Even though I feed my dogs raw, they do not get fruit and veg in their diet.
Reason for this: Dogs are carnivores, they do not produce the right enzymes to be able to break down fruit and vegetables enough to get the nutritional value from them.
There are a lot of debates and equally as much conflicting information as to why, or why not to feed fruit and vegetables to Carnivorous pets like cats and dogs. All this information can be overwhelming, if not confusing and enough to put anyone off to make the switch, however once you know the difference between the dietary needs and metabolism of an Omnivore and a Carnivore, the answer becomes clear
More about this on the Omnivore-Carnivore page here
A Lot of people have come to realise that grains (Carbohydrates) are not healthy for their cat or dog (often due to encountering health issues) which is something Raw feeders have known for ages. Not only are Grains full of Carbohydrates, Fruit and vegetables are as well, and this is where it start getting confusing.
The Pet food industry has been adding fruit, vegetables and grains to their products as cheap fillers to make the production process cheaper, they then add artificial vitamins and minerals to mimic a balanced diet. As a pet owner we have been made to believe that this is how it should be and that’s what our beloved pets should eat. My opinion is that commercial pet food has only been about for roughly the past 100 years, prior to that we fed our pets table scraps and before that raw meat. In some countries/ cultures humans never gave up on feeding their animals raw and still feed raw now (think of sled dogs) and these animals are healthier compared to a lot of other pets. There is a very informative documentary in regards to pet food manufacturers and vets which is called Pets Fooled and can be found on Netflix and YouTube, which I found to be a real eye opener and a must watch for pet owners
Some raw food companies and people that feed BARF ( Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food) believe that fruit and Vegetables should be a part of a raw diet. PMR (Prey Model Raw) feeders on the other hand believe that Carnivores like cats and dogs have no need for fruit and vegetables as it is not biologically appropriate. As A PMR feeder myself I support the theory of Carnivores not needing fruit and vegetables unless it is used as a supplement, EG anti inflammatory, aid to stop infection etc Lets be honest Wolves and wild dogs don’t eat fruit or vegetables unless they feel the need to.
What is a Natural Diet for a Carnivore you may ask?
Most people have a good idea of what a carnivore’s diet may look like.
Known fact: carnivores survive on other animals.
The parts they eat:
- Muscle meat
- Bone (Depending on the size of the prey) Smaller, softer bones are crushed and swallowed. However, wild carnivores generally don’t eat weight-bearing bones of large prey (E.G leg bones on deer and other large animals) because they’re too dense to chew through. This is why when you see pictures of carnivores feeding, most of the body cavity is eaten with only large bones and some other parts left over.
- Organs: Organ meat can provide your pet with protein, fat ,vitamin A, ,copper, iron, niacin, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, omega 3, omega 6 fatty acids, and essential amino acids to keep them healthy.
- Connective tissue
- Fat: Needed for energy
- Skin: main source for vitamin D
- Fur/ feathers are the main source of fibre in their diet. Fibre aids in good digestive health. The fibre doesn’t fully break down but will clean the digestive tract
When it comes to our domesticated pets however, the majority of people tend to think differently. This due to pets having been fed processed grains, fruits, and vegetables in addition to meat, which have made people believe that their natural diet also include this type of food and their bodies are able to handle it. Many argue that a change in diet was the reason the wolf domesticated and became our beloved pet dog. They believed wolves had a reduced need to hunt and stayed around the permanent settlements of humans, scavenging for food.
Back to why not to feed fruit and vegetables
Carnivores do not produce the necessary enzyme, amylase, to deal with the starch, cellulose, and carbohydrates in plant matter as they are designed to eat meat and bone.
Feeding Carnivores as though they were omnivores places extra strain on the pancreas and , as it has got to work harder to digest the starchy, carbohydrate and plant matter. (Cause for Pacreatitis)
Carnivores lack the friendly bacteria that break down cellulose. As a result, most of the nutrients contained in plant matter – even preprocessed plant matter are unavailable . If a carnivore can only digest 30% or less of its grain-based food, then it will only be receiving 30% or less of the vitamins and minerals it needs. By nature’s design, dogs are carnivores, and all dietary needs will have to conform to this if they are to result in appropriate, nutrition. This is not something we can change to suit our own likes, needs and beliefs.
If after all this you still believe that feeding fruit and vegetables is appropriate to feed, please make sure to use fruit and vegetables that are at least safe to feed