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What is raw pet food?

Raw pet food is exactly what the name says. It’s about feeding your cat or dog raw food.

A good raw diet consists of raw meat, bones, vegetables and fruit from inspected sources only – ground, frozen and sometimes mixed.

A typical dog diet would look like this:

70 to 75 per cent protein such as chicken, turkey, beef, elk, bison or lamb
15 per cent organ meat such as liver, kidney, heart, spleen
15-25 per cent “green matter” such as fruits and vegetables or green tripe
Lots of raw bones
Supplements appropriate for your pet

A typical cat diet would look like this:

85 per cent protein such as chicken, turkey, beef, elk, bison or lamb
15 per cent organ meat such as liver, kidney, heart, spleen
Lots of raw bones
Supplements appropriate for your pet

Most people do not eat a complete balanced meal every time they eat – they achieve balance in their diet over a period of two to three weeks, and your pets should achieve balance in their diet the same way. What that means is you can serve bones one meal, liver the next and a meat/vegetable blend the next. Over a period of time, there is balance.

Supplements:

Supplements for pets are like supplements for people. Some pets need them, some don’t. Some do okay without them but can function at an even higher level with. Often, as pets age they require some sort of supplementation, just like a lot of us humans! One thing is certain ... supplementation should never be a substitute for a poor diet. Here are some common supplements that many pets use:

Because chicken is high in Omega-6, supplementing with an Omega-3 essential fatty acid is recommended to ensure a balance, which reduces the risk of inflammation
Vitamin E is can improve dry skin and coats making them soft and shiny
Digestive enzymes help to ensure that everything that your pet eats is digested and used by their body, which supports their immune system and overall health. Some digestive enzymes contain pre and probiotics which helps keep their digestive tract populated with good flora and bacteria.

Additional supplements would be tailored to your pet's needs.

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How much do I feed?

For dogs, feed about two per cent of their optimum body weight for about two weeks and watch how their body reacts. Do they lose or gain weight? Then increase or decrease their portions accordingly. For cats, feed about seven to eight per cent of their optimum body weight, and for kittens about 10 per cent, also monitoring for any required changes to the amount fed.

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Why is it better than kibble?

All kibble has grains or starches. Dogs and cats do not need carbohydrates, except for lactating moms and freshly weaned puppies. They have no real dietary requirement for carbohydrates and their digestive systems aren’t designed to process them. It puts a significant strain on their systems.

People do better on fresh, natural diets, and so do our pets. When food is cooked, the nutritional value significantly diminishes and chemical changes take place. Most kibble is cooked by extruding it, which means it is cooked at extremely high temperatures for a few seconds with hot steam. Then to make this unpalatable food edible, grease and fats are added so dogs and cats will be interested in consuming it. Ever wonder why pet food bags are slimy and lined with grease? Where's the nutrition? The grease is added after it's cooked. Commercial kibble becomes “100 per cent complete” only through the addition of supplements to put back what was lost due to cooking.

Results of feeding a raw diet will vary depending on the pet involved. In general, these are common results:

Improved health and overall appearance
Improved breath and reduced tartar build-up on teeth - that saves a lot of future pain caused by poor dental hygiene
Coats and skin are shinier and healthier
Little or no body odour
Well muscled body. Anyone watching a pet eat a bone will know that it’s a full-body experience
Improved stools – they’re well formed, much smaller and are less odorous
Reduced anal sack impaction
Strong immune system
Reduced eye discharge
Increase resistance to parasites such as fleas and worms

Overall improved well-being for pets with:
Chronic inflammatory conditions such as hot spots or diarrhea
Chronic ear and eye infections
Arthritis

The recent tainted pet food issues have brought to light the realities within the commercial pet food industry. Ingredients are of questionable quality and the industry is not monitored by any governing body. Read more about this topic at CBC's documentary about the pet food industry.

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Is the raw food bacteria safe for pets and my family?

Dog and cat digestive systems are made for raw bones and meat. Left to their own preferences, they’re hunters. They’ve been that way for millions of years. Their digestive tracts produce the proteins that allow their intestines and immune system to handle the bacteria normally present in raw food. Many of these bacteria are present in our pet’s bowels as normal flora.

The products I handle are prepared using the CARPFM guidelines. Handle this raw food as you would handle meat you serve to your family. Keep it packaged, wash your hands and wash bowls and utensils in hot soapy water.

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What is BARF?

Every now and then you’ll hear that someone’s pet is on the BARF diet. After you cringe, you’ll wonder what that is. This is an acronym for two different phrases - Bones and Raw Foods and/or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Both mean the same – raw pet food.

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What makes it work so well?

For over ten thousand years, cats and dogs have lived, survived and reproduced eating raw food. It is only in the last 70 years that we began feeding pets grain-based processed foods.

One look at your furry friend will tell you that he or she loves meat. Take a look at their teeth. Dogs’ and cats’ teeth are designed to rip and chew. They swallow their food in big chunks. Their short digestive tracts allow muscular digestion of raw meat and bones. Both dogs and cats lack the digestive enzyme amylase, which is needed to digest complex carbohydrates. Dogs have a high concentration of hydrochloric stomach acid, designed to break down protein and kill bacteria. While dogs are scavengers, eating anything, cats are strict carnivores, eating only meat, bones and organs. Cats need taurine, which is found in fresh raw meat, in abundance.

Not everyone is sold on raw. Some vets recommend it, some oppose it, some don’t care. I recommend doing your own research and deciding for yourself, based on facts, not fear.

My sincere hope is that we have started you thinking about your pet’s diet, and that you start questioning the assumption that conventional processed pet food is the right choice for your pet.

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Fido and Felix Foods
Craven,  SK
Phone: 306.536.9757

 

fidoandfelix@sasktel.net

 

 


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