Who is Dr. Karen Becker?
She talks continuously about the benefits of the ancestral diet for both cats and dogs…i.e. the BARF diet – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food…as well as every issue dealing with the health and safety of your pets. She is considered one of the leading experts in the field, and mom says she has learned so much from Dr. Becker’s reports that it only seemed fitting to ring in 2019 by dedicating our first post of the New Year to her.
After all, the whole purpose of Best Life Pets was, and still is, to share with you the simple changes that can improve the health of your cat…and dog! Starting with the shift from a commercially processed pet food diet to a fresh, raw food diet is the beginning to a healthier and improved lifestyle which will lead to a nice long life for us!
Mom’s biggest hope is to inspire you to try the raw BARF diet. She tells me that the biggest challenge is explaining “the why”…why is it better?...and what is wrong with the commercially prepared processed foods?…so she turned to a previous post of Dr. Becker’s that ranks 13 pet foods from best to worst.
What are the benefits of a BARF diet?
Mom said the article has the BEST explanation of why the ancestral diet is key to ensuring that your pet will live a healthy life – hopefully free of human ailments like obesity, diabetes and cancer. She said she could never state it as well as Dr. Becker can, because, after all, she is the expert here!
Mom’s highlights from this article are:
Remember that your cat and dog are carnivores – we do not move our jaws from side-to-side, like omnivorous mammals (you humans) or vegetarian animals who do a lot of chewing…we move our jaws up and down, grab our food, tear it into chunks with our sharp teeth and swallow without chewing.
All carnivores have short digestive tracks because nature designed us to get the food in – and out – very quickly in case it was contaminated with pathogens…it isn’t designed to ferment foods like the GI tract of vegetarian animals.
Our ancestral diet has lots of variety of fresh, living whole foods. The food is moisture-dense, because prey is about 70% water, high in protein and minerals, and moderate fat. The only carbs cats in the wild consume are whatever was in the GI tract of the prey, plus a few nibbles of grass which provides added fiber and enzymes.
Our doggy friends can have a bit more carbs, as dogs in the wild will eat grass, berries and other plant matter occasionally.
Processed pet food has created generations of nutritionally deficient cats and dogs – all of which can lead to the increase of many diseases for us!
While the pet food industry is starting to address these issues by introducing limited ingredients, grain-free, etc, they are still focused on dry foods and kibble which is the opposite of a fresh whole protein diet – instead of corn, wheat and rice, they are substituting other things like lentils and garbanzo beans which actually can cause GI inflammation and irritation.
What is the difference between raw food and traditional food?
In addition, these processed foods contain synthetic vitamins and minerals to meet the basic nutritional need. Then they are baked at an extreme high heat which denatures proteins and can also introduce carcinogens into your pet’s body on a daily basis…yikes!
To round this up, the BARF diet for a carnivore is high in moisture, high in whole protein, moderate in fat and low in carbs. The vast majority of commercial pet foods are the opposite – low in moisture content, with low to moderate amounts of poor-quality protein and fat, and high in starches or carbs.
If you haven’t yet, you can take a look at Dr. Becker’s list here.
Start 2019 by changing your pet’s diet from commercially processed canned food or kibble to a fresh, whole protein, biologically appropriate raw food. It’s a win-win for both you and your pet! Remember your pet will have an improved, healthy life – and you will have fewer vet bills, less stool and less odor in the litter box, as well as sweeter kitty and doggie breath! All good things! Meow!