Why feed a Raw Diet?
Feeding a raw diet can seem daunting at first glance, however with the right help it doesn't have to be. A raw diet has a broad range of health benefits including healthier skin, increased life span, healthier teeth/gums, increased energy, improved digestion and a boosted immune system.
Where and how do I start??
Just like humans, each dog requires their own specialized nutrition. A good base to work off of when getting started is the 80%,10% and 10% ratios. 80% Meat, 10% Bone and 10% Organ. This is a good starting point for new raw feeders and with some time and attention you can put together a raw diet perfect for your dogs personal nutritional requirements. In regards to how much to feed, quantities are based off of a percentage of your dogs body weight. However, factors such as age and activity level will play a large role in the portions fed to your pet. On average at a dogs adult weight, they should be eating between 2-3% of their ideal body weight. Meaning that if your dog is overweight by 10lbs but your goal weight is 70lbs, you calculate their portions according to their goal weight. NOT their current body weight. Again, just like us as dogs age, their metabolism may change and slow down. This is important to keep in mind when feeding an elderly dog FINISH LATER EDIT AND MODIFY LAST UPDATED JULY 22
Things to consider...
There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when feeding a raw diet. Many things in our modern world can actually be detrimental to our pets, and in some cases to us too. Things like city water, and lawn pesticides or fertilizers can have a negative impact on the health of your pet. The chemical additives in town water such as fluoride and chlorine, can cause a variety of digestive issues including: digestive upset, diarrhea, weak muscles and seizures. Chlorine is used to clean the water for potential contaminates and it does a great job at this. However, when introduced to the delicate microbiome of the gut, it will also kill some of the good bacteria that is essential for efficient digestion. Studies have also shown that the ingestion of fluoride on a regular basis can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, cramping and vomiting. Although, the levels needed to cause this have not been specifically determined, it all depends on your pets size and its tolerance to these chemicals. With this in mind, if your pet is presenting with any of these symptoms, actions may need to be taken to help ease the strain on your pets GI system. A good water filter, well or bottled water may want to be considered.
Important things to remember...
Do not feed cooked bones. When feeding a raw diet, it is important to remember the safe feeding procedures. A raw diet is exactly what it sounds like, to be fed RAW. The purpose of the raw fed diet is to provide a more nutritious and biologically appropriate meals for your pet. When cooked, the raw diet loses a significant amount of important nutrients and will be deficient in many aspects of nutrition. Not only that but cooking raw meat, organs and BONES is very dangerous. Cooked and smoked bones are not to be fed at ANYTIME no matter what type of diet pet is on. Bones when cooked become porous and degrade the nutrients significantly. When bones are cooked they become easy to break and splinter into very sharp pieces which can cause serious damage to a dogs mouth, throat and intestines. Not only that, but the bones become much more difficult for the dog to breakdown in the gut and can lead to digestive upset as well as possible bowel obstructions. But when fed raw, bones are essential in a diet and add essential nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus to a diet.
Every dog is different. The individual nutritional requirements varies dog to dog, just as it does for people. Although the overall dietary guidelines for a raw diet consist of a feeding amount between 2-3% of a dogs body weight and a portion feeding ratio of 75-85% meat, fat and connective tissue, 5-10% bone, and 5-10% organ. All dogs are different and individual ratios may vary. The amounts to feed depend on many factors including age, breed and temperament while each dog may have a different nutritional requirement for the percentages of meat, bone and organ.
Balancing the diet. When feeding a raw diet it is important to remember that it is ok to "balance over time". Dogs are made to be able to "binge and fast" which essential means that they can effectively binge on large amounts of food and fast for days at a time. Portion size do not always need to be the same and variety in portion sizes or intermittent fasting is a great way at keeping your dog healthy and close to its biologically appropriate roots. in addition, balancing the meat, bone and organ doesn't always have to be in every meal. However, it is important to provide your pet with a wide variety of proteins to ensure a wide variety of nutrients being provided. All protein sources have a different range of nutrients they contain, and by providing a variety of proteins and a variety of formats such as ground and whole parts you can assure your pet is getting a balanced diet.
Food preparation. Just like our own food, all bowls and utensils should be washed after use. Just like kibble, after eating bowls will have saliva and bacteria particles remaining. So after each feeding the bowls should be washed just as you would normally. When it comes to pet food storage, raw can be kept in the fridge in an air tight for up to four days. Raw pet food can also be thawed, portioned and re frozen if necessary.This should only be done once to avoid nutrient loss.