Dry Food and Health Problems in Cats
Veterinarian Reviewed on September 2, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
When I went to veterinary school years ago, I was taught the best thing to feed cats was dry food to keep their teeth healthy. Dry food was convenient. You could leave out large bowls of it for the cats to eat all day if they wanted.
Now almost 30 years later, things have changed. High carbohydrate dry foods have been linked to obesity and diabetes. Research has shown that cats fed exclusively dry food have shorter lives than their counterparts that are fed 50% canned food. Cats who receive canned food live on average 2-1/2 years longer than those on exclusively dry food. Why is this?
Like all animal cats require water to live. Cats are not big drinkers and in the wild cats get a lot of their water from the food they eat. I am told that mice are 95 % water! By feeding dry food, we have eliminated a source of water from the cat’s diet. Cats fed dry food are more likely to develop kidney disease because the dry diet leaves them severely dehydrated. The dehydration puts a great stress on the kidneys and overtime causes death of kidney cells and scarring of the kidneys. As time goes on the kidneys fail all together!
How do we prevent this? Remove dry food from your cat’s diet or feed at least 50 % canned food. If your cat does not like canned food, feed 50 % human food–ground beef, chicken or fish. If your cat has only ever eaten dry food, you may have to wean him off of it. Never stress your cat by changing his food suddenly, or you may end up with a cat with liver disease!
There are a few other ways to prevent problems in cats fed a kibble diet. Pet Wellbeing has a new product called Life Gold which is a product to support the immune system and help with detoxification of kidneys and liver. it is great for cats on commercially prepared diets to help them deal with the stress created by these diets. With some dietary changes your feline friend can live a long and healthy life.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan