Pros & Cons to raw feeding
Do you know the benefits of raw feeding
I have never personally been a real fan but it seems that the popularity of diets consisting of raw meats, bones, fruits, and vegetables is rising.
When we look at a dog’s ancestry it is carnivore, however domestication has brought our canine friends into the omnivore category.
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For many years we continued to feed our dogs a meat based diet until the 1940’s when the mass production of cheaper dry food was introduced.
In 1993 Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst introduced his new feeding concept, the BARF diet. BARF stood for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
Reportedly the first complete raw diet since the 40’s, BARF was a mix of meaty bones and vegetable scraps. The BARF diet was received largely well across the world. The reason for this being the claims that many of the grain based dry foods were harmful to our dogs.
Over the years many companies have been producing raw foods with the claims that it is the better to feed raw than dry; however much like the dry foods the raw diet has its benefits and its downfalls. Many of these are documented in several studies published by veterinary journals.
So let’s look at the benefits, but from a personal view not the scientific point of view. As I see it, what we feed is very much a personal and individual preference.
I have been feeding a BARF Diet (bones and raw food) to my dogs after being introduced to it by a breeder of 20 years experience. It is a natural diet and is biological appropriate for all dogs.
Many commercial kibble foods contain addictive ingredients such as sugar and flavourings and indigestible grain which cause digestive intolerance and skin conditions in dogs, after all dogs were never meant to eat cooked or processed food.
Feeding kibble is more for our convenience than what is naturally good for our dogs. A Barf diet contains none of these and has physical benefits keeping coat, teeth and digestion in good health.
- Clean teeth and fresh breath.
- Better weight control
- Improved digestion
- Healthier skin and coat.
- Reduced allergies
- Harder smaller and less smelly poo
- Increased mobility in older animals
- More energy and stamina
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved liver, bowel and pancreatic health
Anyone feeding raw food should understand the reason behind feeding it, like Mel Todd. Too many of us just feed without really understanding the reasons for using the particular food. And with understanding the reasons to feed it we accept the fact there is always going to be reasons not to feed it.
Studies suggest that feeding an all-meat diet provides no calcium and just adds a large amount of phosphate to the body. This according to vets can cause poor bone mineralisation and spontaneous fractures.
Raw liver for example is extremely high in vitamin A so regular consumption can cause hypervitaminosis A (toxic effect of too much vitamin A). This in turn can cause the development of bone exostoses (formation of new bone on the surface of bone) around limb joints, which can cause pain and restricted range of movement.
One of the main concerns is that raw meats contain potentially harmful bacteria and is some cases parasites. Although our dogs are relatively resistant to many bacterial infections the human is not, so advice in handling of these raw dog foods should be treated in exactly the same way as we advise handling human consumption raw meats.
When it comes to raw feeding it all comes down to personal choice but raw feeding does not suit all dogs as their digestive systems have evolved through domestication. My advice would be to research any foods first and gather as much information as possible before making any decision to change. Should you choose to make a change, gradually introduce the new feed to your dog and understand they may take a while to adjust.
Always monitor your dogs reaction to the foods externally and internally, meaning skin, fur, stomach, stools, energy levels and behaviour. Should your dog experience any adverse changes or you have concerns seek professional advice and be prepared to withdraw the feeding of the particular food.