Raw Food Diet For Dogs
The idea of feeding your dog a raw food diet has become more and more interesting to many dog owners in the last several years, especially following the pet food recalls in 2007. Many people like the idea of being in control of their dog’s food, knowing what’s in the food, how it’s prepared, and being sure of its quality.
If you are interested in feeding your dog a raw food diet then you need to make sure that your dog does not have a compromised immune system. Most dogs seem to do well on a raw diet but if your dog has a compromised immune system he could have problems with this diet. Salmonella and E. coli are possible when dealing with raw meat and bones and these could cause your dog problems if he has immune system issues.
There can also be problems with achieving a good nutritional balance when feeding a raw diet. Raw food advocates point out that when feeding a raw diet that the variety found in the food from one day to the next, or one week to the next, will meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs. However, it’s still possible that the food you give your dog could have some long-term nutritional deficiency. It’s very important when feeding this diet that you do plenty of research so that your dog’s nutritional needs are consistently being met.
Another concern when feeding the raw diet is that your dog may be injured internally from eating raw bones. Bones must be fed raw and should never be fed cooked, as cooked bones can splinter and puncture your dog’s throat or gastrointestinal system. But even raw bones can break off to perforate your dog’s intestinal tract or become lodged. Many people who feed the raw diet grind raw meaty bones these days to avoid these risks.
If you embark upon this kind of diet for your dog it’s also important to find a good source to obtain your dog’s meats. Otherwise you may end up paying grocery store prices to feed your dog which can be very expensive. If you buy meats through a co-op or in bulk, you can save money by feeding your dog raw.
What to include
A raw food diet will typically be balanced in the following way:
1/3 to 1/2 of the diet will be composed of raw meaty bones. These bones can be chicken backs, necks, leg quarters, or wings; pork necks or riblets; parts of lamb; turkey necks, and so on. You can also include some canned fish such as pink salmon or mackerel.
5 percent liver. Liver provides nutrients that can be difficult to obtain from other foods. It is very nutritious. You should include it in every diet. Too much can cause diarrhea. Feed a small amount daily or every day or two.
5 to 10 percent heart. The heart is a muscle. You can feed your dog more of the heart if it doesn’t cause your dog diarrhea.
In addition, you should feed your dog the following:
Muscle meat: Feed a variety including things such as chicken, lamb, beef, pork, and turkey.
Eggs: Feed as much as you like. If they are cooked lightly they may be more digestible.
Dairy: This can include cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt.
Good leftovers: This is the food from your own meals that you would eat, not things you would toss out.
You can also add the following, but these things are not necessary:
Vegetables: Vegetables have to be pureed or cooked for your dog to digest them, if you are going to include them.
Fruit: These can include melon, blueberries, bananas, apples.
Pasta and grains: Grains may be related to some health problems in dogs so you may not want to include them. They should never make up more than half the diet. One-fourth the diet is better. Dogs don’t need carbohydrates from a nutritional viewpoint but they can be an inexpensive source of calories.
Supplements: You may need or want to add supplements to your dog’s diet such as fish oil, cod liver oil, vitamin E, and a mix of kelp and alfalfa. You could also add oysters, organic apple cider vinegar, honey, a small amount of fresh crushed garlic, Brewer’s yeast, and some molasses to your dog’s meals.