Feeding a Raw Diet
I am thoroughly convinced that the best thing to feed a dog is a raw diet. By feeding raw, I mean raw meat, raw bones, a little bit of fruit and veggies. You are going back to nature, feeding a dog what a dog or wolf eats in the wild. Some people also refer to feeding raw as BARF (bones and raw foods).
Common concerns about feeding raw are fear of diseases, such as e.coli and salmonella. Dog's are carnivores, their teeth are made to rip and tear raw meat and crunch up bones. In the wild, a wolf or wild dog will make a kill and eat some. Then bury the rest of that kill to eat later, usually days later. When they dig up what is left, it is often rancid. Their bodies are able to deal with disease much better than humans. Dogs with a healthy immune system can ward off e.coli, salmonella and other bacteria. Feeding a raw diet actually helps build a healthy immune system in a dog.
After seeing so many growth problems in Dane pups (such as HOD, OCD, and Pano), I feel that kibble, combined with a weakened immune system, is the problem. While I do feel that feeding high protein (over 23%) is a contributing factor in growth problems, I don't think it's the whole issue. We have treated many pups with growth problems, simply by putting them on a raw diet. I have seen miracles, dogs that we thought would be crippled, turn around and live a normal and happy life, just by feeding raw. I don't care to feed pups kibble at all, I start pups as young as 3 and 4 weeks on raw.
Besides a healthier dog, there are other benefits of feeding raw. Chewing up bones keeps their teeth clean, there's no tartar build up, and better breath. You don't have to put your dog under anesthesia to have its teeth cleaned. Dogs fed a raw diet use most of what they eat. Raw fed dogs have less bowel movements, their stools are much smaller, and less smell - than dogs fed kibble. Due to that, I have found that it tends to make housebreaking pups easier. It makes cleaning up the yard less time consuming. By feeding raw, you eliminate a factor that is believed to cause bloat, which is dog food expanding in the stomach. This does not mean that by feeding raw, your dog will not bloat, but it's it does eliminate that one factor.
For anyone thinking about swapping to a raw diet, the best thing is to do a lot of research. You must be convinced that feeding a raw diet is the healthiest way to feed in order to stick with it. I'm not going to kid anyone, feeding raw takes more work than pouring out a bowl of kibble. And feeding raw costs more initially. But, a healthier dog in the long run, means less in Vet bills. I truly think the health benefits make it worth the extra time and money.
I'll add links to other raw
How I Decided to Feed a
Natural Diet: Resources for “Raw” - by MaryAnne Teal - pdf
How I Decided to Feed a Natural Diet: Resources for “Raw” - by MaryAnne Teal - pdf document
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