BIOLOGICALLY APPROPRIATE RAW FOOD DIET
BENEFITS OF BIOLOGICALLY APPROPRIATE RAW FOOD DIET
Just some of the physical benefits of a raw dog food diet can be as follows:
•Cleaner teeth and fresh breath
•Better weight control
•Signifigantly Improved digestion
•Shinier, healthier skin and coat
•Reduction of allergy symptoms
•Harder, smaller, less smelly stools
•Increased mobility in older animals
•More energy and stamina
•Strengthened immune system
•Improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
•Savings due to less trips to the vet
Aggression and behavioural issues can also be linked to poor diet, so switching your dog to a BARF diet could substantially improve any behavioural issues. Some common behavioural problems which may be linked to poor diet are as follows:
•Chewing – could your dog be trying out items to see if they supply nutrients that are missing from the feed?
•Excessive digging in the garden – again, what is your dog looking for? Is he looking for nutrients in the soil?
•Food theft – is your dog hungry, is he or she lacking in nutrients from their own food supply?
Jumping up - In the canine world, jumping up can induce vomiting/regurgitation of food. What is your dog trying to tell you?
•Hyperactivity – it is well known that a diet full of chemicals, flavourings, additives and colourings can lead to an increase in negative energy in a dog.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PROCESSED DOG FOOD
The first question you may be asking yourself is what is wrong with processed dog food, and why might it not be the optimum diet for my dog?
To help answer this question it may be helpful to explore the recent history of processed dog food. You will probably have come across the expression ‘as fit as a butchers dog’. This is a commonly used phrase to describe a person (or animal) that is in optimum health. The phrase itself derived from the fact that not too long ago, healthy dogs were fed from the butchers, not the supermarket. It was a well known fact that a dog fed on butchers scraps would be a very lucky (and well fed) dog indeed.
Before the introduction of commercial pet food, invented by an American gentleman by the name of James Spratt in 1860, dogs ate table scraps salvaged from their human companions or anything they could scavenge or kill. There was no such thing as tinned processed dog food or kibble.
We now know that processed convenience foods are not healthy for humans, so why would processed dog foods be good for our dogs?
As a society in general we have become used to eating convenience foods, and unfortunately we have passed this ‘convenience’ on to our canine companions.
It is much easier to purchase a bag of kibble that will last a month from the local pet store, especially if we are told that this includes all the nutrition for our dog’s needs, rather than have to worry about our dog’s nutritional needs at every meal time.
However, health issues that were unheard of years ago are nowadays worryingly common in our canine companions; from obesity to food intolerances, joint complications, dental conditions and numerous cancers.
Unfortunately this has been on the increase since processed pet foods became the norm.
Processed pet foods are unnatural, and certainly not the type of thing your dog would have eaten in the wild. For a start, processed dog food is cooked, and cooking food damages some of the valuable ‘live’ enzymes found in raw meat and vegetables.
These are the very enzymes that your dog needs to be able to digest food properly.
Combine this with the fact that processed foods are full of preservatives and additives, and you come to get a clearer picture of why processed dog food is probably not the best choice of feed to keep your dog in optimum health.
It is not surprising that many of us have considered kibble to be the best food for our dogs. Let’s face it; kibble is convenient, easy to store and relatively inexpensive. Not to mention, we are bombarded with advertisements without end.
And this brings us to a very important factor. Dogs are not humans; they have a different anatomical structure and are therefore not designed to eat grains.
Most dry commercial pet foods are at least 50% grain because the carbohydrates are needed to hold the food together. A dog does not need, and certainly cannot properly digest the amount of unnatural carbohydrates found in such feed. This goes a long way to explaining why dogs on a commercial diet have much bigger stools than those fed on a raw diet. It’s the first thing people notice when they move to raw; smaller, less smelly stools due to the high digestibility of the natural food. It can take 18 hours for a dog fed on a kibble-based diet to digest this food, whereas on a natural raw food diet, the food is digested in around 6 hours.
We are so used to providing our dogs with food out of a tin or packet provided by commercial pet food manufacturers that have employed clever marketing tools that we have forgotten where our dogs originally came from and how they have evolved.
This poor nutrition combined with improper amounts of exercise (or none at all) are leading to serious health problems for our canine friends.
