Feeding questions – dogs & cats
Try different proteins to see if they like chicken over beef, etc.
Just like humans, pets have preferences for different meats, treats, and bones. If your pet is not interested in eating chicken or beef, introduce them to duck and lamb. Note: most pets will love the taste of variety however some pets may take more time to adjust so you’ll have to be patient.
Nutritionists urge people to eat a variety of foods for improved nutrition and also to prevent allergies. The same principles apply to dogs and cats, they need variety as well. As a concerned pet owner, you want to ensure your pet consumes complementary nutrition. Although each Furchild meal formulation is nutritionally complete and balanced, the more variety you can offer, the better. Each ingredient has a unique “nutritional footprint” and impacts on your pet’s health. Our meals contain single-source proteins to benefit pets with food allergies and intolerances. However feeding a variety of biologically appropriate ingredients and unadulterated proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients play a big role in achieving optimal health, preventing illness, and ensuring your pet lives longer. Variety is the spice of life!
Pets eating a raw meal diet will drink less water from their bowl because they won´t be as thirsty, but it is important to keep fresh water available at all times.
It’s not difficult to supply your pets with good water. Here are some tips:
- Fresh, clean bowl every day. You must clean the bowl—as you would any dish—and replace water at least once a day. It’s not enough to add fresh water to the bowl; you must wash the bowl of food bits, hair, dust, and other matter that collects daily in the water. Also, refill if the water level gets too low. We recommend using stainless steel bowls. They resist scratches that can encourage bacteria growth and are easy to clean. They are also durable so they won’t get scratched and need to be replaced like plastic bowls.
- Water filters—There are a variety of water filtering devices and systems available that help blocks out chemicals in your tap water that could be harmful to your dog. You can find out which chemicals are used in your water supply and check with your veterinarian to see if any of them pose a danger to your dog. Water filters also help prevent residue and sludge in old plumbing from seeping into the drinking water. You can buy inexpensive filters that attach to the faucet or go inside water pitchers, or you can invest in more comprehensive water treatment systems.
Note that softened water is different than filtered water, and is not recommended for your dog because the salts use to soften the water may be harmful to drink.
- Bottled spring and distilled water—These are alternatives to filtered water.
- Drinking fountains—This is the best way to provide your dog with a continuous stream of fresh, running water. If you find it a burden to keep refilling your dog’s drinking bowl—especially if you have more than one dog—a drinking fountain is just what the vet ordered. Besides letting your dog play with the running water, the charcoal filter eliminates bad odors and tastes that many pets dislike. (Note: Always provide a regular drinking bowl for your dog as well as the fountain to ensure sufficient water consumption. Many dogs like to vary how they drink and lapping from a bowl is how most dogs instinctively drink. But adding a fountain may very well increase total water consumption because they enjoy the variety.
Avoid these sources of water and hydration for your pets.
- Toilets—Keep lids closed. More than one dog has taken a dip into the toilet as a means of quenching his thirst. In addition to the obvious reasons why drinking from the toilet is less than desirable, there is also the danger of drowning. A small dog can easily slip into the toilet with disastrous results.
- Dirty puddles—If you wouldn’t drink from brown, murky puddles on the street, don’t allow your dog. Lakes, ponds, or streams—Neither you or your dog should ever drink untreated water from a pond or stream. As clean as it might look, this water can harbor many harmful parasites. One of them is called Giardia which can cause severe illness.
- Tap water—Many local water systems are treated with chemicals that may be harmful to your dog. In addition, minerals and sediment from old pipes can leach into the water.
- The garden hose—For the same reason as the faucet, a leaking hose is not a good water source because it also uses tap water that may contain harmful substances.
Milk, juice, sports drinks, soda—Although all these liquids contain water, they are never a substitute for water, and can, in fact, cause severe digestive problems in your dog.
- Dog park bowl—Communal bowls at dog parks can carry viruses and bacteria that may be harmful to your dog’s health. We recommend you always carry a fresh source of water for your dog when the two of you are on outings.
A. Dogs and cats are designed to naturally extract the moisture they need from their food. Not added water, like in canned food, but intracellular moisture from raw food. The moisture is released through digestion and is more thoroughly absorbed.
Dry diets are taxing on our pet’s digestive systems and, in essence, make them work in the exact opposite way than they were designed. As stated above, dogs and cats are designed to extract the moisture they need from their food. When consuming dry food, our pets need to rehydrate the food in their stomach – taking the moisture away from other critical systems. This taxes the body and impedes proper digestive function. Once the food is hydrated and broken down, then the water can be reabsorbed. During this entire process, there is no additional, needed moisture contributing to the digestive process until the cat journeys to the water dish, which is typically long after a meal is consumed.
Often people are surprised to see that their pets stop drinking as much when eating raw. That is simply due to the high natural moisture content in raw food. For a healthy cat, it is possible to rarely see them drink from the water dish. When eating kibble diets, pets are often in a state of chronic dehydration. Many companies add salt to their food to try to encourage our pets to drink, but all the salt does is contribute to the dehydration problem. When dogs and cats (or people, too) aren’t drinking enough water, the urine becomes concentrated. This is a significant contributor to FLUTD, mainly stone and crystal formation. Optimal hydration also contributes to healthy kidney, digestive, joint, and cognitive functions!
A. Hydration is very important for your pet because…
- Maintains a stable, normal body temperature.
- Aids in digestion – getting food through the body and helping to absorb the nutrition within the food.
- Lubricating healthy joints – especially important for large breeds and senior dogs.
- Maintains healthy functioning organs and literally prevents them from shutting down.
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.
The diet of our dogs and cats ancestors (wolves and wild cats) consisted of live prey that 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 dissolved vitamins and minerals that are not found in plain H2O.
