As obvious as it may sound, many people forget that cats and dogs were in existence long before man created kibble! Kibble was invented for the convenience of man, not for the benefit of pets. If left to its own devices, a dog (or cat) will catch or scavenge its food from the prey of others, and will eat virtually everything - the flesh (a great source of essential protein), fat (a source of energy), bone (a source of calcium and other minerals), muscle, organ meats and stomach (an excellent source of enzymes, minerals and pre-digested plant material).
Canines and felines, both domesticated and wild, are members of the carnivore family, and are anatomically built for eating meat. Their teeth are designed for tearing and chewing, their short intestines avoid the putrefaction of flesh foods, and the powerful digestive juices can even dissolve lumps of bone. This means they can effectively eat food which would kill we humans without any harmful effects. We have all experienced our dogs picking up something nasty or undesirable on a walk - a dead rabbit, an old kebab - but they have suffered no ill effects and positively seem to relish these disgusting meals!
Think about it - if your dog ran off today, you wouldn't find him grazing in the wheatfields, but chasing the rabbits!
Humans are the only animals that cook their foods - and we know cooking breaks down many of the proteins and amino acids in raw meat, destroying much of the nutritional goodness. So why would you feed your animal a processed, cooked food? Most people do not realize what they may actually be feeding to their beloved family pet. Some commercial foods contain a high percentage of fillers, such as cereals, grains, and soya which your pet simply isn't designed to eat - and which actually can lead to long term health problems such as yeast infections, itchy skin, ear and anal gland issues. Furthermore, some foods contain meat meal, derivatives and other undesirable parts of an animal.
Why a Raw Diet?
If you compare the physical body to that of a car engine, in order for it to perform properly, it must be supplied with the correct fuel and lubricants. Cheaper or incorrect fuels, often lead to accelerated wear and tear and eventually break down. Our dogs bodies work on the same principles, and a species appropriate raw diet is the only diet that will maximise health and longevity.
Most manufactured dog foods contain a long list of additives, preservatives and grain products. Grains make up the majority of processed, commercial dog food company food sources because they are a cheap way to fill the dog up. Yet dogs do not have the digestive enzymes or system to cope with grains. Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Many people find when they switch to a raw meat and bone diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear. This is a common result.
Improved Teeth, Oral Health and Breath
Did you know that gum disease in dogs can lead to heart problems?
A new study at the University of Purdue examined the records of almost 60,000 dogs and discovered a correlation between gum disease and heart conditions. “Our data shows a clear statistical link between gum disease and heart disease in dogs,” said Larry Glickman, a professor of epidemiology, who conducted the study. He further went on to say “The research is important because gum disease occurs in up to 75% of all dogs by middle age.”
After only a very short time on a raw diet, your dog will have much-improved breath, no tartar and beautifully clean teeth. All without having to visit the veterinary dentist or brush their teeth.
We as human beings, need to get over our veterinary induced fear of feeding whole meaty bones to our dogs. Dogs need whole bone - they were designed to use their teeth to gnaw apart whole raw carcasses, including meaty bones and organs. It is actually "unnatural" for them to eat food that's been reduced from its whole, unadulterated state into a soppy pile of mush then reformed into coloured nuggets. Those sharp teeth in your dog's mouth are there for slicing, tearing and crunching through whole foods - not for gumming up ground pulp which then sticks to their teeth. Over time, a regular diet of ground food can cause plaque and tartar to build up on the teeth, and this can cause gum disease, which can lead to a myriad of health problems. Gums that are weak, inflamed and unhealthy can't support the teeth properly, and dogs that are fed ground foods for a long period of time may risk tooth loss.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are also an indication of a chronic presence of an increased amount of unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. That bacteria, which is regularly swallowed, in turn affects the entire system. Over time, this can be a major contributing factor in many serious systemic diseases.
