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Although I'm a fan girl when it comes to raw feeding, I recognize that there are some serious risks to feeding raw and I see them all the time in raw feeding groups and forums…
Top 3 Dangers of Raw Feeding for Dogs that Scare Me
1. A Dog isn't Fed a Balanced Raw Diet
Too many times in groups a raw feeder admits to not feeding a balanced raw diet to their dogs and many times, they don't realize that their diet isn't balanced. Some people think liver and other organ meats are gross, some people think that giving a dog chicken wings or ground beef is sufficient, and others forget to add the bone.
A balanced raw diet includes 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat (half of which is liver). I'm unable to feed a balanced diet, because I can't find the organs that I need, so I mix raw meat (or raw meat and bone) in with The Honest Kitchen base mix (Kindly, Preference or Hale).
Effects of not feeding a balanced raw diet…
- malnutrition, underweight, inability to gain weight
- poor teeth, bad breath, skin problems, dull coat
- allergies, yeast infections
- digestive problems
- weak immune system
- poor bone growth; weak bones
- lack of energy
- behavioral problems
2. A Dog is Over Supplemented
This doesn't sound so bad, but too much of anything isn't good. When I was new to raw feeding and was learning about all the supplements and what they could do, I found myself adding everything, but the kitchen sink to our dogs' meals. I finally stopped and reached out to a local dog nutritionist to find out what our dogs actually need.
You can check out my dog supplement list to learn what I add to our dogs' meals and why; you can also follow along with the bi-monthly supplement update that tracks how our dogs are doing.
Over supplementation is also why I strongly believe that we give our dogs supplements formulated for dogs and not for humans unless a licensed holistic veterinarian and/or dog nutritionist makes the recommendation and is clear on the dosage.
3. A Dog Experiences Broken Teeth or a Perforated Bowel
This is one of many reasons our dogs eat a ground diet (others are convenience, cleanliness, and ease of adding supplements).
I do give our dogs raw meaty bones (turkey necks, duck necks and lamb necks) and recreational bones (beef knee caps and beef knuckle bones) under supervision. They tried rib bones, but the splintering was a concern and I worried about the potential of choking or a perforated bowel.
Although these dangers are real, they are also manageable. Our dogs have safely eaten a raw food diet and I credit this to following my gut and doing what I'm comfortable with while also making sure our dogs eat a balanced diet. There are many raw feeders who believe that my method of feeding (BARF, using The Honest Kitchen, and ground) is incorrect; I don't really care, because I'm the one who is raising these dogs and I'm the one who will be responsible should they get sick or injured. Therefore, I feed them the best diet I can afford in a manor that I'm comfortable with and is approved by our holistic vet and dog nutritionist.
Don't allow people to scare you or bully you. Do what you know is right for your dog.
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