There is nothing more fundamental to the health of our small animals than good nutrition. The healthiest diet for dogs and cats is a minimally processed, meat-based diet. Period. I am not sure where lies the controversy. It is the first thing I try to correct with new patients because the effects of good food are so far-reaching. Food is medicine when used properly and food is toxic when used improperly. Make the choice to feed a commercial raw frozen, commercial cooked, or home cooked diet. It’s easier than you think and we can help you do it.
Many veterinary recommended diets are dry or canned foods which are often loaded with carbohydrates. What I have leaned is that even the diets that start with excellent ingredients become pro-inflammatory once converted to a diet that does not spoil (dry food). These diets may include what an animal needs to survive but not what most need to thrive. Ill-health will start to show itself as obesity and chronic inflammation, chronic infections and pain, inflammatory bowel disease and skin problems. Cancer is often the end state of chronic inflammation.
Processing is what keeps the food from spoiling. Turning the food into kibble is the most processing a food can have. It basically won’t spoil. This serves a purpose as far as convenience and minimizing waste, but is one of the main drivers of inflammation and disease in the small animals that I see every day.
I say cut out the carbohydrates and the processing. Then, let’s make sure it is balanced to allow animals to thrive. If it is a home-cooked diet, calcium will need to be supplemented instead of fresh bone. We also recommend an essential fatty acid supplement, usually in the form of fish oil. I often use a multivitamin as well for dogs and cats on a cooked, home-made diet. Take a look at a basic home cooked diet sheet that I recommend to get people started for their dogs and cats.
Commercially prepared cooked or raw-frozen diets are usually balanced and ready to eat as a complete meal. These are approaching the gold standard for feeding dogs and cats. They take away inflammation and prevent cancer in many animals.