What To Look For In Kibble
Read the label. Look for a food that has a protein as the first ingredient, not a grain. The best kibbles have a single source of protein, such as lamb or chicken. Grain-free diets exist, but carbohydrates are required for energy, and the choice of grain is important since some dogs have sensitivities to wheat, corn, or soybeans.
Believing All Raw Bones Are Safe
After trying different bones with my dogs and reading stories of dogs breaking a tooth or being taken to the hospital because of raw bones, I decided to slow my roll. I would try bones with my dogs, watching how they chewed, and determine which were and weren’t safe for my dogs. I learned that it’s not enough to ask others what bones they’re feeding because every dog is different.
My dogs primarily enjoy beef knuckle bones, buffalo knucklebones, lamb necks, duck frames, and duck necks.
Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Raw Dog Food
If you want to feed your dog raw food, you will definitely save money if you choose to make it yourself instead of buying raw food that has been premade. That said, keep in mind that you will still spend more feeding your dog homemade raw food than you are likely to if you just fed him traditional dog food, even a moderate-quality brand.
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How Much Do I Feed
Firstly, you need to work out how much to feed your dog. A good place to start is 2-3% of bodyweight for an adult dog or 3% of the expected adult weight for puppies throughout their growing phase, you can split this over 1 or more meals a day.
This will give you a starting point and you can then adjust accordingly, and please do stay flexible as these are guidelines and might not suit your individual dog or puppy as they are all individuals and differing activity levels and metabolic rates etc. I increase the amount fed or reduce accordingly to how my dogs feel.
With a healthy dog you can feel the ribs and they have a waist, plus there is a tuck underneath. Use our raw feeding calculator here
The Kibble Process: A Quick Explanation
Kibble is made by processing ingredients into a dough. The dough is heated a number of times at high temperatures and then extruded into nuggets. The nuggets are cooled and coated with a mixture that may contain old restaurant grease, rancid fats, flavours, animal digest, sugar and salt. This coating is called a palatant and is needed to make dogs want to eat the kibble.
The enticing pictures of real whole meats, vegetables, fruit, and grains on the bag of kibble are misleading. In the majority of cases, the ingredients used in dog feed are by-products – the left overs of the left overs of the human food industry – things that no other industry can use. Kibble cannot be produced without using a fair amount of starch, just like cookies need starch to hold together.
Typical dry kibble contains 40 – 50 % processed, high glycemic, often poor quality carbohydrates . This is bad news for a species that has no nutritional or biological requirement for carbohydrates. High carbohydrate diets are problematic for a number of reasons. In the ancestral diet of dogs only 6% of calories came from carbohydrates such as low glycemic vegetation, grasses, and berries. The high carbohydrate content of kibble means that there is less meat protein in the kibble. In the canine ancestral diet, 49% of the calories came from protein whereas typical dry kibble diets supply considerably less protein at 25% of the calories.
“Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot.” Michael Pollan, Food Rules
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What Is Canine Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis literally means inflammation of the pancreas. A dog that has been diagnosed with pancreatitis is essentially suffering from an inflamed pancreas that is either damaged or stressed, which prevents it from functioning properly.
The pancreas has two functions: first, it has a major role in the regulation of the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and secondly, it produces digestive enzymes. When the pancreas releases enzymes prematurely, they begin to digest the pancreas itself. This is what we see in cases of pancreatitis in dogs. Signs of pancreatitis in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. If pancreatitis is suspected, your veterinarian will most likely conduct a blood test to check to see if your dogs enzyme levels are elevated. They may also request a CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI for further confirmation of the disease.
Canine pancreatitis can range from mild, moderate, or severe. If left untreated, this disease can cause various health complications such as damage to the surrounding organs, heart arrhythmias, sepsis, or Malabsorption Syndrome some of which can be fatal.
Getting The Fat Right
The foundation of your dogs raw diet is proteins and fat. This makes up most of his meal. Its as simple as buying ground meat or chunks and putting them in your dogs bowl. But balance is important.
This means feeding a diet thats about 10% to 20% fat total, including any fats like fish oil that you add to your dogs raw diet. The remaining foundation of your dogs raw meals will be protein.
Its important to keep your fat within this range. Heres why
Too Much Fat
Fat is relatively devoid of vitamins and minerals and it contains a lot of calories. This presents a challenge if the diet is too high in fat.
If your dogs diet contains more than 20% fat, it will cannibalize his vitamins and minerals. The resulting diet can be nutritionally incomplete. This is especially important for puppies and older dogs, who need more nutrients than adult dogs.
Too Little Fat
If the fat dips much below 10%, youll start to see dry, itchy skin in your dog. This is one of the first signs of fat deficiency. So try to stay within the 10% to 20% range most days.
