March 17, 2011

Raw Food: best for your Dog’s Health.

From Jim Adams, founder of Redbud’s Raw Dog Food.

Raw Food for Your Dog’s Health

Photo:  M P S

Note: elephant editor is receiving a supply of local, raw Redbud’s, free, in order to test his dog Redford’s health and energy levels for a review on elephantjournal.com. The below article is via Redbud’s founder, Jim Adams. It is not advertorial: no payment has been exchanged. ~ ed.

One of my friends told me that her West Highland Terrier, Wilson, had a ton of allergies.

The itching had become so bad that Wilson had chewed virtually all the hair off his own hindquarters. After trying a number of vet-recommended medications and seeing no change, she switched Wilson to a raw diet.

The itching stopped. The hair grew back. And a healthy Wilson now eats only raw.

I hear raw food success stories like this frequently. Dogs are designed to eat raw meat, bone, and organ meat. Dogs on a raw diet will enjoy a number of health benefits over time: a stronger immune system, greater energy and vitality, a shinier coat and brighter eyes, better breath and whiter teeth, fewer visits to the vet, and small, tidy, easy-to-pickup poop!

Yet, we feed our dogs virtually the same thing we feed cattle to fatten them up before slaughter—grains.

Emerging research suggests that this grain based, over processed dry dog food is at the root of many common dog diseases.

The idea of fresh and raw foods for dogs is not new. However, “dog food” as we know it—the ubiquitous, commercially processed, endlessly marketed stuff—is new.

Once dogs were fed table scraps, raw meat, dairy products, meaty bones, and eggs. Commercial dog food production began in the United States post World War II. Slaughterhouse meat waste, not approved for human consumption, and waste products from grain mills, were blended together for pet food. These cheap ingredients assured dog food makers of high profits. But has this formula, which has changed little over the years, assured our dogs of great health? One out of two dogs now get cancer. Obese dogs are the norm. Allergies are rampant.

“I have seen many health issues (in dogs) resolved simply by changing to a more appropriate diet,” said Dr. Judy Jasek, a Denver-based holistic vet.

An older dog that wouldn’t navigate the steps now bounds up them after a month on a raw diet. A 15 year old, noticeably slowing miniature schnauzer acts like a puppy after switching to a raw diet and lives two more good quality years. Another schnauzer, who once hid when it was time for a walk, now joyfully races for the leash—and his dish of raw food.

Several brands of packaged raw dog foods are available at most pet stores now. Some dog food manufacturers substitute creative marketing for quality ingredients so it’s important to look at the labels. Look for brands that have quality ingredients like antibiotic and hormone free meats and some source of calcium such as ground bone or whole eggs.

Photo: MShades

Switching to Raw Food

Transitioning your dog to a raw diet from dry kibble is easy, but requires a little patience. It’s important to ease your dog into it. Raw food is much richer than dry food and it will take your dog time to adjust.

Start by replacing about 1/8 of your dog’s food with raw food. Gradually increase the amount of raw food while removing the dry food until you’ve made the switch completely to raw food over a week or two. If your dog has been on dry food for a long time, then the switch make take longer. For younger dogs it’s generally faster. But, all dogs should be receptive to raw meat. If they aren’t initially, warm the raw food on the stove briefly to release the aroma.

You will know the switch to raw was successful when your dog’s poop is small and firm and you will also see other positive changes in your best friend’s health.

Healthy nutrition is the foundation for every pet’s well being. Not every condition can be cured with a raw diet, but most conditions can be aided with this natural approach.

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