Starting from the firmly point that a good diet is essential to health, a dog and cat “natural diet” consist of nutritious food designed to be well assimilated and digested by a well programmed gut. Assuming that cat's gut is designed to be part of a strictly carnivorous organism, and dog's gut is designed to be more carnivorous too but more adaptable, dogs and cats natural diet consist of protein, fat and vegetables (not usually grains like corn and wheat).
From the holistic point of view, home made diets provide variety unprocessed food constituents that may have unrecognized importance in animal health and the flexibility to change as the animal's health changes. Anyway, for owners who does not have the time to maintain proper balance in a homemade diet, a variety of well balanced commercial diets are available. For those owners supplementing a good commercial diet with fresh food may benefit the animal and could be funny and educational. Many holistic practitioners recommend different kind of homemade diet depending on their experience but the two more used are the Paleolithic Diet and the Raw Diet. In both of them vegetables are recommended.
As some specific blog's post about nutrition in dog and cat will be available soon, in this writing I would like to talk about the importance to add vegetables in your dog and cat bowl. But what are vegetables good for?
During '500 Paracelsus, one of the most influential medical scientists in early modern Europe, believed that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of human (microcosm) and Nature (macrocosm). As a result of this hermetical idea of harmony, the universe's macrocosm was represented in every person as a microcosm and he developed the concept of the doctrine of signature, suggesting that Nature marked objects with a sign, or “signature” for their purpose. Plants bearing parts that resembled human or animal body-parts, or other object were thought to have useful relevance to those parts. The “signature” could sometimes also be identified in the environments or specific sites in which plants grew. Some writings suggest that Nature or God would have wanted to show men what plants would be useful for. Therefore, the root of the orchid looks like a testicle and can therefore heal any testicle associated illness.
This concept is also reflected in the common names of some plants whose shapes and colors reminded herbalist of the parts of the body where they were thought to do good, as for instance eyebright (euphrasia) used for eye inflammations.
Many others physicians followed, developed and spread this concept many tribalist and traditional medicine had always believed in Nature healing according to which from planets to animals, from animals to plants, from plants to rocks, up to organs inside body a link exist, Nature is posted by a signature that link things belonging to the similar nature or to the similar functions.
Patterns in nature include symmetries, trees, spirals, waves, foams, cracks and many others and recur in different contexts sometimes modelled mathematically. This concept is close to a mathematical set called fractal that exhibits a repeating pattern displayed at every scale. Fractals can be found in nature display self-similarity over extended but finite scale ranges: the connection between fractals and leaves, for instance, is currently being used to determine how much carbon is contained in trees. Phenomena known to have fractal features include: trees, algae, Romanesco broccoli, pineapple, DNA, proteins, crystals, rings of Saturn, coastlines, mountains, craters, animals coloration patterns, blood vessels and pulmonary vessels, heart rates and sounds, earthquakes, ocean waves and many others.
These theories are the basis for the development of some others holistic medicine like the Bach's Remedies that uses the hidden quality of flowers and water.
The fathers of medicine like Hippocrates and Galen claimed that a doctor of medicine has not to neglect “the form of simple things”, referring to plants. Indeed modern science has proved the chemical property that many different parts of plants such as flowers, fruits, roots, leaves, reflect in their appearance. It is also theorized that "it is not in the quantity of food, but in its quality that resides the spirit of life". This theory gave birth to modern organic food lifestyle.
A slice of resembles an eye with the pattern of radiating lines mimics the pupil and iris. Carrot indeed enhances blood flow to the eyes, improving the seen. Carrot gets their orange color from a plant chemical called beta-carotene which reduces the risk of developing cataracts. Beta-carotene also protects against retinal degeneration in dogs and age-related sight problem that affects both dogs and cats. According to Chinese Medicine, the neutral nature of carrots send down counterflow Qi, arrest cough, clear heat and detoxify, so carrots can help to calm down bronchial spasms if your cat is suffering from feline asthma or improved urination if your pet is suffering from calculosis (stones). Thanks to their sweet taste carrots also reinforce organ's digestion like stomach. This last function is also connected to Chakra balance therapy theory, according to which the orange color of carrots reinforce the second chakra, the orange one, which if unbalanced doesn't allow a proper flowing into the third chakra, the solar plexus, related to digestion.
Pumpkins can be large or small, smooth with lines or bumps outside and fibrous filamentous rich in seeds inside. That really looks like gut! But some pumpkins call to mind the pear-shaped bag stomach. Pumpkin is especially rich in soluble fibre that dissolved in water forming a viscous gel soothing inflamed bowel. Soluble fibre delays gastric emptying, slowing down gastrointestinal times and episodes of diarrhea. When animals have diarrhea they lose important electrolytes including potassium and pumpkins happens to be an excellent source of potassium. This vegetables is also safer for diabetic patients, unlike rice and grain break into sugar, pumpkins extract may actually restore beta cell function which produced insulin in the pancreas.
Plus, pumpkin's seeds have been traditionally used to expel intestinal parasites as the high levels of compound called cucurbitins paralyse the worms (not kill them) preventing them from holding on to the intestinal walls as they usually do during a bowel movement. Yellow and orange colors of pumpkins bring again to two chakras, sacral and solar plexus, related to gastrointestinal function.
Broccoli and cauliflowers in section resemble the respiratory tree that consists of the trachea that branches off into two bronchial tubes that branch off into smaller sections inside the lungs called bronchioles. The antioxidant power of cauliflower helps in strengthening the immune system and reducing the risk of respiratory infections but also neurodegenerative disease, colitis, diabetes, ocular degeneration, obesity. Cauliflowers belongs to the Brassicaceae family which also includes broccoli, kale and cabbage. The entire family are excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin K (phylloquinone) and vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. According to numerous studies by the National Cancer Institute in the US, broccoli are the vegetables with the highest power to defend against cancer. These properties are due to a number of components which are very abundant such as glucosinalates, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Biologically appropriate green veggies for cats include: Kale, spinach beet, dandelion greens, mustard greens, spinach, leafy Chinese vegetables, parsley. Vegetables not recommended are: tomato, white potato, aubergine, pepper, peas, beans, spices, onions.
In the wild, veggies have already been broken down by the prey animal's digestive system before the wolf and the wild feline eats them. The internal organs are loaded with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals derived from the vegetables, but they are in a form that the wolf or the wild feline can easily absorb into his body.
If you've ever fed your pet carrots, you've likely noticed them “come out the other end” looking nearly intact. This is because the pet's gut doesn't break down vegetables easily. So cooking vegetables helps break down the plant matter and “pre-digest” it so that the dogs or cats are better able to absorb all those essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Cook veggies until they are very soft and then chop them until obtaining very small pieces. If you want to feed raw vegetables instead, you can process them through a food processor until they are a mushy puree, which they can be mixed into the rest of the meal.
Dr. Dressler, expert in cancer dog management also known Dog Cancer Vet, suggest to use green leaf vegetable in dog diet like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and yellow or red peppers.
PAY ATTENTION to some vegetable POTENTIALLY TOXIC for our animals, for instance onions.
Onions look like body's cells and red blood cells in particular. Researches have shown that they have good effects on human red blood cells health but TOXIC EFFECT ON DOGS AND CATS. Specifically the ingestion on onions causes a condition called hemolytic anaemia, which is characterized by damage to the red blood cells. So, better AVOID ONIONS in Freddy's bowel.
Do you have enough reasons to add vegetables to your dog or cat bowel now? I hope so.