Raw dog food

Raw feeding is the practice of feeding domestic dogs, cats and other animals a diet primarily of uncooked meat, edible bones, and organs.

Supporters of raw feeding believe that the natural diet of raw meat, bones, and organs is superior nutritionally to highly processed commercial pet food. They mimic a similar diet for their domestic companion, as it is believed that a balanced raw diet has the benefits of giving the animal a healthier coat, cleaner teeth and breath, reduced stool volume and odor, and better overall health.

They are commonly opposed to commercial pet foods, which they believe are detrimental to an animal's health. Opponents believe that the risk of nutritional imbalance, intestinal perforations and foodborne illnesses posed by the handling and feeding of raw meat and bones would outweigh any benefits. The assertion that raw feeding is inherently better because it is natural has also been criticized.

3.1. Prey – Model Raw feeding (PMR)

Prey - model raw feeding is 80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organs ((kidney, liver, lungs, pancreas, etc.) over time is basically considered the model to follow as it closely mimics the proportions of prey animals in the wild. Prey model raw is about feeding whole foods instead of chopped or ground foods. Chewing through whole cuts of meat, both boneless and bone-in, tendons and cartilage helps keep the teeth and gums healthy. This in turn helps keep the whole body healthy. The act of crunching through bone, chewing through tendons and ligaments, and gnawing and ripping meat also provides mental stimulation.

Feed as much red meat as possible and feed red meat organs as well. Anything that is not poultry or fish is considered red meat. Red meat is higher in most vitamins and minerals than poultry.

The standard feeding percentages for most adult dogs (including German Shepherd) is:
  • 1.5% of body weight per day for slight weight loss 
  • 2.0% – 3.0% of body weight per day for maintenance
  • 3.5% of body weight per day for slight weight gain
When starting a raw diet, start with 2% of the adult body weight. Feeding too much of any food, including kibble, can cause diarrhea. Plus it is easier to feed more food if a dog starts to get skinny as opposed to feeding less food if the dog starts to get fat.

Cooked bones are dangerous and can be deadly. Cooking causes bones to become brittle which means they easily splinter. Cooking also makes them much less digestible. Since they are less digestible they can cause blockages and splintered bones can cause perforations from the esophagus all the way to the anus.

Edible bones are essential in a prey - model raw diet. They provide the bulk needed to form a proper stool and are a source of calcium, phosphorous and other nutrients. 
They are covered with lots of meat and are soft enough to be eaten without causing damage to the teeth. They are found in animals like: poultry, rabbits, goats, lambs, calves, rodents.
What makes a bone edible depends on your dog.
Unlike cooked bones, raw edible bones are fairly flexible, rarely splinter and are fully digestible.
There is always a possibility that a raw bone can cause problems such as perforations, blockages, choking, tooth fractures, etc. but most of the time, the raw bone was improperly fed such as feeding something that was too small, too bare, a cut bone, etc.
Many veterinarians will tell you that bones are dangerous, even deadly. But most cases of perforations, broken teeth, blockages, choking, etc. are caused by kibble, improperly fed raw bones, cooked bones, rocks, tennis balls, socks, and other non-food items that dogs have eaten.

Wreck bones are bones that are too hard and dense for your dog to eat. These bones are also called recreational bones, rec bones, dog bones and soup bones.
They are notorious for chipping and breaking teeth, causing perforations and blockages, etc. And to make matters worse, any tooth damage done by these bones may not be noticeable at first.
Even though they have the potential to cause so much damage, many pet food companies market them as being the perfect tooth cleaning chew for dogs. Many grocery stores and butchers market these bones, stripped of most or all of their meat, as being perfect for dogs as well.
You can feed a raw wreck bone if it is covered with plenty of meat but only if your dog will not try to eat the bone or will only gnaw or nibble gently on the bone.

Organs are essential. They should ideally make up 10% of the diet with 5% liver and 5% other organs. An organ is anything that secretes.
Try to feed a wide variety of organs and feed from as wide a variety of prey animals as possible.
Organ variety can be hard to find in grocery stores or butcher shops. Ethnic markets typically have a large variety of non-liver organs.
Organs: Include brain, spleen, liver, kidney, testicles, ovaries, pancreas, thymus, eyeballs, etc. – anything that secretes.
Not Organs: Include heart, lung, gizzard, uterus, stomach, intestines, tripe, etc. – anything that does not secrete is fed as meat.

Vegetables, Fruits And Grains
Wolves and dogs are opportunistic carnivores. This means they thrive by eating other animals but can stay alive eating fruits, vegetables, grains, grasses, carrion and rotting garbage.
They lack the grinding molars of omnivores and herbivores and their jaws are shaped to prevent the lateral movement needed to grind fruits, vegetables and grains.
Contrary to popular myth, wolves do not routinely eat the stomach contents of their prey. Leading wolf researchers have observed that the stomach contents of small prey such as rabbits and squirrels are eaten because the entire animal is eaten. This is due to the prey being so small it is eaten whole instead of ripped apart.
But with ungulates and other large prey, the stomach is punctured when it is removed from the abdominal cavity and the stomach contents are spilled out into the kill site. Some wolves will eat vegetation, such as grasses and especially sweet ripe berries but the amount of vegetation eaten makes up a miniscule amount of the diet. There is a lot of competition for things like berries and the growing season is typically very short, only a couple of months, in most places wolves live.

Supplements and Vitamins
Vitamin supplementation should not be needed if the dog is being fed a variety of red meat cuts from a variety of types of animals and/or whole prey animals and getting the proper percentages of meat, bone and organs.

