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Why Does Your Dog Need to Eat a Natural Raw Diet
Species Appropriate (Raw) Diets for Dogs
It is now well recognised that healthy eating for us humans is a no-brainer. Eat healthy and you will be healthy. Well – a less well known (and currently less recognised & accepted) fact is that the same applies to dogs.
A dog is a carnivore (the Oxford English Dictionary definition for a dog is – “a domesticated carnivorous mammal…carnivore”) and a carnivore is a “mammal with pointed teeth specialized for eating flesh…and feeding on animals”. Just like its close relative in the wild – the wolf – it is designed and has evolved over hundreds of years to eat a diet of raw meat and bone.
That is the simple fact, and we will go into more detail further down the page, but what are the benefits? The benefits are many and varied, and here are just a few of the key ones:
- for a dog that is healthier
- for a dog that suffers less from upset tummies
- for a dog that costs less at the vets
- for a dog that leaves a lot less waste for you to clear up
- for a dog that will have a much healthier & glossy coat
- for a dog that will have healthier & sparkling teeth – and no bad breath
- for a dog that will enjoy their food – like every day is Christmas day
- for a dog that will have a stronger immune
- system – so less health issues
- for a dog that will smell less – and need less baths
- for a dog that is less hyper & more relaxed & content
- for a dog that won’t gas you out of your own home
So what is involved in a natural diet? What are the specific benefits? How do I change my dog for the better?
Why does a dog need a natural diet?
A car is designed for a specific fuel (normally petrol or diesel) and if you use a good quality correct fuel the car will run well and not have problems. If you try to run it on anything else it will not be happy. A koala bear eats only Eucalyptus leaves. If you force it to eat something else it will suffer. So why does society accept and force our much loved pets to eat a diet that is no good for them? Our bodies and a dog’s body works on the same principal. If you feed a dog what is natural and appropriate, then it flourishes, is healthy and has less problems. A natural diet will allow the body to self-medicate meaning less costly visits to the vets for un-necessary remedies and treatments for naturally preventable ailments.
Dogs need to eat a natural raw diet. Raw meaty bones are what a dog is designed to eat. Their jaws and teeth were created to tackle raw carcasses, including meaty bones and organs. It is not natural for a dog to eat manufactured food that has been reduced into a mush then reformed into coloured lumps of dried dog food (commonly known as “kibble”). The sharp teeth in a dog’s mouth are for slicing, tearing and crunching through whole natural foods – not for being gummed up and coated as they feed on a diet of pulped mush.
Most manufactured dog foods actually contain very little meat, if any at all. For example, a claim of “contains chicken” often refers to a “chicken derivative” so not even actual chicken and the “contains” percentage may be as low as 4%. The other 96% (yes that is almost all of it) will be made up of additives, preservatives grain and cereal products. We all know what additives and preservatives can do to humans, and they can have the same harmful effects on a dog. Cereals & grains make up the majority of a bag of processed, commercial dog food because it is cheap to produce and is designed to fill your dog up. Even if there is any good content in this product (I refuse to even call it food), this is then reduced further by cooking at very high temperatures. This high temperature cooking cycle can happen 2 or 3 times in the manufacturing process, thus eliminating most if not all the nutrient content.
Owners will say that the dog is happy and full after eating. Well, of course they are full. They are full of a substance which they cannot digest, so is there any surprise that they have to lie down after feeding. This is not contentment – they can’t move. A dog’s digestive system does not have the enzymes to cope with grains and cereals. And, what is one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Yes – food contents such as grains, cereals and starchy ingredients (like potatoes, rice and peas). So would it surprise you that many people find when they switch their dog to a natural raw meat and bone diet, that the allergies their dogs suffered from just disappear.
Improved Dental Health and Breath
A diet of “kibble” will cause plaque and tartar to build up on the teeth. The ingredients in the dry dog food / biscuit simply stick to the teeth and as the dog eats nothing that will naturally clean the teeth this stays and builds up over time. Unfortunately this can then be made worse by giving the dog “dental sticks”, which contain even more cereals, additives and preservatives. Rather than help their teeth it just compounds the problem. This build up will then inevitably lead to gum disease, and all the associated health problems. Gingivitis (which is inflammation of the gum tissue) is common in “kibble” fed dogs. While Gingivitis is non-destructive, if not checked, it can lead to periodontitis, which is very destructive, and leads to weak and unhealthy gums and the potential risk of teeth falling out. The gums will not only look bad, but will be painful for the dog and result in bad breath. The bacteria in the mouth, associated with these conditions, is then swallowed and can then affect the entire digestive system.
The answer to this is in fact very simple – introduce your dog to “nature’s toothbrush”. A dog fed on a natural diet will have some raw meaty bones (RMBS) to eat and bone cleans the teeth perfectly in a natural and healthy way. Simple.
