Why feed raw?
So, where do we start?
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or BARF as it's often known as. There's a reason it's called that, it's because it describes it to a tee.
There are so many reasons to feed raw over any other type of food. If you want your dog to live a long and healthy, happy life then read on...
The main benefits of a raw food diet for dogs are:-
Raw versus Cooked
The entire canine family, whether wolves or poodles, are designed to eat and completely digest raw food, drawing all the available nutrients from it, and there are so many, trust me! A raw fed dog produces much less waste than dogs fed other types of food, even pure cooked meat produces more waste. This is how they were designed to eat. They use and benefit from everything in that raw and therefore the waste is much smaller. They cannot roast their own food, or use a can opener to open a tin so why would we even think of doing that? Canines have been around for a long long time and they managed perfectly well catching and eating raw food long before we came along and started introducing them to 'processed' food. Why interfere with something that has always worked perfectly well. You know the old saying right? 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'!
A dog's digestive tract is 100% tailor made to eat raw food. This is how they have always eaten, until someone came along and invented 'dry food', 'kibble', 'canned smelly mush' and all of those other completely unnatural products that we're told are 'perfectly balanced for your dog'. Complete and utter nonsense! Their teeth are shaped to tear meat apart and their jaws capable of crushing bone. They have incredibly powerful acid in their stomachs which kills bacteria and breaks down that bone. Dogs have a straight intestinal tract which is also short and it can quickly eliminate anything dodgy they may have eaten before it can do them any harm, clever huh?
Use it or lose it
This fantastic digestive system that dogs have is truly amazing, but as with anything, if it's not used it will become lazy and useless.
Raw fed dogs drink less
Raw food contains it's own natural moisture. This isn't the moisture that you can see, it's moisture that is locked away inside it's molecules. This is why raw fed dogs tend to drink far less than dogs which are fed on cooked, canned or dry food. When food is cooked you are destroying the majority of the vitamins, nutrients and natural moisture that is inside that product.
Dogs that are raw fed are far less susceptible to allergies than dogs that are fed any other type of food.
But what about the risks?
It's been drummed into us that we must be careful around raw meat. We as humans are taught not to touch it and then put our fingers near our mouths because raw meat is 'bad for us'. Yes, that's true, it's bad for us. We haven't evolved to eat raw meat. Unlike our canine friends. A healthy dog with a healthy digestive and immune system will not be affected by a small amount of bacteria in raw meat. They lick their own backsides right? So why do we think that fresh, raw, good quality meat is going to affect them? Because of how we've been taught, as humans, that raw meat is bad. How many times has your dog licked something up off the floor? Has he been sick? Can you imagine the bacteria on the floor after everyone has walked over it? But a healthy dog doesn't get ill because their immune system is designed to cope with bacteria.
Do they need vegetables?
Technically, no. They are full of carbohydrates which produce energy but dogs can product their energy purely from proteins and fats so they don't need the carbohydrates from vegetables. However, they do contain some benefits and whereas they aren't necessary, many owners prefer to feed them. In the wild, a dog may have eaten a whole rabbit which would have invariably contained part digested vegetables, fruit or berries. Vegetables provide fibre and roughage and can help keep the bowel moving, but offal (liver, kidney, spleen) will also keep the bowel moving. Vegetables and fruit also contain anti-oxidants. Vegetables are also a perfect way of bulking out your dog's meal if they need to lose a little weight as you can substitute some of the meat content for veggies. When a dog naturally obtains veg in the wild, it would not dig up a carrot and eat it, it would only find them in the stomach of prey that it eats which would have already been part digested and the cellular wall broken down, whereas a dog is unable to digest raw vegetables and they usually come out the other end whole. Therefore, vegetables are best fed grated raw or partly cooked.
What about fruit?
As with vegetables, fruit is not necessary and also has a tough cellulose wall like vegetables and cannot easily be digested. If you want to feed fruit, Apples, pears, bananas, melons, blueberries (superfood) and strawberries can be fed to dogs but in moderation because they contain high natural sugar levels. However grapes, raisins, sultanas etc must not be fed as they can be toxic for dogs.
Why do they need bone?
When a dog eats a whole prey, it will eat everything, the meat, bone, organise, stomach contents, even the brain and eyeballs which are extremely nutritious.
Omega 3 and Fatty Acids
Your dog needs Omega 3 and fatty acids in their diet, the same as we do. The best way to get these into your dog's diet is to feed whole fish such as sprats, mackerel, scad and sardines a couple of times per week. It is not recommended to feed fish more than a max of 3 times per week because so much of our fish now can contain mercury. Fish must have been frozen for a minimum of 2 weeks before feeding to kill harmful bacteria. Never feed fresh fish to your dog.
What about eggs?
A good quality free range egg can be fed raw, soft boiled or scrambled a couple or times per week, even the shell can be included.
But what about the cost?
As with anything, if you shop around you will find a budget to suit you. Here at 'They Love It' we are all about top quality at the lowest prices. Most of our products are made here on site in our own factory so there is no middle man. We use the absolute minimum amount of packaging to keep costs down and to consider the environment. No plastic trays or pretty pictures of cute dogs on cardboard sleeves here I'm afraid! Our prices mean you can feed your dog for much less than feeding tinned or dry and your dog will be much healthier for it!
What about a dry mixer?
NO! Why? A mixer is of no benefit to your dog whatsoever. Remember the digestion? He cannot digest the dry food the same as the raw food and you will be losing the benefits of raw feeding. Dry mixers also leave residue on their teeth which then creates bacteria which then leads to vet visits for expensive teeth cleaning or even removal.
But what about their teeth and gums?
RAW MEATY BONES! Super clean, white teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath. None of that doggy breath on a raw diet. Chewing also release endorphins in your dog which make him happy, bonus!