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Debate: should dogs only eat raw meat? Part 2

Debate: should dogs only eat raw meat? Part 2

Last week, Dr Ian Billinghurst told us about his view that dogs should only eat a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet. Now here's the other side of the argument, from vet Brian Faulkner

"The BARF diet is based on the assumption that dogs are the same as their ancestors: wolves. But they are a domesticated species with different DNA to wolves; a distinction going back many thousands of years.

Furthermore, all dogs are not the same. A Great Dane or a St Bernard may grow more in one week than a Yorkshire Terrier will grow in its whole life. The nutritional requirement of these dogs is significantly different.

While it is hypothetically possible to achieve a balanced diet using bones and raw foods, even 'experts' in the BARF diet admit that this is hard to do 'by eye' and expensive to do in the laboratory. Getting the correct balance of minerals is critical in young dogs. Meats are high in phosphorus, an excess of which can lead to an imbalance of calcium and inadequate bone formation. Similarly, an excess of calcium in younger dogs, especially large breeds, is associated with joint problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia.

A diet of bones and raw meat still requires vegetables and fruits to ensure an adequate intake of both insoluble and soluble fibre, the latter of which passes into the large intestine and is then broken down by the 'good' bacteria that live there. A shortage of soluble fibre can lead to overgrowth of 'bad' or pathogenic bacteria.

Raw meats contain many more pathogenic bacteria - such as Salmonella - than cooked foods. These bacteria not only pose a risk to your dog, but the contamination of your home with raw food, and the excretion of these bacteria by your pet, can also act as a significant health risk to people, in particular children or anyone who is immunocompromised. Finally, ground bones can get lodged in the gums and the intestines, potentially leading to perforations and impactions."

Brian Faulkner
Managing director of Frontfoot Consultancy and Petplan Veterinary Surgeon of the Year 2008

What do you think about the raw meat diet? Let us know by commenting below...

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Sean Crabtree
As far as I'm aware all the diseases and problems mentioned in Brian Faulkner's response actually occur to dogs who eat commercial pet food and many people have turned to Raw feeding as away to prevent these diseases and many others with great results and to try and scare people by saying their pet may get salmonella or bone impaction by feeding this way is quite annoying. We may have change the domestic dogs look and size but the internal organs remain the same and they are designed to eat raw meat and bone. My dogs do great on a raw meaty bone diet and after seeing what commercial kibble did to my pups teeth after just 6 months there's no way i would feed them that rubbish. I have also raised a litter on raw and they are all fine examples of the breed. Feed as nature intended and you can't go far wrong.
Thanks Sean, it's interesting to hear your experiences of the raw diet. We're really interested to find out what our readers think, so if anyone else would like to contribute their thoughts, please feel free to comment below.
Pat Oliver
Our Jack Russel, Meg, had terrible allergies, which caused her constant skin irritation resulting in hives and her skin turning black in the summer. I was given a recipe by my USA vet, Dr. Stephen Tobin, past president of The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. It uses garlic (for worms), bone meal, wholemeal pasta or brown rice, brewer’s yeast and raw meat. After only 2 weeks on this diet, her allergies cleared and she never had a reoccurance.Another of our dogs, Snip, at 5 months old, came to us with bleeding colitis. When a local vet wanted to put Snip on a dried diet that could only be bought through veterinarians, I decided to try the diet above. The colitis cleared quickly and a rare flare-up is quickly controlled with 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt a day. Snip is now 14 years old and going strong.Although Dr. Faulkner points out that the DNA of dogs has evolved differently from the wolf and therefore requires a different diet, the intestinal tract of the dog remains very similar as do the dietary requirements for proteins, minerals and vitamins. What is important is to remember that wild dogs and canis lupus obtain their vegetable matter from the intestines of their kills; the matter being partially digested. When adding vegetables to your dog’s diet, it is necessary to finely chop or mince the material or the dog will not be able to digest the vegetable matter and absorb the nutrients. Dr. Faulkner also raises concerns over bacteria such as Salmonella, stating that the dog is at risk as well as people in their environment due to pathogens. Dogs have a much shorter digestive tract and readily consume carrion in the wild. They have adapted to eating spoiled meat without becoming ill. I suggest that Dr. Faulkner may be correct about ground bones, particularly if the bones are not finely ground. Using bone meal overcomes the problem of fine bone chips lodging in a dog’s gums. To clean a dog’s teeth, only large, solid bones, such as the raw, upper leg bone of a cow, should be given. This will give the dog hours of pleasure gnawing this bone and the bone will not splinter and lodge in the intestinal tract. If you are going to feed your dog or cat commercially prepared food, find one that mirrors what they would eat if hunting for themselves. Avoid additives and preservatives as they are irritants and possible carcinogens. Cooking meat and vegetables and adding gravy to create a great look and aroma is done to appeal to us owners, not for the sake of the animal.
