There are more and more pet owners today turning to a raw diet for their dogs. Why is this? Generally it is because they would like to see their dog eat something that is more like what he would typically eat in the wild. It is also because more people are becoming aware of the poor nutritional value of many of the commercial dog food brands today. Unless you buy a high end dog food that has no corn in it then you may want to look at the ingredients on your bag of kibble. More than likely one of the top ingredients will be corn which is a known allergen to dogs. For this reason pet owners are enjoying the idea of feeding raw foods to their trusted fur friends.
Dogs and Chicken Bones
It is important to point out that there are some misconceptions where chicken bones are concerned. First let us start by saying that cooked chicken bones are an absolute no-no for dogs as they will splinter and could cause injuries. However, raw chicken bones are soft and therefore quite safe for dogs. Consider dogs in the wild and how likely they might be to hunt for, kill and eat an entire bird. Do you think these dogs are eating something that they really should not? More than likely they know more about what is good for them than we do. Somehow humans have developed the erroneous opinion that dogs would be lost without us. While it is true that domestic dogs will eat things like chemicals and cleaning agents that they should not, we are focusing primarily on what dogs in the wild would eat. Their food would be raw and certainly not in the form of kibble.
Starting a Raw Diet
Any time you rapidly change your dog’s diet you risk the occurrence of pancreatic problems. This is because a dog really needs an adjusted period to diet changes. This means that you should start any and all changes slowly. Do not be so fast to toss the kibble in the trash and start throwing raw chickens and carrots to your dog instead. You will want to begin slowly. Start by incorporating a couple of small raw chicken wings in your dog’s regular diet. Continue to do this until you are able to gradually switch completely to raw foods. This process will not happen over night and the diet change should take weeks to complete.
Bacteria on Chicken
Some people are petrified to feed their dogs raw chicken because they are afraid of the bacteria that is present on raw chicken. The truth is this is ridiculous and should not even be a consideration. Dogs are made with an incredible immune system and loads of friendly bacteria that are specifically designed to allow them to eat raw food. You would never feed your human child raw chicken but if your child is covered in fur with four legs and tends to bark at strangers then raw chicken for him is more than okay, it is ideal. You can however rinse the chicken before you feed it as their may be undesirable chemicals sprayed on the chicken before packaging.
Grains, Veggies and Fruit
Some people who feed raw diets to their dogs insist on giving their dogs a specific amount of grains and vegetables. This is, to put it nicely, hog wash! Dogs do not need these things as they are carnivores through and through. In fact some grains, fruits and vegetables may even be harmful to your dog. Once you have made the switch to raw food you will want to feed raw chicken, lamb, pork, fish and even small cuts of beef. In addition, your dog will surely thank you for some nice raw innards and organs. Do your dog a favor, do not subscribe to the idea that he would benefit from anything other than meat. The truth is a complete diet for a dog is a diet that is high in protein and pure meat. Anything else is senseless. With this being said raw eggs are also wonderful for dogs and the great thing is you can feed him the eggs right in the shell.
Vets Opinions on Raw Diets
Many vets are of the opinion that kibble is better. This could be for a number of reasons. Have you ever noticed that your vet usually sells a specific brand of dog food on his shelf? This is because he gets a kick back from that company for selling that brand. If you have a vet who does not understand the nutritional value of feeding your dogs a diet that is as close to what they would eat in the wild then you can do one of two things. You can either request that your vet go back for a couple of more years of education or you can switch vets. Dogs that are fed raw diets have a tendency to be generally healthier than dogs that are given strictly kibble.
The biggest challenge for you when switching your dog to raw foods will be how much to feed. It is hard to determine how much food to feed your dog when there are no instructions on the carcass! Generally speaking the amount to feed will depend on the size of your dog and his energy/exercise level. A sedentary dog that lays around the house for most of the day will not need to eat as much as a high energy dog who runs and plays in the field all day. In addition, a twelve pound dog will not eat as much as an 80 pound dog. You will have to figure out about how much to feed each of your dogs based on these factors but as a rough estimate let us say you have a 60 pound boxer dog. He can eat a quarter to a half a chicken per day as well as a few various pieces of other meats quite easily. If you have a toy poodle he may eat a few chicken wings a day. You do not have to over feed your dogs. Remember in the wild dogs may only eat once every other or even every third day. If your dog is thriving and maintaining a healthy weight then you are feeding the right amount.