How to create a healthy dog!!
Why a raw diet?
Dogs are Omnivores – meaning they can survive on meat and/or vegetables and require both meat and vegetables.
The process of cooking food is unique to humans. Cooking is the oldest and simplest form of preserving food. The process of heating destroys natural enzymes, vitamins, essential fatty acids, proteins, amino acids and renders many minerals unavailable for absorption.
A well-designed diet of raw food can provide all the available macro and micronutrients necessary for perfect health. The easy part is that because it has not been cooked or processed, it supplies all the nutrients in an easy to digest and absorb form. The aim is to match the natural components of a wild dog’s diet - a generous portion of muscle meat and raw bones, some organ meats (liver, kidney, heart), and a balance of carbohydrate and vegetable matter, equivalent to the partially digested gut contents of the prey.
All raw foods contain cellular enzymes capable of complete breakdown of cellular structure, and release of cellular nutritional content. This process naturally occurs within the stomach and intestines of an animal when it feeds on raw prey, accelerated by the core temperature within the bowel, and by the addition of digestive enzymes from the pancreas and intestinal wall, and also by the intestinal microbial flora. When foods are cooked, the natural enzymes of the foods are destroyed (denatured), requiring the animals body to work hard to do all of the digesting.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids form an integral part of the cell membrane and its physical and functional properties, therefore are important for cell function in regard to integrity, growth, inflammation and immune function.
The Omega 3 EFA's are very volatile, being easily destroyed by heat over 40'C (cooking), light, and oxygenation, and as such will turn "rancid" rapidly.( they have been shown to become carcinogenic if heated over 100'C). Therefore they have been selectively removed from most commercial food products and replaced with oils that are naturally high in Omega 6 like sunflower & safflower oils, which are much more stable and will greatly prolong the shelf life of these products. Compounding this is the fact that as part of the processing of these oils, they are super heat treated and bleached to produce the clean, clear oils that we see on the supermarket shelf (which removes any trace of Omega 3 EFA and again extends shelf life).
The result of this selective removal and processing system has been a massive imbalance of Omega 3 : Omega 6 ratio in processed foods, falling from 1 : 5 down to 1 : 15-20. Omega 3 and Omega 6 EFA's compete for enzymatic oxygenation, therefore the excess omega 6’s result in a massive increase in pro inflammatory mediators, which in turn leads to over activity of the immune system. To the dog or cat this can cause an excessive reaction to normal or mild antigenic stimulii, leading to allergies/ hypersensitivities, and an over reaction to joint wear and tear resulting in chronic osteoarthritis. Human studies have linked Omega 3 deficiency to a number of common degenerative diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease and cancer, and is a primary factor in the massive rise in heart disease and cholesterol problems in western culture.
Further disadvantages of commercial foods
Cereal content – a large percentage within commercial foods, high in starch which turns to sugar.
Corn & wheat generally create inflammation in the gut and are a common underlying factor that leads to allergies
Rice/Potatoes (starch) are broken down into sugars
The gut loses its acidity so becomes more prone to overload of bad bacteria, more prone to gastric issues à compromised immune system.
The loss of gastric acidity also leads to the inability to digest raw bones
Further Benefits of Raw Food
- Increased gastric acidity – improves digestion and immune system function. Allows the digestion of raw bones
- Improved enzymatic digestion
- Shorter gut transit time – more efficient digestion. 4-5hrs instead of 9 – therefore more energy for the fun things in life – like ripping up the bed J
- Smaller stools that breakdown/naturally decompose
- Improved gut flora & health of the gut wall to prevent it from becoming leaky which is the precursor to a lot of diseases as the immune system becomes over worked due to the exposure to toxins from the gut
- Improved condition of teeth, bones and joints
- Improved immune system function
- Fewer fleas, mange & lice
- Improved weight
- Greatly reduced skin disease, autoimmune disorders, joint disease, kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease
- Softer coat, improved shin and no dandruff
- Improved breath
- Reduced flatulence
- Eliminate anal gland blockage
- Increased health and longevity.
What is a Healthy Dog?
- Able to exercise for more than 30 mins daily
- Abundant energy for play & exercise
- Relaxed demeanour with other dogs, strangers, friends & family
- Clean white teeth with no bad breath
- Normal weight
- Shiny full coat with minimal shedding except at moult
- Itch free, no skin odour, lumps etc.,
- Firm consistent easily passed faeces, daily
- Urine - Clear, odour free, good stream
- No stiffness or soreness
- Bright, clear eyes
- Good appetite, not overly hungry or lack of hunger
- Ears – Clean with no odour
- Balanced fluid desire i.e. increases with hot weather
- Balanced sleep/wake
- Normal breathing
- Dreaming that does not disturb sleep
You can make up your own diet (refer below) or purchase vets all mix which you soak & add to raw meat and this gives them a complete & balanced diet.