Good comments, thanks Pat. Regarding the 'DNA-distance' between dogs and wolves, there's also a huge disparity there between the many breeds of dog. It would seem strange to expect the chewing and digestion habits of a Bichon Frise to match those of a German Shepherd, for example.
Sandra Curry
I have been feeding BARF diet for nearly 12 years now and all my dogs thrive on it - with no illnesses whatsoever. Their fitness and great condition is testimony to the benefits of this diet. I recommend it to all my puppy buyers - the only pups who have suffered from dodgy tummies are those who have been fed commercial dog food instead of raw. Providing the meat and bones are from a good source and are stored correctly there is very little risk of salmonella or anything else. I am fortunate in having vets who acknowledge the benefits of natural feeding and one vet actually got me started on BARF all those years ago - and my dogs have never looked back.
I have been feeding a natural rearing diet for years now to most of my dogs. The difference in the puppies that we produce now is amazing. They are bursting with vitality, NEVER get upset tummies and their growth is slower and gentler, and proportionate to their breed. We have also NEVER had to take a dog or a pup to the Vet because of ill health. That MUST prove something!
Marianne Brett
One of my Malinois (homebred) had diarrhoea no matter what food he was fed, from about 10 weeks of age. The vet could find nothing wrong. We were starting to despair when somebody suggested trying him on raw meat and bones only. At 6 months of age we switched to this feeding regime and all his problems cleared up. He is now a big strong and very healthy 3 year old. He never gets anything at all bar meat and bones. If he as much as is given a commercial treat or steals a small piece of commercial dog food from any of the other dog, you can tell straight away as his stomach gets upset. He's a big dog and had a lot of growing to do still when put onto only raw yet he grew up just fine without any problems. I now feed 50/50 raw and commercial to all my dogs AND cats -.and they are all healthier than ever. The only reason I do not feed 100 % is that as a vegetarian I am squeamish about handling raw meat, so I let my husband do that and I feed the meal of commercial food when he is at work! Even my Papillons (the smallest one weighs in at just 2 kgs) cope well with meaty bones.The cats' teeth are kept nice by giving them raw chicken wings.
Jane Whiteley
I have bred and shown dogs for over 30 years and our home at times has been shared by Cavalier King Charles,German Shepherds,Miniature Bull Terriers and a Staffordshire bull terrier ... I have never used Commercial dog food and never will .. all our dogs have lived into their teens and I have never had a dog of any breed with cancer .As for dogs growing at different rates that is perfectly true and the majority of joint problems is actually caused by Complete dog food that is totally unsuitable for large breeds ( all my GSDs eating raw were hip scored and all were in single figures ) or for any dog come to that ! Not everyone know that Vet schools are sponsored by Pet food companies ( which incidently are owned by Human food companies ) so they have a vested interest to insure that your pet eats bags of totally inappropriate food for the rest of it's life.Most of my dogs never see a Vet as they stay fit,strong and healthy on a diet that Nature intended them to eat.. all my pups are weaned onto raw meat and bone and when new owners take them for their first vaccinations without exception they are complimented on the weight and health of their new family member ... yet when the Vet is told what they have been reared on they are immediately told to switch to a nice expensive brand of Complete food sold through the Vets surgery !! If the new owner is not brave enough to stand up to the Vet I can guarantee when I next have an update on the pups progress it will already have itchy skin,probably ear infections and will be nibbling itself incessantly .. my standard reply is always " is the pup now on Complete food ? " The answer is always a resounding yes ! We are what we eat and dogs are not designed,no matter how far from the wolf they may be,to eat coloured balls full of additives,preservatives,flavour enhancers etc etc .. we now have Miniature Poodles and our last Cavalier is 12 years old... she can still eat a raw chicken wing in under a minute and is still going strong !
Jill Cranfield
I have been feeding my Great Danes and Mini Dachshunds the Barf diet for many years, i rear my puppies the same way from 3 weeks old, the only difference in breed is the amount i feed them of course, All have wonderfull coats, All have solid small smell free stalls, All have good teeth, All are the correct weight, I rest my case.
