Having switched to feeding raw, I have already seen benefits for my dogs. Honey, who had difficulty putting weight on, is now rounded and eats her meals with gusto, rather than picking at the kibble.

Here is what Kim from The Dogmum Bakery has to say:

Okay, so now you’re wondering why, with all this wealth of evidence to suggest why dogs should be eating raw, unprocessed food, companies continue to produce pet food. Well that’s because they’re marketing it to us not the dogs. If we’re not familiar with a dog’s natural diet, we’re going to trust others, and oftentimes they’re more concerned about making a profit. To me it would be like the CEO of McDonalds talking about children’s nutrition. Yes okay they have fruit packs, and salads, but you still wouldn’t feed your child exclusively from McDonalds and you wouldn’t trust someone who stands to make a massive profit to give you that advice.

And sad to say this, but yes, those bags of kibble in the vets aren’t the worst offenders for being full of ash and filler, and yes if you are going to buy a processed food, these would be the least harmful, but sadly vets are still businesses. They are paid to promote those foods. Ever notice that one vet practice tells you the brand they promote is the best brand, and another vet will say the same for another? If it really was the case that this is the absolute best, surely they would agree and other brands would be completely irrelevant, and major brand pet foods would become fewer and further between, as they would be completely disapproved of by vets, and instead this magic vet food would take over.

I have been very fortunate enough to have taken most of my animals (before I moved far away) to a vet’s practice which did not promote any brand of food in the slightest and was the runner up best vet in the country (yes, really!) He won the official award from PDSA! He praised my decision to feed raw. He asked me about the components of the raw feed and quantities and gave advice on doing so, particularly for my border collie with lupus (and multiple allergies).

A lot of vets are often concerned that feeding a dog on a homemade diet will not allow for a dog to get everything he or she needs in their diet, and the specially formulated “science” ones they sell have all the nutrients the dog needs (plus a load of filler!) so if someone is ill-informed it may be better to give them the processed junk. Okay, go back to the McDonalds analogy for a moment. I would personally say that yes it is better to give a child 3 meals from McDonalds rather than giving them one small apple once a day for example. But you would be better informed and educated than to give them just that – so do the same for your dog!

If you do your research, you really don’t need to fret. And believe me, it’s a lot easier to get all those nutrients in than you think, as long as you know what they need. And if you’re really really worried? BARF websites often have a shop where you can buy the supplements in a natural ingredient based powder to sprinkle over the dog’s food.

A little fact I found out: 

“The first ingredient on the label should represent what the dog food is most made out of,

but beware, as this is not always the case

Using chicken as an example, when a dog food lists a meat in the ingredients such as “chicken” it is going by the weight in the meat’s raw state, before it was cooked. Chicken in its raw state weighs about 80% more than it does once it is cooked and processed into a dry pellet. Once it is processed you are left with only 20% of the actual meat.

So when you then see that the food is 40% chicken for example, it’s only 20% of that 40%, which is only 8%!!! What is the other 92%?! Do you really want to know? I’d rather not know and NOT feed my dog that.

Are you a smoker? Would you flick your ash in your dog’s bowl and expect him/her to eat it? Would you dust out your fireplace and pour the ash from the fire into your dog’s bowl and expect gratitude from him/her? Would you expect that it would provide any nutritional value at all? No? Then why buy a food which lists ash as one of its ingredients?

I will backtrack on myself for one moment here. Ash can be beneficial to a dog’s diet – if the ash has come from the burning of animal remains, this provides calcium and phosphorous which are essential in a dog’s diet. But there are far better foods to feed them to get these minerals. Particularly as it doesn’t state how much mineral is in the ash, and there is very little chance of ever finding out. Furthermore, unless it states the source of the ash, there is nothing to guarantee where this ash has come from. It could be plant ash, it could be animal ash, it could be a combination, or it could be far worse to bulk it out.

The food might not be doing your dog any harm, but that’s not to say it’s doing them any good. It’s like the difference between petrols – one type (stuff like 4 star, 3 star) will make your car run, another type (unleaded, super unleaded) will make it run smoothly and prolong the “life” of the engine.

If you cannot guarantee the source of the ingredient, why trust it?



Coming Up
Part 4: The relationship between canine behaviour and nutrition
Part 5: What I feed my dogs and how to feed
Part 6: How to source the food to make the most of your money
Part 7: A list of great foods and a sample meal.