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Dr. Pitcaim?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Has anyone read Dr. Pitcairn's book Natural Health for Dogs and Cats? I read on the dog forum I belong to that he has alot of good recipes for raw or homecooked diets for dogs and cats, and I'm wondering if any of you raw feeders have used them.

I have been having alot of problems with my cats on the foods I can afford, and our new doggie is already seeming to have some of the same issues. I have just about had it with the store-bought food anyway, since I can't possibly afford to feed 3 cats and a 60 lb. dog the highest quality super-premium stuff. I used to think I couldn't afford to do a raw diet, either....but considering the vet bills I might not have to pay, I'm almost convinced it would be an even trade!
post #2 of 27
I haven't read the book but am looking forward to the comments of others.

What problems have you had with processed foods?
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
What problems have you had with processed foods?
Mainly, frequent loose stools, as well as Maggie's tendency to vomit immediately after eating. I've had them to the vet several times for the diarrhea, but they always site bacterial imbalance as the problem. I am going to look into getting some kind of probiotic to help with this, but I really wonder if the main source of the problem is the quality of their food. I know it's not the best, but I have them eating primarily Friskies canned and a little bit of Iams (kitten still) and Newman's Own Organics combined.
post #4 of 27
I have it and use it fairly regularly... His approach is FAR less radical than some which makes it much easier to assimilate his ideas into a routine

what tests has the vet run , coming up with imbalance ??
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I have it and use it fairly regularly... His approach is FAR less radical than some which makes it much easier to assimilate his ideas into a routine

what tests has the vet run , coming up with imbalance ??
They've always done the typical fecal exams, gram stain, etc. No parasites or anything like that...just bacterial "overgrowth." Mind you, the diarrhea is not the only reason I'm thinking of transitioning to a homemade diet for our animals...it's just one factor that among many. I really have been impressed by all the good reports from people who have both dogs and cats on raw or homecooked diets, and I'd really like to have healthy, vital kitties and doggie!
post #6 of 27
I have heard the name mentioned a time or two in the raw forum but haven't personally read the book. I've been meaning to check the local library and see what they have as far as cat nutrition books. The boys have been eating raw for 6 weeks now and are doing great.

Leslie
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I have it and use it fairly regularly... His approach is FAR less radical than some which makes it much easier to assimilate his ideas into a routine
Can you expand on this? What do you consider "radical" about other approaches?
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
Can you expand on this? What do you consider "radical" about other approaches?
when you read it youll understand ...

he takes a more graduated approach and is NOT all or nothing
post #9 of 27
I have it and like referring back to it. Most people who have read it likes it as well, but some feel that his recipes are too high in grain content. I won't comment on that because I don't use his recipes, but everything else in there is so informative.
post #10 of 27
Like I said, I haven't read the book so haven't seen the recipes but if they have a lot of grain I would definately think twice about feeding them to a cat. Like wise if they contain a lot of fruits and/or veggies.

A raw recipe for a cat is really pretty simple and doesn't have a lot of ingredients. I'm currently using the one at www.catinfo.org. Finding a good source for the meats and organs, especially the organs, is the hardest part.

I'm undecided about cooked homemade food for cats. Cooking defeats one of what I consider the main benefits of raw, it destroys the enzymes needed for proper digestion.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
I'm undecided about cooked homemade food for cats. Cooking defeats one of what I consider the main benefits of raw, it destroys the enzymes needed for proper digestion.
From what I've read online, his book encourages raw feeding, but he does state that if you are uncomfortable with it, you can cook the meat in his recipes. I think for my cats I would want to leave it raw. I agree about the enzymes for digestion, since that is one of the problems I've been dealing with the whole time.

Not sure about our doggie yet. She is five years old and has never, to my knowledge, been fed raw. She was a rescue doggie, who spent most of her life with a BYB, so I don't know what she was fed before she came to us. I know it takes time for older dogs to adjust to raw, so I would probably start with homecooked meals first to get her used to eating non-processed foods. Actually, she's been having some diarrhea the last few days, so I already have her on a bland diet of chicken and rice right now to help her tummy settle...and she loves it!
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Cream View Post
From what I've read online, his book encourages raw feeding, but he does state that if you are uncomfortable with it, you can cook the meat in his recipes. I think for my cats I would want to leave it raw. I agree about the enzymes for digestion, since that is one of the problems I've been dealing with the whole time.

