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Welcome to Raw Foodie Friday. This week, I want to talk about a key ingredient in a raw food diet that some raw feeders overlook – fur. When I was new to raw feeding, I would read about Whole Prey Raw Feeders adding fur to their dogs' diet and I figured that it was just hardcore raw feeding, but not something that I would do (or needed to do).
Fast forward a few years later and my dogs are enjoying rabbit feat and rabbit ears in their meals.
Benefits of Fur in a Dog's Raw Food Diet
I once thought that the reason people added fur to a dog's raw diet was to provide a source of manganese, which supports bone mineral density and is key to good bone health. However, a fellow raw feeder pointed out that we can't know how much of the manganese in fur is bioavailable (able to be absorbed) for our dogs.
Damn. Good point.
I wasn't able to find the nutrient levels of various pelts during a Google search, but that's okay because fur has other benefits too.
Fur is Key to Supporting Better Gut Health
I add fur to my dogs' raw diet as a source of fiber and to clean out the digestive tract. When the digestive tract is clean, it better facilities the absorption of nutrients. And that's not all!
- An improved digestive system strengthens the immune system (80% of the immune system lives in the gut).
- As the fur is scrubbing out the digestive tract, the fur also helps eliminate worms and parasites from a dog's gut. Despite being fed the BEST DIET EVER, my dogs still occasionally make a kill (as nature intended) and the animals they take down aren't human-grade.
- The fur helps to bulk up the stool, providing more consistent, solid poops and naturally expressing the anal glands.
Feathers offer the same benefits as fur, however, I don't buy whole duck, or quail for my dogs. At least not yet.
Where to Buy Fur to Feed to Dogs
I hope I've convinced you to add fur to your dog's diet and if so, it's time to talk about sourcing. The first time I fed fur to my dogs, I gave them dehydrated rabbit ears from a local pet store until they stopped carrying them.
That's okay, my new rabbit supplier also supplies ears and feet. It's pretty morbid at first, but it's a lot better than adding a rabbit's food to a keychain. It took some used to handling the feet and ears, but now I don't mind it so much as long as I think of it as dog food and not a cute bunny. I prefer the feet and ears because the dogs can eat these quickly and in the house without making a mess.
I'm certain that there are other sources for fur, however, at the moment, I'm sticking to my rabbit supplier.
Adding Fur to a Raw Diet for Dogs
When adding fur to my dogs' raw food diet, I typically add rabbit feet or ears to each of my dogs' stainless steel food dish and they take care of the rest. I have seen meals where people add pelt to their dogs' bowls. And I've also seen whole prey images where a dog will be eating a whole bird or rabbit.
I'm not ready for that yet.
If you'd like your dogs to try fur, I suggest starting with the dehydrated rabbit ears and feet from Hare Today