FAQs - Dogs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Feeding Dogs a Raw Diet
I thought raw bones were dangerous. Will my dog choke on them?
Dogs are designed from their teeth inwards to gnaw, crush and digest RAW bones. All bones should be encased in lots of meat. Dont feed bare scrap bones from your butcher. Don't feed any COOKED bones, or the heavy weight- bearing bones, i.e. marrow bones, knuckle bones and femurs, as these bones are too dense and could cause tooth fractures.
Do bones have any nutritional value?
Amongst other things, bones contain calcium and phosphorus, which are most important for maintaining a healthy pet.
What about the danger of catching Salmonella. Even if my dog can cope with it, what about the risk to humans?
With a healthy immune system, your pet will easily shake off any salmonella threat. Salmonella bacteria can be shed in the petís faeces so of course care should be taken when clearing up after your pet, plus simple basic hygiene rules should apply - always wash your hands after handling your pet and before consuming food. Interestingly, even the faeces of pets fed on dried/processed food have been found to have salmonella bacteria present.
Will the bacteria in raw meat harm my dog?
This may apply if your dogís immune system is already compromised, or if he or she has some other underlying condition. Dogs are very well equipped to deal with bacteria - their digestive tract is designed to push food and bacteria through quickly, without giving the bacteria time to colonise. Again, normal hygiene precautions should apply.
There are no carbohydrates in raw food - surely my dog needs them?
No - dogs have no dietary requirement or need for carbohydrates. Their liver derives energy directly from the protein in raw meat and bones. Carbohydrates are included in the ingredients of processed pet food because they are a less expensive source of energy than fat or protein.
Where do I feed my pet?
Outside is best, on the ground, either the patio or the garden. Swilling down with a bucket of water afterwards is all that is needed (most dogs and cats clean up pretty thoroughly!) On days when the weather is too bad to feed outside, simply put a couple of old towels on the floor, or a vet bed, which can be popped into the washing machine afterwards.
Wonít feeding my dog raw food make him aggressive? Suppose he starts to chase livestock?
This is one of the more popular myths, which has absolutely no basis in truth whatsoever. If your dog is being supplied with a good diet of raw meaty bones at home, he has no need to go out and hunt his own. In the same way, changing your dog from artificial food wonít suddenly make him aggressive, assuming he wasnít aggressive before. He or she may become a bit more Ďguardieí with his new food, simply because it is a very precious resource and worth guarding, unlike the previous food. This is more likely if you have more than one dog. Easily sorted, feed them separately! Obviously, never allow children around dogs at feeding time.
I thought dogs were omnivores and needed to eat vegetation.
Yet another of those myths. Anatomically, psychologically and physiologically, dogs are virtually identical to wolves. (Research in 1997 by an international team of scientists lead by Robert Wayne, at the University of California, lead to dogs being reclassified officially as carnivores). As to vegetation: wolves are carnivores: wolves (dogs) do NOT eat the stomach contents of the herbivorous prey they kill (unless very small, such as a rabbit). The stomach contents are shaken out, and left. The lining of the stomach is then eaten.
Surely dogs have changed so much from their wolf ancestors and have been domesticated for so long that they canít cope with a raw diet.
It is only the external appearance of dogs that Man has changed. Internally, they are still the same as their wolf ancestors. Claims that dogs (and cats) cannot cope with a raw diet is only true in as much as pets have been fed on processed/canned food for so long that their system is not running or functioning up to par. When switched back to a natural diet, the immune system quickly returns to its optimum level.
My vet says it is dangerous to feed raw food and I should feed my dog on dried food.
Modern veterinary training on nutrition teaches that firstly, dogs are omnivores (although they acknowledge that cats are carnivores). The training they receive is extremely biased in favour of commercial prepared food - in some instances because the lecturers are sponsored by pet food companies. The veterinary profession and the pet food industry are very closely linked. Most veterinary practices sell pet food. Pet food reps frequently visit the practice, backing up what the vet learned at college. Pet food companies sponsor many aspects of the veterinary profession, in ways which are frequently not apparent.
Dogs are much healthier today and live longer because of better nutrition.
If dogs are living longer today (and that has yet to be proved) it has nothing to do with diet. It has, however, much to do with improved social status, living conditions and medical care. Sadly, the quality of life for the greater majority of these pets has not improved - it has worsened. Arthritis, joint disease, dreadful teeth, organ disease and cancer, diabetes, kidney failure - all facilitated predominantly by a processed diet, and condemning our pets to a middle and old age full of pain and discomfort.
Wolves donít live long in the wild because of what they eat, so we shouldnít try and feed the same food to our pets.
Wolves do not live as long in the wild as their domesticated cousins, but it has nothing to do with the food they eat. How could eating what it was designed and evolved to eat decrease itís life span? Living wild is tough - wolves face the brunt of nature and the elements. They have to compete for food. They have to deal with predation, habitat loss and prey loss because of interference by humans, as well as foreign toxic pollutants. Compared to wolves, dogs have it easy!
Raw Meat diets arenít balanced.
Raw MEAT ONLY diets are not balanced. The dog needs organ meat and bones too, to obtain the proper nutrients for healthy survival. The concept of ďa balanced dietĒ is something perpetuated by pet food advertising that says your pet needs complete and balanced nutrition at every meal. We as humans do not adhere to that principle, and neither do our pets - it is not how their (or our) body operates. We are designed to eat a variety of foods over a time, which leads to an overall balance. Dogs only differ in the type of raw food they need over a period of time to achieve balance. For example, we need carbohydrates - dogs have little or no need for them.
There is no scientific evidence to back a raw diet.
Science is not exact - we all know that. Evolution, on the other hand, has provided about a million years of evidence to show that nature provides for her creatures. Interestingly, there is no scientific evidence to show that a raw meaty bone diet is bad for your dog!
I donít know enough to feed my dog - itís easy with dried food Ďcos the directions are on the bag.
If you can feed yourself (and your family) then you can feed your dog! It is not rocket science! The vets and pet food industry want you to believe you are incapable of feeding your own pets and make you reliant on them. Research the diet. Get a copy of Tom Lonsdaleís book Raw Meaty Bones and/or Work Wonders. Speak to other pet owners who feed raw meaty bones.
Surely itís very expensive to feed raw meat on the bone.
No, in fact it can lead to saving money. This is because feeding raw meaty bones will maintain your pet in brilliant health, and therefore you will actually save money by not needing to see the vet. A medium sized dog (spaniel) can be fed for about £5/£10 per week, giant breed £10/£15 per week. In a perfect world, money should not even enter the equation, but of course we all need to watch the pennies. Just remember all those savings on vets bills!
What food should I buy? Where do I buy it? How much should I feed?
As a general guide, you will need to feed a variety of the following, although to begin with (3/4weeks) it is best to stick to one meat source. Chickens, (whole or halves), chicken carcasses, chicken wings (for tiny dogs only), turkey, whole, halves, quarters, drums, quail, rabbit, lamb necks, lamb shoulder, lamb shanks, pork, whole fish, oxtail, pigs trotters, venison, emu, kangaroo.
Most of this is available at your butcher. Some is on sale at the local supermarket, also check out farmer's markets, farm shops and speciality grocery stores.
As a rough guide, find out what your dog's ideal adult weight should be, take 20% of that and that is what you should feed over one week. About 80 - 90% of the diet should be raw meat on the bone, the balance should be some organ meat, a raw egg or two, and sensible table scraps if desired.
For more questions and answers about raw feeding, go to
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