Nowadays dogs suffer numerous problems which appear to be inextricably linked to their modern day processed diet, and unfortunately these conditions are on the increase. The incidence of obesity, cancers, dental problems and allergies bear testament to this.
More worryingly, there has been a recent trend for product recalls with regard to some pet food feeds and treats, due mainly to toxicity levels and other harmful ingredients.
We would not feed our human family food that we suspect could lead to health problems, so the same ethos must apply to our dogs. As our dog’s carers, our dogs rely on us to provide them with love, exercise and correct species appropriate nutrition and diet.
DISPELLING THE MYTHS
One has to consider that if raw dog food was dangerous, dogs would have become extinct many years ago. As we have previously mentioned, processed dog food is a relatively modern invention, dogs have been eating raw for nearly 15, 000 years since they were first domesticated!
There are a few misconceptions around the issue of the raw food dog diet which we hope to dispel here as follows:
An argument against the raw dog food diet is that feeding a dog raw meat can lead to bacterial infections. Bacteria are still present on the meat, and just as worrying it could be passed on to humans through poor meat preparation, or via the faeces of the dog.
Of course when preparing raw meat one should take the usual precautions that you would when feeding a member of your family, by cleaning the counter, using a clean knife and washing your hands etc. As for bacteria being passed on through faecal matter, then again, the normal precautions of any dog owner hygiene would apply.
However, we need to bear in mind that dogs are natural scavengers so are very well-equipped to deal with bacteria. In any event, they are able to deal with the low level of contamination which may be present in fresh uncooked meat. Their saliva has strong antibacterial properties; and their short digestive tract and powerful digestive juices are designed to eliminate food and ‘kill’ bacteria quickly. The balanced nature of raw dog food also helps to maintain your dog’s immune system in tip top condition.
Don’t forget that dogs have been roaming the wild for years eating a variety of rotten carcasses, fruit, fresh game, grasses and herbs.
The anti-bacterial juices in their mouth and stomach are highly effective and mean they can eat things which a human cannot.
Unfortunately it is more likely that processed foods will make your dog ill.
b. The Carnivore/Omnivore debate.
Some people think dogs are omnivores, meaning they are designed to eat both vegetation and meat. It is true that dogs do and can eat vegetation, because they are opportunists, we have a video of wolves eating berries on our site, but they are anatomically carnivores. They belong to the Carnivora order and therefore in their wild state they are basically flesh eaters with powerful digestive juices.
You only need to look at the anatomy and physiology of a dog, to see that a dog is designed to eat meat. From the short intestines to the powerful jaw bones to the teeth designed for cutting and ripping flesh.
Dogs are opportunistic carnivores with omnivorous abilities. However, their entire anatomy and physiology has been designed for a meat eating diet.
This of course does not mean that they thrive on meat alone, and dogs have proven that they can survive on human dinner scraps and certain vegetation during times of hunger. However to optimise their health we need to recognise that they are first and foremost carnivores with omnivorous abilities.
The raw dog food diet recognises this and follows this principle.
What about bones? Despite what you may have heard, dogs do need raw meaty bones. Notice the word ‘raw’. Cooking bones makes them brittle and therefore, more likely to splinter and this is why cooked bones are an issue. Do not feed your dog cooked bones.
Dogs and their wild ancestors have been eating raw meaty bones for a very long time with no ill effect.
You can see by their teeth that canines are purpose built to eat bones.
Chewing on a bone is a very stimulating activity for a dog which also releases endorphins which promote a feeling of well-being.
Perhaps the best thing about bone chewing is that it prevents tartar build up; bones act as a natural tooth brush for a dog.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that dental problems for dogs are not as serious as other ailments, bad dental health left untreated can lead to the death of your dog. So it is important that uncooked bones are provided as an addition to any raw food diet.
Bones have a vital part to play in the dental health of our canine companions.
DOGS WITH AILMENTS & CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Raw dog food can be of significant benefit to dogs that are suffering from ailments and certain chronic conditions. We have seen some dramatic improvements in the health of our dogs when fed raw.
The BARF diet has been shown to assist with the following:
•Periodontal diseases such as gingivitis
•Irritable Bowel Syndrome