Over the years, interest surrounding raw dog food and raw dog food recipes has grown alongside our own interest in eating healthy meals packed with natural nutrition.
At its core, experts say feeding raw is all about making sure dogs get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need from natural ingredients to help maintain health inside and out. And it can also be a great way to keep a dog’s weight in check.
In this article, we talk with Amy Maisey, a huge pet lover and Manager of the Customer Sales and Support Team at Natural Instinct, to find out more about the basics of raw dog food recipes.
She tells us about the most beneficial and nutritious ingredients dogs should be eating, and why, if you’re considering feeding raw.
Raw dog food for beginners
“A dog’s digestive tract has evolved very little over the past 100 years which means that it is well equipped to be able to digest meat, bone and also some plant matter which would have naturally been part of an ancestral diet,” Amy explains.
The quality of protein in a dog’s raw diet is very important, whatever a dog’s age, and you’ll often find meals specifically tailored to a dog’s age and lifestyle.
Learn more: A beginner's guide to raw dog food »
Raw dog food recipes
Puppy owners should look for raw dog food recipes for puppies because these will have the right calcium to phosphorus ratios to support growth and development, while owners of larger dog breeds, such as Labradors or Great Danes, should look for recipes that cater to their dog’s size because they will include more ingredients with Vitamin C to assist in musculoskeletal growth.
Recipes for older dogs will often contain additional supplements for joint support and you can even find recipes created specifically for working dogs as well as low fat raw dog food recipes which are considered ideal for dogs on a weight reduction diet.
Raw dog food recipes, like Natural Instinct’s, are based on the biologically appropriate raw feeding (the ‘BARF’ principal) which includes fruit and vegetables as part of the diet. Because of this, Amy tells us that all of their complete meals use only 100% British meats and contain carrots, apples and butternut squash, and shares why they are good for dogs.
Carrots: “They are an excellent antioxidant, source of vitamin A, and fibre.”
Apples: “They are a good source of Vitamin C and Fibre. They also help maintain a steady blood sugar level.”
Butternut Squash: “This assists with anal gland problems, keeps the gut clean, is an anti-inflammatory and a good source of Vitamin C which helps to assist the immune system.”
But before you do anything, do your research because Amy tells us its important to know the company selling raw dog food is cleared to do so by official bodies.
She says, “Ensure that the company is registered to manufacture raw pet. They will have an approval number with the Animal Plant and Health Agency (“APHA”).
“Use a company who are members of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (the PFMA). These members adhere to ‘Guidelines for Manufacture of Raw Pet Food in the UK’. These Guidelines offer best practice and were written by the PFMA in conjunction with Defra, APHA and the Food Standards Agency.
“The Natural Instinct website has lots of information and advice available or alternatively give the Customer Sales and Support Team a call on 01276 608500.”
Raw dog food recipes for dogs with allergies
Dogs with skin allergies or upset tummies might especially benefit from a raw diet. Amy explains why.
“There is no reason why any dog with allergies cannot be fed raw. In fact, feeding a human-grade, unprocessed single protein, grain free diet can benefit many dogs with an allergy that presents either with skin disease [such as itchy skin] and/or gut upset [such as an upset tummy].
“Allergies is one of the most common issues dealt with in small animal practice and the diet is normally one of the first things addressed by vets. It is important in these cases to determine as far as is possible what your dog is allergic to, remembering that tests are only as good as what they are testing for.
“ There are now good blood tests available for environmental and food allergy plus a saliva test for food allergies. Your vet will be able to help advise you about these tests. Where food sensitivity and/or allergy is involved then it is important to avoid any foods that have shown a strong positive reading in the tests. As Natural Instinct uses named protein and carbohydrate sources and has the Pure Range for the super-sensitive animals, it is easy to find a diet that will suit your dog or cat. The recipes are all grain-free and there is lots of evidence from years of testing that many food allergic dogs have sensitivity to grain.
“All of Natural Instinct recipes are made from 100% British meats and the freshest fruit and vegetables. With no added grains, fillers or preservatives Natural Instinct recipes are the convenient no stress, no mess way to feed raw.”
Seasonal raw dog food recipes
With Easter approaching, it’s important to make sure your dog avoids some of the most common and hazardous foods on our tables and in our cupboards. Amy shares some of the biggest no-nos for dogs.
“Chocolate is the biggest one to avoid – it’s poisonous for dogs! But at any time of year, dogs should also avoid raisins and grapes, coffee, alcohol, cooked bones, avocado, gravy and sauces and artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can be found in many low sugar foods, such as peanut butter and sports bars.”
Instead, she recommends dog owners looking to include their dogs in Easter plans consider a lamb based raw dog food recipe.
“The Natural Instinct Natural Lamb, Lamb Lites and Lamb Neck are packed full of natural ingredients giving dog owners the peace of mind that their canine companions are receiving all the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy and active life, as well as a well-deserved, special Easter meal!”
Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds and ideal for those that need to gain weight
Natural Instinct says: “The Natural Lamb meal is part of the Natural Range, full of rich, tasty flavours and 100% raw – making it a great compliment to any pet owner’s Easter lamb roast!”
Suitable for adult dogs of all breeds.
Natural Instinct says: “The Lamb Lites are made of 100% naturally dehydrated lamb and great for a light, tasty treat.”
Suitable for small to medium size dogs.
Natural Instinct says: “The Lamb Neck will keep your dog satisfied and occupied this Easter. With a greater meat to bone ratio than the spine bones, these make an ideal meal substitute. All dogs should be supervised when feeding a bone.”
Amy concludes, “Natural Instinct is passionate about happy healthy pets. They understand that a healthy diet plays a huge role in your pet’s life and are solely dedicated to providing customers and their furry friends with balanced and complete raw pet food of the very best quality.
“A raw food diet for your pet means feeding as nature intended, free from artificial additives, colours, preservatives and fillers.
“That’s exactly what Natural Instinct creates for your pets – the most scrumptious, natural, complete and complementary frozen meals and treats full of goodness and high value nutrients.”