A. When considering essential nutrients, some of the most important are amino acids, such as taurine, which is very important for cats to eat in abundance. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are very abundant in meat sources. Taurine, as well as at least 10 other amino acids, are essential – which means cats must acquire these through dietary means and do not manufacture them on their own. Taurine is found in the highest concentration in the brain. When cats capture prey, the head is almost exclusively consumed first before any organs or muscle. The stomach and its contents, contrary to popular rhetoric, are almost never consumed.
Logistically, it’s impractical to use the brain as a primary taurine supplement, but we, at Furchild, have chosen to use organ meat with the next highest concentration of taurine: the heart. Taurine is present in all meat, even in muscle, but the heart is an excellent source of this amino acid in high concentration. In addition to its nutritional value, cats find the flavor of heart irresistible! We do add extra Taurine sources to our Meals for Cats to ensure your cat is consuming the right amount.
Why do cats need Taurine?
It has many biological and metabolic functions within the cat’s body including:
- Formation of bile salts which aids the digestion of fats and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
- It is necessary for cardiac (heart) function, brain, and nervous system function.
- Essential for the development and function of cells in the retina of the eye,
- Female reproduction and fetal growth.
- Maintains a healthy immune system.
- It helps to control blood sugar levels.
A. Furchild Meals for Dogs and Cats are complete and balanced meals under AAFFCO, FEDIAF, and NRC nutritional requirements for all life stages. You do not need to add any supplements to your pet's meals however depending on your pet’s health and individual concerns, adding supplements can be very beneficial.
- Probiotics during times of stress, travel, diet change, puppies/kittens. Probiotics are helpful for restoring the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract after antibiotic therapy or illness.
- Digestive enzymes are good for pets new to a raw diet, in some cases.
- Turmeric is a great addition for dogs experiencing pain, arthritis, preventative of blood clots, Irritable Bowel Disease, helps combat cancer, etc. Using organic Turmeric is recommended and must be fed to our dogs with ground black pepper for proper absorption.
- Raw Green Tripe – is commonly called, ‘superfoods’ for dogs and cats. It is low in fat, high in essential fatty acids, a great source of potassium, vitamins, magnesium, highly palatable and the list goes on and on!
- Joint Support Supplements – Joint health is a major concern among many pet owners and certain breeds are predisposed to joint problems.
For more information on what each supplement does and how it should be used we recommend visiting each on our website.
Feeding bones questions – dogs
A. Yes, puppies can very much benefit from chewing on the raw bones. To begin a puppy on bones, a very good place to start is in the bathtub. Lay a bath towel down and give the puppy the size appropriate bone, following these recommendations. This will teach the puppy at an early age that bones are something to be chewed on in one place, and not carried around the house. After the puppy has matured enough to understand the concept, you can then transfer them to a sheet or blanket on a hard surface floor. After one or two times of the puppy losing the bone for trying to carry it off, they learn pretty quickly to stay put. Of course, if you are giving the bones outside, it won’t be necessary to go through this method.
A. If your dog is already eating raw food, it is an easy introduction. Simply offer the dog the bone and watch to see that the dog chews it, instead of trying to gulp it down. If this is the first introduction to raw food, you will want to do it slowly. Give the dog the bone for no longer than 10-15 minutes, remove it and wrap it up, refrigerate and save it for the next day. After one or two days of this, the dog should tolerate the bone without any difficulties. As when introducing anything new into your pet’s diet, watch for signs of loose stool, and adjust the schedule accordingly.
For more information about feeding bones, visit Treats & Bones.
A. They are nature’s superfood, full of all the essential vitamins and minerals. With an abundant source of Calcium.
- Cleaner teeth: “Chewing” action and enzymes from the raw bone help break down and remove plaque.
- Provides healthy chewing option for growing puppies: Puppies have a physical and psychological need to chew. It is important to provide appropriate outlets for this behavior (not your shoes!)
- Provides recreation activity for adult dogs
- Poultry bones contain “wet” glucosamine: The natural form of glucosamine is easier for the dog to digest and utilize.
A. YES, however, any time a dog is given a chew toy, they should be supervised.
Dogs should never be fed cooked bones. When bones are cooked, the structure of the bone changes and becomes more likely to splinter and less digestible. Raw bones are far less likely to cause injury to pets.
You should never feed your pet cooked or smoked bones.
While feeding bones to our pets may seem like a simple task but there are some issues that all pet owners should be aware of. It’s important to remember that not all bones are created equal! Smoked or cooked bones, which are readily available at most pet stores, are at risk for splintering and flaking. The splintering of bone can be lethal as it can perforate the digestive tract. The cooking or smoking process removes the moisture from the bone, making it harder and more brittle. This can also lead to intestinal impaction and tooth breakage.
NEVER FEED YOUR PET COOKED BONES! Anything else carrying the name “bone” by virtue of its shape is generally not to be served – chances are it is either made of grain (which adult dogs and all cats should avoid), or chemically treated hides or synthetics (which should never be eaten).
Read the section, The Importance of Bones in our Furchild Booklet to learn more about the various types of raw bones that are beneficial for your pet.
Transitioning Questions – dogs & cats
As a general rule, a typical adult dog will consume 2 to 4% of their body weight per day, or 15 to 20% of the pet’s ideal body weight a week. Some smaller dogs will eat a higher percentage due to a higher metabolism and activity rate, while bigger dogs eat a lower percentage of their body weight. If your pet is pregnant or lactating females require extra food, usually about 5-7% of their body weight per day. If your pet is pregnant or lactating please contact us for a personal consultation.
If you have a puppy read the section ‘How Much To Feed’ in our Furchild Booklet.
A. For most pets 10 days is enough time for them to adequately switch to raw meals. However, some pets can take longer or need more encouragement.
