Top 5 Myths about feeding your dog a Raw Diet – BUSTED!

A lot of people I know would love to try their dog on a raw diet but their belief in rumours and old wives tales are stopping them from actually seeing for themselves how this healthier way of feeding their pet could save them money in the long run and be better for their pets.

Myth 1: Bacteria in raw food will harm my dog

Handling your dog’s raw food should be dealt with the same way you handle your own raw food.Use common sense and a good hygiene plan for raw food in your kitchen. Wash hands, clean surfaces with a good antibacterial cleaner and keep chopping boards for meat separate from those you use for veg and other things.

As for bacteria that your dog eats, firstly their saliva has an enzyme which has antibacterial qualities called lysozyme. Secondly your dog’s stomach acid sits at a pH of 2, this is a very acidic environment where a lot of bacteria cannot survive, it is so strong that your dog’s stomach juices can break down bone! Thirdly, the dog’s digestive tract is a lot shorter than a lot of animals, including ourselves, leaving bacteria very little time to colonise in this acidic environment. There is just as much chance of picking up Salmonella from dry dog food as there is from raw so do wash your hands after handling all types of pet food.

Can I just add here that if you think of some of the things that our dogs eat out on a walk on a daily basis like other animals droppings, dead or rotting things and it can lick itself with no ill effects, then you will find we worry for no reason.

Myth 2: Feeding bones to my dog is dangerous and they can splinter

This myth is especially prevalent when I talk to people about feeding my dogs raw chicken, this is the question I get ‘ Isn’t chicken bones dangerous?’, I always answer by saying I think you’ll find that’s cooked bones. I don’t feed cooked chicken bones, I feed whole raw pieces of chicken, bones wrapped in meat. Cooking bones changes its structure making it more likely to shard or splinter. Even those cooked bones in the pet shops will splinter with a strong pair of jaws around them!

The idea of feeding Raw Meaty Bones is that the dog gets to use all the tools he was given naturally which sit in his mouth, to rip, tear and chew his way through a meal with precision and professionalism. I am always in awe when I watch my dogs eat their way through their raw dinner as to how easy and natural they make it look! As mentioned in myth no 1, the dog’s stomach acid is very capable of breaking down bone and all the meat making their digestive tract a very efficient system.

Because of this efficient digestive system a raw diet is 90-97% digestible compared to 40-70% digestibility of dry kibble diets (due to fillers or fibre). A dog on a raw diet will excrete a firm, odourless stool two thirds smaller than that of a kibble fed dog. I think that says not only does the dog get to use all of his food but what comes out the other end is a bonus to the owner cleaning up behind him!

Myth 3: Dog’s get the ‘taste for blood’ when they are fed a raw diet

I’m sorry but this makes me laugh, as I must have 4 blood thirsty hounds living with me! This has to be the biggest old wives tale of them all! Lets not forget the canine is a predator first and foremost as is our other 4 legged companion the feline. The dog is hard-wired to chase and we have used this to our advantage over the past centuries, breeding and honing them to herd, retrieve and race.

Have we forgotten this in the 21st century, that our pets roots are based in the wild? But we have also domesticated this predator and bred more likeable features, like herding dogs not to eat their charges but protect them or for our working gun dogs not to run riot when they see game and kill everything in sight! Indeed I know a number of gun dogs who are fed on a raw diet who are quite happy to bring shot game back all day, un-chewed and eat his raw meal when he gets home.

It is easier to blame a dog’s diet for its behaviour rather than the relationship between it’s owner and the likelihood that the dog was never shown or trained to be around livestock or other small pets, hence the dog then relies on its instincts. I am just adding here that I keep chickens in my garden for fresh eggs and my dogs are fed on chicken, this does not mean they understand the link between what they eat and the birds they chase up and down the fence line on a daily basis. Here’s a great LINK to what I mean.

Myth 4:Dogs fed on raw are at a higher risk of worms and parasites

This is true if you feed your dog wild game or wild fish. Most people don’t, they feed human grade food bought from supermarkets, butchers and other suppliers where they buy their own food. If you feed human grade food, parasite levels are negligible. If you are worried about parasites then deep freezing usually kills these off. For 24hrs for fish or for up to a month with wild game like rabbit.

Usually it is down to the animals’ own immune system and it’s health as to whether it will be affected by worms or parasites. Parasites hate a healthy host. You can also worm your dog using a homeopathic wormer so as not to upset the chemical balance a raw diet brings to your pets health. I use a very gentle homeopathic wormer and rarely have to use any products for external parasites such as fleas or ticks on my own dogs.

Myth 5: A raw diet is more expensive and inconvenient than commercial dog food

What is convenience worth? If you ate fast food all your life what would be the cost to your health?

Nowadays there are so many raw food suppliers that it makes it a lot easier to source your raw food, which at first can be what makes feeding raw cost a little bit more. Talk to other raw feeders to find good sources, I find the fridge section at the supermarket where they sell short date items cheaper a great source for bargains of fish and meat. Ask your butcher about off-cuts and sourcing what you are looking for, most butchers are happy to help. Of course if you can find a supplier dealing exclusively with raw pet food then cost and convenience should be within everyone’s budget.

As a supplier myself I can offer owners a great variety of high quality raw food within most people’s budgets, for instance;

  • Toy breed <5kg Costs £3.50 per week or 50pence a day
  • Terrier size <10kg Costs £5 per week or 71 pence a day
  • Spaniel size < 15kg Costs £7 per week or £1 a day
  • Lab size <20kg Costs £7.50 per week or £1.07 a day
  • Large breed <30kg £8.50 per week or £1.20 a day
  • X large breed <40kg £12.50 per week or £1.79 a day

How much does your commercial dog food cost you?

