A reader asks: Do dogs and cats get everything they need nutritionally from typical dog and cat food?
Dr. Deva Khalsa:
We all want our dogs and cats to live long, happy and healthy lives. Creating a healthy diet for your pets, whether you start them as a puppy/kitten or a senior, will help to prolong and improve the quality of their lives. That’s why it’s so important to understand the basics of nutrition.
Nutrition is the science that deals with foods and their effect on health. A synonym for nutrition is sustenance and this means something that supports life. Good nutrition both sustains and prolongs life. Perhaps somehow we all innately know this and this may be the reason why diets, for both our pets and for ourselves, seem to obsess us. Yet there are so many contradictions within the world of nutrition.
Although every dog or cat is unique, our pets and we are alike in that our physical bodies follow nature’s designs. How well this physical body machine is maintained will define how healthy we remain and how long our lives will be. We’re so used to maintaining our automobiles and houses but most of us don’t maintain our own bodies or our pets bodies as well as we should.
Most of the time, we tend to focus heavily on the protein, carbohydrate and fat content of the pet food we purchase. While these provide energy for the cell, and materials for the cell’s structure, it’s actually the vitamins and minerals that provide the tools that maintain and clean out the cells. A cell can be compared to a microscopic house that is always under construction. The hammer, mop, detergent, nails, glue and paint are equivalent to the vitamins and minerals. They run all of the metabolic processes in the body and make the wheels turn and the gears mesh. They are the tools the cells use to maintain good health every single day.
Your pet’s body has trillions of cells in it and each cell is a model of independence. However, the cell is also a member of the family of cells that makes up tissues, which in turn make each organ. The organs interrelate akin to some superbly well-run business. The important thing to know is that it all runs off of nutrition. Cells run a race against disease and aging. They need specific tools to run this race with the reward at the end being a healthier, happier and longer life.
If a repairman comes to your home to fix your washing machine he needs to bring his tools in order to do this. In fact, he needs to bring a complete set of tools because you never know beforehand what the problem will be. Just so, your dog’s cells need balanced and complete supplementation every single day. With the frightening statistic that one in two dogs in the United States will get cancer and that cancer is the highest cause of death in dogs, it’s high time we get our pets on a quality supplement that will provide dogs with the tools they need to help avoid cancer and many other diseases.
Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine.” Let’s take a fresh look at his wise words. Modern research in medical schools has irrefutably proven that eating more foods with special phytonutrients (organic compounds in plants that help to prevent disease and illness) will reduce the risk of cancer along with many other diseases. And it’s just the same for our dogs and cats. But today, foods are not complete. Soils are depleted.
In a perfect world dogs and their people friends would get all the nutrients needed for a healthy life from a balanced diet of good food. While no supplements can take the place of real food (no, you can’t just pop a pill every day and be healthy no matter how big it is), the truth is our food supply just ain’t what it used to be. Recent studies in both the United States and Britain have revealed how commercially grown foods have been stripped of much of their nutrient value, apparently due to factory farming techniques that rely on agricultural chemicals and nitrogen-based fertilizers. These practices have largely succeeded in wearing out the soil used for crop cultivation. The depleted soil lacks nutrients, both vitamins and minerals, for plants to pull in. The result is produce that might look beautiful as well as being bountiful, but contains fewer vitamins and minerals than the fruits and vegetables grown a number of years ago.
That’s why I strongly recommend that your dogs and cats be given supplements. I like to think of them, in fact, as a form of “supplemental health insurance” for pets, providing whatever extra nutrients your dog needs to maintain optimum health. They become especially important at this time of shrinking food value. It’s easy to see how important these tools and ingredients are to maintaining health.
The fact is that dogs are not alien creatures from a strange planet who can only eat “special food” from a bag or can that was only recently, in the time line of living creatures on this planet, invented to accommodate their supposed dietary needs. They need vegetables, whole grains and high-quality proteins, just as you do.
In fact, in today’s toxic world, the cells of our pets need more help than ever before. Both dogs and cats need a complete supplement every single day in order for their cells to have the tools they need to dump toxins and fight off disease.
In my book, Dr. Khalsa’s Natural Dog, I’ve created many wonderful recipes and explain how to cook and prepare everything your pet needs for good nutrition. If you choose to feed a dry kibbled dog food, I have suggestions on how to add healthy and tasty foods that are quick to prepare that will benefit your pet’s health. It can be as easy as giving your dog a piece of a stem of broccoli or a slice of apple or melon. Not only will they be healthier, they’ll love the addition of these diverse and interesting foods to their menu. Additionally, Deserving Pets www.deservingpets.com makes complete multivitamin/ multimineral/super-food vitamins for dogs and cats.