As raw feeding becomes popular, more incorrect information and myths surrounding raw feeding spreads. Many of these myths come from misunderstanding of the raw diet and “how it works”. Let’s debunk some of them
Myth 1. A raw diet contains too much protein and can cause protein poisoning
Protein and fat in processed foods are different from those found in raw meat.
Natural raw meat products (various types of meat and organs) contain 12-25% of protein. Raw diet also includes vegetables and bones are given, in which protein content is negligible. Therefore, pets fed a diet of natural products, rarely consume more than 15-20% of protein from the total amount of food. Moreover, raw meat contains active enzymes that help dogs and cats digest protein perfectly.
Now, let’s compare this number with the content of protein in dry food. Usually, it has 25-27% of protein. Keep in mind, that the significant amount of it is a vegetable protein, which is very difficult for pets to digest. Proteins of animal origin in kibbles are all denatured and lost its biological function. Unlike humans, pets unable successfully digest denatured proteins.
Thus, industrial feeds contain a mixture of proteins, some of which are not typical for the pets’ digestion, and the rest are in indigestible form. Kibbles also contain carbohydrates from grain and various starches, which shift the pH of the gastrointestinal tract to the alkaline side. Gastric enzymes are active only in an acidic environment, and nothing is digested well without them.
The liver and pancreas are straining to digest this mix of odd ingredients, increasing the risk of toxicity. After a while, the liver breaks down, allergies and other problems emerge.
The conclusion is simple: natural and varied diet of raw foods will not put your pet in danger of getting too much protein.
Myth №2. Raw feeding places your pets at risk of harmful bacteria
This myth has arisen due to the medical fear of the threat of salmonellosis and other bacterial infections that emerged over the past two decades.
The digestive system of your raw eater cope with the bacteria in the intestines without any problems.
The hydrochloric acid in the stomach of a carnivore is a protective enzyme against pathogens. The stomach of raw eaters is very acidic (around pH 1), and the digestive system is very short. Salmonella can survive only at pH 4-8+ and it takes at least 12 hours to incubate. So, bacteria die when ingested and are excreted within 4-6 hours as waste.
Thus, an acidic stomach, as well as natural digestive enzymes and bile, help pets process Salmonella and other bacteria without getting sick.
In addition, you can avoid bacterial infection if you buy meat from reputable suppliers, and store and prepare food following hygiene rules.
Myth №3. Raw diet will make your dog aggressive
One of the biggest myth that feeding your dog a healthy, balanced raw diet will turn him into a savage with an unquenchable hunger for blood is based on fear.
Raw meat will not make your dog aggressive, however some dogs may show defensive or protective behavior, and will not want to share their food because they really like it. This behavior does not depend on what kind of diet your dog eats, but it depends on the individual characteristics of the dog, as well as on how much the dog cherish food.
Food aggression may also be associated with low levels of serotonin. An increase in tryptophan in your pet’s diet will help correct the situation. A large amount of tryptophan is found in lamb, chicken, dairy products and eggs.
So, if you feed your dog of a balanced diet, and if you teach your dog good manners and polite behavior in relation to food, then a raw diet does not bring any behavioral problems in your dog.
Myth №4. To feed a raw meat diet is difficult and time consuming
To feed a dog raw you do not need a degree in canine nutrition. You also don’t need to hunt prey and bring it home to cook it for your pet.
Choosing and buying products for a balanced raw diet for your dog or cat takes no more time than buying food for yourself. But you will always know what’s in your pet’s bowl.
Taking a piece of meat from the refrigerator and throwing it in a bowl is just as easy as pouring some dry kibble.
Perhaps the reason most people think feeding your dog a raw diet is difficult is because of the notion that everything has to be perfectly balanced, which is a whole separate myth itself. But we will talk more about that next time.
Myth #5. Raw meat diet is not balanced
The idea of balanced feed has been grown into the minds of vets and pet owners by feed manufacturers. Using the marketing slogan “A balanced diet – a healthy animal”, they are playing on the anxiety of dog and cat owners about the health of their pets. This slogan called upon to show how complex the process of feeding the animal is. But it is not a true.
If you are feeding according to the prey model and provide variety of raw meaty bones and organ meats, then your pet’s diet will be balanced. Raw foods contain the exact proportions of fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes a pet needs. You cannot feed of just meat to your pet and expect it to do well. Your animal needs bones and organ meat as well to obtain the proper nutrients.
Also, dogs and cats do not need “complete and balanced” nutrition at every meal. Nutritional needs are met over a period of time. The animals body has great adaptive capabilities, and a temporary lack or temporary excess of one or another component of the animal’s diet does not pose a great threat to health. More important is to feed typically and moderation (lack of overeating).
Myth #6. Bones are dangerous
Bones are a well-balanced food for canines as the major source of calcium and phosphorus for the maintenance of their skeletons. Also, this strengthens animal’s jaw and enamel, and cleans the teeth of plaque.
It’s a fact – not all bones are suitable for dogs.
Cooked bones are a big risk. When a bone is cooked, it becomes much more fragile and can cause serious problems if swallowed and digest.
Feeding raw bones is completely healthy.
Problems with raw bones can occur in dogs who gulp their food without chewing. Other culprits are the large weight-bearing bones of herbivores, things like knuckle bones, femurs, etc. These bones chip or break teeth and can have pieces of bone flake off.
To avoid problems with bones here are some things you can do:
- Feed appropriately sized pieces.
- Feed meaty bones that are surrounded by and wrapped up in plenty of meat.
- Feed raw meaty bones frozen or partially frozen. The dog will have to work at it much harder and will be forced to slow down.
- Do not feed the big weight-bearing bones of large herbivores.
- Do not feed bare bones or bones that have hardly any meat on them.
- The amount of bones should not be more than 20% of day portion. Too much bone can lead to constipation.
If you are still worried, monitor your pets while they eat.