would (could) eat in the wild and try to mimic that as much as possible. What to feed will then become self-evident. You don’t have to be perfect. Nor should you make this project so tedious that you give up and go back to the cruel and non-thinking practice of pouring “100% complete” pseudofoods in the bowl every meal. Understand the principles outlined here and do the best you can. If you need further help on how to prepare home meals for your pet, see the How To Apologize To Your Pet brochure.

What could be more simple? Feed fresh foods your pet would eat if it were in the wild. Vary and rotate meals. Use non-thermally processed foods or conventionally processed foods and supplements in rotation, and from producers that can prove to you they are competent and not just profiteering.

With these principles you will optimize the chances for your pet to live a long, vibrant and disease-free life. And with that, here are some final thoughts about pets, God and Adam:

In the beginning was the Dog, and God said unto Adam, "I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you. Regardless of how selfish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself. And because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my name." And it was so. And Dog lived with Adam; and was a companion to Adam; and Dog was a good animal. And God was pleased. And Dog was pleased with Adam, and wagged his tail. And it came to pass that God saw Adam's heart was become hardened with sinful pride, thinking itself worthy of adoration. And the Lord said, "Behold! Dog has taught Adam that he is loved and worshiped as one of us. Now, let us go down and confound the Man, and teach him humility." And God created Cat to be a companion to Adam; and to remind Adam of his true place in the universe; and whence he came, and where he stood. And it was so. And Cat would not obey Adam. And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, the Man was reminded that he was - alas, alas - an inferior being. And woe came unto Adam; and Adam learned humility. And it was good. And God was pleased. And Dog was happy, and wagged his tail. And Cat did not care one way or the other. Luis T. Pilgrim and Mimi Lee Young.

Yes, indeed. The Egyptians even used to worship cats as gods. Over 3,000 years later cats have not forgotten this, either.