Dog Nutrition using Raw Food...let's keep the discussion going! - Page 1

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by mayr71 on 09 February 2018 - 19:02

I wanted to get involved and post on a thread that I think expired in 2011. So I started a new post here.


I'm a relatively new dog owner and a foodie (human foodie) that believes in making food from scratch and don't mind making balanced nutritional meal for my dog. I came a across a link on a website that indicated that the kibble in many reputable brands is harmful due to preservatives, grain fillers and types of protein like animal byproduct and the various "meat meal" included in the ingredients.


I'm very interested in food in general and how humans and now my dog reap the best nutritional value so I looked for some books on dog nutrition. I've been reading a book called Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs by Lew Olson (who is a PhD dog nutritionist) who preaches raw animal protein including raw meaty bones (RMB) that is administered with variety like switching from chicken, to lamb to beef fish is the best way to feed your puppy/dog. I understood from reading this is that if I reap nutritional benefit from vegetables, my dog may not. It feels right that a dog that is a carnivore (that stems from the wolf species) would thrive on raw animal protein for that reason, and the reason that a dog's digestive system is much different than a humans where a canine's stomach has a higher acid level and shorter intestinal tract that is designed to digest bone matter as well as raw animal protein. The RMB was interesting or concerning, especially with Chicken bones that are scarey to administer but RMB's are stated as being pretty essential for administering the calcium and other nutrients to your pet which does not necessarily have to be chicken. I understand that it is the cooked bones that are more susceptible to splintering and having a dog naw on a chicken leg or quarter is just fine. I didn't do that, however what I did do is chop up some chicken wings with my cleever and blended them in my high speed blender for 5 minutes until the bone matter was completely ground up to the point of being undetectable. I then mixed this with ground beef and and a smaller percentage of organ meat and my dog loved it. Well he appears happy and in good condition so far but I'm only a week into this. I mix it with kibble so it still resembles what he had before and might go all raw shortly.

Regarding the use of grain and vegetables, I know that many folks or companies tout the benefits of adding fruits to vegetables to your dogs diet, but where I stand based on my research to date,  vegetable matter is not optimal because the digestive tract is not designed to process vegetable matter or the tough fiber (pectin or cellulose) so the dog's system cannot absorb the nutrients therefrom or the essential fatty acids and omega 3's from say flax seed or other vegetal sources of omega 3's  so the nutrients should all come from mostly animal proteins being fish oils for the omega threes, calcium from bone or egg shell and so forth. I'm sure there will be some detractors regarding raw diets, but i'd like to hear your opinions or Food for Thought for that matter. (pun in tended).


by Hundmutter on 09 February 2018 - 20:02

You will find there are plenty of people on here who agree about feeding Raw, mayr71 - but the scale is a bit different because most regular posters have large breed working dogs, especially German Shepherds.

For myself, I have never been a particular believer in 'natural' foods, for either humans or dogs. Too much nonsense about "super foods" and the like gets promulgated, especially now we have the Internet. I have never experienced much in the way of detrimental effects from feeding a DECENT kibble; if you feed cheap mass produced supermarket dogfoods you probably do have problems with filler content, etc - but it is also worth saying I am in Europe and our regulations about what goes into pet foods seem to be much stricter than those of the USA.

Did have a (possible) problem when Eukenuba increased their wheat content; as did many people - this was some years ago.
But I switched to another prepared brand, for a kennel of some 20-odd dogs (making preparation and storage of Raw ingredients troublesome), and that was fine.

by Centurian on 09 February 2018 - 21:02

Let's deal with facts and by asking the right questions and then everyone can decide for themselves :

Dogs have ben genetically selected for throughout thousands of years ,meaning their digestive systems is not that of a wild animal . People are part of the animal kingdom genetically too and one could say are digestive systems have changed .

What do people eat ? Do people eat raw food ? and If they don't, why not , for what reasons do they eat food that is prepared / cooked. Some argue cooking /preparing foods decrease the nutritional value .. then why not eat vegetables always raw .. And really , how much does it make a difference in comparing the nutritional value of process /cooked to uncooked vegetable foods . Really , has anyone seen a person that eats uncooked veggies that far worse off compared to those that do . Same with ,eats. cooked meats.. have you ever seen a starved person whom ate cooked meats in their diet ? Why have people in the past salt or smoke their foods ?

Why do humans prepare food ? Ahhh ... Anyone ever hear of microorganism contamination , salmonella to name only one out of many contaminating microorganisms ? Has anyone ever seen the chicken and meat industries starting from how they are raised , grown , collected , processed for final product ? ] BTW Netflix has a very good documentary on this ..and if you watch it you may decide not to eat chicken ! ]. [ same if you ever saw the true story at the beef slaughter houses and the conditions surrounding beef the beef yards.

Ya ... tell me a bout these vets that write books and advocate ' raw diets . I would just love to talk with then and rip them apart in conversation. The more educated some people are , IMOp , the stupid they become. [ BTW i have earned the right to say this through 40 years of my vocation, I am not being arrogant , but I am being more truthful ].