Safe transitioning from dry kibble or wet canned food to a raw diet is a vital part of your pet’s journey to optimal health. Many animals will transition quickly and consume their new raw food with vigor. The hardest part of this process is actually making the decision to go for it and then sticking to it. A healthy pet may transition without a twitch but some pets may be more sensitive than others and there may be a few bumps along the road. In the long run, the feeding regime will become second nature and your pet will soon begin to enjoy a healthier life. Read our Furchild Booklet for more information on how to effectively transition your pet form their current food to Furchild Meals for Dogs and Cats.
Be patient and remember you are never alone! Contact us and we will help you at each step.
A. Digestive enzymes – Pets who have been fed a cooked commercial food diet for a prolonged period lack certain enzymes (and bacteria) that the stomach and intestines would have developed if the animals had been eating a natural, raw diet. Many people would recommend using digestive enzymes and probiotics (or probiotic yogurt/ kefir), in order to aid the digestive system during the transition and even on a regular basis thereafter.
- Recommended for pets transitioning to a raw diet
- Recommended for pets with illness and disease – Supplemental enzymes can be beneficial in cases of digestive disorders and degenerative diseases. They replenish the body with the tools needed to utilize nutrients.
We highly recommend using Dr. Mercola’s Digestive Enzymes for pets. They are formulated by Dr. Karen Backer a proactive integrative wellness veterinarian.
Probiotics are residential gut microflora (essentially “good bacteria”) that balance and neutralize “bad bacteria” and help promote effective digestion and a healthy digestive tract. If you choose to continue adding probiotics afterward you’ll notice overall gastrointestinal maintenance and health, faster promotion of gut health, defense from emotional and physiological stressors, and support for pets in less-than-optimal health, such as runts, shelter and rescue animals.
- Recommended for pets transitioning to a raw diet – These can be added to your pet’s meals and are generally used daily for the first 4-6 weeks of transitioning your pet.
- Recommended for pets in less-than-optimal health.
We highly recommend using Dr. Mercola’s Probiotics for pets. They are formulated by Dr. Karen Backer a proactive wellness veterinarian.
The balance of fats in your dog’s diet can have a profound effect on his or her health. Every cell in a dog’s body has a cell membrane, which allows nutrients in and waste out, made mostly of Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. A diet too low in one or the other can seriously impact the working of every cell in the body, especially in the eyes and brain. That’s why our meals are carefully formulated to balance these critical fats, and why we also recommend feeding a variety of meats in the diet to provide a balance of fats and other nutrients.
During your pet’s transition from their current pet food to Furchild Raw Meals be positive. Dogs and cats are very sensitive and can sense any apprehensions or skepticism you may be feeling about feeding them raw food. Being confident will reassure your pet about your choice to change to a new diet.
Remember also, as much as diet plays an important role in the overall health and wellbeing of your pet, the same can be said for providing adequate exercise and attention for your dog or cat.
For more tips and tricks for transitioning your pet, read our Furchild Booklet.
DO NOT fast a puppy that is not yet a year old or a cat at any age. Do NOT fast old, underweight or sick pets unless otherwise specified by your veterinarian. Cats who are used to an all-day buffet should be limited to mealtimes in order to create actual hunger. Cats should not be denied food for long periods as they are susceptible to a liver disease called hepatic lipidosis, which can be serious and even fatal, especially to overweight cats. If a fasting approach is out of the question then use the slower transition methods mentioned in our Furchild Booklet.
A. Congratulations on your decision to make the switch! When transitioning from a cooked food such as kibble, you should go slowly, typically transitioning over 7-10 days. Most people start with the following guideline and then adjust the timeframe as needed:
- Days 1-3: 25% Furchild meals along with 75% current diet
- Days 4-6: 50% Furchild meals along with 50% current diet
- Days 7-9: 75% Furchild meals along with 25% current diet
- Days 10-Forward: 100% Furchild meals.
It’s important to remember that some digestive upset is normal during a transition —this typically shows up in diarrhea, constipation, or (very rarely) vomiting. This will eventually subside as your pet adjusts to the new food. For more information, read Furchild Booklet: Returning to Raw – Discover the Transformative Power of an All-Natural Species Appropriate Diet.
Raw diets can be introduced as early as 4-6 weeks. Read our Furchild Booklet to learn more about feeding amounts and frequencies for feeding puppies and kittens.
A. We would suggest adding some probiotics to the diet to help restore good bacteria into the system to fight the bad bacteria and help increase immunity. You can do this by adding kefir or yogurt with live cultures in it to the diet or by using our pet specific probiotic supplement by Dr. Mercola.
Remember to start slow, introducing new meal varieties when your pet's gut is ready. Read our Furchild Booklet for more information on Tips & Tricking for Transitioning Older Pets and Picky Eaters.
Handling questions – dogs & cats
A. Food and water bowls are an essential part of your pet’s kit and play a very important role in feeding a raw diet. You’ll want to put a bit of thought into what you choose for your dog or cat.
Stainless Steel Bowls are the #1 choice of vets because they are so easy to clean and sanitize. Stainless steel bowls are also the most durable and non-toxic. Look for bowls with a rubber coating on the bottom to help prevent sliding. Furchild has designed a Non-skid Stainless Dog Bowl and a Non-skid Stainless Steel Cat Dish that is the ‘purr-furred’ choice for your pet.
A. Our products should not be cooked or heated in a microwave. To maintain the nutritional value, it’s important to keep the food raw and in its natural state. It would be a shame to see you eliminate all the benefits of a raw diet by cooking it before it’s served. Bottom line; please don’t cook up all the goodies that help your pet thrive.
A. No, be cautious, and do not feed it to your pets.
Most dogs don’t have problems eating some pretty ripe stuff, but we would not recommend feeding your pets spoiled meat that’s stinky and “off”. (Please note – Green Tripe has a strong smell that pets love! It is not the same as raw meat.)
We would not feed even slightly gamy or nasty smelling meat to a dog or cat with a medical issue or compromised immune system. If you worry about things like that then just throw it away.
We recommend thawing your meals in the fridge 24 hours before feeding, or soaking them in cool to lukewarm water right before serving. Meals are best served at room temperature.
