Raw Feeding

"With dog owners generally having very strong feelings one way or the other about it we thought we’d take a closer look into the diets."

What exactly is raw feeding?

Today’s blog post is about raw feeding – a relatively controversial topic that seems to be growing in popularity.  With dog owners generally having very strong feelings one way or the other about it we thought we’d take a closer look into the diets — which all focus around raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables.  

Through research it seems that many working dog breeds have been fed raw food diets throughout the ages, but the practice only reached into the domestic dog breed circles around about 1993 following on from an Australian vet, Ian Billinghurst proposing the idea. He seemed to think that commercial grain-based dog foods were harmful – something which most mainstream vets reject, as apparently did the FDA.  Despite this the trend seems to be growing in popularity in recent years.

So lets take a look at the pros and cons shall we…

The Pros

The Benefits Of Feeding Raw:

  • Cleaner teeth and fresh breath.
  • Better weight control.
  • Improved digestion.
  • Shinier, healthier skin and coat.
  • Reduction of allergy symptoms.
  • Harder, smaller, less smelly stools.
  • Increased mobility in older animals.
  • More energy and stamina.
  • Decreased risk of your dog getting cancers caused from processed dog biscuits 

The Cons

  • Threats to human and dog health from bacteria in raw meat
  • Risk of whole bones choking the dog, breaking their teeth or causing an internal puncture

The Rules of Raw Feeding

According to Dana Scott writing in Dogs Naturally magazine there are 10 rules to follow when raw feeding:

    1. The Raw Dog Food Diet Must Have Calcium – our dog’s raw diet needs to contain about 12% to 15% bone.
    2. Organs Are The Multi-Vitamins – Organs are the nutrient-rich parts of the animal and without them, your dog could be missing some important vitamins.
    3. Muscle Meat Is The Foundation – this is the protein-rich component of your dog’s diet and provides proteins to build strong tissues, as well as the hormones and enzymes needed to survive and thrive. 
    4. Watch The Fat – watch the fat content in what you give your dog and aim for no more than 20% fat in their food. 
    5. Don’t Get Hung Up On Fruit and Veg – it’s not essential to include these in your raw diet but there are some nutrients in fruit and veg that your dog can’t get from animal products.
    6. Keep It Starch-Free – Starchy foods cause your dog to produce insulin which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
    7. Variety Counts – just like us our dogs need a variety of things as each type of food contains its own nutrients to make a complete balances diet.
    8. Balance Over Time – not every meal has to be perfectly balanced as long as balance comes over the course of a few days or weeks.
    9. Feed Fish Once A Week
    10. Relax – just stick to rules 1 to 9 and you’ll be fine.

For the full article, click here.

So what's the verdict?

As with most things in life I think it comes down to personal choice. All dogs and indeed their owners are different. Some might suffer from bad breath or be predisposed to allergies (that’s the dogs not the owners I’m talking about) and may indeed benefit from the raw feeding approach and then some dogs are happy and healthy on their more commercial grain-based foods. I think it’s good to be knowledgeable on the subject and there are certainly plenty of resources out there for further reading but it ultimately boils down to what’s best for you and your dog. The benefits of the diet can’t be denied based on the research but that doesn’t mean it’s the answer for everyone.

Where can you buy raw food?

For those that have chosen to raw feed, not all of them buy their food from suppliers. There are countless recipes online for how to make up raw meals yourself if you are that way inclined. For those of you that are stuck for time and want the more convenient option however there are several companies in the market who specialise in this. 

A key thing to look out for however is that the suppliers are DEFRA-registered producers (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). These foods are governed by more stringent bacteriological rules than even human-grade raw meat products, and are supplied in clean, easily understandable packaging. After all we only want the best for our pooches!

One such DEFRA registered specialist is Nottingham based K9RawFoods. They supply to clients all over the UK and their complete diets are very popular among customers as they contain perfect ratios of fresh meat, organs, cartilage and bone to provide a natural source of virtually every nutrient your dog needs. Their easy to use freezer bags empty straight into your furry friend’s bowl and are ready to serve.

For more information visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/K9RawFoods/ or contact them on k9rawfoods@hotmail.com