Reading Brian Faulkner's defence of commercial dog foods makes me wonder if he has a vested interest in promoting them, as his arguments simply aren't correct. "The BARF diet is based on the assumption that dogs are the same as their ancestors: wolves." Not true. It is based on the assumption that fresh, natural foods are healthier for our pets than the very artificial cooked and often dried inferior ingredients that comprise commercial dog food. "Furthermore, all dogs are not the same. A Great Dane or a St Bernard may grow more in one week than a Yorkshire Terrier will grow in its whole life. The nutritional requirement of these dogs is significantly different." No-one is saying that all dogs are the same. No-one is saying that one should feed a large or a small dog the same. "While it is hypothetically possible to achieve a balanced diet using bones and raw foods, even ‘experts’ in the BARF diet admit that this is hard to do ‘by eye’ and expensive to do in the laboratory." Not true. It's easy enough to read a good BARF book and apply the principles. Even I can do it, and my nearly 12 year old Airedale still runs like a puppy, has perfect teeth and has had wonderful health all his life. Yes, it is important to include raw veggies too. What is so difficult about that? But it's scaremongering to suggest that BARF-fed dogs have joint problems and salmonella complications. Look at the ingredients in a packet of commercial dog food, and then think of feeding raw meaty bones with some fresh veggies. Can you honestly say the former is superior to the latter?
Flick Butters
I am sitting very much on the fence with this, hoping that some divine intervention will advise me. As a breeder of Hungarian Vizsla and Labradors, I feed Commercial dried food, A) I know my dogs are getting a scientifically balanced diet B) I can send my puppies off to their new homes with a puppy-pack including a food that is acceptable to sensitive human stomachs. I have been very fortunate that over decades of puppies, I can honestly say that only one has developed any kind of problem - in this case skin, but as the owner over-baths the dog it can't really be determined as to whether this is genetic, food orientated or excessive quantities of shampoo ! I have huge contact with other Viz and Labrador owners on Facebook and am constantly amazed at the problems they encounter - digestion, skin - you name it and they have it. Have I really been that lucky with my breeding ?? I was brought up in a generation where commercial food was minimal - Chappie for dogs and something for cats( can't remember what - Kitekat ?)My Mum got bones from the butcher and fish-scaps from the fishmonger. Apart from that they were all largely fed scraps, regardless of what they might have been. The animals thrived, they were never too thin or overweight, they never had digestive probs, skin probs and in fact rarely saw a vet. They all lived healthily well into their teens. This makes me feel that I, like hundreds of others, feed commercial food from a bag for convenience but we are probably not addressing the REAL dietary needs of canines. Several of my puppies have been changed to BARF since leaving here and look fabulous and have no health issues at all. I would really like to have the confidence to move over to a BARF diet for all my dogs but in reality I feel slightly trapped by convenience :-(
Selma Cook
I have been feeding BARF diet for over 10 years and my dogs are very healthy on it. I breed and show all three sizes of schnauzer and all my puppies are reared on BARF. I use an electric juicer to process my fruit and veg and feed the pulp and the juice. I also freeze all my meat and then defrost it for feeding.My giants and schnauzers have turkey necks for breakfast and my minis have chicken wings. I find we have far fewer tummy upsets and bone problems than we did when we used a commercial dog food (and that was supposed to be the best at the time). But best of all - the dogs love it!!!
Kate Watkins
I have fed my current five dogs raw for several years now and have also raised three litters of puppies. One with 10 pups in the litter and two with 9 each. The mothers were raw fed as were the pups when it came to weaning. Our vet was amazed at the bitch with 10 pups, when she accompanied them to their check up before leaving for new homes. He said her condition was incredible considering she had just raised 10 pups. A testament to raw food I think? Where did this idea come from that we need scientists to tell us how to feed our animals? My knowledge has come from talking to other more experienced dog breeders, with their proof in front of my eyes, the quality and health of the animals they have produced. The vet schools have a lot to answer for, they teach minimum about nutrition and are sometimes sponsored by the pet food companies who are all about profit. How many vet's surgeries have a mountain of processed kibble on display, and how much commission do they earn by persuading clients to buy that food? I have also raised 5 children who are all healthy and fit, neither over nor underweight now they are adults. I can honestly say, I didn't worry about getting their balance of minerals and vitamins right. I just fed them a healthy home produced diet. The same goes for my dogs, I keep in mind the recommendations of feeding whole prey over a period of about 10 days. So they get muscle meat, bones, organs and some crushed vegetables such as carrots, apples, swede, peppers and spinach with the addition of salmon/omega 3 and 6 oil just because it makes me feel that they are not missing on any essential ingredients in their diet.