Good Veggies' & Fruits to Feed
( Add lots of green leafy vegetables)
Romaine (COS) Lettuce - High nutritional value, Tomatoes (avoid the leaves and stems) , Carrots – (high in sugars so be careful), Celery - Not much nutritional value but is a good diuretic, Bok Choy, Parsley (great for CNS), Oranges, Apples (not the seeds),Bananas, Alfalfa Sprouts, Bell Peppers (Capsicum) - red, green and yellow, Fresh Pumpkin, Silver Beet, Beetroot, Kale, Cilantro, Mustard Greens, Dandelions (great for the liver),Zucchini, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Parsnip,Turnips, Sprouts -
Caution Veggies' & Fruits
(Foods you can feed but with cautions)
Garlic - fed in small amounts is very beneficial for your dog. It is considered natures antibiotic. However, to much can cause anemia and upset stomach. So when making your veggie mix, use 1-3 cloves but no more.
Grapes / raisins- (in high amounts) Dogs exhibit gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea and then signs of kidney failure with an onset of severe kidney signs starting about 24 hours after ingestion of the grapes or raisins.
Eggplant - OK to feed the fruit but avoid any other parts. They can cause upset stomach, drooling, lethargy, heart failure
Avocados (& leaves) - Stay away from the leaves. The fruit part is OK to feed in small amounts.
Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Rhubarb - OK in small amounts. While these are not toxic, they are high in oxalic acid, a compound that interferes with calcium absorption, so don't feed these very often.
Cabbage/Broccoli/Cauliflower - OK to feed in small amounts but may cause gas. If fed frequently and in large amounts these will depress the thyroid.
Potatoes – too high in starch à sugars
Cautions: If your dog is diabetic or has arthritis and has/had cancer then you may want to stay away from underground veggies because they convert to starch/sugar which aggravates arthritis. Cancer cells also thrive on sugars.
Veggies' & Fruits to be avoided all together
Onions & (onion powder) - upset stomach, and can cause anaemia.
Chocolate - contains theobromine. It can cause upset stomach, vomiting diarrhea, trembling and sometimes death
Pits of most fruits (apples, apricots, kiwi, pears, Avocados, peaches etc.) - These pits or seeds have a toxic effect and can cause, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and possibly death. Apple seeds for example contain small amounts of cyanide.
Cornstalk - upset stomach, drooling, labored breathing
coffee / tea - these contain caffeine. This is toxic to dogs.
macadamia nuts - can lead to paralysis or weakness
Alcoholic drinks (and hops), yeast dough, salt , tomato leaves and stems (green parts),Potato Leaves and Stems (green Parts), rhubarb leaves -
Recommended feeding amounts:
In general your dogs requirements of total food is 2-4 %`of your dogs body weight – this will vary according to age, weight, activity level, breed and the type of meat being fed
Meaty bones and muscle meat – 60-75% of diet –calcium, protein, vitamins, minerals, taurine - includes turkey, chicken, necks, backs, rabbit, carcasses, lamb, beef, kangaroo, venison etc. Organic meats are best.
Fruit and Vegetables and Grains – 25-40% of diet – fibre, vitamins & minerals – e.g. banana, apple (not the seeds), pears, watermelon, oranges, kale, parsley, sweet potato, spinach. These need to be mashed, vitaminised, pulped or pureed to break down the cellulose so the dogs gastrointestinal system can access the benefits.
Grains – soaked rolled oats – fibre, carbohydrates.
Offal or Organ Meat – 10-20% - high in vitamins & minerals, fatty acids etc – e.g.heart, liver, kidney, green tripe.
Supplements – 5% - can includes- spirulina, wheat grass, kelp, barley grass, lecithin, brewers yeast, flaxseed meal, crushed millet
Other- goat milk natural yoghurt – probiotics, Eggs – 1-2 times a week, fish
Nutrients – calcium, essential fatty acids, glucosamine, fat soluble vitamins, amino acids, collagen, iron, copper.
Benefits – dental health, stimulation, growth, gastrointestinal health.
Size: No bigger then the size of your dogs head.
Avoid marrow bones are they may fracture their teeth on them. Roo tails are great.
Feed bones at least 3-4 times a week.
Depending on your dogs weight and the quality of the bone this may be a meal.
NEVER feed your dog cooked bones as these can splinter and perforate the gut and also cause constipation. Cooked bones are unable to be digested/broken down & have no nutritional value.
Tips when switching to a Raw diet
If diarrhea occurs, don't panic!
If an adverse effect or allergy occurs go back to basics
Keep things simple
May experience detox – this may occur about 2 weeks after swapping from a fully commercial diet to a raw diet, it is the body expelling toxins and it may present in any form depending on the dogs health and weakness in their system i.e. skin allergy worses, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy. It may last around 3 -5 days – if you are concerned contact your local holistic vet.
Keep trying & be patient
Try smaller pieces rather than large
All the best to a happy & healthy dogs life J
Dr. Raquel Butler BVSc, EMRT & CCMRT practitioner
Integrated Veterinary therapeutics
0435 813 505
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