Tips on How to Keep Your Furry Friends Healthy

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Coming home and being welcomed with unconditional love and kisses from our pet brings incredible happiness to our day. Animals are wonderful companions and add so much joy and comfort to our lives. We want them to live long, healthy, happy lives as part of our family. They need a balanced diet, fresh clean water, a comfortable place to sleep, fresh air, exercise, and love, just like we do. In this article, I will explain what a healing diet for pets looks like, and give you some great guidelines for creating the best pet diet possible.

When I was growing up, it was common for us to give our pets the leftovers from our table. They got broccoli, carrots, potatoes, greens, turnips, etc. Our animals lived very long, healthy lives and thrived on our fresh food. It was not uncommon for our pets to live well into their 20’s. These days most pets are getting diabetes, cancer as young as 6 years old and I believe it is a direct result of their diet.

As large companies began making manufactured food, we started hearing, being told by advertising, or being advised by our veterinarian, that we shouldn’t feed our table scraps to our pets, because there was designated dog food and cat food specifically created to “maintain and promote health” in our pets.

When people started feeding their pets the manufactured pet food, pet illness went up. Was cheap meat and filler in processed food making our pets ill?

I recommend avoiding foods containing corn or grains (especially genetically modified, and non-certified organic) for you or your pets. I also suggest avoiding foods manufactured in China. I see a similarity to humans and disease. About 50 years ago, people in the US and the world started eating more and more processed foods with additives, fillers, artificial colors, cheap or artificial sugars, genetically modified (GMO) ingredients, refined ingredients, etc. The rise in diabetes is 700% over the last 50 years and now 50% of the people in the US have a chronic disease.

Cancer is prevalent, affecting at least half the men and one-third of the women in the US. I believe it is directly affected by the quality of the food, toxins in the environment, air and water quality, as well as less exercise, and sunshine.   I see a correlation with our animal friends that we keep as pets. I understand that pet disease has risen at about the same rate.

Being a chef, nutrition and health expert, I started seeing similarities between my animals’ diets and the diets I was recommending to my cancer, diabetes, and heart disease clients.   The animals on my high-quality, fresh, mostly raw food diet were thriving and getting well, as they nourished their body with fresh, whole, real, organic food.

It seems sad to say the word “whole or real” food, but over the last 50 years, it is quite startling at what the food manufacturers and the government have allowed to be added to our food and our pet food, as if it is real food.   An example of this is wood pulp, which is a cheap filler used in foods. It is not nutritious, but it is added to make the product cheaper. They have also used it in many processed and cheap foods like genetically modified corn or soy, cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, white refined ingredients, artificial dyes and flavorings, synthetic vitamins, etc. They are cheap (because our tax dollars support those unsustainable GMO seeds and chemical farming methods, instead of the healthier methods), and are used as cheap filler in many processed foods.

Most of the corn and soy in the US is genetically modified with a Bt toxin built into it. Studies show this Bt toxin can eat holes in the stomach of whoever is consuming it.  Contrary to what you may have heard, feeding “people food” to pets isn’t always such a bad thing, especially if you’re giving them healthy options. In fact, you may be surprised at what you can safely, and nutritiously, feed your pet from the table.

  1. Sweet Potatoes: One of nature’s nearly perfect foods, sweet potatoes are so nutritious, they should be fed to your dog frequently. Sweet Potatoes are high in antioxidants and have been studied on how they can prevent cancer and the effects of aging. They are high in vitamins, including A, C, and B 6. They are also high in the minerals manganese, copper, and iron, and the dietary fiber to help with bowel movements. I slice my sweet potatoes in half and dehydrate them. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also bake them on the lowest heat in your oven for about 40-60 minutes. This turns them into wonderful leathery strips that make healthy chew treats for dogs
  2. Fish: Fish is very good for dogs. Salmon, sardines, and anchovies are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent skin problems, allergies, arthritis and heart disease. These oils are anti-inflammatory. I give mine to my animals raw and uncooked. Quality is important.
  3. Carrots: Carrots are high in powerful phytonutrients. A great source of Vitamins A, K, and C, carrots provide powerful antioxidants. With these nutrients, they can help a dog’s vision, heart, and blood sugar levels. Raw baby carrots are one of my favorite treats for dogs. In the hot summer months, you can make little “carrot popsicle treats” by freezing the little carrots in popsicle molds or in ice cube trays, and placing them in their water bowl as a cool surprise. Lightly steamed or cooked carrots can also be added to your dog’s regular food, or they can be used as part of a healthy home-prepared meal.
  4. Broccoli: Broccoli is packed with nutrients. It has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, aid in fighting infections, treat skin and heart problems, help metabolize drugs, and excrete toxins. Broccoli is so helpful, and every dog should eat it regularly. Broccoli can be fed to dogs both raw and cooked. I recommend combining steamed or cooked broccoli with other high quality foods and fish for a healthy meal, whenever a pet is ill.
  5. Leafy Greens: It’s hard to beat leafy greens in terms of maximum nutrition for minimal calories. Leafy greens are a proven cancer-risk preventative, abundant source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, E, and C. All of these nutrients help prevent heart disease, and contain numerous antioxidants. Most dogs enjoy greens thinly chopped and sautéed or cooked and mixed with their food. I combine mine in a food processor with the other ingredients and make a raw food recipe for animals.
  6. Sprouted Beans: Sprouted and cooked black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans are all super-foods for dogs. Cooked, sprouted beans can help provide natural fibers that help regulate blood sugar levels. This can really help with dogs who are struggling with diabetes. Cutting out anything with high fructose corn syrup is a key, but also adding more cooked sprouted beans high in natural fiber can help with animal diabetes. In addition, these rich sources of proteins and minerals boost your pet’s immune system and help burn fat.
  7. Quinoa: Quinoa is a seed that was known as “the gold of the Incas.” Quinoa is a complete protein. Being a seed, it needs to be soaked overnight to remove the phytic acid before cooking. This will remove the enzyme inhibitors, make it more digestible and help prevent acid indigestion. Quinoa is easy to prepare. After sprouting it, just boil it in water for about 15 minutes.

I use quinoa in a variety of recipes for dogs, combining the cooked quinoa in a food processor with fish, or raw, high-quality meat, plus two to three vegetables (like carrots, broccoli or leafy greens), and some blueberries or watermelon. This creates a quick and easy mixture of healthy food for your pets.

  1. Spirulina: Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is incredibly high in protein, nutrients, and antioxidants. Spirulina is often found in a powdered form that can be sprinkled over a dog’s normal food or added to a food processor mixture.

Some doctors don’t believe in the power of foods and nutrition. Their focus is on treatment, not prevention. But I believe if we eat the right foods, we have the power to reverse and prevent disease. I use food as medicine, and I’ve seen it work on people, and also on my pets.

Animals in the wild are not consuming cooked or processed food, and they thrive on a raw meat, whole food-based diet. Cooking the food destroys the enzymes. I believe the animals require these enzymes in raw food in order to stay healthy.

A healthy, raw food diet includes high quality, humanely raised or wild caught creature meats (beef, fowl, fish), including organ meats, raw egg yolks, organic vegetables (like steamed broccoli, carrots, baby leafy greens, micro greens,) and fruits (like watermelon, berries, apples, pears, mango), as well as sprouted, organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds and nuts.