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Why Alfalfa is Good to Feed Cats and Dogs
by Tom Cameron, DVM
(The Best Years in Life) Alfalfa is an ingredient in Nature’s Logic foods. We are often asked “why would alfalfa be a good thing to feed cats and dogs?” Dogs and cats don’t commonly graze on alfalfa, so how could it be of any value to our pets?
Alfalfa is related to the pea family of plants. Evidence shows that man has been using alfalfa dating back over 6,000 years and has long been prized for animal feed, as well as an herbal remedy for people. In people, alfalfa has been used as a treatment for inflammation, like arthritis and rheumatism. When added to teas and broths, alfalfa can be a digestive aid. Alfalfa has been shown to be a blood-purifier and there is also evidence to support its ability to lower both cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Alfalfa is described as a ‘nutrient dense’ herb, which means there is a lot of ‘good stuff’ in a small amount. Alfalfa is considered a ‘deep root’ plant, so it is able to reach deeply into the soil to gather minerals and other nutrients that end up in the plant leaves. Alfalfa is rich source of proteins, chlorophyll, fiber, vitamins A, C, D, K and vitamins of the B group and a wide variety of minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc and manganese.
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Minerals play an important role in many areas of the body. Every enzyme and vitamin is dependent on minerals in order to work properly. The minerals in alfalfa are ‘alkalizing,’ meaning that they prevent the body from becoming too acidic.
Dogs and cats don’t naturally eat a lot of herbs and grasses like alfalfa (dogs will eat some), as they are unable to digest plants and seeds very efficiently. Herbivores (animals who eat only plants) normally eat alfalfa. So when a dog or cat eats a rabbit, bird, mouse, squirrel, etc. they are eating a herbivore. Dogs, cats and other hunters have evolved getting their ‘greens’ from the digestive tracts of their prey.
Herbivores eat seeds and grasses, and these plant foods pass through their digestive tract. Here the plant materials are processed in a warm, moist environment while being digested. This digestion process partially breaks down the fibers in these plant foods, which then makes them easier for a dog or cat to digest. The digestive process is similar to ‘sprouting seeds,’ or steaming vegetables. Both processes break the plant down, making it easier to digest. This is how meat eaters like cats and dogs would eat alfalfa and other plant materials.
Nature’s Logic foods use an alfalfa juice extract from young, non-GMO alfalfa plants, and no harmful chemicals are used in the extraction process. This ensures all of the benefits from this ‘nutrient dense’ plant get to your pet intact. Alfalfa is a valuable addition to the lineup of high quality, whole food ingredients in Nature’s Logic foods.
This article/blog originally appeared at NaturesLogic.com on May 11, 2016
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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.
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