Today more then ever pet owners are faced with so many choices when it comes to feeding your dog or cat. The magazines are filled with advertisements telling you company "A" makes the best dog food because . . ., poster adverts in the veterinary surgery showing you that company "B" is your #1 choice for the perfectly balanced pet food and of course the television commercials showing you happy dogs and cats because you are feeding the absolute best pet food made by company "C".
Despite all the advertising, all the claims by the many different pet food manufacturing businesses out there, the best food for a carnivorous animal such as a dog or cat, is a prey model diet.
Mother Nature knows best.
Always feed a diet that is species specific; it is the only one that will ensure optimum health and longevity.
It really IS as simple as that.
A prey model diet is perfectly balanced for a carnivore. There is no need to add anything to the raw meat, uncooked bones and raw organs; no minerals, no calcium, no vitamins no anything. IT IS perfectly balanced. It’s the way things are meant to be.
Mother Nature says so.
But before I go on further with feeding a carnivorous animal I would like to run you through a little basic information which will explain the differences between Carnivore, Omnivores and Herbivores.
There are basically two types of animals in Nature, man making a third type; the Omnivore:
Carnivores: animals that eat herbivores. The carnivore's digestion is unable break down vegetable cell walls.
Omnivores: animals that eat vegetation and other animals; this type includes humans and pigs.
Herbivores: animals that eat vegetation. They are able to digest and use as food the cellulose which forms the cell walls of all plants.
Carnivores digestive track from the dogs mouth to the anu1:
- The dog's mouth is made up of incisors, canines pre molars and molars in both top and bottom jaw. The molars are ridged (pointed) and are perfectly designed for tearing/ripping and crushing raw flesh and bone. The jaw moves up and down, while the salivary glands have no important digestive function but rather act to lubricate. The food is not chewed into small piece but rather swallowed in large chunks.
- The dog's stomach is small, holding about 1.89 liters but it is all that is needed for a carnivore whose diet consists of meat and fat which is very dense making a small meal last many hours. It saturates the meat and fat with hydrochloric acid to dissolve and liquefy it. Only the dissolved food can be digested. Vegetable matter, cellulose and bone pass through the animal unchanged. Those which are too big to pass into the Small Intestine are vomited. Very little digestion takes place in the stomach; therefore it is not an essential organ.
- The small intestine is "the" place where all the digestion takes place; without it the dog could not survive. It measure approximately 6.09 meters and it is here the digested food enters the bloodstream. The liver and the pancreas are connected to the small intestine which supply and deliver enzymes needed to break down the meats and fats into fatty acids and amino acids. It is only in this form that the food can pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream. The digestion of fat and protein, with little or no carbohydrate, in a carnivores gut is very efficient; experiments have shown that no more then 4% of the total food intake is passed in the excreta.
- The large intestine better known as the colon is not an essential but rather a convenience. It does serve one very important function; to extract water and compact the waste to be expelled later.
- The total length of the dog's digestive track is relatively short; measuring only about 5 to 6 times the body length of the dog.
Omnivore's digestive track from the mouth to the anus2:
- The small intestine in a human will vary between 6 to 8 mters, depending on the size of the human, with the average being 5 meters. Most of the chemical digestion takes place in the small intestine where most of their digestive enzymes are secreted by the pancreas.
- The large intestine of the human takes about 32 hours to finish the digestion process. It absorbs the vitamines created by the bacteria in the colon. It absorbs water and compacts faeces for elimination through the anus.
- The total length to the human digestive track is 20 meters long in a living human and 30 meters without the effect of muscel tone (after death). In some hebivores the upper canines are absent so they cut food by using their tongue and lower canines.
Herbivore's digestive track from the mouth to the anus2,3:
- A herbivore's mouth consists of well developed incisors for cutting vegetable matter, canine teeth are much smaller then that of a carnivore or absent altogether, flat pre molars and flat molars for grinding food. The salivary glans of a herbivore are very important in that they produce copious amounts of savlia to fully saturate the food during continous chewing.
- There are two categories of herbivores; those with a simple stomach such as the horse, rabbit, gorilla and those with a complex stomach such as the goat, sheep, cow. The stomach of a herbivore is never empty; it must eat copious amouts of food to surviver and is contanly chewing unlike a carnivore that can survive on a small meal a day.
- The length of the small intestine of the herbivore is 10 to 12 times the length of it's body in comparison to 3 to 6 times the body length of the carnivore.
- The total length of the digestive track of a herbivore is such as a shepp is twnety seven times its body length and is very wasteful; utilizing about 50% of the food it consumes.
1. Walter Voegtlin "The Stone Age Diet"
3. R. MacGregor "Structure of the Meat Animals"