We all know that any processed food , even human foods has their drawbacks.. But we still go to the supermarket don't we. We still cook our food , don't we. So , IMOp , if food is not good enough for me to eat then why would I think the same for my dog. If I wouldn't eat raw chicken , then why in my right mind would I ever think of that for my dog ? If I wouldn't eat raw meat , /beef , why in the world would I consider that for my dog ?

Last fact , I have heard of a number of cases of GS coming down with Salmonella... All dogs fed raw diets , no .. but even a low number of cases is enough . So ... with earnestness , If you think your dog can't otherwise get nutrition , and you want to stay away from kibble [ which I can understand] then feed the dog the same as you eat eat [ barring foods that are non appropriate for dogs [ grapes , garlic , etc etc ] . Cook your dog's food. Because I doubt that fancy raw diet that you may feed ., you wouldn't dare eat with your dog [ and you eating that raw diet I emphatically don't recommend or advocate !! ]. So decide for yourself...

After asking question and looking at the raising and slaughter of these animals .. which is enough to sway a person to decide to never even eat again might come to the conclusion that feeding raw to your dog is being a bit obsessive and compulsive.


by Jenni78 on 10 February 2018 - 03:02

I fed a completely raw diet for a while (several years). I don't anymore. At the time, I had a good job, was single, childless, could afford a "small second mortgage" LOL (cost $1300/mo. to do it the way I did it), didn't have the time to source the food myself, and only had 5 dogs. I ordered it from a farm that sold very clean food and delivered it on a refrigerated truck. It was never frozen (not saying freezing is bad) and very fresh, and I fed a good variety (goat, fish, mutton, beef, duck, chicken, rabbit, tripe, turkey, etc.). I tried to emulate a prey model diet as much as possible. I fed them 5-6 days per week. On the days off, they got big meaty bones only. After seeing the difference in overall health between dogs who fast at least one day per week and those who are stuffed with processed food twice per day for life, I will always fast my dogs. I think it's a critical missing link in some people's well-intentioned care regimen.

Anyway, back to my dogs. They were the healthiest, shiniest dogs I ever had. They were the poster children for a raw diet. 1 Chihuahua, 1 APBT, and 3 GSDs.

The salmonella nonsense, is, imo, just that. All of the salmonella cases I have personally heard of were of contaminated kibble. Besides that, how about the salmonella in produce? Shall humans never eat salad? Weak argument.

I think the biggest problem with a raw diet is that 99% of those who claim to feed it don't do it properly and their dogs not only miss out on some benefits, but they might even suffer some harm, as well, due to improper balance of nutrients. Too many skimp on fat, feed too much bone, not enough organ, and the list goes on. A good-quality kibble or dehydrated raw commercial diet is infinitely better than a poorly-formulated, half-assed raw diet.


by Hundmutter on 10 February 2018 - 07:02

Jen, I agree absolutely. There is nothing wrong with feeding a Raw diet if you can afford it (time, space, knowledge, AND money) and do it properly. I am quite happy to believe that a lot of raw feeders have animals that are in extra splendid condition.  I just never normally see those; what I meet around me are dogs that their owners claim are on raw diets, which look exactly the same (or sometimes worse) condition-wise than mine, are generally healthy but still get occasional digestive, skin etc veterinary problems, and so on.

Of course there are raw foods that people eat, quite normally, not just salads but fruit and some veg too. Also some fish, seafood, I could go on ... but what one (as a sensible human, surely) aims at is a good varied and balanced food intake.  That means cooking things like chicken thoroughly; and does not have to include eating, say, blueberries + turmeric three times a day, every day, simply because somebody is selling that as a dietary 'cure' for baldness or something.

by Swarnendu on 10 February 2018 - 12:02

If your dog is doing fine eating what he's eating, don't bother.

In every forum, there will be a group of people pro kibble, another pro Raw, another pro homemade. No one can be knowledgeable enough because there's simply not enough research to know what is best for our dogs.

Hell, we don't even know what is best for US!!

by Centurian on 10 February 2018 - 12:02

Please enlighten me .
First of all , most people I know that feed raw diets to their dogs are not feeding raw to their dogs right off the farm truck .
Secondly , I would be curious to know if you ever ate that raw food right off the farm truck [ after all humans are animals too ]  raw without ooking ? If your answer, as absurd of a question to many that may be , is a definite NO . Then my follow up question , and one that perhaps makes more sense to many.  is : If it is not good enough to eat certain foods raw for you , then why would you , or anyone , give that same raw food to their dog to eat ? To make clear .. this is not a smear on you in particular , but to you people that swear by feeding raw food .  Jusy what is your logistic thinking on this subject. What harm ...just tell me what harm, is there in taking the same raw food , cooking the food and then giving that food to your dog , in the same manner that you would do for your self ? I reiterate : why would anyone do differently to their dog than to themselves ? The only other way I see this is that people are just to plain dam lazyto do a little more work. Then again I know many peooplemthat don;t cook for themselves and prefer TV dinners of food from a box or can ! .. Many of my friends cook extrafood in their meals and just plum feed the their dogs the same food they eat...That makes more sense , does it not than 'raw food ' ? 
Really , many of you folks that feed raw diets to your dog... I get a kick out of you all , The raw is good enough for you ,but good enough for the dog. And what you feed the dpog you would never think of eating ..  What hypocrisy ... [ BTW I am not talking about foods such as raw veggies or Sushi ]


by Powerflex on 10 February 2018 - 15:02

OK, the "my dog food is better than your dog food" has caused more fights than "my dog is better than your dog". I am biased, but I will try to keep to the facts and experience in the last 50 years of feeding pet and high performance dogs.

