If you want the best for your animals, then you not only need to love them but also to pay close attention to ensure they get everything they require to be truly happy and healthy. This includes taking their diet seriously. The days of giving them leftovers off your plates and leaving it at that are over—it’s not good enough. Without proper care and attention to their nutritional needs animals suffer.
Take the story of Melinda, who contacted me regarding Sunny, her Poodle. She was worried about his diet because he wouldn’t eat his greens. Sunny was a no-nonsense dog. If he didn’t like something he displayed this very clearly. (I know plenty of humans who’d take Sunny’s side on the issue of eating vegetables!) Melinda wondered if I could ask him why he didn’t like them. So I communicated with this outspoken Poodle, only to find out that it wasn’t as simple as him not liking vegetables.
Sunny saw himself as equal in standing to his family and didn’t see why he should have to eat anything Melinda and her husband didn’t eat. He’d preferred to eat what they were eating and, anyway, they often shared food with him from their own plates. Where did this come from—his personality, or bad habits? When I discussed the situtation with Melinda, she looked a little red-faced. She told me she and her husband quite often grabbed a take-away meal on their way home from work, which didn’t include much vegetable and, yes, they shared it with Sunny because he wouldn’t eat his meals. Melinda had her answer.
There has been a great deal of scientific study to show how a regime as close to nature as possible keeps animals fitter and healthier, allowing them to live longer and need fewer visits to the vet. Animals are closely linked to nature, so it stands to reason they’ll respond well to an eating regime that’s natural. If you compare your pet with similar creatures in the wild, you’ll find that undomesticated critters have a raw diet and regular exercise. You should consider your animal’s diet and activities. They’re more crucial than you think.
And here’s the bonus: helping them to be healthy will help your wellbeing as it connects you to what’s natural. I can’t stress strongly enough just how significant this is, and how great the rewards can be for both you and your animal.
I’m sad to say that the amount of different cancers I see in young animals is nothing short of astonishing. Some are in animals as young as three years old. Various cancers, along with certain other diseases, have been linked to poor or inadequate diets in people; we know this is true. Through my work I’m now seeing many of the same diseases in humans turning up in animals at an increasingly alarming rate. Perhaps the animals are trying to show us what we need to look at in our own lifestyles in order to prevent these diseases.
The pressure of animals wanting us to give them unhealthy food can be eliminated if they’re only given healthy foods. When people introduce them to unhealthy scraps from the table, as well as sugary treats, they begin craving these foods. Humans do exactly the same. If we had never been introduced to extremely salty, sugary or fatty and processed foods, we wouldn’t miss them. That is why you start your animals on a healthy raw diet—if it’s what they’re used to, then it’s what they’ll eat.
Dogs are predominantly meat eaters and have their particular teeth and bowel types to cope with this diet. Their teeth are for ripping and tearing meat, and their bowels are perfectly designed to digest meat. Wild dogs don’t cook their meat after killing an animal or finding a dead carcass. They eat raw meat. That’s what keeps them healthy. Cooked meat may start to appeal to them if they get a taste for it, but it’s not natural. There’s also a chemical reaction in food once it’s been cooked and food that is charred or burnt may be potentially carcinogenic. Dogs will also consume grasses, herbs and berries in the wild, and there is also a degree of vegetable matter eaten when they consume the stomach contents of their prey.
Unhealthy foods can make an animal very fussy about its diet. How do you solve this? The reality is that you have to be cruel to be kind, or your animal might end up in all sorts of trouble. If you’re concerned about your dog’s or cat’s vitamin and mineral intake, there are plenty of many natural food supplements available. Raw meaty bones (never cooked as that makes them too brittle) should be the bulk of their diet, or full carcasses wherever possible. The ripping and tearing of meat for dogs and cats are essential for the health of their teeth and gums. Chicken necks or wings will provide them with the bone content, and help to clean their teeth naturally. Larger bones are perfect for larger animals.
Remember, though, never to leave animals unattended with bones, as they can occasionally get stuck on their teeth or in their throats. I have on rare occasions had to retrieve a piece of chicken neck from the molar or the throat of Mattie and Shea, emergencies which frightened the heck out of both me and them!
Most commonly found canned foods, especially those sold at the supermarkets, have preservatives and additives. These can be extremely unhealthy to give animals and many contain foods that wouldn’t normally be in their natural diets. They can also be highly addictive, so animals begin to crave them in their diet. Like the meals offered in most fast-food chains, masses of sugar and salt are added to get them hooked.
Most people wouldn’t like to be the cause of ill health in their beloved animal companions. For both our animals and ourselves, going natural and chemical free would minimize disease. Just as chemicals are contributing to the ill health in people, so it contributes to illnesses in our animal companions. Think about what’s best for them and their health. Be strict with yourself as well for the same reasons. Like us, an animal with the proper diet and plenty of exercise will be healthy and happy for a long time to come.