They say that a dog is man’s best friend, but we know the truth. Whether it’s a cat, a dog, or anything else, your pet is more than your best friend, and no simple label could rightly convey the bond and love you feel for one another.
As an outpouring of that love, you take care of your pet's needs, including taking them to the vet, feeding them, and caring for their personal hygiene. You also buy them treats, play with them, and devote plenty of time for cuddles. Then, it is only natural that you would want to find the healthiest way to feed your beloved four-legged friend.
Natural pet food is the obvious choice for any pet parent who's done their research. But what if you haven't? Don't beat yourself up. You're busy, and you might not even be aware of the importance of feeding your pet a healthy, well-balanced diet. Luckily, you're a quick learner! Here are some of the benefits of natural pet food and why now is the time to make the switch. For the love of pets!
Natural or raw pet food is made up of all kinds of things that are good for your pet. It will produce tremendous benefits, including increased energy levels, stronger immune systems, and better weight maintenance. Here are some more good reasons to switch:
Natural pet food is loaded with goodies like high-quality proteins, minerals, and omegas 3 and 6. All of these ingredients help produce a healthier, shinier coat. The fur is also softer (a plus for cuddlers).
Natural or raw pet food is made up of all-natural ingredients. But more than that, they’re loaded with plenty of water. This high water content makes natural pet food much easier for your animal friends to digest. According to veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists, this contributes to healthier urinary tract and bowel movement health.
Processed foods also have a lot of fillers in them, such as corn and soy, two ingredients that wreak havoc on your pet's stomach. Removing these ingredients from their diets will help calm those after-meal grumbles. And since raw food is more digestible to pets, this switch can help with sensitive stomachs. Often, chronic problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and even ear infections can be solved by converting to a healthier diet.
If you need any more convincing, all you need to do is read one of the processed food labels. Do you know what they put into that stuff? Here's a harrowing list of some of the grotesque ingredients that mass-produced pet food companies pump into what they call food:
- Addictive ingredients such as MSG
- Sugar, sugar, and more sugar
- Glycol (that’s right, you read that properly. Glycol is a derivative of antifreeze. Antifreeze!)
- A cocktail of other chemicals
And most importantly, natural food diets help your pets live a longer life with a better quality of life too.
Now, you know how beneficial a natural diet can be for your dog or cat. As a loving pet parent, no doubt, you want to start these healthy eating habits right away. Interestingly enough, though, veterinarians do not recommend diving right into a natural diet. If you've been feeding your pet a steady diet of processed food, you'll want to slowly transition him or her off of the stuff because:
Since there are so many addictive ingredients (sugar, MSG, etc.), your pet can have an adverse reaction to quitting the stuff cold turkey. Just like quitting any other addictive substance, you need to wean your dog or cat off of the processed food slowly.
2.Unfamiliar = unappetizing
For many pets, familiarity breeds comfort. Once you get them used to something, it’s hard for them to switch. The same holds true for their food. So, while that dried out kibble might be unhealthy, less appetizing, and unappealing in nature, it’s all that your dog or cat knows as food. In fact, that healthy, natural meal you put in front of them might not even look like food to them. So, it’ll take a little time for them to adjust their vision and their taste buds to the new, better diet plan.
Plus, if you’ve been feeding them a totally solid, dry food diet, switching completely to a wetter diet may produce runny stool in your pets. That’s not good news for anyone.
So, what's the solution? Veterinarians recommend that pet parents mix some of the old food in with the new food. This way, your dog or cat will smell and see the old, familiar food, and eat the new with the old. This will give them a chance to slowly get used to the new food, too. You can start to put in less and less of the processed food as time goes on
You can also try to keep to the same consistency that they’re used to. Even natural food comes in several different forms, and you can try to pick a brand that fits closer to your current food choice.
Most natural pet food comes frozen or needs to be refrigerated. If this is the situation with your brand, make sure to take it out with plenty of time for it to return to room temperature before you serve it. Most pets don't like their food too cold (or too hot for that matter). So, straight out of the fridge variety won't be very appetizing for your fluffy friends. Take it out and leave the meal on the counter a few hours before mealtime. You may want to leave it in a container, so hungry pups and kitties don't dig in before the time comes. You can also put it in the microwave or oven if you prefer this option. But pay attention that food isn't too hot (or even warm) for your pet's palette.
The beauty of switching over to a natural diet is that you only have to do it once. Unlike humans who diet hard for a while, and then stumble, cheat, and fall off the bandwagon only to start the process over and over again, animals don’t have that problem. Once you chuck the junk food out of your house, you’ll never have to worry about backsliding with your four-legged friend.
Pets have funny habits that can be endearing at some times and nerve-wracking at others. If your puddle of fluff has a habit of giving you a hard time at mealtime, try some of these sneaky tricks to getting pets more cooperative:
Funnily enough, some pets are finicky about their food bowls. Some are fearful of deep bowls where they can’t see what’s at the bottom. Others can’t stand the way it feels when their whiskers touch the sides of the bowl. Whatever the reason, switching up their food bowl for a flat plate might make these sensory fears disappear.
It happens often. It's mealtime, but your pup doesn't want to eat. You fight, coax, coerce, and beg. Finally, they give in, and you reward them with a treat. The problem is that if you consistently reward them with treats after they've stubbornly fought about mealtime, then it's only natural that pets will start to create a regular routine of fighting over their foods. Break this bad habit, and watch mealtime become more obedient instantly. Remember, there's a difference between love and spoiling your pet.
Your pet could be reluctant to eat because you're feeding them too often. Make sure your meals are served with enough space in between for your pup or kitty to work up an appetite.
Most natural pet foods will come with a tailored meal plan for your pet, so you are giving them exactly the right calories they need for optimal nutrition.