Heres a list of the typical fat percentage in common meats you can buy at the butcher or grocery store:Fat Content Of Common Food
Ground beef : 10%Ground beef : 20%Regular ground beef: 30%Salmon: 7%Egg: 10%
So step 1 is finding the proteins for your dog and making sure the fat content is not too high or low. But before you choose the proteins your dog eats, its important to understand that your dog needs minerals.
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What Is A Raw Food Diet
A raw food diet for dogs usually contains various animal parts along with other raw foods. This can include:
- Muscle meat
- A dairy product like yogurt
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
By comparison, most store-bought dog food contains some combination of cooked meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Proponents of raw food diets say that commercial diets are “unnatural” and that raw diets more closely mirror what dogs would eat in the wild.
Advocates for raw dog food claim it has numerous health benefits, like a reduced risk of cancer, dental disease, and allergies. But “there is absolutely no reliable scientific evidence for these claims,” says Brennan McKenzie, VMD, a veterinarian at Adobe Animal Hospital.
Raw Diets For Puppies And Seniors
During developmental stages, both puppies and senior dogs have an increased requirement for certain nutrients. Their bodies are growing and changing rapidly, so their diets need to supply the right types and quantities of nutrients required to support this growth. These three factors need to be considered when feeding a raw diet to dogs of different life stages:
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Stewart Raw Naturals Dog Food Best Overall
Stewart Raw Naturals is a grain-free option made using freeze-dried chunks of meat, including beef, lamb, turkey, and more. Its an excellent choice for picky eaters or dogs that have shown they have a sensitivity towards gluten or grains.
The ingredients are all human-grade, so you dont have to worry about feeding your pooch old, nasty meat. Its made in the USA as well, reducing the risk of some strange contaminants making their way into the recipe.
There are vegetables like carrots and broccoli included for vitamins and antioxidants, and the manufacturer even adds a little ground bone for extra calcium. It has everything necessary to maintain a healthy weight and build a shiny, lustrous coat.
The biggest negative with the Stewart Raw Naturals is the texture and consistency. Its very crumbly and tends to fall apart inside the bag. As long as your dog doesnt mind licking her bowl clean, though, this demerit is hardly enough to keep the food out of our top spot.
- Food is crumbly and falls apart easily
The Downsideof A Raw Dog Food Diet
A raw dog food diet cant touch the convenience of a kibble. Just measure and pour. It just doesnt get any easier.
Yet besides the lack of convenience, theres another critical issue. Bacterial contamination.
Salmonella and E. coli germs can always be a potential problem with raw meats. Yet the risk of food-borne disease is actually quite low.
That is, low risk for dogs. But not for humans.
Thats because a dogs digestive system is shorter and more acidic.
Which makes canine infections like these fairly rare.
The real risk of food-borne disease is actually greater for a dogs human caretakers not the dog.
Yet with proper care and handling, this risk can be dramatically reduced.
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Health Benefits Of Raw Feeding
Raw food diets for pets are becoming increasingly popular. Many people choose to feed a raw diet because itâs more natural and less processed than most commercial pet diets currently available. Others feed their pets a raw food diet because it makes sense that if they feed themselves and their family a healthy balanced diet, then itâs logical to feed their pets in the same way. Others simply feed raw because their dogs love it! There are many health benefits that come with feeding pets a raw food diet, including:
Superior joint and bone health
There is no better way to support bones than with bones! Crushed real bone is a natural source of calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and marrow. All of these components result in healthy growth in puppies as well as maintaining great joint and bone health for your dog throughout their life.
Strengthened immune system
The immune system is the first defence for fighting off infection, which is why itâs so important to keep it in tip-top shape. Providing complete and balanced nutrition is essential to help our dogsâ immune systems thrive and the nutrition in all-natural ingredients have the added benefit of being highly digestible for your dog. Some examples of natural immune boosting ingredients can include:
Improved skin and softer, shinier coat
Ingredients that provide essential omega-3 fatty acids can include salmon , chia seeds and flax seeds .
Superior dental health
Reduced stool volume and odour
How Much Raw Food Should I Be Feeding My Dog
For all those pet owners who will start raw feeding their dogs but dont know how much to feed them, Im here to ease their worries.
A raw diet equivalent to 2% to 3% of your dogs body weight split into two meals per day is usually recommended.
For an appropriate estimation, please make some calculations depending upon the body weight of your doggo, and talk with your veterinarian.
Multiply the body weight of your fido in-lbs with different factors to get an exact percentage.
- For inactive dogs = body weight in lb x 0.02
- For dog with average activity = body weight in lb x 0.025
- For active dogs = body weight x 0.03
For a puppy
Puppies need almost 5% of their body weight due to their fast metabolism. It comes up as
For 10lb body weight = 1/4 lb of a raw diet
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The End Result Of Quality Depends On You
A lot of dog owners fail to make properly nutritious homemade raw dog food meals for their pets.
