In recent years, the topic of a raw food diet for dogs has been gaining in popularity. Adherence to raw food is based on the concept of “hereditary food.” We all know that the ancestors of dogs werewolves. And raw diets try to mimic the food that wolves get in the wild. If you study well how the “ancestors” of our tailed watchdogs eat, then it is straightforward to make a diet. So what is a raw food diet for dogs? Should I feed my pet raw food? What types of natural dog diets are there, and how are they different from each other?
Raw food diet for dogs – what is it, and is it worth
A raw food diet is feeding your pet exclusively natural, uncooked foods. That is, with everything that a predator gets in nature. This is raw meat, edible bones, internal organs of prey, sometimes roots, grass, berries, bird eggs, and other edibles.
“Raw foodists” believe that this type of dog nutrition is superior not only to industrial feed. But also to natural food that has been cooked. A raw food diet is the so-called ancestral diet, payment for food. That is genetically, physiologically, and anatomically appropriate for dogs. Plus, natural foods retain all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients.
Some might say that feeding raw meat carries a risk of parasite infestation. Yes, there is such a risk. Dogs that eat raw meat have higher stomach acidity and good immunity. Therefore, the risk of microbial contamination is much lower. In any case, to protect your pet from infection with parasites. It would help if you carried out preventive deworming at least once every six months.
Types of “raw” food diets for dogs
While raw diets can vary, each is based on natural muscle meat, edible bones, and the entrails of the prey. While at first glance, the principle of a raw food diet for dogs may seem rather complicated. It is actually quite simple. You need to study the types of raw food and determine (understand) which one is best for your dog.
There are two raw food systems for animals: the RAW feeding system and the BARF system. Some people sometimes confuse these diets. Let’s look at each and determine how they are similar and how BARFs differ from each other.
RAW System or “Production Model”
Translated from English, RAW means raw, unprocessed, rough. This feeding system is based on fact. That dogs are predators by nature and should follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. And this means that they must also eat according to the so-called “Prey Model.” Like their ancestor’s wolves in the wild.
What does the loot consist of? Muscle meat, internal organs, bones, skin, veins, fat, hides. In general, everything that runs swims or flies.
The RAW feeding model assumes feeding only meat, excluding various additives and plant components. They need for the body only from the prey caught for food.
However, if the dog refuses to eat fish, followers of the Prey Model diet add fish oil to their pet food. They are so assuming that commercial cattle meat does not have the proper ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.
When taken as a percentage, the raw diet for this type of food consists of:
- 80-85% muscle meat.
- 10-15% of edible meat bones.
- 10% offal (3% of which is raw liver).
What the RAW model excludes: vegetables, fruits, dairy products, additives.
There are two power options for this system:
- Feeding whole prey.
- By combining parts of the carcass, mimicking (collecting) the relative proportions of the entire animal carcass.
The first option, of course, is more suitable for dogs that do not live in an apartment. But somewhere in their house or the countryside. Also, this option is useful if someone in the family is passionate about hunting, which will allow you to give the dog the whole prey.
But the second option, just for those who do not have the opportunity, for example, to bring a whole carcass of a forest deer into an apartment! This is where the principle “collect the prey yourself” is at work. Buying legs, tails, meat, ribs, offal, and other parts separately from the store, you can easily “connect” them yourself and, thus, imitate the whole carcass of prey.
What type of food to choose for your pet: Raw Food Diet For Dogs
So, what type of food should you prefer for your furry pet?
It would help if you did not make a categorical choice right away. Start with what you think is more acceptable and affordable to you. Test both power models. And in the future, decide what is right for your pet.
Suppose you have already fed or fed raw food before your barbossik. I would like to hear your opinion on choosing a raw feeding model.
Or maybe you have your own method that is not similar to any other type of nutrition? Share your experiences and recipes in the comments.
What is BARF
Based on the use of only raw products, it is called BARF. The founder of the feeding system was a veterinarian from Australia – Ian Billinghurst. In 1993 he released a work titled Give a Dog a Bone. It argues for a raw, natural diet for dogs and cats, similar to that of their wild brethren.
One of the compelling reasons for BARF is the ability to increase the life span of a pet. The veterinarian believed that when fed with industrial (commercial) food, dogs live significantly less.
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The choice of food is based on the “predator-prey” model. The diet is close to what the wild brethren of cats and dogs eat. One of the main ideas of the system is to return the animal to a “natural” way of eating food: gnawing bones, chewing raw meat, etc.
Reasons for switching to BARF
Most often, owners choose BARF food to arrive at a “healthy and natural diet”. The main reason for this is the widespread belief that dry food consists of “chemistry”, low-quality ingredients and is harmful to the health of pets.
Another group of reasons for a change in diet is a dog’s health problems, especially chronic diseases. Most often, these are:
- gastrointestinal diseases;
- skin diseases;
- coat problems.
Owners get necessary information about the diet from books, articles and videos. In them, BARF acts as a panacea for many ailments.
The problem with such materials is that their authors are often not experts. Most of the works on BARF are written very emotionally and appeal not so much to reason and rationality as they try to influence emotions.
