Ask Hopeful Henry: Is it good to switch to a homemade diet?
Dear Hopeful: I want to make sure I’m feeding my pets as healthy as I can and I have heard a lot about the positives of feeding them a homemade raw diet. What do you know about it and think? Thanks. — Linda
Dear Linda: First, and most importantly, before I continue with answering your question, if you are going to follow a homemade diet for your cat or dog you must follow a good recipe exactly. It is very important to make sure your pet is getting the correct balance of protein, calcium and vitamins. Not ensuring this correct balance can cause serious health issues for your pet. You need to do some research about homemade diets before jumping in. One of the best-written and most informational websites I have found on the subject is http://www.catinfo.org. It is written by veterinarian Lisa A. Pierson and I highly recommend giving it a full read. As far as dog homemade diets go, check out http://www.dogaware.com/diet/homemade.html. You should speak to your vet to find out if your pet has any medical issues that may require a different blend of recipe, perhaps they need more protein or less protein. Different issues create a need for different diets.
Now to answer your question, personally I really like the idea of a homemade diet for both cats and dogs. In fact, that’s the diet that we use in our house. After all cats and dogs naturally eat prey, rabbits, mice, birds and such so it makes sense they should be eating the same basic things while living in a loving home.
To start, we transitioned our animals off dry food to a strict canned wet food diet, then added in the homemade food diet. You might be asking yourself “what’s wrong with dry kibble?” Well, let me tell you! The water content is too low, often causing urinary tract diseases (natural prey contains about 70 percent water, as does canned food versus dry, which only has about 5 percent water); the carbohydrates load is too high, which can lead to diabetes, obesity and intestinal disease; the type of protein is too high in plant-based versus animal-based proteins. Other negatives include bacterial contamination, fungal mycotoxins, ingredients that often cause allergic reactions and all dry food is harshly cooked, which destroys or alters vital nutrients. It should be noted that there is no scientific proof that dry kibble is good for teeth cleaning. Most of the time, kibble is swallowed whole and, even if chewed, it just shatters, providing no benefit to cleaning teeth. It is also noteworthy that an increasing number of veterinarians, including board-certified veterinary internists, are now strongly recommending the feeding of canned food instead of dry food.
I don’t want to print the recipe I use as it is so important to not just follow the recipe but to research why you should make the switch from dry kibble to canned or home made food. If you cannot research this subject on the Internet, you can stop by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society’s office for some printed information on the subject including recipes.
Hope this helps. — Henry
— Submit your questions or letters via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at http://www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry.