Raw Feeding Myths (part 1)
So, you have chosen to feed your dog a species-appropriate, raw diet. Good for you! You have chosen to provide your dog with the best diet ever. A species-appropriate, raw diet will be great preventive medicine too. You are doing a wonderful thing in choosing a raw diet for your dog, but… Not everyone will think so.
I’m talking about your cousin, neighbor, spouse, siblings, and possibly even your vet. They may try to convince you that what your feeding your dog is wrong. They will cite a whole host of reasons why feeding raw is dangerous and bad for your pet.
In this is a two part series, we are going to look at a few of the myths that people believe about raw feeding. The myths most used by people to scare you out of feeding a raw diet. We intend to arm you with the information you need to be able to point people to the truth about raw feeding or, at least, know in your heart that you are making the right choice for your dog.
Before we get started though, it is important to realize that the people trying to talk you out of feeding raw, mean no harm. They are not trying to attack you. They are reacting out of fear. Fear that you will hurt your dog, which would hurt you. Fear that you will judge them for feeding kibble. Fear that you are changing and that may hurt your relationship with them.
If they aren’t reacting out of fear then they are just reacting out of a lack of education. But you have done your homework. You know what is best for your dog. In time, these doubters will be saying to you “your dog looks so healthy, sleek, vibrant, and amazing! What are you doing that has made this difference?”
Feeding Raw Is Too Hard And Complicated!
Is it? If you are a concerned pet owner who wants the best for your pet, finding a commercial kibble that meets your high standard can prove impossible! If you are on top of all the potential ingredients that manufacturers use to make kibble, you know the pros and cons of each, how long would it take you to find a kibble that meets your standard? Could you do it or would you have to settle for one that was “okay?”
If you ask me, trying to find a kibble or wet food that is acceptable for my pet to eat is way more complicated and time-consuming than feeding a raw diet. Think of all the by-products, chemicals, synthetic vitamins and minerals, preservatives, fillers, toxins, colors, flavors, etc. that you would have to know about in order to find the best commercial diet.
Compare all that to a simple diet of meat, bone, and organs. You can make it a little more complex if you want to and add in veggies and fruits. You can further complicate things by adding supplements if you want too. But even this is easier than needing to know everything about every ingredient in a commercial diet. With a raw diet, you can add things as you learn about them if you think your pet would benefit.
If someone tries to throw this myth at you ask them what is in their dog’s food and why it is there. Odds are good that they have no idea what the first five ingredients are, let alone why they are there. Then you can proudly tell them what is in your dog’s food and why it is there. A bonus of the raw diet is that everything you feed your dog you can actually pronounce.
Dogs Have Adapted To Kibble, Why Feed Raw?
Some people will argue that dogs have adapted and evolved to be able to eat kibble. This is preposterous! Kibble has only been around for about 100 years. If you subscribe to the idea of evolution then you know that evolution takes millions of years to occur, not a measly 100 years. So, there is no way that dogs have evolved to eat kibble.
Pre-kibble dogs ate a few table scraps but mostly had to scavenge for food. They even had to hunt and kill their meals. All this, as little as, 100 years ago.
Millions Of Dogs Eat Kibble, Why Fix What Ain’t Broke?
Some people are going to argue that the majority of dogs eat kibble and are just fine. So, why do you need to feed a dog anything else? Well, you know the answer to this one because you have done your research. Not to mention “just fine” is not good enough for your pet.
Kibble, even the really expensive and prescription ones, are nothing but highly processed junk food. Dogs can “survive” on kibble just like a human can “survive” on sugar cereal. They might do okay, manage to barely function day-to-day, but are they really living? And what are the long term consequences? Not good.
As a concerned pet parent, you know that having your pet “survive” is not good enough. You want your pet to live a long, vibrant life, filled with good health. Diet is the foundation on which your pet’s life is built.
Raw Feeding Is Expensive!
The answer to this myth? Well, it can be, but you don’t have to feed your dog filet mignon every night, ha! But even feeding kibble can be very expensive! Especially if you choose to feed one of the high-end brands. And oh my goodness if you feed a high-end wet food, now we are talking really expensive!
Feeding a raw diet can be expensive too or it can be cheaper than kibble. It all depends on how you look at it and how good of a shopper you are. If you purchase premade raw diets all the time or only get exotic proteins, this can get expensive. However, if you shop sales you can easily do a homemade diet that is much less expensive than feeding kibble.
Another aspect of expense revolves around long term expenses. In general, raw fed dogs are healthier which means fewer vet visits. Fewer vet bills mean less overall cost for your dog. So, a raw diet that acts as preventive medicine can be much cheaper in the long run than feeding the slow poison that is kibble.
Pets Shouldn’t Eat People Food!
Well, this one is a yes and no at the same time. Yes, there are some foods that we humans eat that our pets should never eat. Xylitol, grapes, chocolate, and others are not good for our pets. But doesn’t it make sense that there are foods that dogs can eat that we humans can’t? Like raw meat, raw bones, and raw organs.
It is better not to label food as human food, dog food, cat food, or anything like that. Food is just, food. What is healthy for you may not be healthy for your pet and what is healthy for your pet may not be good for you. Indeed, even food that is good for one of the dogs in your household may not be good for other dogs in the home. We are all individuals and we all need to nourish our bodies with foods that work with our bodies.
You’re No Scientist, You Don’t Know What Nutrients Your Pet Needs!