Kate Watkins
I've always been told that the bones you should NOT feed your dog are the large weight bearing bones of cows etc. These are so hard they could break a dog's teeth. You say that you should feed a food which mirrors what they would eat if hunting for themselves. I don't think a dog would end up catching a cow and eating it. The bones of raw UNCOOKED chicken, rabbit and lamb are more like what they would eat in the wild. Uncooked bones are relatively soft and do not splinter. You should of course, never leave your dog alone with a bone as accidents can happen (even if you leave them with a bowl of kibble)!!
Paula Maria Halshaw
I have fed the raw diet to all my dogs for over 30 years and with just one exception (a rescue who we lost from cancer) all our dogs have been fit and healthy, we breed rottweilers who are weaned on the diet and have had no negative feedback from them health wise, before rottweilers we had GSDs and lost our last one at 16 years young. My vet now encourages the diet. I wish more people would look into the diet for their dogs sake,
Gill Bingham
I have reared Akitas, Norwegian Elkhounds, Japanese Shiba Inu on a raw diet from weaning, through to old age. All grow and develop exceedingly well and have remained healthy all of their lives. My Norwegian Elkhound was still winning top awards at dog shows aged 10 years old and he lived until he was 16. I also feed my mother's chihuahua a on raw as well as my Egyptian Mau kitten. Feeding raw is not complicated and does not have to be time consuming, once you get organised it couldn’t be easier and does not a fortune. I consider commercial diets to be similar to human junk food and ready meals, with pets fed on commercial diets,suffering from many of the same illnesses that human do; i.e. obesity, diabetes, auto immune, skin problems. Too many coincidences as far as I am concerned.
I have fed the raw diet for more years than i care to mention,to my German Shepherd Dogs,they have thrived on it,pups and adults alike,none of my Dam's have ever had to have vet assistance when giving birth,all my dogs have neutral breath and good teeth,most have lived to be over 12 years none have had to have surgery because they have eaten raw bones,my dogs enjoy their meals and do not suffer from worms or fleas.Thank you Dr Ian Billinghurst for spreading the word,Thank you to all the vets who are not blinded by processed food.Thank you Pet Plan for giving breeders the opportunity to speak publicly on the subject.
Sue Walz
I've been feeding raw for about 14 years now! My poodles do great on raw chicken, bones & all! Never a problem all these years. I do raw beef as a treat. They love the ribs! Chew toys? Raw, meaty bones! I never have a vet bill except for health testing! I I never get sick from handling the meat. I'm a vegetarian..... my dogs are carnivores... my horses are vegan! ;-)
Tracy Wilkins
It is absolutely possible to achieve a balanced diet for our cats and dogs using bones and raw foods Mr Faulkner. As for contaminating my home with raw food, well I was handling raw meat every day in my kitchen long before I had dogs and found that following basic hygeine rules worked very well. Also, I think you underestimate the ability of our pets' digestive systems to cope with bacteria and I, for one, would much rather clear up after a raw fed dog that a kibble fed dog!
Sarah Roper
i will resist the urge to rant on this subject - I am and always will be pro natural feeding, i think Holistic Vet Nick Thompson sums it up perfectly, 'not only is raw feeding natural, but it does not kill our pets (referring to bloat/gastric torsion)' also there is only 1% difference in the genetics of domestic canine to wolves - to expect them to eat this processed, dry, cereal based food is a massive step away from a wolf diet considering only 1% difference in genetic makeup. also on a final note it is important to remember that our dogs and wolves for that matter are NOT CARNIVORES but OMNIVORES so require vegetation in their diet, and have no need for massive amounts of cereal.
