Animals are wonderful companions and add so much joy and comfort to our lives. We want them to live long, healthy, happy lives as part of our family. They need a balanced diet, fresh clean water, a comfortable place to sleep, fresh air, exercise, and love, just like we do. In this article, I will explain what a healing diet for pets looks like and give you some great guidelines for creating the healthiest pet diet you can!
When I was growing up, we regularly fed our pets, both dogs and cats, leftovers from our table. They got broccoli, carrots, potatoes, greens, turnips, etc. Our animals lived very long, healthy lives and thrived on our fresh food.
As the large companies began making manufactured food, we started hearing and being told by advertising or our veterinarian, that we shouldn’t feed our table scraps to our pets, because there was designated dog food and cat food specifically created to “maintain and promote health” in our pets.
When people started feeding their pets the manufactured pet food, pet illness went up. Was cheap meat and filler in processed food making our pets ill?
In 2006, at least 76 dogs died as a result of eating aflatoxin-contaminated pet foods. (1) Aflatoxins come from a fungus that is found on corn and grains. Aflatoxins are toxins that primarily affect the liver. They are in a wide variety of pet foods. Dogs who eat 0.5 to 1 mg aflatoxin/kg body weight can die within days.
“Aflatoxins are also carcinogenic. They bind with DNA and cause cell mutations. Newberne and Wogan (1968) were able to produce malignant tumors in rats with less than 1 mg of aflatoxin per kg of feed.” (2)
In 2007, thousands of dogs and cats died after being poisoned by tainted food. Pet food companies pulled more than 100 different pet food products from store shelves. The US government doesn’t track animal deaths, but experts estimated that at least 8,000 pets died. (3)
A “Consumer Council study also found” that “three of the US brands tested (Purina, Iams and Solid Gold) also contained melamine or cyanuric acid. These are the substances that poisoned thousands of pets in 2007.”(4)
I recommend avoiding foods containing corn or grains (especially genetically modified, and non-certified organic) for you or your pets. I also suggest avoiding foods manufactured in China.
In addition to that, be aware that there are other harmful ingredients (heterocyclic amines, acrylamides, and PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers – a chemical used as a flame retardant) that are still included in many processed pet foods.
I see a similarity to humans and disease. About 50 years ago, people in the US and the world, started eating more and more processed foods with additives, fillers, artificial colors, cheap or artificial sugars, Genetically Modified (GMO) ingredients, refined ingredients, etc. The rise in diabetes is 700% over the last 50 years (4) and now 50% of the people in the US have a chronic disease. (5)
Cancer is prevalent, affecting at least half the men and one-third of the women in the US. I believe it is directly affected by the quality of the food, toxins in the environment, and air and water quality, as well as less exercise, fresh air and sunshine.
I see a correlation with our animal friends that we keep as pets.
I understand that pet disease has risen at about the same rate.
I have had a pet yellow Labrador live to be 17, and other pets thriving well into old age. I also saw allergies disappear quickly when they began eating a healthier diet.
I received my wildlife rehabilitation license and certification in 2001, and I learned a great deal working with wild animal diets. I even had a blind opossum (I had rehabilitated) that lived to be 6 years of age. Their life span is usually only 4 years, maybe only 1 year in the wild. The blind opossum, Samantha, thrived on an organic, fresh, healthy food and water diet.
Being a raw food chef, nutrition and health expert, and animal diet expert, I started seeing similarities between my animal’s diets and the diets I was recommending to my cancer, diabetes, and heart disease clients. The animals on my high-quality, fresh, mostly raw food diet were thriving and getting well, as they nourished their body with fresh, whole, real, organic food.
It seems sad to say the word “whole or real” food, but over the last 50 years, it is quite startling at what the food manufacturers and the government have allowed to be added to our food and our pet food, as if it is real food.
An example of this is wood pulp, which is a cheap filler used in foods. It is not nutritious, but it is added to make the product cheaper. They have also used it in many processed and cheap foods like genetically modified corn or soy, cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, white refined ingredients, artificial dyes and flavorings, synthetic vitamins, etc. They are cheap (because our tax dollars support those unsustainable GMO seeds and chemical farming methods, instead of the healthier methods), and are used as cheap filler in many processed foods.
