Raw has many definitions: “as raw as meat in a butcher’s window”, which is exactly what your pet dogs and cats are designed to eat, and “inflamed; sore”, which is exactly what they become when fed a diet that is inappropriate for their needs.

Cats and dogs are carnivores, with an anatomical make-up and dietary needs that are vastly different to humans. They are not designed to handle large amounts of plant matter, cereals, or fibre, and unfortunately most commercial pet foods are based on large amounts of indigestible cereals (usually around 40%), fibre and vegetable by-products, which have usually been discarded from the human food chain.

So, given that pet food is a far cry from what your furry companion should be eating, how do you set about improving their diet?

You can start by offering ingredients they are designed to eat, such as:• raw, meaty bones; from young animals such as lamb, chicken or turkey, ensuring the size of the bone is appropriate for the size of your pet:

• raw organ meats; such as liver, heart or kidney, either whole, chopped, minced or blended
• a small amount of the meat ration can be made up other protein sources, including oily fish, natural yoghurt, raw whole eggs, and cottage cheese
• finely chopped or blended sprouts; such as alfalfa or sunflower (sprouts are a magic living food, so buy some seeds from Honest to Goodness, learn to grow your own and include them in your diet as well!)
• a variety of seasonal vegetables; especially leafy greens, which must be pulped or blended in order for your pet to digest them (this is a great use of vegetable juice pulp if you make your own juices)
• some pulped or blended ripe, bruised or over-ripe fruits (a great use for the fruits at the bottom of the fruit bowl)
• finely chopped or blended common medicinal herbs such as parsley, ginger or garlic

‘Superfoods’ such as kelp powder, shredded nori, spirulina, flaxseed oil, fish oil, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar may benefit particular pets according to their individual health issues. Consult with a Holistic Veterinarian before including these in your pet’s diet.