This post may contain affiliate links.
One of the common themes of raw feeding is that dogs should be fed what wolves would eat in the wild. And this leads to more discussions that have divided the raw community between the Prey Model and BARF model of raw feeding.
- Wolves Don't Eat Vegetables
- Wolves Don't Eat Green Tripe
- Wolves Don't Eat Dairy Products
- Wolves Don't Eat Dog Supplements
Although I find this topic fascinating, I've learned to avoid raw feeding groups and forums where people are strict in the belief that dogs should be fed like wolves, because I'm not convinced that this is correct for all dogs.
Are Dogs Closely Related to Wolves
Before I try and feed our dogs a fresh kill, I thought I'd look into if this is appropriate for our dogs. Although the Grey Wolf is a distant ancestor of Man's Best Friend, our dogs are far removed from wolves, having been domesticated eons ago. Their diet went from true carnivore to a scavenger carnivore – making them, in my opinion, not exactly like a wolf.
But if you look at our dogs' insides (skeletal structure, jaw and teeth, organs), they are very similar to a wolf.
“We have only changed their external appearance and temperament, NOT their internal anatomy and physiology. The claim that dogs cannot handle a raw diet because they are so domesticated is only true in that we have been feeding them commercial diets for so long that a dog's system is not running up to par. The result of feeding dogs a highly processed, grain-based food is a suppressed immune system and the underproduction of the enzymes necessary to thoroughly digest raw meaty bones.” ~ Myths About Raw Feeding
Should We Feed Our Dogs Like Wolves
I read and re-read a great article byPlear Littlefield called Your Dog is Not a Wolf, Stop Trying to Feed it Like One…
“In the search to provide the best possible diet for your dog, realize that simply basing your decisions off of what a wolf would eat in the wild, or what is more “natural”, is not the best choice. Also keep in mind that there is not one specific diet that every single dog would be able to thrive on. Dogs should be looked at as individuals that have differing nutritional requirements which depend on many factors, including but not limited to energy level, metabolism, health problems, and genetics. Limiting your options to strict limitations based on what wolves eat is unnecessary and even potentially dangerous. Supplements, fruits/veggies, dairy, and even grain can be a helpful addition to many raw diets. Choosing to feed a raw diet should be a step in providing optimal nutrition to your dog, rather than just a step in providing the most “natural” diet.” ~ Plear Littlefield
This article very much falls in line with my theories on dog nutrition and raw feeding.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi, DVM
The problem is not really whether we should feed as a wolf or as a dog but the problem is our society now considers dog food to be waste product from the human food industry.
Therefore we aren't feeding dogs like dogs or wolves, we are feeding them like scavengers. Most people would rather feed dogs as members of the family who would deserve to be fed as well as we can afford. There are dogs who do fabulously when fed like wolves, and some dogs who do fabulously when fed like humans, and much as we don't like to see it, there are dogs who do fabulously when fed like scavengers from the trash bin eating foods unacceptable for human consumption.
And, there are some breeds that are more wolflike in their genetic makeup than others, for example, the Siberian Husky versus the Labradoodle. The Husky will do better to be fed like a wolf while the Doodle will do just fine being fed like an omnivore.
How I Feed Our Pack
I started our dogs with a BARF model diet, ordering their food from Darwin's Natural Pet. I transitioned to Prey Model, because I thought that this was what I was supposed to do – our dogs didn't do well, because I wasn't able to feed a balanced prey model diet, which required organ meat and variety that I couldn't manage with our dogs protein allergies.
Today, I feed based on the BARF model by mixing raw meat (or raw meat and bone) with a base mix by The Honest Kitchen.
I'm definitely not feeding our dogs like wolves.
What resonates most with me in Plear Littlefield's article is the reminder that “dogs should be looked at as individuals.” Although I do feed our dogs a raw food diet, our dogs also get vegetables, fruits, some grains, dairy products and dog supplements. There are many people who would disagree with all or parts of our dogs diet, but our dogs' diet was created after nearly 2 years of research and working with veterinarians and nutritionists.
What I feed our dogs may not work for everyone, but it works for our 4 dogs. In the end, we can only do what is best for our dogs. Listening to feedback from other raw feeders, reading books, attending seminars and working with our vets will help us as we choose what's best for our dogs; however, in the end, we are responsible for their diet and nutrition.
To keep up with the raw feeding series, CLICK HERE and bookmark the post and visit weekly, I will hyperlink each letter as I publish each post. Or you can sign up for the Keep the Tail Wagging newsletter and receive updates weekly to your email box and a code to try The Honest Kitchen for FREE.