What is raw feeding?
People often forget, but dogs have been eating a raw food diet long before the invention of kibble. Wild dogs survive by catching and scavenging their food and will consume almost anything, bones, fat, muscle, flesh and organs.
Dogs were designed to eat raw food
We're all aware that dogs evolved from wolves, however their gastrointestinal systems are still the same as they have ever been, uniquely designed to digest prey - bones and all. Combined with mighty stomach acids, they can effectively eat a vast array of foods which could easily kill us humans.
Kibble was created for convenience, not with your dogs health in mind
Let's face it, kibble is effortless. It lasts forever, creates virtually no mess, and takes seconds to serve a portion, so you can see why it's everyone's first choice when it comes to dog food. But what many people don't understand is that kibble contains a high percentage of fillers such as grains, cereals and soya which your dog haven't evolved to eat. By cooking the kibble during the manufacturing process, many proteins and amino acids are broken down leaving a bland product with very little nutritional value.
Types of raw food diet
There are two main types of raw feeding, BARF and Prey.
BARF - Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods
Also known as Bones And Raw Food, the BARF diet is a mix of raw meats, bones, fruits and vegetables to mimic what your dog would eat in the it's natural environment.
The Prey model
Designed to imitate a dog's natural diet as closely as possible, the Prey model takes BARF to the next level by feeding whole prey whenever possible. This includes whole rabbits, chickens, turkeys and many other small mammals that dogs would hunt or scavenge with their pack. This isn't one for the faint hearted!
The health benefits of raw dog food
Healthier skin and shinier coat
With better quality food comes a much healthier dog, and it won't take you long to notice a brilliant glossy coat, with naturally healthy skin underneath. It's not uncommon to hear of allergies, rashes or itchy skin clearing up after switching to a raw diet as kibble contains many fillers, cereals and grains which some dogs may be allergic to.
Improved immune system
Raw feeding will normalise and strengthen a dog's immune system. The perfect balance of raw meat and bone will provide all the essential proteins, fats, calcium and minerals that your dog needs.
Leaner, more muscular physique
A raw diet will lead to increased muscle mass and reduced body fat making your dog appear more lean and healthier. This in turn leads to an elevated metabolic rate, greater energy levels, and less strain on hard working joints.
Healthier teeth, gums and breath
The scrubbing, flossing and massaging action of chewing on raw bone leads to naturally cleaner teeth and gums. A cleaner mouth also leads to cleaner breath and you'll go much longer between teeth cleaning sessions compared to dried food.
Are you tired of picking up sloppy dog mess? Well things are about to change. The improved health of the dog will introduce many benefits here, you can expect smaller, firmer, lower odured stools as your dog is able to absorb much more of the food compared to dried food. These are just a handful of the many benefits of raw feeding, with that in mind, why are you still feeding kibble?
Take your vets advice with a pinch of salt
Raw feeding is invariably a controversial topic in the vets office. Many vets are opposed to the practice of raw feeding and will often advise against it, but you have to take their opinion with a pinch of salt. Pet food companies provide financial support for trainee veterinarians, which gains them a certain bias. On top of that, vets will earn a commission on any pet food sold at their surgery. It is also worth bearing in mind that healthier pets mean less visits which leads to less revenue for your local vets surgery. Although the majority of vets share this opinion, vets are slowly taking the concept of raw feeding on board, we hope this trend continues in the future.
This post barely scratches the surface of raw feeding. Please see our getting started with raw feeding guide to delve deeper into the the world of raw feeding and learn how to best switch your dog into a raw fed diet.