Jill Sims
I grew up with my Grandparents who bred racing Whippets & working terriers& a GSD cross Lab, house pet, as did his Father. There wasn't any commercial foods in those days.Grandad always used raw meat/bones. Green& root veg& fruit bashed (by his mallet) ,then minced through Nan's mincer mixed together with raw garlic mixed with the meat for the dogs breakfast with whole rabbits,chicken wings,for their tea. I fed my OES raw green Tripe from the abbatoirs back then60's & 70's, sadly not so easy to obtain anymore. My Akita's & my Bichons have had raw meats & bones plus raw veg this way all their lives.I tried commercial food for 6 months as we had a large M'Home & were going from show to show.I watched my Bichons (all i have now) go 'down hill.' They gained Tear staining in abundance,the twinkle went from their eyes.They continually scratched & the amount of soft pancake smelly poo's......... well ! Their breath smelt & their teeth were continualy coated with tartar.Needless to say they were quickly put back onto RAW.It took almost 2 months to return to Prior Junk Food stage again.No more tear staining but it had to grow out as they were so badly stained. Never again will i feed other than as nature intended RAW meats,raw meaty bones,chicken wings & pulped up veg/fruit of all sorts with garlic,fresh rosemary & parsley. All my pups are raised & fed this way too.Never have need for Flea treatments. Another point for discussion : i have my own pups vaccinated at 20/22 weeks or even 22/24 weeks but since 1971 i have never had boosters.I watched 2 of my OES die after boosters within minutes one of them & vowed to never have boosters again & never have.Maybe i have been lucky but i like to think, rightly or wrongly, that my dogs are fed healthly & 'grow' their own immunity. I had titres done in the early days but the levels of immunity was satisfactory. Do others do the same ? Do they also feed Raw. I have also never had any health problems with my Bichons. I know others that have had problems with kidneys,& Diabetas on special medication & food that have changed to raw & given time the conditions have actually cleared up ! Dogs fed Raw are also less likely to be overweight because they have to chew their food instead of just woofing it down.Much less chance of bloat too.Oh & only a small amount of perfectly formed 'waste product' as so much more is better digested & used. No smell either & lovely clean teeth. All my pups go to their new homes with 'Menu's' written out & veg mixed up with alternative mixes for variety plus enough food for the first week,all fresh so that the new owners can freeze it on arriving home.
Craig Taylor
My company has been producing raw meaty diets for 30 years and with the brands Prize choice and Natures menu we are regarded as the leading producer of raw diets for dogs, cats and all meat eating animals. I would like to comment that all professionally produced raw pets foods are strictly governed under EU regulations and we have set microbiological standards which we have to adhere to. Currently these standard for salmonella and entrobactericea fall well below the acceptable levels for the production of raw meats for human consumption. Raw meat should be handled by humans in a sensible manner wether it be pet food or human food. Over years of humanisation of pets through feeding sterlised pet foods ,the dogs and cats natural built in immune systems has reduced to the point where we have seen hundreds of pets becoming ill. Feeding a quality raw diet is now recognised as being a positive way to introduce live bacteria back into the pets gut flora and develop resistance in pets to lead to a better and healthier life. The internet now bosts thousands of sites where proffesional dog people, vets and nutitionalists discuss the benefits of feeding a natural / raw diet to pets. To believe that pets relish dry , vitamin enriched kibble every day is akin to thinking that we dont need fresh foods, vegetables or fruits in our diet. Thankfully millions of pet owners now feed raw foods and feel very satisfied with the benefits it delivers to thier pets. Craig Taylor Managing Director AMP Ltd
I have been BARFing for 9 years following 2 years of diarrhoea, allergies, poor health and behaviour problems in my collie x spaniel, now 11. There was an interlude of 2 months when my husband was in hospital when she went onto a premium quality dried food and her health deteriorated quickly and her coat became greasy and smelly - within a week of resuming BARF she was back on form again.To mention salmonella is folly - is your expert unaware that dogs have high acid levels in their stomach which enables them to cope with the month old rotten bird washed up on the seashore, the mouldy food stolen from dustbins, rendering any bacteria lurking on the fresh chicken from you fridge as a minor combatant?The hip dysplacia has been shown to be a lack of VITAMIN C in the diet of puppies (which reduces the amount of calcium being absorbed into the bones) who eat a kibble diet. Kibble is processed at high temperatures and pressure from extrusion which reduces the Vit C levels in the food. I have seen first hand how the addition of Ester C (a form of vitamin C) to a puppies diet can reverse serious hip dysplacia, avoiding the pain and expense of operating. I would never recommend a dried diet for a puppy for this reason.If you are considering raw feeding, then do your research - the food does need to be balanced and varied. I recommend Kymythy Schutlz - Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats. It's a short book but goes into the benefits, ways to balance the meals and why, and gives recipe suggestions for dogs by weight.
