The fact that you actually chose to read this article, is proof enough for me that you must be a true dog lover. Who else would spend time researching about nutritious dog food diets than those truly devoted to their best buddies? And, it was wise of you to do some online research on the topic. Most pet owners make the mistaken assumption that their pets have the same nutrient needs as them. However, we have to realize that our pet dogs are actually wild animals that have been domesticated. The best diet for them is their native diet, which is raw meat.
Now, you might think that this will bring on salmonella, e-coli or other types of food poisoning to your dog. Don’t worry, it won’t. Our dogs’ digestive systems are not like ours. We need to cook meat in order to kill bacteria that can wreak havoc on our system. On the other hand, dogs are not susceptible to these kinds of microorganisms. In fact, raw meat might actually be more nutritious for them, especially if you compare it to commercial dog foods, which are laden with preservatives, fillers and chemicals.
Cooked meat loses a lot of its nutrients. This is because cooking breaks down the proteins, vitamins and minerals of meat. It also loses a lot of its moisture content, which would have ideally contributed to meeting your dog’s daily water needs. As a whole, meat should be the primary component of your dog’s food.
Now, if we take a look at commercial dog food, their usual ingredients are mostly soy, corn, and wheat. These ingredients happen to be the most common allergens among dogs. Our dogs’ digestive systems were not designed for processing grains. A high-grain diet among dogs has actually been correlated to pancreatic stress and tooth decay among dogs. Some raw dog food advocates even campaign for the total elimination of grain from our dogs’ diets.
What makes up a dog’s raw food diet, or what they call, biologically appropriate raw food (BARF)? Ideally it is made up of 60-80% raw meat. It can be raw meat from beef, buffalo, venison, chicken, turkey, rabbit and fish. Small animals like rabbit and fish can be fed to them whole. The raw meat component can further be broken down to about 1/5 organs, 1/5 skin and fat, and the rest in muscle meat.
Bones are also nutritious additions to your dog’s diet. But, they must be from animals that were freshly killed for meat. Never feed them old bones from animals that have been long dead and preserved. Good sources of bones would be, for example, freshly killed rabbits or chickens. It is actually safe to feed your dog chicken bones if they are fresh and uncooked. Chicken bones become dangerous to dogs when cooked because cooked bones become brittle and are much more likely to splinter. On the other hand, fresh bones are easier to chew and digest. If you’re doubtful about this information, verify it with a veterinarian.
Some 20-40% of your dog’s diet can come from vegetables. Some vegetables, however, can cause bloating among dogs.
So, if you’re ready to feed your dogs some raw meat, go ahead and ask for left-over animal parts from your butcher! Just remember to take proper food handling precautions, for your sake, as you already know that our systems our much more sensitive than that of our dog’s.