The Importance of a Tailored Raw Diet for the Domestic Canine
The importance of creating a customize diet that is unique to your specific dog could not be over emphasized. All dogs evolved from the grey wolf, however there is much more to consider when creating a dietary plan for your canine partner. We are huge proponents of a raw food diet that is truly in accordance with this species biological needs. At a base genetic level, all canines require more or less the same thing, However in light of genetic hybridization and genetic mutation we need to use a few different markers as flag posts to see if what we are doing is actually working.
Contrary to current progressive ways of feeding, including the supposedly biologically appropriate, raw food diet, we do not subscribe to the idea that vegetables and fruits are to make up any significant portion of the dogs diet. Leading canine biologist’s have in recent years dispelled the myth that canines eat the contents of their preys stomachs. First hand encounters and studies have shown that the canines actually shake the inner contents of the stomach free before eating the stomach muscle- what we call “green tripe”.
From recent research on canines, as well as a growing body of anecdotal evidence by people all over the world subscribing to a raw food diet that is in accordance with the canines biological needs, we have a very clear understanding of what the majority of the canines diets should look like. However, as mentioned above, genetic mutations and genetic hybridizations have made a one fits all diet hard for some dogs. Your squishy face miniature pug is a long ways home from the gray wolf cave of the past. This does not mean that your squishy face pug does not need raw meat, organs, and bones, but that some aspects of this diet, like different sources of meats might agree or actually disagree with this unique dog.
There are three things that we must consider when analyzing our dogs diet and determining if it is working or not working:
1. How is my dog’s stool?
- The process of switching to a raw food diet as well as maintaining a raw food diet should be rather graceful. Not meaning introduce it gradually. We recommend cold turkey (no pun intended). Rather there should not be diarrhea for weeks or even a week. Major detox symptoms including running stool, lethargy, and lack of vitality should not be the case. If your dogs stool is consistently liquid then something is not working. Go back to the various sources of protein that you’re using, and through deduction, figure out which protein source may be causing the upset stomach. A close friend of ours has one of the healthiest boxers that we’ve ever met. However, for whatever reason, this dog cannot eat bones. Regardless of how slow they are introduced, and in whatever form, they always create blood in the stool. That brings us to our next factor to consider.
2. Be dynamic in customizing their diet.
Obviously there is essential nutrition requirements to be met when feeding your dog. But as we have seen above, not all dogs can eat everything. If your dog cannot eat bones for instance, you will need to get creative with something that has a constipating action to ensure the bowels are healthy. Our friend supplements with sweet potato.
The canine does not produce cellulase, or have the teeth to break down plant matter. Although they are opportunistic carnivores, they are carnivores, not omnivores. When a canine is fed substantial amounts of carbohydrates, their pancreas is taxed and stressed in trying to produce amylase. Carbohydrates are sub optional for canines. Can some dogs do fine on them? Yes. Are they necessary? No.
What works for one dog might not work for another, and visa versa. There might be a protein source, for instance turkey, that does not agree with your dog. It is important to get very granular with whatever program you create and not jump to the conclusion that the raw food diet is not a good thing. Often times it is one or even a few things that simply do not and will not agree with your dog’s unique constitution. Don’t get stuck and be dynamic.
3. Do not fear supplementation
There is no way that the diet we attempt to emulate will ever fully equal the nutritional density of a complete wild diet. We can only get as close to this as possible. Even the most grade A grass fed beef will not have the anti oxidant activity or essential fatty acid profile of wild game. It is just not possible. Wild animals eat wild food and therefor their meat it more nutrient dense. A grass fed cow is not eating the diet it evolved to eat, although somewhat of a close approximation.
For this reason we may very well need to supplement the diet with certain essential nutrients. Cod liver oil is one to consider. If the meat you are providing is not a rich source of essential fatty acids, then you must supplement. Also, until you feed about 10% organ meats, your dogs diet will be lacking to a certain degree.
An approximate balanced diet for a canine looks like 85% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, and 5% digestible bones. This is a good baseline objective. If you know that your food sources are lacking in certain elements, then find the most high quality supplements you can find to fill the niche. If you can meet the above quota, then you most likely do not need to supplement .
Be dynamic in shaping your dog’s diet, but hold fast to the lessons of nature. The raw food diet is superior in our eyes, and there it a ton of support online on how to do it proper. We recommend feeding the prey model raw diet or close to it, not he BARF diet. The main difference is that there is no vegetables and fruits in the prey model, and we agree with this for the most part.
Most importantly try things out and see what works for your dog. It will vary amongst all animals. Find local sources for organic meats and even wild game. Be creative and enjoy the process. Best yet, enjoy your vital canine companion.