If you feed your dog or cat a raw meat based diet, great! you are interested in the health of your pet. What type of meat do you feed your pet? Do you feed the same type of meat at every meal? Do you include organs, bones and vegetables in your pet’s diet?
If you only give your pet one type of meat continue reading to find out why a variety of meat over a few days or a week is necessary for good health.
Feeding one type of meat means your pet is not receiving a good variety of fats or protein and is likely to be lacking in some vitamins or minerals. Each meat contains different levels and it is important to give a variety over a period of time e.g. a week.
As an example: From the table you can see that Beef & Lamb contain the most fat while Possum and Veal have the least, yet Possum and Veal have higher protein content than Beef.
The body uses Fat for energy, it assists with the absorption of vitamins, provides essential fatty acids, some hormones, and insulation. Amongst other things a deficiency can lead to poor skin and coat condition. Excess fat leads to health conditions that most of us are aware of.
Protein is needed for healthy tissue, muscle contraction, ligament and cartilage condition, transport of nutrients as well as haemoglobin and oxygen storage. A deficiency in protein can interfere with growth, muscle wastage, poor skin condition. An excess can cause issues with liver and kidney health.
As Australian veterinarian Dr Ian Billinghurst http://www.drianbillinghurst.com/ the author of Give Your Dog a Bone and The BARF diet states “Meat is NOT a Complete Food”
Organ meat – liver, kidney and heart should be included in every meal. They are a good source of vitamins that muscle meat alone does not contain. Organ meat should be included in daily meals but only as a small percentage (5-10%).
A BARF diet contains crushed or lightly steamed vegetables, especially green leafy ones, as they are another good source of vitamins and minerals. Include 30% of meal for adult dogs and 10% for cats.
USA veterinarian Dr Karen Becker also suggests feeding a BARF based diet. An example Dr Becker gives in a 2011 article showing the potential for nutritional deficiency is “If chicken legs are fed as a sole food source, your pet will become deficient in essential nutrients such as potassium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, vitamins A, D, E and B12, iodine and choline. A diet of nothing but chicken parts has an unbalanced fatty acid ratio, not to mention a complete deficiency of phytonutrients, antioxidants and enzymes” http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/03/17/prey-model-diet-sparks-online-demand-for-wild-game.aspx
So, how much fat or protein should you feed your pet and is any one meat better than another?
It will depend on your pet as each animal has their own requirements. Factors such as age, lifestyle, stress and illness cause the body to require more or less of different food properties. An animal with a long term illness and growing pups or kittens, will require more energy dense food. A working or very active dog requires higher fat content than an animal that leads a sedentary life. The elderly need higher easily digestible protein. A pregnant or lactating animal requires a more specialised diet. The very young require foods that have a good balance of phosphorus and calcium otherwise growth problems will occur. If your pet needs to lose some weight then providing a lower fat meat for a period of time combined with any other adjustments your pet may require will help. Conversely if your pet needs to gain weight provide a higher fat meat for a period of time.
An already healthy pet’s diet will benefit from having a mixture of meats with different fat and protein levels, organ meat and vegetables over a week. Check out my website for more nutrition information www.cathsplace.co.nz/nutrition or contact me with any health issues your pet may be experiencing.