Dogs will say woof to raw food
FINDING the perfect food for your pets can be difficult , but some experts say raw food is the way to go.
In 1993, Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst suggested family pets follow a Barf diet, an acronym that stands for bones and raw food, or biologically appropriate raw food.
Billinghurst said adult dogs would thrive on a diet comprising raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps. He contended that grain-based commercial pet foods were harmful to their health.
Ilse Makowka, from Raw Love Pets, told the Weekend Argus a kibble-based diet is not the best option. “They are prepared at high temperatures and left bereft of all nutritional value, which then has to be added clinically and artificially. A lot of preservatives and flavours are also added to make the food more palatable.
“Dogs cannot extract the nutrients from dry food as easily as they can from raw foods. The answer to the question about what to feed dogs is that it is exactly as it is for humans – the fresher the better,” she said.
One of the major benefits of a raw diet is that the dog will have a shinier coat. Up to 40% of the protein a dog eats goes into their skin and coat. When a dog is fed a low-meat protein, cereal-based diet like most dry foods, they will not have the right amount of protein to grow a healthy coat.
Dogs are essentially carnivorous and do not require grains to remain healthy. Grains only lead to obesity, whereas proteins will help tone their muscles. Cutting out dry kibbles and offering a dog some meat on the bone improves dental hygiene and reduces bad breath. Dogs do not have amylase in their saliva (it breaks down carbohydrate sugars in the mouth), and the sugars in these dry food products fuel bacteria growth leading to poor dental health and hygiene conditions.
There are, however, concerns such as the risk of swallowing sharp bones. When a dog gnaws away on a bone, especially a large bone, it swallows many small fragments which can collect in the intestine and prevent things from moving along.
This can be avoided by feeding bone and meat together. The meat enveloping the bone makes it easy for the bone to slide down without any injuries.
Another concern is the pathogens found in raw meat. “Pet owners are scared about salmonella, but dogs have an acidic stomach and bacteria cannot grow in an acidic environment,” Makowka said.