1. Can I feed kibble and raw meat together?
Yes, you can mix kibble and raw meat in the same meal. The stomach and the intestines will be thrilled! Finally, something easy to process, digest and eliminate. The digestive tract will pick out the digestible foods, process them and then labor with the kibble. Neither will interfere with the other.
2. How can I ensure I am feeding a complete and balanced diet?
The take home message from the pet food manufactures is that feeding dogs must be an exact and perfect science. This is however, not the case, nutrition far from an exact science is varied and forgiving. I am not convinced that anyone truly knows what complete and balanced really is. I encourage people to shake the fear and proceed with the knowledge that dogs have slightly different nutritional needs than we do. They more easily process and digest animal based proteins and fats. Carbohydrates processed in large amounts can create digestive problems and offer little in nutrients. Dogs have trouble digesting carbohydrates, because they have a short and simple digestive tract. Most carbohydrates need a longer 'transit' time, add volume and many need fermenting, which dogs digestive tracts are not designed to do. Most important observe your dog. If you are seeing a healthy vibrant animal then you’re your feeding regimen is right on tract.
3. How safe is bone chewing for my dog?
Raw bones, appropriately sized for your dog are relatively safe. I have been feeding bones daily to my dogs since 1997 and have never had a medical issue or emergency related to bone chewing. I have found bone chewing to be calming, it promotes healthy teeth and gums, and is an excellent source of calcium. That being said nothing is without risks and there are dogs that have choked on bones, experienced digestive upset with the addition of bones to the diet and have broken or cracked teeth. Dogs love to chew and bones are the perfect thing for them to chew on. The decision to add
bones to your dog’s diet is one in which we all need to weigh the benefits with the risks.
4. How expensive will this diet change be?
Depending on the cost of the kibble you currently feed your dog you can expect to double what you are currently spending on your pet’s food. You can also anticipate less money spent on teeth cleaning, medications for allergies or arthritis or other health issues associated with feeding processed food. I highly recommend the book, “Not Fit for A Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food”, by Dr. Michael W. Fox for a better understanding of the health issues associated with the feeding of processed foods.
5. How much time will it take to prepare my animals meals?
You will spend more time anticipating your animal’s food needs such as thawing meat or bones and pureeing vegetables. Having helped people for the last 9 years make the transition to real food I have found that it usually takes about 3 months to feel comfortable with meal preparation. You will spend less time picking up poop as stool volume will decrease by 2/3.
6. What about salmonella and E. coli in raw meat?
For the same reason that dogs do not digest carbohydrates well, a short and simple digestive tract, salmonella and E. coli, are less problematic for dogs. Food moves through the digestive tract very quickly with little time spent fermenting or infecting. There have been many recalls for salmonella or E. coli tainted foods such as tomatoes, peanuts, and even kibble. If you have confidence in the meat you are purchasing then this will not be an issue. The one exception is the immune-compromised animal. In this case I would recommend cooking all meat.
7. Is raw pork safe to feed my dog or cat?
Consuming raw pork has been associated with trichinellosis also called trichinosis. Once common in the United States, infection is now relatively rare. This is due to legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw meat garbage to hogs. Per the CDC, between 1997 and 2001 an average of 12 cases of Trichinosis per year were reported across the entire country, and were frequently associated with eating raw or undercooked game meats. Pork is a safe meat to feed our animals and is a great protein for animals with allergies. I have found that cats really like pork. Buck, Tilly, and Annie, (the Meg’s Meats feline taste testers) all love pork.
Note: your animals dietary needs will vary depending on activity level, age, metabolism and breed.