Investing in Your Pet!
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
What it means to be a pet parent is evolving. From pet-friendly establishments to pet-sitters, nutrition and more; people are seeing the value in investing in their companion animals. Especially in their long term health. Pet ownership rates are increasing and more people are asking questions, doing their own research and treating their pets like the kings and queens they are. That bag of dry food has started to look less nutritious and pet parents are wondering how they can do better.
Pet guardians want their furry friends to live and thrive as long as possible. Just like with humans, cats and dogs suffer when they eat too much processed food. Clean nutrition as a part of their daily care is becoming more accessible.
Big thank you to Darwin’s Natural Pet Products for sponsoring this post. As a long time raw feeder and customer of Darwin’s food for my cats, I can’t say enough good things about their raw, minimally-processed foods. Investing in a pet’s longevity starts with good nutrition, and that’s achievable everyday.
The Truth About Processed Pet Foods
Pet parents are realizing a huge problem with pet food; difficulty deciphering “natural” from “holistic”, and “grain free” from “limited ingredient. Why are there so many brands and so many food choices to begin with? Most people choose a food with the best intentions, attempting to truly nourish their pets. However, almost all foods are highly processed. They’ve been engineered to taste good, and packaged to make you think, “this one looks healthy”. In reality, most foods with a lot of marketing on the bag are not very healthy at all.
Dogs are carnivores. They’re meant to consume meat, and a small amount of vegetation. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have to eat meat to survive. Plant material is a poor protein source for cats because they lack the proper enzymes to break it down. Plain and simple, meat is far more bioavailable to cats. Grains, beans, legumes, soy and other plant materials are put in commercial pet food as filler and cheap sources of low-quality protein. “Grain-free” doesn’t mean carb-free. Cats have no biological need for carbs. Dogs need very little. But at the end of the day, grocery stores and big pet supply chains sell almost entirely processed foods containing carbs, rendered byproducts and inflammatory additives.
Raw Food Accessibility
High-quality, raw pet food brands, like Darwin’s, aren’t found in grocery stores. Darwin’s aims to keep their prices fair and their raw meat fresh. So, they ship directly from their facility to your door. Shipping is FREE, which we love! When the Darwin’s box arrives, our cats know it’s for them. Feeding a fresh, raw, minimally-processed diet isn’t complicated. Sadly, most people are used to seeing hundreds of dry, and canned, options in the pet food aisles. Many processed foods have fancy names with exciting, “tasty” descriptions. Or artwork designed to make the consumer think they’re taking their pet on a hike in the woods every time they pour a bowl of kibble.
Darwin’s foods are labeled things like “chicken” and “lamb”. Each meal is fully balanced, using identifiable animal parts, some vegetable matter for dogs, and a small amount of supplements. Supplements are added to ensure that any nutrients lost during grinding or freezing, are present when your pet eats their food. That’s it! Defrost, scoop, serve!
What's in Darwin's Pet food?
The ingredients in Darwin's pet foods are properly balanced to nourish a cat or dog. The food never contains fillers. Each protein has slightly different ingredients but here’s what you can expect in Darwin’s pet food. Visit their site if you want to see a more in-depth breakdown of ingredients.
Darwin’s raw dog food: 75% meat (muscle, organs, bones), 24% vegetables, 1-3% nutrient mix (percentage varies for each protein)
Darwin’s raw cat food: 98% meat (muscle, organs, bones), 2% trace minerals, vitamins and marine oil
Darwin’s carries a variety of proteins, providing diversified nutrition for cats and dogs. Feeding multiple proteins is key for optimal health and helps to prevent food allergies. The ingredients are minimally-processed, meaning they’re only ground and frozen, never cooked. Not to mention, Darwin’s food is moisture-rich! Cats and dogs evolved to consume foods with high water content. This helps keep their body hydrated and running clean. Consuming water in the food is especially important for cats because they don’t have a big thirst drive like dogs. For perspective, kibble has around 10% moisture, whereas raw contains approximately 70% moisture. Cats on a dry-food diet live in a mild state of dehydration, putting them at risk for urinary and kidney issues. Ideally, every cat should get the vast majority of water through their food.
If you’re interested in trying out Darwin’s fully balanced raw meals for your cat or dog, CLICK HERE to get 50% off your first order!
Integrative and Holistic Veterinarians Agree with Fresh Foods
Nutrition is an integral part of a healthy, thriving pet. As said by Integrative Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, “My professional peers are the only group of healthcare providers that say our patients should eat MORE processed food and LESS fresh food. Fresh food could be dangerous.” There’s something very wrong with this. When veterinarians advocate feeding processed foods, how can pet parents be expected to make healthier choices? Thankfully, there are some veterinarians, like Dr. Becker, who understand the value in fresh, species-appropriate diets. The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association has some great resources, and a list of holistic veterinarians, should you be interested in finding one in your area.
One of the best things pet guardians can do is educate themselves. Being able to have a real, level, conversation with veterinarians (holistic or traditional) is important. Understanding a cat, or dog’s, physiology, and why they thrive on a less-processed, more species-appropriate diet, is key to long-term health. It’s common for humans to invest in their own healthcare with insurance, working out, or listening to their body and eating right. The same can be done for the nation’s cats and dogs! There are no guarantees in nutrition or medicine, but providing furry family members with the absolute best nutrition gives them a strong foundation for their future.
What About Cost?
Convincing pet parents to spend more on their pet’s nutrition is often a tricky topic. Raw food costs more than kibble. For some, it’s hard to see the value when their cat or dog currently seems healthy. Cats and dogs, by nature, are resilient. They can withstand years of nutritional abuse before showing any outward symptoms. If we wait for those signs, sometimes it’s too late. For some pet parents, their past experiences with a dog’s allergies or a cat’s urinary issues is enough to consider a cleaner diet. But why wait until something happens to offer healthier foods to our pets? Maybe the problem isn’t trying to convince people to spend more, but to ask, why do we think pet food should cost so little?
Dogs and Cats Crave Fresh Foods
Humans, hell, all living beings, enjoy eating. The flavors, the satisfaction of something new and delicious are so important to us. Many people spend time, and money, at restaurants or put effort into recipes their families will love. And yet, many loving, well-intentioned pet parents pour a bowl of kibble, day after day, night after night. Think that a dog or cat doesn’t mind eating the same food, all the time? Think again. They just don’t know any better, or they can’t expressly say so in words. Or maybe, when they are drooling over your steak, they’re trying to tell you something.
Mealtime is a great opportunity for bonding. Starting in the kitchen is one of the best ways to address finicky cats. Mealtime shouldn’t be a passive activity where a bowl of kibble sits out 24/7. Everyone loves spoiling their pets, but that requires more than buying the same food time after time or coming home with a new toy. Changing their diet and providing them real food, like Darwin’s, is one of the easiest ways to invest in their health. If you’re curious about the changes we’ve seen in our longtime kibble-fed cat, Dahlia, turned raw eating queen, CLICK HERE! There’s a certain way a cat or dog looks at you when you’re feeding them fresh, real food; they’re saying, “Thank you!”
So, put that bowl of kibble away, create mealtimes and and chit chat about the latest gossip with your pet while you’re scooping a bowl of healthy, fresh, species appropriate food. They’ll appreciate it more than you could ever know. Investing in their health today, through diet and positive interactions will pay dividends for years.