Dr. Becker Discusses Raw Food Diet (Part 1)
By Dr. Karen Becker
Hi, I’m Dr. Karen Becker, and today we’re discussing my favorite topic: raw food diets for pets. We’re going to discuss some of the myths and truths surrounding raw food diets. But before we get into the good stuff, it’s important to have a foundation of understanding about basic nutrition. One point that no one is going to argue about is that for optimal health to occur, animals must consume the foods that they were designed to eat. I call this a species‐appropriate diet. So, vegetarian animals must eat vegetation for optimal health. And carnivorous animals must eat fresh whole prey for optimal health. A good place to start with our carnivorous pets is to go back to a dog and cat’s roots prior to the domestication. The domestic dog whose taxonomic name is Canis lupus familiaris is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, which is a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. Most scientists believe that dogs were domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago. But DNA analysis published in 1997 suggests that the transformation from wolves to domestic dogs occurred more like 130,000 years ago. Data suggests dogs first diverged from wolves in East Asia. And then these domesticated dogs quickly migrated throughout the world. Of course, humans began selectively breeding dogs to create animals that suited their needs and their likes. The earliest evidence of cat domestication is a kitten that was found buried alongside a human approximately 9,500 years ago in Cyprus. Researchers have gained a major insight through DNA testing into the evolution of cats by showing how they migrated to new continents and developed new species as the sea levels rose and fell. A 2008‐study revealed that lines of descent for all house cats, which are Felis catus, probably came from self‐domesticating African wild cats up to 10,000 years ago. And like the domesticated dog, humans began breeding cats to suit their fancy, recognizing over 80 breeds of cats that have been created today by one registry or another. So, there are a lot of different kitty species now that humans have created.