Peter Hartley
I have 'lived with dogs' most of my life. One of the earliest photos of me as a baby is one that shows me gently touching my Father's sheepdog, "Tip". For a brief spell, when I was at University and then first married, I was without canine company. However, my (now late) Wife and I moved out to rural Surrey, and started our own line of German Large Munsterlanders (Erinmoor). Sometimes, we were 'slightly overdogged', with 6 at home. Now I am down to 2, but have hopes of continuing my Kennel Line in the near future.So, you might reasonably say that, at 65, I have a fair idea of canine diets. I have tried just about ALL combinations, but come back to Skinners biscuit, with either tripe or cooked meat to 'spice it up'. The dogs get 2 digestive biscuits first thing, and then two meals per day (Dinner being the largest meal). I must be doing something right, because not only have most people commented on the excellent condition of my dogs, and not only did my "Best Friend" gain "Best Puppy of Breed" at Cruft's, in 2000 (after my Wife died), my Vets now listen to my opinions ! (And since most people don't even realise that one of my dogs {all bitches, at present} is 13 years 5 months old, and still going strong, with healthy teeth, gums, and stomach - and just the right weight - I take that as a compliment.)I have tried just about EVERY diet imaginable - and there are some that are positively LETHAL, as they contain co-cortisone and chicken s**t, and come from America (and can cause "Cushing's Syndrome" - been there). I have tried the natural knuckle bones - and seen the dogs' teeth break. I have tried many different 'safe' raw meats - and watched the dogs vomit, later. My dogs adore pheasant 'lights' and livers and hearts, but I now ALWAYS cook them, to remove harmful parasites and bacteria.I am extremely careful with the transition diets of young puppies. I have only lost one, over 26 years of breeding, and that poor creature had a mass of worms when 4 weeks old. I did my best, but wouldn't let anyone take her as a puppy - and later, she started to have fits, so I did the (hard) honourable thing.Too late, I discovered that lungworm was prevalent in my area - so my Vets now have warnings everywhere and I spent over £1,000 on Christmas Eve, 2007, on Veterinary Diagnosis. See http://www.dogquotations.com/in-memory-of-the-main-man-max-erinmoor-jupiter-19-january-1999-30-october-2010.html.We learn by mistakes, but they can hurt. At least I have his Daughter to breed from (DG).Anyone who things that the digestive system of dogs has not changed over the millenia that they have been our companions is deluded. We still have the remnant of our second stomach, which we call the appendix. It isn't needed, and does nothing (except collect lead shot from game birds eaten by us). We can no longer digest very complex proteins, such as grass, but the habit of chewing on a piece of straw or hay remains.So, please, when you are considering feeding raw meat to your dog - consider the risks. Tripe is OK (and being a Northerner, I LOVE raw tripe and vinegar - it settles my stomach extremely well), but very rare steak disagrees with me, as does underhung game. It usually ends up with me in the bathroom, calling out "RUTH" (if you get my meaning).Being a Scientist and a Systems Engineer, I am very analytical. And NO WAY would I feed my dogs fresh uncooked meat (although well-hung meat, a rarity these days, is OK).Incidentally, my dogs are all Working Gundogs - and they abhor feathers and fur. 'Nuff said ?
Peter Hartley
Incidentally, I was raised on a Farm ... and have Run a Shoot as well as having Shown my dogs (as per my late Wife's wishes), so I have a tremendous number of contacts in the 'dog world'.
