There is a lot of scaremongering when it comes to raw feeding, some of which I would like to address first.
Think of myths like:
Raw food makes an animal blood thirsty and aggressive.
I said myth as that is all it is.
Has your dog ever licked you when you had a wound?
If so, did it make him aggressive towards you?
You’ll probably have answered yes to the first and no to the 2nd, your pet will know the difference between food and a living being.
Eating raw meat doesn’t all of a sudden make them chase your cat, chickens or other.
If a dog has a (high) prey drive it will chase, if a dog hasn’t and is well socialised with other animals it will be the same regardless of what type of food you feed.
Raw food causes bacteria to be passed on easily
Again a myth/ fiction.
Your pets saliva doesn’t become more contaminated due to feeding raw, and thus will not pass on any more bacteria than what it did before.
Think of it, there are worse things dogs and cats get in to than a bowl of fresh meat.
They wash/ lick their privates, sniff/ lick each others butts.
Even worse, some have the habit of eating other’s stools.
A lot of people worry especially those with young children or those who have a family member that suffers with a compromised immune system.
I know from experience when caring for someone with a compromised immune system (in my case my partner) you can’t ever be careful enough.
However, we have 4 dogs all are raw fed all get in direct contact with him, cuddle up with him lick him, it’s what dogs do, but not once has he or I for that matter been ill as a direct effect from our dogs being fed a raw meat diet.
Raw feeding your pet makes him ill and give him things like Salmonella poisoning, campylobacter or e-coli.
Little do people realise that a lot of pets have can contract salmonella through eating kibble. and Salmonella can be passed on through your pet’s coat and thus not just by your pet licking you after a meal, or you having to prepare their meal.
A raw fed pet is better equipped at handling bacteria such as Salmonella as their stomach PH (1-2) is lower than that of a kibble fed dog (PH 4-6)
The lower stomach PH means that the acidity level in the stomach in higher
Bacteria do not like the higher acidic environment as they are unable to form colonies, as where with a higher PH (lower acidity levels) bacteria have a chance to settle and form colonies which in turn can make your pet ill
If you maintain a standard hygiene regime by which I mean: clean/ disinfect bowls, utensils, work surfaces, wash your hands and maybe mop the floor (some people even wear gloves), there is just as much risk of contracting anything as when you prepare your own food.
Just use common sense and you’ll be fine.
There have been less reported recalls on raw pet food than what there has been on kibble in regards to salmonella or other bacteria present, which to me, all the kibble recalls is a worry in itself.
Commercial raw food suppliers freeze the food straight from the source.
This doesn’t just mean that the products stay fresh, it also means that any parasites that are present are killed and bacteria don’t get a chance to grow.
To produce kibble, all ingredients go through multiple cooking and drying processes at high temperatures, which in turn depletes the nutritional value never mind ruins the flavour of the ingredients used.
Imagine cooking your own meal then drying/ dehydrating it, then cooking it again and again and again only to dehydrate it again so it forms little hard dry balls.
To make these dry balls more palatable and to re-add the vitamins and minerals that got lost during the cooking and drying processes, oil (not even a decent grade natural oil, but this could be old oil that once was used to prepare your takeaway meal) mixed with artificial flavouring, vitamins, minerals and in most cases colouring is sprayed over the dry balls.
Not really the most appealing thing to feed our pets if you ask me.
There is a very informative documentary in regards to the pet food industry and vets which is called “Pet Fooled” it can be found on Netflix and YouTube.
I found it to be a real eye opener and a must watch for pet owners.
Is Raw feeding a fad?
In my opinion, as processed animal feeds have been around a shorter time than raw food, it’s the processed foods that are the fad.
With clever marketing and fancy packaging we are conned in believing it is better for our pets.
When looking at our own health and diet, doctors are urging us to go back to basics and eat more healthy natural whole foods, so why is this any different for our pets?
Our pets have lived on raw diets for thousands of years and thrived
In some countries/cultures pet owners never gave up on feeding their animals raw meat and still do so, think of sled dogs.
Even though the majority being working dogs, these animals are healthier compared to a lot of our pets.
Commercial pet food like kibble has only been about for roughly 100 years and pets are now suffering from many health issues of which some can be credited to commercial pet food.
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.
Why feed Raw?
Some people might argue that our domestic cats and dogs with all the years of domesticating. breeding and being fed processed foods like kibble, they are used to, live, survive and thrive on a more or some would even say fully plant-based diet.
Cats, dogs and ferrets are obligate carnivores
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they rely on a meat only diet to survive and thrive
Dogs and Ferrets are scavengers and opportunists but still obligate carnivores, only because they like something, doesn’t mean it is good for them.
Foxes even though they are more feline and as such need more taurine in their diet are different, as they also need a certain number of insects and some fruit and vegetables for it to be species appropriate.
