Buster Lloyd-Jones, the founder of Denes, passionately believed in the healing power of herbs and the importance of feeding animals as natural a diet as possible. He realised that correct feeding was the biggest contribution you can make to your pet’s general health and well being. To this end Buster developed his natural rearing diets.
Based on fresh, good quality foods, natural rearing diets try to reproduce, as faithfully as possible, the way a cat or dog would feed in the wild. This method of feeding is probably the best you can do for your pet in terms of maintaining good health and vitality. Indeed, animals fed this way will tend to be more energetic, look healthier, suffer fewer bouts of illness and generally live longer.
A typical natural rearing diet for cats includes feeding cooked fish or raw meat such as lamb, chicken, turkey or rabbit, adding carbohydrates such as rice, maize or wheat. Eggs are used to provide extra protein, while additional fibre is provided by grated raw carrot or other vegetables. Fruit, such as apples, dates and figs are given occasionally as a treat.
Remember, however, that the dietary needs of a cat are totally different to those of a dog. Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot thrive on a vegetarian diet. It is important that they have a source of taurine – an amino acid that can be found only in meat. A deficiency can lead to poor vision and heart and reproductive problems.
A typical natural rearing diet for dogs includes feeding raw meat such as lamb, chicken, turkey, rabbit or tripe, adding carbohydrates such as rice, maize or wheat. Eggs are used to provide extra protein, while additional fibre is provided by grated raw carrot or other vegetables. Fruit, such as apples, dates and figs are given occasionally as a treat.
Herbs are an important part of the diets. For example seaweed should be included to provide extra vitamins, minerals and trace elements; parsley acts as a digestive tonic; garlic is a natural antiseptic, which helps to deter parasites; watercress is a good source of iron; dandelion can be used to tone the liver and digestive system, while cleavers can help cleanse the lymphatic system.
Owners who follow the natural rearing regime often combine it with a one-day fast each week to stimulate the digestive juices and clear the body of toxins. Fasting is a natural process-cats and dogs in the wild would not eat every day-but, for the modern pet owner, it is not always practical. Denes will sometimes recommend fasting as part of a natural diet; if you think that it may be beneficial for your pet, a detailed fact sheet is available elsewhere on this site.
The problem is that the natural rearing diet is both time-consuming and expensive and often, domestic cats and dogs will not adapt to it easily. But don’t despair! For those owners who are interested in natural rearing, but are concerned about the practicalities, help is at hand in the form of Denes foods, licensed veterinary herbal medicines and herbal supplements.