In light of the newest pet food recalls, there is no better time than now to switch to a raw diet. If you have been thinking about switching to raw but need the right motivation to do so, just read the news about the recalls!
As numerous pet food recalls were made public over the past several years, dog food companies have recently announced several more recalls due to evidence of salmonella. There are not that many dog food manufacturing plants in the United States, so you have to realize that contamination to many brands of commercial dogs foods is possible. Below are several links to websites listing the brands and foods recently recalled by the manufacturers.
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These news releases certainly add steam to one of the known arguments often given about the 'safety' of raw food. It has become apparent that manufactured processed dog food is a safety issue. The safety issue is not only for pets, but also for people! The argument over feeding commercial food instead of feeding a raw diet is usually fueled by the fear the diet is'unbalanced'. These fears are now diminished because it appears that feeding a commercial dog food that is 'fixed' and dependent on the current known information on what a dog needs nutritionally, seems to be far more dangerous to our dogs! A raw diet is varied in protein content and offers far more nutrients and a wide array of proteins, fat, minerals and vitamins that our dogs need. A 'fixed' diet, dependent on the manufacturer's ingredients and manner of preparation, faces a greater danger of not being 'complete and balanced'. Home-prepared diets offer balance over time, just as we humans depend on achieving balance of our own nutritional needs over time.
I have been asked what commercial dog food is 'safe' to feed. Consistently, my answer is, 'None of them'. Trying to make a feed, at the amounts needed, with the required heavy processing AND large amounts of ingredients (check any dog food bag ingredient list) makes it a dubious task for any consumer. Ingredients for commercial feeds are stored. When ready for use they must be cooked at high heats for extended periods to try to kill any bacteria and toxins present. However, when dealing with the large amounts of product to meet the quantity needs, safety standards are difficult to control and maintain.
What is the answer? The best answer I have found is to prepare your own dog's food. That can be done easily by preparing either a raw diet or a home cooked diet for your dog. Food that you select to store and prepare in your own home and kitchen is the safest choice. While I have heard people express fears over the safety of raw meat, studies show that commercial foods have as much or more pathogens than raw foods:http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/is-a-raw-diet-dangerous/
In addition, when you prepare your dog's meals at home, YOU have control over the integrity and quality of the ingredients served and how they are handled. Most of us are aware of how to safely handle raw foods, the importance of refrigeration, and sensible clean-up habits. We can inspect the foods we buy and choose where to purchase them. When we prepare our own food, we are there through the whole process and monitor the safety, cleanliness and quality of the meals served to our dog.
The differences in feeding home prepared meals for our dogs versus feeding commercial food to our dogs does take some getting used to, but once you get in the groove, it becomes second nature. You will need to shop and bring fresh food home and keep it refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to use it. You may need to purchase containers, freezer bags, meat scissors and maybe a small freezer to accommodate this new way of feeding. However, you will find your dog enjoying the taste and benefiting from the high quality nutrients of their fresh food diet.
The following are some of the most noticeable and positive reasons for feeding a fresh diet include:
A raw diet is fed twice a day in two even-sized meals. One meal is a raw meaty bone meal (chicken necks, backs, leg quarters, pork neck bones, pork tails or ribs, turkey necks, lamb ribs, just to mention a few) and the other meal is a meat meal (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey or fish) with a small amount of organ meat (kidney or liver). You feed approximately 2% to 3% of your dog's body weight daily and adjust the amount over time, if needed, based on your dogs needs, weight loss or weight gain.
Home cooked meals require a mix of about 75% animal protein (beef, pork, fish, lamb, chicken, turkey, to mention a few) with a small amount of organ meat, and 25% low glycemic (low sugar) pulverized or well cooked vegetables. The addition of calcium is required in cooked meals, so add 900 mg of calcium carbonate or citrate per pound of food served daily. Again, feed approximately 2% to 3% of your dog's body weight daily and adjust the amount, if needed, according to weight gain or loss.
In my book, Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, you will find complete recipe information that includes food amounts and proper preparation, how to shop economically, and much more. Don't let the title fool you! It has as many recipes for home cooked diets as it does raw diets and it covers how to feed puppies, seniors and has special diets for dogs with specific health issues. You can find the book on B-Naturals website, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Nobles.
For some sample raw food recipes, go here:
For some samples of home cooked diets, do here:
For further questions and information, you can join an email yahoo group, K9Nutrition. This group has over 6,000 members and offers a wealth of combined knowledge, information and feeding ideas from people who have been feeding raw and home cooked diets for dogs for many years.
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