What you need to know about
Your Dog's Diet
and its direct correlation to your
dog's oral health
Your dog's diet |
Video - Raw meat diet for dogs |
Benefits of raw feeding |
Cooked bones | Tips you can try to encourage Fideo to eat raw bones
Organic dental chew bones | Video - Cleaning dogs teeth with dental bones for dogs
Your dog's diet
When I was a kid growing up in country New Zealand, commercially manufactured food for pets was expensive and a rarity. My Mum always fed our dogs with raw meat and raw bones. They all had pearly white teeth and none had problems with bad breath, Gum or dental disease.
In fact the best diet for your dog is not unlike the best diet for you! It should be the best that you can afford to pay for and consist of a variety of whole foods enhanced with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and supplements, with the view to:
- promoting your dog's optimal oral and general health, and
- prevent dental disease rearing its ugly head
Our animal companions are natural hunters and carnivores - just think about their ancestry for a moment. The dog at your feet or sitting on your lap has evolved from the wolf and his or her digestive systems are virtually the same now, despite thousands of years of domestication living with humans.
Biologically, dogs have very short intestinal tracts geared to the consumption and digestion of raw foods. In fact truth be known they are true or “obligate” carnivores (meat only diet) and are specially designed by nature to hunt and assimilate raw food as their best source of nutrition and energy.
Video - Raw meat diet for dogs
Please listen to what Dr. Becker VMD (world renowned Holistic vet) has to say about feeding your pets raw food verses kible or dried food.
Benefits of raw feeding
As with humans, the quality of your dog's diet will form the basis of the the foundation of his or her oral and general health. The fresher the diet, the better the quality of nutrients that will be available for your dog's system to utilise in building immunity against disease and healing from an illness.
Raw food diets have been shown to help the body deal with many common ailments such as flea infestations, hot spots, continual shedding, poor dental and gum health, allergies, gastro-intestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease, immune disorders and degenerative diseases.
Raw Diets for dogs have been common practice in European countries for decades, especially in Germany, where it is common practise for vets to recommend raw feeding. The fear of feeding raw meat in the US and the UK seems to stem from a fear of salmonella, E. coli and parasites.
One way of minimising this fear is to freeze human grade raw meat for three (3) days before feeding it to your pooch.
Remember, dogs' digestive systems are designed by nature to accommodate Raw Meat as in eating wild, whole prey or game meats which are prone to be carriers of parasites. Domestic dogs fed on human grade fresh meat are much less likely to to be exposed to parasites and infection. However there is always the possibility that your dog could pick up parasites by eating another animal's feces or from human contamination where the personal hygiene of the handler of the raw meat hasn't washed his or her hands before handling the raw meat.
Nowadays, many people think that by feeding their pet dry food it will clean his or her teeth. It doesn't, nothing could be further from the truth. Dry foods will only clean the tips of your dog's teeth but not up to and under the gingival margins, which is where the problems associated with plaque and calculus begin.
If you must feed canned or dried food, find yourself a genuine supplier located in the US or other Western country which specialises in organic or natural kibble which you can be confident doesn't contain allergenic ingredients, e.g. grains or imported food mixes from China. This can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, however we can recommend Only Natural Pet foods as an excellent safe bet. You can find a range of what they offer in our segment on Allergy Free Dog Foods.
Remember, if you don't have time to brush, natural "hide" chews, e.g. Pig's Ears, or Dental Chews or Bones made from organic or whole ingredients and raw bones are all alternative options to follow-up after a meal of canned or dry foods.
Failure to feed raw bones regularly to dogs is one of the main reasons why plaque and calculus (sometimes called tartar) and Dental Disease is so common in pets. Dental disease affects 80% of all dogs over three years of age. But it doesn't have to be this way!
Feeding your dog raw bones daily is perhaps the most important and rewarding thing you can do to keep its gums in tip top condition.
Tearing meat off the bone and chewing through bone and cartilage mimics the call of the wild when dogs had to make a kill to survive. Tearing and chewing exercises the jaws and cleans the dog's entire dentition right from the tips of their teeth to and underneath the gingival margins or gum lines.
Depending on the size of your dog, larger soft brisket Bones such as lamb or veal are by far the most preferable for big breeds, followed by chicken necks or wings for smaller breeds. Many butchers will sell bags of raw bones for a reasonable cost, some will even sell raw bones with some raw meat and fat, which is a bonus.
Avoid feeding large hard bones like beef leg bones and any long split bones; these can cause a dog's tooth to fracture and then extraction is the only remedy.
Some dogs are reluctant to eat raw bones. This is usually because they weren't offered raw bones as a puppy or they have been spoiled with flavouring of off the shelf commercial pet foods and have become fussy eaters.
Never feed your dog cooked bones, unless you can trust him or her to simply gnaw off the meat and leave the bone. Cooked bones are of less benefit to the teeth and gums and can create horrible and painful intestinal problems if swallowed, e.g. piercing of the intestinal walls, obstructions in the bowel and or constipation.
Tips you can try to encourage Fideo to eat raw bones
When introducing Raw Bones to your dog he or she may experience diarrhea, constipation, or both as their systems adjust. Remember to go slowly and feed small amounts at first. When beginning the introduction of raw bones, it may be helpful to crush them with a hammer or in a meat grinder until your dog becomes fully transitioned to a raw diet.
Alternatively you could try the following tips:
- Let your pet skip a meal and hope he or she will show more interest next time around.
- Warm the bones with some gravy in the microwave, but don't cook them right through.
- Flavour the bones by mixing them with some of your pet's favourite canned food.
- Brown them in a pan with gravy or juices from your own cooking.
Organic dental chew bones
Organice Dental Chew Bones and Steer Sticks Dog Chews are an excellent alternative to fresh raw bones, especially if you adopted or rescued a dog that has been used to commercially made food and who simply refuses raw.
My girls, Molly and Rosie eat mainly raw, however I keep dental chew bones in my pantry for those occasions when they deserve a special treat, e.g. when I need to go out and I can't take them. That said, I only resort to these treats if there is someone else at home to supervise them.
Their favourite brand is Terrabone, which tick all the boxes that I am looking for in dental chew bones:
- Made in the USA
- Low in fat content and low in calories
- High in fiber
- No animal by products
- Ingredients to make your dog's breath smell fresh.
- Ingredients which supports your dog's joint maintenance
Video - Cleaning dogs teeth with dental bones for dogs
Listen to Dr. Becker explain the importance of brushing your dog's teeth and the importance of choosing organic and allergery free bone chews, or Dental Chews for your pets to chew on.
In closing a gentle reminder that it is possible To extend the life of your pet for up to five years simply by making time to feed him or her the best possible food that you can afford to and by keeping his or her teeth and gums Clean and Healthy and free of disease.
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Holistic Library and is presented for informational purposes only.The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local vet. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com