Anatomically cats, dogs and ferrets are obligate carnivores.
This means that they are designed to consume and thrive on meat.
Their teeth are sharp and pointy, meant for holding, tearing and crushing, all of which are needed for a meat-based diet.
Carnivores have a very short digestive tract, so food passes through fast and as such the food has got to be easily absorbed to be useful
They do not have the enzymes to breaking down carbohydrates found in plant-based products.
They produce enzymes specifically for breaking down meat in their stomach
The saliva found in their mouths is better suited to prevent cavities, there are no digestive enzymes present in their saliva, it is purely designed to get the food down into the stomach where the digestive process can start.
Feeding high carbohydrate diets (kibble and other processed foods) can lead to many health issues such as allergies, gum disease, tooth decay and the list goes on.
For more about this read Dogs The Omnivore- Carnivore
Herbivores on the other hand have teeth that are flat with a jaw that moves from side to side to break down plant material.
They produce enzymes (starting in their mouths) to break down plant-based products and their digestive tract is longer, so plant-based material has time to pass through and be absorbed.
Whether you have Chihuahua, or a German Shepard, domestic dogs and wolves share roughly 99.9% of their DNA.
With so much shared DNA, wolves and dogs have a lot in common anatomically, so no matter how domesticated your dog is, it still has the same short digestive tract, sharp teeth and still produces the same enzymes as what it would have done 10.000 years ago
Both wolves and dogs are scavengers and have a strong sense of smell which is what attracts them to certain foods more than others.
Wolves are strict meat eaters, but they will sometimes supplement their diet with greens and berries.
This mostly occurs when there’s a food shortage or when they feel under the weather/ lacking something (Think of your dog eating grass and then throws up), but this does not automatically make them an omnivore like some suggest.
To read about more similarities Play, needing/ loving attention, communication, smell, socialisation, digging, memory, motivation, trustYour Dog Advisor
Now you may say your pet is fine on a kibble diet but is he really?
let’s just say you can survive on McDonald’s every day but are you really healthy?
It seems so common for owners these days to say my pet died from cancer or kidney failure, as where these illnesses weren’t all that common 70 or even as less as 30 years ago and just like with us humans, nutrition really plays a very large part in health and well being.
We only tend to see a vet when we notice signs of illness, but even then, will we find out what’s really wrong?
Most tests and meds are generalised and broad spectrum., but most of the time we don’t really find out what caused their illness.
Not everything can be blamed on diet alone, as genetics, environment and stress play a role as well, but there is lots of proof out there showing that there is a connection.
The vet and or pet food industry may not want to admit or want to perform experiments/studies that would potentially discredit their own industry, but basic common sense and research really can unearth the marketing tactics and indiscretion of the industry.
Kibble is mainly made with a high carbohydrate content.
The pet food industry has been adding carbohydrates in the form of fruit, vegetables and grains in to their products to make the production process cheaper.
In low quality foods ingredients may corn, soy, wheat and gluten as well as its derivatives.
In higher quality foods you will find a list of fruits and vegetables as well as other “higher quality” grains like quinoa or barley (although probably not as much or any corn, soy or wheat).
Humans identify fruits, vegetables and grains as whole foods with vitamins and minerals.
This is true for humans (omnivores), but for our carnivorous pets this is far from true because they can’t digest carbohydrates fast enough to utilise most of the nutrients.
Many carbohydrates that we think are healthy such as peas, carrots and rice are actually pretty high (which turn in to sugars) on the glycemic index for dogs, cats and ferrets and some are even linked to serious heart conditions and even cancers.
Besides running the risk of developing diabetes, high sugar content also affects hyperactivity and is often converted into fat leading to obesity
A weight management diet isn’t going to help, whilst these formulas drop the fat content, fibre and grain content is only increased more, which in turn can worsen the condition.
They industry then add artificial vitamins, and minerals to mimic a balanced diet, due to the depletion in nutritional value of the raw ingredients during the manufacturing (cooking) process
The number of vitamins and minerals added to kibble and other commercially produced pet foods is generalised so that it covers a wide range of pets.
The numbers posted in the analysis section only indicate maximum and minimum numbers and are not exact (think of a recent Hills science food recall, where high levels of vitamin D was found).
Because they are not custom to your individual pet (some may absorb more nutrients than others), there can be too much of for instance calcium or magnesium in a food which can result in painful crystals
Then last but not least, added to the above are food colouring and artificial flavouring to make it more appealing/ palatable.
Kibble is so incredibly dry, that the foods lack of moisture taxes the kidneys which over time can result in kidney failure.
Vets recognise that hydration is important, but why are they recommending dry kibble diets when they contain so little moisture?
