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The importance of moisture in pet food

Kidney diseases and urinary tract issues in cats are rampant in this country. Cats, being desert animals by nature, are designed to get water from their food. A cat’s normal prey is at least 70% water. Dry food only contains 5-10% moisture, while canned and dehydrated foods (as well as fresh and frozen raw) have over 70% moisture on an as-fed basis.

The Importance of Moisture in Pet Food
Domestic cats may not be inclined to drink as much water from a bowl as they would from a moving water source, even more so than dogs. This lack of moisture in the diet of our pets can lead to dehydration and kidney issues. Feeding a high moisture food puts that much needed water back into their diet – and ultimately into the digestive tract.

The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ should be taken one step further to ‘you are what you absorb.’ This applies to our own diets, but also to that of our paw-ed friends. For adequate absorption and assimilation of ingredients, at least a portion of a pet’s meal should consist of two things:

  • Contain at least 70% moisture (as-fed)
  • More fresh ingredients (foods that have not been heavily cooked, not exceeding 165 degrees, or extruded)

In addition, when feeding a dehydrated pet food like The Honest Kitchen (hydrated with water to feed), this meal contains more fresh ingredients, and the potency and integrity of these ingredients are maintained closer to as nature intended. This can lead to better digestion and more moisture flowing through the urinary tract, aiding in an optimum pH environment.

Intracellular moisture is extremely important for the digestive tract, for the proper digestion and breakdown of food nutrients. A diet for a dog or cat in the wild contains high amounts of moisture (prey). Without this moisture, in the example of dry food kibble diets, the cat or dog is in a constant state of dehydration. Drinking water from a bowl is not sufficient. A dog eating 4 cups per day would need to consume at least a gallon of water to digest that food. For cats, they would need to drink over one cup for every 10 pounds of body weight, to adequately digest a dry food diet.

When moisture is not provided for our pets, the organ systems are limited in their ability to carry out their role in digestion, immunity and all other bodily functions. As in the case of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD, formerly FUS), the treatment is: addressing the diet and hydration.

As our own mother’s would encourage us to eat more vegetables and salads (fresh foods), even if we only consume one salad a week, this is better than never eating a salad. Similarly, we have the opportunity with our customers, to plant seeds regarding moisture in their cats (or dogs) food. Promote fresh food feeding with your customers, asking them to consider just one meal a week of more fresh, whole foods – a diet like Prowl or Grace, hydrated with water to feed, is closer to the Biologically Appropriate diet cats deserve.

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