Starting A Prey Model Raw Diet
Feed your dog its normal food, wait at least 8 hours (12 – 24 hours is even better) then feed raw only. Take a whole chicken and cut into appropriate-sized portions for your dog and feed.
In the beginning, don’t worry about proper bone and meat percentages or feeding organs.
The focus right now is to get your dog’s digestive system used to raw meat and bone. When you feed whole chicken, the kidney is with the backbone so your dog will be getting a little organ.
Liver is the 1st organ to introduce and makes up 2.5% – 5% of the prey - model raw diet with 5% being considered ideal. Some dogs may not be able to tolerate the full 5% no matter what you do.
The easiest way to feed liver is to freeze it and shave off one paper thin slice.
Do not introduce anything new until your dog is eating its full portion of liver and has normal stool for one week.

Introducing other non-liver organs is the next step.
Non-liver organs make up 2.5% – 5% of the prey - model raw diet with 5% being considered ideal. 
Your dog should ideally be fed a variety of non - liver organs from a variety of prey animals. Organs can be hard to find though. If you can only find one type of non – liver organ, that organ will make up the full 5% of the other organ portion of prey model raw.
Do not introduce anything new until your dog is eating its full portion of the non - liver organ and has normal stool for one week.

Keep introducing new things into the diet: new proteins, new organs, organs from a variety of prey animals, whole prey, animal heads, etc.


BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. This diet is all about feeding dogs properly and returning them to their evolutionary diet. BARF diets were formulated and developed by Dr. Ian Billinghurst and Robert Mueller who together have more than 50 years of combined experience and study in raw foods.
A Biologically Appropriate diet for a dog is one consisting of raw whole foods similar to those eaten by the dogs' wild ancestors. The food must contain such things as muscle meat, bone, fat, organ meats, vegetable and fruit materials combined in precisely the correct balance just as Mother Nature intended.

Unlike a prey model diet, BARF diets generally recommend feeding:
  • ground, not whole foods 
  • vegetables
  • very bony body parts like necks, backs and wings
  • supplements (which are unnecessary in a prey model diet because all requisite nutrients already exist in whole foods).
Rapid and lasting benefits of the BARF Diet 
  • Tarter buildup on the teeth is eliminated, breath is improved and your dog will have strong, beautiful teeth using our toothbrush from Mother Nature.
  • Itchy skin conditions associated with allergies will be alleviated and you can expect a shiny and lustrous coat.
  • Chronic Diarrhea often disappears and stool volume and odor is significantly reduced.
  • Your pet’s weight will be brought into line and it’s easy to maintain a leaner, fitter body.
  • The immune system is strengthened and you’ll begin to see increased mobility in arthritic pets. 
  • Your pet’s health, well being and vitally will improve for a long and wonderful life.

3.3. The Benefits of feeding a raw diet

  • Improved general health
  •  No doggy odor
  • Shinier coats and healthier skin
  • Higher energy levels
  • No finicky eaters
  • Puppies growing at a slower rate, decreasing the change of strained joints in pups growing too fast
  • Naturally white healthy teeth
  • Decreased incidence of bloat
  • Stool volume is decreased due to the fact that the dog is utilizing everything out of the food. It's not just passing it through.
  • Stools are also less odiferous
  • Easier maintenance of healthy weight
  • Calmer demeanor
  • Happy, healthy, energetic and alert dogs.

3.4. Some Cons to feeding Raw

  • A dog without a healthy immune system may not be able to digest the food. Consider the use of probiotic supplements if this is a concern.
  • Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture.
  • Constipation: Happens if fed too much bone. If constipation or problems passing stool becomes a problem simply feed less bone and feed more meat or organs.
    Kibble can also cause constipation.
  • Parasites: If you are getting your meat from a human-approved source, this should not be an issue.
  • Bacterial septicemia: Rare and usually occurs only in immunocompromised pets, sick pets or pets with underlying health issues.
    Kibble-fed dogs can also develop this.
  • Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis, kidney disease and other diseases typically get blamed on raw food. In reality, there were underlying factors and/or underlying diseases that presented with a diet change.
    It is typically kibble-fed dogs that suffer from pancreatitis when they receive a fatty meat they do not normally get. If a fatty meal triggers a bout of pancreatitis, then that means the pancreas, and possibly other organs, are not well.
    A healthy dog with a healthy pancreas will not suffer from pancreatitis.
  • An unbalanced diet that may damage the health of dogs if given for an extended period
  • Aggression: Raw meat does not make a dog aggressive or a killer or “blood thirsty.”
    It is a high-value item to the dog though and some dogs that have never shown signs of food aggression may show signs of food aggression after starting raw. This is dealt with the same way any resource guarding issue is dealt with.
  • Raw feeding can cost more than kibble. However, if you buy in bulk and you will spend less money than on a premium kibble. 
  • It takes time to prepare the meals.

3.5. Raw Food Breakfast

1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup vegetables -- *see Note
250 mgs vitamin C -- for dogs. Crushed
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kelp seaweed powder -- *see Note
1 teaspoon alfalfa powder -- *see Note
1 digestive enzyme -- for dogs Optional
1 teaspoon flax seed oil -- *see Note
1/4 cup kibble -- optional

Soak rolled oats in yogurt overnight. Mix all ingredients and serve. Add kibble if desired.
*Note: Shredded, lightly steamed or pureed. (Carrots, celery, spinach, yams and/or broccoli, apples.)

*Note: Items can be purchased at health food store or pet store.

3.6. Raw Food Dinner

3/4 pound Raw Meat -- *see Note
1 egg -- raw
1/2 clove garlic -- chopped
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon flax seed oil -- *see Note
1 teaspoon kelp seaweed powder -- *see Note
1 teaspoon alfalfa powder -- *see Note
250 mgs vitamin C -- for dogs
1/4 cup kibble -- optional
Mix together and serve.

*Note: raw beef chunks (not ground), raw chicken, mackerel, or lamb etc. Twice a week use liver or kidney.

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