Real Raw Foods for Healthy Dogs
The ancestral dog’s diet contained 85-90% whole prey and small amounts of fish and eggs. The other 10-15% was scavenged grasses, berries, fruits, nuts and other vegetation. The nutritional analysis of the ancestral diet shows that the animals obtained 49% of their calories from protein, 44% from fats, and the other 6% from carbohydrates.
Protein from wild prey and animals, unlike plant protein, contains balanced amino acids and a complete range of protein type nutrients. Wild prey contains higher quality fats than farm raised animals. Farm raised animals will have less protein and more fat in their meat than their wild counterparts. This high quality protein exceeds anything found in commercial dog foods or any homemade diet for that matter.
The ancestral diet included a complete range of fats. Fats obtained from prey animals contained muscle meat fat, storage fat, bone marrow fat, and organ fat. Our dogs today don’t get access to such a wide range and balance of fats.
Carbohydrates for the ancestral dog were not necessary due to the amount of meat in their diets. The small amount of carbs were obtained from fruits and grasses. The amount of fur and other indigestible animal parts provided the other necessary carbs and fiber.
Most commercial dry and canned food diets contain poor quality ingredients. They generally contain too little protein, too many carbohydrates, unbalanced and at times, rancid fats, due to oxidation, and lack the complete nutrition that can be provided with fresh foods.
The fresh food meals you can prepare for your own dog will be far superior to any commercially prepared foods. Raw foods will contain the most nutrients for your dog and will most closely mimic the ancestral diet, however, cooked meals will still be more nutritious than a commercial diet.
If you must feed commercial dog food, then you can still make a significant difference by adding a few simple fresh foods to supplement your dog’s diet and provide the missing nutrients of a commercial diet.
Some basic additions to dry:
- Omega 3 oil (Sardines, krill or flax oil)
- Digestive Enzymes (raw green tripe or whole prey animals)
- Probiotics (yogurt with live cultures)
- 6 Brazil Nuts
- 1 tbs dried kelp
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dry ginger
- Fiber (ground psyllium or sweet potatoes)
The following information will help you understand the nutrients required by your dog. And always remember that fresh water is a dietary component that is vitally important. Always have plenty of fresh water available for your dog!!
Note: Not all dogs might be in the condition to jump into this natural diet, due to possible compromised immune systems. Also, the raw food you give your dog should be in good hygienic and eatable conditions. Consult your veterinarian if in doubt.
PROTEIN – meats, organs, bones (buy lean meats 90-93%)
All of the meats below can be fed raw. They can also be ground with the bone in but be sure NOT to cook BONES. Dogs can chew and digest RAW BONES but cooking will make the bones brittle and dangerous.
- Organ Meats: Heart, Liver, Kidney, Gizzards
- Eggs (especially pregnant bitches)
CARBOHYDRATES – vegetables and fruits
- Cooked sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green beans and other legumes
- Greens (Spinach, chard, collards, kale, endive, escarole, mustard and mixed baby field)
- Sweet Potatoes
LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN:
It can enhance brain function and can help with macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Egg yolks
- Dandelion leaves
- Turnip greens
- Swiss Chard
A flavonoid and possible anti-oxidant, free radical scavenger, promoter of carbohydrate metabolism, immune system modulator, and anti-inflammatory agent.
- Chamomile tea
- Clover blossoms
- Green pepper
- Olive oil
From red vegetables help keep the brain sharp.
The fat content in commercial dog food is measured at the time of processing. Fats oxidize quickly through unopened dog food bags and through improper storage can even turn rancid. Date of manufacture and storage times can greatly affect the quality of fats obtained from commercial foods. Add fragile, essential fats such as EPA and DHA in fresh, highly useable, non-rancid, natural forms such as these:
- Cod Liver Oil
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Egg Yolks
Bone is necessary for proper calcium and phosphorus. If you don’t feed raw bones, then adding bone meal to your dog’s diet will be necessary (1.5-2% of meat weight). Dicalcium Phosphate or powdered egg shells (1% of meat weight) may be substituted for bone meal.
Products with lactose my cause problems for some animals, so it is a good idea to add digestive enzymes which are not fungal to their food. Digestive enzymes are lost in cooking and are found in prey animal’s digestive systems which we usually don’t feed. There are many good products which can be bought for digestive enzymes. Usually, major improvements can be seen in health and digestion with the use of these products.
Omega 3 Fats:
Sardines, high quality eggs, krill oil, flax oil, hemp oil
Maintain the balance of beneficial flora in the gut. The best probiotics are found in the dairy section in the whole/health food store. These are especially useful during antibiotic use, after an illness, for chronic digestive issues, or immune problem. Plain Kefir or Yogurt will provide the beneficial organisms. Kefir is the best choice with a wider range of beneficial organisms.
Fiber may be needed because we usually don’t feed our dogs fur or other non-digestible parts of dog’s prey from their ancestral diet. Fiber remains largely undigested and slows the digested system to balance water content in the intestines, creating a healthy colon. If your dog has dry stools or loose stools, or has difficulty defecating, add fiber. Ground psyllium is the easiest way to add fiber to your dog’s diet, but adding sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or ground veggies will also help. Apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and seeds, and Flax seed can also be added to your dog’s diet as a source of fiber.
These are made up of the tiny glands and organs that animals eat in the wild. These include, in addition to the heart and liver, pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal, pancreas, spleen and other substances. Since we are usually not able to supply our animals with these products, you may want to supplement with a glandular product sold in capsule or powder form.