A. No. Not really.
If you’re used to feeding your pets canned, you will be pleasantly surprised by the lack of odor in feeding a raw diet. Raw has very little odor (except for our green tripe). If your raw has a strong odor, chances are, there is something wrong with it. Just like with any raw meat that you would eat yourself.
A. Always use hygienic care when handling raw food.
Similar to if you were preparing a roast or hamburgers for your family you have to practice proper hygienic practices. It’s common sense. If raw food products are mishandled, they could contain bacteria that may cause illness to you or the pets you are feeding.
For your protection follow these instructions.
1. Keep Furchild Meals and bones frozen until ready to use; thaw in refrigerator or in water.
2. Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods. Wash working utensils, hands, and any other items that touch or contact raw meat or poultry.
3. Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard. After opening, use within 48 hours.
We are committed to delivering the safest meals and treats for your pet. Learn about the Furchild 7-Step Food Safety Process.
Specific health concerns – dogs & cats
A. A dog with digestive trouble can lead to a lot of trips outside, a house covered in vomit and diarrhea, or a poor dog suffering from constipation. If your dog experiences digestive issues, there is something you can do to help!
Is My Dog Vomiting? – Just like in people, there are different reasons a dog will spit up, with some being more serious than others.
Regurgitation – Sometimes dog owners confuse vomiting with regurgitation. You can tell the difference between vomit and regurgitation by looking at your dog’s upchuck.
Often, regurgitated food has a tubular look that may be marked or coated with mucous. That’s because his food and/or water never made it through his short esophagus before the food came up.
This act of regurgitation looks pretty simple, and your dog may do it on occasion. It’ll happen fast and without warning, and it won’t bother him a bit. In other words, it’s a passive act that is easy and quick for your dog and is not stressful.
Lung Clearing – Dogs can appear to vomit when they are really just clearing their lungs. This act of expectorating is always accompanied by a cough, and the matter that comes up will be mucous and only mucous.
Vomiting – When a dog vomits, the dog’s food has made it all the way into his stomach before it is pushed back out. Your dog will be stressed when he does it. He may appear unhappy, anxious, and restless. As opposed to regurgitation, it’s a forceful act that involves heaving and retching. Dogs actually have a vomit control center in their brains.
Chronic vomiting is a different issue than the occasional upchuck. And can be a sign of any number of different conditions. If your dog is vomiting often, consult your vet.
Treatment for Chronic Vomiting
The best way to help soothe your dog’s upset stomach is to be watchful so you can report to your vet how and when your dog is behaving when he spits something up. Understanding details can go a long way to helping your vet know when your dog has a problem, and when, well, he’s just being a dog.
It is possible that your dog suffers from chronic vomiting because he has a sensitive stomach. If this is the case, switching his diet to a raw, all-natural diet full of meats and vegetables will give your dog’s digestive system a break and allow him to absorb all the vitamins and minerals in the food without “losing his lunch”.
Diarrhea – All dogs get diarrhea at one time or another. It’s a natural way for the body to rid itself of indigestible material and toxins. Diarrhea is most often caused by stress or ingesting large amounts of fat or sugar.
How Do I Know If My Dogs Diarrhea is a Cause for Concern?
A single episode of diarrhea, when your dog is just fine after and eliminates well the next time is often no need for concern. An exception to this can be for puppies or geriatric dogs because they are far more prone to dehydration. Always provide your dog with plentiful freshwater, but this becomes even more important when your dog has diarrhea.
If your dog is experiencing some of these symptoms, it is best that you contact your vet:
- The diarrhea happens more than once or twice
- Your dog seems exhausted or debilitated
- Excessive bloating or gas
- Is not drinking water
- Has a fever
- The loose or liquid feces is speckled with bright red blood or old blood, which resembles coarse coffee grounds
- Shows any other sign of illness
- Has consumed something you know to be toxic (human medication, household chemicals, a mysterious parking lot puddle, chocolate, etc.) If and when you decide to see your vet with your dog, take a sample of his poop with you along with you. This will really help your vet to understand if your dog is sick or if it is just nature’s way of expelling something that hasn’t agreed with him.
Finally, always trust yourself. You know your dog better than anyone, so if things seem “not quite right,” call or see your vet.
Constipation – Constipation is often not as evident as diarrhea (for pretty obvious reasons) or as frequent, but can occur.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Constipated? – By monitoring your dog’s poop. It takes about six hours for your dog to digest his food. So if your dog goes a day or two without eliminating at all, you may want to call your vet. Sometimes, constipation can indicate serious problems, but sometimes it’s self-limiting.
Why Does Constipation Occur? One reason why constipation can develop is that your dog is not getting enough water. With a raw diet, dogs are getting a lot of moisture, but dogs on a kibble diet can become dehydrated easily if they do not drink water on their own, as kibble contains no moisture.
Of course, there can be structural problems or more complex diseases other than dehydration that make it hard for your dog to keep a healthy elimination schedule, for example:
- Having too little fiber in their diet
- A lack of exercise
- Excessive self-grooming causing the stool to contain large amounts of hair
- A blocked or abscessed anal sack
- Trauma to the pelvis
- Orthopedic problems that cause pain when your dog tries to eliminate waste
What Can I Do to Relieve Constipation
If your dog is constipated, take note of when he tries to go (but nothing happens), or get a small sample (if he is pooping at all).
Make an appointment, and see your vet with your notes and the sample. This can help your vet to understand what is going on before she performs tests.
All dogs need fresh, clean water all the time. Good hydration is as important for them as it is for us, especially in hot weather.
Some people choose to give their dog filtered water to make sure he is not forced to process too much chlorine or other water treatment products. Just as with humans, the fewer chemicals ingested the better.
If your dog suffers from frequent constipation, switching their diet to a raw, all-natural diet with a high fiber and moisture content will help regulate their digestive system, and make it easier for them to go!
