More and more pet professionals (breeders, veterinarians, and pet nutritionists) are advocating a second look at what we feed our dogs and cats. This is because there is a growing belief that our animals need a raw, natural diet in order to be healthy.
Simply put, commercial pet foods do not supply the nutrients that are necessary for optimal health and longevity.
You may have heard of the popular “Caveman Diet”, as it applies to humans, the theory being that unprocessed fresh foods high in protein and low in carbohydrates are best for people who evolved successfully over thousands and thousands of years consuming just such a diet. The concept of the “Canine Ancestral Diet” for dogs is similar in nature.Dogs and other candis evolved successfully through hunting and scavenging; consuming foods that were not at all like the kibble so many are fed today. Recent nutritional science increasingly supports an ancestral-type diet – high protein, balanced fats, and at least some fresh foods – as the healthiest approach to feeding most dogs.
What are the important components in the Ancestral Diet?
49% of the calories in the Ancestral Diet were from protein, primarily from fresh animal sources. Protein from animals, unlike protein from most plants, contains balanced amino acids and a complete range of protein-type nutrients, including taurine and carnitine.
Protein is arguably the most important nutrient in your pet’s diet. Protein is responsible for building and repairing muscles and tissues and for providing the structure for skin, hair, nails, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscle fibers.
But it isn’t just the amount of protein that’s important – it’s the quality. Much has been written in the past about protein quality. There are many factors that can turn an otherwise high-quality protein into an unhealthy food that contributes to inflammation and chronic disease.
Pet owners need to be aware that the meat used in most modern commercial dog foods are usually low quality and low quantities in comparison to what is considered optimal.
Read, ‘Comparing Types of Pet Foods’ for more information on this topic.
Both the amount of fat and the balance of fats is very important. Fats represent a broad category of nutrients, just as vitamins and minerals are broad categories. Dogs need to consume the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals, all in a proper balance. Similarly, it is very important that dogs consume a variety of fatty acids – the basic components of fat – in proper amounts and balance. In an Ancestral Diet, the ration of omega-6s to omega-3s was between 2:1 and 6:1, within the range now considered optimum by most pet nutritionists.
By contrast, dogs today do not normally get access to such a wide range of balance of at times, rancid fats. Read, ‘Comparing Types of Pet Foods’ for more information on this topic. Poorly balanced fats are one of the major problems almost all commercial and most homemade dog foods experience.
The scientific evidence is overwhelming – dogs who eat the proper amounts of balanced fats, with a complete range of fatty acids, are healthier and happier.
Because of the predominance of meat in the dog’s Ancestral Diet, carbohydrates provided only 6% of the calories consumed by the dog’s Ancestral diet. Primarily from fruit, grasses, and vegetables. This is substantially below what the typical modern dog consumes which can be as high as 60-80%!
Feeding your pet a diet high in carbohydrates has many negative long-term health implications. Learn more about this by reading our Furchild: Returning to Raw booklet – “The Carbohydrate Problem”
The large majority of foods in an Ancestral Diet were fresh whole foods. Modern dogs, like people, need some fresh whole foods.
Many studies have indicated that vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from whole foods are more nutritious than the synthesized or refined forms found in most dog foods. Refined nutrients (as opposed to fresh foods) have a role in preventing deficiency diseases but are not sufficient for the best health. They lack the cancer-fighting nutrients found in vegetables and fruit.
While the ancestral diet itself did not contain high amounts of fiber (defined as a carbohydrate), it did contain small amounts of fur and other indigestible parts of the dog’s prey, which served a similar purpose.
The Ancestral Diet consisted of live prey which was made up of 78% moisture. That’s a lot of moisture!
Most pets that consume dry foods and drink frequently from their water bowl aren’t getting adequate levels of water. Furthermore, the moisture content found in the ancestral diet contains many dissolve vitamins and minerals that are not found in plain H2O.
Hydration is very important for your pet because…
Our pet’s digestion is a moisture intensive process, from saliva to gastric juices. Our pet’s body will pull this moisture from other tissues and organs if necessary, leaving less moisture temporarily available for flushing toxins and general hydration.
Modern-day pet owners have busy schedules and preparing such diets similar to an Ancestral Diet can prove to be quite difficult. But Furchild has changed that! We've made it simple and convenient to feed your beloved animals the raw food they need to live full, vital, and longer lives.
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