So you have transitioned your pet to a natural diet, and now you are wondering if you are providing all the nutrients they need?

If you are providing an appropriate balance of raw, natural foods, including meats, organ meats, bones, green leafy vegetables, and some raw fats, sourced from organic farms, then your pet will be getting most of the nutrients they need. The complete foods that we recommend, including Complete Pet Company’s Complete Meals, Organic Paws, Raw 4 Paws or Ziwi Peak, all include quality primary foods and carefully selected supplements to ensure the nutrient profile is complete and balanced.

For a pet to thrive on a home-prepared raw diet, it can be helpful to include a small number of supplements to ensure they are getting the complete range of all the nutrients they need.

  1. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)- especially Omega-3 EFAs
    These play a huge role in your pet’s overall health, especially the health of the skin, coat, brain and the joints.  A pet lacking EFAs will have a dull coat, and likely be prone to skin conditions such as itching, irritation, infections and allergies.  EFAs help to modulate inflammation in the body and can be beneficial for pets with allergies, arthritis, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. They are also important for healthy eyes, heart and circulation.
    Free-ranging grass-fed meats that have had access to plenty of wild-grown leafy green matter in the sunshine are an excellent source of EFAs.  This is one reason we only stock pet foods made from free-ranging, grass-fed meats, and usually healthy pets eating the foods we stock don’t have an additional requirement for fatty acid supplementation.
    If you pet suffers from any of the above conditions, however, it is likely that he will benefit from supplementing EFAs, in the form of either micro-algae (such as E3Live), krill oil or fish body oil, for a period of time.
    When sourcing fish oil, it is important to use a product that is harvested sustainably from clean waters and is processed carefully to ensure purity and prevent oxidation.  Metagenics, Ethical Nutrients and Nordic Naturals are the fish oil brands that meet these criteria.
    Plant-based EFA sources such as flaxseed may not be absorbed or activated in the body of our carnivorous pets, and so are of less benefit.
    The dose rate of EFA supplements varies depending on your animal’s condition and so please consult with us before starting a fatty acid supplement.
  2. Spirulina, Chlorella & Kelp
    These algae and seaweed products have many benefits, including assisting in detoxification, providing immune system support, building a healthy blood supply, and providing many minerals, micronutrients and phytochemicals.  We have liquid Natrakelp available to purchase at The Natural Vets.  Farmers and pet owners using Natrakelp as a nutritional supplement have reported many benefits including improvement in the animal’s coat, health and energy levels.
  3. Grass powders
    Grass is a natural forage food for both dogs and cats, and many pet owners report their pet naturally seeking to munch on grass when they are unwell or before vomiting up their food.  Grass has a sweeping effect in the intestine due to the fibre content, and has harnessed the healing energy of the sunshine in its chlorophyll content.  It provides many micronutrients and has inherent medicinal properties as evident in animals seeking it out when they are ill.  Barley and wheat grasses are excellent nutritional supplements, either freshly minced, or juiced, or as juice powders.
  4. Digestive enzyme supplementation
    Raw foods contain inherent enzymes that aid their digestion and so most pets eating a raw food diet don’t require additional supplementation, however in some cases supporting digestive function can be very beneficial.  If your pet has recently transitioned to a raw food diet, or has suffered from chronic gastrointestinal issues or bouts of pancreatitis, has cancer, or is ageing, then providing digestive support in the form of enzyme supplementation can be very beneficial.
  5. Taurine for cats
    Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats and may not be included in adequate amounts in a raw diet unless appropriate amounts of heart, mackerel and the blood of the meats are included. If your cat only eats ground or minced meats, the taurine intake may be low. We recommend feeding The Complete Pet Company’s DIY Mix when feeding cats a raw homemade diet, this will ensure optimal levels of taurine as well as other important nutrients like calcium and zinc are fed.  There is also a DIY mix available for dogs.  For more information on the taurine content of raw diets, visit perfectlyrawsome.com.
  6. Vitamin and Mineral supplementation
    In an ideal world, a balanced, raw, organic, natural diet would provide every animal with all of what they need.  But due to many reasons, including poor soil health, impure water, pollution, and pharmaceutical use in animal production, the foods we feed our pets may be low in certain vitamins or minerals, such as iodine, zinc, selenium, manganese or vitamins B, E and D.  If you are feeding a homemade, raw diet, we suggest including a bioavailable vitamin and mineral supplement, such as the Complete Pet Company’s DIY mix.

 

Provide a raw, natural diet from organic sources first and foremost, then add in a careful selection of appropriate supplements as directed, to support your animal’s journey along their Path to Wellness.