Raw Diet For Dogs
In the Beginning
Dogs have lived for millions of years on a raw diet without any great issues. Back in the 1960’s dogs were happily living with us humans eating raw meat, bones and leftovers. Yet we didn’t have much in the way of allergies, cancers and dental problem also many dogs were living till close to 16-20 years.
Then along came Companies like, Uncle Ben’s Pet Foods and by the 1980 it seemed that everyone was into adding the commercial foods to their weekly supermarket purchase. Hence a multi-billion dollar industry is now established and looking at ways to get you to put more and more of your dollars into their pockets.
Should we listen to our Vet?
We know that most vets will recommend you feed your dog an “all dry food diet” and they will state that this dry kibble has all the nutrients that your dog will ever need provided you buy a good quality one, which they happen to have on their shelves. Now it is even common for vets to tell you that the problem with a raw diet is that your dog can be exposed to bacteria that will make them sick. However we believe the information the vets are being given is misleading. After all the research they are basing their recommendation is on the research supplied by the pet food manufacturers. Most Vets are NOT dog Nutritionists and yet seem happy to just regurgitate the information given to them by the commercial pet food companies. – Instead you should accept that most are a GP within the animal world. Hence it would make sense to consider the advice given by the Specialists who have done independent research in this field.
Who are the Specialists?
When Kylie and myself went to San Diego for a Conference, we attended a lecture with Wendy Volhard. She has been researching dog diets for the last 30 years or more and was a wealth of knowledge. One of the main things we learnt was about the number of concerns with regard to the commercial feeds available. Firstly, much of the research out there to date has been issued from the feed manufacturers. Hence they can pick and choose what information they wish to share. Secondly, the nutrient values published on the pack are prior to cooking. Watch any cooking shows on TV and we can appreciate that there are significant changes to the food once you start the heating process.
The Volhard Diet is not available in Australia. However, Dr. Bruce Syme (a vet in Castlemaine) has been developing his own feed program named Vet’s All Natural Diet (VAN). It would seem that both of these professionals have independently found the same issues with the commercial foods and hence developed a very similar program. The advantage for us in Australia is that the VAN diet is readily available.
How does a Raw Diet Work?
When a dog is eating primarily raw meat and bones they have a low gastric PH in the gut of perhaps 2 or less. This acidic environment breaks down the meats and also kills of a variety of harmful bacteria like salmonella spp and E.Coli. Commercial pet products do not have as high a MEAT protein, which then impacts on the gut environment decreasing the acidity of the stomach. Which in turn slows down digestion, reduces bacteria being destroyed as well as the ability to soften raw bones, which can result in obstructions. The objective of the VAN diet is to recreate a natural raw diet for the dog. So therefore we have the VAN Complete Mix, which recreates the gut matter of the prey a dog would hunt down in the wild then we mix in the meat and bone. The VAN also has added minerals that are required for a good balance, apart from that there are no added colours or preservatives. All food is served to the dogs raw. Hence, referred to as a Raw Diet.
Swapping to Raw Diet
If you swapped over to raw immediately from a commercial product you may notice your dog vomit or develop some gastroenteritis. That is because his stomach has developed a higher alkaline PH and is not used to the raw foods. You need to give a dog perhaps a week to adjust over to a raw diet. So ideally feed a mix of half what you have been feeding and half of raw each day. This will give time for your dog’s gut time to adjust the PH. For more information on raw diets go to: www.vetsallnatural.com.au or www.volhard.com
Here at Alfoxton and Inasense Kennels we raise our puppies on a full raw diet from the time they are three weeks old… We recommend that dog remain on this course, however this is your personal decision to make, we just wish to provide you with information.