A raw food diet aims to be as close as possible to what cats and dogs have evolved toeat and to fully meet their nutritional requirements. As such, it gives the animal the best possible nutrition and is associated with many health benefits.Raw food diets have been shown to help the body deal with many common ailments such as flea infestations, hot spots, continual shedding, poor dental & gum health, allergies,gastro-intestional problems, immune disorders and degenerative diseases. Diet is the foundation of health. The fresher the diet, the more nutrients are available for the animalssystem to utilize in building immunity, healing from illness and warding off disease.(Healthy Pet Journal 2007)Many people also find their pet is more playful, more energetic and happier, they developshiny coats and their stools are much smaller and firmer and quickly disintegrate.Is raw meat a balanced diet for my pet?Dogs and cats are carnivores. This means that they are naturally designed to derive allthe vitamins and minerals they need from diet of animal proteins. Neither dogs nor cats have a physiological requirement for plant based foods. Cats in particular areobligate carnivores, meaning that they have very little tolerance for plant based ingredients in their diets. Dogs though, can benefit from a small amount of vegetablematter in their diet to add some extra nutrients and fibre.Dogs and cats need a balance of the right kind of animal parts to make their diet complete.The optimum is 80-85% muscle meat, 10% edible bone, and 5-10% organ meats.How much do I need to feed?Most cats and dogs will need to eat between 2-3% of their ideal adult body weight every day. Usually small dogs are towards the upper end of this spectrum and bigger dogs aretowards the lower end, but differences in activity level, age, and metabolism speedmake this vary for different animals. Some extremely active animals may require up to5% of their body weight per day.Can I feed a combination of dry food and raw food?Of course you can, it is your pet and you can choose what you feed. While an all raw dietis best nutritionally, there are a number of reasons why you may choose to feed your peta mixture of the two - cost, convenience, or a lack of confidence being common ones.Any raw food you can add to your pets diet will add nutrition- some is better than none.If possible though, it is preferable to feed raw and processed dry food at separate meals,as they are digested at different rates. The slower digestion of the processed food canslow the passage of the raw food through the animals system, and the added sugars andstarches in the processed food creates a hospitable environment for bacteria and cancause stomach upsets.What about Salmonella?Salmonella is a type of bacteria that is sometimes found in raw meat. The same basichygiene practices (such as hand washing) that protect you when preparing meat basedmeals for your family will also prevent you from getting sick when handling your pet’sfood.Cats and dogs are specifically designed to deal with bacteria such as salmonella in theirfood and rarely get sick. Their saliva has antibacterial properties and their stomachs areextremely acidic , which stops the colonisation of bacteria, and because of their veryshort intestine and bowel structure, food is processed and waste is eliminated quicklybefore harmful bacteria have a chance to multiply and cause infection. Catching salmonella directly from your dog or cat is not much of a concern. Eliason (2004)notes that research has been done “showing that dogs do not carry salmonella in their saliva or on their skin, not even after eating 100% salmonella infected raw food”.Salmonella has, however been found in the fecal matter of dogs and cats both raw anddry fed, so it is always a good idea to wash your hands well after picking up after your pet.Are bones a choking hazard?Raw bones are reasonably safe and are beneficial for your pet. Remember that theseanimals have evolved with jaws specifically designed for this type of diet. While it is possible for a dog to choke on a bone, it is far more common for them to choke on dry food, rawhide chews, or toys. Cooked bones, on the other hand, can splinter and shouldnever be fed.If you are nervous about introducing your pet to bones, you might like to start them onsoft ones such as chicken bones. Try to feed something appropriate for the size of theanimal - chicken necks for cats or small dogs, or chicken frames for larger dogs - as thiswill prevent the animal from trying to swallow the item whole, or even hold on to the endof it so that they are forced to chew.If you are still reluctant to feed bones, it is not necessary. A number of our mixes, suchas Lamb Heart Mix, Rabbit & Heart, and Venison Mix, just to name a few, all contain groundbone which supplies adequate calcium without any choking risk.
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