Its Eli here and my brother Fritz. We’re both on board for this installment of our newsletter. I was planning on writing this one alone but let me just tell you guys, there is so much info on our topic for this addition that it could make your head spin. Our mom had to help us on this one because it didn’t take long for us to see we were in over our big fuzzy ears!
This month’s installment is about feeding a raw diet. This is a growing, but sometimes controversial way to feed your pet. There are some different philosophies on feeding raw but what we really want to do is kind of explain what it means and hopefully dispel some common myths about a raw diet.
You see, dry kibble was only introduced to us in the late 1800’s. Before that, dogs and cats ate mostly meat along with whatever else they found to balance their diet. It didn’t take long for people to see kibble as a more convenient way to feed their pet. Did you know that dry kibble loses its nutrients during the processing? Those nutrients have to be added back into/onto the kibble after processing so it is balanced again. Seems kinda silly doesn’t it? Take it away just to put it right back in. Also, as we have discussed in a past installment some low end kibbles add colorants, flavor enhancing chemicals and preservatives. Don’t feel bad though! There are some quality dry kibbles out there for those of you who don’t want to feed a raw diet. That’s totally fine. We’re just here to explain what raw is.
First off, you’re probably wondering why feed raw at all? Isn’t it just some fad that will pass? My dog eats road kill sometimes, is that the same thing? What’s wrong with dry kibbles? We’re gonna answer those questions and a few more. Let’s start by explaining was feeding raw is:
It’s not a fad. It’s the way your carnivorous pet was intended by nature to eat. Carnivorous means meat eater, and it the wild that equals hunter. So, raw diet means feeding a carnivorous pet (cat or dog) unprocessed and uncooked meat (muscle, organs), uncooked bones (whole or ground) and adding vegetables and/or fruit. Some folks think that as long as you are feeding whole prey (whole prey means the entire animal, like a whole chicken) then you don’t need the vegetables and fruits. Normally though folks aren’t feeding whole prey and so veggies and fruits are needed to ensure there are no vitamin deficiencies. Believe me folks; there are some alarming stories out there about people who thought their pet could live well on just a piece of raw steak or raw chicken breast. And technically, I guess eating squashed squirrel could be construed as eating raw (and tenderized) but really folks who know how long that squirrel has been there and what internal cooties he might be harboring! Fritz and I say collectively “EEWWW!”
As we said, carnivores in the wild eat what’s called a whole prey diet. That means they eat the whole critter. By doing that, they get all the nutrients they need and so they don’t normally need to run around eating ears of corn, stalks of wheat or apples. That doesn’t mean that if they are hungry enough they wouldn’t eat berries or bits of grass but for the most part they are carnivorous (obligate). It’s all they know and have known for thousands of years. The domestic pet today will only know a diet of processed foods because this is what our society has accepted. Fortunately, in recent years better quality dry kibbles have become available and that makes giving your pet dry kibble or canned food a bit better than it was a few years ago. We are learning just what makes a better kibble and what makes a substandard kibble. The benefits of feeding raw diets are many and include better coats, better teeth, better digestive health, more energy, less trips to the vet and tiny poops. There have been some myths associated with feeding raw foods. One is that it will give your dog salmonella. This is not true. Dog and cats are equipped to deal with certain bacteria, but you should still make sure to wash your hands and clean surfaces after handling raw meats. In the same manner you would when preparing meat for the humans! Another myth; raw diets are unbalanced nutritionally. As we said earlier, if you are feeding whole prey, which is the whole unfortunate critter, the diet is balanced naturally through organs and bones, claws and hair (yes, hair) if you are only feeding the muscle portion of said critter then you need to add in something else to make sure your pet is getting all the nutrition it needs. Vegetables, fruits and supplements can help with this.
My vet said raw is bad. Yet another myth, but this is a slippery slope. No one wants to offend their vet but the truth is that vets are not often schooled in nutrition and therefore don’t know a whole lot about what a dog or cat should be eating. I know that’s really hard to believe but it is true. More fiction; raw feeding is messy and time consuming. Again, not so, there are many raw foods that are conveniently packaged for easy feeding. We carry OC Raw, Evermore, Primal, Answers, Stella and Chewy, Blue Ridge Beef, Vita Essentials and many others. We also have Frozen Food Fridays where you can get 10% off certain selections we carry.
“Fritz and Eli, you mentioned feeding bones! Aren’t bones bad news for dogs? They splinter right?” Cooked bones, especially chicken bones, do splinter and can cause damage to gums, bellies and intestines. Feeding raw bones is better for your dog. Raw bones are softer and can be digested. I must pause here and say I can’t really think of any dogs or cats I’ve know who eat raw bones right from the skeleton except for my cousin Lucy the cat. She is an excellent example of whole prey hunter (obligate carnivores) and when she kills a bird or rabbit, she will eat the entire critter. Lucy says “Yummo!” her humans say “Ew, gross Lucy, take that thing outside and eat it!” She doesn’t have a problem with bones because unprocessed bones are soft and more digestible. Always keep an eye out if you are feeding a large bone or a particularly tiny bone to a dog. Well, heck, just give your pet a peek now and again if they are eating any bones at all.
The truth is that there is a lot to learn about raw feeding. There are some instances where a pet should not eat raw diet. For instance if your pet has open mouth sores. For more information on conditions where a raw diet may not be for your pet you can check out Mercola.com. It never hurts to do research and speak with some experts before making a switch. Find out just how best to switch you pet and there will be less chance for upset bellies. Our humans, especially our mom, know a ton about raw diet! Come down and talk to them to get the skinny on it and see firsthand some of the convenient raw brands we carry. If you’re not into raw, no big deal! Don’t feel pressured we just wanted to let you know a little bit about it.
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