Raw Feeding. Is Feeding Your Dog Raw Food Right For You? | Blooming Culture
FC: IG @velma_thepocketpit
As our pets continue to get more humanistic diseases and we learn more about how much diet plays a role in that, pet parents are trending towards more "real food" for their pets. Whether it is a fresh cooked diet, dehydrated raw, or species-appropriate raw, there are many more options readily available now.
One survey showed that over 60% of pet owners look into a healthier diet for their pet only after they get sick. It's time to change that and try to incorporate a more well-rounded, fresh, and balanced diet for prevention instead.
If raw feeding is a route you have been thinking of trying, we spoke with Amy, founder of Primal Pooch and author of Why You NEED to Feed Your Dog a Raw Food Diet: A Complete Introduction for Beginners
When asked what is the biggest trend going on in pet food right now, Amy said "A Real Food Revolution" and we couldn't agree more.
Highlights from the interview:
1. What is your definition of a raw food diet? Feeding a species-appropriate diet.
2. What are the different categories of raw feeding? Commercial/Prepackaged and Homemade/DIY and then those breakdown into BARF vs Whole Prey Model. BARF = biological appropriate raw food includes plant matter and Whole Prey Model does not.
3. Why would you feed animal parts with hair? It's a great source of fiber and the trace mineral Manganese, which can be lacking in homemade diets. Plants can also help with this along with cloves and ginger.
4. What is the biggest difference between a commercial and a homemade diet? Control. When you are making your own raw diet you know the exact meat source and % of what you are feeding. Also, feeding homemade is less expensive.
5. Can you feed a homemade diet and commercial at the same time? YES!!
6. How do you feel about dehydrated raw? It is better than kibble, and not as good as feeding a fresh food or raw diet.
7. How often should someone change their dogs' protein? As often as they can afford or have the resources for. A minimum of 3 different protein types is recommended to have in rotation.
8. How can Manganese help a dog? Manganese is super important for soft tissue (think ACL tears) and collagen. ACL tears make up the most 65% of all soft tissue tears in pets.
9. What should you look for when sourcing ingredients? Source the highest quality that your budget can afford, but make sure it is human-grade food. Traditional dog food is made from only "feed grade" ingredients, which is actually illegal to sell for human consumption. This is explained more thoroughly in her book (linked below).
10. What % of muscle meat vs bone vs plant matter should a dog eat? Every pet may respond to the ratios differently so it's about finding what works for them. Most guidelines follow a 70/10/10/10 (muscle meat/organ/plant/bone) or a 80/10/10 (muscle/bone/organ) ratio, but it is all just an estimate. Nothing in nutrition for pets or people is an exact science because we are constantly learning new things. *if your pet's stool is on the soft side, increasing bone % can help firm it.
11. What does transitioning to a raw diet look like? It will vary on the dog, but slow is always better. It can even be only a teaspoon a day and going up from there over the course of a month. Dogs are susceptible to gastrointestinal upset, so be mindful of this while transitioning.
12. The Primal Pooch website is described as the "Ultimate Guide to Raw Feeding". Can you explain that? There is a comprehensive raw feeding directory that was built by not only Primal Pooch, but the entire community.
13. What's new or trending in raw feeding currently? To put it simply, it's more of a Real Food Revolution right now. We are all learning more about how important it is to feed your pet "real food" diet.
14. How do you feel about the new trend of a 100% plant-based diet for your dog? Dogs are domesticated wolfs which makes them carnivores, even today. They need certain things that a plant-based diet can not give them.
15. What are a few reasons why a dog can handle a raw diet instead of humans? They have a shorter digestive tract and are naturally built to handle a higher bacterial load than humans.
We ran out of time for our listener's questions, so they are posted here:
1. Do you think it's beneficial to supplement a balanced commercial raw food diet?
Stay an active participant in your dog's health and you'll be surprised at the impact you can have :-)
2. What are a few of your favorite supplements?
4. Tips for beginners who are a little overwhelmed, but need to fix an itchy pup?
The first step would be finding out why your dog is itchy. Is it skin infections, yeast issues, or allergies? If your dog is itchy year-round, it's more than likely diet-related and most skin issues in dogs can be traced back to diet or at least exacerbated by diet. Unfortunately, processed pet food and dry pet food is likely to be the culprit. It doesn't matter if you're feeding grain-free foods because the starch in pet food can be a problem and starch is in all kibble. You're likely to always experience this if you're feeding conventional, processed, dry pet foods. As I mentioned on our IG Live (and I go into more detail in my book) the ingredients tend to be low quality and aren't always the most biologically appropriate and as a result dogs have a lot of skin issues. Cleaning up the diet can do wonders for itchy dogs and dogs with skin problems and is the first step. I would also make sure to supplement essential omega 3 fatty acids in the diet.
5. Can you explain briefly how carbs in processed kibble or a high carb diet cause inflammation and in turn can lead to diseases such as cancer?
The short answer is that all carbohydrates are ultimately broken down as sugar in the body (glucose) when eaten and spike insulin. Dogs are much better suited to raise blood sugar when carbs are scarce than to lower it when excess carbs are consumed. Remember the natural diet of the dog is low in carbs so ancestrally, they never ate as many carbs as they do today. If your dog's diet is constantly spiking insulin they will gain weight, among other issues. Diets high in carbs can also lead to an imbalance of gut bacteria leading to all kinds of issues (GI issues, malnutrition, poorly functioning immune system, leaky gut). Plus low-quality carbs and starches (especially the kind in processed pet foods) can be inflammatory. Inflammation in the body among all the other points mentioned here leads to poor health and eventually disease. Plus with cancer, cancer is known to feed on glucose so having a diet high in sugar can feed any cancer cells in the body. With carbs, it's about feeding the right amount and the right kind of carbs.
7. Any favorite DTC raw brands that you have tried?
I'm a big fan of Darwin's. I like their products and I love how they have a range of options for all income levels (they have a premium line with free-range meats and a more economical line). They also have formulas for health conditions. I also really like their simple, no mess packaging that is easy to portion out. But I love that because they are direct to consumer if there ever is an issue with their food, a recall, etc. they know what batch went to what customers and they can contact those customers directly to let them know there is an issue. The accountability and traceability of their food is a major pro for me.
To learn more about raw feeding go to www.primalpooch.com or check out her book ~ Why You NEED to Feed Your Dog a Raw Food Diet: A Complete Introduction for Beginners