Why a Raw Food Diet? This is one of the many questions that come up among our customers when they take a look at our big freezers and all the raw products we offer.
The same way that there are millions of questions when it comes to raw feeding, there are also a million ways to answer all of them. When a customer asks me this question – the first thing I do is stop, breathe and think: “Okay, where should I start?” I get so dizzy to even think of a way to answer this question… Should I compare it to the food out there in the market? Should I analyze canine’s anatomy and biology? Should I just go back in history to when dogs evolved from wolves? It’s endless! The amount of information that we can find on the internet about fresh, raw food diets is overwhelming. Unfortunately, while this could be a positive, this can also be negative… due to the fact that so many strong opinions on the matter can confuse many pet parents.
If you ask me: Why a raw food diet? I would simply say to you - because it is the biologically appropriate thing to do. I can explain this in 4 points – which are based on the wise words of Dr. Karen Becker (our flag in this blog):
1. Dogs are Carnivores.
As I’m sure you all know, dogs have evolved from wolves. These two carnivores share genetic makeup and internal workings. One could assume that because they look physically different than wolves, they don’t actually share DNA. However, canines and wolves share the same genotype, though not always the same phenotype – this is why we will see very small dogs, long-haired dogs, blue-eyed dogs and all sorts of differing physical characteristics. Still, dogs are genetically the same as wolves.
2. Dogs don’t Chew
Different than omnivores, carnivores can’t move their jaw side to side (called lateral mandibular swing) they only move it up and down. Vegetarians have big flat molars that help over-chew (excessive mastication) in order to disintegrate the food they eat. Carnivores grab their prey, tear it apart into chunks and gulp it down. This is a very important point because this dental system shows us what types of food dogs’ bodies are prepared to eat and digest.
If we stop to think about carnivores killing their prey, one thing we can say for sure: they do not stop to remove the parts contaminated by bacteria – they kill and eat. Any bacteria found in the prey, they will automatically ingest. But there’s something we are not taking into consideration: Carnivores have very short digestive tracts, designed to get food in and out very quickly. Therefore, any bacteria in the food does not “park” in their bodies, eliminating the possibility of getting any fermentation of these pathogens or bacteria. Once again, we find that they are prepared to eat certain types of food.
Moisture dense, high in proteins and minerals, moderate fats and low in carbohydrates. This is the carnivore’s diet. It’s a very different diet than the one out there in the market if you stop to think about it…Wild felines are obligate carnivores; they have a very strict selection of foods. Canines, on the other hand, are scavenger carnivores – meaning they can also eat carry-on (dead animals), grass, berries and other plant material. However, this does not mean a high-carb diet for carnivores is biologically appropriate or that plant foods are somehow strictly necessary in a carnivore’s diet.
To these four points, a million more can be added. Nowadays, pet parents have started to do their research about kibble and have found that this type of dry diet may not be the best source of nutrients for their pets. Because of this, we now see all sorts of TV series, movies, documentaries and even books inspired by this idea and by a true passion in the seek for transparency when it comes to pet food. And it's because of this that when talking about a raw food diet, it is somehow inevitable and necessary to talk about Pet Food Industries. Still, this is a topic we will talk about in a future post, simply because there is just too much information on the topic and we believe that the topic deserves its own space.
Now, as pet parents, consumers and nutritional advisers, we are working to feed our dogs more health-conscious foods that are locally sourced and that provide the freshness and wholesome nutrients we look for. The most natural, and biologically appropriate option in our opinion is a raw diet. Although to most people this sounds like a "new” way of feeding our pets - it's actually not. Thinking back to a 100 years ago when kibble did not exist, we wonder what did our four legged friends’ diet consist of? Kibble wasn't an option. When seeking a more healthy way of nurturing our dogs, we are looking back to feeding them the way they used to be fed. Having to digest completely dried food forces their organs to work 3 times harder - and having to do this for every meal, every day for the rest of their lives, can be damaging to their digestive system. We believe this is just a fraction of why a dry diet is not necessarily the healthiest option.
Research has shown that our pet companions have been developing all sorts of metabolic diseases such as tumors, cancer, diabetes, and organ failures at an alarming rate. In the same way, it has shown that food as medicine can help diminish the risk of developing these horrible diseases - and in most cases, even cure them. Moreover, this makes us think: Exactly what can we do in order to prevent our pets from being even close to these risks? Makes us wonder about the ways food can help. We think prevention first, so as not to have to treat.
Interestingly so, kibble is touted as the best nutritious option for our pets. Many pet parents are confused about raw feeding - and then they hear stories from their vets about potential dangers such as bacteria, salmonella, and so on. Consequently, there is an actual war - The Raw VS Kibble War. Our intent is not to overthrow kibble - but to magnify the benefits of a raw diet. This is our main focus. In this blog, we will try our best to be informative in a way that we provide answers drawn from scientific research, opinions from expert nutritionists and inspired pet parents that have searched their way into the truth about Raw Feeding.
Far from being judgmental, we encourage you to you to do your homework, talk to a raw-fed pet parent neighbour, watch Pet Fooled on Netflix, come and chat with our staff - whatever you want to do that will start your search for information we as pet parents should all have. We should know our options and choose what best fits our lifestyle and budget. In the same way, we will always - always, encourage you to do your best when it comes to your companion's health and try to improve their plate of food in any possible way. Because it all comes back to what they deserve: a healthy, long life full of happiness, lots of love and true care.