All of our Cavaliers are fed a Raw Diet. Our puppies have been weaned and raised on a completely raw diet. They're healthy, vibrant, full of energy, and absolutely delightful little guys. I want the absolute best for them and this includes a raw diet. When you bring your puppy home, he or she will have NEVER tasted commercial dog food. They have been weaned directly onto a Raw Meat Diet. Hopefully the information contained here will help you to be able to continue feeding this to them.
BEFORE GETTING INTO WHAT A RAW DIET IS, LETS START WITH SOME BACKGROUND:
Imagine each day eating a complete diet. But, instead of fresh wholesome foods making up this diet, it's composed of a dried extruded kibble or meal. Along with this you could eat the same thing canned, or semi-moist. The ingredients would read something like: corn middlings, wheat middlings, oat hulls, meat meal, meat by-product meal, FD&C Red #40, Blue #20, Preserved with BHA & BHT.
Imagine your horror when you found out that meat meal is ANY TYPE of animal INCLUDING dogs and cats. Not only that, it could be cancerous cells, diseased animals, 4D animals(Dead, dying, diseased or down- upon delivery to the butchering plant). These are all placed together in a huge vat and cooked till they're 'rendered' together into a mass then added to food. This is all you could eat, day after day, month after month, after all it's complete and balanced.
You wouldn't be willing to do that would you? Why then do it to your dog?
And it gets worse, not only does dog food contain rendered meat products, inferior grains, and toxic chemicals, they are also a completely dead food. Abandoning all the dog food commercials advertising "Real Meat" etc, lets think this through. Dogs are descendants of wolves. Not just descendents, they basically ARE wolves. Their DNA is the same is a wolf. They can interbreed and produce viable offspring. Their skeleton and digestive system is the same. There are differences is appearance, but inside they're the same animal. What then do wolves eat? In the wild, wolves eat a diet mainly consisting of raw meat, bones, offal, crushed vegetable (as found in a herbivores stomach and intestines), and very little if any grain. Wolves are scavengers as well as hunters and will also eat eggs, overripe fruit, some vegetation, and carcasses. Almost all their meat would be FRESH and would make up about 75-80% of their diet or more. So, how do we emulate this at home? We feed a RAW fresh diet made up of about 80% meat and bones, and 20% veggies, fruit, offal, etc.
WHY I FEED A RAW MEAT DIET
When I decided to breed Cavaliers, I was very concerned with the health of the breed as a whole. As I started researching more and more, I realized it wasn't just Cavaliers, or even purebred dogs in general. ALL dogs are having health problems in this country. 15 years ago it was extremely uncommon to hear of dogs with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Epilepsy, Cancer Thyroid dysfunction, allergies, heart disease, etc. Now this is common place. Vets estimate 80% of dogs they see have some form of health problem! Cavaliers specifically have heart, hip, and eye problems. They also suffer from Epilepsy, Cancer and other diseases. While these are genetic to some degree, I also believe that they are partially due to diet and over vaccinations.
I am breeding for Health first and foremost. It is my goal to have a line of dogs which are recognized as healthy. While you can not control genetics and there will always be fatal genes out there, it's very important to me that all my puppies are given the healthiest possible start so they can develop into healthy dogs.
OK, now you're thinking this is WAY too complicated, and what about the balanced diet? Let's address some issues
First is the 100% complete and balanced part. Purina, Science Diet, Iams, and all other companies would lead you to believe that only a scientist is capable of feeding a dog correctly.
Well, think about this logically. What do YOU eat? If I'm guessing right, your like most of us, you eat a little of everything but don't follow the food groups exactly or add up your vitamin/mineral consumption each day. You may take some vitamins to offset the effects of this, but overall you are a healthy, happy, and normal person. If you have kids, you try to feed them well, but don't stay awake nights worrying about what exactly you fed them. They are also healthy, growing normally, and happy. So, where does that put the balance thing?
Balance should be achieved over a 2 to 4 week time span. I bet that if you charted your diet for a month, you would find overall it pretty much fits the standard guidelines and there's plenty of variety there.
