Photo, right, by Catherine Haug
This menu includes the following categories:
- Pet Food Consultants (Directory)
- Foods for Pets
- For Cats:
- Raw and Homemade Foods for Cats (still experimenting)
- Commercial canned cat foods
- Kibble for cats
- For Dogs:
- Raw and Homemade Foods for Dogs (not yet)
- Cautions for Pets:
- Do not feed dogs/cats raisins as snacks. Symptoms of raisin poisoning: vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, dehydration, and tremors. [see Mercola-Pets: petfoodfacts.mercola.com/fruits/raisins.html
- Do not feed dogs/cats chocolate [see PetCareRx: petcarerx.com/article/why-chocolate-is-bad-for-dogs-and-cats/1343.
- For Cats:
- Homemade Remedies, Treatments for Cats, Dogs
- Risks and Other Info For/About Pets
- Sodium Selenite in Pet Foods
- The Problem of Tap and Distilled Water for Cats
- Carcinogenic Glyphosate in Pet Foods
- Plants (indoors, outdoors) that can Kill your Pet
- Other Risks, Info (several links to articles
- See also: 1. Mercola-Pets: The Ugly Truth Pet Food Companies Won’t Divulge
NOTE: Cats are obligatory carnivores (they only eat meats, and can be harmed by a diet comprised mainly of plants/herbs; exceptions include catnip and slippery elm syrup). Dogs are also carnivores, but not obligatory, and can tolerate more plant foods.
More and more people are discovering that most commercial pet foods are not good for their pets’ health. Check out “The List” (The 2021 List of pet foods the writer trusts to give to her own pets): truthaboutpetfood.com/the-list/.
Ingredients to avoid in pet foods: One of the worst ingredients in some pet foods is xylitol, a type of sugar. See Mercola Pets article for more info: “Healthy for Humans but Enticing and Deadly for Dogs.” Another toxic ingredient for pets is chocolate. Many cat foods contain a toxic form of selenium, called sodium selenite; dog foods typically use selenium yeast, but that is banned from cat foods.
Best ingredients for pets: I believe the best thing you can do for cats and dogs is give them raw meat and organ meat from wild-caught fish and seafood, pasture-raised chicken beef, lamb, etc.. You can also add a bit of plant-foods such as carrots, etc., but remember that dogs are carnivores and cats are obligatory carnivores, so avoid high-carb plant foods.
Foods for Cats/Dogs:
- Mercola-Pets: Quail meat or eggs is an excellent option to more traditional meats for pets.
- Mercola-Pets: “The 3 Biggest Mistakes Pet Parents Make With Homemade Food,” by Dr. Becker. [NOTE: I’ve saved a pdf version of this article: CATSFORK / PDF Files / PETS > “3-BiggestMistakes_HomemadePetFood_MCL.pdf”]. The 3 Mistakes to Avoid are:
- Feeding only Meat
- Forgetting Fiber; “A good rule of thumb is to keep produce content less than 25% of diets for dogs and 15% for cats.”
- Skipping Supplements (like probiotics, Omega-3 fats
- Mercola-Pets: Can You Feed Sweet Potatoes to your Pets?; the answer is yes – as a snack, but they need to be cooked well, as raw sweet potatoes are difficult to digest. Also, while they are often called yams, they are not the same. Be sure to use “sweet potatoes.” Cat’s note: If you make your own pet food, you can also add the cooked sweet potatoes to the mix.
- Mercola-Pets: Good, Quality Cat Food (especially the last section: “The Cat Food I Recommend: A Nutritionally Balanced Raw Homemade Diet”
Foods for Cats:
The best options are listed first.
Raw or Homemade Wet Foods for Cats
- Raw ground beef or lamb (from pastured animals)
- Raw organ meats (preferably from pastured or wild-caught animals)
- Homemade Cat-food (About); includes discussion of added ingredients: oils, fiber/starches, amino acids and selenium
- Raw wild-caught cod or salmon
I want to come up with some recipes using raw or lightly cooked meat or fish, but am still experimenting.
Commercial Frozen, Raw Foods for Cats
A new, locally-owned pet-food store (Happy Hounds) recently opened in my small community, and they carry frozen raw foods for cats and dogs, so I will start introducing my two cats to this option that is far better than canned or kibble foods. See The Spruce Pets for the 8 Best Brands of Raw-Frozen or Freeze-Dried foods.
Commercial Freeze-Dried Foods for Cats
Most brands suggest using these dried bits as snacks. Unfortunately my cats don’t like the ones I’ve tried, except for Cat-Man-Doo, Life Essentials brand of Freeze-Dried Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon which they LOVE. See The Spruce Pets for the 8 Best Brands of Raw-Frozen or Freeze-Dried foods.
