NATUROPATHIC ALTERNATIVES TO COMMERCIAL PRESCRIPTION PET FOODS
Because many traditional veterinarian clinics offer commercial prescription diets made with less than desirable species-inappropriate ingredients as the only option for managing certain health challenges, pet owners should seek a second opinion to determine a healthier higher quality food option with appropriate supplementation as an alternative to support their pet’s health and well-being.
Commercial prescription diets contain species-inappropriate ingredients ranging from whole ground corn and corn gluten meal to powdered cellulose and brewer’s rice as one or more of the first 6 ingredients. While prescription diets can address certain health issues in our pets, more and more pet owners are discouraged to find their trusted veterinarian has prescribed a poor quality expensive food as their only option to manage their pets’ health concerns.
Uninspired and apathetic veterinarians continue to prescribe pet foods that act more as a vehicle for supplementation such as potassium citrate to reduce the potential of stone formation or functional ingredients like increased fiber and fatty acid content for weight loss. While prescription diets are designed using scientific data that support specific nutritional and supplementation protocols for certain health concerns, the formulations offer little life giving nutritional support the body needs in order to find a true balance in health.
The validity of commercial prescription diets lies solely in the formulation itself separate and distinct from what real nutrition is. Real nutrition using whole foods appropriate for the species and proper supplementation that supports the body’s own ability to heal itself lays a critical foundation for long term support and overall wellness. A popular gastrointestinal prescription diet containing poor quality ingredients like ground corn and corn gluten meal is considered prescription because it contains electrolytes, psyllium seed husks and prebiotics found to support bowel health. From the naturopathic perspective, a carnivorous diet rich in animal protein that supports general health along with a supplement program may yield the same results and have greater long term positive and life giving effects on the body toward better overall health.
Another commonly prescribed diet for bladder stone management in cats utilizes a formulation with lower mineral content, also referred to as ash content once the protein is dried, along with potassium citrate and additional B vitamins, in particular B6 deficiency is implicated in kidney stone formation. Corn starch may be used as an inexpensive and inappropriate filler to reduce the overall mineral content of the food. While the overall formulation concept makes sense, the ingredients used for the food go against traditional naturopathic wisdom of how our carnivorous pets are meant to receive their nutrition. Cats and dogs are not designed to assimilate corn starch and other highly processed carbohydrates without long term complications in bowel health and therefore to the immune system.
Naturopathic considerations to manage specific health concerns begin with a foundation of species appropriate nutrition that includes a raw food diet containing naturally occurring living active enzymes and nutrients. Without laying the groundwork of appropriate nutrition, supplementation only works to target a specific imbalance without addressing the body as a whole. Targeting a specific imbalance using poor quality denatured food ingredients as a vehicle to deliver a scientific formulation is the premise of commercial prescription pet food diets currently advocated as the only choice for pet owners by many veterinarian clinics across the country.
Raw food is the original natural way our dogs and cats receive, digest and assimilate their nutrition by consuming the fleshy meat, bone and organs of a prey animal, such as a rabbit, if they were left to their own devices. In today’s society, raw feeding follows the same premise by offering dogs and cats raw meat, bone and organs in the form of raw meaty bones and premixed diets containing ground muscle meat, organs and bones. Supplementation comes after this foundational diet is established.
Naturopathic principles follow the guidelines of nature with eight laws of nature serving as the roadmap to health and wellness. Nutrition is at the forefront of these laws because it provides a strong foundation in which to build. Other aspects of naturopathy including exercise, fresh clean water, sun, supplements, all things in moderation, fresh air, rest, and trust in the natural process of health and healing play an equally important role. Nutrition is only one aspect of holistic naturopathic inspired wellness.
Within the traditional veterinarian community prescribing prescription foods to manage health concerns, no part of the naturopathic lifestyle are addressed other than supplementation in some cases. Pet owners must engage their current veterinarian in a thought provoking dialog regarding their options or seek outside advice from someone versed in animal nutrition from a naturopathic perspective. Holistic veterinarians are an important health professional to consider bringing into your pet’s life for the good counsel and support they offer in feeding a raw food diet.
There are always alternate options to a raw food diet to manage health concerns including dehydrated, freeze dried and homemade cooked diets. The magic happens when we give our animal companions the diet they were designed to eat naturally if left to their own natural instincts.
A holistic and healthy diet with proper supplementation may provide an excellent alternative to the prescription diets currently on the market.
The content of this website and any information discussed with representatives of Blackbird's Bowl is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace regular veterinary care. You are encouraged to seek the professional advice of a holistic veterinarian that supports your efforts to incorporate species appropriate nutrition and holistic lifestyle choices into your pet's life. To locate a holistic integrative vet, please visit www.ahvma.org or ask us for a referral.
Blackbird's Bowl, Natural Pet Foods & More / 221 N. Liberty Street, Morris, IL 60450