Tinned Food – Shortening Your Pet's Life Span…

“Kelly, thank you for saying those 3 little words to me… Raw Food Diet. It lead me on a whirlwind search of the net, which lead me to stumble onto a great little puppy dog forum, which, in turn, lead me to a wonderful vet who treats in homoeopathy for animals, and has written a book on raw food diets.

Both my dogs are on a raw food diet now, and I strongly urge anyone with a dog or cat to look into it. The more I read about it, the more sense it made. I know my Chelsea will still die of lymphoma, but, she is doing so much better then she was just 2 weeks ago. She is a different dog.

It has also encouraged me to look more at the foods that we eat. So thank you Kelly, you gave me the key to helping me to save my girl."

Raw Foods Diet – The Key To A Longer, More Vital Life For Your Pet

Some years ago, I remember a story on the news where a vet stood defiant against his profesion, saying that they were wrong for recommending and selling foods which where very unhealthy for pets – processed foods from a tin. Sadly, this forward thinking vet was crucified by his profession, but can you blame them when it’s something that goes against their nutrition education and training, some of which provided by pet food manufacturers? The manufacturers work similarly to formula manufacturers, sponsoring major events, university prizes and giveaways. Heavy branding and marketing activities go on to both vets and vet nurses, and just like some mothers with formula, leaves them confused as to which is really best.

While I really took in the information from the news story and was shocked, it was long ago and I had completely forgotten about it until recently.

I have been fortunate to have a very good friend who I found out is a strong advocate for raw foods diets for pets. We got talking about it because my beautiful black cat Simba was taken to the vet after days of not looking right. I’d seen him looking like this before when he had an intestine obstruction, but this time, he looked worse and I was so scared we were going to lose him.

He had a mysterious but serious problem – his temperature was extremely high, his white cell count higher than the vet had ever seen before and after days of preparing us for the worst of incurable types of diseases – from feline AIDS to leukemia – we were facing the possibility that Simba was about to either pass away or be put down. He was incredibly ill, and anyone who has been in the situation of being at the crossroads of making a major decision on what to do with your very sick pet will know how much this can emotionally effect the family. We weren’t ready to lose our beautiful little puss cat, he was only four and we loved him to bits.

After having tried everything including a range of antibiotics and pain relief over a period of a week (with absolutely no response) and a second opinion from a vet friend of mine, the vet gave Simba very strong anti-inflammatories, which stunned us all – as soon as it kicked in, he was completely back to normal – in that he was able to function. He was eating, moving, getting up and wanting cuddles. But as soon as the dose ran out, his temperature would go up, he would be lethargic and would not eat or move. All we could do was continuously gave him anti-inflammatories and see what the path was taking us to. I was devistated – it looked like his time was up.

But this isn’t a sad story, instead a very fortunate and opportune one. Lucky for me, my good friend, Deborah, (who told me all about raw foods diets) prescribed a diet to follow for Simba, to start on right away. She said it may take him some time to eat the new diet but we must be strict, putting it back in the fridge if he hadn’t eaten it and trying again later.

So with Simba taking his medication and in the comfort of his own home, we put him on the raw foods right away, while he was eating. It was a shock – i’d never seen him eat so much and so fast! I thought we would struggle with the big change, especially when pets get so easily addicted to the junk that is in tinned and dry food. But it’s an addiction worth breaking – it could well save your pets life.

Over the next few days, he made a miraculous recovery. We successfully weaned him off the anti-inflammatories over about 4 days until he didn’t need it. Even more surprisingly, he started acting like he had years ago – like a kitten! Simba is usually very quiet and cuddly, I am his favourite, he loves to snuggle up to me – but now, he has to have a play first! His eyes sparkle and you can see the strength, energy and life at levels never seen before. He claws and pulls himself along (sidways!) on the bottom of the couch and beds – everything that kittens do and runs around the house like a loonatic for a bit! We had a new cat in Simba and we were so happy.

The vet was stunned when I took Simba back for a check up, couldn’t believe his eyes. I told him what we did to help him – put him on a raw foods diet. Simba has also put on so much weight and muscle from the diet, so there is no going back for us. It was then I knew that there was something seriously wrong with this processed ‘cat food’ if you can call it that.

I am not the only one who has experienced their pet showing dramatic improvements in health, vitality, skin conditions and diseases. Deborah has shared stories of other friends’ pets she has helped with mysterious diseases that were written off by the vet. While illnesses some pets have may be incurable diseases, pets on the raw foods diet do feel better for it. I am not claiming this diet cures cancer. But it seems to cure many ‘mysterious’ conditions and I am a strong believer that it can help prevent it. Just like human food, there is much evidence on processed foods causing cancer for us too. But sadly we choose it because it is convenient.