A. Whenever your pet is itching, scratching, or biting him or herself excessively, we recommend consulting your holistic veterinarian or pet nutritionist to determine the direct cause of this behavior.
Food Allergies – Oftentimes, animals exhibit this behavior due to food allergies. Food allergies are typically indicated by your pet chewing the tops and/or bottoms of their feet as well as chewing at the base of the tail (where the tail meets the body). If your vet or nutritionist determines that your pet has a food allergy, we suggest following an isolation diet to determine those food products that may be causing your pet discomfort. By following a strict diet of single-source protein and avoiding all grain sources, determining the direct cause of your pet’s excessive behavior will be easier to isolate.
Environmental allergies – Excessive itching, scratching, and/or biting may be due to environmental allergies and/or excessive toxins in the body as well. The hot, humid and sandy climate of the UAE can exacerbate fungal skin infections and allergies. High-quality nutrition that is appropriate for your pet can only help their immune system, skin, and coat.
Absolutely! There has probably been no group of pets that have benefitted more from a raw diet than those with food allergies. With a raw diet, you eliminate all grains and white potatoes. This is especially good for pets with yeast issues since these starchy ingredients will only fan the flames of yeast production. You can also control the type of meats your pet consumes due to our single-sourced protein meals. Some pets also will have no reaction to a raw chicken product but will react to chicken once it has been extruded (the process to make kibble).
The other issue that can be avoided with many raw diets is that of synthetic vitamins and minerals. The large majority of dry foods use synthetic vitamins and minerals to make the foods “complete and balanced” as dictated by AAFCO’s guidelines. Many raw diets are naturally complete, thereby eliminating the need for a bunch of synthetics, which some pets are sensitive to.
On top of that, you will save money over buying one of the “Hypoallergenic” veterinary diets and will be feeding a far superior quality food. Here’s an important point to note about hypoallergenic foods. The way they make them hypoallergenic is by hydrolyzing the primary protein used in them. For instance, Hill’s ZD hypoallergenic diet uses both hydrolyzed chicken liver and hydrolyzed chicken. What hydrolysis means is that the ingredient is washed in an acid solution until the protein that makes it chicken is completely destroyed. Therefore, it is technically no longer chicken, so the body no longer recognizes it as chicken. Then, so your dog will still eat it, they add MSG. This doesn’t sound healthy, does it?
There are many ways vets address an allergy diagnosis, and depending on if you visit a traditional vet or a holistic vet, the treatment they suggest will be different. Having a strong immune system is one strong defense against fighting any allergic reaction. Feeding your pet a variety of meals that are well assimilated and naturally anti-inflammatory creates a foundation of good health, and is critical if your dog has either kind of allergy.
Treating an Environmental Allergy
If your dog has an environmental allergy, giving his immune and digestion systems as much support as possible is a real consideration if you want your dog to heal. A comprehensive raw diet can only help to strengthen your dog’s overall health and offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
Treating a Food Allergy
It’s estimated that only 10% of allergies in dogs are food-based. The myth that “a dog should be kept on the same food for his whole life” was is false and stems from large commercial pet food companies. In this way, dogs are just like us. We don’t eat only one food day after day after day for years because that wouldn’t be nutritionally sound. Just like humans, dogs need a well-balanced diet throughout their life to promote health and longevity.
A diet of all-natural raw food provides your pet with a variety of meats and vegetables to keep their bodies nourished and their immune systems strong. The stronger the immune system, the better chance they have to fight off allergies on their own without medication.
A. Yes due to its low level of carbohydrates.
One thing cancer likes more than anything else is sugar. Unfortunately, even the best kibble diets have a higher than necessary carbohydrate load. Carbohydrates are converted into sugar by the body. Raw has a very small amount of carbohydrates, and in some cases, none at all.
If your pet has cancer or other serious illnesses please contact us and we can answer any of your concerns.
You can tell a lot about your dog by looking into his eyes. Their kindness, cheery mood, or empathy shines through them. We love looking into our dog’s eyes, which is good because it means if there is any eye illness, you’ll notice it, but when should you go to the vet with an eye issue?
The most common eye issues for dogs include:
- Dry eye
- Cherry eye
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Symptoms of an Eye Issue
Healthy eyes should appear clear and bright with both pupils being equal in size and the areas around them white. If you notice that your dog’s eyes are producing any of the following symptoms they might have an eye condition and should warrant a call to your vet:
- Discharge, crust, or goopy eyes
- Excessive tears or swelling
- Their eyes appear cloudy
- The whites of their eyes are red or bloodshot
- Their pupils are unequal in size
- Droopy eyes, squinting or excessive blinking
Symptoms of many different eye problems look the same, and so your vet can help you determine whether it is an infection or allergy, dry eye, or something more complex.
What Causes Eye Problems in Dogs
Eyes are sensitive and there are many factors that could contribute to your dog’s eye issues. The cause may be:
- A minor abrasion
- An infection
- A genetic cause
- Dirt, debris, or excessive wind coming in contact with the eye
- Hair in their eyes
Preventing Eye Problems in Dogs Our dog’s eyes are one of the most essential parts of their body making it extremely important that you are proactive about protecting them. It is best to consult your vet for eye care tips since every breed has different genetic predispositions and eye-related issues.
One easy step you can take every day with any breed is to feed your dog a proper diet. A poor quality, highly processed, high carb diet is one of the most common causes of crusty, runny, dull eyes. Commercial foods can also cause an allergic reaction, leaving your dog with red runny eyes.
By switching to high-quality raw meals complete and balanced with fresh meat and vegetables, your dog will naturally fight off toxins that would otherwise cause issues with their eyes, ears, and digestive tract.
Furchild Meals for Dogs are wheat-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, and made with a variety of different proteins and organ meats to provide the maximum range of nutrition and to keep your dog from developing health issues. Our food also contains Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids to keep the cells in your dog’s eyes and brain working at full capacity.
