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The Importance of Moisture in Our Pet’s Diet!

by Holistic Veterinarian Tom Cameron, DVM

(The Best Years in Life) Dry dog and cat foods (kibble) are popular and convenient ways to feed our pets. Dry dog foods were first created way back in 1860 to feed hunting dogs owned by the British lords. In the past 100 years, the pet food industry has seen explosive growth, selling $21.4 billion of pet food in the U.S (2014). A trip to any Big Box pet food store reveals a dizzying selection of kibble.

Kibble pet foods are made by mixing meat, vegetables, grains, fruits, vitamins, minerals and other ingredients into a porridge-like mixture (called a slurry). This slurry is forced through small tubes under high heat and pressure, then dried and shaped, forming the food bits we refer to as kibble. This process is called “extrusion.”

The majority of pet owners in the US feed kibble, both for convenience and affordability. Many pet owners feed ONLY dry food. But is dry food the best food for our pets? There is a growing concern that kibble might not be the best choice to feed our pets.

Here are a few things to consider:

• Real food, fresh food is 70-80% water. Kibble has between 6-10% moisture. Kibble is a dehydrated food, and there is a big difference. Beef jerky is 10-15% moisture. What if you ate beef jerky for every meal?

• Kibble requires the body to give up a considerable amount of water to soften the dry food before the digestive process can begin. Fresh food is “ready to go” directly into the digestive process

• Dry nuggets of food can cause irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining before this softening occurs. This happens every time a kibble meal is eaten. A small amount of irritation can become more serious when it occurs over a long period of time.

• A kibble meal forces a shift in the distribution of water in the body, pulling fluids from other areas to help the digestive process. This “robbing Peter to pay Paul” approach can cause a mild dehydration in other parts of the body. Just like driving a car when it is low on oil, this mild dehydration is a stress that can cause serious health problems down the road. There is a growing concern that long term feeding of kibble may be contributing to the rise in kidney disease, especially in cats.

• Cats - cats evolved in mostly desert climates, and have always gotten most of their water from their food (remember that fresh food is 70-80% water). Also, cats do not drink water as readily as dogs, so feeding only dry food to cats can contribute to dehydration.

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In my practice, I recommend:

• Feeding canned or fresh food to cats.

• If your cat or dog gets dry food, feed a combination of canned, fresh and dry food.

• If feeding dry food, moisten dry food with water or broth before feeding. This is for the following reasons:

  • This makes dry food easier to digest

  • Reduces the irritation effect of dry food on the stomach lining

  • Gets more water into the diet.

• Note: do not leave moistened food out for long periods of time.

To encourage your pet to eat meals, leave moistened food out for 15-20 minutes, then pick it up. This may take some time, but your pet will learn to eat when the food is fresh and available.

Some notes about Nature's Logic Pet Foods

Nature’s Logic adds a probiotic mixture to their kibble and All Food Fortifier. Moistening Nature’s Logic kibble will activate these probiotics - the beneficial bacteria normally present in your pet’s digestive system. Probiotics have been shown support digestion, improve the immune process, help maintain urinary health and even play a role in weight loss.

Nature’s Logic offers the highest quality pet foods in fresh frozen, canned, kibble and treat forms. Nature’s Logic foods are unique in that they meet all of your pet’s nutritional requirements using only ingredients from whole foods - no synthetic ingredients. Nature’s Logic makes it easy to offer your pet variety and a healthy diet.

This article/blog originally appeared at NaturesLogic.com

See also:

Is Grain-Free Really Better for Dogs and Cats?

Choosing the Best Pet Food

Give Your Dog Optimal Nutrition and Save Money Too by Making Your Own Healthy Dog Food (Contains the Bonus Feature "Make Your Own Healthy Dog Treats")

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About the author:

Dr. Tom Cameron received his DVM from Michigan State University in 1982. He began practice in Waunakee, WI, concentrating on both dairy and small animal medicine. In 1994, he assumed ownership of the DeForest Veterinary Clinic, in DeForest, WI, an exclusively small animal practice, offering a combination of traditional and holistic treatment modalities.

Dr. Cameron’s primary interests include clinical nutrition, nutritional therapy, homeopathy, Bach Flower therapy and soft tissue surgery. Dr. Cameron sold his clinic in 2006, but still sees patients on a part-time basis.

 

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