Most of the corn and soy in the US is genetically modified with a Bt toxin built into it. Studies show this Bt toxin can eat holes in the stomach of whoever is consuming it. Cottonseed oil isn’t food and should not be used in food, in my opinion, but it’s put in vegetable oil and other processed foods regularly.
I feed my pets the same foods that I am eating for my meals.
Contrary to what you may have heard, feeding “people food” to pets isn’t always such a bad thing, especially if you’re giving them healthy options. In fact, you may be surprised at what you can safely, and nutritiously, feed your pet from the table.
1. Sweet Potatoes: One of nature’s nearly perfect foods, sweet potatoes, are so nutritious they should be fed to your dog frequently. Sweet Potatoes are high in antioxidants and have been studied on how they can prevent cancer and the effects of aging. They are high in vitamins, including A, C and B6. They are also high in the minerals manganese, copper, and iron, and the dietary fiber to help with bowel movements. I slice my sweet potatoes in half and dehydrate them. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also bake them on the lowest heat in your oven for about 40-60 minutes. This turns them into wonderful leathery strips that make healthy chew treats for dogs
2. Fish: Fish is very good for dogs. Salmon, sardines, and anchovies are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent skin problems, allergies, arthritis and heart disease. These oils are anti-inflammatory. I give mine to my animals raw and uncooked. Quality is important.
3. Carrots: Carrots are high in powerful phytonutrients. A great source of Vitamins A, K and C, carrots provide powerful antioxidants. With these nutrients, they can help a dog’s vision, heart, and blood sugar levels. Raw baby carrots are one of my favorite treats for dogs. In the hot summer months, you can make little “carrot popsicle treats” by freezing the little carrots in popsicle molds or in ice cube trays, and placing them in their water bowl as a cool surprise. Lightly steamed or cooked carrots can also be added to your dog’s regular food, or used as part of a healthy home-prepared meal.
4. Broccoli: Broccoli is packed with nutrients. It has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, aid in fighting infections, treat skin and heart problems, help metabolize drugs, and excrete toxins. Broccoli is so helpful, and every dog should eat it regularly. Broccoli can be fed to dogs both raw and cooked. I recommend combining steamed or cooked broccoli with other high quality foods and fish for a healthy meal, whenever a pet is ill.
5. Leafy Greens: It’s hard to beat leafy greens in terms of maximum nutrition for minimal calories. Leafy greens are a proven cancer-risk cutter, abundant source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, E and C, help prevent heart disease, and contain numerous antioxidants. Most dogs enjoy greens thinly chopped and sautéed or cooked and mixed with their food. I combine mine in a food processor with the other ingredients and make a raw food recipe for animals.
6. Sprouted Beans: Sprouted and cooked black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans are all super foods for dogs. Cooked sprouted beans can help provide natural fibers that help regulate blood sugar levels. This can really help with dogs who are struggling with diabetes. Cutting out anything with high fructose corn syrup is a key, but also adding more cooked sprouted beans high in natural fiber can help with animal diabetes. In addition, these rich sources of proteins and minerals boost your pet’s immune system and help burn fat.
7. Quinoa: Quinoa is a seed that was known as “the gold of the Incas.” Quinoa is a complete protein. Being a seed, it needs to be soaked overnight to remove the phytic acid before cooking. This will remove the enzyme inhibitors, make it more digestible and help prevent acid indigestion. Quinoa is easy to prepare. After sprouting it, just boil it in water for about 15 minutes. (The recipe for cooked sprouted quinoa is in my “How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian” and my “Raising Healthy Children” cookbooks).
I use quinoa in a variety of recipes for dogs, combining the cooked quinoa in a food processor with fish, or a raw, high-quality meat, plus two to three vegetables (like carrots, broccoli or leafy greens), and some blueberries or watermelon. This creates a quick and easy mixture of healthy food for your pets.
8. Spirulina: Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is incredibly high in protein, nutrients, and antioxidants. Spirulina is often found in a powdered form that can be sprinkled over a dog’s normal food or added to a food processor mixture.