Not sure about our doggie yet. She is five years old and has never, to my knowledge, been fed raw. She was a rescue doggie, who spent most of her life with a BYB, so I don't know what she was fed before she came to us. I know it takes time for older dogs to adjust to raw, so I would probably start with homecooked meals first to get her used to eating non-processed foods. Actually, she's been having some diarrhea the last few days, so I already have her on a bland diet of chicken and rice right now to help her tummy settle...and she loves it!
my dog was 8 when I start routinely cooking or uncooking for her ... she took right to it

With the enzyme issue ... even many raw meats lack them ( do a little research on that) so it is IMHO a mute issue ... I go off which is digested better ... In the current house some raw , some browned and some cooked flys well.. Of course the whole diet is based off Oriental medicine in my house , ahh the lack of issues is great
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
With the enzyme issue ... even many raw meats lack them ( do a little research on that) so it is IMHO a mute issue ...
I've done a lot of research on the enzyme issue and have never run across anything like that. Can you point me to a source for that information?
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Cream View Post
They've always done the typical fecal exams, gram stain, etc. No parasites or anything like that...just bacterial "overgrowth."
have you tried bene-bac? Java had that same thing - took 2 rounds of antibiotics + a round of the probiotic [bene-bac] to eliminate.
post #15 of 27
I would like to eventually move to a homemade/raw diet. I've been interested in the topic for awhile so I purchased Dr. Pitcairn's book when a vet recommended it to me. Many people have recommended it to me since that time also when I inquired about homemade/raw feeding.

I absolutely love it. It's a great primer on the subject and he's so knowledgeable. When I read his book it was like I have a personal vet appointment with him and he's giving me the discussion.

Great list of recipes and all the background info you need to start out. And it's 466 pages!

I was having food issues with my male cat and that's why I was reading up on it. He's doing well on his current food, but this book will become a constant reference when I go to a homemade cat food.

I honestly don't think there is anything I didn't like about the book.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have heard of it, but not yet tried it. Today I bought some plain yogurt to mix with their food in hopes that will add some good bacteria on a regular basis.

On a somewhat unrelated topic...we just found out that our collie Brenna has hookworm, explaining her digestive issues all week...so tomorrow everyone will go to the vet, get weighed and prescribed a de-wormer. If the cats have indeed gotten hookworms from her, that would possibly explain this week's diarrhea onset.

But I am still very interested in the whole idea of homemade pet food, just trying to sell hubby on it...he still thinks our pets are pampered and spoiled because his family only had outdoor pets growing up, and they were just fed cheap kibble. So, we've come a long way, but IMO still have a ways to go!
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
I've done a lot of research on the enzyme issue and have never run across anything like that. Can you point me to a source for that information?
I'm not Sharky and I can't find the site where I found this information now, but adding to this discussion, I read somewhere that although raw meat does contain a lot of enzymes that are not present in cooked meat, that the particular enzymes are not actually beneficial or used by the body in cats/dogs.

I don't know if this is true, but since you said you've done a lot of research on enzymes, do you know anything about this issue? Is it true/false?
post #18 of 27
Here, I went and Googled and found some links. I'd be interested to see whether these are actual facts.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatGoddess View Post
Here, I went and Googled and found some links. I'd be interested to see whether these are actual facts.
Only the first and the last of those links addresses the issue of whether there are enzymes in raw food that aid in digestibility and which are destroyed by cooking. The last one contains the most information.

Dr. Remillard (the site owner) clearly does not believe there is any benefit to feeding a raw diet. You can easily find many, many people who would agree.

From the last link:
Quote:
Buying enzyme supplements for your normal healthy pet is NOT needed
Pet owners who buy enzyme supplements most often do so because their pet is suffering from some kind of digestion problem. They continue to buy such products because they work. Why else would they continue to buy them? I suppose you could say that those pets don't fit the "normal healthy pet" qualification. In which case there are a heck of a lot of pets out there that aren't normal and healthy by this definition at least. I use such a supplement because my Coco has loose stools without it and I can tell you the store where I buy it sells a lot of it.

I don't find it surprising that there isn't agreement on whether there are any benefits to the enzymes present in raw foods. There is plenty of disagreement when it comes to pet nutrition. I certainly don't dismiss the information in the last link above though. I'll see if I can find an authoritative counter opinion.
post #20 of 27
I get most of mine info from the meat journals and vet journals ( holistic kind).... Mostly that meat off the farm and never frozen still has all the viable enzymes but most meat at a typical grocer is frozen ... the freezing data is 50/50 saying yes and no about whether or not they are merely slowed or are in fact inactivated
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I get most of mine info from the meat journals and vet journals ( holistic kind).... Mostly that meat off the farm and never frozen still has all the viable enzymes but most meat at a typical grocer is frozen ... the freezing data is 50/50 saying yes and no about whether or not they are merely slowed or are in fact inactivated
So then, when you want to make meals in bulk and freeze them, that could possibly affect the enzymes...if they are inactivated by freezing? Interesting. Still, the other benefits of feeding raw are numerous, so that probably wouldn't change much for me.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I get most of mine info from the meat journals and vet journals ( holistic kind).... Mostly that meat off the farm and never frozen still has all the viable enzymes but most meat at a typical grocer is frozen ... the freezing data is 50/50 saying yes and no about whether or not they are merely slowed or are in fact inactivated
Do you find any authoritative (scientific) information about whether raw meat contains any enzymes that are beneficial to digestion? The link referenced above claims not.

