Friday, January 27, 2012

Raw Diet

Because I love my dogs so very much and have many opinions on these animals I have decided to start another blog just for them. Matt and I recently switched both dogs to a raw diet and I want to share my findings with the rest of the world :)

Why Raw?

Matt chatted with another pit bull owner at the dog park about a raw diet he fed his dog. This prompted Matt to start researching the subject for our own babies. Summer, our pit bull, has bumps on her skin (almost like hives) and dandruff. Bijou, our little mutt, is overweight by about 10 pounds and gets itchy around her face. Both girls also pass some awful smelling gas. After much research we decided to see if a raw diet would help.

What about Salmonella and other bacterias?

First off, I was very surprised when I spelled salmonella correctly. Hehe. A raw diet is not for every dog, however most healthy dogs can handle bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli. Of course, you have to be very careful to protect yourself form these bacterias when preparing your dogs meals. Not only washing your hands and workspace but also washing the food bowls when the dogs are done.

Whats wrong with high quality dog food?

A couple places I have looked agree that if you can't or won't feed raw, the next best thing is a high quality dog food. Dog Food Adviser is a great website that lists 5 star dog foods. It also tells you the ingredients within the food. Most of these dog foods, and even some of the 4 star foods, work wonderful for dogs. I mean, dogs can eat anything honestly. My first dog lived a healthy happy life off of grocery store dog food. However, now that I have indoor dogs its more important for me personally to make sure they are healthy. Dry dog foods contain a lot of fillers. And despite the great analysis you find on Dog Food Adviser even they will say that you don't know the quality of those ingredients. Also, my current situation does not afford me to buy the best dog food. So instead of feeding lower quality, I decided to go raw.

Why don't you cook the meat?

Cooked meat loses it's nutritional value. If a humans stomach could handle raw meat it would be more nutritionally beneficial. Raw meat also has more moisture which is another important factor for dogs.

What do I feed?

This is where we have started. To keep the girls from getting sick we started by cutting back on their dry food and giving an egg for breakfast. When their dry food was gone we switched to rice and eggs in the morning, rice and raw chicken at night. Now a lot of people don't like to use grains since that is something that causes a lot of allergies. However the girls are fine with rice and we use it as a filler. I'm still a bit weirded out by giving them just meat or eggs. Oats and mashed potatoes are also other fillers that are more digestible. Summer had diarrhea, as expected, but adding a tablespoon or two of pumpkin has helped clear that up. Experts suggest feeding chicken for the first two weeks and then rotating meats.

EW! What's wrong with my dog's poo?

So your dog's poo may look a little strange. The first few weeks are an adjustment but in general their poo should be a bit lighter in color and softer (but not like diarrhea). One of the nice benefits of going raw is that your dog will poo less since their body absorbs most of what they are eating. NOW If your dog has diarrhea and adding sweet potatoes does not help, fast your dog for a day. Summer was having a lot of trouble and her body just needed time to recuperate and a fast helped her tremendously! And surprisingly she didn't complain about not eating. The next day she was a bit more energetic and her stomach was much happier.

The bottom line

Research! Do whats right for you and your dog. Summer's skin is clearing up and Bijou has already lost weight. Both dogs eat their entire meal, every time. I also enjoy making my dogs meals.

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