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Contrasting Grain-Based and Meat-Based Diets Fed to Dogs and Cats

 Submitted by Michael Adams on November 27, 2009

Contrasting Grain-Based and Meat-Based Diets Fed to Dogs and Cats There are several contrasting schools of thoughts about what kind of diet a pet dog or cat should have. While most people feed their cats and dogs pet food, there are those who find this an expensive option and most often end up feeding the pet the same meal they eat. Historically, it is believed that cats and dogs ate meat.

This is because it is believed that while these animals have been domesticated, their digestive tract hasn't evolved enough to ferment plant material and cellulose. Also, their pancreas are incapable of splitting the cellulose from herbivorous foods into glucose. The other reason being that these pet pals aren't very efficient when it comes to using grain-based foods as a protein source.

This doesn't automatically imply that a meat based diet is the only option for your dog or cat. Even in grain-based foods, there are foods like corn, rice and soybean, which although a tad limited, still have some nutritional usefulness. Do note though, that these alone aren't sufficient enough to provide optimum nutrition for your pet. In order to put together the ideal diet for your pet, be it grain-based or meat based, one needs to understand the nutritional value each of these holds for the animal. Now, it is common knowledge that all mammals need 22 different amino acids for metabolism and other activities. As far as a cat or dog are concerned, these animals can create only 12 of these acids internally and that naturally implies that the other ten amino acids must come from various foods that dogs and cats eat. So essentially putting together a diet for a dog or a cat ensures that the remaining amino acids are provided for in the meal fed to them. In your dog or cat's meal the easiest nutritional elements are the Vitamins and minerals. These are simple because there is plenty of information available and in fact your vet can give you a chart with type of food and quantity to be given at different phases. Vitamins can also be given in the form if supplements to dogs and cats The next easy to handle element is fat. The fat content in your pet's diet can be provided admirably by both grain-based as well as meat-based diets. Providing fats is also not an expensive option. Next is the carbohydrate content in the meal. Carbohydrates are essential in your dog or cat's diet as these provide the energy for muscular activities. Carbohydrates can be primarily found in grain-based meals like corn, rice, wheat, soybeans and even barley. Clearly, these are important to a dog or cat's diet. While these are the basic ingredients in many pet foods it is important to note that these ingredients cannot be the main elements in your pet's meals. Lastly, but importantly, we have the main element of the mealó protein. Here it is important to note, that there are grain-based foods like corn which also provide protein. However, bearing in mind the fact that dogs and cats need ten amino acids it's necessary to pick a protein source that provides these (like fish, chicken or beef) unlike corn which only provides three or four of the amino acids. Protein is also a ready source of energy and as such should be an integral part of their food intake. The ideal meal for your dog or cat would be primarily meat based like beef, chicken, fish or eggs with carbohydrate inputs in the form of wheat, rice or corn. Do note between meat-based meals and grain-based meals, dogs and cats are going to be provided with more nutrition (specifically the amino acids) in the meat-based diet.
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