Canned Human Foods recommended for Cats
- Commercially canned sardines packed in water (see Mercola Healthy Pets: Fish-based pet foods); this option is far better that commercial canned salmon or tuna (intended for humans). July ’21: I just bought some canned sardines in water to see if they like it. If not, I know I will love it…
- Commercially canned; or lightly-cooked fresh, wild-caught salmon, tuna or mackerel Recipe (not yet tested); NOTE: avoid farmed salmon, tuna or mackerel.
- Canned Sardines (packed in oil) Recipe; note: sardines packed in water is far better, even better than sardines packed in Organic olive oil (see Mercola Healthy Pets: Fish-based pet foods)
Canned Cat Foods
For canned food, I’ve been using Friskies (5.5 oz cans) and Fancy Feast (3 oz cans) brands because they do not contain toxic sodium selenite; see my article Beware: Sodium selenite in pet food is toxic for more about this. Canned foods offer more needed moisture than dry kibble offers. However, they are still low on the “good” list of foods for cats.
Daily amount of canned foods for adult cats
(from Purina, re their Friskies brand):
“Feed adult cats 1 to 1-1/4 oz per pound of body weight daily. Divide into two or more meals. Adjust as needed to maintain ideal body condition. Kittens need up to twice as much food as adult cats and should be fed all they will eat two or three times daily.”
- My new 1-year old Teddy: I got him from our local animal shelter in Oct ’20; at that time, he weighed about 8 lbs, and was very skinny because he didn’t like the kibble they fed him. When I started giving him canned or homemade food, he ate it up and wanted more, eating 8 – 10 oz daily (up to two 5.5 oz cans). By Christmas ’20, he had gained a lot of weight and has quite a round belly.
- My 16+ year-old Charlie has early-stage kidney disease and other health issues. He used to weigh about 11 lbs, but as of Oct ’20, he has lost weight (he’s skin and bones now) because he doesn’t eat much, only ½ – 1 can of Fancy Feast (1.5 – 3 oz) daily. Nov ’20 update: turns out he had a sick tooth which is why he wasn’t eating much; it finally fell out and now his gums are healing and he eats more canned or homemade cat food (sodium-selenite-free). Hooray!
- May ’21: I’m starting to feed both cats raw or lightly-cooked wild-caught salmon or cod. They both prefer the lightly cooked version, so I’ll slowly add in a bit of the raw to get them used to it.
Kibble for Cats
For your pet’s health, kibble should NOT be their primary food. For my cats’ primary food, I feed them ground, raw, frozen food and sodium-selenite-free canned foods if I don’t have any homemade food on-hand, but keep a bit of kibble in their kibble bowl for snacks (stirred with some fresh, filtered water), especially when I’ll be away from home for 2 or more hours, or during night when I’m sleeping (they eat day and night).
I use Orijen and Acana brands of kibble because they do not contain sodium selenite; see my article Beware: Sodium selenite in pet food is toxic for more about this. And also because they are grain and soy free. My cats’ favorite is Orijen’s Cat and Kitten kibble, but I also give them other Orijen and Acana kibble mixes. Before serving the kibble, I stir in enough filtered water (or homemade chicken or beef stock) to almost cover the kibble.
The first ingredients in Origen’s Cat and Kitten’s kibble are: “Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, cage-free eggs, Atlantic flounder, whole Atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, whole Atlantic herring, chicken heart, turkey heart.” It also contains some fruits and veggies, including: “whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash…kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, apples, pears,” as well as various seeds and herbs.
For info about Acana ingredients, see Paw Diet: Acana Cat Food Ingredients site.
June 2021 update: I am slowly replacing the canned food with raw or lightly-cooked meats. I serve them:
- raw wild-caught salmon, halibut or cod;
- very rare-cooked pastured chicken or lamb.
Foods for Dogs:
I don’t have a dog, so I’ve not been able to do any experimentation of homemade dog foods. However, when I was a child in the 50’s, our dog, Mikki, mostly ate ground beef, lamb or chicken, and she loved it!
Just as for cats, kibble should be your last choice, and it should be quality kibble such as Origen brand.
Homemade Wet Foods for Dogs
- (not yet)
Homemade Remedies, Treatments
Choking Hazards (see article for more detail)
- Bones and chews
- Collapsing trachea
- Too-tight collars
- Sticks and stones
What to do if your pet is chocking: watch the 1:19 minute video on the site or on YouTube.
D-mannose for a cat’s urinary tract health.