Something which further made me realise that this diet does work is observing something on the farm where we once lived – our cat grew up on mice, rabbits (he would catch them all the time) and other live foods, and he was always very strong, muscular and healthy. He lived a very healthy life and passed away when he was 18 years old.

Deborah has kindly given me permission to share a cat and dog raw foods diet with you and she is happy to answer questions you might have. We’ll try and get a dog diet up for you soon, at the moment I only have the cat one while she writes up the dog diet, but please, even if this motivates you enough to do some reasearch and look up raw food diets, then I have done what I hope to do – spread the word about the benefits of ditching the tin and dry food junk that the vast majority feed our pets. You can also join in on the BellyBelly Raw Foods Challenge in our pets forum. We want you to share your pets achievements on this diet too!

Why change to a more natural diet?

From the Raw Meaty Bones website:

Q. My previous pets all lived to a ripe old age on commercial food and my current pet dog and two cats seem fine. Why should I change their diet to more natural foodstuffs?

A. Are you sure that your previous pets were healthy? What were your vet bills like? Just how healthy are your current pets? Until we face the facts that our processed-food-fed-pets are not so healthy it is difficult to persuade ourselves that a natural diet could be better. First we must be honest with ourselves – fair treatment of our pets then follows, automatically.

Q. I want to feed my pet a ‘complete and balanced’ diet

A. People living on wartime rations were found to suffer from an incomplete and unbalanced diet, they lacked sufficient fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and milk – hence the preoccupation with the term ‘complete and balanced’. Carnivore needs are different to human dietary needs. The term ‘complete and balanced’ has been imported into discussions on animal diets, but tends to be seriously misused – instead of food types the chemical constituents, carbohydrates, proteins, etc are emphasised. Best to treat the commercially inspired notion ‘complete and balanced’ with suspicion and ensure that your pet is fed according to nature’s teaching – whole carcasses of raw meaty bones.

Some general tips about Raw Foods Diets

Before the tips – there are a range of raw food diets on the internet and in books, some BARF (bones and raw foods) diets involve ground bones and vegetables and not whole bones. Whole bones (raw) are MUCH better for your pet and offer benefits like teeth cleaning, jaw muscle building and more – not just physical but psychological. A fantastic Australian website full of resources, articles and tips is the Raw Meaty Bones website which I have linked to below, which has been compiled by a veterinarian.


1. Right now – go and throw out all processed pet food – dry or canned. Think of it as McDonalds for your pet. Those whose pets are on the raw foods diets (as a result of health conditions) would find that it didn’t matter if they bought top of the range products, it still caused problems. It is pet JUNK FOOD. It’s best in the bin.

2. When feeding your pet, put the food down and leave it for 5 minutes. If your pet doesn’t eat it, wrap it up and put it in the fridge until his next feed.

3. Offer food morning and night.

4. NEVER leave food out for him to help himself to.

5. Lock your pet in for a few days if you can, to stop him begging off the neighbours! Just at least until your pet gets use to eating real pet food, as they would eat in the wild. This is what BARF is all about, and this is why your pets will put on muscle and have energy, because they are eating what their body needs to function in natural, healthy form.

6. Make up a food plan / list for your pet with the raw foods diet. Stick on your fridge what you plan to feed your pet each day, which makes it easier to shop and you can pre-prepare everything to make it simple to remember.

7. Chicken carcasses, rabbit and fish is suitable for pets from 6 weeks of age!

An Example Raw Foods Cat Diet

  • Main components should be fresh whole raw chicken carcasses (frames), necks and wings. Turkey chops are okay too. Get them from any supermarket or good butcher, one to two a day (freeze in ready to serve bags to make your life easy). Before you even say, ‘my cat wont eat that,’ re-read the tips above – but one thing I have done for my cats is just not give them wings (they will happily eat necks, turkey chops and chicken frames anyway). Giving cats poultry is close to their evolutionary diet of birds and mice.
  • 1 to 2 eggs a week, organic is best, just beat fresh and serve.
  • Offer two bowls of fresh water, one with a piece of copper pipe.
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh raw liver/kidney three times a week, (freeze in ready to serve portions, some people use an old ice cube tray, perfect portion size).
  • 1 serve of fresh sardines or tuna per week (human grade, can be canned). This is optional, but my cats love it so it’s part of our BARF diet.
  • Tiny pinch of vitamin C powder or crushed tablet or equal amount per day on food (purchase from health food shop or supermarket).
  • A few drops of organic cold pressed honey per day on food (supermarket/health food store).

An Example Raw Foods Dog Diet

Coming soon – please check back later!

Raw Foods Discussion

Join us in BellyBelly’s pets forum HERE.



Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.

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