As has been pointed out here, dogs have a different digestive system than humans and do very well on raw BALANCED diets. I don't eat all raw food and I don't eat the processed kibble out of the bag either, but there is a small percent of the population that does eat all raw food including meat. Some of the healthiest countries eat a large percent of raw food, like Japan.

Humans began to cook their food for a few reasons, like storage. Fresh food was not always available and cooking killed a lot of the unwanted bugs. We also found sugar and salt that I believe we use to much of. Processing foods added another commercial advantage like shelf life. We have been conditioned to processed, cooked, fast food, and now a lot of people could not and would not adjust to a raw diet if they felt it was a benefit to them. Most of the large food recalls that kill people, have come from the large processing plants, not the local town butcher.
Fresh raw food right from the source whether it is meat, milk, fruit or produce, is seldom a problem. The problem starts when we begin to handle and process it.

Now Dog Food, fifty years ago the largest pet food manufacturer would send reps out to any canine organization, training or show group with free samples of their product to explain that dogs do not need meat. Protein was Protein, it didn't matter if it was Soy or Meat. That was from the largest "authority " at the time. We have proven that is not true.

Now we move to fact based research done by a Giant in the canine nutrition ranks, Dr. David Kronfeld. He is described as " low carb when low carb wasn't cool".

Dr Kronfeld did lab studies with beagles on treadmills, hunting hound packs, and his most notable study, racing sled dogs during training and racing season. Dr Kronfeld traveled with sled dog racing teams drawing blood and testing dogs before and after training and racing events to determine the difference in processed dog food and raw meat and fat diets and the amount of food the dog requires to do the job.
Overwhelming evidence for the balanced raw diet. The larger proportion of raw food the better the health and performance, and the digestibility of the different ingredients.
Then and now it is very difficult to get funding to prove commercial diets may not be the best.

OK now, should everyone feed raw, no. Most will not, nor want to go to the extra time and effort of feeding a raw diet. Most of us do not need the level of performance we could achieve in a balanced raw diet, not believe in the added longevity. We have humanized our dogs much to the disservice of the dog. We have developed dogs with human problems not seen before. (This part is based on my opinion.)

We decide mainly on our personal preference and convenience.
There is a lot to argue with, but this is mostly fact and some opinion based on personal research.


by Hundmutter on 10 February 2018 - 15:02

Centurian, re "many friends cook extra food in their meals and just feed their dogs the same food they eat, that makes more sense ... than raw food ?" - well, No. It doesn't. A) because a dog's gut is not the same as a human's, so many of the foods we decide to eat are NOT automatically just as good for our dogs (cooked OR raw) - hell, they frequently aren't 'good' for humans; B) because many (most ?) humans in this day and age make some terrible choices about their own diet, so it rather depends what it is that your friends are consuming, & C) since when do canids, when naturally sourcing their own foods, eat anything BUT raw meat, fish (often rotten, at that !) and berries ? Don't see them making fires and cooking what they catch.  The domesticated dog is not so far removed from the wolf, dingoes, painted hunting dogs, etc; have you never seen a pedigree dog catch & eat a rabbit, with obvious gusto ?

I am quite clearly not a full-on supporter of feeding raw; but if it is done properly I reckon it is better for dogs than SOME of the shite they often get fed, whether that is canned food, a cheaper mass-produced kibble, or over-boiled brussel sprouts. It does take quite a lot of effort and practical knowledge to do it RIGHT though; I have some doubts about the quality & content of some of the chub foods etc that are sold as 'raw food' for dogs, as many scams seem to be perpetrated against consumers with those as with a percentage of 'complete' kibbles.  Very difficult for the individual purchaser to know if the balance of ingredients is correct.  That is why a decent quality & easily traceable kibble from a manufacturer who is open about content is almost always a better bet, provided that (as Swarn says ^) your dog is doing fine on it.

But I would not eat my dog's kibble.  (Be prepared to taste it once, maybe !)

by mayr71 on 10 February 2018 - 15:02

I think Centurian's argument is not very salient based on the assumption, apparently, that whatever you feed your dog, you will fall into a hypocrisy hole if you were not to eat it yourself. From my initial research, I understand that a dogs digestion is very different, as Powerflex says. They are not susceptible to the bacterias such as salmonella from uncooked chicken because their digestive tract is smaller and the gut has a higher Hydrochloric acid level or reatively lower PH. I'm perfectly comfortable creating foods for optimum health for myself and my dogs and it's an interesting revelation to me on the distinction between a canines and a human's urging us to feed our dogs a different diet (perhaps raw) to dogs. The dog's system cannot break convert some of the amino acids from plants into the protein they need from my research. They need to be fed animal proteins for the most part.

Thanks for all the comments.

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