Fresh food is best

By Dr. Jonathan Smith

One of the most common questions I have been asked over the years of practicing veterinary medicine is what is the best diet to feed cats and dogs.  In the past I believed that the commercially available dry and canned foods that are sold through veterinarians were the healthiest option.  However, over the 30 years of pracitce, I have seen endless cases of allergies and chronic health issues that I believe are often diet related.  I have been amazed at how many pets that were changed to a raw meat diet seemed to get better without any help from all the drugs I have been taught to prescribe.

The turning point was when a young German Shepherd dog was presented to me and I diagnosed him with Pannus - a serious eye condition that requires lifelong medication and can result in blindness.  The owner switched his dog to a raw meat and vegetable diet and, to my amazement, the Pannus completely disappeared!  I decided to do a lot of research which led me to some veterinarians that were teaching and practicing Chinese medicine for animals.  Of course Chinese medicine generally has a very poor opinion of all processed food, especially carbohydrates.  I  began to believe that the high levels of sugars and starches found in processed pet foods were causing significant inflammation, resulting in all the allergic conditions coming through my door. 

When clients began switching their dogs to the fresher raw meat diets, removing all the processed carbohydrates, the results were impressive!  As humans, we are told to eat a variety of fresh food and avoid processed foods.  A recent survey in the United Kingdom indicates that the third most important thing we can do to avoid cancer is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables regularily.  (The #1 is don't smoke, and #2 is to keep a normal weight)  I believe that the same is true for our animal companions, therefore, I no longer recommend feeding pets dry kibble.   I do recognize that feeding a raw diet can come with it's challenges, and may not be for everyone - I had a friend who got the inside of his new truck smeared with diarrhea twice when he tried to feed his dog raw food!

In conclusion, I believe that the best diet for our pets is a properly prepared home cooked diet.  At Anicare we have a book of recipes that are balanced and simple to prepare.  The next best option are dehydrated diets.  These freeze-dried diets have the convenience of dry kibble, but are processed in a way that maintains the freshness of the food.  There are a number of these types of diets available; I feed my dog NRG which is made in Armstrong BC and is available at numerous pet stores on the Peninsula. 

For more information:

Blog to read: by Dr. Marion Smart


Location & Hours

Location & Hours

2263 Mt.Newton Cross Road
Central Saanich, BC V8M 1T8
(250) 652-5505 (250) 652-5548 Fax

Mon-Fri 8.30am to 5:30pm
Sat 9:00am to 12:00pm





After hour emergencies : 250-475-2495 Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital

or WAVES Vetererinary Emergency Hospital 778-432-4322 -