A little raw goes a long way!
The argument you will usually here for raw dog foods is that it best represents the “primal” diet of dog’s wolf cousins. This is not the best argument, as dogs have evolved a long way from wolves. They have evolved to live aside our families and eat a variety of foods. The argument I would use, and the one that makes more sense, is the one we, as humans, can relate to. Can’t we agree that we all feel better when we eat pure vegetables, fruits, and meats? I don’t know about everyone here, but I regret eating over-processed foods like McDonald’s for days afterward. The comparison here is, depending on your kibble, you may be feeding your dog the equivalent of McDonald’s quality food two or three meals a day. The closer a meal’s ingredients are to nature, and the less preservatives and processing it has, the easier it will be for the body to break down and digest it. We have all seen this in ourselves, is it that hard to branch out and apply this to other species?
A raw diet is not always what people assume it is. I have heard customers question if just feeding their dog raw chicken is equivalent to a raw diet. Not even close. A raw diet is composed of meat, bone, offal (organs), vegetables, and fruits. It requires all of these components to be wholesome and healthy. Just feeding your dog one meat is going to cause deficiencies. Again, think about us, we may be able to survive on just plain chicken, but can we thrive? Most likely not, as we require a variety of proteins and nutrients to fuel our bodies.
As owners, we really just want our dogs to be safe and healthy. Safety in kibble can be fleeting and even non-existent. Many of you pet-owners have probably heard of some of the horrifying recalls pet food companies have made. This is because though, the FDA might have some rules and regulations, there is inconsistent checks to see if these companies are actually behaving. This is not acceptable, as it is our pets lives on the line. Maybe you heard of the Evangers recall just earlier this year, where a 14-year-old pug died from drug contaminants in the food. They actually found traces of horse meat and the chemical called pentobarbital, also known as a euthanizer. This points towards the potential outcome that Evangers was using the remains of euthanized pets in its foods. Not only is this terrifying in the health concerns, but it is also horrifying to consider the implications of this. On a side note, as an example of how companies can get away with disgusting health standards. Is this view of an “Against the Grain” factory (also owned by Evangers) inspectors saw, “peeling paint and mold on the walls, lack of raw meat refrigeration, and an open sewer within 25 feet of food storage trailers” (http://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/6292-drug-and-horse-meat-in-evangers-dog-food-still-a-mystery).
Though, there is also a claim against safety when it comes to raw foods. Many claim the dangers of salmonella, E-coli, or other food-borne illnesses is too great to take the risk. Though it is definitely possible for these pathogens to be present, the biggest danger is not towards your dog, who’s digestive system is strong enough to destroy these without issue, but to us, the parents. Most of the danger from these pathogens come from uncleanliness and mishandling of the food. Though, there is always possibility for some more dangerous virus/bacteria to stick around, which is why it is extremely important to practice proper refrigeration/freezing of raw foods (http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/raw-debate/756).
Another argument I have heard frequently, used as fearmongering, is that if you feed your dog kibble and raw food at the same time, they will digest at different rates and cause harm to your pet! Notice how what type of harm, how that harm scientifically works, and so on, is so curiously neglected. Now, based on a study in which a dog was fed kibble and raw (on different days) and scanned periodically to measure the digestion times, it was found that raw food tends to take longer to digest. What this means, though, is simply that “the body is able to absorb and utilize more nutrients from the food” (https://therawfeedingcommunity.com/2015/01/08/digest-this-kibble-may-actually-digest-faster-than-raw/). A good measure of how well your dog is digesting his food, is the size of his poop. A dog that is raw-fed usually has once daily feces that are very small. This is because almost everything usable is extracted from the food, alongside more water being absorbed as well. The pure, easily digestible nutrients in natural foods allows for smaller feces, shiner and smoother coat, less skin issues, higher energy, and lower incidence of sickness. All of this can be supported by the fact that higher quality nutrition, that is also more attainable for us, allows our body to function at a higher level.
Now that I have brought you over to the raw side, let’s talk about your options. There are two ways to feed raw. Either you can buy pre-made store packaged raw food, or you can dive straight in and start home-cooking all your dog’s meals. While both have their pros and cons, I usually recommend store bought raw food for the beginning raw feeder. This isn’t because I don’t have trust in your ability as an amazing fur parent, but instead because there is so much falsified and misinforming information out there on what to feed your dog on a raw diet. More harm than good can be done by a human with the best of intentions. It is extremely difficult to balance all the nutrients, vitamins, and supplements a dog requires to function at a higher level. But, there are reliable websites that can assist you in building meal plans, and informing you on dog-safe foods. Also, here at the Yuppy Puppy we have several different supplements that work perfectly alongside a home-made raw diet. Otherwise, I would begin your raw feeding journey with either freeze-dried raw or frozen. I prefer frozen, as it is one less step of processing, but is much more difficult and not as clean as freeze dried raw is. If you want an easy start, to get yourself going and move your dog towards his healthier step, here at the Yuppy Puppy, we can definitely point you towards our many options.
Another great way to introduce our furry friends to raw feeding, is with the use of raw marrow bones, turkey necks, or frozen fish. All of these can be found at the Yuppy Puppy, and are amazing chews. Marrow bones are great for scraping teeth clean, but work more so because they raise the pH of your dog’s mouth and therefore kill all the nasty bacteria. Turkey necks are another fun treat. They will definitely entertain your dog for quite a while, especially if you leave them frozen. I know many people, myself included, that simply use these add-ins instead of feeding complete raw because “a little raw is better than nothing”. If you have more questions about these chews, please come on in, and let us figure out what would work best for your pet!
Overall, raw feeding is a huge step for any pet parent to make, but its benefits are boundless. Though there are always difficulties in going above and beyond for your pet, the Yuppy Puppy family will be by your side the whole way. There are endless options for raw feeding, including supplements, freeze-dried, frozen, fresh, raw kibble mixes, and so on. No matter what you’re looking for, we will help you find what works best and, most importantly, keeps your beloved pet’s tail wagging!
“Drugs and Horse Meat in Evanger’s Dog Food.” PetfoodIndustry.com, www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/6292-drug-and-horse-meat-in-evangers-dog-food-still-a-mystery.
“The Raw Debate.” Modern Dog Magazine, moderndogmagazine.com/articles/raw-debate/756.
“DIGEST THIS: Kibble May Actually Digest Faster Than Raw.” The Raw Feeding Community, 29 Oct. 2017, therawfeedingcommunity.com/2015/01/08/digest-this-kibble-may-actually-digest-faster-than-raw/.