This is often because they are misinformed or mislead by websites and so-called dog food specialists that dont know what they are talking about. It’s a very dangerous practice.
A few years ago the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association examined 200 homemade dog food recipes from websites and veterinarians alike.
Of the 200 recipes, only 9 matched the NRCs requirements for a high-quality dog food. You can find most of their studies online in AVMA library. Here’s a 2013 Stockman et al. study and here’s a 2012 Larsen et al. study.
Official Conclusion: Many problems with nutritional adequacy were detected, and use of the recipes could result in highly variable and often inappropriate diets. Many recipes would not meet nutritional and clinical needs of individual patients and should be used cautiously for long-term feeding.
The general consensus among veterinarians is that they are usually not supportive of raw feeding dogs, mostly because they do not trust pet owners to make the right choices.
Dangers Of Raw Diets For Dogs
“Should I feed my dog a raw diet?” If you’ve ever heard another pet parent rave about how his or her dog appears to be thriving on a raw meat diet, you might be asking yourself this question. Proponents of raw diets for dogs point out that dogs are biologically similar to carnivorous wolves, and claim that the benefits of this type of diet include healthier skin, coat and teeth, more energy and smaller stools, according to PetMD. However, there is very little scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, most of the scientific research on raw meat diets for dogs shows that they could do more harm than good.
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How I Got To Raw
Late last year, Wiley developed a sore next to his mouth. Convinced it was ringworm , I paid the vet $500 for a battery of tests for both Wiley and our other dog, Bowie , bought two different types of antifungal dog shampoo that I started bathing Wiley in daily, boiled my bed sheets, and scrubbed our entire house with Lysol. My girlfriend and I started showering with antifungal soap, too. We considered canceling our Christmas travel plansa road trip to northern Montana, visiting family and friends along the way. We feared infecting someone elses house. Turns out it was just irritated skin.
Wileys always been sensitive to whats in his diet. When he was a puppy, I started him off on Solid Gold. But that contains grain, and I think the ingredient was to blame for a spate of skin problems he had early on in puppyhood. So, we went grain-free, with Taste of the Wild. That was a lot betterhed develop only occasional hot spots at the base of his tail. I figured those were just due to flea bites, and Id treat them with coconut oil as they appeared.
That seemed to do the trick. Wileys sore disappeared, his stomach eventually went back to its normal color, and his ears were again smooth and clean. Solid result, but he and Bowie didnt particularly like this new food. To get them to eat it, we had to incentivize them by boiling chicken breasts, then chopping those up and mixing them into the kibble. Even then theyd still never finish a complete bowl.
Potential Risks Of Raw Diets
While there are potential upsides and some veterinarians may recommend it, the American Veterinary Medical Association is not on board with BARF. Citing a number of studies, the AVMA discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal proteins because they can contain potentially deadly pathogens that can sicken your pet and possibly be transmitted to humans. Yikes!
Other possible disadvantages include:
- Bacteria in raw meat poses a threat to the dogs and humans health
- Giving whole bones to dogs presents a risk of choking, broken teeth or internal punctures
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Raw Food From The Pet Store
There were two freezers with raw food in the pet store, each representing a different company. Both seemed excellent in quality and were comparable in price. Heres what I picked up:
Never having purchased dog food before I guess you can say I was pretty naïve expecting the raw stuff to be comparable in price to the dried stuff.
I was shocked at how expensive it was.
A small three pound bag cost $17.99. I purchased one for the video in part I but I knew that would be the last one. That bag lasted Lipton three days. Compare that to the dried kibble which she was getting previously which was $40 and would last about a month. To feed Lipton the raw food it would cost about $175 $200 for the same amount of time.
I couldnt possibly expect my roommate to pay that. Neither would I.
How Much Bone To Give
With bone its better to start slightly lower and build up then feed too much. You will know if you feed too much bone as poo becomes very hard and chalky or the dog is straining to get it out if this happens skip a bone meal for a boneless meal like tripe or just some more meat . If you are concerned you have given too much bone and the dog is struggling with constipation feed offal this gets the bowels moving, or heart can also help. You can feed pretty much any meat chicken, turkey, lamb, goat, pork, beef, venison, rabbit, duck, pheasant, wood pigeon, kangaroo, fish the list is endless and it will mostly be about what your hands on.
You can also add in some vegetables: this is the big debate in the raw feeding world! Some are against some for you will have to make up your own mind with it I personally do feed veg but not always. If you do decide to feed your own vegetables they need to be pulped/ mashes/slightly cooked as dogs cant break down the cellulose walls of vegetables. Onion, corn on the cob and potatoes should not be fed. And nice leafy greens like spinach and kale together with squash or pumpkin are nice.
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