Before dogs were domesticated their diet was mainly made up of raw meat, from huge moose or elk to tiny mice and even earthworms. A lot of people consider this kind of diet to be the healthiest diet for dogs and more and more people are switching over from a dry food diet. The main reason for this is because it is thought that a dog diet should be 80% meat and to get the equivalent amount of protein in a dry dog food diet you would have to spend a lot of money.
A Labrador puppy chewing a raw bone
If you do decide to switch to feeding your dog to a raw meat diet, the most important rule is to always supervise him when he is eating. There is always a chance that you might have missed a bone which may cause your dog to choke or cut his tongue.
A Flat Coated Retriever puppy chewing on some raw meat
Offally Good Or Offally Bad?
Many people think that offal is not worth eating or even unsafe to eat, but in fact the animal organs that make up offal contain more nutrients than the cuts of meat we eat. A lot of manufactured dog foods actually contain offal, but it ismostly bad quality meat that is simply used to increase the meat percentage on the label. If you do decide to switch to a raw meat diet, always buy the highest quality meat that you can afford and make sure that it is fresh so that it is free of harmful bacteria.
A Wolf Diet - What Did Dogs Eat Before Dog Food?
Before packaged dog food and before domestication, dogs ate muscle meat, organs and bones as well as raw eggs, fruit and vegetables. A lot of breeders and trainers believe that a raw meat diet including offal is the best diet for a dog. It is considered to be the most natural diet for dogs as it closely resembles the diet of a non-domesticated wolf.
A wolf chewing on a piece of raw meat
If you switch your dog’s diet to a raw meat diet, ensure that you buy lean muscle meat, internal organs and delicious juicy bones from beef, lamb, pork, chicken and rabbit. It is also very healthy to include food like oily fish and eggs. Sometimes vets may recommend feeding your dog yoghurt containing probiotic bacteria but it is a wise idea to keep an eye on your dog when feeding him dairy products because some dogs can be lactose intolerant and will suffer from intestinal distress such as bloating, vomiting or diarrhea.
Always Buy Fresh Meat - Risk of Salmonella
There is a slight risk to both you and your dog when choosing to feed him a raw meat diet (although most don’t believe it’s a big enough risk to worry about). All raw meat has the possibility of containing microbes and parasites which can be very harmful and potentially life threatening. Always buy good quality fresh meat and ensure that you keep it refrigerated. Raw meat goes off very quickly out of the fridge and, once it has turned, can be harmful to feed it to your dog.
Offal Is Cheap And Highly Nutritious
Offal from your local butchers is often very cheap and contains many valuable nutrients. To get all of the nutrients that a dog requires you should feed your dog most parts of the animal. Here is a list of animal parts that you can buy from your local butchers, with all their benefits and nutritional components.
As well as being an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc and folate, liver is also a good source of vitamin A, C, D, E and K, as well as B6 and B12. It is by far the most nutritional organ which is why it should never be left out of your dog’s raw meat diet. It should make up 5% of your dog’s raw meat diet.
Raw liver bought from the local butchers
Kidney is a great source of protein, iron, zinc and folate too. It also provides your dog with essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as all of the B vitamins.
Raw liver bought from the local butchers
Heart is one of the most nutritional muscle meats. It is rich in iron and zinc, and is a great source of thiamin, vitamin B6 and B12, phosphorus, copper and selenium. However, heart is quite high in cholesterol, so don’t feed it to your dog too often. It should make up to 10% of your dog’s raw meat diet.
A raw animal heart bought from the local butchers
Tripe is a good source of protein, and is low in fat. It is also a good source of vitamin A, B, C, D and E, as well as omega 3, essential fatty acids, calcium and phosphorous. It also contains lots of digestive enzymes and bacteria which help with your dog’s digestion. If you are considering changing your dog’s diet to a raw meat based diet begin by feeding him tripe.
It is best to choose the unwashed tripe rather than the bleached white sort otherwise your dog won’t receive all of those helpful digestive enzymes and bacteria. Tripe is also considered a probiotic due to the high amounts of good lactic acid bacteria that it contains. It should make up around 80% of your dog’s raw meat diet.
Raw tripe bought from the local butchers
BrainBrain is high in protein, but is not a good source of vitamins or mineral.
Try Feeding Your Dog Different Parts To See Which Is His Favourite
Don’t limit your dog’s raw meat diet to only these five ingredients. You can try all sorts of strange parts of the animal like lungs, chicken feet, beef trachea, pig trotters and even pizzles (you might have to google that one). Disgusting as it sounds, dogs love it all.
A dog eating a pig trotter that its owner has bought from the local pet shop
Raw Meat Diet Feeding Guidelines
The key to feeding your dog a raw meat diet is to give him a balanced diet over time. Don’t try feeding your dog a balanced meal each day because this isn’t what would happen in the wild (it also isn’t very affordable). A balanced meal is something that humans have developed, but a wolf in it’s natural routine would eat certain parts of the animal depending on when they are lacking a particular nutrient.
A dog eating raw beef bought from the local butchers
One day you could feed your dog more organ content, and then the next day you could feed your dog more meat or bone content. Aim to feed your dog 5% liver and 5% other organs, 10% edible bone and 80% meat, fat and ligaments.
It is also possible to buy pre-prepared frozen raw food from many pet shops (and garden centres), which makes feeding a raw food diet much more convenient. They come minced up with vegetables which means no real preparation is needed.