Some doctors don’t believe in the power of foods and nutrition. Their focus is on treatment, not prevention. But I believe if we eat the right foods, we have the power to reverse and prevent disease. I use food as medicine, and I’ve seen it work on people, and also on my pets and the wildlife that I rehabilitate.
A friend of mine has a small dog, and she called me in a panic one day. She said her dog had been diagnosed with cancer. The oncologist recommended that chemo should be started right away.
She had been told her dog’s chances were slim, maybe 3 to 6 months to live. She was feeling panicky and pressured to do the treatment. She was calling me to ask my opinion.
I told her she needed to change her dog’s diet, and maybe she could turn this around.
I gave her some detailed recipes and ingredient recommendations.
I explained to her the concept of feeding your pet raw food and why.
Animals in the wild are not consuming cooked or processed food, and they thrive on a raw meat, whole food-based diet. Cooking the food destroys the enzymes. I believe the animals require these enzymes in raw food in order to stay healthy.
A healthy, raw food diet includes high quality, humanely raised or wild caught creature meats (beef, fowl, fish), including organ meats, raw egg yolks, organic vegetables (like steamed broccoli, carrots, baby leafy greens, micro greens,) and fruits (like watermelon, berries, apples, pears, mango), as well as sprouted, organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds and nuts. In addition to this, I add a tiny bit of unrefined, mineral rich salt for the electrolytes. (The word electrolyte is simply a fancy medical term for the word salt). I also recommend changing up the mixture regularly, for variety.
My friend really took this to heart and decided to do the healthy food program and wait on the chemo.
She stuck to it, and after about two years, she called me to tell me that her dog was still alive and thriving, with no sign of cancer.
I was thrilled. She told me her dog hadn’t had any issues with digestion or elimination since being on the new, healthier, natural diet.
This is a diet that can not only give your pet more energy but also help reduce food allergies from the processed and genetically modified ingredients like wheat, corn and soy found in many of the processed dog foods.
I have also found a supplement, “liquid biocell for pets,” that is drug-free, and very effective, which can help take away joint pain and help eye sight in pets. I put my mother’s 19 year old cat on it and he is doing really well. I’ve put many of my friends pets on it and they thrive on it. (My mother and I both take the liquid biocell for people. It got rid of my scoliosis pain in my back and my mother’s bursitis pain. Let me know if you have any qyestions) Moving around easily now and feeling much better. Click here. This is the link to look at this supplement. Let me know if you have any questions. If you use my link, it will provide you with a $10 discount off your first order.
I wish you all the best in raising a healthy, happy pet!
1.Toxic pet food may have killed dozens of dogs, nbc.com news 5/10/2006 [11:08:00] AM ET, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/10771943/ns/health-pet_health/t/toxic-pet-food-may-have-killed-dozens-dogs/#.WX4-YIqQy8U
2. Cancer-Causing Aflatoxins Found In Dog Foods, Cancer In Dogs , By Dana Scott, Dogs Naturally Magazine, http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/cancer-causing-aflatoxins-found-in-dog-foods/
3. US Food Safety, Looking For The Safest, Healthiest Pet Food? Good Luck With That. Posted on August 14, 2015 by Zach Carter, Senior Political Economy Reporter, Huffington Post, https://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2015/08/14/looking-for-the-safest-healthiest-pet-food-good-luck-with-that/
4. Cancer-Causing Aflatoxins Found In Dog Foods, Cancer In Dogs , By Dana Scott, Dogs Naturally Magazine, http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/cancer-causing-aflatoxins-found-in-dog-foods/
5. CDC. Prediabetes: Could It Be You. CDC National Diabetes Statistics Report. 2014, Online. (Accessed December 2014)
5.CDC, Chronic Disease Overview, 2012, 2014, National Statistics, https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
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The information from Nancy Addison and Organic Healthy Lifestyle LLC is not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We strongly encourage you to discuss topics of concern with your health care provider.
Medical Disclaimer: Information provided in this article, book, podcast, website, email, etc. is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Nancy Addison CHC, AADP. However, this information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging.