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Raw Diet: A Species Appropriate Diet For Dogs and Cats

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By: Dr. Marlene Siegel

We live in a world where everyone has an opinion on what is good/bad, right/wrong when it comes to feeding their fur babies. The one thing all pet owners agree on is they want the best for their furry family member.

When in doubt, I defer to nature for the answers on how to feed dogs and cats.

FACT: Dogs are carnivores. Their natural species appropriate diet consists of meat, fat, bones, organ meats and the intestinal contents of the animal they killed. They do not drag their fresh kill to a kibble processor or canning factory to be heated to high temperatures and filled with sugar and preservatives.

FACT: Cats are obligate carnivores, they have NO dietary requirement for carbohydrates. Their perfect diet is the composition of a mouse.

As pet ownership has grown, the human-pet bond has strengthened, and the opportunity to create a market around pet food has grown with it. Pet foods are now a multi trillion dollar industry.

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History of “Complete and Balanced” Labeling

In the 1930’s, government studies showed that the food grown in the United States was nutrient deficient. Farming practices were not sustainable, resulting in the soils being stripped of the essential nutrients. When plants are grown on nutrient deficient soils, the animals eating those plants become nutrient deficient, and those eating those animals become nutrient deficient. This is a critically important point, because the body (human or animal) can not produce the essential vitamins and minerals, they must come from the diet. These essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids literally run the metabolic pathways of the body!

Years ago, the big box pet food companies formed an organization called AAFCO. They set the “standards” for pet food. They dictate what makes pet food “complete and balanced”. The problem is they are not concerned with species appropriate foods or the bioavailability (the bodies ability to utilize nutrients) of the ingredients. According to AAFCO standards, it is ok to destroy the enzymes in the foods by heating the products to high temperatures, feed exceedingly high amounts of carbohydrates, use synthetic vitamins and minerals and rancid fatty acids. Genetically modified meats and vegetables (GMO), hormones, chemicals and pesticides, are not only allowed, there is no labeling to make people aware they are in the diet. Rendered foods (meats not fit for human consumption) and by products (non meat parts like hoofs, beaks and feathers) are allowed in pet food under AAFCO guidelines.

The combination of poor diet and severe environmental toxin overload has led to dogs having the highest rate of cancer of any mammal.

1 out of 1.65 dogs are diagnosed with cancer.

Cats are not far behind the dog numbers.

1 out of 3 cats are diagnosed with cancer.

Despite advancements in veterinary health care, life expectancy for our precious fur babies is declining over the past 20 years. Dogs are living on average 7 years less than 20 years ago. The problem is not a deficiency of pharmaceutical drugs, but rather a failure to address the root cause of the disease, specifically the conditions that contribute to the problems in the first place. Species inappropriate diet is one of the leading contributors to this dis-ease epidemic.

Sugar feeds cancer and produces inflammation which is the underlying cause of all disease, we KNOW that! So how is it that processed pet foods (kibble and canned) have carbohydrate levels between 40% and 60%?

These carnivores were NEVER designed to eat carbohydrates directly! How do we know this? Neither dogs nor cats have amylase (the digestive enzyme that breaks down sugars) in their saliva. Their natural diet in the wild has less than 1% carbohydrate.

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A Paradigm Shift Back To Nature’s Plan

Fresh “living food” (not heated above 105 degrees) has digestive enzymes in the food that aid in digestion of that food. The digestive enzymes in living food are destroyed when heated over 105 degrees, resulting in “enzymatically dead food”. Feeding enzymatically dead food to dogs and cats contributes to the inflammation that is the underlying cause of all disease.

Dogs and cats in the wild get 70% of their moisture from their diet. Kibble diets are virtually devoid of moisture, contributing to chronic dehydration and kidney disease.

The Answer… Feed A Balanced Organic Raw Diet.

Why do most veterinarians not recommend a raw diet? They do not know better. Veterinarians are not given enough education on nutrition. The big box companies control the nutritional education and teach “scientific” evidence that a processed food diet with synthetic vitamins and minerals is somehow good for pets. In fact, they have created a diet for every disease pets can get! There are gastro intestinal diets, diabetic diets, arthritis diets, kidney diets, seizure diets, senior diets, puppy and kitten diets…is this starting to make sense? Poor diet and toxic environments create disease. These diets are allowing the pets to survive, but not thrive and live their longest healthiest lives possible.

Anti raw arguments include:
1. It is too much protein.
Response: Tell the supreme creator there was a mistake, because in nature, carnivores eat another animal. This includes meat, organ meat, fat, bone and the intestinal contents (full of probiotics and digested carbohydrates) that the herbivore was eating.
2. Raw food is not safe, it has dangerous bacteria.
Response: There are many raw companies (mine included) that take special measures to eliminate pathogens like E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria.

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Why is a raw diet important?

  1.  The living enzymes in the food are preserved, aiding the pets digestion and reducing inflammation.
  2. There is little to no carbohydrates, mimicking the natural diet of wild carnivores.
  3. The diet is providing 70% of the pets water requirement. This is particularly important for cats as they are desert creatures and do not have a high thirst drive. Cats eating processed foods suffer from chronic dehydration, leading to the number one cause of death in cats, kidney failure.
  4. Always feed 100% organic to avoid the damaging effects of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), hormones, chemicals and pesticides that cause inflammation.

What should you do? Stop being lured by fast cheap and convenient foods. Be your fur child’s advocate. They can’t choose! They are not out hunting and foraging for their natural diet. They are restricted to what is put in their bowl. To learn more, visit EvoloveRaw

Check out US Wellness Meats full selection of raw pet food here.



Dr. Marlene Siegel

Dr. Marlene Siegel has a long, inspiring history in the medical field. From an early age, she knew she wanted to make a difference. Her medical journey started as an emergency medical technician, but she always knew helping animals was her calling. After graduating from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, she soon opened her own clinic, Pasco Veterinary Medical Clinic. She has a revolutionary approach using a raw diet, holistic, and traditional medicines to achieve the best results for her patients. Dr. Siegel practices in Lutz, Florida, and is available for phone consultations.