My cat Charlie is 14 years old and has early-stage kidney failure. I use D-mannose in my morning smoothie every day, for my own health. So on 3/24/21, I looked it up online:
- vetinfo.com (check out Carollynn Rohr’s comment on that page). They recommend 1 tsp of D-mannose powder/day (about 2 g), mixed in water which can then be added to the cat food. Carollynn’s cat had some type of blockage in his urinary tract, so she mixed 1 tsp D-mannose powder with 1 Tbsp water and mixed that into her cat’s wet food, hourly, 4-times that day. It resolved the blockage.
- SweetCures recommends a daily dosage roughly based on 1g per 10kg of the animal’s weight. My cat’s weight is about half that, so his dose would be about 0.5 g/day.
My digital scale doesn’t measure less than 1 g, which is about 1 tsp of D-mannose powder, so the two recommendations (above) match. Here’s what I will test: Dissolve ½ tsp (1g) in 2 tsp water, and mix 1 tsp of that mix with 1-day’s worth of cat food; this equates to about ½ g/day. I will test this for a week or so, and update this posting with my findings.
HomeoPet for UTI health
This is a liquid homeopathic remedy that you can add to your pet’s water and/or food; for adult cat weighing 20 lbs or less, the recommended dose is 15 drops, 3-times/day. See Amazon code B00EOOQCJG for a 15 ml bottle to give it a try.
Jun 2021: I am gonna give this a try; my elderly cat, Charlie, has kidney disease, and I want to make his last days/years as pleasant as possible.
My articles on other health issues for cats:
- Slippery Elm Syrup to treat kidney failure in cats
- Using Seleno-methionine supplement for Cats (cat food either contains no selenium, an essential mineral, or it contains the toxic form: sodium selenite). See my article: Beware: Sodium selenite in pet food is toxic (see Using Seleno-methionine supplement for Cats.
Articles on Other Sites:
- Cognitive decline in cats (Mercola-Pets article), which lists symptoms and suggestions to help your cat.
- Remedies for cats with UTI issues:
- VetInfo: D-Mannose for Cats Urinary Tract Health; see comment by Carollynn Rohr: for her cat w/ signs of kidney stones or UTI, she mixed “1 tsp [d-mannose powder] with 1 tblsp of water and mixed it into a tiny bit of wet cat food, … I continued the 1 tsp [dose] every hour for four hours…[then] one more dose of d-mannose [the next morning].”
- Natural Remedies for Cats with Kidney Disease: “Prepare a tisane (herbal tea). Useful herbs include parsley, shepherd’s purse, golden rod, cleavers, yellow deadnettle, yarrow, horsetail, marigold and stinging nettle. To make a tisane use one teaspoon of the required herbs and pour 150ml of boiling water over the them. Leave to infuse for one minute. For all kidney disorders give four droppers-full four times a day”
- [Preventing and] Treating Kidney Disease in Cats A Holistic Approach“
- Natural Remedies for Cats with Urinary Tract infections
- Rehmannia-6 (6 oriental herbs product for cats with kidney failure)
- Pet Health Secrets (from The Truth About Pet Cancer, to download the e-book)
- How to Perform CPR if your Cat Loses Consciousness (from Mercola-Pets)
- How to Help a Choking Cat (from Mercola-Pets)
- Turmeric (and anti-inflammatory diet) to Fight Tumors, Arthritis, Diabetes (and more, from Mercola-Pets)
- Special Needs of Senior and Geriatric Cats (from Mercola-Pets)
Risks and Other Info for/about Pets
- Beware: Sodium selenite in pet food is toxic (see Using Seleno-methionine supplement for Cats for a better selenium option)
- When Your Cat’s Meow Deserves a Listen (Mercola’s Health Pets site); includes a cheat sheet/chart for decoding some common kitty chatter – very helpful.
Xylitol for dogs:
While xylitol is safe for humans, it is very toxic for dogs – right after chocolate. This includes any food or treat that contains xylitol. See Mercola-Pets article for more. The article says it is toxic for pets, but only discusses dogs, not cats, but I’ll bet it’s bad for cats, too.
The problem of tap and distilled water:
See VetWater (vetwater.com): I found this site when looking for water filters for my cats’ water dispenser; I’ve not yet tried it (3/16/21), as I use water from my reverse-osmosis filter; however, its pH is not slightly acidic, so I will figure out how to correct that.
VetWater’s product, “CATWATER,” is available on Amazon (code: B08BJ85RMV), and is intended to help your cat’s urinary tract health. From their site:
- “Helps increase water consumption in cats. CATWATER is ozonated and chlorine-free with a light rate of acidity which encourages cats to drink more.
- Helps promote an ideal urinary pH; CATWATER has a perfectly balanced pH between 6.2 and 6.4 that suits cats need [Cat’s note: this pH is slightly acidic – less acidic than distilled water]
- Helps minimize the presence of the minerals responsible for causing crystals and stones in the bladder…. CATWATER contains no minerals associated to urinary problems.”
Carcinogenic Glyphosate in Pet Foods
See Mercola-Health Pets article: Carcinogenic-Glyphosate in Pet Foods for more detail. From the article [or my notes in square brackets], the following foods are in order from best-to-worst:
- The best food for cats and dogs is fresh raw meat;
- Next is freeze-dried raw meat;
- [Lightly-cooked fresh meat];
- Mostly-raw homemade pet food; however, avoid cooking oils that contain corn or soy products, even if they’re organic;
- Certified Organic canned pet food [choose sodium-selenite-free, menadione-free];
- Non-organic canned pet food [choose sodium-selenite-free, menadione-free];
- Regular dried kibble;
- The worst is grain-free kibble (especially if contains oats or legumes such as pea-protein, chickpeas, and/or lentils)
Plants (In- and out-doors) that Can Kill your Pet
See Mercola-pets article: 4 Plants That Can Kill your Pet for more information. The plant that concerns me most for my cats is “lilies:”
“Lilies from the lilium and Hemerocallis species (called “true” lilies) are deadly to kitties. These include the Easter, tiger, Japanese show, stargazer, rubrum, and day lily. Just two to three leaves or petals, or even the pollen or water from a vase holding the lilies, can result in severe acute kidney failure and death.
Signs of poisoning include vomiting, lack of appetite, abnormal urination, lethargy, and progressive kidney damage. Treatment typically involves a 48-hour hospital stay, aggressive decontamination, anti-vomiting meds, and intravenous (IV) fluids. With immediate treatment, most cats can survive this type of poisoning.”
Other Risks, Info
- Pet Health Secrets Most Vets Won’t Tell You (From TTAC for Pets) discusses 4 main topics:
- Do Pet food Standards Provide a False Sense of Security?
- The #1 Thing You Can Do: Read a Pet Food Label
- Are Your Pets Drinking Enough Water?
- Pet Obesity and Health: The Problem with Overweight Pets
- How to Help your Cat Live a Longer Life (Mercola article); here’s highlights of the top 8 ways:
- Species-specific diet: Cats need a high moisture, high protein, low carb diet;
- Maintain a healthy weight – don’t overfeed, especially with carbs. “Calculate calorie requirements for your cat’s ideal weight, measure his food portions using a measuring cup or scale.” [link goes to another Mercola article].
- Consistent daily exercise: “includes at least 20 minutes of high-intensity activity such as playing and chasing will help your cat burn fat and increase muscle tone.”
- Indoor living: even tho it is not their native habitat, cats have evolved, and an indoor life has far fewer health risks.
- Environmental enrichment: The more comfortable your feline family member feels in your home, the lower her stress level.
- Crate training isn’t just for dogs; being crate-trained helps when you have to take your cat to a vet, for example.
- Grooming: while your cat is naturally a good groomer, “it’s a good idea to teach your kitty to accept regular gentle brushing or combing.”
- Veterinary health checkups: most young healthy cats only need a checkup once a year, cats 7-years or older, or those with chronic health issues should have two visits annually.
- Supplements “Potentially Lifesaving for You, Poison to Your Pet” (Mercola’s Health Pets site)
- Synthetic vitamin K (Menadione or K3) may be Toxic to your Cat’s Liver (Mercola’s Health Pets site); from the article: Menadione (synthetic vitamin K), widely used in all types of pet food, has been identified as a liver toxin, even in very small amounts. Check labels, even in raw pet foods, for presence of this nutrient; look for menadione, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (MSBC), or vitamin K3. I just checked the 2 canned cat foods I use (Friskies and Fancy Feast); both use MSBC. Fortunately, the 2 kibble brands I use (Orijen and Acana) do NOT contain either form of menadione.
- Many cat and dog foods contain grains or soy as a first or second ingredient; yet cats are obligatory carnivores, meaning their diet must be animal-foods (meats, organs, etc) and dogs are regular carnivores, meaning they can utilize a small amount of carbs, but rely mainly on animal foods. One brand that breaks those rules is Hill’s Science Diet, which they tout as “Veterinarian Recommended.” Their foods also contain sodium selenite, a toxic form of the essential mineral, selenium (see my article: Beware: Sodium selenite in pet food is toxic for more). See Hill’s Science Diet website for list of ingredients in each of their pet foods
- Pet Health Secrets Most Vets Won’t Tell You (From TTAC for Pets) discusses 4 main topics: