A Raw Dog Food Diet
Moving over to a raw food diet can raise a lot of questions. Here is our guide to feeding a RAW meat diet to our four-legged friends
On this page, we hope to provide you with all you need to know about the raw dog food diet (or BARF which stands for Bones and Raw Feeding or Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding).
Explain some facts about canine nutrition and dispel some of the myths is key to understanding the benefits of a raw food diet. We will provide you with all the information about processed dog food and its connection to common ailments.
The benefits of feeding a raw diet. Some of most obvious benefits include:
Lots of energy
Changing to a Raw Meat Diet
Switching your dog to a raw meat diet for can appear daunting, but it’s no different or more difficult than using any other food.
Firstly, get the storage right. Your freezer will become your best friend. Freezing is a natural preservative. It does not reduce the nutritional value of food and there are no associated health risks as with cooking. Plus, the process of freezing a food to -18oC inactivates harmful parasites.
Next,how much to feed? Adult dogs need to be fed 2-3% of their body weight every day. For example, a dog weighing 10 kg should be fed 200-300 grams a day.However, this will vary depending on the breed, age and activity levels. For an extremely active or underweight dog, the amount can be increased. When the workload decreases, or your dog’s waistline tells you differently, just reduce the amount you’re feeding. Please feel free to contact us on (+44) 01985 208016.
The amounts might seem low in comparison with feeding a commercial kibble-based diet, but a raw diet is 100% wholesome food, which a dog’s digestive system can absorb more readily and (an added bonus) produces less poo. This is a visual reassurance that your dog is getting better quality nutrition.
Nutrition - the way nature intended.
Dogs are domesticated animals and for the last 15,000 years or so, they have been reliant on us for their food. A dog needs to eat a biologically appropriate diet, one that delivers optimum nutrition and digestibility for maximum energy, health and condition.And for a dog this means a diet of raw meat, offal, bones and some raw vegetables, alongside various herbs.It doesn’t mean a high carbohydrate grain-packed kibble diet invented for the convenience of modern dog owners.
Stavordale diets have been formulated with the help of vets and canine nutritionists. They contain 70 to 80%raw meat, bones and offal, with the balance made up of seasonal vegetables, fruits and herb. There are no grains, additives or fillers.
We’ve developed trusted relationships with each of our farmers and producers. This enables us to deliver traceable food from field to bowl, regardless of whether the farming practice is free range, barn reared or organic.
We visit all our farmers and growers who supply our ingredients regularly.
We check the abattoirs that our farmers use. We want the meat in our food to come from animals that have been given the maximum respect when they are killed. This includes minimal waiting times and careful handling to reduce stress. We also require our producers to use local abattoir animals do not have to endure hours in transit. We insist that every animal is stunned before being slaughtered.
All our ingredients are suitable for human consumption at the point at which we make our food. In other words, our ingredients could also be sold for human consumption,but we are not allowed to describe our food as ‘suitable for human consumption’ as it is legally considered to be pet food.
It is high quality and at the end of the day our four-legged friends deserve it!
Why processed food is a poor choice for your dog
Where grains are used as carbohydrates in complete foods, many toxins can be introduced into our dog’s diet. These include aflatoxins, heterocyclic amines, acrylamides (recently discovered in dry and cooked pet foods).Molds can form on grain, either when growing in the field due of poor growing conditionsor after harvestas a result of to poor storage. Thesemoulds produce some very potent carcinogenic aflatoxins. These are resilient to high temperature processing, which does not render them harmless.Exposure to these toxins, even at low doses, can cause anaemia, liver or kidney failure, cancer and premature death.
Even if your kibble is grain-free, it still contains a high carbohydrate content, so there is the potential for mold spores to contaminate the kibble during storage, especially if it is exposed to a moist environment, including during storage at home.
Heterocyclicamines and acrylamidesare formed when high heat is applied when cooking kibble-based diets. The World Health Organization have classified acrylamides as a probable carcinogen.
All kibble diets are processed. Even those kibbles which are ‘grain-free’, with high quality ingredients and no preservatives, fillers or additives still have to go through a cooking process which reduces the nutritional value that these quality ingredients would provide. After processing, kibble is left with proteins that have been broken down by the heat (denatured) enzymes that are rendered inactive, and beneficial bacteria that are no longer viable. These components are extremely important and they work together to ensure the efficient digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients from the food. If they are absent, your dog cannot benefit.
Manufacturers try to replace some of the lost nutritional value with synthetic vitamins and minerals, so they can call their food “complete and balanced” on their label.
So does a kibble really sound like a biologically appropriate diet? In today’s world where sadly, our environment is saturated with pollutants and toxins which we cannot avoid, why add to the problem by feeding them to our four-legged best friend?
Keep it simple. Keep it natural.
Every puppy should have the best possible start to life. A new born puppy has both a delicate and sensitive digestive system. So much so that the first few weeks and months lay down the foundations for a long and healthy life.
We firmly believe that mothers on a raw diet will produce a plentiful supply of milk and their puppies, once weaned onto a raw diet, will grow into active, healthy adults with a long life ahead of them.
Early Stages and Weaning
For the first three weeks pups need nothing more than mother’s milk.
The process of weaning should be a gradual process starting at the end of week 3 and finishing at week 8. This assumes that the mother’s milk continues. If she starts to dry up sooner, which is possible, consult your veterinary surgeon to check for any underlying issues and carefully speedup the weaning process accordingly.
Introduce our puppy mince at three weeks alongside our goat’s milk powder made into a liquid.Try not to be overly concerned about what the pups consume. Instead, let them have fun exploring it. We find large flat trays are the most suitable dish for the job. Please don’t leave the food down for longer than 10 minutes regardless of the reaction.
They can stay on the puppy mince until they are between 5 and 7 weeks and then our normal range of minces can be introduced.
At six weeks,start to introduce other protein sources, for example beef, alongside vegetables that you may want your puppies to eat as an adult.
At seven weeks, the pups are weaned and by week 8 they will be ready to go to their new homes with a supply of the adult range of foods.
At 8 weeks, puppies will go off to their new homes and they can happily be fed completely on our adult range.
You need to weigh your new puppy regularly to monitor its development. Always start at the higher end of the percentages given below and reduce the amount of food if your puppy puts on too much weight. Any changes to the amounts fed should be done over a period of 4 days.
The information below is only a guide.
From 8 weeks to 4 months of age: feed 8-10% of their body weight daily, in three or four meals
From 4-6 months drop down to two meals a day, while feeding 6-8% of their body weight.
From 6-8 months feed 4-6% of their body weight.
From 8-12 months feed 3-4% of their body weight.
From 12 months feed 2-3% of their body weight.
How to Move Your Adult Dog onto a Raw Diet
Initially start your dog on one protein source for a three-week period, for example beef. This allows your dog’s digestive system to adapt and makes it easier to spot if your dog has an intolerance to a specific protein. Over time you introduce a range of different proteins to your dog to maintain variety in their diet. This is why we offer meal choices.
Changing your dog on to a high protein raw meat and bone diet is easy and convenient. Simply follow the steps below:
Day 1 - Substitute a spoonful of raw diet for a spoonful kibble (or high carbohydrate, wet processed food) for a spoonful. The spoon size will depend on the size of dog.
Day 2 On wards - Each subsequent day substitute slightly more of the diet until full transition is achieved
If your pet has a loose stool at any stage, we recommend reducing the amount of raw food for three days to stabilise the stool prior returning to increasing the raw food levels again.
If your pet is elderly or dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end stage cancers, animals on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would recommend you get expert help prior to beginning the transition to a raw diet.