Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Raw Food for dogs: Frequently Asked Questions.

There are a lot of misconceptions about raw feeding for dogs, and often those new to this lifestyle have many questions they would like to see answered. Some people have asked: "Will raw meat poison my dog?" or "Can I feed my dog bones?" here are some FAQ's and answers.

Will raw meat make my dog sick? I am afraid of exposing myself, my family and my dog(s) to salmonella and other food borne illness.
We handle raw meat on a daily basis whether or not we feed our dogs raw. All you need to do is follow your regular cleaning and food safety procedures. Make sure you disinfect the surfaces you are preparing the food on and any utensils you are using to prepare it. Make sure to also disinfect where your dog eats. Feeding your dog in its crate or even outside on the grass can make for easy clean up.

It is important to take note of the fact that dog foods are being recalled all the time for such issues as salmonella contamination. A Google search for “pet food recalls” will tell you all you need to know. It is also important to know that more often than not, dogs and cats handle food borne bacteria well due to the acidity of their stomach and short digestive tract. Bacteria is everywhere and you only have to be concerned if your pet’s immune system is already compromised prior to exposure.

Sanitize and disinfect after handling and preparing your dog’s raw meal, make sure to properly wash the food bowl afterwards and disinfect the place where the eat their meal – you will not have any problems!

Aren’t bones dangerous for my dog?
Wild, carnivorous animals have been hunting and consuming other animals for millions of years. Consider the close relation between wolves and dogs, now consider the fact that wolves and other canines will hunt and eat the bones, meat and organs of other animals. Your dog is truly no different! Your dog is physically designed to live a raw food lifestyle.

The only bones you should not offer are cooked bones. Cooking the bones changes the physical characteristics of the bone, causing them to splinter and become brittle. Cooked bones are harder to digest, and so the danger in them causing trouble in the intestinal tract is quite high. RAW bones are safe and easily digestible. Weight bearing bones, especially from large mammals, should be given as recreational chewing bones only since they are much, much harder than the edible bones canines consume.

My vet says that raw feeding is dangerous and not appropriate for our pets!
The truth is that veterinarians and veterinarian technicians often receive minimal nutritional training during their years of study. The courses they do take are funded and hosted by pet food companies whose agenda is to sell their kibble in veterinarian clinics and hopefully encourage vets to push their kibble brand on clients.

Instead, get second opinions from animal biologists, zoologists and animal nutritionists… you will encounter a very different opinion on raw feeding. These professionals who focus on the physical biology and anatomy of animals, as well as their ecology and nutritional needs, can attest to the digestive system of both wolf and dog, and how they are designed to thrive on raw meat, bones and organs.

Picture Can I feed my dog(s) grains, vegetables or fruits?
Dogs do not need vegetables or fruits to thrive as they are designed to thrive on a carnivore’s diet of meat, bone and organs. Since they are incapable of digesting grains properly, you should avoid feeding grains in general.  Grains are also often the source of food allergies and sensitivities in our pets.

You can, however, provide cooked vegetables if you want to supplement their diet. Treat vegetables like supplements in terms of adding vitamins and such in your own diet – you would simply be adding extra nutrition. For example, I give my dog cooked and mashed carrots for the beta-carotene. He doesn’t need it, but I like to improve coat colour with beta carotene. I also give omega 3s and omega 6s for skin, coat and brain health.

I am nervous about feeding raw!
Don't be! Raw feeding is as natural for dogs as breathing! If you decide to make the transition from kibble to raw, you're going to experience a wide array of beautiful results. You're going to be able to watch your dog's physical and mental condition improve! I always recommend people about the start feeding raw take before and after photographs of their beloved pets so that they can appreciate the wonderful changes that will happen.

Do I have to transition my dog slowly from kibble to raw?
No, you do not have to transition them slowly. The best way to get them on raw is to go cold turkey - dump the kibble in the garbage and fill their bowl with real, wholesome raw meat. It is not a good idea to mix kibble and raw food in one meal, as kibble takes much, much longer to digest than raw food does.

What kind of raw food should I start feeding with?
For the first week, it is ideal to feed only raw muscle meat. After having eaten kibble for so long, their digestive system will be a little out of order. A few days on something like ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken will help them rebuild their stomach acidity and state to a normal level.
It is ideal to start with only one protein source. Chicken is a common starter meat, but you can use beef, turkey, pork or even venison. Just stick to one protein source for a few weeks. After you've started them on the raw muscle meat for about a week, go ahead and add some bone and organ. Start with the more softer bones like raw chicken wings or chicken necks. Once you see the stool settle and the volume drop, add variety.

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