This is the same thing that dog food should be, not balanced everyday, but balanced over time. I personally find it appalling and feel belittled that pet food companies have preached that we're so stupid we can't balance our own animals diet. I disagree strongly with this!
Now, what about the RAW issue? This is quite simple, wolves did not invent fire. No animal NATURALLY eats cooked meats. Dogs have a short digestive tract designed to process raw meat. It is made so that food moves through quickly, too quickly for bacteria to develop.
Furthermore, they have a much stronger stomach acid than people. This cuts through meat and also kills bacteria.
Our dogs eat a variety of wholesome foods. Basically, 85-90 % is made up of Raw Meaty Bones (Chicken & Turkey necks, backs, wings along with Pork necks, Pigs Feet, Lamb riblets, Rabbit, etc.) with the remaining 10-15% being served up in Veggie Meals. These meals vary greatly in their content and may contain some or all of these items...Crushed veggies ( Carrots, Cucumber, Dark Lettuces, Green Beans, Bean Sprouts, Alfalfa Sprouts, Apples, Oranges, Mangos, Kiwi, Bananas, etc.), Organ Meat (Liver, kidney, gizzards, etc), Eggs, Garlic, Wild Salmon Oil, Vitamins C & E, Alfalfa, Kelp, and wholesome table scraps. Mackerel and Sardines will periodically be put in with the Veggie Mix. Green Tripe is an excellent food for dogs, however it is difficult to get fresh here in the U.S. We purchase it frozen from a local supplier.
I have seen positive changes in my dogs since I began feeding this diet. Their coats are shinier, breath sweeter, and their teeth are cleaner than ever before. Older dogs act younger and have much more energy than before. Another positive note is that yard waste cleanup is dramatically reduced. No more piles of stinky dog poop to clean up. What little the dogs do leave behind is dry, chalky, and biodegrades quickly. The best part is there is NO SMELL!
Now, let's address the concern about the possible presence of salmonella and e.coli despite our best efforts to eradicate them. Your dog is a carnivore. Carnivores differ from humans in some important ways on the inside. Mother Nature has designed our carnivorous companions to be able to handle very high levels of "bugs" that would probably make a human very ill. Carnivores have very strong stuff in their stomachs, called hydrochloric acid (HCl). We have this same acid in our stomachs, but it is not nearly as strong (because we don't have any need for it to be that powerful). This acid can take care of just about anything, including parasites or germs that may be encountered in the food. Also, carnivores have a much shorter digestive tract, compared to ours. This means food passes through their systems much more quickly, leaving less time for bacteria to get a foothold and cause problems or illness.
Finally, it is important to remember that germs like salmonella and e.coli are everywhere around us all the time. They are part of a normal, healthy digestive system. They are routinely excreted/shed in feces (both human and animal), and this is not cause for alarm. It is normal! They only become problematic when a person or animal with a lowered or compromised immune system comes into contact with a higher than usual concentration. Did you know that the only documented cases of people or animals becoming sick from dog food involve a dry, packaged dog food that contained salmonella? There have also been recalls of several dog treats, such as pig ears, again for salmonella contamination. And don't forget, dogs and cats lick their back-ends (and other body parts) routinely, as well as rolling in or even eating dead birds, rodents, fish, garbage, etc., without contracting illnesses.
As long as you use common sense when feeding a raw diet to your pet, the chances of either of you becoming ill from raw meat are extremely small. It is recommended that you use hot, soapy water to wash your hands, wash your pet's dish, and keep your counter top areas and utensils clean. Also, do not leave dishes containing raw foods "out" for any length of time. If your pet does not clean his or her dish at mealtime, either dispose of or refrigerate any leftovers promptly.
Over the last 23 years, I have fed most of the major brands of commercial dog food at one time or another( Purina, Iams, Pedigree, Ken-L-Ration, and even Gravy Train). None have ever come close to showing me the improvements that this Raw Diet (BARF Diet) has.
I have included some links for you to visit if you are interested in learning more about this method of feeding your dog.
I know positively that my dogs are eating the freshest, most wholesome, species appropriate diet available, what about your dog ?