Why raw meat instead of kibble? plain and simple, dogs are carnivorous. After switching to a raw food diet for your dog, you should notice the following benefits within the first month:
- Reduction in problems associated with dry skin
- Reduction or elimination of excessive itchiness and/or skin allergies
- Smaller and less stinky poop
- Increased pep and energy
- Healthier size and weight
- Less smelly breath
- Better dental hygiene and whiter teeth
Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a pioneer in feeding raw food to dogs, recommends that people following a BARF (biologically appropriate raw food or bones and raw food) diet feed about 60 percent raw meaty bones (RMB) and 40 percent vegetables and other food (eggs, organs, and so on).
Some of the more commonly used raw meats given to dogs:
- Whole raw fish (with bones)
- Other poultry
The ideal amount to feed is normally about 2 percent of your dog’s total body weight daily. For example, 20lb * 0.02 = 0.4lb.
Cooking raw meat is unnecessary. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes are preserved whereas cooking meat destroys these naturally occurring nutrients.
Break down raw vegetables for dogs. This is because dogs can’t digest vegetables while the cellulose in them is still intact.
Organ meat are very rich meats that are high in vitamins. Feed it at least several times per week.
Give your dog some raw eggs occasionally.
You can also add plain yogurt to your dog’s raw food. It’s an excellent probiotic and helps with digestion. It contains healthy bacteria that keeps your dog’s gut functioning as it should. Whole yogurt is better than low fat or fat free – it contains more calcium.
If your dog is not eating fish regularly, you may want to add fish oil or fish oil gel tabs to your dog’s diet. Fish oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids which are good for his skin and coat. Some people add flax oil seed for this purpose but fish oil is a better source.
You can even add a little fruit to your dog’s diet. Your dog won’t derive a lot of nutrition from fruit but most dogs like some apple slices, pieces of banana, or pieces of pears. (I have a dog who loves oranges.) Berries, however, are a great source of antioxidants. Blueberries and cranberries can be very good for dogs when added to a raw food diet occasionally.
When switching between different types of kibble, it’s widely known that you should slowly mix the new food with the older food and gradually increase the amount of the new food. This helps to avoid any digestion problems like vomiting or diarrhea. However, when switching to a raw food diet, it needs to be done “cold turkey.” Reason being, cooked food and raw food is digested quite differently. By feeding both, it will force your dog’s body to digest two completely different types of foods in two completely different ways. So when switching to raw food for dogs, you want to make the switch a quick one.
Be aware that there is a break-in period. Some dogs will adapt to the raw diet immediately while others will take several weeks to adjust. Typically, the longer the dog has been on kibble the longer the adjustment period will be. During this adjustment period, you can expect some diarrhea, constipation, and sometimes occasional vomiting. While a bit unpleasant, this is nothing of serious concern and the symptoms will eventually subside. Once the symptoms do subside, you and your dog can enjoy benefits to a raw diet for the rest of your dog’s life. When making the switch it’s important that you feed your dog a relatively bland diet at first. Feed raw meaty bones and some bland vegetables such as chicken wings and squash or pureed carrots, for example. Don’t start feeding richer raw foods, such as organ meats or eggs until your dog has begun to adjust to eating raw foods.
Below are some of the most common concerns people have about switching their dog to a raw meat diet:
If you decide to feed your dog a raw diet, you should feed your dog a variety of different meat proteins so he will be getting all of the essential amino acids he needs. Along with the meat protein, be sure to include other healthy and wholesome foods in his diet. Smal amounts of dairy, veggies, and fruits will provide some of the other vitamins and minerals he needs. In addition to the meat protein in his diet, you should make sure he gets some organ meat from animals such as liver, heart, or kidneys. Many people who feed a raw diet give their dogs supplements to make sure they are getting all of the trace minerals and other vitamins and minerals they need in their diet.
The basic rule is that is is generally safe to give your dog raw bones. They are usually comparatively soft and pliable. Eating raw bones is good for your dog’s teeth and they help provide the proper calcium to phosphorus ratio in your dog’s diet when eating raw meats. However, you should not give your dog any cooked bones. Cooked bones, especially poultry bones, are brittle and they can splinter and puncture your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Remember, dogs are not human beings and their digestive system is very different from ours. They have a much shorter digestive tract than we do which helps diminish the risk of parasite or bacteria-causing issues. Further, they have a very acidic stomach with a pH level of at least 1. That allows a dog to break down meat and prevent bacteria from colonizing. And finally, there are enzymes in a dog’s saliva that have antibacterial properties, further limiting the risk of any adverse effects caused by bacteria in raw meat. The risk of parasites and bacteria is far greater to the dog owner if proper handling of raw meat is not used and contaminates food which you or your family will eat.
- Parasites can be killed by freezing the meat for 3 days.
- No guts.