WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ANIMALS & DIGESTIVE HEALTH:
Just like all other schools of knowledge, the more you know about animal health, the more power you have. Whether in reference to proper nutrition, feeding methods, times of day, types of food and all other sub-categories, there are innumerable sources to read and watch about what is the “best” for your animal’s digestive system. Though most conscious animal caregivers will research as much as they can to ensure an excellent quality of life for their animal companions, there are often categories of animal digestive knowledge that go unnoticed. The following information will outline several important techniques and practices to ensure optimal digestive health; therefore longevity and exceptional quality of life.
Have you ever wondered what the differences are between kitten/puppy food, adult cat/dog food and mature/senior formula? Most are unaware of the significance of the labelling. Whereas much labelling of cat and dog food is strictly for marketing purposes (such as “prescription diets” or “dental formula” etc), the age-categorized formulas can make all of the difference in the world toward the insurance of a healthy animal. To put it briefly, at every stage of an animal’s life, she has differing nutritional requirements.
Kittens and puppies (post-nursing- 1 yr) for example, need higher quantities of proteins and fats in their diets. As their bodies grow, their muscles, brain tissues and organs develop. In order for these and all other life functions to operate in a healthy way, kittens and puppies need more protein and fat as their bodies grow.
Adult animals (1-9 years of age) require lesser proteins and fats because their bodies have fully grown. Generally, adult cats require a diet far higher in protein than do adult dogs. Different breeds of dog have vastly different nutritional requirements. Another crucial difference between the canine and feline diets is that while most dogs are readily able to digest grains, provided they do not have allergies, cats cannot. Dogs have a digestive enzyme that cats do not. This difference in enzyme goes all the way back to their ancient origin. Cats originated I the deserts of Africa where there was no grain to be found. They subsisted on prey animals. This lead their digestive systems to develop without the enzyme required to digest grains. In fact, many cat foods contain grains. These grains, if fed for a prolonged period of time, lead to feline diabetes, obesity and urinary infections such as bladder crystals and UTI’s. For more information on this: https://soulsticespirit.com/2017/01/25/why-your-cat-should-be-grain-free/ .
Mature or senior formula is for adult cats and dogs above the age of 10. In keeping with the ever changing dietary requirements of aging animals, senior formula has lesser protein than does adult formula. This is because as seniors age, their kidneys are lesser able to process the higher volumes of proteins found in adult food. In fact, should mature cats and dogs continue to eat higher volumes of proteins, their kidneys are prone to early stage failure. This is due to the kidneys’ slower rate of function. Alarmingly, this is where the “big six” cat and dog food companies will capitalize on your worst fears. They will claim that if your cat or dog’s kidney blood work is even slightly off due to higher than necessary volumes of protein, their kidneys are doomed to fail imminently and that the only solution is to feed “prescription diet” kidney food. By now, most of us are aware that these big six cat and dog food companies put nothing but by-products, carcinogens and fillers in their food. There is absolutely not one ingredient that requires any prescription whatsoever. And the side effects of eating “pork by-product” and “corn gluten” (the first two ingredients of one of these foods) are far more catastrophic that they would ever admit. There is a much easier solution to this fiasco. That is to feed your aging cats and dogs appropriate senior formulas that are lower in protein. It is also paramount, should you find that your cat or dog’s kidney blood work is off centre, to ensure that you flush out their kidneys regularly by getting them to drink as much water as they can. If your cat or dog is over the age or 10-11 years old and eating adult food instead of senior, you will want to immediately switch to senior formula as well as flush their kidneys out with water. (Even though my cat is on senior formula I regularly flush out her kidneys by syringe feeding her spring water every day or two- this helps to rid her kidneys of any build up of toxins).
In addition to finding the appropriate dog and cat food formula for your little ones, you will want to make sure that you have an accurate method of switching foods.
Most people, when made aware that their animal food choices are poorer than they can be, will want to switch to a healthier choice for their animal friends. Many of these people will not have the patience it takes to properly switch their animal’s food to a healthier choice. Though the best methods do require patience, in the long run money will be saved on vet bills and heartache will be saved as the animal ages gracefully.
When switching an animal’s food to another type, it is always best to do so methodically. It is best to do so a little bit at a time. For example, you may begin with 7/8 of the old food and 1/8 of the new food for two days or so. Then, incrementally increase the new food little by little until the ratio is reversed. Most importantly, we must note that no two animals are alike. This means that the rate by which we increase the new food will be different from animal to animal. This is the part where patience is necessary. Observing the animal at every meal will help to understand how they are adjusting. Often an animal can take up to two to three weeks to completely adjust to a new type of food.
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STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 OF THIS ARTICLE: THE #1 TELL’TAIL’ SIGN OF ANIMAL DIGESTIVE HEALTH