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This year, I learned from a couple of raw feeders that a proper raw diet needed to be mainly red meat. They couldn't clearly explain why this is the case, but it prompted several discussions and in some ways it does make sense. But is this correct?
For now, the answer is no. This isn't accurate.
I spoke with several experienced raw feeders and holistic veterinarians and no one could confirm that dogs needed to receive a higher percentage of red meat than white meat. But I did learn some interesting things that made me wonder.
The below statements were shared in a raw feeding group and are based on the opinions of raw feeders.
Why Dogs Do Better on Red Meat than White Meat
I asked around the raw feeding community and this is what I learned…
1. Increasing Chicken Allergies with Dogs
You can throw a stick and hit 5 dog owners who are raising a dog with a chicken intolerance. I'm not sure if it has to do with how chickens are raised, what they're fed, or if it's because chicken is in everything. We have 4 dogs that all have a chicken intolerance – the only other poultry they get is turkey and duck, but they do mostly get red meat and do very well on it.
2. Wolves Don't Eat Much Poultry
One person pointed out that wild carnivores prefer big game, which is primarily red meat. They aren't eating poultry, they're eating sheep. Coyotes in our community are constantly killing our neighbor's chickens, because they are convenient – an easy score – but coyotes and other wild carnivores would prefer a different game.
3. Chicken is Lower in Protein than Beef
Chicken is lower in protein than red meat and has less zinc, which is beneficial for skin and coat health. Also, if the chicken is fed a diet of grain and corn, then it'll be high in Omega 6s, which can cause an inflammatory response in our dogs if not offset with Omega 3 oils.
What I Feed Our Dogs
In my opinion, variety is what's important. And although I'm not convinced that dogs need a diet of more red meat than white meat, I realized that I feed more red meat to our dogs and they're doing a lot better than when I was feeding them primarily white meat.
White Meat Our Dogs Eat
- Duck (Update: duck is considered red meat)
- Rabbit (Update: rabbit is classified as a white meat)
Surprised by the Duck? Me Too…
“While duck is poultry, it is very different from chicken and turkey, because it's a red meat. There is no white meat on duck.” ~ MapleLeafFarms.com
“Generally meat from mammals (for example cattle, horse meat, bull meat) and meat from hunting (wild boars, deer, pigeons, partridges, quail and pheasant) excluding fish and insects are considered red meat. Although poultry is usually considered white, duck and goose are red.” ~ Wikipedia
Red Meat Our Dogs Eat
- Pork (not the other white meat after all)
- Green beef tripe
- Duck (update: duck is considered red meat)
Our dogs are doing great on a diet of mainly red meat so maybe there is something to the theory after all. The jury is still out until I can confirm this with more than one credible source. For now, I'll keep our dogs on the diet I created and enjoy day after day of solid poops!
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