Nutritional risks and consequences of meat-only diets for dogs and cats

Authors: Sina S. Tazerji, Ali Elahinia, Baharak Akhtardanesh, Farrokhreza Kabir, Bita Vazir, Pheli-pe M. Duarte, Pouneh Hajipour, Abdul Rehman, Muhammad F. Ilyas, Sahar Hassanza-deh, Rasha Gharieb

Ger. J. Vet. Res 2024. vol. 4, Iss. 1 pp:62-76
Doi: https://doi.org/10.51585/gjvr.2024.1.0076

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Abstract:

Suitable nutrition is one of the most significant issues that always needs to be considered in the health maintenance of living beings. One of the misconceptions of many societies is the exclusive feeding of meat to cats and dogs. Dogs and cats are carnivorous animals; more specifically, cats are strict or true carnivores, while dogs are omnivores. Although cats are true carnivores, an exclusive diet of meat will not cover their needs. Wholly meat-based diets might be rich in many nutrients and minerals, but they are poor in digestible carbohydrates and fiber. Lack of carbohydrates can cause gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea. Also, due to hypovitaminosis A and D caused by such diets, skeletal diseases can be one of the serious consequences. High dietary phosphate > 11.8 g in dry matter (DM) reduces renal phosphate reabsorption and increases vulnerability to chronic kidney disease. As phosphate excretion and reduction of calcium reabsorption continue, bone decomposition, symptoms of osteoporosis, and secondary hyperparathyroidism occur. In wholly meat-based canine diets, a lack of carbohydrates compels the animal to use protein in the gluconeogenesis process to produce glucose. As a result, the body goes through protein deficiency and its side effects. To maintain digestive system health and prevent diarrhea, the diet must include soluble fiber. Also, the presence of carbohydrates and fats is essential. Preserving the correct calcium-to-phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) can be solved by adding carbohydrates or using meats with a lower phosphorus content.

Keywords:

Exclusive meat diet, Rickets, Chronic kidney diseases, Hyperparathy-roidism

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