Nutrition

Why Feed Raw?

Just imagine for a moment that you are sitting in your medical doctor’s office after your yearly exam, and the doctor pulls out a 40-pound bag of kibble and plops it in front of you. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the beautiful images of vibrant people eating handfuls of dry nuggets. And then you see the label: People Chow.

Then your doctor tells you that you can go home and get rid of your refrigerator and stove, and when you go to the grocery store you can bypass the fruits, vegetables, and meats, and head straight to thePeople Chow aisle. He informs you that this new “complete and balanced” product is the only food you should eat for every meal, day in and day out, for the rest of your life.

Hopefully, you would refuse such medical advice. Eating only processed food does not make sense. How could this food company be so arrogant to think they could create balanced nutrition in a bag? Besides, if you were not killed by malnutrition, you would likely die of boredom. So, how is it that we have bought into this idea for our pets? No wonder our dogs eat garbage when they get the chance!

It seems to me that, conventionally, we are going at pet nutrition from a totally wrong direction. We start with ingredients that carnivores were never meant to eat, then we strip out all the nutrients with our processing, and finally we sprinkle in some synthetic vitamins and supplements to try to balance obvious deficiencies. A more intelligent approach would be to start with a look at what canines have evolved eating over the past five million years. Evolution is a slow process and pets have certainly not adapted to processed foods over the past 70 years that they have been available.

The closest wild relative of our pet dogs is the wolf. In fact, as different as some dogs appear when compared to the wolf, they are the same species. In the wild, wolves have a varied diet that depends on seasonal availability. They prey on the weak members of big game herds such as elk and moose. They also eat small game, earthworms, grasshoppers, fruits, berries, and other vegetation. When the first wolves became domesticated dogs about 100,000 years ago, this new species became more reliant on human food scraps. This diet consisted of unused portions of butchered animals as well as “table” scraps.

The ideal diet for most pets consists of raw meat, bones, organ meat, and shredded fruit and vegetables. Raw ingredients provide nutrients that get cooked out of processed foods. This type of natural diet also leaves out excessive carbohydrates, preservatives, and artificial colors.

The importance of proper nutrition for dogs cannot be overstated. It is impossible to have a healthy organism without providing the raw materials that Mother Nature intended. I have seen numerous animals overcome troubling conditions simply by making dietary changes. Not every disease can be cured with nutrition, but all conditions can be aided with this natural approach. Healthy nutrition is the foundation for every pet’s well-being.