I've Googled around and can't find a single case where it is claimed that there are enzymes in raw meat that are beneficial to digestion that isn't a site that either sells enzyme supplements or else is a site that promotes raw and or "natural" eating. I can't even find one those that references a source for that "fact". Usually I can find a reference to a medical or nutrition journal at sites like those. Not in this case though. That "fact" is stated on so many sites though it's tedious to examine them all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Cream
So then, when you want to make meals in bulk and freeze them, that could possibly affect the enzymes...if they are inactivated by freezing?
Actually she said the data is inconclusive (my added bold):

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky
the freezing data is 50/50 saying yes and no about whether or not they are merely slowed or are in fact inactivated
Now I'm questioning whether it matters. Are those enzymes good for anything, digestion or otherwise, anyway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Cream
Still, the other benefits of feeding raw are numerous, so that probably wouldn't change much for me.
Me too. That's just one factor of many. I would like to know, if possible, what the truth is though.
post #23 of 27
Yes They do matter to a point..I will use a human example( dont just love those ).. The main reason so many humans have digestive issues is a LACK of enzymes in the meat and grains that used to be there ... I will put up a list of needed enzymes per the food they aid in digesting ... IE not many as my vet said DO NOT use any product with more than three acidopholis type strains since the cats guts naturally DO NOT have many( the only enzyme I would think would be severely lacking in a raw feed cat is cellulase ( for those feeding greens)
post #24 of 27
I've read his book, well the parts about cats anyway and found it to be excellent as far as reference material goes. He and his wife who co-writes his book with him are more into the enviroment as a whole...thing. Which is why (and he states this in his book) he uses grains in his receipes. He's worried about the environmental impact of slaughtering a high percentage of beef for pet food. I don't get it myself so I disregard his receipes but value quite a bit of the other information in his book. I went to a holistic vet for awhile and she said to me that she felt as well there was too high a percentage of grains in his receipes. I use the www.catnutrition.org receipe myself.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWMeowMix View Post
I've read his book, well the parts about cats anyway and found it to be excellent as far as reference material goes. He and his wife who co-writes his book with him are more into the enviroment as a whole...thing. Which is why (and he states this in his book) he uses grains in his receipes. He's worried about the environmental impact of slaughtering a high percentage of beef for pet food. I don't get it myself so I disregard his receipes but value quite a bit of the other information in his book. I went to a holistic vet for awhile and she said to me that she felt as well there was too high a percentage of grains in his receipes. I use the www.catnutrition.org receipe myself.

Interesting input about the environmental "twist" to his viewpoint. I probably wouldn't be able to agree with all that myself. Anyway...It sounds like alot of people use the info from catnutrition.org, huh? I just don't think I could go all raw meat like that right away. It would take alot of time for me to convince DH, for one thing. It sure would be easier if meat wasn't so expensive!

I have another question, though...I know you can't feed dry kibble and raw at the same time because of the different rates of digestion. But what about canned and raw? I hear some people saying they will feed some canned in a pinch or while transitioning to raw. Does this mean that canned and raw digest at closer to the same rate and are safe to feed together?
post #26 of 27
Different digestion rates and also the body uses different enzymes to breakdown the dry food vs the raw... this is one of the easiest arguments against raw feeding with grain( you have to cook any grain)

Raw in theory ( have read two studies that disagree but many more that agree) digests in 6-10 hours mouth to anus ... Canned is 8-12 hours ... dry 12-24 hours
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocoa Cream View Post
Interesting input about the environmental "twist" to his viewpoint. I probably wouldn't be able to agree with all that myself. Anyway...It sounds like alot of people use the info from catnutrition.org, huh? I just don't think I could go all raw meat like that right away. It would take alot of time for me to convince DH, for one thing. It sure would be easier if meat wasn't so expensive!

I have another question, though...I know you can't feed dry kibble and raw at the same time because of the different rates of digestion. But what about canned and raw? I hear some people saying they will feed some canned in a pinch or while transitioning to raw. Does this mean that canned and raw digest at closer to the same rate and are safe to feed together?
Yeah, catnutrition.org is an extremely informative site and I find the receipe for raw food pretty well balanced as long as you follow it exactly. Meaning don't leave anything out or make substitutions if your not familiar with raw feeding.

As for the canned vs raw question, yes, PREMIUM canned food and raw are nutrient dense so they do digest at a similiar rate. As an argument for the pro-side of raw feeding to DH you could tell him that since raw food IS so nutrient dense and packed with calories that kitties are satisfied with much less so you can feed smaller servings. Because raw foods contain no fillers, your cat absorbs more of the food consumed as nutrients, so less is passed as waste. You may pay more per pound for feeding but you'll get more servings out of those pounds. Personally, I find that I spend less feeding raw than I spent on a very high quality, premium canned food. Watch for the meat sales and practice your saavy shopper skills!
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