The raw food diet has been around for centuries. Enthusiasts of the raw diet say that the philosophy behind it is that it’s best to feed a dog a diet which they have evolved to eat. But is that a good enough reason to switch to a natural dog food diet? Whether you're a seasoned raw dog food advocate or just beginner to raw feeding, our guide will explain the basics of raw.
Well, many dog owners have reported positive changes to their dog’s health since switching to a raw diet, so maybe, yes.
With the help of Natural Instinct, we are exploring why more dog owners are taking their pet’s diets back to nature and what some of the main benefits of feeding raw dog food are, including how to tell how much food to feed.
Raw Dog Food for Beginners
The modern dog has undoubtedly evolved over the years to the sofa hogging companion we all know and love, but while some things have changed, not everything has, as Natural Instinct remind us.
“Despite the many years of domestication and the evolutionary changes that have occurred, the domestic dog is still designed to process and benefit from a raw meat and bone-based diet.
“The dog’s dentistry, for example, is designed for nipping, tearing and crushing/macerating meat and bone and has no side to side grinding ability that is needed for plant fibres. The gut is short and the stomach small with strong acid which is adapted to high meat and bone-based diets and not for the breakdown and fermentation of high starch and plant fibre-based diets.
“Even though the domesticated dog largely uses humans to supply their food, they have never learnt to cook and never get excited about a field of corn…other than when a rabbit is running through it!
The evolution of the raw dog food market
“Pets are such an important part of the family and owners are following the principles for their own diets for their pets – feeding as nature intended, free from artificial additives, colours, preservatives, fillers and grains.
“Trading since 2009, we have noticed a substantial increase in raw feeding popularity over the years. We were one of the Official Sponsors at Crufts for the second year this year and we really noticed the immense shift in the attitude towards feeding raw.
“We had lots of raw feeding newbies visit our stand, wanting to find out more about the benefits of raw feeding. We were delighted with the amount of dog owners transitioning their pet from a kibble or wet based diet over to our raw diet and feel really proud to be making a difference!"
Benefits of Feeding Raw Dog Food
Natural Instinct say some of the biggest and most noticeable health benefits show on the outside but aren’t limited to just health. A dog’s behaviour can change too.
“We receive numerous testimonials from customers saying how uncomfortable skin, coat, teeth and joint conditions have been resolved following a transition to Natural Instinct. Problems relating to digestion, breath and aggressive behaviour have also shown improvement. Increased health and vitality, as well as an alleviation of IBS and colitis have also been named.”
Here are some of the biggest improvements and benefits dog owners say that have noticed since switching to a raw dog food diet:
• Shinier coats
• Fresher breath
• Healthier skin
• Healthier digestion and bowels
• Stronger bones, teeth and joints
• Stools reduced and easier to clean up
• More resilient immune system
• Dense muscle structure
• Lots of energy
Raw Dog Food Diet Plan
Natural Instinct say that it’s important to look for a high-quality life stage diet that matches a dog’s age when choosing a new food. This will make sure the diet is crucially well balanced and will match a dog’s individual needs.
“We offer a wide variety of ranges for all life stages and different dietary requirements. From our Weaning Paste, ideal for puppies and kittens to our Senior recipe, ideal for dogs who feel their age as this recipe contains additional supplements of Vitamin C, Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin Sulphate, making it ideal for dogs with joint problems.
“Other ranges include the Working Dog Range, designed for active dogs with an added boost of Vitamin C. We also have a wide range of yummy treats and bones and cat food too!
“Variety is the spice of life and some dogs will require variety to keep their taste buds tantalized, others however are quite content with eating just our Working Dog Chicken recipe. Every dog is different!”
How Much Raw Dog Food to Feed?
Puppies grow rapidly and have a developing bone structure and therefore need more calories than adult dogs. Senior dogs too have different needs. So how much raw food should you feed?
Natural Instinct say, “As a rule of paw, we suggest feeding puppies 5-6% of their current body weight per day until fully grown. We would also advise their weight is monitored regularly and the amount fed adapted to keep the growth rate steady.
“We suggest feeding adult dogs 2-3% of their ideal weight per day. However, variable factors like lifestyle, appetite and temperament can all impact on a pet’s eventual weight, which is why there’s no substitute for knowing your pet.
“We recommend that a healthy dog should have a natural waist and that you should be able to feel (but not see) its ribcage.
“If dogs are changing from a high carbohydrate diet to a raw diet you may see a little weight loss in the first couple of weeks. This normally rectifies itself and if the transition is done gradually over 7-10 days, as we suggest, your dog should not be left feeling hungry. Always monitor your dog’s weight regularly and adjust portions accordingly.”
How much does it cost to feed a raw diet?
The cost of feeding a raw diet will vary depending on the size of your dog. Natural Instinct give us some examples.
“A small breed, like a Dachshund, weighing 8kg will eat anything between 160g and 240g per day whereas a larger breed, like the English Mastiff, weighing a whopping 90kg will eat anything between 1.8kg and 2.7kg per day. Therefore, the cost really will vary depending on how large your dog is.“