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Our animal population is sick and getting sicker. Kidney disease is rampant in our canine population as is cancer and diabetes, not to mention obesity. Kibbled food for pets is the equivalent of feeding only junk food to our children. Eventually, their health will suffer. We see the detrimental results of this type of diet every day.
In the last decade, there have been some significant trends in pet nutrition that have helped to improve the way we feed our pets. Even with these innovations, the majority of pet parents continue to feed their companions commercial dog food.
Some guardians may look for a “better way” to feed their pets, but are often swayed by marketing strategies that convince them that some brands of kibble or canned food are better than others. Most pet parents believe they are giving their pets a healthy diet and often buy more expensive commercial foods equating the higher cost with a higher quality. Unfortunately, most of this marketing is false and most of our pets are being fed a poor diet with a very low level of nutrition. The pet food industry and its commercial pet food offerings has led to a startling rise in canine and feline kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Receiving a diagnosis of one of these diseases is shocking for a pet parent. They may have never considered that the food that they have been feeding their beloved pet could be so detrimental to their health.
When a companion animal becomes sick or is dying guardians are often motivated to explore new ideas in nutrition and may begin to examine what they have been feeding. Many who have experienced the heartbreak of losing a pet to illness vow that they will find a better way and that they will feed their next pet a healthier diet. Many guardians are desperate to find answers and to help save their dog or cat.
A small number of visionaries in the veterinary world have spoken out about problems in the pet food industry and the lack of nutrition in commercial pet foods. Their concerns along with a growing number pet parent advocates has given rise to some better and cleaner ways to feed our pets. Becoming more popular are, home cooking, better commercially available dehydrated, freeze-dried and frozen pet foods, raw diets and grain-free options. These options have received some level of acceptance with a group of concerned pet parents, but in reality this group remains small and although the impact has been felt, it has largely been ignored by the veterinary community and it has only been exploited by the pet food industry giving rise to so-called “all-natural” kibbled food. Nutritional concerns along with a growing number of pet food recalls has also fueled the desire for better foods for our companion animals.
For the most part, however, the overwhelming majority of companion animal guardians still feed commercially canned and kibbled food to their pets. These types of foods line our supermarket shelves and are a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to feed pets. Moreover, this type of feeding is accepted and indeed, recommended by most veterinarians. After all, it is pet food that is made expressly for pets. It is touted as being “complete and balanced” according to AAFCO, the regulatory body that oversees requirements for animal feed. This regulatory group makes nutritional recommendations, which are followed and adhered to by agricultural departments in each state in the US. The problem is that commercial pet food is not good for pets and is at the root of the crisis in our pets’ health.
So what can you do to keep your pet healthy and what can you do if your dog gets sick? There is a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests that feeding real, fresh foods to dogs and cats will give them the best chance of avoiding serious diseases. There is also evidence that diet can help lessen the harmful effects and even reverse diseases such as kidney insufficiency, cancer, and diabetes, all life threatening conditions in pets.
The answer to keeping your dog healthy is simple. Feed your dog real fresh food using high-quality protein, good quality fats and a variety of vegetables as the basis for their daily diet.
Many of us know the feeling of complete helplessness when being told that our pet has a life-threatening disease. Many of us know the heartbreak of losing a pet to such an illness. There is a real terror of the costs involved in caring for a sick pet, not to mention the emotional weight and overwhelming sadness that most people experience when their beloved companion is diagnosed with a deadly disease like cancer or a disease that needs constant care like diabetes.
But there is growing evidence that cancer; diabetes, kidney disease and obesity can be managed by dietary changes. Pet parents have seen that disease progression can be slowed and even halted and reversed by feeding a diet that is rich in real foods, high in fat, low in carbohydrates and uses moderate amounts of fresh high-quality protein. This type of diet is referred to as a ketogenic diet, meaning that the body is burning ketones, as it’s primary fuel and not glucose. This state of ketosis regulates blood sugar and allows the cells to heal. Glucose is a “dirty” fuel, while fat burns much cleaner in the body. So by replacing carbs with healthy fats, your cells’ mitochondria, the insides of each cell, are less likely to suffer damage from free radicals and can heal. Carbs, grains, certain high sugar content fruits, starches and starchy vegetables all turn to glucose in the body. These ingredients must be avoided on this type of healing diet.
If your dog has cancer, diabetes or is overweight this type of diet can be extremely helpful. It will consist of low carbohydrate vegetables, medium amounts of high-quality fresh protein and added fats for energy.
In addition to a healing low carb or ketogenic diet, there exist in nature certain ingredients that have been shown to have a powerful healing effect on humans and animals they are a wonderful addition to a canine diet:
• Milk thistle
• Mushrooms, including:
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
Finding a healing diet for a pet with a chronic disease who is in a health crisis can feel daunting and complicated.
New evidence shows that it does not have to be that difficult. By changing your sick pet’s daily regimen to a diet rich in fats, low glycemic vegetables and medium amounts of high-quality proteins, you will be giving your beloved companion the very best chance at healing and thriving If your pet is healthy and you want them to enjoy good health and long life the earlier you begin feeding this health-giving diet the better chance your fur baby will have to maintain wellness throughout a long life.