Ear problems in dogs are most often caused by yeast or bacteria entering their ear canal as well as ear mites, excessive hair, moisture, or wax buildup in their ears. Structurally, a dog’s ear canal forms a vertical L shape, which increases the chance of unwanted moisture or dirt getting stuck in it and causing infections.
Yeast infections occur in dogs for a number of different reasons, but the most common cause is your dog’s immune system being out of balance.
- Has your dog taken antibiotics for something just recently or long-term?
- Has he been eating food with lots of carbohydrates for a while?
- Does your dog suffer from leaky gut syndrome (pathogens seeping through intestinal walls causing yeast blooms)?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, your dog’s digestive and immune system may be out of balance because he is trying to metabolize more carbohydrates than his body can handle. When this happens, bad bacteria (pathogens) can take over his digestive system, which can allow the yeast to proliferate.
Yeast Infection Symptoms
A telltale sign that your dog is suffering from a yeast infection is itching. Yeast is incredibly itchy, leaving your poor dog with an itch that he simply cannot find relief from. If you notice your dog is rubbing his body or face on the ground or the couch, scratching incessantly or chewing fur, he may be suffering from a yeast infection.
Treating a Yeast Infection
Dogs need a low carbohydrate diet with no indigestible grains and the right vegetables to provide nutrition without the carb load. Commercial foods often contain 65% carbohydrate and can be a source of yeast problems.
A raw diet is recommended by holistic veterinarians to balance your dogs’ digestion and aid his immune system in fighting off bad bacteria and yeast. The diet also keeps the flora in balance, which can mean relieving the symptom – your dog’s insatiable need to keep scratching his ears – as well as addressing the problem – leaky gut.
Ear infections occur when bacteria, dirt, or other debris becomes trapped in your dog’s ear canal. Since a dog’s ear canal is a vertical L shape, it is much easier for the ears to hold on to extra moisture, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Ear infections can be caused by a number of different things including:
- Swimming in a river, ocean, or other open body of water
- Excessive hair in their ears
- Ear mites or other animals like fleas
- Foreign objects entering the ear
- Excessive wax buildup
Ear Infection Symptoms
There are a few telltale symptoms that may indicate your dog is suffering from an ear infection:
- Increased scratching of their ears or the area around their ears
- Discharge coming from the ear (normally brown or yellow)
- Odor coming from their ear
- Redness or swelling
- Crusts, scabs or hair loss around the ear
- Loss of balance and changes in hearing
- A change in behavior such as walking in circles, unusual eye movements, or head shaking and tilting
How to Treat an Ear Infection
Ear infections are common in dogs and can be a one-time event or a recurring event, depending on what caused the infection. There are hundreds of different pathogens that can cause ear infections, and it can take a lot of testing to isolate the particular bacteria so it can be treated properly.
Holistic vets and traditional vets typically approach ear infections differently, especially chronic infections.
- A traditional vet may want to use antibiotics and steroids to kill the infection and to soothe painful inflammation.
- A holistic vet is going to turn to those kinds of drugs as a very last resort. Taking antibiotics and steroids radically change and challenge your dog’s digestion and immune system. Only your vet will be able to really figure out the right treatment. But no matter what the strain is, you need to consider your options: treat the symptom only or treat the symptom and look for ways to boost your dog’s immune system so that the main problem is addressed, and systemic balance can be restored.
Preventing Ear Infections
Since the immune system is responsible for fighting off infection, the best way to prevent an ear infection is to ensure that your dog has a healthy and strong immune system. A raw diet full of quality meat and vegetables provides your dog with the complete nutrition they need to fight off not only ear infections but decrease their chance of contracting other diseases, suffering from allergies, or developing any skin issues. Furchild Meals for Dogs are wheat-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, and made with a variety of different proteins and organ meats to provide the maximum range of nutrition and to keep your dog from developing dietary sensitivities.
A. As irritable bowel syndromes and diseases may have many causes, a healthy diet to support their digestion and the immune system is paramount. Furchild is formulated to be the most easily digestible cat food and to provide support to maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Raw diets are easily digestible due to the presence of naturally occurring enzymes in the meat and high moisture content. At Furchild, we add gelatin to our diets to enhance the digestive process. Gelatin is high in the amino acid glycine (as well as many others), which increases the hydrochloric acid (HCl) content of the stomach, as well as other gastric secretions. This is very beneficial for pets that are eating a high protein diet. Our dogs and cats generally have very acidic stomachs, but many pets come to eat raw after being ill and have compromised immune systems and sluggish digestion. Dogs and cats without digestive problems can also benefit from the presence of the added amino acids that gelatin provides. See the blog post about the many benefits of gelatin!
Gelatin is also a wonderful source of collagen that is necessary for the maintenance and repair of the digestive lining (as well as all epithelial tissue and joints). IBD and IBS cause a breakdown of this lining which not only contributes to many of the bowel symptoms associated with IBS and IBD, but can lead to general lower immunity. A healthy gut leads to a healthy immune system.
At Furchild we don’t use ground bone from our products. While we agree that chewing on raw bones is extremely beneficial for cats and dogs, large pieces of bone can be difficult to digest for cats with inflammatory or irritable bowel diseases. The bone and meat are ground four separate times and as a result, the texture is like a paste which makes it easier for your cat to digest.
Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s IBS or IBD.
A. There are a number of different skin issues your dog can experience. All of these issues have different root causes that can be simple or extremely difficult to pinpoint. The most common causes are:
- Allergies: Just like people, allergic reactions in dogs can be triggered by just about anything, including grass, trees, household cleaning products, food, or insect bites. Allergic reactions can cause extreme itching all over your dog’s body and lead to dry, flakey skin, or hair loss. Learn more about allergies.
- Yeast Infections: a yeast infection in your dog’s ears can cause irritated, dry and discolored skin in and around the ear
- Bacterial infections: a dog’s body reacts to bacterial infections by creating patches of small blisters, bumps, or sores all over their body.
- Ringworm: This fungus creates ring-shaped patches on your dog’s skin. These patches are inflamed and scaly and there is often hair loss around the area.
- Insects: insects like mites, fleas, ticks, can hide in your dog’s fur causing hair loss, intense itching, and scabbing. If bitten by a tick or a mosquito, your dog is at risk for contracting diseases like Lyme disease or other serious infections.
- Immune deficiency: if your dog has a weak immune system, an infection could cause their skin to become so itchy, they scratch and bite until they tear an open wound in their skin. A weak immune system could also increase the side effects of allergies, making the skin dry and flakey.
How Do I Treat My Dogs Skin Issues?
The first step in treating your dog’s skin issue is figuring out what is causing it.
- Monitor their itching. Note what parts of their body there are itching most often and when.
- Check for parasites. If your dog has ringworm, you will be able to see the circular fungus. Use a magnifying glass to check for fleas and mites.
This information should help your vet figure out what the source of the irritation is. Irritants like fleas, mites, bacteria, and yeast infections are slightly easier to diagnose and treat than allergies or rashes. If you and your vet determine that your dog’s skin issues are caused by allergies, the best way to alleviate their symptoms is to make sure they don’t come in contact with the trigger (if you can figure out what it is).
If the allergen is unknown, the best thing you can do for your dog is to their immune system so they can fight it off naturally.
A diet of all-natural raw food provides your pet with a variety of meats and vegetables to keep their bodies nourished and their immune systems strong. The stronger the immune system, the better chance they have to fight off allergies on their own without medication.
A. There is still much misinformation and debate about low protein diets for cats with kidney disease or renal failure, at any stage. The latest research is showing that the source and quality of the protein is more important than the quantity of protein.
The “low protein diet” philosophy comes from research conducted decades ago on mice, who are vegetarian, that were fed a high protein diet, which is not natural for them. This caused their kidneys to begin shutting down because they weren’t designed to process all of the protein they were forced to ingest. These inappropriate findings were then applied to all companion animals, saying that high protein diets contribute to kidney failure. Recent research is supporting the theory that protein is not a major contributor to renal disease and should only be restricted under special circumstances.
Diets high in phosphorus are now being considered as a possible problem, but only for cats that are in acute renal failure or have severe renal disease and clinically show elevated phosphorus levels. However, for the obligate carnivore, phosphorus cannot be restricted without restricting protein. Typically, cats with advanced renal disease are thin, have a very low appetite, are lethargic, and need to be fed whatever they will eat in order for them to get any nutrition and keep any weight on. This should be a food they love that is nutrient-rich. Furchild has the answer for so many cat companions because this is a nutrient-dense food that cats will consume with voracity.
Even though phosphorus may be in question for its involvement with renal disease, it is essential in a cat’s diet. Phosphorus is a building block of bone. It can be considered the “scaffolding” and calcium is the “cement” when building bone. These two minerals have many other functions in the body, especially with cellular metabolism, but this is one of their biggest roles. When looking at any diet for cats or dogs, there is a ratio of calcium to phosphorus that needs to be observed or some potentially serious health problems can occur. In cats, too much calcium can lead to stone and crystal formation – calcium oxalate stones, in particular. Too little can lead to the body pulling calcium from the skeleton, which can lead to osteoporosis. This is one of the main considerations in home-prepared pet food or using “pet food blends” available in many grocery and pet stores. Most contain muscle, organ meat, and necks, backs, or other bones. Do these other companies and grocery stores who design their own blends know what the best bone to muscle ratio is? And, is it consistent? For Furchild’s Meals for Cats, we use international pet nutritionists, veterinarians, and raw food formulators to ensure your cat’s meal is perfectly balanced. Our recipe is very specific and every batch of our food maintains proper calcium to phosphorus ratio – guaranteed.
Our products are also naturally low in magnesium, which tends to be the major concern, among minerals, in cases of urinary tract obstruction (kidney stones and crystals). Our foods are formulated to contain all of the minerals in proper balance and only contain healthful levels, not high levels.
The amount of moisture present in a cat’s food is extremely important, especially when considering cats with urinary tract stones and crystals (FLUTD). As mentioned above, cats are designed to extract the moisture they need from their food. When consuming dry food, cats need to rehydrate the food in their stomach – taking the moisture away from other critical systems. Once the food is hydrated and broken down, then the water can be reabsorbed. During this entire process, there is no additional, needed moisture contributing to the digestive process until the cat journeys to the water dish, which is typically long after a meal is consumed. This can lead to a state of chronic low-level dehydration and highly concentrated urine. This can be a major factor in the development of urinary crystals and stones.
The intracellular moisture present in raw food is slowly released during the digestive process, providing sufficient water for digestion and therefore, adequate hydration.
Our Meals for Cats also promote a healthy urinary pH, around 6.2, which is slightly acidic. High protein diets can lead to urine that is more acidic, but less concentrated, which is optimal and especially important for cats that have a tendency to develop crystals and stones.
A. Furchild Meals for Cats are designed to provide meals that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which is beneficial for weight loss and for cats that are diabetic. Cats are designed by nature to metabolize proteins more efficiently than a carbohydrate, which sets them apart from other omnivores, like dogs and humans. Cats have a limited ability to utilize carbohydrates as energy. They are metabolically adapted to use protein and fat as their energy source and do best when fed a diet that reflects that of their wild ancestors – mostly meat and very little carbohydrate intake. It’s the ingestion of proteins and fats that helps give cats a feeling of satiety and triggers the mechanism in their brains that tells them they can stop eating. Cats that “graze” during the day often eat due to this lack of satiety and their bodies experience rapid rising and falling of glucose levels throughout the day.
