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Can Fido or Fluffy make it as Vegetarians? (part 2) 
08/15/04 J.R. Rogers

In our last article we talked about the importance of diet. If your pet has arthritis or joint-related problems, it becomes very important to do the right thing with diet. (Of course, it is for all pets.) 

The Vegetarian Dog 
Dogs are omnivores which means simply that they live on food derived from both animals and plants. Can they do without the meat? Of course they could do without meat. The problem is, dogs require more protein and calcium than humans do. The best source of protein would be meat. Therefore, it is important to make certain that if you give your dog meat, it is of the highest quality. Then consider a healthy dose of raw vegetable mixes. 

The Cat as a Vegetarian 
This is not going to work. Cats are carnivores all the way (meat eaters.) Not only do cats require a very high-fat and high-protein diet, they also do not digest foods derived from "plants" well at all. 

And Cats Need a Lot More 
Cats also require arachidonic acid. This is essentially a fatty acid that is found in all tissues and organs which assists in synthesizing prostaglandins. In turn, this reduces inflammation which is an issue for arthritic pets. Cats also need amino acid taurine. Both of these needs are met with a meat diet since they are sourced from animals as opposed to plants. Insufficient amounts of taurine can cause immune function problems and it increases free radicals. (See, prior articles). 

So…what's the bottom line? 
Much of this comes down to three issues. First, as we suggested in our last article, you should be cautious in selecting commercially-available pet foods. Purchase the better brands and avoid the ingredients mentioned in the July issue. (Issues with Commercial Brands and The ones to "pass" on). 

Add raw foods to your pet's diet. They might be a little "finicky" at first but stay with it. They will get used to this as long as you don't overdo it. (I use an approach of "a little every day.") If you try to feed them an entire meal of nothing but vegetables and fruits, it usually does not "sit well" with Fido or Fluffy. 

Buy the "Best" Commercial Foods and Buy it for Less 
Read the things to avoid in our last article. If finances are an issue, join one of those wholesale clubs. You can buy the best commercial brands for far less money. What do you do if that "wholesale buying club card" is even more than you want to spend? Get together with a neighbor or two and share the expense. You can also save by making a list of the foods your pets like and are the best profile. Then, buy in quantities. The point is, make the extra effort to do the right thing. The raw foods are the easy part. 

Stay with the Three-point Program 
Use high-quality liquid glucosamine that contains other synergistic (and all-natural) ingredients used to fight arthritis (bromelain; yucca; vitamin C; omega 3 and 6 fatty acids; vitamin A & E). Make certain that you stay with the correct dosages based on your pet's body weight. 

Exercise 
We have said it time and again. Exercise is extremely important in keeping an arthritic pet fighting and recovering. Sometimes it is a little challenging at first if they have declined significantly. However, in 99.9% of all cases the liquid glucosamine will get them up and moving again. 

Remember, keeping your pet free from pain is a two-way street and it requires your help. Stay with sensible diets; use a high-quality liquid glucosamine; and, exercise them. It makes a world of difference.