What is Raw feeding?
A raw food diet for dogs is essentially “as nature intended”
Being descendents from wolves, feeding a dog a steady diet of anything that is cooked, canned, dried or ground is simply unnatural for a dog, and over time, doing so puts a strain on the dog’s system. Such a chronic strain may often result in any number of the different kinds of health problems from which far too many dogs are suffering today; diseases that are now being referred to as “genetic”.
This is a biologically appropriate method of feeding for carnivores using raw meat and bones. Our pet dogs are carnivores. Carnivores are designed to eat raw meat and bones.
Why feed a raw diet?
If you compare the physical body to that of a car engine, in order for it to perform properly, it must be supplied with the correct fuel and lubricants. Cheaper or incorrect fuels, often lead to accelerated wear and tear and eventually break down. Our dogs bodies work on the same principles, and a species appropriate raw diet is the only diet that will maximise health and longevity.
Most manufactured dog foods contain a long list of additives, preservatives and grain products. Grains make up the majority of processed, commercial dog food company food sources because they are a cheap way to fill the dog up. Yet dogs do not have the digestive enzymes or system to cope with grains. Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Many people find when they switch to a raw meat and bone diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear. This is a common result.
What are the benefits of a raw diet?
Vet bills are usually greatly reduced after switching to a nutritious species appropriate diet.
Naturally clean teeth and healthy gums from the natural scrubbing, massaging and flossing action of eating raw meaty bones.
Clean breath and no doggie odour after changing to raw feeding
Ripping and chewing raw meaty bones develops the neck, jaw and shoulder muscles of dogs.
Greater bioavailability of naturally occurring nutrients and enzymes in raw meat, organs and bones.
Stools are smaller, less smelly and quickly degrade into the soil.
Dogs tend to maintain a healthy weight and the chances of obesity are minimized since it takes longer to chew and digest raw meaty bones.
Kibble may sit around for hours untouched but dogs tend to be excited and love their raw species appropriate meals.
Increased mental, psychological and physical stimulation leading to greater well-being and satisfaction
Health problems such as arthritis, lack of energy, allergies, skin conditions and dull coats often improve when switching from commercial dog food to raw feeding.
Ability to custom tailor your dogs’ diets for their activity level, age, health problems and specific nutritional requirements.
But what about “Organic”, “Natural” Kibble – isn’t that ok?
We all know that the more artificial ingredients, the less nutritious the food, with most people well versed to avoid E-numbers and other artificial ingredients in their own foods. So of course, it follows that many times we are told “my dog is fed on the very best kibble, organic, with all natural ingredients and prime cuts of meat” with the inference that “best”, “organic”, “natural” and “prime” are all that is needed to be an optimal diet for the dog.
Sure, these “5 star” foods are better than the cheaper foods, yet if the food contains carbohydrates and is cooked, then it will never be optimal, not to mention the additional strain on the liver and kidneys that the digestion of kibble creates. Little wonder there is so much liver and kidney disease in our dogs of today!
There are several major ways that kibble and raw diets differ in terms of their effect on the body and health:
1. Kibble usually contains grain content (wheat, corn, barley, oats, rice) that is more plentiful (read cheaper) than the meat content. This is a problem for dogs for 2 reasons:
- they have no nutritional requirement for grain
- they do not produce enzymes to digest grain or obtain nutrients from it.
2. Kibble diets contain cooked meat and meat by-products which are also hard to digest and absorb nutrients from. Enzymes are destroyed in the cooking process.
3. The actual cooking process itself creates carcinogenic toxins simply because of the extremely high temperatures pet food is cooked at.
4. The nutritional analysis information listed on every bag of kibble is based on laboratory test results. The food sources present in the kibble may contain the appropriate nutrients but the bioavailability (digestion and absorption) may be poor. There has never been a bioavailability test done on any brand of kibble. This means that no one knows if our dogs are actually absorbing adequate nutrients from the food they are eating. There are no long term studies conducted for how dry foods affect dogs over their entire lifetime. Usually test trials are short, under 1 year and are conducted on younger animals and there are also no control dogs, fed on a completely different diet (i.e. not commercial food).
5. Because the pancreas of the dog is so small, it must work hard to break down commercial dog food. This means that pancreatic enzymes are depleted quickly and used to break down food with inadequate nutritional content. In turn, the body uses an unfortunate survival tactic: it begins to absorb enzymes and other essential nutrients from its own tissues to maintain the equilibrium of the body. This can only remain an equilibrium for so long and may prove to shorten the life span of the dog. It is also worth noting that one very plausible theory regarding the development of cancer is the slow down of the pancreas ability to produce enough pancreatin to both digest food and fight cancer protein cells.
6. Kibble is systemically dehydrating to dogs, as their bodies are designed to absorb water from their prey. To compensate, they must drink large amounts of water to stay hydrated. This puts an extra strain on the kidneys.
7. Dogs do not have the ability to digest grains properly, so instead, an extra strain is put on the liver as it has to produce more bile to break down the insoluble fibre.
8. Kibble and canned dog foods often contain toxic fillers like preservatives and dyes. Sugar and other taste enhancers are also found in some commercial foods to entice animals to eat it. Eating these substances daily can pose health risks.
9. Often, synthetic vitamins are added to commercial canine diets. These vitamins are not molecularly/nutritionally equal to the natural source vitamins found in raw food sources. Kibble has only been formulated in the last 90 years. It is absurd to assume that dogs have evolved to eat kibble based diets in this short amount of time. Evolution of physiological and anatomical proportions takes hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of years.
Further reading: http://www.rawfeddogs.org/toxic.html
How to start feeding raw: https://therawfeedingcommunity.com/2014/12/31/a-simple-guide-to-switching-to-homemade-raw/