Further reading: Veterinary study on the oral health benefits of bone eating www.rawmeatybones.com/PrevDent.html
One of the great benefits of feeding whole raw food is that it requires some work on the part of the jaws and teeth to hack away at fleshy fibres and bones, and this takes some time. The time it takes to gnaw away at whole meaty bones to the point where swallow-able sized hunks have been torn off, gives the gut time to activate its gastric juices so that when the food finally does hit the stomach, it has a much better chance of being properly digested. Conversely, feeding commercial or even ground food encourages speedy gulping, because it requires no effort or time to consume it, so it arrives so rapidly into the dog’s stomach, that often there's no time for its necessary digestive acids to be fully excreted resulting in poorly digested meals. Such meals may end up causing irritation or indigestion, which can mean a greater chance of them either being vomited up, or coming out the other end in a less than desirable form.
The psychological and physiological challenge of tackling large raw meaty bones is invaluable for the dogs general satisfaction, increased vitality and quality of life. Feeding raw, particularly large pieces, gives our dogs the opportunity to really get a mentally stimulating experience as it takes a lot more mental and physical work for a dog to rip and tear meat off and crunch through bones, often they have to stop and work out exactly how to tackle it. Anyone who feeds raw will know the enjoyment alone from watching their dogs eating and enjoying their meal.
Improved Skin and Coat
This can be one of the first changes you will notice when you start feeding a raw meaty bone diet. If those persistent skin problems suddenly disappear or improve, and you no longer need vet visits, medicated washes, antibiotics, cortisone shots and cortisone tablets, it has to mean something. It is really difficult to ignore the deeply colored, lustrous, thick and healthy coat on a raw fed pet!
Stronger Immune System
We discovered that our newly rescued stray dogs at K9 Rescue struggled for health on a kibble diet, yet their health quickly transformed once switched to raw food, and this led us to promote rawfeeding to all of our adopters. A raw diet normalises and strengthens the immune system. Because the raw meat and bone diet contains a good balance of essential fatty acids and other immune normalizing and strengthening nutrients, it reduces inflammatory conditions and eliminates infections.
Leaner Body Mass
By feeding a Raw meat and bone diet, your pet will lose unwanted fat and gain that much desired increase in muscle mass. This not only makes your pet look better, it increases your pets metabolic rate, its activity levels and its healthy life-span. The effect will be more rapid if you begin a routine exercise program with your dog.
Improved Stool Volume and Odour
Once again this reflects the improved health of the immune system and the remarkable difference that bone eating makes in the production of firm stools which are essential for normal anal sac emptying. In addition, since commercial dog food usually contains a high percentage of carbohydrate based ingredients such as grains, corn and soy which are unnatural to a dogs digestion, the waste product is unnatural, smelly and takes considerably longer to decompose.
See also: Chalky White Dog Poo - www.rawmeatybones.com/ChalkWhite.html
Improved Degenerative Disease
People who switch their older dogs to a raw diet often find that whatever degenerative disease their pet has contracted, becomes less of a problem now.
After a few months you can expect to see much greater mobility in your pet. This is part of the reason so many older pets have a new lease on life when switched to a raw diet.
- Vet bills are usually greatly reduced after switching to a nutritious species appropriate diet.
- Naturally clean teeth and healthy gums from the natural scrubbing, massaging and flossing action of eating raw meaty bones.
- Clean breath and no doggie odour after changing to raw feeding
- Ripping and chewing raw meaty bones develops the neck, jaw and shoulder muscles of dogs.
- Greater bioavailability of naturally occurring nutrients and enzymes in raw meat, organs and bones.
- Stools are smaller, less smelly and quickly degrade into the soil.
- Dogs tend to maintain a healthy weight and the chances of obesity are minimized since it takes longer to chew and digest raw meaty bones.
- Kibble may sit around for hours untouched but dogs tend to be excited and love their raw species appropriate meals.
- Increased mental, psychological and physical stimulation leading to greater well-being and satisfaction
- Health problems such as arthritis, lack of energy, allergies, skin conditions and dull coats often improve when switching from commercial dog food to raw feeding.
- Ability to custom tailor your dogs’ diets for their activity level, age, health problems and specific nutritional requirements.