Disclaimer: A Raw Diet is not recommended by each veterinarian at Coxwell Animal Clinic. Not all members of our team support feeding your pet a raw diet. However, there is a lot of information online and we do prefer that if our clients are interested or chose the raw food diet they receive educated information.
Raw feeding is on the rise and I, being a raw feeder just want to make sure that people understand how to feed raw. It is not as simple as throwing a steak at your dog or cat every night. It is also not as cheap as you might have heard, especially if you have a big dog.
Let’s start with the basics. There are a few different schools of thought out there on how to feed raw. I have heard of the Prey Model and BARF. I’m sure there are more. The best way I have ever heard to feed raw I read in an article from Dogs Naturally Magazine.
Meet Mr. Franken-Chicken. The idea behind Mr. Franken-Chicken is that he shows you all the parts of a chicken. During the course of a week, what you want to do is try to assemble all of Mr. Franken- Chicken’s parts. You can do this with any animal; cow, rabbit, goat. That is a balanced raw diet. Every part of Mr. Franken-Chicken gives your dog or cat different nutrients that he needs.
Now getting each and every individual part is not an easy task, and that’s where offal and tripe come in. They smell god-awful, but they are a mixture of different organ meats all in one. You can get beef offal, goat offal etc. The same goes for tripe. Feed these daily in order for your dog or cat to get all the nutrients he needs from the different types of organ meat.
On a quick side note, I want to add that cats require more taurine in their diet than dogs do. Hearts from any animal are nice and high in taurine. I give my cat one turkey heart a day and that is enough for her.
You also want to feed muscle meat and bones. A lot of people get scared with the mention of bones. I want to say this now once and for all: raw bones are safe, given they are properly chewed. This means maybe giving a teeny tiny chicken wing to a Great Dane is not such a good idea because that Great Dane can swallow it whole and that can cause issues such as an intestinal blockage. Every dog is different when it comes to what they can safely chew and swallow. For example, my pug seems to think chewing is a step he can skip. If he could get the food to his belly without chewing, that’s what he would do. I can’t feed him anything with bones that he would potentially swallow whole. Because his teeth are not very good at ripping through tough skin, I also can’t feed him meats with tough skin because he will crush the bones and try to swallow it whole (example, raw chicken feet).
The amount of bone needed in each dog’s diet varies per dog. Bone dries out the stool. Too much bone and your pet can become constipated. Too little bone and your pet can have diarrhea. It is a delicate balance that you have to figure out with your pet.
Finally that leaves us with supplements. I’m sure you’ve heard of things like Hilary’s Blend and Sasha’s Blend. These are great supplements to give a dog on a raw diet just to cover all the bases in case something is missed. I personally prefer Feed-Essential’s because it is made with all natural ingredients in their raw form that the body can recognize. I also like Shemp Oil, which is a blend of omegas that I think every dog and cat should get. Omegas are incredibly important for your dog and cat’s health, especially joint and coat health.
Feeding raw is not easy if you are doing it the right way. It takes time and practice, but depending on the needs of your pet; it can be worth it.