Raw diet stimulates the menu that nature intended carnivores to eat: USDA approved meat and bones, organ meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc.) and the green vegetation contained in the consumed herbivore’s digestive tract. Many health issues are from diet. If you feed kibble please read ingredients. Corn causes many allergies. The first ingredient should be meat. Pet food companies are out to make a buck, not give your pet the best diet.
Do not give your pet raw meat from the supermarket, most are not safe for pets. I did that with my golden and she got very ill for days, my Shih Tzu was fine, so it depends on your pet. My golden is 9. Some markets sell raw only for pets. Do not change your pet’s diet blindly!!! Take into account their age, current diet, health issues, and consult your vet if you have any concerns.
There is a growing belief that dogs and cats benefit greatly (via increased health and long life) with a raw diet. Some animals with existing health problems or picky eating may experience an improvement in their conditions when switched to raw. Other benefits may include minimal breath odor, vibrant coat with minimal shedding, less stools and less odorous stool, and significantly reduced need for veterinary dental work.
Making the Transition to Raw
The day before you begin feeding a raw diet add some probiotics (acidophilus) and digestive enzymes to the dog’s normal food. Raw blends can be used as a treat or supplement long-term if you don’t want to move to a full raw diet; mix with kibble or feed as a treat. To fully transition to a completely raw diet, a gradual change in foods over at least 2 weeks is best because it allows your animal’s system time to adjust completely without upset. For the first 5 days, 75% of your current kibble and 25% raw. For the second 5 days, increase raw to 50% and then for the last 4 days to 75% raw with the animal’s current diet. Giving your dog probiotics and digestive enzymes can help prevent issues such as runny stool during the transition to raw (give daily for a few weeks). For cats, the transition should be done even slower as felines are more resistant to change generally.
It is important to note here however that you NEVER want to add raw meat to a kibble or cooked meal. Raw meat and bones are digested very quickly by the dog, in fact, often within only a few hours. Processed kibble or cooked foods which are not natural to the dog’s digestive system remain to further ferment and break down so the body can try to obtain some nutrition from it. It can take 12 to 24 hours for processed or cooked foods digest. If you mix the two at the same meal you are just asking for digestive upsets.
What and When to Feed
Dogs: It is a wide range of meats, bones, and vegetables, that will provide your dog with the most robust health. Ideally serve at room temperature, but many dogs will happily eat semi-frozen raw blends as well. Microwaving is not recommended, it minimizes the nutritional value. Every 3 to 5 days, provide your dog with a bone, which provides minerals and significant dental benefits. Some raw diets recommend one day a week of fasting or very low food intake, with just the bone being fed that day. Whenever offering both food and bone on the same day you should decrease the amount of food for that day by the weight of the bone.
Caution: If your dog is an aggressive chewer, do not feed marrow bones. Because marrow bones do not “give”, it is possible for very aggressive chewers to fracture a tooth. These dogs will do better with neck or knuckle bones. Normal chewers do fine with marrow bones if you don’t have knuckle bones available.
Cats: Require no vegetables, but organ meats are particularly important. Begin with choosing your cat’s favorite meat protein. Meaning, if your cat prefers chicken, then start with a chicken raw diet. As transition occurs, try different meat proteins to vary the diet and keep them interested. Care must be taken to not let your cat go without food for more than 24 hrs without consulting your veterinarian. Use special caution with overweight cats that might refuse to eat: hepatic lipidosis (a condition in which fat accumulates in liver cells) can emerge in an overweight cat who has gone without food for as little as 24-48 hours.
For More Info
Barf World BARF is an acronym for Biological Appropriate Raw Food. Dr Billinghurst is the father of BARF.