The Best Diet for Dogs and Cats
What should dogs and cats eat? Everything about their anatomy points to a meat-based diet. Like the fox, coyote, wolf, hyena, lion, tiger, and other wild relatives, domestic dogs and cats have sharp teeth for tearing flesh and gnawing on bones, their digestive secretions are highly concentrated, and their intestines are short, all of which makes them well suited for processing freshly killed animals. Ruminants and humans, on the other hand, have flat molars for grinding grain or fibrous plants, and long digestive tracts that absorb the slowly released nutrients those foods contain.

At the same time, unlike Pottenger's cats, dogs are not true carnivores. From biblical times and earlier, canines around the world have been known as scavengers and omnivores. Left to their own devices, they eat a constantly changing variety of plants and animals, deriving calories and nutrients from meat, bones, the contents of their prey's digestive organs, and whatever fruits, vegetables, grasses, roots, eggs, berries, manure, and other edibles they can find.

Feeding the Adult Dog

The following are guidelines for adult dogs of most breeds. Feed one or two meals per day and nothing between meals. Depending on your dog's training schedule, the latter instruction may be unrealistic, but the fewer between-meal snacks, the better. Supplements can be given with either meal. If your dog is exceptionally active, like working Retrievers during hunting season, feed as much and as often as necessary.

Quantities depend on many factors: breed, size, metabolism, exercise and workload, even the weather. Working Alaskan sled dogs need thousands of calories a day, while warm-weather couch potatoes need hardly any. Large dogs need more, small dogs less. Dogs fed a natural diet are guided by an internal appetite control that directs them to eat as much as they need and then stop, so once your dog is used to fresh, raw food, your best guide will be his appetite. A general rule of thumb is to feed a daily ration of 2 to 3 percent of the dog's body weight in bones and meat. For a 50-pound dog, this would be about 1 to 1 pounds of bones and meat. Start with approximately this amount and adjust as needed.

A week of menus for a 50-pound dog. Serve any of the following to a dog who spends an hour or more in active outdoor exercise. Increase the quantity and/or selection for more active or larger dogs; decrease for less

BREAKFAST OR MIDDAY SNACK

Monday:
1 banana.
Tuesday:
1 avocado sprinkled with unrefined sea salt.
Wednesday:
cup sprouting grain blended or pureed with cup raw milk or juice.
Thursday:
cup raw-milk cheese.
Friday:
1 raw egg, including shell.
Saturday:
1 apple or mango.
DINNER
Cut meat into large chunks if necessary; otherwise, simply give your dog a whole turkey thigh, chicken back, and so forth.
Monday:
1 pound raw beef (not ground). 2 tablespoons herbal puree. 1 teaspoon cod liver oil. 1 teaspoon kelp blend.
Tuesday:
1 pounds raw lamb neck bones. 1 tablespoon sprouted grain blend.
Wednesday:
1 pound raw chicken breast, wings, neck, or legs, bones and all, plus the chicken's liver and heart. 4 tablespoons carrot juice or pressed grated carrots.
Thursday:
1 pound raw fish or fish that has been lightly steamed or baked (add an enzyme powder if the fish isn't raw). 1 teaspoon cod liver oil. cup pureed pressed vegetables.
Friday:
1 pounds raw turkey thighs, wings, or drumsticks, including bones. 1 teaspoon kelp blend.
Saturday:
1 pounds raw beef ribs or oxtails (bones and meat). 2 minced garlic cloves. cup pureed pressed vegetables.

Active or smaller dogs.

Serve different foods for breakfast every day to ensure variety. Supply clean, pure water throughout the day. Please remember that these menus are offered only as examples, not as a regimented feeding plan. Substitute whatever ingredients are on sale or readily available. Whenever possible, ingredients should be organically raised. No menu is listed for Sunday, which is a water-only fast day. (Young puppies, very small breeds, and dogs with a very fast metabolism should not be fasted for more than half a day; consult a holistic veterinarian before fasting any dog that has a serious illness.)

Breakfast is an optional meal, for healthy adult dogs can eat a single meal per day. The foods listed for breakfast can be given at any time of day as an occasional treat.
Feeding the Adult Cat

Like healthy dogs, healthy adult cats can eat a single meal per day. To stimulate your cat's digestive organs, pet nutritionists recommend engaging in the same pre-meal activity every day, such as playing with toys that bring out your cat's prey-hunting instincts. At our house, brushing is part of the dinnertime ritual.

A week of menus for a 10-pound house cat. Adjust the following quantities as needed for larger, smaller, younger, older, and less or more

Monday:
pound raw chicken or game hen with bones (include the liver and/or other organs if available). Pinch of powdered seaweed (kelp, dulse, etc.). teaspoon cod liver oil.
Tuesday:
pound raw beef or lamb cut into large chunks. 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon finely minced or pureed fresh wheat grass, dandelion, or other greens. 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil. Pinch of unrefined sea salt.
Wednesday:
pound raw or lightly steamed fish. 1/8 teaspoon enzyme supplement powder 1 teaspoon pureed sprouted grain
teaspoon cod liver oil. Pinch of unrefined sea salt.
Thursday:
pound raw chicken with bones. 1 or 2 ounces raw goat's milk or raw-milk cheese if available. Pinch of unrefined sea salt. 1 teaspoon herbal puree . teaspoon flaxseed oil.
Friday:
cup raw or lightly steamed fish plus 1 raw egg. Pinch of unrefined sea salt. 1 teaspoon pureed sprouted grain. teaspoon cod liver oil.
Saturday:
pound raw turkey cut into large chunks. Include the turkey neck if available. 1 teaspoon finely minced or pureed wheat grass or other herbs. 1 teaspoon cod liver oil.

Active cat

Combine ingredients and warm the food slightly before serving. Try to feed something different every day so that your cat consumes a variety of foods. If you decide to feed two meals per day, divide the day's allotment of food into two servings and give half in the morning and half at night.

When cut into pieces for serving, 1 ounce by weight is approximately 2 or 3 rounded tablespoons; 4 ounces by weight is a little more than 2/3 cup. It is not necessary to measure ingredients with precision because the goal is to emulate Mother Nature, and animals in the wild never consume the same foods in the same amounts at every meal.

Let your cat determine how much food to supply. Give as much as the animal will eat in fifteen to twenty minutes, then remove the food. Supply only water between meals.

The following are optional ingredients: 1 minced garlic clove or capsule equivalent, herbal powders as appropriate, enzyme supplements, glandular supplements, trace mineral supplements, vitamin and/or mineral supplements, acidophilus supplements, and other supplements

Occasionally offer raw watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, mango, banana, avocado, or other ripe raw fruit. Some cats love raw corn, which should be pureed and mixed with an enzyme powder containing amylase for improved digestion. Encourage your cat to eat a variety of fresh, raw foods, no matter how unlikely they may seem.

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