Dont forget, on a raw diet your dog will have a stronger immune system, a healthier body and more vitality so your vet bills will also become less over time, saving you more money. Click HERE to see my website for supplying raw pet food in Ireland.

Other Resources

There are lots of information out there for anyone interested in feeding a natural raw diet, here a few sites I like

Rawfed.com

Rawmeatybones.com

Intro to raw feeding-You Tube

I look forward to your comments or questions about this post and I hope you will think about giving raw feeding a try

Bernie – The Dog Owners Coach

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19 responses to “Top 5 Myths about feeding your dog a Raw Diet – BUSTED!”

  1. Karen says :

    Great post Bernie, if I had a dog – which I don’t right now – I’d feel confident giving them a raw diet. That would tie in with my own eating pattern too (http://www.AroundTheTableWithKaren.com)

  2. sandy mauck says :

    Bernie. One of my daughters has been giving her dog a raw diet for over 5 tears. He is a dream dig. Luscious coat. Good disposition and very active. Proof positive

  3. Kathy Loftus says :

    After reading your post Bernie, I will be opting for the raw foods for my dogs as much as is possible. Thank you for the info

    • 4dogday says :

      you are welcome Kathy, even feeding some raw gives your dog a better chance of getting more nutrients into their system, you will notice a difference, your dog may even start to refuse processed food in favour of the raw 🙂 They know what they want!

  4. Christine says :

    Very Interesting! I knew raw food was good for dogs, but didn’t know why. Thanks for all the background info!

  5. tpierce330 says :

    Thanks Bernie! We have a bichon frise who I believe may have food allergies. He is always scratching and we know it’s not fleas. Perhaps a raw diet would help him.

    • 4dogday says :

      Definitely Tasha, a lot of small popular breeds are very sensitive to changes in household chemicals like detergents or room sprays as well as cereals in processed foods. I think being white with very light skin pigment doesn’t help them either! Worth a try, you’ll notice a difference within 2 weeks!

  6. Michelle Lopez says :

    I’m going to have to try this! It makes so much sense!

  7. Estelle says :

    Would a raw diet be very high in protein? As I have an aggression problem with my dog, I tend to choose food with a lower percentage of protein as I have been lead to believe that there is a link between higher protein food and aggression.

    • 4dogday says :

      Hi Estelle, raw food is not high in protein as it’s highest content is water, as is our bodies, the muscle is the protein and then there is bone, cartilage etc so it is not as high in protein as you think. However it could also be the other (non-natural) ingredients in your dog’s commercial food that could be doing something to his blood sugar, pathway receptors in his brain etc! Aggression can come in many forms, from fear (as in something the dog has experienced) to vaccine damage in the brain. If you can’t trace when the aggression started then changing his diet would be on the top of my list, then start to put some rules and boundaries in place and build your trust together. Raw meaty bones in a physical and mental work out for all carnivores and you can sometimes find that this in itself will improve a frustrated animals behaviour, we’re not talking about quick fixes here but improving your dog’s mental and physical health.

    • 4dogday says :

      you will find that most processed foods are high in protein Estelle, on a natural piece of, say chicken on the bone, protein is only the meat content, not the bone, cartilage, the water in the muscle meat etc so is usually lower and easier to digest in a more natural way. It is usually the high amounts of sugars, carbs additives and preservatives, which give processed pet foods their shelf life which upset the blood and brain chemistry in our pets

  8. carnivorecarryout says :

    I wish people would actually do their research! 🙂 Glad to see you debunking the myths!

  9. dogwalker8 says :

    I have never heard or read a bad comment from owner’s using a raw diet. However (goes with myth 4) about a year ago I wanted to try a raw diet for my golden and shih tzu (10 & 6 YO). I bought a whole chicken from the super market and gave some to my dogs. My golden was very sick for days, but my shih tzu was fine. I was told it was because I DID buy from a supermarket. I never have tried again with my golden. It really scared me!

    • 4dogday says :

      that’s a pity Dogwalker8, sometimes dogs new to a raw diet need to be weaned onto it gradually to help their digestive tract get used to the new food,minced meat and bone is great for this. However some dogs who are so used to ‘inhaling’ their dry kibble will try and do the same with fresh meat and bone, obviously this is not how we want them to eat it as they dont get to use their lovely teeth to give them a clean and they dont get to produce the initial saliva which starts the digestive process- this is due to being fed processed foods which they dont need to salivate in large amounts to digest. The chances are your lovely goldie may well have done this and it sat taking a very long time to digest in his stomach, the problem here then is that because they have such a short digestive tract it may have moved into his intestines before it had been completely broken down.
      To get over dogs ‘inhaling food’ which means them trying to swallow it in one go without chewing it is best to give large chunks- these should be bigger than their mouth but ideally as big as their head, therefore the dog cant try and swallow it. 2 if you only have smaller pices say like a chicken leg or something freeze it! Again the dog can’t swallow it as it is solid, dogs need food to move and slide down their throatsand this will teach them they Have to Chew their food! One of mine doesn’t like her teeth sinking into fresh meat and prefers most of her food to be fully or partly frozen. I would definitely urge you to give it a second go and maybe ask another raw feeder to help you if you are still feeling a bit scared, all new raw feeders feel this way and you eventually get over it once you have the correct knowledge on how to feed and gain your confidence, your dogs will be so much healthier and happier for it.
      Thank you for commenting dogwalker8

      • dogwalker8 says :

        Thank you so much for all the info. My golden is 10, she was 7 when I got her, She was on Pedigree kibble, I took her off that immediately. She does gulp her food down. She will do anything for a bite of food, like she never gets to eat. Love your site!

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