Guide to Raw Meat for Dogs

A Raw Meat Diet is Easy, Healthy & Your Dog Will Love It

Since I’ve been feeding Molly a raw meat and bones diet, her fur is shinier, her skin is no longer itchy, her teeth are sparkling and her breath is fresher — really. I want to share my knowledge and dispel misinformation about raw feeding. I’ll give you plenty of links where you can get more info and see whether raw meat is right for your dog.

Raw Meat: A Healthier Alternative to Grain-Based Kibble Diets 

As the owner of an energetic, lovable Springer Spaniel named Molly, and as the webmaster of a site dedicated to man’s best friend, I am naturally concerned about what my dog eats. Although she had good energy, she constantly scratched, had nasty doggy breath and yellow, tarter-stained teeth that I spent a lot of money getting cleaned. She also disliked every brand of dog food I tried. As I did some research on dog allergies and dog food for my website, I realized that Molly’s issues were caused by her premium kibble diet. Most commercial dog foods are heavily grain based, and many experts suspect that the grains are what cause most allergies in dogs, particularly skin allergies. The more I read about a raw meat diet for dogs — especially in light of the recent toxic dog food scare — the more I realized that this was the diet nature intended for dogs.

Raw Meat Diet vs Commercial Kibble 

Why Should You Make the Change?

We have to stop thinking of dog’s diets in human terms. Dogs are carnivores. They do not need grains and veggies; they need meat protein to function optimally. While some pet experts recommend a BARF raw food diet, which includes raw meaty bones as well as fruits, vegetables, grains and even dairy, there is a growing trend toward feeding dogs strictly a raw meaty bones diet. This idea is based on the prey model found in nature.

Why Feed Raw Meat & Bones

  • A raw meat diet is the way nature intended. A species appropriate diet for dogs is one that mimics the way wolves and wild dogs eat in their natural habitat. They feed on the whole carcass, including the organs and the bones, which provides them with all the essential nutrients.
  • A RMB diet increases healthy immune system function, reduces dry skin, allergies, and inflammation. Stools will be smaller and won’t smell as bad.
  • A previously sluggish dog will likely have more energy and spark.
  • Chewing on raw meaty bones helps scrape tarter off the teeth and gives the jaws a workout.
  • Commercial dog food is unregulated. Most dog foods are grain-based with insufficient meat protein. They can and often do contain euthanized animals, meat from sick animals, indigestible ingredients, preservatives, and cancer-causing chemicals. Because of the way manufacturers are allowed to label dog food, you probably won’t even know the chemicals and preservatives are in there, even if it says “preservative-free.” This is because chemicals and preservatives are frequently added at the rendering plant, before they reach the manufacturer.
  • Grains such as corn, wheat, and soy, commonly found in commercial foods, are major causes of allergies in dogs.
  • Vets won’t tell you about the merits of raw feeding because the few hours of nutritional training they get at veterinary schools are often taught or subsidized by pet food manufacturers.

A New Dog
As I started feeding Molly a raw diet, she did a complete turnaround. Formerly I had to beg her to eat; now she jumps into a perky “sit” as soon as her meat appears and devours it instantly. The small amount of raw bone she eats (about 10% of her diet) helps scrape tarter off her teeth, which are now pearly white. Her coat is shinier, she’s stopped scratching, and even her doggy breath smells better.

The Truth About Raw Feeding 

Let’s Dispel Some Myths

You may be skeptical about giving your dog raw meat, because we’ve all been conditioned by pet food companies. Here are some common concerns:

Is my dog going to get all the nutrients he needs?
Yes. Dogs are carnivores. They need meat. The proof of whether your dog is getting proper nutrients will be in his improved coat, clean teeth and breath and relief from skin allergies.

Is he going to choke on the bones?
Very unlikely, if they are raw. Cooked bones are another issue; they can splinter and be dangerous.

What about parasites and bacteria like salmonella and e coli?
Even though we sometimes think of them that way, dogs are not human. Their systems are different than ours. They have an extremely acidic gut that helps prevent bacteria from colonizing and there are enzymes in their saliva that have antibacterial properties. They have a higher bacteria tolerance than we do. It is highly unlikely that a dog will get sick from raw food, unless the dog is already immuno-compromised. Just be sure to use common sense and practice good hygiene when you are feeding raw, just as you would when handling raw meat while preparing your own meals.

Will Raw Meat Make My Dog Bloodthirsty?
This is a common concern and one I don’t quite understand. My dog is eager to eat her chicken, beef, venison, etc., but she is hardly going to tear my hand off to get it. While she may chase a rabbit or two, the fun is in the chase!

Feeding Raw is Easy 

A raw meat diet is simple. Feed your dog chicken (bone-in), beef roasts and ribs, pork ribs, pork shoulder roasts, turkey quarters, fish, leg of lamb, venison, rabbit and other game. Nothing else. No vegetables, no fruit, no grains. Raw feeders advocate about 10% of the diet should consist of bone and the rest meat, including a small portion of organ meat such as liver, kidney and heart. A good rule of thumb is to feed your dog about 2% of his body weight daily.

Avoid feeding your dog cut bones like pork country style ribs, bone-in chuck roast or bone-in steaks, pork chops, or other meats with sharp, thinly sliced blades of bone.

Start Slowly.
It is usually best to start with chicken because it is relatively bland and easy to digest. As your dog gets used to the chicken, you can gradually introduce new foods, one at a time, such as pork, beef, or lamb. At first your dog may have loose stools as he gets accustomed to his new diet. This goes away in a few days.

Links to Raw Feeding and Dog Health 

Yahoo Raw Feeding Group
This is a wonderful Yahoo newsgroup on raw feeding that I highly recommend you check out. Join it and just lurk for a few weeks. Read the postings, read their suggested readings and ask some questions. That is the best way to decide if raw feeding is right for you. Raw feeding is not rocket science. In fact, you will be surprised at how easy it is and it costs about the same as feeding your pet a premium dog food.
Carnivore Feed & Feed Suppliers
Carnivore feed suppliers provides a list of what they have to offer people who feed their carnivores a natural raw diet. Pet owners list their needs. A great resource for finding meat for your pet locally.
Old Raw Carnivores
A Yahoo list for people with older dogs and cats who eat a carnivore diet
Raw Chat
This is related to the Raw Feeding Yahoo group and also discusses vaccinations,training, worming and other issues.
Raw Learning
A raw feeding FAQ, explains why you shouldn’t feed your dog commercial food, dispels myths about raw, how to feed your dog raw, why you don’t need to waste money on supplements, and more.
Raw Meaty Bones
Features an e-book that you can read free online that explains the health benefits of raw feeding, what to feed and how to feed.
Dog Food Secrets
Important Info About Commercial Dog Foods:
As a dog lover, you MUST watch this video that I just saw about the dog food industry. It could save your dog’s life.
Myths About Raw Feeding
This site dispels some of the many myths about dogs, wolves, and feeding raw meaty bones to our pets.
Raw Fed Dogs
Tells you how to feed your dog raw meat, complete with photos, a FAQ and glossery of raw terms

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