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Water — Pets Drink Water While Eating A Wholesome Raw Meat Diet
Mark and Delia Owens are two zoologists who work in Africa and founders of the Owens Foundation. Many years ago, I read their book
The Eye of The Elephant, which is a fascinating book to read. Somewhere, I read that they noticed that a lion pride in the Kalahari desert went four years without drinking water because of a drought, and yet the lions survived purrfectly.
This really got me thinking — how could the lions survive 4 years without drinking water?
The lion pride survived because they got all the water they needed from their prey. As long as they caught food, they were fine.
What does this tell us?
It tells us that a dog or cat should eat and drink at the same time.
As you will see in part three (how to make natural homemade pet food), the food that we make for our companions will be the consistency of a thick stew if using ground meat. As said earlier in this book, this will simulate the moisture content of prey. This is a more natural way for your dog or cat to drink and in fact, don't be surprised if your dog or cat cuts its water intake back once eating wholesome food.
There are two main reasons why your dog or cat will, more than likely, reduce its water intake when it eats moisture rich foods. First, obviously, your pet doesn't need to drink as much now because it has received some moisture while eating. But second, the food can help retain the water in the system longer thus helping to prevent dehydration. This in turn usually decreases the amount of water needed from a bowl — and don't be surprised if the nose on your dog or cat becomes moist or more moist after eating and drinking this way.
When you think about it, in many ways what is mentioned in Dr. Kirk's manual and above makes purrfect sense because the domestic cat is said to originate from Egypt. Scholars believe that African tribesmen and Egyptians coaxed cats to live with them by feeding them food. In turn, the cats most likely helped keep rats and mice away from their grain storehouses.
This is believable because for about 4,000 years, Egyptian hieroglyphs have had cat images. The Egyptians carved wooden figures of the cats and even created the Sphinx.
Now in case you didn't know, Egypt is desert country where water is a scarcity. So it would seem quite possible that the cat's system evolved to get water from its food.
Now, it is said that at about 900 B.C. (some say this means
Before Cats), the Phoenician traders brought the Egyptian cats to Europe. It is said that the cross breeding of the Egyptians cats along with European wildcats produced the domestic cat of Europe.
Now, no–one considered the fact that a cat is quite possibly a desert animal by nature. Most people still don't consider this fact, well, at least until now! However, now that we realize cats (and dogs) need their foods to be moist and that this is a more natural way for our pets to drink, let's prepare their food that way.
Some say that the moisture content of food fed has an effect on maintaining healthy kidneys and bladder in our pets. Now that's food for thought when you consider how many pets, especially cats, have kidney problems such as feline urilogical syndrome while eating dry food.
What's really interesting is that drinking too much water from the bowl can actually cause dehydration. It's all to common to hear a vet tell someone
your pet is dehydrated with the person's response being —
How can this be? My pet drinks water all day! Drinking water from the bowl does not mean your dog or cat is not or cannot be dehydrated. But once your dog or cat begins to get its moisture content from the meat it is eating, the chance of your pet ever being dehydrated is greatly diminished. Of course, this will lead to your pet drinking less water from the bowl — toilet bowl included!
Simulating the natural water content of fresh prey, by adding healthy water to the raw meat, is so very important! Not only will this help keep the kidneys healthy, but the water will be more easily retained by the body thus helping to prevent dehydration.
One thing you may have noticed is that near the top of this page I mentioned that I add water to ground meat. But what about meat chunks? Well, when feeding meat chunks I personally don't soak the meat in water. First, the meat chunks seem to have slightly more moisture content than ground meat. In fact, you might notice that the chunks of meat have water and/or blood leaving it when left in a container in the fridge. Second, I don't add water to the meat chunks because then a lot of the blood flows out. The blood is a valuable source of nutrition for our pets and since meat is already drained of blood by the butcher, I try to save as much of the remaining blood as possible. So as you will learn, in part 3 of my book when I explain how to make natural homemade pet food, I don't do very much to meat chunks. But if the meat chunks are dry then I will let them sit in a very thin layer of water. I then let the meat soak up some of the water so it rehydrates a little.
Editor's Paw Note:
Since pets eating a wholesome and natural raw homemade diet will usually drink less water from their water bowl, it is a good idea to put less water in the bowl. Pets eating a natural, raw meat diet will still drink from their water bowl, but chances are you will find they will drink far less and drink less often. As a result, the water will most likely get dirty before it is all gone. Adding less water to the bowl will simply help ensure your pet is drinking cleaner water and that less water is wasted when you have to toss the dirty water.
Things Are Adding Up
Indeed, things are beginning to add up and I really do hope you are good at math. Why? Because it's time to talk about ratios. Oh don't worry, there's no test involved. Actually, you don't need to be good at math either. Just keep reading. I promise I won't scare you with information, even if today is hallowe'en — Boooooo! See, not scary at all!