When I first began feeding raw I got a lot of strange looks at the butcher’s shop. After buying an entire case of chicken legs with back attached, I really felt the need to explain myself – I was feeding my dog a raw diet.
While there are many different diet options for dogs, raw is by the far the most healthy and biologically correct one. Raw is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, it’s just raw meat. Dogs lack the ability to digest plant material and grains. Meat, when fed correctly, provides all the nutrients and vitamins that a dog needs, and perhaps even more importantly, contains none of the useless fillers.
A correct raw diet consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone and 10% organ. All of this is fed to the dog completely raw. Once cooked, the protein structure of organs and meat changes to a much less digestible form, and bones actually become dangerous. There is no need to add any supplements to the basic raw diet, in fact, they often produce unwanted side effects! Ideally, raw meat from a variety of animals is fed, in order to include all required nutrients.
Many people are a bit shocked when I tell them what I feed my dog. They assume that he simply could not survive (or looks so nice!) eating a raw meat diet. While a human wouldn’t do well eating only raw meat, and would likely contract some sort of food borne illness, that just isn’t the case with dogs. Dogs can’t actually catch salmonella – their digestive track is too short. (In fact, many non-premium brands of dog food actually have salmonella in them!) While I do have to be careful while handling raw meat, Bram doesn’t have to worry about eating it.
For me, any small risks associated with raw feeding are far out weighed by the benefits. Bram’s coat is shiny and silky smooth, he never has doggy breathe, or an unpleasant smell. In fact, even his stool smells better, and it’s much easier to pick up, because it’s not full of undigested matter.
Raw is certainly a way of life, but I couldn’t be any happier over how it turned out.