Fresh foods are a valuable component of any diet. Just as we are encouraged to include fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets, cat and dogs will also reap the benefits of intact vitamins and minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. All of these important nutrients are lost to some degree in the processing of food. Those that are recognized to be essential nutrients must be added back into commercially prepared diets to meet established minimum requirements. Whole food sources of vitamins and other nutrients may be better assimilated in the body than their synthetic counterparts.
Variety is important! Despite current advances in the field of companion animal nutrition and a tremendous amount of ongoing scientific research, there is still a great deal that we do not know about the nutritional needs of our four-legged friends. With this in mind, it is unlikely that any single diet is, or can be, nutritionally “complete.” One of the best ways to ensure that we are providing optimal nutrition is by feeding a wide variety of appropriate foods. Feeding variety not only decreases the chance of unknown nutrient deficiencies; it also decreases the risk of developing dietary intolerances, which most frequently occur when specific foods are fed exclusively over time. From a psychological perspective our animals also appreciate the diversity in their diets.