The natural health community and nutritional advisors agree that essential nutrients are more available when supplied by a naturally complete diet. The diet should consist of only fresh foods as free as possible from the chemicals, pesticides and other toxins that are commonly found in many meat proteins, complex carbohydrates, and various fats.
Since dogs are primarily carnivores fresh enzyme laden meat is a very important part of their diet. The problem is meat alone cannot provide all the necessary nutrients required for optimum health. Observation has show us that carnivores, including domesticated dogs and cats, crave and require a source of natural plants to maintain and enhance their physical condition and well being.
In the wild, carnivores seek out and ingest many herbs in their daily foraging while others are obtained from the digestive tract contents and flesh of their herbivore prey. Unfortunately domestication has taken this very important natural process out of our dogs and cats lives. Humans have taken the hunting and foraging aspect out of their daily routine and replaced it with confinement and over processed foods. Leaving our pets with much of the same health problems that we ourselves deal with.
Exercise provided by the search for food helps the animal maintain good peristaltic movement (The wave like muscular contractions of the intestine that propel the contents onward through the digestive tract) which keeps the muscles and tendons in good shape. The digestive tract should be considered a muscle that needs to be in condition for proper function. The undulation of the muscles in the digestive tract keeps the food moving from the mouth through and out the colon. If the dog maintains good peristaltic movement this will help reduce the absorption and build up of toxins resulting from the stagnation of food by products sitting in the gut.
Fiber and its ability to absorb water and toxins is very important in helping the movement and removal of fecal material. It is not uncommon to see an animals health failing due to constipation liver disease, pancreatic malfunction, chronic bowel syndrome, allergies, etc.
Most pets, do not receive live celled foods containing active food enzymes for processing fat, protein and carbohydrates. The lactic acid producing bacteria required for maintaining a proper pH balance in the small & large intestines is also destroyed by heat processing. In other words most of the life force has been destroyed by heat in the processing of any dry dog food. The term NATURAL does not apply to any dry food. When heat is applied this claim is no longer applicable. When companies make this statement we should ask some questions.
Q. For instance what is it exactly that a dog or any animal would cook?
Q. How do they expect animals to digest food with no enzyme content?
Q. Why do they tell us to feed it dry when it is a proven fact that enzymes do not convert foods in the dry state? Moisture must be present in the food for enzymatic action to take place. This process needs to take place within a forty five to sixty minute window in the upper part of the stomach. When dry food is introduced into the body it has been proven, that it can take as long as five hours for the body to hydrate dry food into the proper condition for digestion. During this time a great deal of fermentation can take place possibly contributing to the condition of bloat.
Q. Name one thing that a dog or cat would eat that is dry? I have asked this question to many people and no one has come up with anything yet.
Q. Why do dog food companies insist on telling us that dry food cleans the teeth Wrong again! The vets are making a fortune cleaning teeth of all the dogs on the dry food diets. In the last twenty years of feeding raw foods to many dogs and giving plenty of raw bones for chewing I have had one dog with an odd pocket in one of his teeth that needed to be cleaned. I’m not saying if dental work is needed don’t take care of it. What I’m saying is lets find out why is the condition occurring. Chewing bones and proper pH in the digestive tract and salivary glands are the reasons teeth stay clean. When we brush our dog’s teeth we disguise a excellent indicator revealing the state of health of the animal. A dog on a proper diet with plenty of good chewing exercise will have naturally clean teeth and fresh breath. Calculus build up in a dogs mouth and bad breath is an indication of an alkaline Ph. condition in the intestinal tract. This condition is aggravated by an imbalance of good (lactic acid bacteria) and bad (pathogenic bacteria). Dry food aggravates this condition by supplying undigested food to the pathogenic bacteria that helps them create the alkaline condition. Dry dog food was created for the convenience of the owner, the animal’s health concerns were never taken into account.
Dry dog food, if used, should be considered mainly as a carbohydrate source and not a total nutritional supplier. The presence of toxins in some of these foods may even offset all of their nutritional benefits. Quality ingredients are of the most importance when dry food is used as a base food to a complete diet. There has been a great deal of success using what has been called the modified natural rearing diet, meaning part dry, part fresh with supplementation. If dry food is used an outside enzyme supplement should be added to compensate for the absence of naturally occurring enzymes. All dogs are different. What will work for one dog may not work for another. Most owners can generally determine what is working for their dog by simple observation and periodic veterinary exam.