Dietary Needs of Pets

Ask yourself one simple question when feeding your dogs and cats. Would they hunt for meats in the wild or would they search for grains, corn, rice, wheat? The answer is simple, dogs and cats actively seek meat for nourishment and this fundamental dietary necessity must be duplicated in their modern diets. Diets rich in real meats, fruits, vegetables and vitamins and minerals all help to maintain optimal quality of life in our pets.

Dogs and cats are by definition carnivores (meat eaters). There are key anatomical features which can illustrate this.

Their big mouths are suited for handling a large amount of meat, which they can rip though with their sharp teeth. They do not grind their food, which is indicative for grain based diets. There is very little chewing of food and breaking it down into smaller sizes, rather is it usually swallowed whole and then digested. The oral cavity does not contain amylase (digestive enzyme), which assists in digesting carbohydrates. Again, the emphasis for digestion in pets is the breakdown of proteins and meats.

Another indication of dietary needs of pets is illustrated in the digestive tract, suggesting carnivorous diets in dogs and cats are normal. They have been shown to have shorter small intestines and more acidic stomachs (approximately pH 1).

Unfortunately, many of the highly processed pet foods on the market today, contain large amounts of grains, cheap fillers, artificial colours and flavours, and only a small amount of meat. Some pet food companies use cheap ingredients as fillers in pet foods and bring the quality to inferior levels. This may lead to serious health conditions in our pets. As a result, a quality pet food, whether feeding raw meat or processed pet food, needs to contain a diet high in meat and adequate protein levels in order to provide the appropriate nutrition needed for our pet's daily function and health outcomes.