The Raw Food Diet for Dogs

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This is a guest post written by Victoria Benson and you can find her at: https://thenoodleknows.com/

About Victoria Benson:

When Victoria Benson was just four years old, she got her first dog, a Jack Russel terrier named Tiny (because he was!). She also had a tortoise and a budgie to add to her menagerie. From then on she was completely obsessed with animals, their protection and their care and quickly became a vegetarian as a teenager. She had other dogs later on but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she got Noodle, her first galgo that she adopted from the fantastic Fundación Benjamin Mehnert based in her part of Spain, just outside of Seville. She entered into the fascinating world of all things galgo and greyhound!

The raw food diet for dogs has become increasingly popular in recent years. Over the years trends in our diets have veered towards a healthier, less processed, more natural approach. Now many owners are beginning to question the healthiness of their own pet’s diet. This has resulted in a shift, with owners turning away from store bought tins of dog food and bags of dried kibble. Now owners are embracing the raw food diet as a more natural approach to feeding their dog.

Image by A_Different_Perspective from Pixabay

What is the raw food diet?

A raw food diet involves providing your dog with food that is not processed. Rather, you are giving your dog foods which are in their natural state. The diet consists mainly of giving your dog raw meat and bone. Fans of the raw food diet claim that it is very beneficial for a dog’s health as it is giving him food which he naturally can process, as mother nature intended. There are two main types of raw food diet – the PMR diet (Prey Model Raw diet) and the (unfortunately named) BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food).

PMR diet – Prey Model Raw diet

This diet simulates the type of diet an animal would have in the wild. It aims to recreate the scenario where a whole, wild animal has been killed and all parts of the carcass are to be eaten. The diet is made up as follows:

  • 80% raw muscle meat, including heart and lungs.
  • 10% raw meaty bone. E.g. turkey necks and backs, pork, lamb, goat and venison necks and ribs, chicken or duck necks, leg bones.
  • 5% liver.
  • 5% other secreting organs. E.g. kidneys, trachea, tripe, spleen, pancreas, brain.

BARF diet – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet

This diet is similar to the prey model diet but includes fruit and vegetables which can help provide essential nutrients. The diet is made up as follows:

  • 70% raw muscle meat, including heart and lungs
  • 10% raw meaty bone E.g. turkey necks and backs, pork, lamb, goat and venison necks and ribs, chicken or duck necks, leg bones
  • 10% vegetables and some fruits. Starchy vegetables will need to be cooked thoroughly before serving. Other non-starchy vegetables can be given raw, however, pureed vegetables will be easier to digest.
  • 5% liver
  • 5% other secreting organs E.g. kidneys,  trachea, tripe, spleen, pancreas, brain

Eggs can also be added to either diet once or twice a week. They can be eaten raw, including the shell, which can be crushed into the other meats.

Fish is also a very important addition to either diet, as it contains essential Omega 3.

Image by A_Different_Perspective from Pixabay

What are the benefits of a raw diet? Is it safe for dogs?

Followers of the raw food diet for dogs have claimed it has many benefits. They state the diet has many advantages. Here are some of them:

  • A raw diet which provides lots of variety will provide all the necessary nutrients that a dog will need.
  • As the diet is 100% natural there are no problems with digestion and more nutrients will be absorbed by the body.
  • The diet contains no grain or wheat which some dogs find difficult to digest.
  • The diet allows for better absorption of essential minerals.
  • Chewing bones will result in your dog’s teeth and gums being cleaner and healthier.
  • Your dog’s poo will be less smelly, have a firmer consistency and and there should be less waste overall.
  • The condition of your dog’s skin will improve and his coat will be noticeably shinier.
  • Your dog will have a much more pleasant odor and do not smell of ‘dog’.

Comments from greyhound owners on Facebook groups praise the diet for many reasons, including:

  • It has helped their dogs to gain weight.
  • Their dog no longer has smelly breath.
  • Their dog no longer suffers from excess wind .

Important Points to note

Raw feeding needs to be carried out properly to provide a varied and balanced diet to your dog. In order to be successful, owners should:

  • Be careful with the ratios – keep an eye on them to make sure you are giving your dog the right amounts of each item. With time you will become accustomed to how much is needed. It is recommended that an adult dog eats twice a day and a puppy three times a day.
  • Variety is important. Try to provide a range of meats over the course of a week – goat, venison, fish, ostrich, quail, game, pheasant, rabbit.
  • A diet which includes no fruits, vegetables or dairy may lack some essential nutrients and therefore owners may need to add supplements such as fish oil, coconut oil, turmeric or spirulina.

Image by Anaïs CROUZET from Pixabay

Do vets recommend the raw food diet?

It is hard to find a clear opinion in favor or against raw feeding by Veterinary Associations. On the whole they seem to be advising caution. The British Veterinary Association made this statement after a Channel 5 (UK) program “The Truth About Your Dog’s Food” raised several issues in relation to dog food in 2015:

“All pets should be fed a nutritionally balanced diet and kept to their normal body weight, and other aspects of health such as dental health should be taken into account. We would always recommend that dog owners talk to their vets about different diet options. There is a large raw food diet choice available and there will be many considerations for owners, including budget and convenience as well as quality and nutrition. Good prepared dog foods are nutritionally balanced.”

“As with human food there are trends towards alternative diets and again this should be discussed with a veterinary surgeon. Raw food and home cooked diets are increasingly popular, but it can be time-consuming to prepare them as well as difficult to ensure that they are nutritionally balanced and safe, and that all risks are addressed.”

Is it easy to plan and prepare for?

Raw food is becoming extremely popular amongst dog owners and, as a result, there are lots of providers looking to source and deliver complete meals to your door. There is a wealth of information on the internet – on blogs and on social media which provide a huge variety of meal plans and menus.

Image by Lebensmittelfotos from Pixabay

Is it expensive?

It can be. Some owners on Facebook groups have expressed that the one downside of the diet is that it can be costly. My advice would be to shop around and chat with your local butcher. Later in this article I will provide details of some of the most popular UK and US providers of raw for you to check out.

How do I transition my dog to a raw food diet?

  • Transition gradually. Slowly introduce a little more raw food each day into your dog’s diet and gradually increase the amount. over a couple of weeks
  • Begin with a bland meat such as chicken or turkey and stick to only one type of meat during the transition phase.
  • Try not to mix raw food and kibble. The reason is that raw food is digested much faster than kibble and will lead to an upset stomach if the two are mixed. Allow 6 hours before or after feeding raw or feed on alternate days.
  • If your dog has eaten kibble all its life it was take some time to adjust. Be patient.

Where can I source raw food for my dog?

In the UK

You can buy ‘completes’ which follow the 80-10-10 PMR model. Here are a list of suppliers as recommended by UK owners on Facebook groups:

In the USA

You can also find out more details on this excellent blog, Perfectly Rawsome, which is dedicated to raw feeding.

And on these Facebook Pages:

You can also buy this very informative book: A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs by Kimberly Morris Gauthier.

I hope you have found this article interesting. If you have tried the raw food diet for dogs I would love to hear your comments. Have you noticed a big improvement in your dog´s overall health and condition? Do you find the diet expensive? Please leave a comment below.

thenoodleknows.com is a participant in the Amazon LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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