All September we’re raising awareness about pet waste in relation to health and the environment. In the last couple of posts, we brought up different methods of cleaning your pet’s waste, but in this post we’re getting to the heart of the matter and discussing how diet greatly affects the quality of your pet’s waste.
By now, you might have heard many of the benefits of feeding cats and dogs a species-appropriate raw diet. A natural raw food diet goes a long way in promoting the health of gums, teeth, coats, skin and bones for an overall healthier and happier animal. But a lesser-known benefit is a reduction in the the size, smell and number of times your dog or cat poops! All of us here at HPS agree the less poop, the better.
How exactly does raw food make for better poop? First, we’ll look at how our pets process food. It all begins with the intestines. Both dogs and cats have a short intestinal tract, which means that the time it takes for digested food to reach the colon is about 12 hours. Comparatively, it takes humans approximately 30 to 40 hours to completely digest food and pass it. The longer food sits in the intestines the more it ferments, creating an ideal living environment for bacteria and parasites.
When your dog or cat eats their kibble dinner, the starch and carbohydrates that make up your typical kibble move through their system only partially digested before eventually fermenting. This happens because dogs and cats evolved on a staple diet of meat and are largely unable to breakdown carbohydrates and starches, as they lack the digestive enzyme known as amylase required to break down those materials. When they do eat carbohydrates, which is the base of most commercial pet foods, they’re unable to completely digest and utilize the nutrients.
So, after that partially-digested fermented content comes out the other end of your pet, it doesn’t smell pleasant nor does it look quite right. There’s a distinct look to this type of waste: it’s usually quite voluminous, very soft, lighter in color, gives off a very foul odor. This all comes about due to the indigestible food they are excreting.
In comparison, dogs and cats that are fed a raw fed diet tend to have smaller, firmer and far less odorous poop than their kibble-fed counterparts. While raw food does not completely take away the odor of poop, but it greatly reduces it. Why is that? Because dogs and cats are able to efficiently utilize and digest the raw material. The food spends considerably less time fermenting, and almost all the nutrients are absorbed.