Kibble fed dogs develop yellow teeth – whereas a raw fed dog will dazzle it’s friends in the park with pearly white teeth.
When a dog eats “kibble” it is able to eat and swallow quickly. There is no challenge to the meal. Consequently, the digestive acids are not excreted before the food arrives in the stomach, making digestion more difficult. This can lead to indigestion or bowel irritation and even sickness. It also leads to what we call “chemical poo” – the sloppy, smelly mess that you have to scoop up into the poo bag each day. Oh yuck!!!!
When a naturally fed dog eats whole raw food (such as chicken wings, ribs or necks, or just a meaty bone) they have to work at it. Look at the picture of Barney. He is really having to work at this lamb neck. He looks so content, but his digestive system is also content. The gastric juices have been given time to work on the food as soon as he swallows it. His digestive system will deal with this meal just as it was designed to do. Later – his poo will be minimal, firm and have very little odour – proof that the body has digested most of the food intake and delivered all the nutrients throughout his body to provide all the benefits that nature intended.
You will be amazed at the difference in the amount of poo after a raw and a “kibble” meal. The percentage of raw kept by the body is huge, compared to the “kibble” which pretty much just passes through. The dog’s body and digestive system is telling us something – listen to it.
To watch a dog eat a raw meaty bone, tells you all you need to know about stimulation. “Kibble” fed dogs have no stimulation – they just go through the motions of swallowing what is in their bowl just to fill their stomach (and in many cases bloat it). This picture of Barney shows clearly the effort and concentration he is having to give to consume this meal. Sometimes he can spend 45 minutes on a meal and during this time the chewing process releases “happy” endorphines, which leads to a calm, relaxed and contented pet. He exercises both his mind and his muscles, to the extent that he is sometimes exhausted afterwards. Exhausted – but hugely content. This contributes hugely to his psychological and physical wellbeing, even before you add in the pure health benefits for the food itself.
We enjoy watching Barney eating (tackling the different challenges he faces). Take the plunge and make the change for your dog – and you will experience this joy for yourselves. Watch this video to see the pure happiness Barney displays at another meal time. Not “just another meal time” for him – but a time to enjoy and savour.
Better Skin and Coat
As a naturally fed dog is getting all the vitamins and nutrients it needs this will reflect very quickly in the skin and coat. You will see a shine that was not there before, and it can make a marked improvement in many skin conditions. A reduction in the need for medicated shampoos and skin treatments will allow the skin and coat to flourish in a natural way. The lack of doggy smell also means far fewer baths. Barney has not been bathed for more than two years – and yes we do allow him in the house, as he just does not smell at all.
Overall Health Improvements
A natural diet contains all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins the dog needs. This strengthens the immune system in a natural way – without the need to use chemicals with all their side effects to attempt to create the balance in an artificial way. Natural fed dogs will suffer far less from inflammatory conditions and general infections. Flea and worming treatments will become a thing of the past. They are simply not needed.
A switch to a natural diet can have significant benefits for an older dog. Degenerative diseases can be eased as the body uses natural healing to combat the symptoms. Dogs with arthritis will show signs of improved mobility in a short time after switching diet. Often people will say “the dog is too old to change” Nonsense. A well-managed and sympathetic change of diet will greatly improve the older dog’s quality of life and allow the owner to enjoy these years rather than watching a dog suffer un-necessarily. It is never too late to make the change.
A Healthier Looking Dog
If you feed your dog a naturally balanced diet you can have more control over its weight and shape. It is very easy to monitor the food intake of your dog, so that you can reduce, maintain or increase weight easily. When a dog eats a raw meaty bone they will get a full workout and this helps develop muscle tone and reduce fat. Your dog will look healthier and have a better defined shape, providing you follow the simple feeding rules and balance this with adequate exercise.
I am sure that most of you will agree that clearing up poo is one of the least pleasant parts of being a dog owner. Well why make it worse for yourself. Kibble is full of chemicals, grains, colourings etc. which their digestive system cannot cope with. Consequently, what comes out of the other end is often a large pile of sloppy smelly mess – chemical poo we call it. 70% of the volume of “kibble” eaten comes out the other end as chemical poo.
A naturally fed dog consumes food which is perfect for the digestive system. The body takes a great deal of goodness from the food so less than 30% reaches the “other end” – and the poo that comes out is much more pleasant (if poo can ever be pleasant). It will be smaller, firmer and have little or no odour. The firm stools also have the added benefit of emptying the anal sac (anal glands) in a far better and more natural way than the sloppy chemical poo does. Now that is a definite bonus!!!
Now you might say that all the advertising on TV contradicts what you have just read in this article, and the advertising promotes the healthy values of the mainstream pet food products. Well of course it does. Pet food is a multi-billion pound industry and the big companies want a slice of the action and the huge profits it generates for them. However, just read the labels for yourselves. You will be amazed and possibly frightened at the contents – and what you have been feeding your dog.