We are extremely lucky to have met Michael K Bennett during our raw feeding journey. The research and knowledge that he brings to raw feeding; along with his Facebook page Raw Feeder’s of Great Britain has given us a wealth of knowledge. Recently more of our customers are asking whether their dog needs plant matter in their diet; we have turned to Michael for his stance on this subject.
How to improve your Dog's cellular
health with plant matter By
Michael K A Bennett BCCSDip.HthNut MCMA Holistic Canine Health and Nutrition Consultant
There are many people feeding a “Raw Food Diet” to their dogs but don’t include fruits and vegetables, this is based on the confused fact that dogs are Carnivores and only need Meat, Bone, Organ, Fats, Fur, Feathers etc to survive, Now this would be true of an Obligate Carnivore like Cats and Ferrets but Dog’s are Facultative Carnivores, This means in times of hardship they can live off plant matter, Even the Wolf and other wild canids have been shown to select Berries from bushes, Funghi from tree trunks, Fallen fruits etc... Now although these wouldn’t be classed as a staple to wild canids diet and only by means of survival, the same cannot be said for Dogs!
Many people forget our domesticated companions have changed over the years due to said domestication, dogs have developed the ability to digest starch for example, by producing amylase in their pancreas. This is one key difference between the dog and the Wolf! The change has been due to forced evolution for survival due to the high carbohydrate load in modern pet foods, Adapt or die so to speak!
You’ll also find many people using Cellulose as a reason not to feed vegetables because dogs can’t digest it but neither can us humans yet we eat vegetables? This is insoluble fibre for us and it’s the same for them dogs, very beneficial! They use Soluble and Insoluble fibre in various forms across all commercialised and veterinary prescribed pet foods but often in the form of Beet Pulp, which is the wastage from processing/refined sugar (Sugar Beets). In fact they did a study on how Beet Pulp was superior on a therapeutic level as a source of insoluble fibre over Corn Starch. (1)
So how can Cellulose actually be a benefit for dogs?
As Cellulose is an Insoluble fibre it absorbs water, so it can attract moisture from outside the colon in order to soften up a dog’s stool. It can also combat dog diarrhea by absorbing excess water inside the colon.
Insoluble fiber can also act as prebiotic in the large intestine(2.), important for maintaining gut health!
If you think of vegetables and their nutrients (Cells), they have what i’d call a protective barrier which is cellulose wall, We humans have a “Stage One” digestion for plant matter, this is simply us chewing and our amylase enriched saliva getting to work, Unfortunately dogs aren’t like us they don’t have Amylase in their saliva, so we have to do “Stage one” digestion for them and that’s processing plant matter by simply chopping and lightly steaming/boiling or liquidising, this mimics “Stage One” digestion, making it much easier for them to benefit from the nutrients plants can provide!
Pictured: Button Mushroom, Broccoli, Carrot, Garlic, Pumpkin Seeds, Spinach and Spring Greens (Avoid Carrot if you have a yeasty dog)
My top 5 vegetables that i believe ALL dogs should be benefiting from being added into their diets.
1. Broccoli - This vegetable is part of the Cruciferous Family, it’s low on the Glycemic Scale to which makes it more suitable for diebetic dogs or dogs with yeast issues
Nutritional Benefits- Broccoli is a good source of fibre and protein, and contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium as well as the vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid (3.)
2. Kale - Also in the Cruciferous family, again Low on the Glycemic Scale.
Nutritional Benefits-Vitamin A, C ,K , Folate(Folic Acid) , Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid ,Lutein and Z eaxanthin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium and Zinc (4.)
3. Sprouts- Again a member of the Cruciferous Family with a Low Glycemic Index, You’ll notice that i'm a big fan of this family of Vegetables.
Nutritional Benefits- Vitamin K ,C, A ,Folate ,Manganese, Kaempferol(Antioxidant), Alpha-lipoic acid(Omega 3) (5.)
4. Cauliflower- Cruciferous Family, Low GI
Nutritional Benefits- Vitamin C, K, B6 , Folate, Pantothenic acid(B5), Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Glucosinolates and Isothiocyanates (Antioxidants) (6.)
5. Spinach- Not a Cruciferous Vegetable, however it is Low on the Glycemic Index Nutritional Benefits- Vitamin K, A, C , Folate, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron and
Vitamin B2,Lutein and Zeaxanthin(Antioxidants) (7/8.)
The reason why i am a big fan of these is because owners really don’t have an excuse, these are cheap to buy and quite often will be “Table Scraps” when it comes to the sunday roast, they pack a nutritional boost for all dogs!
There is plant matter that dogs should avoid entirely or keep to a minimum and those are anything that is Grain/Starch based therefore no Wheat, Rice, Potatoes (If you must, pick sweet potato) No legumes such as peas and beans (Contain Lectins). These are on the “Avoid if possible” list because in excessive volumes they can contribute to chronic inflammation and high blood sugar levels which will indirectly cause disease /disorders such as pancreatitis, diabetes, obesity, arthritis etc..
I’ve kept this short and sweet but I'm also a great fan of adding in selected herbs such as Sage, Fennel, Mint, Thyme, Chamomile, Basil to name a few (Careful with herbs if your dogs epileptic, they can trigger seizures)
There’s also other vegetables and fruits that are a great benefit if your dog isn’t yeasty or suffering with allergies. Mushrooms also provide great benefits especially the adaptogenic kind!
If you want to know more about plant matter and how they can help your dogs specifically, then please send me a message via firstname.lastname@example.org or my facebook page “Michael K A Bennett Holistic Canine Health and Nutrition Consultant” (https://www.facebook.com/MKABHCHNC/)
At the moment i am running my VIP Consult Club, so please as about the packages, Bronze for example is currently £10 pcm for 2 hours worth of 1-2-1 consults to spread across the month how you wish (Minimum of 30mins each consult) you’ll also get access to a Digital Diary and added to the VIP Consult Club facebook group. Any customer of Raw Galore Ltd will also receive 1 hours free no obligation consultation with myself, just Quote “RawGalore” when you contact me.
I hope this was an enjoyable read and i am open to honest feedback, if you’d like to see more like this then please let me know!
Michael K A Bennett