Over the past few years there has been a trend of feeding raw. I must admit that I was a little skeptical in the beginning as I had read some veterinary papers that were dead against it for a number of reasons.
However, I cannot deny that when I work on dogs I can feel and see the superior quality of the coats of dogs on raw diets. Their joints and general well being seems to be better. They have an amazing gloss to the coat which in contrast I tend to see dull coats on dogs that are fed dry feed.
I have always fed my dog on a tinned food diet which is preservative free, etc, etc. Over the past year I have fed more and more raw feed and I think I can see a difference.
Thiamine deficiency is a common problem in dogs. It has been reported that many processed food lack Thiamine due to the process and storage which destroys this vulnerable vitamin (see article: September, 1 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)). However, home prepared food may be at a higher risk of Thiamine deficiency if owners are not careful - take care when feeding raw fish/shellfish as they contain an enzyme which destroys thiamine!
Raw feed should not just consist of raw meat. There should be a variety of veg, fruit, berries, carbohydrates, fish oil and herbs. So I thought I would experiment with a few things in my garden as this is a great time of year to harvest all of the above. I was interested to see if my dog would leave anything.
Fish oil - I used omega 3 cod liver oil as this is supposed to be inflammatory (rather than inflammatory) if fed in the correct quantities.
- The benefits of feeding fish oil are:
- Improving the coat and skin.
- Reducing inflammation due to conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Regulating the immune system, boosting those that are suppressed and calming overactive immune systems for dogs with allergies or autoimmune diseases.
- Aiding in mental development of fetuses and puppies, and improving cognitive function in older dogs.
- Lowering blood pressure and triglycerides.
- Providing support for dogs with kidney disease, heart disease, and cancer.
- Promoting weight loss in overweight dogs.
According to an article in Whole Dog Journal,'Independent agencies have tested many human and pet supplements. None have found mercury, but a few products had unsafe levels of PCBs, provided less EPA or DHA than was shown on the label, or were spoiled. For those concerned about contaminants, look for molecularly distilled products (note the term “pharmaceutical grade” has no legal definition). More concentrated forms, with higher amounts of EPA and DHA per gram, result in lower levels of contaminants', http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_9/features/Fish-Oil-Supplements-For-Dogs_20600-1.html.
I used gluten free pasta because that's what I had in the cupboard (I have changed on to a gluten free diet at the moment to see if it makes a difference to me). I think you have to look at your dog to see if there are any signs of gluten intolerance otherwise gluten may be considered a good source of protein. Please carry out your own research on this subject to make up your own mind. Look at the following link for an interesting article - http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2012/nov/is_gluten_free_dog_food_better-29456
Experiment 1 - Did he leave anything?
Results - He didn't leave a crumb!! He also looked incredibly satisfied afterwards. He always seems much keener for these feeds compared to the normal feed so I guess he should be able to make the choice.