Natural Feeding FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions – Natural Feeding

See also: Natural Diets

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Q. Why should I feed a natural diet?

A. Processed food is not in keeping with any animal's evolved needs. At the AVMC, we study the natural diet of the nearest wild species to see how the body's nutritional needs are best to be suited. Our advice is based on the premise that what a species has evolved to handle will be the optimum diet for that species. Manufactured food is denatured, may contain artificial vitamins, is prepared from as cheap a source as possible and sold as expensively as possible, after cunning marketing hype. Our advice is not based upon potential sales but upon what we believe to be best for your animal.

Q. What about the ‘Science' behind manufactured foods?

A. As is explained in our booklet “Feed Your Dog the Natural Way”, the science is only skin deep. The formulations keep changing, with new developments, demonstrating the shortcomings of the previous generation of product. Formulations are based on laboratory experiments, in itself a very unnatural practice which is not justifiable on scientific or humane grounds.

Q. What about the attractive and seductive ‘claims' made in product marketing?

A. The claims are not supported by experience and usually use words which are either so general as to be meaningless or are in danger of being misleading. For instance, how can a freeze-dried product be called natural?

Q. But surely manufactured foods are ‘balanced'?

A. The concept of balance is a complex one. What is balanced for one dog will not be for another. One horse's needs will differ from another. The body balances itself over a period, not in any one meal, as long as variety and moderation are on offer. Furthermore, as explained above, formulations change in the light of new knowledge and understanding becoming evident. This shows that full balance has not yet been achieved. Even if a food were to be balanced, feeding it day in and day out will not allow for an individual's varying needs from day to day, season to season, lifestyle to lifestyle.

Q. How much to feed?

A. Many folk are fearful that they will not feed the correct amount, without packaging instructions. In fact, those who adopt natural feeding find it very easy to adjust the intake to the individual's needs, giving less if too much weight is put on and more if too much weight is being lost.

Q. Cost?

A. Natural feeding can turn out cheaper than using manufactured foods.

Q. How do I know what to cook?

A. We base advice on the natural diet of the equivalent ‘wild' species. There is more detail at

Q. Can I feed raw food to a dog or cat?

A. Raw is natural. Wild animals do not encounter cooked food. However, some cooking is fine and feeding scraps from the family's meals is fine, provided they are compatible with the dietary plan. Some raw fish can be harmful for cats and raw (uncooked) linseed is not safe for horses

Q. Will my insurance pay out for natural feeding?

A. This is very unlikely.

Q. Is it safe?

A. Natural feeding is very safe, with some caveats about the feeding of bones, raw fish and raw chicken.

Q. What about prescription diets, for animals with specific illnesses?

A. The dietary needs of animals with specific disease issues can be met with natural feeding, with a little planning and advice from your holistic vet.

Q. Do horses and ponies need a ‘natural' diet?

A. Horses are grazing and browsing herbivores and rely on fibre, grass, leaves and herbs for a healthy balanced diet. This is best supplied by grazing traditional grassland, rather than by fertilised and ‘improved' pastures. Manufactured and processed feeds are as unsuitable for horses and ponies as for other species. Many manufactured feed and supplement products contain unsuitable ingredients.

Q. What are unsuitable foods for horses?

A. Basically, anything not encountered in the wild grazing habitat is unnatural and unsuitable, e.g. refined sugar, semi-refined sugar, animal tissues, eggs, milk, solvent-extracted oils, fish products (e.g. cod liver oil), grass and grass products from fields that have been dressed with artificial fertiliser, haylage, silage, artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial antioxidants, animal-derived chondroitin and animal-derived glucosamine. Even cereal grains are unnatural for horses.

Q. Why is a vet involved in giving feeding advice?

A. It is incumbent upon every vet to try to ensure optimum healing capability in each patient. A healthy natural diet is, in our belief, the sound platform upon which to build health. Natural feeding is the natural bedfellow of natural medicine.

See also: Natural Diets

If you have questions not answered here, please let us know (contact details)

Back to main FAQ

Healthy animals need a healthy diet to maintain health.

Sick, injured or ill animals need a healthy diet to optimize healing capability.

Performance animals need a healthy diet for optimum performance and stamina.

Young animals need a healthy diet for optimum growth and development.

Older animals need a healthy diet to preserve their faculties and energy levels.

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