Peter Hartley
About allergies and hip dysplasia and eye cataracts:Allergies: Most dogs have a gluten intolerance. And one well-known dog-food brand, displayed in Veterinary Clinics, is notorious for causing severe hair loss and skin allergies. If you want a good diet for your dog, talk to a reputable Breeder (in your dog's Breed).Hip dysplasia: If it is TRUE dysplasia, then it has been inherited. However, some foolish Owners over-exercise their dogs when they are mere puppies, whilst the bones are still forming. Tell me honestly - would you force a 2-year old Child to walk the whole of the London Marathon ? Of course not. Puppies ALWAYS want to overdo everything (as do little children) - just DON'T let them do so. Let them play, instead. There is no miracle 'cure' (yet) for inherited hip dysplasia, but developing the dogs leg muscles is the best known advice (from the Veterinary Researcher who collates ALL Hip Scores in the UK). But see later **Eye Cataracts: This is a 'touchy' subject. All Breeding Stock must be eye-tested by a BVA Eye Panel Vet every year. But be wary of one thing - minor occlusions in the eye usually gather at the 'Suture Lines' in a dog's eye. (The suture lines allow the eye lens to grow.) This is a simple matter of 'faults' gathering at discontinuities - fundamental Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The BVA acts like 'a false God' - they never recant on a wrong decision. The European Small Animal Centre at Newmarket is much more 'switched on'. Minor occlusions are analogous to white spots in human nails, indicating a dietary problem in the past. When many of those occlusions, or 'opacities' gather together, an uninformed BVA Eye Panel Vet (yes, they do exist) writes the dog down as "Affected" and so condemns it to a non-breeding career. In the Large Munsterlander Society, a particular litter with an hereditary eye blindness in male dogs at age 2 was identified, and isolated. (Pity that a bitch carrying that problem was unknowingly shipped to Australia, in whelp, and now has affected most Australian lines.) Opacities can disappear with time - unlike cataracts. See ** ** There is a dietary supplement fed to horses, to enable them to be able to repair muscle damage promptly. It is produced by the "Natural Animal Health" organisation, and contains Vitamin E, Selenium and Lysine. Other informed Breeders and I use that (in small quantities, because of the Selenium) with one meal per day. It has noticeable improvement results in our dogs joints and eyes (the Lysine part). I also use a small quantity of extra-virgin Olive oil occasionally. Since I use more expensive Human Supplements, because of very serious knee and back injuries, I am considering switching to the NAF supplements (after more research).I have high hopes of nanotechnology for the future. Already, some Human Trials have been carried out, with some good results, in re-growing damaged tissue and ligaments. If you have money to invest - there's no better place than in an enterprising and successful nanotechnology company. And no, I don't have such a company.
David Drew
I have two working Springer Spaniels, one is two the other is 6 months. Both live in the kennel and both are fed on raw chicken carcass (bones and all) and thrive on it. They crunch the carcass up and love every mouthful. They have two each a day when adult and three when growing. Their weight is maintained and what comes out the other end is solid and dosent smell which indicates that all of the goodness has been extracted from the food. On the other hand, many dry dog foods have wheat mixed in with it, I have never heard of wheat being part of a dogs natural diet. And again what comes out the other end is normally pretty foul. Which indicates that the dog isn’t digesting it properly. When I feed my dogs I stay with them whilst they eat to make sure there are no problems, I pay £26.99 for 80 carcass which are frozen in my dog food freezer. So if you only have one dog that will last more than a month, pretty good value for money and as I say, the dogs love them!
Nicola Matthews
I know this is about dogs however can I just mention cats are not omnivores, as mentioned for dogs, they are obligate carnivores therefore I feel their need to have a RAW/BARF diet seems to me of utmost importance. Kibble produced from meat extruded from carcasses, bulked out with cereals seems to absolutely contradict a healthy diet. Commercially made dried food is regularly recalled due to salmonella, USA database recalls, and I can assure you that my hygiene process at home is second to none. If I do purchase premade frozen Raw I go to companies that use human grade quality meat. I ensure a 80/10/5/5 ratio plus supplements, to top up the benefit I give strips of heart/kidney/chicken wings and quail. My cats have perfect coats, body condition, great teeth, no illness and a really good by product is NO stinky poohs due to the indigestible vegetable matter they have to get rid of. Yes I do believe in RAW as the best diet but you do need to do research to ensure correct balance, ie Ox liver you need much less of than chicken liver etcetc to get the same benefit.
I've been feeding raw for since 1999 because I had a dog at the time that suffered wind, skin and ear problems. I was back and forth to vets now and again when it flaired up only to come back again. I put my dog on raw and never had problems after this and then only to the vet for routine boosters and worming. I have two dogs now and one had eye infection s with my little dog and occasional vomiting and scooting due to gland s so I changed him on to raw and yet again no problems since. My other dog that I have now also always did get loose stools and bad wind. Changed him also on to raw and no wind no loose stools. Plus both dogs seem calmer. I've known natural diet does play a role in better behavior. I know there is debate but if you know how to feed properly then there is no problem. Always make sure it's 80% meat and muscle 10% bone 10% offal . veg optional. That's what I folle and no issues accept shiny coats and happy dogs. I feel there should be more access for vets to do nutrition courses on top of medicine. There is some great books out there to read these days. I'm glad I read them.

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