By Dr. Jeannie Thomason
What is Species Specific Nutrition? It is supplying the nutritional needs of the body according to the species. For example, horses are herbivores – whether they are wild or domesticated, whether they are a big Irish Draught or a Shetland Pony. They must have grasses and herbs to thrive. Bear and Swine are omnivores and scavangers they must have both grasses, fruits and some meat to thrive.
Dogs and cats – both are carnivores – no matter what the pet food and veterinary industry want you to believe. Their jaws, their teeth, their lack of digestive enzymes in their saliva, their highly acidic gastric fluids, short bowels, etc. A simple biology and physiology lesson will prove out that they are indeed carnivores. Yes they are scavenger carnivores and will eat most anything they can get into their mouths to survive in hard times but to truly THRIVE, they MUST have meat, bone, organs and glands. That is just the way they have been designed.
Nutrition is the foundation of health (for our animals and ourselves).
I believe that what we choose to feed the animals under our stewardship is the most important decision we will ever make for them. Proper nutrition directly influences every aspect of our companion animal’s life. Things like how they grow, their behavior, health, overall emotional and physical well-being and even appearance are all closely connected to the nutrition we provide – it’s a big responsibility.
So many people want to share their lives with domestic animals but honestly, they know very little about them and their unique species nutritional requirements that need to be met in order to live a long healthy life with us.
Sure, It is so simple to just go buy a sack of processed pelleted grains and grasses for our horse or better yet a bag of kibble for our cats and dogs – they even have pelleted bird food now for our pet parrots! However, we need to ask ourselves why we are feeding this de-natured, processed garbage to the animals that are so important to us, that we claim to love like our own children? Is this what their digestive system was designed to eat? Is it really what’s best for them? Is it meeting their nutritional needs according to their species?
Let’s face it, without proper nutrition every virus, every allergen, every parasite, every bacterium, and every fungus are made all the more pervasive, powerful, and dangerous. Not because they are strengthened in any way, but because the body’s ability to remain balanced and strong enough to fight them off is dramatically suppressed when they are not having their species specific nutritional needs met.
The natural defense against all these things – the animal’s own natural immune system – is dependent on proper nutrition to maintain balance and adequate protection against invasion. With proper, species specific nutrition, there is a huge decrease in the need for things like antibiotics, vaccines, and parasiticides (in reality there is virtually never a need for any of these toxins).
Species Appropriate Nutrition
All dietary decisions for our companion animals must conform to feeding and caring for them as the species they are and fed appropriately. This is not something we can change to suit our own likes, needs and beliefs.
Animals do not eat cooked or processed food in nature. There are eighty million species of life on the earth, (about 700,000 of which are animals) and they all thrive on raw food. In fact, humans are the only ones that apply heat to what they eat. Humans on average as a race, die at or below half their potential life span of chronic illness that are largely diet and lifestyle related. Domesticated animals have also been wrongly fed cooked, processed, packaged food that likewise is denatured by heat. As a consequence, they suffer with human-like chronic ailments including diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer, arthritis and other degenerative and auto- immune diseases.
The different animal species living in their natural (once pristine) environment tend to live seven times past their age of maturity when nature is in balance. Sadly, this is not the case with our domestic environments where we are feeding processed/cooked foods and foods our canine companion is not even capable of digesting and obtaining any nutrition from in the first place.
Heating or cooking foods denatures protein, destroys enzymes and alters the structure of the food rendering it void of nutrition and often carcinogenic.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, denaturation is a modification of the molecular structure of protein by heat or by an acid, an alkali, or ultraviolet radiation that destroys or diminishes its original properties and biological activity.
Denaturation alters protein and makes it unusable or less usable. According to Britannica, protein molecules are readily altered by heat: “Unlike simple organic molecules, the physical and chemical properties of protein are markedly altered when the substance is just boiled in water. Further all of the agents able to cause denaturation are able to break the secondary bonds that hold the chains in place. Once these weak bonds are broken, the molecule falls into a disorganized tangle devoid of biological function.”
Dr. Kouchakoff of Switzerland conducted over 300 detailed experiments, which pinpointed the pathogenic nature of cooked and processed foods. Food heated to temperatures of just 120 to 190 degrees F (a range usually relegated to warming rather than cooking which, nevertheless, destroys all enzymes) causes leukocytosis in the body. Leukocytosis is a term applied to an abnormally high white corpuscle count. Within a short time after eating food cooked at these low temperatures, white corpuscle counts tripled in the participants of Dr. Kouchakoff experiments.
Let’s stop and think about our beloved dog’s nutritional “needs” when it comes to his or her species. What really is the most healthy for them? They are relying on us to provide their meals for them, to give them the nutrition they need to thrive, not just survive! It is our responsibility to give them a life that is healthy for their body, mind and spirit. We must be guided by this imperative when making decisions about our dog’s diet. (as well as other laws of health).
To read more about dogs being carnivores, Go Here
To learn more truth about processed pet food (kibble and canned) Go Here