Why do we feed a raw and meaty bones diet?
The way you feed your family ….. including pets is a very personal choice. I respect that, but have been asked many questions on why we choose a raw and meaty bones diet for our dogs.
I think the idea that animals aren't as important as humans is one of the past. The concept that they don't have the same nutritional needs as humans is partially true, as their needs are different, but that does not mean it is ok to feed substandard and unbalanced diets. Today, most people want ideal nutrition for our pets.
The simplest answer I can give is that I want to know exactly what my pets are eating and that it satisfies both nutrient and sensory requirements.
There is a lot of talk about species appropriate diets and it's hard to knock it. Feeding our pets large quantities of food they would never eat in nature just isn't quite right. I was once asked if I would like to sit down to a bowl of dry Nutri-Grain for every meal for the rest of my life. I could relate to the comparison! Furthermore, there is no benefit to the dog in cooking their meat. In the wild, dogs target the organs of their prey first, as they are the nutrient/mineral rich part of the animal. They also tear through the intestinal tract, releasing green, chlorophyll rich, partially digested plant matter. This provides specific vitamins and minerals plus probiotics (good microbes).
Imagine how astounded we would be if we were advised to eat more processed food, and that fresh food could actually be risky for our health!!! There seems to be concerns from some regarding how safe it is to feed raw or fresh food. There has been lots of discussion regarding the quantities of mycotoxins and glyphosate (one of the active ingredients in roundup - known to be carcinogenic) in dry food (kibble). Glyphosate is well known for killing beneficial gut bacteria. The one thing that is clear, is that if you are preparing your dog's food from scratch, you know what they are eating.
The only benefit I can see in feeding dry food is convenience. The components and manufacturing process concern me. The animal products that cannot be used for anything else (I hate the thought that there could be previously dead, diseased, dying or disabled animals in there) are heated up almost to the point of liquefaction (both proteins and starches, when heated to that degree form carcinogens). Dyes (to please us) and artificial vitamins/minerals are added (as nutrient quality has pretty well been destroyed). 40 to 60% starches (which breaks down to sugar) are required to hold the components together. The pellets are dried. The dog's digestive system is not designed to eat large quantities of starch This is probably why they don't do so in the wild. More and more research is coming to the forefront on how diets high in starch lead to metabolic damage (metabolic diseases) in dogs.
I understand that many people have busy lifestyles or lack the knowledge or confidence to feed raw. There are "pre-made" biologically appropriate raw foods that can be purchased. If you don't have the interest or want to spend the time balancing your dog's diet, you can buy this "pre-made" raw food. Of course, it is more expensive than doing it yourself …… but you pay for convenience.
My parents raised four children without metabolic disorders. Their understanding of nutrition was minimal. We lived on a farm with some cattle, pigs, chooks, vegetables and fruit. The basis of our diet was availability. My husband and I have raised two children. Although I have a biological science degree, we raised our children on a similar diet. It is a species appropriate diet for an omnivore. I am yet to see a family stressing over the day to day balancing of their family's diet. If you can manage to feed your family from scratch …… you can manage to feed your pets.
I've also been asked about the expense of a raw diet. Of course, this will vary, depending on whether you prepare the food from scratch yourself or purchase it pre-made. It will also vary on where you can source you ingredients from. Having six, hungry, active dogs (one being a giant breed) - I buy in bulk and feed twice a day. The average cost per dog per day is $2.15 (as Dory is included in this, the average price for the Border Collie's would certainly be less than $2 per day).
My husband often says that if he had the chance of a "second life" he would come back as a horse or dog at Emerald Park!