The Pawfect Diet: Francis Cabana’s Pet Nutrition Journey
Join DANN TAN as he discovers the nutritional revolution shaping the health and happiness of our furry friends with Dr Francis Cabana.
Social Media Manager
Hype Issue #57
September 11, 2023
Ever wondered how your pet’s diet impacts their health and happiness?
As an owner of two dogs, I’ve always been intrigued by the intricate relationship between nutrition and the well-being of our furry companions. Nonetheless, the profound impact of what our pets eat has on their overall health and longevity didn’t hit me until I spoke with Dr Francis Cabana, a distinguished wildlife nutritionist.
Dr. Francis Cabana posing next to Champagne, a Jack Russell Terrier that overcame cancer thanks to a natural and fresh dietary plan. Photo Courtesy of PetCubes.
Dr Cabana’s journey into the world of animal nutrition is as unique as it is inspiring. Hailing from Montreal, he embarked on a path that eventually led him to the lush landscapes of Asia, where he began exploring the intricacies of animal nutrition in diverse ecosystems. His distinctive philosophy revolves around advocating for natural, non-mass-produced pet foods while rejecting highly processed snacks. Why? Because he’s seen firsthand the wonders of this approach while working with wild animals in West Java, Indonesia.
Dr. Francis Cabana engaged in the transformation of animal diets at Wildlife Reserves Singapore. Photo Courtesy of mothership.com.
During our conversation, Dr Cabana illuminated the critical role nutrition plays in our pets’ lives. He emphasised that nutrition isn’t just about sustenance; it’s about modifying genes, influencing longevity, and even reducing the risk of diseases like cancer.
“Nutrition is the single most important thing that you can focus on for your dog’s long-term health,” he asserted.
One of the stories that truly touched me was of his time working with zoo animals. He highlighted a stark contrast between European and American feeding practices for zoo animals. In Europe, a natural, whole-food approach prevails, while in the U.S., some zoos feed highly processed kibble to their animals. The difference in diets has, according to Dr Cabana, resulted in distinct health and lifespan variations among the animals. European Zoo animals experience fewer health problems and longer lifespans, highlighting the impact of consuming fresh, whole foods.
Dr Francis Cabana with a container of pumpkin seeds, rich in zinc, which benefits the immune system of orangutans. Photo Courtesy of mothership.com.
Dr Cabana’s expertise extends beyond theory, as he has personally witnessed the transformative power of proper nutrition. He shared a heartwarming success story about Sam, a senior Labradoodle with kidney and pancreas problems. By formulating a specific diet plan, Dr Cabana and his team managed to stabilise Sam’s health and significantly improve his quality of life. Witnessing such transformations sustains Dr Cabana’s mission and affirms his commitment to animal nutrition.
Finding the right equilibrium between convenience, cost-effectiveness, and excellence presents a formidable task within the pet food sector. Dr. Cabana offered insights into PetCubes’ strategy, a specialised pet food company that utilises only whole foods and fresh ingredients. He emphasised their commitment to providing premium, fresh pet food, acknowledging that cheaper alternatives often sacrifice ingredient quality or increase carbohydrate content. PetCubes aims to offer a middle-ground solution and encourages pet owners to incorporate fresh food into their pets’ diets, even if it means mixing it with kibble.
Dr. Francis Cabana working with Action for Singapore Dogs, a non-profit organisation committed to enhancing the well-being of dogs. Photo Courtesy of Dr Francis Cabana.
Dr Cabana envisions a future where veterinarians and nutritionists work collaboratively, bridging the gap between traditional veterinary care and alternative diets. He hopes for a common ground where pets’ health and well-being take precedence over biases and preconceptions.
As for wildlife nutrition, Dr Cabana’s aspiration is simple: more dedicated wildlife nutritionists. Amid the ongoing and growing concern for the preservation of our planet’s diverse ecosystems, he believes that every zoo should have dedicated nutritionists to ensure the proper care and nutrition of captive animals.
Dr. Francis Cabana enjoys a delightful day at the local park with Happy, the golden retriever. Photo Courtesy of Dr Francis Cabana.
Ultimately, Dr Cabana’s insights into the world of pet nutrition are not only informative but deeply moving, making us reflect on the profound impact we have on our pets’ lives.