Everyday we hear contradicting advice from our friends, family, co-workers, veterinarians and others regarding what food we should be feeding our pets: “raw feeding is dangerous!” “kibble causes allergies!”. People tend to be very opinionated when it comes to the great raw food debate. With all the different theories out there, one thing is for certain: we all want the best for our pets. Just like every person has different dietary needs, so is the case for our animal companions. There is not a single diet that will fit every dog or cat. In this blog we want to discuss contradicting opinions and help guide you in making the best decision for you and your pet.
RAW OR KIBBLE?
Let’s start with the most commonly asked question. You’ve heard all the buzz about feeding your dog a biologically appropriate raw food diet, and of course, wanting the best for your dog you decide to talk to your friend about switching your dogs diet.
Immediately, your idea is shot down with a list of facts and statistics outlining how raw food can be dangerous for you and your pet. Obviously, you should listen to your vet because they have years of education and know what is best for your dog.
However, you decide to get a second opinion from your local raw pet food store. They give you a list of reasons why kibble can cause issues with your dog – some of which you already notice happening to your dog – and you hear brief testimonials from customers stopping in to buy their weeks supply of food. “Raw is the only way to go!” “It literally made my dogs allergies disappear.” Now you second guess your vet. How can raw feeding be that dangerous if these people have been doing it for years with no ill consequences? So, you decide to try it out.
You’ve made the decision to give raw a try and seek some advice from a local pet store employee. They suggest fasting your dog overnight and jumping right into a 100% raw diet, because mixing the two is likely to cause an upset stomach. A little hesitant, you decide to talk to your friend who has been feeding raw for years. She swears by a slow transition, gradually introducing raw food into the diet. Once again you’re stuck at a cross road, not knowing where to go next.
Sometimes it really is best to be open-minded, like a blank slate- ready to try out different options and see what works best.
WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD I FEED?
Proteins: Beef, chicken, fish, exotic meats? With dozens of choices, what should you choose? The answer is, there really is no answer. If your dog has allergies maybe you are restricted to a single novel proteins . If there are no health concerns, you can’t go wrong with variety! A mix of red and white meat will lead to a complete diet over time – and a happy dog.
Veggies, no veggies or tripe: Once again health concerns such as allergies may restrict your choice to strictly no veggies. Or maybe the dietary fibre helps to keep your pet’s digestive tract regular. Perhaps you want the awesome probiotics and fibre contained in tripe. All of these choices are great and each may benefit a particular dog.
Supplements: You may choose to add supplements to enhance the overall vitamin and mineral content in the food. If you’ve notice your older dog is getting a little stiff you may add some extra glucosamine to the food, or maybe your dog with urinary crystals benefits from adding cranberry. While not necessary, particular dogs may very well benefit from the addition of these and many other supplements.
Bones: Some people feed them everyday as a dental cleaning chew. If your dog is very old and missing teeth, you could add ground bone to the food for calcium and phosphorus. Maybe your pets food already contains ground bone, so you don’t think about adding more. Bones are great no matter what form they come in – as long as they are raw of course! Always remember that cooked bones can splinter and severely harm your pet. This is a fact and is not debated by anyone.
The truth is, you know your dog better than anyone. No matter what you decide to feed, there will always be opinionated people out there who disagree with your choice for whatever reason. The best thing you can do is seek the advice from an array of people, try out the different options and determine what best fits the needs of your pet, your budget, and your lifestyle. Don’t let the big world of pet nutrition scare you from trying new things. Get out there, try something new, and reap the benefits! As always we are happy to give advice, answer questions, and guide you through your journey!