“Kibbles are complete and balanced, made by vets and scientists… You aren’t a scientist… You aren’t smart enough to know what your pet needs to eat.” Pish-posh! That is truly ridiculous. First of all, you are so smart! I’m not kidding. You love your pet and you want what is best for them. You want to provide them with the best diet, lifestyle, and life possible. That’s smart. You have researched a raw diet and you’ve chosen to feed what you believe is the best diet for your dog. SMART!
Not to mention, are wolves scientists that they would know just what to eat and when? Does a wolf look at a rabbit and think “oh I shouldn’t eat that, too much calcium.” Of course, they don’t! Yet wolves survive and even thrive eating a diet that they choose.
Let’s think about it in another way. Do you think that feeding your dog the exact same complete and balanced diet every day for every meal is really balanced? Think about it. If you ate the exact same complete meal replacement shake every day at every meal… how healthy would you be? Probably not too. At the very least you would be awfully bored with your food!
A well crafted raw diet with about 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat with a focus on variety will offer your dog much better nutrients than eating the same kibble every day! Not only is this more delicious and more fun, but it also offers your dog a wider spectrum of nutrients then he would get eating the same kibble all the time.
Additionally, raw feeders know that balance overtime is always acceptable. You don’t have to make sure that every meal is balanced. You don’t even have to make sure that every day is perfectly balanced. You are looking for balance over a week or so, not every meal. Do we humans even try to eat complete and balanced meals every time we eat? No! So, why do we think our pets need that?
What About AAFCO Standards?!
This is kinda like the above myth. AAFCO sets standards for pet foods. They give companies an idea of minimum amounts of macro and micronutrients that pet food must-have. If a pet food manufacturer can meet AAFCO standards then that company can claim their food is “complete and balanced.”
But let’s break this down a little. AAFCO offers minimums on nutritional content. Minimum means the pet will survive on the diet. Minimum and survival are not the same as thriving! I’m pretty sure you want your dog to be thriving, not just surviving.
Dogs Are Omnivores, They Need Carbs!
Dogs, like most things in nature, are incredibly adaptable. They can live in the city, they can live in the country, they can be surrendered to shelters multiple times and finally adapt to a forever home. They can also adapt to a carbohydrate-laden kibble based diet. But just because they can adapt to it does not mean that it is the best for them.
It is true that dogs can handle a bit more carbs in their diet than cats but that does not automatically make dog’s omnivores. A quick look at the teeth and digestive tract of a dog and we can see that it is closer to that of a cat (a carnivore) then it is to humans (omnivore). Thus, a dog is still a carnivore.
As far as a dog “needing” carbs, totally untrue! Being carnivores dogs do not need dietary carbs at all. Actually, humans don’t even need to eat carbs! This is because the body has an incredible mechanism that can create glucose (the thing that the body breaks carbs into) out of proteins and fat as needed! This process is called gluconeogenesis. So, even if you fed your dog no carbs at all, but fed him a high-quality, raw diet he would be able to create any carbs that he needs.
Indeed, too many carbs in the diet causes way more issues then no carbs in the diet. Feeding too many carbs has been linked with obesity, chronic inflammation, cancer, allergies, dental disease, poor skin and coat, and a whole host of other issues. So, never believe it when someone tells you that you have to feed your dog carbohydrates.
Pets Need Synthetic Multivitamins On Raw!
For some reason, people think that the added vitamins and minerals of a commercial kibble are needed no matter what kind of food you feed your pet. If you don’t add vitamins and minerals then the diet will never be complete and balanced. A bunch of hooey!
Questions: What is food made of and why do we eat it? Food is made of a complex system of nutrients macro (protein, fat, carbs) and micro (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.). We eat food so that we can use the nutrients within the food. The more a food is processed the more the nutrients of the food become compromised. This is why there are so many added nutrients in kibble. Kibble is so highly-processed that the nutrients in the original ingredients are gone. Which means the manufacturer has to add nutrients to make up for what was lost.
In contrast, a raw diet is minimally processed. This preserves the nutrients, keeping them intact. If the nutrients are preserved there is no reason to add more nutrients. In fact, adding more nutrients can actually cause excesses which can cause other health issues.
Dogs Aren’t Wolves, Why Feed Them Like They Are?!
“Your Chihuahua is obviously not related to the wolf, why would you want to feed him like he is a wolf?” Well, piffle to that! All dogs (no matter the size) share 99.8% of the same DNA as grey wolves. In fact, dogs and grey wolves can also interbreed and create fertile offspring. This means that they are very closely related. Yes, even Pugs, Yorkies, and Poodles.
Why feed your dog like a wolf? Because wolves are our dog’s closest wild relatives. The natural diet that a wolf eats gives us the perfect blueprint of what we should feed our dogs. Because why would nature create an animal to eat a diet that would kill the animal? Nature knows best and takes care of its own. Wolves don’t cultivate grains and starchy foods, they eat whole, wild prey.
You have chosen to feed your pet a raw, species-appropriate diet. So, don’t let anyone stand in the way of doing what you think is best for your pet! Remember you have done the research, you are the one that has read all the things, you are the one who has chased down the facts. The person who is trying to talk you out of feeding raw doesn’t know any of that. They are not as informed as you, so don’t give in to their attempts to pressure you out of doing what you know is right for your pet.
Sadly, a lot of people don’t see the problem that you have spotted. They think that dull coats, horrible breath, joint problems, and cancers are “normal” for pets. However, these things are not normal, they are “common.” Normal would be the way a pet is meant to be, meant to perform, and meant to live. Common is what we most often see. Which begs the questions “why are these issues so common?” Well, you know that a huge part of these common problems is diet, and that’s why you feed raw.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for part two!