A balanced diet for our canine friends depends on a good balance of protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. We really want to avoid things like maize, wheat and soy. These are not natural things for dogs to eat and more often than not are GMO and contain significant Round-Up residue (a really nasty pesticide designed to work in conjunction with the genetic modification). Studies have shown significant abnormalities in the mammary glands of rats fed GMO based grain containing Round-Up. This has implications for us people too… think about breast cancer rates, there is strong suggestive evidence that this may be linked to Round-Up ready crops. So when it comes to feeding ourselves and our furry buddies we really want to stay away from these ingredients. If your dog food’s first ingredient is ‘cereal’ … then you really need to rethink what you are feeding your pet.
Some people say dogs are carnivores, others insist they are omnivores, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. They are primarily carnivorous, but contend quite well with a limited amount of vegetable matter. If you’ve ever seen a dog eat green tripe, then you will understand when Ian Billinghurst insists that the stomach contents are the first thing the dogs will consume – Dogs love tripe. More than life. More than you.
Billinghurst states that this is largely where dogs get the bulk of the carbohydrates they consume – from the stomach contents of the prey animal. Dogs cannot digest cellulose in its whole form and require it to have been masticated or pulverised in order for it to be utilised properly as fibre. So when we feed a raw diet we include a percentage of premashed cellulose from fruits and vegetables (these also provide other vitamins and minerals).
The other very important component of the diet is a good calcium/phosphorus balance. A diet too high in phosphorus eventually leads to bone degeneration and kidney issues, meat tends to contain a lot of phosphorus, as does vegetable matter. Bone on the other hand, while containing some phosphorus, is much higher in calcium. That’s why in raw food we use a certain amount of bone to ensure there is adequate calcium in the food. This balances out the phosphorus from the organs and vegetables that may be in the food.
So a balanced raw diet consists of a certain percentage of meaty bones (60%), offal and organ meat (20%) and vegetables and fruit (20%). Without an industrial mincer it is pretty difficult to mince bones at home (near impossible), so what we do in this instance is feed bone in the form of necks or carcasses – let the dog do the mincing. If your dog gulps or does not chew the bones well (or is smaller), then it is best to use necks, the bones are very small and will be broken down in the digestive tract, if your dog is adept at chewing the chicken bones up, then you can use carcasses. You would feed this for one meal and it should comprise around 2/3 of your dog’s daily intake. Always feed these bones raw!
Then at dinner time or the other meal, you can feed liver, heart, kidney, mince meat … any type of meat or offal, this can be minced or cut up or even blended with the veggies and fruit you can mash up in your food processor or blender. When you feed this meal, you can use half veggies and half of your meat mix. You can add Omega 3 fish oil and a quarter teaspoon of Kelp to the mix if you like. If you are going to be feeding your own mix on a regular basis then you should get into the habit of adding at least these 2 supplements. If your dog gets a runny tummy after eating your meat mix, then it may be better to use a little less veg or feed some of the necks or carcasses with that meal. The bone content will often take care of the runny tummy.
In our experience, smaller dogs do better with higher meat and bone content, the larger dogs with a little more veg – this could have something to do with a Dachshund’s ability to take down a cow … or not smile emoticon Common sense and breed behaviour often give us some clues as to what suits a particular dog; Schnauzers for example are notorious for pancreatitis, logic tells us these are ratters, bred with a function – to hunt rats, one has to assume in order to hunt something there is some drive to eat it, so again one can assume these dogs historically would have eaten some raw food in the form of rats or birds or other small, lean creatures.
Recent research suggests the pancreas can be exhausted over time by having to produce too much enzyme to digest food; cooked food has had virtually all of its enzymes destroyed by heat, so all the enzyme needed for digestion must come from the pancreas, with raw food, the food still has much of the original enzyme and it is far easier to digest. So the reason this breed suffers so much is because they are a relatively modern working breed and a diet consisting of no raw food puts their entire digestive system under strain leading to things like pancreatitis.
We will be posting more soon, but please shout if you have any questions!
Love The PaleoPet Pure Team