Benefits of Raw Pet Food
What does "raw food" mean?
We all understand the basic concept of what raw means—a food that has not been through a heat-altering process. Raw foods are becoming extremely popular due to its ability to not only heal many ailments, but also create a nutritionally superior pet who thrives.
The key component to raw food is the enzymes which assist in the digestive process and help with just about every metabolic process. Enzymes are denatured when exposed to heat over 117 degrees F so anything cooked above that temperature has little to no enzymes. There is also an abundance of micronutrients and phytochemicals that are key to the health of your pet.
Why does Raw Food Work?
There are two main reasons raw food works. First, the ingredients and second, the minimal processing. We use only human grade, whole fresh foods. This is in comparison to kibble diets which typically use meat meals which are basically meat in a powdered form. It gets that way after heating it at such high temperatures and for such a long time, all the moisture is gone. These ͞dog food͟ ingredients lack the micronutrients, enzymes and phytochemicals that fresh food provides. Before a kibble company even starts their processing that involves high heat and extrusion, they are using ingredients that are overly processes and devoid of nutrients.
Heat is the Enemy of Nutrition
Most kibble are produced at temperatures above 300 degrees F. This is a harsh environment for many nutrients and it destroys all the enzymes, some of the known antioxidants, phytochemicals and flavonoids. High heat can alter the bioavailability of some of the minerals and perhaps even alter the chemical structure of the amino acids. The pet food industry has done an excellent job of compensating for the known lost vitamins by creating vitamin packs to add back the nutrients that are lacking.
Enzymes and Phytochemicals
Natural, whole raw foods contain numerous substances — including enzymes and phytochemicals — that modern science is discovering are important for proper nutrition in humans and laboratory animals. This holds true for dogs and cats as well. Enzymes are specialized protein substances that are involved in all the dog’s activities. Even thinking requires enzymes.
Enzymes are deactivated or destroyed at temperatures above 118 to 170 degrees F; therefore, there are no enzymes in processed dog foods. This forces the dog’s digestive enzymes to do all the work, and perhaps puts a strain on the dog’s ability to manufacture necessary metabolic enzymes.
Phytochemical are specialized nutrients found in plants. The pets body needs these nutrients to be able to thrive and just like enzymes, phytochemicals nutritional impact is depleted when exposed to heat. Therefore the only state that both phytochemicals and enzymes can work to the best of their ability is in the raw state.