The core thing about India is that the majority of the country is vegetarian. And even among meat eaters, almost all exclusively eat only chicken. Hence, this becomes a problem for pet owners since there is barely any variety of raw feeding.
Recently, we have interviewed Miss Kimberly Morris Gauthier to know about the raw feeding in dogs. She is a famous dog nutrition blogger, an author, and a speaker of – Keep the Tail Wagging.
1. What is the primary difference between raw feeding and the usual pet food?
The primary differences between raw feeding and commercial pet food are the freshness of the ingredients, the quality of sourcing, and the lack of synthetic nutrients. Dogs and cats do better on a diet that is comprised of fresh, unprocessed foods, which is what we provide through a diet of raw meat, raw bones, raw organ meat, and other fresh foods.
2. What is the perfect diet for a raw meal plan?
The perfect raw diet for dogs starts with 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% secreting organs like kidney, pancreas, and spleen. As a raw feeder learns about the diet and their dog’s specific needs, they learn to adjust the previously mentioned ratios and add whole food supplements to provide additional nutrients and support improved health. For instance, I also add…
- raw eggs for additional nutrients
- bee pollen to help balance their diet
- raw goat’s milk or kefir for probiotics
- fermented vegetables for probiotics and anti-oxidants
- milk thistle to support liver health
- spirulina to support the immune system
- and raw sardines for Omega-3 fatty acids
This may seem overwhelming to people new to raw feeding, however, I don’t feed my dogs this daily; instead, these ingredients help me to balance my dogs’ raw diet over time. I share more recipes and what I’ve learned about raw feeding in my book A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs, which is available on Amazon.
3. Can a raw meal plan be done in a vegetarian manner?
I believe that dogs are facultative carnivores and while dogs can survive on a vegetarian diet, I don’t believe that they can thrive on a vegetarian diet without the guidance of a veterinarian highly skilled in canine nutrition. There are many vegetarians and vegans around the world who feed their dogs a species appropriate diet and they’ve created a support group on Facebook: https://www.
[In our earlier editions, we also have a detailed article on how to plan Vegetarian Diet for Dogs]
4. What would be a raw meal plan if one includes chicken and dairy?
If I were to feed my dogs a diet that included chicken and dairy, I would source the chicken from a local farm instead of the grocery store and I would have to provide any missing nutrients through other ingredients. A diet that includes chicken and dairy would start with the following ingredients which I will adjust to make sure that I’m meeting my dogs’ nutritional needs over time.
- whole chicken with organs
- raw eggs (one per dog)
- raw goat’s milk or kefir
- fermented vegetables
- canned oysters (boiled in water)
This is just a start. A true meal plan depends on the resources available to a dog parent and not everyone has access to the same resources. This is why it’s so important for dog parents to educate themselves about dog nutrition.
5. What are the signs that the dog food I feed is not the good option and needs a change?
Signs that the food that you’re feeding your dog isn’t a good fit include common health issues like allergies, digestive issues, ear infections, and yeast issues. However, this is just a start. A food intolerance can present with a variety of symptoms and I’ve learned that raising a dog that is always sick isn’t normal and addressing and improving nutrition will help many dogs live longer healthier lives.
6. How can I judge the best nutrients in my dog’s food?
I believe that the best nutrients for dogs come from fresh sources. To determine what nutrients our dogs need, raw feeders use information available online and in books that detail nutrient requirements for pets. There are also resources available online (spreadsheets) that you can update with your pet’s specific information and diet to determine if there are any deficiencies.
And finally, it’s important to work with a holistic veterinarian who is experienced in animal nutrition and raw feeding. This last step is challenging for many people, which is why I and others are working diligently to raise awareness of raw feeding. We want to share our experience and knowledge with other pet parents and we want to inspire the veterinarian community to take a serious look at the diet as well so that they can help us.