What does the diet consist of
The basis of the BARF diet is animal products. Percentage of the diet:
- 60-70% – meat and fish (of which 10-20% are bones and offal);
- 15-20% – eggs and dairy products;
- 15-20% – ingredients of plant origin (herbs, fruits).
In this food system, it is forbidden to give cereals to dogs. The source of carbohydrates is usually vegetables, roots and, in limited quantities, legumes. When a dog first goes on such a diet, he is given mainly chicken wings and various vegetables. And only after a few weeks, the diet gradually becomes more varied.
All foods are fed raw. Jan Billinghurst was convinced that even with a slight heat treatment, products lose their beneficial properties. Also, in the wild, animals only eat raw food. You don’t need unique recipes to prepare a varied menu. Just combine several types of food in one bowl.
Alternate between different meat options with vegetables, berries, or herbs. For example, combine chicken necks, some cottage cheese, and chopped spinach leaves.
Raw meat and bones
The base in the diet of BARF is raw meat and bones. They make up more than half of the pet’s diet. They give beef, rabbit meat, turkey chicken and other poultry.
The meat is necessarily streaked and cartilage, but not very fatty. Otherwise, the dog will receive less protein. It is fed with one large or several large pieces.
Approximately half of the Daily Value (meat) is bone. They are given both in the main meal and in the intervals for “nibbles”.
Chicken wings can be fed throughout the BARF feeding. At this point, the adherents of the system are contrary to the rules of many breeders. Because dogs handlers and veterinarians, who do not recommend giving a dog tubular bird bones.
It is forbidden to feed pets with raw pork. It may contain Aujeszky’s virus, also called “false rabies”.
Be sure to include fish in the diet. It is rich in beneficial amino acids such as Omega-3. It also contains many trace elements, such as phosphorus. Feed the dog with fish 1-2 times a week. You can give cod and hake. They also feed pollock, blue whiting and haddock.
According to the BARF system, fish is fed raw, like other products.
A dog can become infected with helminths, which are common in fish. You can minimize or avoid the risk of infection in the following ways:
- deviate a little from the rules of the diet and boil the fish;
- give only marine species (they have fewer parasites than river ones);
- feed only meat, preventing the dog from eating the insides of unpeeled fish.
All herbal products are given to the dog in a chopped state. The emphasis is on the fact that in the wild. So predators eat the contents of the stomach and intestines of their prey. The herb and fruits are already in a crushed, semi-digested form.
The vegetable menu includes:
- bell peppers and many other vegetables.
These foods are fed in any quantity. In limited quantities, they give:
- white cabbage;
Greens are also given in small quantities and only a few times a week. Common greens like parsley, dill, spinach and lettuce will do. Additionally, feed chopped nettles and seaweed (available at the pharmacy).
Fruits and berries are optional. But adding them is helpful. They will become an additional source of vitamins and minerals, and many dogs also love them. The menu includes apples and pears, bananas. From the berries, they give watermelons, lingonberries and blueberries with blueberries.
The menu includes only fermented milk products:
- kefir or yoghurt;
- sour cream;
- natural yoghurt (no sugar, dye or additives);
- cottage cheese.
Fermented milk products are fed a couple of times a week. If the dog refuses to eat something, it is best to eliminate the ingredient and not force it.
But it is not recommended to give milk to an adult animal. The digestive system of an adult dog is no longer ready to digest and assimilate fresh milk. Otherwise, the animal will develop diarrhoea.
They are given no more than twice a week. At a time, only 1 chicken egg (preferably only the yolk) or 2 quail eggs are included in the menu.
Add some quail eggshells to the diet. It will become a source of additional trace elements: calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, etc. They are needed to maintain the health of bones, teeth and hair.
How to calculate serving sizes: Raw Food Diet For Dogs
On average, an adult animal should consume 3-7% raw food of its weight. So, for a dog weighing 10 kg, you need 300-700 grams of the food. From this amount, already calculate how much meat, milk or plant products should be. This entire volume is still divided by the required number of feedings.
For puppies, the amount of food is increased to 10-15% of the dog’s weight. At the same time, the ratio of products also changes.
Dogs that are emaciated or highly active also have their portion sizes increased. The daily dose is 10-15% of the animal’s weight. But for obese animals, on the contrary, the volumes are reduced to 2-4% of their value.
Be careful when feeding. All indicated volumes are universal. The transition to the BARF system does not change the general rules of feeding. If your dog is undernourished several times in a row: reduce the portion size. And on the contrary, if the animal eats everything and licks the bowl thoroughly for several minutes. What you give is not enough for it.
There are two transition options. The choice of the scheme is influenced by the age and health of the dogs, the previous feeding option.
This is an option for dogs already “sitting on natural”. For the first three days, combine raw and cooked food. During the transition, the animal should not have health problems, especially with the gastrointestinal tract.
This option is suitable for all dogs, especially for animals fed on industrial food, with health problems, elderly pets. The transition period lasts from 10 to 14 days.
Feed your dog raw meat on the first day. Let her smell him, maybe try. From the second day, replace a little part of the purchased feed. With raw products (no more than 10-15% of the total feed volume, the percentage gradually increases).