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Caring for our little friends

By Staff | Mar 19, 2009

Dogs are people, too. Same with cats. They display emotion, bestow undying love and loyalty, have a sense of humor, and grieve over wrongdoing. Well, most cats don’t display all those traits but I am sure they would if they just had a smidgeon more brain power. We love them, don’t we?

My little Charley is a good example of this. No one else looks at me with pure adoration, and no one else wiggles all over and dances up and down with delight when I return to the house after being gone for 10 minutes. Yes, he did commit a socially unacceptable act at a party we attended over the weekend but the hostess forgave him for that. Whether or not the guitar player forgives him is yet to be seen.

So we want to treat our pets with respect and feed them really good food. I am not a veterinary nutritionist so I am not an expert in the field of pet nutrition. But I do believe that many of the principles that we apply to people apply also (or more so) to pets.

For example, I write extensively about the inflammatory and allergic nature of wheat and oats in humans. I recommend that just about everyone eliminate these trigger foods from their diets. It is just as important to eliminate grains from pet food.

Pets should eat what they would eat if they were roaming wild. Dogs and cats are carnivorous animals (cats even more so than dogs), so their food should be predominantly animal protein. They should definitely not eat grain because they would virtually never eat grains in the wild.

Their food should be (and this is my personal opinion that may be vigorously opposed by veterinarians) raw, as much as possible. I provide Charley with pet food that comes raw and frozen in medallions. He loves it. His back was broken in an accident (with a human) a couple years ago, yet he remains almost completely pain-free with full range of motion. His vet says that he is doing fabulous and I really credit the raw, grain-free food. Grains tend to be pro-inflammatory in most people so keeping the grain out of his diet keeps the inflammation in his body at a minimum.

Someone told me the other day that his coat is so shiny, she could see her face in the sheen. I beamed with pride and Charley gazed into my eyes with rapture.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator at the offices of Dr. Alan Gruning in Ft. Myers. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499.