Food Protein Energies
Many, many, many pets today are on limited ingredient diets. The ingredients being limited are protein sources, also known as single source protein diets. Have you noticed that many limited ingredient diets or single protein source diets have no chicken? This has to do with the most common causes of digestive inflammation.
What does it mean when we talk proteins, energies…hot, warm, cold, neutral?
The ‘HOT’, ‘WARM’, ‘COLD’, ‘NEUTRAL’ protein principals stem from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
While some believe that cold maybe more sluggish or lazy, while warm or hot may be more vibrant, energetic or even irritable…protein principles do affect digestion and basic health as well as gut and liver inflammation.
I wanted to post a chart that really helped me better read ingredient lists on pet foods. You see, these protein principles have less to do with LAZINESS and more to do with sluggish gut and digestion which can cause inflammation.
I’m sure that there are other more comprehensive charts out there, but at a glance, this really helped me.
With pets, we don’t get the benefit of verbal communication. We have to rely on reading body language, poop language, and symptoms such as itchiness, anxiety, excessive licking to name just a few.
My own pets have had skin irritation. Red paws licked so raw that I cried.
My veterinarians who were awesome went through a protocol battery of tests to rule out pathogenic infections, dermatophytes, and all of the blood work and all of the cultures cost us time and money. But they never provided solutions. Until you request an allergy test, samples will not be sent to Ithica, home to Cornell University and one of the best pet allergy testing labs in the nation.
The whole time, my dogs were miserable, I was miserable and I racked up DEBT from all of those tests.
I have had dogs and cats all of my life but my dogs were exhibiting these sensitivities and it was just a matter of time for the cats. My dogs were on breeder suggested food and so were my cats. We tried prescriptive diets as well.
Personally, I have distrust for food products labeled as prescriptive, especially when the ingredients are not prescriptive in nature but the cost is.
A holistic vet approached me about feeding a raw diet. She had made a few suggestions and she totally made sense.
Because she suspected an allergy, the best way to test for it would be through the process of elimination and unfortunately, I cannot eliminate ingredients in kibble.
It is what it is. Kibble is all mashed together!
I was committed and I dove into it. Imagine a being, in this case a pet, eating the same dry or canned food, day in and day out. There is something called hypersensitivity. When the body is exposed to the same trigger over and over again, the body may show a reaction...hypersensitivity. Too much of a good thing!
Now, raw is not for everyone. If it is not in the budget or lifestyle fit that you are looking for, just do your very best. No judgement. I had access, pricing and the time… to look into it and it worked.
Whether raw is for you or not, your choice. It’s a personal choice and it has to work for you, your lifestyle and budget.
For me, it was the easiest way to eliminate the ingredients, and therefore variables.
Most pet foods contain lots of ingredients and it’s very difficult to try and eliminate one or two of them. I needed a very fast way to get down to the bare minimum ingredients to see if the discomfort was diet related and it was.
When I went to raw, I had one item...meat and I could add variables (other ingredients) one at a time to see how the pets responded.
Over time, I found that my pets had trouble digesting warm and hot proteins. Chicken, Quail, Lamb and Goat. I was surprised to see how many limited ingredient diets had lamb and goat.
Poops were not perfectly solid, gas, bloating, belching, bad breath and skin irritations. Those were the worst.
Skin irritations like this!
This is Thor, my daughters Cream Golden Retriever. It's so painful to see how uncomfortable the skin irritation made him. It's itchy, gross, oozy and unsightly. The hair around the ears is dark and dirty looking even though he was just bathed. All of this went away with diet!
In reading ingredients, even on pre-ground raw food, I found chicken more often than not. I could not get away from it. Bison with ground chicken bones for calcium! I mean really? Yes, really. Chicken and chicken meal and chicken bone. It was just never ending!
When I tried to find limited ingredient manufactured dog or cat food, they generally had venison, lamb, goat, pork listed. Rabbit was incredibly expensive.
After about 2 weeks on beef and bison diet, skin issues cleared up, almost completely.
I aided the diet with bathing, using Epsom salt in the water and sponge to clean those areas thoroughly. I followed with arrow root powder kicked up a notch with essential oils.
Arrow root powder is used in cooking and it is super absorbent. Apply it to any inflamed area that has ooziness, wow! Helps clear it up. Add some oils to help reduce inflammation and you can have a wildly successful regimen.
We were off drugs, off prednisolone for cats, antibiotics for both dogs and cats. It was incredible! Such a relief. Just 2 weeks.
I added green beans to dog food for fiber as per my vet and egg shells. My dogs picked out the green beans! I added bone for calcium (rabbit bone raw) and if bone was unavailable, I used kitty bloom’s Kalak M38 for calcium and kitty bloom VM900+3 for taurine both dogs and cats.
I found that ‘HOT’ proteins such as chicken and chicken by-products were the most challenging to digest. They are also the least expensive and are in almost all foods, even ones labeled to have lamb. They will have chicken bone meal or something chicken. I could not get away from it!
The ‘COLD’ proteins tended to settle down the belly and over time, eliminate skin conditions altogether. Solid stools with consistent texture, color and smell and much less belching and passing of methane gas in the home!
‘NEUTRAL’ proteins tended to have the same effect as the ‘COLD’ proteins. I tend to stick with neutral and cold protein choices.
Another correlation that I found was the FAT content of the protein source, aka lipids. For example, chicken tends to be higher in fat and the bits that wind up in pet food are generally what we, hoomins don’t eat…FAT.
An overly fatty diet can trigger pancreatitis, which as it sounds, is the inflammation of the pancreas.
So, while duck is a ‘Cold’ protein, it is also rather high in fat. A very tasty fat, however, it is not recommended to feed large amounts of fat to carnivores.
When we have bits of duck…its bits of duck for the kitties and the pupporoni, not a duck breast. Save the duck confit and the foie gras for yourself!
After changing out the diets, I saw visibly lowered inflammation. The fur on the paws and face grew back, licking stopped and the behavior really evened out. Better attention span, better focus, better results with training. It was like having a brand new pet!
As you read your ingredients list, aim for different proteins, try neutral. Turkey, Bison, Rabbit. They are more expensive and tend to be lower to lowest in fat content. Also, try to limit preservatives. Check the guaranteed list versus the ingredient list. Avoid colors such as red, yellow and green. Your pets don’t care about color!
That targets digestion, behavior, proper weight, pancreatitis and skin irritation.
Whether my pets had cold or hot energy, I found that neutral protein sources tended to best balance the digestive system and overall health.
All around a really good thing.
When you look for food for your pets, even if it is NOT raw, it is ok! Look for chicken free. Look for brands that limit carrageenan and certain preservatives. Read the labels and ask questions. If you like, ASK ME! I am here to help. I have recipes for cooking foods. I have a list of brands that I like for my own pets. Drop me a line, I am happy to share.
Hope this helps you!