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Thinking like your ancestors

The low-carb diet from Tim Noakes and the Paleo diet (which encourages people to eat like their cavemen ancestors) are the meal-plan ‘revolutions’ that are on everyone’s lips at the moment. In the animal kingdom, that same thinking is becoming a recipe for success for savvy pet owners in the know. The question is, as cats and dogs are built like their ancestors, surely they should eat like them too?

Food is an evolutionary thing – even when it comes to pet food

That is Dr Sonja Maricevic’s thinking anyway. Luckily, her university degree in art restoration came in handy when her beloved Russian Blue Cat, Salvador, got very sick. Her pedantic approach to research from her PhD background coupled with her degree’s heavy slant on chemistry was a formidable combination when she was trying to work out how to help Salvador. She trawled through endless amounts of research and literature on animal health and has since completed several courses covering animal nutrition in depth. Three years later, it has led to a change in career – Sonja is now the technical director for Champion Petfoods in South Africa, thanks to her new passion for animal nutrition – and at 15 years old and thanks to a change in his diet, Salvador is still going strong. With everything she learnt, Sonja wanted to share her knowledge with pet lovers around the world. This is what she found:

  1. Why are our pets not eating like hunters? As domestic dogs and cats have evolved from hunters, the physical structure of their teeth, jaws and digestive system scientifically classify them as carnivores, which for thousands of years have eaten exclusively a meat-based diet. The problem is, although the animals themselves have evolved, the food for their smaller, domestic counterparts has not, as the majority of pets are still largely fed a grain-based diet.
  2. Why is a protein-rich diet best for animals? Just like with human food – where a prime cut of fillet steak will cost slightly more than a veggie substitute – in order for the costs of pet food to be kept to a minimum, a lot of grain and human food remnants are used in pet food as they are cheaper than meat. The problem is, the high grain and carbohydrate content is not actually needed by dogs and cats and doesn’t allow them to thrive as much as they would on a protein rich diet.
  3. So what is the “biologically appropriate” answer then? Champion Petfoods is filled with only the good stuff that your pet needs – the ingredients that will bring the best out of your best friend... whether you’re taking your dog for a run around the neighbourhood or if you’re playing with your fluffy new kitten. Brands Orijen and Acana are bursting with cage-free poultry, nest-laid eggs, wild-caught fish and free-range red meat, all delivered fresh (never frozen and free of any preservatives) for unmatched nourishment and flavour. This protein-rich diet has helped pets all around the world to perform at their peak and for many cats and dogs that struggled with bad health for years, they literally did a 180 degree turnaround, once they were put onto a protein-rich diet... and more specifically, Champion Petfoods.
  4. Did you know that it’s even good for big cats? Your dog or cat has specific dietary needs that Mother Nature cultivated, so it’s interesting to note that even big cats have seen a marked improvement since eating Champion Petfoods. As Champion Petfoods have such a high protein content, with significant quantities of real meat, Champion Petfood was given to cheetahs in rehabilitation, which are now all thriving. Interestingly it even works for different species! As one of the cat foods is packed with six different types of fish, it was fed to fish eagles in rehab, which flourished on their new diet and are back in the wild. With such an impact, just think what two small bowls a day will do for your pet.

Champion Petfoods is available from all good pet retailers and vets countrywide. For more information, visit www.championpetfoods.co.za