When cats eat a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, and satiety is reached sooner and glucose is released more slowly by the transformation of protein to glucose (gluconeogenesis). This means cats will not have a need to “graze” throughout the day. Also, less unused energy (carbs) will be stored as fat. This brings about natural weight loss and lower blood sugar levels.
A cat’s pancreas isn’t designed to release large quantities of insulin to counterbalance constant rises in blood glucose. The pancreas in cats produces a limited amount of insulin and can become overwhelmed by the demand. This can lead to a considerable amount of stress on the pancreas, resulting in suppression and, therefore, eventually, diabetes. All of this free-flowing sugar in the bloodstream that is not used for energy is converted into fat and is one of the main contributors to feline obesity.
Physiologically, cats also have a limited capacity for the digestion of carbohydrates. Cats lack salivary amylase (an enzyme) and have limited amounts of pancreatic amylase, which aids in the breakdown of carbohydrates. The presence of high carbs in their diet may also lead to decreased protein digestibility and intestinal disturbances.
Cats on portion-controlled diets that limit carbohydrate intake will often have a limited intake of protein and other essential nutrients. Weight loss may be noted, but possibly at the expense of lean muscle mass, not just fat. Weight-loss formulas may also contain higher quantities of insoluble fiber that can increase stool volume by pulling large amounts of moisture into the stool. This can lead to dehydration in cats that aren’t drinking a sufficient amount of water (which can happen especially in cats eating dry food). This dehydration can be a significant contributor to urinary tract disorders (FLUTD).
Proper Diet – Weight loss programs for animals are the same as those for people – eat less and exercise more. High-quality nutrition is the best way to help your pet lose the extra pounds. If you are feeding an all raw diet, you are providing the best diet already for proper weight management – just feed less. If you are feeding some kibble, just reduce the amount of kibble fed.
Proper Portions – Recommended feeding amounts are just that, recommended. Every animal is unique and when choosing how much to feed your dog, consider how active they are.
Even dogs with a 9-kilogram (20-pound) difference in size could eat the same portion as each other at every meal because maybe one is much more active and spends most of the day outside, whereas the other likes the sofa. They also need less food in the seasons where they are less active.
Small dogs need very small portions – sometimes less than an ounce per meal. It may look like hardly any food to you, but it will be plenty to meet your companion’s needs. Monitor his weight regularly so you will notice if he is losing too much too fast and can adjust the amount you feed slightly.
Exercise provides much more than just an increase in calorie usage. It contributes to the quality of your relationship with your companion as well as improving his mental health, cardiovascular health, and increasing his longevity. For dogs, this can be as simple as a 15 or 20-minute walk twice a day. A trip to the local off-leash dog park can provide even more fun and exercise.
Treats – It is difficult for most guardians to eliminate treats – especially those guardians who are well trained (or rather who have trained their animals well). If you have rewarded your friend for begging, he will continue to beg and learn to beg harder. Since treats provide enjoyment for both of you, just change the quantity and quality to meet the weight loss program. Break the treats into smaller pieces – no larger than the size of a pea. A taste is all that is needed to give your friend a reward or special treat. Use high-quality all or mostly meat treats and avoid those high in carbohydrates. Reduce the amount you feed at each meal by the amount of treats you have fed that day.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Once you have helped your companion reach a healthier weight, you can slightly increase the food portion to maintain that weight. Continue to watch her closely – feeling for ribs and looking for a waist, and weighing her if possible on a regular basis. Remember to adjust the amount you feed to her activity level – don’t keep feeding a cup per meal in the winter if she is inside more and less active.
In the long run, your pet will be happier and more active when kept at an appropriate weight. He will be healthier and will likely live longer as well. Weight control is well worth the time and effort for the long-term health of your companion.
Additional questions – dogs & cats
A. The main way our vet bills have been reduced is by virtually eliminating the need to take our dogs for skin and ear conditions, chronic illness management (i.e. pancreatitis, colitis), or dental cleanings. A healthier pet means fewer visits to the vet.
Injuries, hip evaluation radiographs, and occasional blood work for health screening, etc. are reasons for a visit to our vet these days. Our pets are healthier, and our vet bills stay down! How cool is that?
Furchild believes in the philosophy that the quality of a daily diet is the most critical component to health and longevity.
This is true with humans and with our dogs and cats. Raw diets are a daily investment in the ongoing health of your pet. We believe that optimal nutrition is paid back to you through the savings from avoiding chronic health conditions that many pets suffer from poor diets.
And it is difficult to put a price on the value of a healthy happy cat or dog. Making the choice to feed Furchild’s Raw Meals, bones, and treats is an investment in their future and your peace of mind.
A. Veterinary school does not focus on nutrition; it focuses on medicine.
It is not unlike medical school for MDs in that way. That is why nutrition is a completely separate field of study and degree. It’s also why, if you ask your doctor about diet, you’ll likely be handed a copy of the food pyramid. While it seems logical that these two fields be synchronized, too often, they are not.
Most veterinary training offers little more than one week of nutrition. If everything that we needed to know about nutrition could be learned in a week, we’d all be healthier. The classes are also, more often than not, sponsored by one of the major veterinary food companies (Science Diet, Royal Canine, etc.). So, the information being taught is often fraught with agenda.
Colgate-Palmolive, the company that manufactures Hill’s Science Diet, spends “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year funding university research and nutrition courses at every one of the 27 US veterinary colleges. Once in practice, vets who sell Science Diet and other premium foods directly pocket profits of as much as 40%”
Source: Parker-Pope, T. 1997. For You, My Pet. The Wall Street Journal. 3 November 1997. In Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. p266).
There are some forward-thinking vets out there who do endorse the raw diet. These vets have decided to do their own research and think outside the box, thank you!
We think the best way for anyone to become convinced of the nutritional quality and health benefits of our meals is to see their impact firsthand. We offer a special Feeding Trail for Veterinarians in the UAE.