IS YOUR ANIMAL’S DIET MISSING THIS CRUCIAL STAPLE?
Did you know that a vast overwhelming majority of companion animals suffer from dehydration? As caretakers and caregivers of companion animals most of us aim to do the very best we can for them. We aim to give them the best home environments, play time and of course their precious food. An animal’s food should be a source of joy, love and nourishment. But is your dog or cat receiving the right balance of nutrition?
Many cat and dog caregivers feed their animals dry food. While this was once the norm, any research teams in recent years have realized that dry food is not by any means an adequate diet for a cat or dog. In fact, it is not really food at all. What would happen to our bodies if we ate dehydrated food every day for 12-20 years? If you guessed that our organs would become completely depleted of moisture, you would be correct. In order for the kidneys and GI system to process and pass the dry food through our systems, our digestive organs would have to draw water from all of the organs of our body; to include, skin, hair, bladder, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas and intestines to name a few. And after prolonged exposure to moisture depletion, our organs would begin to fail at an unnecessarily early stage of our lives.
In addition to dry food, many consumers are told by animal health professionals to administer their recommended brands of food. Blindly, consumers will believe that their animal care professionals know best and agree to do so. Shortly thereafter, they will notice that their cat or dog as an excessively dry coat and skin, sheds profusely and has digestive trouble. Why? Because they neglected to read the ingredients of what they have been recommended to feed their animal friends. Most of these labels read “pork by-product” and corn gluten” to name the first two of many sickening non-food items. The lesser the whole food ingredients, the further we stray from healthy animals.
When posed with the comment that “most animals are severely dehydrated”, my students and clients will almost always respond with “but my dog/cat drinks so much water! How can they possibly be dehydrated?” There is a very common belief in the animal loving community that water can effectively hydrate a cat or dog. And this would be false. Water alone does not hydrate an animal. Just like people, when an animal is thirsty, she will drink water. But alternative humans, what the water does as it travels through the body changes. Instead of getting absorbed into the inner organs, muscle tissues, joints, skin and coat, it runs right through their kidneys to be eliminated, most often failing to moisturize and nourish the body.
If we look, for example at the genetic lineage of cats, we will note that the origin of species was in the deserts of Africa where there was no water. They subsisted on the meats and blood of other animals. There was no water for them to drink. Therefore water drinking is a learned behaviour and not an innate behaviour. Further, when they do drink water, their bodies have not altogether adapted to absorbing its moisture as a primary source of nourishment.
With all of these moisture-depleting feeding habits, how do we reconcile? While creating new and exciting ways for our animal friends to drink water is extremely helpful, we must ensure that their diets also include food sources that help to keep the moisture in the body, organs, tissues, joints, muscles, skin and coat. The one staple that is crucial to every animal (and person)’s diet is Omegas 3 & 6. Animals do not require Omegas 9 for healthy body function. Omegas 3 & 6 EFA’s (essential fatty acids) allow for the animal’s body to retain adequate moisture derived from water and other wet foods. By adding EFA’s to our cats’ and dogs’ daily diets, we will be vastly improving their health and quality of life. Though most store-bought foods do contain Omegas 3 & 6, it is often nowhere near enough to keep an animal’s body healthy.
The following are five excellent sources of EFA’s that any dog and cat parent can begin to regularly add to their animal companion’s diet:
1) RAW FOOD- Despite what most Western Veterinarians will suggest, raw food is the most species appropriate diet for dogs and cats. Whereas these professionals will explain several reasons why their food is better for animals than the raw, they have neglected to admit the reality of the situation- just as people animals need whole foods to survive. Of course, humans do not consume raw meats. However we do require whole foods to be the healthiest versions of ourselves. Keep in mind: these veterinary recommended food companies fund the veterinary schools at which the vets are taught. This old-school thinking has been engrained in the minds and curriculums of vets from day 1. There is far more evidence to support species-appropriate diets for a far healthier quality of life for animals. It is paramount that every cat or dog caregiver research for herself.
2) CBD OIL- In addition to extreme dehydration, store bought and professional recommended foods are sickeningly high in inflammatory substances. Both preservatives and additives found in almost all cat and dog foods will, after prolonged exposure, cause inflammation of the joints and tissues. Long term effects of this inflammation include arthritis, joint pain, organ failure and cancers among other preventable bodily harm. CBD oil will help to reduce inflammation as well as add extra EFA’s to the body to help retain moisture and cognitive function. CBD oil will also help to improve circulation and ranges of motion as the animal ages.
3) WILD SALMON OIL- By adding fish oils from known fish sources to our animal’s dietary regimen, we will be adding a healthy dose of Omegas 3 & 6, encouraging healthy moisture retention in the organs, tissues, muscles, brain, skin and coat. It is important to note what type of fish oil we are using. Salmon, for example, is a high source of EFA’s. Should a bottle read “fish oil” without any specific fish mentioned, we should note that it is likely a poor fish source that is likely to be quite polluted.
4) COCONUT OIL- Coconut oil is one of the most beneficial foods to add to any animal’s diet. Coconut has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in EFA’s. For a complete list of the benefits of coconut oil, see: https://soulsticespirit.com/2017/05/07/the-abcs-of-coconut-oil-for-cats-and-dogs/
5) SARDINES- Sardines are a highly revered source of EFA’s. Despite their stench, they are rich in many vitamins and minerals. Note that canned sardines are extremely high in salt and may not be the ideal source of nourishment for cats and dogs. Fresh fish is always the highest and best way to proceed when aiming to add nutrient rich whole foods to the diet.
These are just five readily available sources of EFA’s. It is always important to check with your holistic veterinarian before changing your animal friend’s diet. It is even more important to realize that for animal and person alike, food is medicine. Ideally, food should be a way to nourish and nurture our bodies, minds and spirits back to optimal wellness. We must remember that an overwhelmingly substantial number of animal health-related issues are caused by poor nutritional habits. Therefore, these health issues can be healed by healthy nutritional habits. Be sure to research species appropriate diets, healthier choices, EFA’s and whole foods for every animal under your care.