In veterinary school we are taught that dogs and cats need to have balanced diets that have been formulated by reputable companies. Some of these companies have well balanced products. They also give funds to the veterinary schools so they can be recommended by the veterinarians at that University. Does that mean that these foods are healthy for long term health of immune systems? Does that mean that commercial processed dog foods are good for dental health?
From my 33 years of experience, dental disease can really vary from pet to pet. If there are members of the pet family that share water bowls, then one animal with high amount of gingivitis and bacteria may have an impact on the bacteria in other animals. When they all share water contamination can occur. What would keep all those mouths healthy?
Giving bones and raw food give an animal foods that they have to work on, to actually be able to swallow. In the wild dogs and cats do not cook for themselves and eat mushy food. They first have to catch and kill their prey and they then they will tear open the abdomen and eat the intestines, liver and other organs. While they consume meat they are tearing it off the bones, and then crunching the bone. It seems is violent and gross to us humans, but it is the natural way dogs and cats eat. They do not stop by a fire pit and cook and separate their food. They eat it raw and all parts of the body, as fresh as they can.
My clients that switch to a raw diet with raw bone, will see an amazing cleaning of the mouth. It has shocked many of the skeptical clients that were told that they should NEVER feed their dog bones because they shatter and have shards that can perforate the intestines. I have not ever seen that with a raw bone. When the bone is raw it can be digested to a large extent. When the dog has a bowel movement it can come out hard like chalk, as the calcium and minerals in the bone is left in the stool. This does not give dogs constipation normally. There are always exceptions.
If you have a dog that gobbles down its food with one swallow you many need to use a meat cleaver to make the portion broken into several pieces. Giving a bigger bone of which the dog cannot swallow all at once can sometimes start them beginning healthy gnawing rather that gulping.
But the most amazing aspect of feeding a raw diet to dogs and cats is how healthy looking many of them become. Their teeth self clean as they learn to chew and gnaw on the bones. Hundreds of dollars of dental cleanings can be unnecessary when the animal can clean its own teeth. It is so worth the cost of switching to raw.
For those of you thinking of switching it is important to have some digestive enzymes and probiotics to help reboot the gut so that the transition is easy. I like using Rx Vitamin Biotic and Rx Vitamin Nutrigest. There are many resources for raw feeding and we are also willing to help you feel comfortable with the transition.
Always handle raw meat carefully. Be sure you keep it out of young kids hands and away from counters that you prepare salads and fresh foods for humans. Raw meat bacteria are only an issue in people and not in animals. Dogs lick their paws from walking in the dirt and stepping in animal stools. Dogs lick their rear ends and a lot of other normally gross things. So eating raw fresh meat will not have as much bacteria as your steps into your home or your garden. So take the step and see how things improve in the health of your animal family friend.