“Feed with Intention”…Feeding fresh food maximizes the body’s ability to function properly.
Things to Consider
Ask yourself, “How important is this to me and my animal?” Is it important enough to commit to it for three weeks, three months, or three years? Is it important enough to step out of my comfort zone and ultimately improve my companion’s quality of life? Converting your companion’s diet is not for the faint of heart. Our animals are very perceptive and will sense any reluctance buried beneath our exterior continence. Therefore any lack of commitment will forestall a successful outcome. Decide how long you will commit to this project. The rewards will be great. Your companion will quickly show the benefits. Once you get into the flow of feeding raw food it will be as natural as mixing up an already prepared salad…just add some water (dressing), a little this and a little that, mix, and serve.
Cats and dogs thrive on the same raw meat and vegetable dinners, although, some cats and small dogs seem to prefer the higher ratio of meat to vegetables (10% veggies to 90% meat). You may have to adjust the ratios until you find a combination that works for both of you. Some animals will need special ratios for their specific needs. Most are just fine on the prepared meals sold in stores, which is a ratio of 25% veggies to 75% meat. For the most part, cats and dogs thrive on the same recipe of fresh raw meat dinners. Try to use organic meat and veggies whenever possible. If organic is not accessible conventionally grown is still far better than commercial pet food, which by any practical definition is fast food.
The other thing about changing diets is that for most animals it should be done gradually. Just like people our companions have different likes, needs, and personalities. There are always exceptions. For example some animals are just fine converting to raw in a short space of time. Others will not eat the raw food at first. But until you figure out that your situation is unusual follow our suggestions.
It is not necessary to speed through the process; it certainly doesn’t have to be dramatic. A gradual back and forth—with your companion’s assistance—will keep everyone happily on the same page. Throughout the entire process, watch for signs of your companion’s body attempting to detoxify, symptoms of which would include diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weepy eyes and/or runny nose, and unusual amounts of itching. Again, a gradual approach makes life easier for all concerned. Raw food, though great for our companions, can be a shock to their digestive track. If you existed on only processed food, you too would likely experience withdrawal and/or detox symptoms once you started a “fresh food” diet. Converting is a matter of weaning our companions off their present food onto their species appropriate diet gradually.
If after the conversion process you have an animal that eats the food sometimes and not at other times or an animal that is not always hungry at meal time, then eliminate all treats and any other food sources. Smaller animals may be especially prone to fill up quickly on treats. Animals are smart and it is true that they can be reluctant to eat their meal when they can depend on filling up on treats later.
Cats that are indoor/outdoor animals have already experienced raw food because they are natural hunters. Nature has a way of protecting these animals that kill for sport. They will only eat what they are taught to eat. This fact can make indoor cats a challenge to convert to raw. Be patient. You’ll be happy with the results once you see the difference raw food makes in their quality of life.
By feeding raw food dinners we are trying to duplicate what our companions would eat in the wild. There they would consume most if not all of their prey. They would eat the skeleton as well as the fur. In our attempt to mimic Nature we have to add calcium or ground bone to the dinner. Raw meat is high in phosphorus. Calcium is needed to balance out all that phosphorus. Enzymes and probiotics are needed to ensure your animal is assimilating all that good food you are feeding. Animals in the wild would get this from the gut of their prey.
Cows graze.Cats and dogs do not. Feed an adult cat/dog only once per day unless the animal is sick or underweight. Catsanddogsare designed to gorge when there’s food and fast when there’s not. Feed your adult companions at a time convenient for both of you. In contrast, we all know puppies and kittens need to eat multiple times throughout the day because they are growing fast and they have to consume amounts of food that will facilitate their continuous growth spurt. They need lots of calcium to support the accelerated growth of those bones.
A healthy adult dog needs to eat once per day and fast for 24 hours every week or two. We fast our adult dogs on every Sunday so their digestive tracks can rest and detoxify. It helps to have a pattern because then they know what to expect and they are satisfied with the fasting period. Note that your companions should always have plenty of clean fresh distilled water to drink. Sometimes you can give them a bone to chew on to make yourself feel comfortable.
Some dogs will skip a day of eating on their own. These are usually single animal households since these dogs are not under pressure to consume their food before their “house mate” eats more than one’s share. Don’t be alarmed. If they are acting normal, then there’s no reason to be concerned. They will eat eventually. If they are lethargic and not acting like themselves, then it is time to be concerned. Personality changes are good indicators that something is wrong.
Cats are different. They are much more independent than dogs. You DO NOT want your cat to stop eating. Sometimes cats just need exposure to different food. For example, we recommend that you consistently put down a tiny amount of the new food at meal time right next to their regular food. And, eventually they will naturally investigate it. If you’re trying to speed things along, you might use a treat or some other type of bait (preferably a favorite food mixed into the new) to coax your cat into trying a new food. If your cat will not eat, is lethargic, and or starts to hide, then you should be concerned. It is part of their nature to only eat what they are taught to eat, so be aware that cats are very comfortable resisting dietary changes. That’s why we feel it is very important to get them use to changes in their diet from when they are very young.
Now don’t get overwhelmed with the details. One step at a time, get your companion transitioned to eating fresh wholesome raw food.
We recommend feeding organic meat and veggies whenever possible. Sometimes organic is not readily available in your area. Don’t let that stop you. It is far better to feed raw meat and veggies whether they are organic or the meat and veggies sold at most grocery stores. RAW is the operative word here.