I realise that people may think that I am a bit of a health nut because I believe in following a raw food diet. But for me, why would I not? It’s the healthier option. All those people out there who complain about illness and aches and pains make me think to myself, there is an easy way to reduce and even get rid of those every day complaints.
Why am I bringing this up?
Because I think animals should be given the same chance in life, by feeding them a raw food diet.
What? I hear you cry! Yes you heard me; I think dogs should follow a raw food diet.
Don’t stop reading, please hear me out. If you disagree with me there will be a chance to voice your opinions and arguments at the end.
Firstly let’s think about this. In the wild dogs left to their own devices are scavengers; they will eat mice, birds, and road kill, other dogs poop, left overs in bins and basically whatever smells good to them. I realise that what I have said doesn’t exactly sound appetising, but it is true.
What I am suggesting is an evolutionary appropriate diet known as the BARF diet (not aptly named, I agree). This diet is thought to be Biological Appropriate Raw Food. Basically a raw food dog diet!
So what constitutes a dogs raw food diet?
Meat should make up a large percentage of their meals. You should be looking at 50-70% of raw meaty bones, whole fresh carcasses of chicken, duck, rabbit, fish (not salmon), veal and offal.
Please note that when you are using meat it should be fit for human consumption, preferably organic and free from artificial additives or preservatives.
When feeding bones the ratio of meat to bone should be 1:1, even in other words.
Whole eggs (including the shell), certain yoghurt, cottage cheese, nuts, oats and even brown rice can be served.
The remaining nutrition should come from fresh fruit and vegetables which should be finely crushed or juiced.
Although fresh fruit and vegetables are important, some should be avoided because they can actually be poisonous to dogs.
|Almonds, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Carrots, Cauliflower, Leafy Greens (lettuce), Melons, Parsley, Parsnips, Pears, Peas, Potatoes (without skins), Strawberries, Walnuts||Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Garlic, Grapes, Macadamia nuts, Onions, Peppers, Raisins, Tomatoes, Turnip|
You should be aiming to feed your dog about 2-3% of their body weight, so if Rover weighs 25lbs he should eat between .5lbs and 1lb of raw food per day. And where possible you should spread this over two meals.
Have I got you convinced that dogs should eat raw?
Maybe not yet…but read on.
What are the benefits of a raw food diet for dogs?
Just like humans there are so many benefits to following a healthy nutritious meal plan.
- Can relieve IBS, chronic diarrhoea, arthritis, skin conditions, parasites, allergies, ear infections and obesity.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Dogs have more energy.
- Reduces certain doggie smells.
- Chewing bones keeps teeth strong, clean and free from tartar.
- The digestive system of a dog was actually created to follow this type of diet and dogs actually enjoy it.
- Stools should be less frequent, smaller and far less smelly.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight, reducing obesity and allowing a more controlled growth rate in younger dogs.
- If you have a dog that seems to inhale his food, these meals will help to slow down consumption because they will actually have to chew.
- Studies have shown that eating a raw food diet can increase lifespan (and why not, it does in humans too).
- It’s generally cheaper, especially if you can get meat and scraps from a local butcher.
Of course, as always, there are some drawbacks:
- There is a risk of bacterial infection; e-coli or salmonella, which could not only affect your dog because he eats the food, but could also affect you because you prepare it. However, if you follow a common sense approach to hygiene this should not be a problem; always wash your hands, surfaces and utensils.
- Preparing BARF can be messy, time consuming and not always convenient if you are a busy person. Plus the time to shop for the correct ingredients can be a chore until you get into a routine.
- There is also a learning curve; some animals may not take to some of the raw food, just like some food does not agree with humans. Therefore trial and error may be required until you get everything just right for you and Rover.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t use cooked bones because bones can sometimes splinter and get lodged in the digestive tract causing major issues.
Don’t feed your dog too much offal, it is very rich so should only be served once or twice a week.
Don’t feed Rover them same meat day in, day out. You wouldn’t want to be given the same meal every day, because you would become sick of it and so will they. Mix it up a little.
Do supervise your dog when they eat, at least early on in the diet. More chewing is required and they may choke or gag if they get over-excited when they eat.
Do consider frozen or dehydrated options available at pet shops if you are experiencing a day or week when preparing a raw diet is just not convenient.
Do grind or juice raw fruits and vegetables using a processor or blender.
Do give daily supplements if you feel your pet requires them.
Always consider your pet first!
If you have a puppy you may want to consider the fact that they have unique nutritional needs that are not the same as an adult. Therefore it may be necessary to feed them premium dog chow for the first twelve months and then integrate BARF.
If you adopt an older dog or you have read this blog and wish to change Rover’s diet, do it little at a time so that you don’t upset his stomach.
At the end of the day you want to provide an eating plan that will keep your dog healthy throughout his life. For me this task is easy. I already eat a raw food diet so incorporating my meal plan to my dogs is super easy. Although I personally don’t eat meat, I understand that dogs need this to survive, but it’s great when we can both sit down to a nice veggie juice.
If after reading this you have queries, do speak to your vet and ask for advice.