Our domesticated dog’s ancestors survived the harsh process of evolution and adapted to eat prey items available in their environment. Time of year for these ancestors greatly effects the menu of the day. From fruits and insects in the summer to buried bones in the harsh winter. Most mammals have this adaptive physiology to promote survival, being adaptive is important for survival of the species.
In recent history we have become used to feeding one brand of dog food for months if not years. For this reason commercial dog foods are developed to provide nutritional balance in every meal.
As mammals we have several physiological processes to deal with a shortage of foods, such as protein breakdown, gluconeogenesis. However, we have less processes that deal with excess food intakes. This should create a picture in your mind that mammals evolved to cope with periods of fasting or non-optimal nutrition, indeed this is actually how us humans approach our diets - variety is key.
Where we come into difficulty is if this is continued over a long period. If animals are not allowed access to a variety of seasonal foods they may become deficient or excessive intake in one particular nutrient. Restricting access to species appropriate foods by domestication can lead to nutritional disorders, and hypervitaminosis A is an example where cats are fed an all-liver diet which results in a fused spine.
In our domesticated environment it is impossible to mimic a natural or wild diet, even raw feeding is not a true replication of a wild canine’s diet. This is due to several factors, for one we have lost touch with seasonality and variety in our pet foods. Intensely reared factory farmed meats have a higher fat content then wild meats, this effects calorie intakes as well as the balance of fats. Soil depletion of trace elements due to over farming is common in the UK. This means many foods are low in essential trace elements, and supplementation is needed.
The principles behind VetChef allow us to feed a variety of whole foods seasonally while keeping track of the nutritional value over time. If you find yourself without one of the essential nutrients the app will recommend recipes to redress the balance. Your dog can enjoy the benefits of a whole food varied diet whilst you have peace of mind in us tracking the balance over time.