What You Need to Know Now About Raw Diets and Your Dog

First things first: because I want to keep it real with you, I’ve gotta say this. Feeding your dog a species-appropriate raw diet provides incredible support for their overall health and vitality.


But what do we mean by a raw diet? Simply put, when I talk about a raw diet, I’m talking about a diet of meat, bones, and organs, none of which have been cooked. Similarly, they haven’t had toxins added to them. A raw diet can mean a commercial raw diet, whole prey, prey model, or some combination thereof. It can even mean freeze-dried raw. In general, it includes an 80/10/10 ratio of muscle meat, bone, and organ.


Unlike processed-food diets like kibble, raw diets are highly usable by your dog. Protein sources like rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, beef, egg, and sardines—all readily available protein sources—are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin B (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B9 (Folate and Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, and Zinc. These vitamins and minerals support and promote a myriad of essential functions in your pet’s body.


Things like probiotics, enzymes, chondroitin, and glucosamine are found in raw, species-appropriate foods, such as raw green tripe, chicken, and eggs. Your dog can use the nutrients in species-appropriate foods, and because the foods are raw, synthetic vitamins don’t have to be added (as they are to processed food) to try and replace what was lost in the processing. Thinking about what you now know about processed-food diets, is it any wonder to you that pets fed a processed diet eventually reach a point where their bodies are so overloaded with toxins and starved for essential bioavailable nutrients they begin to present with issues that get progressively worse, until eventually their bodies shut down altogether?


Pets fed a species-appropriate raw diet, on the other hand, can pull every bit of nutrition possible out of their food, and they’re not flooded with more toxins. I sometimes think of pets fed a processed food diet as taking two steps backward for every step they take forward. Eventually, it catches up to them. Pets fed a raw diet, on the other hand, are supported and re-balanced with each meal.



Commercial Raw

Commercial raw diets are generally complete and balanced raw diets you buy premade, rather than putting them together yourself. Some examples of commercial raw companies include Primal, Small Batch, Vital Essentials, and Answers. These diets include meat, bones, and organs, come in a variety of different proteins, and are generally grinds. They may include fruits and/or vegetables as well. You purchase them frozen (or in some cases, freeze-dried) and defrost them before you feed them. Some options I like are Answers, Darwin’s, Primal, Small Batch, and Vital Essentials.


Prey Model Raw

Prey model raw diets fall under the “DIY” category. In general, if you’re feeding a prey model raw diet to your dog, you should aim to include about 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% non-liver organs each week. Some people include fruits and/or vegetables in these diets (when fruits and veggies are included, it’s known as a biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) diet), and some don’t (when fruits and veggies aren’t included, it’s known as a species-appropriate raw food (SARF) diet). These diets may also be referred to as “frankenprey” diets, because they include a wide variety of meats, bones, and organs to make up (over time) a complete and balanced diet. It’s important to remember, if you’re feeding a prey model raw diet, that you’re aiming to achieve a balance of meats, bones, and organs over time, rather than in each individual meal.


Whole Prey Raw

Like prey model raw diets, whole prey raw diets fall under the “DIY” category. When most raw feeders refer to whole prey, they’re referring to the complete animal—for example, a whole prey chicken means a chicken that still has its organs, head, feet, wings, and sometimes even feathers (although some people do not include feathers or fur in their definition of whole prey). Another example of a whole prey meal is rabbit; again, this would include the head, feet, organs, and possibly even the fur. Many do-it-yourself raw feeders feed a combination of prey model raw, whole prey raw, and possibly even raw grinds.





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