Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats
The natural segment of manufactured pet food has grown in recent years driven by consumer demand. The increased demand for these products has centered on the consumer belief that these products are of high quality and safe, made from ingredients that fit an individual’s concept of natural, and provide functional health benefits. Different regulatory definitions have been described by the AAFCO and FEDIAF for natural pet food ingredients and products; however, most consumers have their own perceptions of what should be considered natural based on personal experiences, biases, or preferences. In the absence of data on the impact of natural pet food on pet health, some pet food companies target diet formulation and ingredients based on teleological reasoning that dogs and cats should eat a diet resembling that of related wild species. Many opportunities exist for research involving natural pet foods and natural diets to understand their effects on growth and performance, nutrient availability, digestibility, and product safety among other health and nutrition parameters. Future opportunities also include the integration of sustainability with natural pet foods (). The challenge is to match consumer demand and provide natural nutrition to pets while reducing impact on the environment. With the increasing trend of anthropomorphism of pets and interest in ancestral or instinctual diets, challenges of particular interest to the natural pet food segment include competition with the human food chain and the high use of animal protein sources.
It is neither very expensive nor especially time-consuming to prepare a really high quality pet food. There are many ways to save time by preparing larger quantities in advance, freezing certain items, and so forth. The cost is comparable to or less than that of higher quality commercial foods. I have developed a comprehensive nutritional program that is practical, economical, and, of course, nutritionally excellent. It is entitled Natural Diet for Dogs (or Cats): Guidelines for Optimal Nutrition. The Natural Diet program is available to download from this website for $15.00.
Made with the highest quality ingredients, Diamond Naturals® provides complete, holistic nutrition for every pet. With dry and canned food options for both dogs and cats as well as a full line of dog treats, whatever your pet’s nutritional needs, Diamond Naturals has a formula to match. Commercial pet foods, whether dry, canned, or soft-moist, are highly processed convenience foods, and that convenience usually carries a high price in terms of nutritional quality. Nearly all of them use inexpensive poor quality protein sources, such as diseased meat and organs condemned for human consumption. Most are laced with preservatives and food coloring. Canned foods have high levels of lead, dry foods have rancid fat, and soft-moist foods contain up to 25% sugar. Even the best commercial pet foods are highly processed and thoroughly cooked, so there are no fresh or raw foods in the diet. This also destroys many of the vitamins, which are added at low levels to begin with. Commercial pet foods bear little or no resemblance to the diets that dogs or cats would naturally choose for themselves in the wild.Novel foods and food components have been identified as “functional” because they provide health benefits beyond the provision of essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, water, proteins, carbohydrates and fats (). The role of functional foods has been investigated in dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) in order to better understand their metabolism, thus optimising companion animal nutritional and health status ( ). After a long history of coexistence, the most common pets in modern societies are dogs and cats. Dogs and cats present significant differences in digestive-related processes but, while cats are carnivorous, dogs appear to be omnivorous like human beings (). Dogs share some carnivorous traits with cats as both lack salivary amylase, have a short gastrointestinal tract and are unable to synthesize vitamin D (). In contrast, there are 3 genes, AMY2B, MGAM and SGLT1 that have evolved only in dogs during domestication and are involved in starch digestion and glucose uptake (). Another characteristic of the dogs digestive system is that they can synthesise several essential nutrients such as niacin, taurine and arginine (). As far as cats are concerned, they can catabolise and use amino acids as a source of energy for gluconeogenesis (). Cats have a diet consisting of 52% protein, 36% fat and 12% carbohydrate (). Therefore, we have to study pet nutrition considering dogs and cats separately. A human-pet parallel exists as pet owners provide their dogs and cats with alternative foods, such as commercially available “natural”, raw food and vegetarian diets as they are considered family members (). The parallel between humans and animals is further strengthened by the evidence that, similarly to human babies who copy adults' redundant actions ( ; ; ; ), companion animals acquire the wrong eating habits from their owners (). This evidence suggests that understanding pet nutrition is also important to study human nutrition; however, this is not object of this article and has been reviewed elsewhere ().Made with the highest quality ingredients, Diamond Naturals® provides complete, holistic nutrition for every pet. With dry and canned food options for both dogs and cats as well as a full line of dog treats, whatever your pet’s nutritional needs, Diamond Naturals has a formula to match.