Benefits and Myths

Kibble based foods are actually quite a new concept, raw feeding was a natural diet fed to our pet dogs way before it was designed. So, although it is becoming increasingly popular in recent years, it is not 'new'. It is the kibble companies that are relatively 'new' in that sense (only about 25 years old) and were essentially designed to be like our microwave meals, quick and simple!


We would not thrive on microwave meals all our lives; so why expect our dogs to?

You may think then, why do vets recommend dry foods? Well, not only are vets generally funded by these companies, but they get very little training in canine nutrition. Vets are not Canine Nutritionists, just as they are not behaviourists. It is like calling a Doctor from your local GP a surgeon, when he most probably cannot operate.

Some vets do take it upon themselves to get proper training in canine nutrition, and I applaud them, these vets are generally the ones that may stock raw food such as prize choice and natural instincts. But real meat and bones from  online suppliers, supermarkets and butchers are generally the most popular way to feed.

BENEFITS

  • - Fresh breath (not dog breath!)
  • - No 'dog' odour on fur/skin (and therefore not left on furniture/bedding)
  • - Cleaner, whiter, brighter teeth (from all the bone chomping)
  • - Less hyperactive, calmer, and generally more settled dogs
  • - Sheer enjoyment of their food compared to the same boring old kibble everyday
  • - Healthy, shiney, softer coats
  • - Better concentration and focus (easier to train)
  • - Smaller, firm poops and less often (better for us to clear up), also better for anal glands
  • - Generally much cheaper than kibble - especially if you can get freebies from a butcher!
  • - Cheaper long term from less vet bills due to very healthy, happy dogs!

MYTHS
 
  • Chicken bones are harmful - NO they are not, they are one of the more easily eaten and digested bones in fact. Only cooked bones are harmful, as they splinter and can cause impaction.

  • Raw meat and blood makes dogs vicious - NO it has the complete opposite effect actually, dogs are generally calmer due to less additives/colourings in the diet. If a dog resource guards their food - this is behavioural and not diet related. It is because they highly value their food, with training this can be helped.

  • Meat is too high in protein - wrong, most meats are actually only between 20-25% protein, lower than some kibble foods!

  • Raw diets are not a balanced diet - When researched and fed correctly, raw diets are very natural, balanced and healthy diets.

  • Dogs can get salmonella, e.coli etc.. - Nope, they cannot, Please look at the video below by Dr Becker explaining why.

  • WE can get salmonella and are at risk of health issues - no, as long as you are hygenic and handle raw food just as you would prepare your own meals, there are no risks.

  • Small breed and toy dogs (like Chi's) cannot eat a raw diet - this is my favourite one, all dogs are dogs, all dogs can eat raw, it's about feeding appropriate sizes.

Copyright  © A Raw Start Explained, 2012  

Video of Dr. Karen Becker into Raw Meat for Dogs and Cats - discussing the myths of salmonella, e. coli and other issues. A good watch.
(Source: YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3wLTlqnMMg)

Common Mistakes


1.      Many people feed an unbalanced raw food diet without realising, whether it be home made, prey model or commercial raw foods. This can mean dogs are brought into vets with nutritional imbalances that could have been avoided, such as being deficient in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, or the right fatty balance acid for skeletal growth, organ and immune health.
This can cause many vets to develop bad views on raw diets because they see the bad side of raw feeding.  This page recommends to feed a way which replicates what canines and felines would eat in the wild – ideally whole prey is nutritionally balanced as it has the correct meat:bone:organ ratios that dogs need.
However, this is not possible for all people, particularly in the UK. This is why we recommend to replicate the 80% meat, 10% bone (or there about), 5% liver, and 5% other offal such as kidney and spleen, with added green tripe, oily fish rich in omega 3, and a few eggs. This can be achieve through whole meat, bones, animals and chunks, through minces (with ground bone), or without with added bones.



2.      Changing too quickly can cause many issues in raw feeding. Firstly, changing any kind of diet (whether kibble or raw food) too quickly can often result in diarrhoea and sickness, where people then go to a vet, and vets jump to the conclusion it is the raw meat or bacteria and puts many people off raw feeding, when it was simply because they moved a little too fast.
Secondly, a canine or feline who has been fed kibble foods for a period of time, may not have the digestive enzymes built up to digest raw meat and bones so soon, so it is recommended to start SLOW. Starting slow helps dogs and cats build up their stomach acids for foods they have never had to digest before and avoids problems such as impaction, vomiting, diarrhoea,  regurgitation.
Lastly, this page recommends to introduce one protein at a time, preferably starting with chicken where possible as it is a bland and the easiest protein to digest (also recommend for dogs recovering from illness). Adding too much variety too soon can cause a rough transition for dogs as their stomach is not used to this. Do not worry about achieving a balance  straight away, balance can be found over time in raw feeding, usually over a period of a week or two, unlike “complete kibbles”.  Your pet WILL NOT suffer from eating one protein source per week to begin with, so please do not feel any rush.



3.      Not adjusting diets to suit medical and health needs can lead to many issues if not introduce and researched properly. We always recommend contacting admin who can put you through to holistic Veterinarian Christopher Day, and through to people with real life experiences of the health complication and raw feeding where possible.
We ALWAYS recommend extra reading so you can come to an informed decision yourself. Any advice given should not replace veterinary advice. Pets with an overactive immune system or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) will probably need professional assistance, perhaps a detoxification protocol and also a leaky gut protocol to transition to a better diet. When changing to a raw food diet, it’s not all sunshine and daisies, please do not expect your pet to become instantly better.
Many illness can improve on the correct raw food diet, but by all means raw feeding is not a cure or the be all and end all. There will be ups and downs before you notice a change in your pet, and it just means being patient and sticking with it. Some dogs may have certain allergies which need accommodating for such as certain proteins (again why we recommend a slow introduction so these can be eliminated). Some dogs cannot eat whole raw bones due to illness or complications, which again may need ground mince with bone or some form of supplementation such as bonemeal or dried, crushed eggshells. It is about tailoring a raw food diet to suit your dogs individual needs, which is a common mistake people make, by not doing so.



4.      Types of bones fed to dogs can also be a common mistake. It is important to feed SIZE APPROPRAITE for your dog. For example, not feeding a St Bernard a small chicken wing which could be a choking hazard, but whole chickens instead, or half a chicken. Again you also wouldn’t feed a Chihuahua a very large, dense bone they couldn’t physically eat (unless it had plenty meat to strip off).
It is important to SUPERVISE all dogs eating bones. Many people also feed cooked bones, again a common mistake as cooked bones are extremely dangerous for your pet. Cooked bones include air dried bones, roast bones, bones from stock, and bones that have been defrosted in a microwave. (Please See File – Why NOT to feed COOKED Bones).  Many people underestimate or overestimate how much bone a dog should have to begin with.
We recommend starting small – begin with chicken and no bone, and then introduce bone ground in mince. 10% bone is just a guideline, some dogs may need more or less. ALWAYS WATCH POOP! This is how you can tell how much your dog or cat should have. Crumbly, white poop is way too much bone, feed boneless the next meal or two. Sloppy, or runny poop is too little bone, add a little bit more bone until the consistency becomes firm, and your able to pick up the poop (with a poo bag of course!), with your thumb and index finger without it falling apart.



   By following the Easy Start Up guide available, this minimizes the risk of people accidentally making mistakes. We always say ask as many questions as possible to help you understand and know how to feed raw happily and safely for both you and your pets. Hope this has been useful for everyone, and has helped any new raw feeders!