Raw Food Recipes (Booklet Preview)
You’ve started feeding a raw diet and want to provide all the nutrients your healthy dog needs. Should you provide as much variety of foods as possible or would your dog be better off with limited ingredients? How should you supplement the diet? Most of my clients had these questions and more. Here are the answers.
How Do I Know What My Dog Needs?
There are two basic ways to go about this. The first is to feed a variety of foods and hope for the best. This approach can work for some dogs but I have a problem with it. Dogs are very adaptable animals and chances are good that your dog will do well eating a great variety of foods over time – but what happens if s/he suddenly starts to look less than wonderful or becomes ill? How would you know if the problem is diet related? Everything works until it doesn’t. I prefer a different approach.
Science certainly isn’t perfect but it provides some guideposts that I don’t like to ignore. The most common problems that my clients are faced with come from diets that seem fine at first glance but, in fact, need correction. The proof is that once the diet is improved, their dogs look and feel better. This improvement comes from using the dietary guidelines as set by the National Research Council (NRC).
Which Foods Should I Feed?
Consider your dog’s health and the possibility of allergic reactions. While fresh foods are wonderful, some dogs simply can’t handle a great deal of variety. Typically, dogs with allergies do well when consuming very simple diets rather than a myriad of protein sources. Dogs with gastrointestinal trouble tend to need diets that provide less fat. Your first consideration is the dog’s dietary sensitivities. Other than onions, which can be toxic, any vegetable will do. Ingestion of large amounts of raisins or grapes has been the cause of visits to the veterinary emergency clinic, so it’s best to avoid these fruits. Meats, raw meaty bones, eggs, fish, dairy products (be careful about this one because many dogs are lactose intolerant), organ meats – all are good.
How Much Variety Should I Offer?
Feed as many foods as you wish but keep a few things in mind:
1. A dog can develop a food allergy at any time and any age. What will you feed when you need a new food in order to avoid an allergen if you feed all available foods now?
2. Will this new food be available and affordable at all times? Try to keep at least one of the more basic foods aside. Preferably, you’d reserve two or three protein sources for the future. You never know when you might need them.
3. Every food provides a certain amount of a given nutrient. Feed less of that food and you provide less of the nutrient. Offering a great deal of variety translates to feeding less of any one food. Find a middle ground. Use the diet plans here as a guide.
Raw Meaty Bones
Although RMBs (raw meaty bones) provide more than calcium and phosphorus, most people are concerned about how much to feed in order to ensure the dog receives sufficient calcium. Feed the diets as written here. When you feed more RMBs, you feed not only more calcium and phosphorus but additional calories, too. Despite that they may look lean, most RMBs provide a great deal of fat (the marrow is full of fat). The additional calories to your dog’s diet means weight gain unless you feed less of something else in the diet. Nutrient values are rarely in good range when people go about a diet this way. The diet plans in this booklet provide more meat and less RMBs than many of the popular diets being fed. The result is a nutrient dense diet that meets your dog’s needs at a recommended level rather than at minimum requirements.
Going To The Vet
This should be the first step before changing the diet of any dog, but especially so when feeding a diet that contains whole bones. A health check is in order because you want to know that your dog isn’t dealing with some kind of disease. If you skip this step only to discover that the dog is ill a few months down the road, the diet may be blamed when in fact, the illness had taken hold before you even switched diets.
It’s critical that your veterinarian have a look inside your dog’s mouth. Get the teeth cleaned
before you offer whole bones. In my experience, the opposite occurs and the scenario goes something like this:
Dog’s teeth have a tarter buildup. Dog owner hears that whole bones will clean the teeth. Dog is given whole bones. Dog breaks tooth. RMBs are blamed.
While the bone may be responsible for the fracture, let’s think this through. Studies have shown that greater than 85% of pets over three years of age have some form of dental disease. Imagine not brushing your teeth for three years! Without brushing, plaque accumulates on the teeth, which can mineralize into hard tarter. In turn, this induces
gingivitis, which can lead to bad breath, bleeding gums, looseteeth and oral pain. So, we have a dog with oralhealth problems and we expect him to chew well enough and for
his teeth to be strong enough to handle whole bones. This doesn’t make much sense, does it? Ensuring that your dog’s mouth is in good shape first and introducing whole bones afterward, to maintain oral health, would be a much better approach.
How Much to Feed
You’re likely to hear that feeding 2% of body weight is the way to start. In this case, my 20 pound dog should be eating 6.4 oz of food per day (20 lbs x 16 oz per lb x 2 %). In fact, she eats 17.25 oz of food daily to maintain her ideal body weight. The 2% of
body weight guide might work for some dogs but not for most.
You could feed more or less food as you see fit to maintain a dog’s weight. The problem with this approach is that when we feed more or less food, we also provide more or fewer amounts of nutrients. The 50 pound dog that needs 20% less food than expected to maintain his body weight, doesn’t need 20% fewer amounts of nutrients. His nutrient
requirements are the same as another 50 pound dog that needs more calories.
The diets in this booklet are a good guide but they are generic in that your dog may need to eat more or less of any diet plan.If you find a vast difference in needs, try one of the other diets noted here because they’re based on activity level but will still provide
what your dog requires. A highly active 75 pound dog may need to consume the diet writtenfor an 80 pound moderately active dog. A ‘cushion’ has been
built into these diets in order to provide some flexibility.
Read the entire booklet including all recipes via the download available.