So what is different when feeding a Raw meat diet ?
The main ingredient of a carnivore’s diet is meat protein which is needed for healthy muscles and organs.
Meat contains important vitamins, minerals and amino acids that help the body function in every way including metabolism, brain function and healing
It is said that all the amino acids needed to function can be found in meat in the right levels, one of which is taurine, an ingredient only found in muscle and organ meat (large amounts of taurine can be found in the brain, retina and heart) and essential especially in a cat’s and fox’s diet, this amino acid cannot be found in or replaced by plant-based protein.
Cats but also foxes need a higher concentration of taurine compared to dogs, as without this they can suffer from blindness, heart problems and even death.
You might also have read an article from 2918 about tests on kibble fed Labradors showing taurine deficiency.
Meat also provides saturated fatty acids in usable forms unlike many plant based oils.
Fatty acids are important for hormone production, energy, cell membrane formation and protection of vital organs
Saturated fatty acids in animal-based proteins range from around 80-90% whereas plant-based proteins only contain around 10-20%
Meat also contains higher amounts of moisture (70% +)
Many dogs and cats are put on a primarily dry food (kibble) which only contains 7%-10%-moisture
Why is moisture (water) important?
Lack of water eventually results in many common illnesses such as urinary tract infections and chronic kidney failure, especially in cats as they just do not drink enough to compensate despite having a water bowl at the ready and they tend tend to retain water.
Meat protein sources are highly bio available 90-95% (an ingredient’s potential to be absorbed), as where plant-based proteins only around 70%
This is why when comparing pets on a raw meat diet with pets on kibble diets, those on kibble have large, smelly poos because they are not completely digesting what they are taking in and thus produce more waste.
In short despite human views and lifestyle choices, obligate carnivores like dogs, cats and ferrets cannot thrive on diets of grains and vegetables.
As a human you might choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but those beliefs/ choices should not be imposed on your carnivorous companion.
What are the advantages of feeding raw
Your pet will thank you as you’re feeding them a diet they are designed to eat, meaning they will get all the nutrients they need to survive and thrive from their well balanced raw meat diet, resulting in:
- Smaller poo’s
- Whiter teeth, free of/ less tartar and thus less chance of dental disease
- Less/ no smelly breath and or coat
- Shiny, softer coats
- No flaky skin and itch-free.
- Chronic (food) allergies and infections reduce and/or disappear
- Improved energy and more focused without being hyper
- Less vet visits (especially those with allergies)
- If they have allergies it is easier to do an exclusion diet
And in case of our dogs, looking forward to meal times.
What are the disadvantages:
- Having to create freezer space to store the raw meat (No space for ice-cream)
- Older pets becoming young puppies/ kittens again
- Disappearing poo – it just crumbles when left a few days
- Needing a bigger freezer – who wouldn’t want a walk in freezer?
- Being run over every time you go to/ near you’re fridge/freezer and having dancing drooling pets around you
Some examples of what Raw can do for your pet:
I have asked these pet owners permission to share their posts showing the transformation in their dogs since switching to raw feeding
Y’all i was gonna wait until we were a month into the raw feeding but i couldn’t. We have struggled with Elvis’ skin for a year. Tons of vet visits, tons of money spent and $80 bags of limited ingredient dog foods. TWO weeks on raw and look at his skin and ears😍 We have added kifer daily and also Yucca Intensive as recommended by others on this site. I am so pleased and so excited for Elvis. He had finally stopped itching and his hair is coming back! Thanks to everyone who helped me in starting this process! We will NEVER go back!
A 2 year and 9 months old Pappilion (owner Kerrie Ney Hoover)
The 2 top photo’s were taken about a week after we got Mickey.
He arrived Thanksgiving weekend 2017.
He had been eating ground raw as he could not chew anything.
It hurt is mouth.
The Bottom photo’s
January 5th 2018 the transformation is amazing.
He still may need some dental work but we are going to wait a little while before we make any decisions.
Lilly the Service Chihuahua (owner Dan Malone)
Lilly was adopted by Dan Malone and she’s gone through some massive transformations, she had bold patches, dull coat and was always very bloated.
Now she has fur on places she never had any, her coat is more colourful,not bloated and has gained muscle mass
Lilly has her own Facebook page where she tells her story how from being a dog in rescue she’s become a service dog helping her lovely owner where she can
Not Bloated anymore
More Mucle tone and defenition
Got a tuck now
Hair has grown back and more vibrant in colour
Encyclopaedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com/
National Institutes of health https://www.nih.gov/
Nutritional requirements of Dogs and cats/ Amimal Nutrition Series/ National Research Council
Unlocking the canine ancestral diet: Healthier dog food the ABC way
Canine neutrigenomics: The new science of feeding your dog for optimum health