Why feed your pets raw?
(and how to do it)
“Raw food”, “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food” (Barf), “meat diet” these are all terms that are bandied around on the internet that approximate a similar thing: the desire to give our pets the most biologically nutritious and metabolically absorbable diet they can have.
At Pets Go Raw, we don’t follow any one particular mindset on this, rather we base our food on what has been proven to be the most nutritious and healthful food our pets can have. Raw food is a method of returning pets to their evolutionary diet.
Processed pet food has only been in existence for around 100 years. Since humans have been keeping companion animals for thousands of years, processed pet food is a very new option. Feeding your pet fresh raw food was once common practice.
A brief history of pet food
Dogs and cats in nature are carnivorous. A raw diet consists of a broad range of fresh whole foods that a wild or feral cat, wolf or a dingo would consume over the course of a year.
There is a long history of humans feeding some grains, dairy and even vegetables and fruits to dogs, right back to roman times. In comparison, the very first documented processed “dog food” was a biscuit made of wheat, meat, and vegetable scraps in the mid 1800’s. Canned horse meat for dogs was used during WW1 as a way to get rid of diseased horses. Cat food wasn’t introduced until the mid 1930’s when canned cat food, and dry dog food were developed by Gaines Food Co.
What’s wrong with kibble and dry foods?
Kibble and dry foods can work with some pets, but as with modern humans, modern pets have developed food allergies and sensitivities that lead to other forms of illness. Raw food allows you to bring your pet back to it’s basic – biologically accurate – diet so you can eliminate and determine exactly what the problem is, or stay raw and offer them optimal health.
Is raw food really better for my pet?
Yes! Raw food:
- Promotes better health for a longer and happier life.
- Pets on raw experience less food-related and allergy problems.
- Raw food offers the full nutrition and digestive enzymes pets need, with vitamins and minerals supplied naturally without processed additives.
- Chewing chicken and turkey necks, chicken carcasses and other raw bones is good for cleaning teeth and satisfying dogs’ natural urge to chew.
- Our single-source protein makes it easy to do an elimination diet to determine allergies.
- Frozen raw food eliminates the need for preservatives, which are needed in all dry foods, and cooking, which destroys some of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
What can I expect if I switch my pet to raw food and bones?
Pets that are fed raw food and bones tend to be free of dental problems, skin problems, ear problems, eye problems, bowel problems, kidney and heart problems, pancreas and liver problems and immune system problems. Raw-fed animals enjoy a life with an enormously reduced chance of developing both infectious and degenerative diseases. They rarely develop cancer. This healthy state continues into advanced old age.
In the words of Dr. Ian Billingsworth, the father of the BARF diet for pets:
“The further an animal’s diet departs from its evolutionary diet, the more health problems that animal is likely to develop. That is why modern grain based pet foods, no matter how well researched, cause so many health problems. It is impossible for them to match the health enhancing attributes of the evolutionary diet.
Ok, I’m interested, how do I do it?
Pets that eat raw need to have a mix of both meat, organs, fruits and vegetable and raw bones. Raw bones aren’t brittle the way cooked bones are, and are designed to be eaten by your pet.
Some camps believe in transitioning their animal slowly over to raw to prevent any system shock from the major change from kibble to raw. I believe it is really on a case by case basis, the majority of animals should be able to just switch over while others may require a transition period.
Our general feeding guide will help people to have an idea on how much to feed their animal but just like people what is optimal for one pet might not work for another. Owners need to monitor their pets condition, activity level, and general well being to get the amounts correct for their individual animal.
How much to feed your dog
Generally, mature dogs should be fed about 2% of their ideal body weight and puppies about 5%. You can look at the graphs below, or go straight to our Food Calculator that will help you figure out exactly how much muscle meat you need to feed your cat or dog every day.
25-lb dog = 0.5 lb per day
50-lb dog = 1 lb per day
75-lb dog = 1.5 lbs per day
100-lb dog = 2 lbs per day
10-lb dog = 0.5 lb per day
20-lb dog = 1 lb per day
30-lb dog = 1.5 lb per day
40-lb dog = 2 lb per day
(Feed your puppy until it is full grown 1 yr for a small or medium dog or 2 yrs for a larger breed)
Tips to keep in mind:
- Keep an eye on weight gain or loss and adjust food intake accordingly.
- Active dogs and dogs with a higher metabolism may need more food, while seniors often need less.
- Use the rib test often. You should be able to readily feel your dog’s ribs, but they should have some flesh on them, and not be too pronounced.
- Puppies and young dogs should be fed about 5% of their body weight. Like all young creatures, puppies grow in “fits and starts” that requires constant adjustments, feeding more when in a growth spurt and less when not.
- Watch your pets’ weight and condition and adjust amounts accordingly.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Need more info? Here is a link to an article we like on the topic.