Written by Our Veterinarian Dr David Bettio, OLIKOS VETERINARY HOMEOPATHIC CENTER - Parma-
On this page I want to share with you some reflections I have done and am doing on the natural nutrition of our animals, with particular reference to dogs and cats. These reflections arise from the clinical observations of more than 10 years of veterinary practice, in the light of the precious teachings of dear Belgian friend and colleague Eric Vanden Eynde, homeopath veterinarian and bio-nutritionist.
A healthy and balanced diet is necessary. We hear from all doctors that well-being passes also through nutrition. So healthy food is the foundation of our health. Eating different foods (meat, eggs, pasta, rice, vegetables, fruit) and fresh is what we do every day.No one would dream of eating prepackaged foods for life, right? Better bread and jam than a packaged snack, right? And why shouldn't that be the case for our animals too? Nutrition is a fundamental element for the psychic and physical growth of our animals. The idea that there is a pet-food that can provide dogs and cats with all the nutrients they will need during the course of their existence is a myth, as is believing that there cannot be of the consequences given by such a type of diet. Although I know that it is not easy to demonstrate analytically, I believe that eating industrially produced food is equivalent to eating the entire industrial process that produces it. And this has important consequences on the health of our animals. The efforts of the pet food industries are somewhat appreciable because they serve the need to have food that can be stored, available and convenient to use. But this type of food seems to be made more to go against our comforts, rather than the well-being and health of our dogs and cats.
With this I do not want to make a crusade against dry food and canned food, but to approach nutrition and nutrition with a certain critical sense, compared to some choices that we make today almost automatically, both as veterinarians and as pet owners. consideration to be made is that food is not just a food, it represents nutrition. As Hippocrates (one of the fathers of medicine) said at the turn of 400 BC, food is closely related to our state of health. I repeat, no doctor would recommend a diet based on canned food, but everyone recommends a diet based on fresh food, food that does not contain preservatives or chemical additives and whose raw materials are as healthy as possible, such as those coming from crops or organic and biodynamic farming.
As no doctor would recommend starting or continuing to smoke cigarettes, because the close correlation between smoking and lung cancer has been demonstrated.Nutrition, therefore, contains essential elements such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibers, micro- macro elements, vitamins etc etc, but also of the 'subtle' elements, elements related to the way of eating or proposing food, to the materials from which the foods we use for our recipes derive, principles related to the emotional sphere, the taste, the relationship. Dogs are "opportunistic eaters" and have, therefore, developed an anatomy and a digestive physiology that allow them to digest and use a great variety of foods. The nutritional needs of dogs and cats are manifold therefore a complete ration must provide: energy in quantities equal to that released by the animal organism in the form of heat, to that retained by the organism itself in its own tissues during growth or to that transferred in the production of milk or fetuses; proteins and any essential amino acids, mineral substances, vitamins and essential fatty acids in sufficient quantities to meet the vital needs of the animals and those related to production these nutritional principles are not the same for the entire duration of the animal's life but, obviously, they also vary only considering the physiological stages (and, even more so, if pathological states occur). it is a mere mechanical gesture of survival.
Contains many other messages: first of all, and most obvious and known, the consolidation message of the relationship between handler and animal; second and not least, but which we have forgotten about, is the relationship between animal and environment, the relationship between food and nature, between the animal and its experience of the world through food. it is natural, healthy and fresh since it is the only one that contains the vital essence of all its elements. I understand that implementing a homemade diet plan that is not easy for everyone. We often live a life away from home and the time to devote to food remains little even for us, let alone for our animals. But there are tricks that can help us in this, there are small strategies in the preparation of food that can guide us towards the true well-being of our dogs and cats. Below you will find some tips for home nutrition, healthy and fresh.In the absence of the possibility of implementing a home diet, you can resort to packaged food (wet and dry).
In this case I recommend taking a packaged food whose raw materials are of certified organic origin. Taking organic into account means understanding how food-environment-animal-man are in close and cascading relationship with the health of the citizen - therefore also of animals - and of the ecosystem. from organic and biodynamic crops and farms has a broad significance, not only on the health impact of our animals, but also from an ecological, economic and ethical point of view.I will list some suggestions for home diets for dogs and cats, developed together with Dr. Med. Vet. Eric Vanden Eynde, bio-nutritional veterinarian.
It should be borne in mind that each animal has its own nutritional needs based on age, sex, activity and physio-pathological conditions. Consequently, these suggestions are to be considered as a general indication.The diets formulated take into account the essential needs of dogs and cats, but it must be observed that each animal must have a personalized diet because the energy requirement depends on many variables, the most common are: breed , sex, age, weight, activity, seasonality, any pathological states in progress (for which special diets must be formulated). Energy needs are given by protein sources, fats, minerals and vitamins, carbohydrates. Particular attention must be paid to administration in the carbohydrate diet, in fact “carbohydrates are widely included in the diet of pets both for reasons related to the technology of feed production and because they represent an important energy source.
Despite this, there are no real specific needs for carbohydrates since the glucose supplied by them can also be obtained through glucogenic amino acids or through glycerol deriving from fats ”(source Vetpedia >>).
Dogs e cats are carnivores, therefore carbohydrates have little relevance to their nutritional needs. The cat produces 1/3 of the amylase produced by the dog, therefore a diet rich in carbohydrates, as well as causing overweight and obesity, can cause serious intestinal problems linked to intolerances to cereals. The stomach of cats is not very suitable for the digestion of cereals. Among other things, refined and non-wholemeal organic cereals are used. The greatest damage is today provided by industrial dry food which, rich in palatable but indigestible aromas, has transformed agile carnivores into overweight, apathetic, depressed and food-hungry beasts because they are desperately looking for vitamins, mineral salts, amino acids, trace elements, which_cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ can't find in the daily bowl. Refined cereals by introducing large quantities of glucose into the circulation, stimulate the pancreas to make large quantities of insulin available due to the surge in blood sugar, with problems of obesity. It should always be stressed that the metabolism of carnivores is able to obtain glucose also from proteins (glycogenesis) and also from vegetables. So: abolish grain-rich feed from the diet of dogs and cats. On the market there are organic croquettes and cans free of flour and cereals that adapt to the real biophysiological needs and the food ethogram of dogs and cats (from Natural Medicine and complementary integration of Lorena di Modugno Danesi, ed. New techniques). the best is always the home diet!