Dog Nutrition – Feeding Raw

Dog Nutrition – Feeding Raw

Let me begin this post by stating that I am not a vet nor am I a dog nutritionist. I am however, a dog lover and a food lover and have a fairly broad spectrum of knowledge across both of these subjects. In the past few decades, healthy eating seems to have had a lot more focus and attention, as science devotes more time and brains into to the discovery of the benefits of eating healthy and ‘clean’ and what that actually means. We do our best to try and eat healthily and get enough exercise to maintain body and mind and according to the Telegraph, we as Britons, spend an average of £60 per week on food.

Why then, when we consider our dogs to be a part of the family, do most of us give such little thought to the nutrition they are getting?

I believe marketing plays a huge role in this and we are easily duped by the fancy wording, beautiful imagery and packaging that companies use to sell their products. With all the ‘alternative facts’ and withholding of information that industries get away with regarding human food (watch ‘Fed Up’, ‘Food inc’ and ‘Hungry for Change’ for more eye opening, and eye-watering, info) it’s not surprising nor unexpected that the same is probably happening with the food our pets are consuming. The Pet Food Manufacturing Association which boasts its 73 member companies make up 90% of the UK market, published in its 2016 Annual Report that the Dog food industry is worth £1.3bn and approximately 826,000t! That’s a sizeable industry worth protecting.

If we look at the natural diet of the dog – being omnivores – their systems are built to handle raw meat and bone as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. A rather unfortunate sounding acronym has hit the dog feeding world, namely, ‘BARF’ which stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’ and that pretty much sums it all up. BARF feeding is believed by many professionals, veterinarians, dog nutritionists, dog behaviour practitioners and dog enthusiasts to be the very best way to keep your dog in tip top health and provide him with exactly what nature intended to keep him in peak condition.

Feeding raw used to be the way many, many years ago – when people could only buy meat from their butchers and when super markets didn’t exist. They’d get scraps, off cuts and bones to feed their dogs along with vegetable peels and left overs. With modern day thinking, time and convenience are at the top of everyone’s priority list so the emergence of a premade, pre-packaged ‘complete’ dry pellet food which can be stored for weeks/months in the cupboard with little fuss or mess is not surprising at all and it’s no wonder that this type of feeding has soared to popularity and now far outweighs the diet that dogs actually want and need. Would you like your diet to consist of something that can be stored open in the cupboard for months?? Just think about what the ‘food’ must consist of in order to allow it to ‘survive’ like that. We need fresh, simple, unprocessed and untampered with natural produce to nourish our own bodies – and our dogs need the same.

Raw feeding has once again become much easier to do with the re-emergence of the belief that it as the best way to be feeding our canine friends. In my opinion, Natural Instinct is the best raw food product in the market when you look at quality, price, convenience and customer service. Their food is truly complete and contains fruit, vegetables, 100% British human grade raw meat, bones, cartilage, innards, oils, kelp – all the nutrients your dog needs for a healthy, balanced diet, without any of the preservatives, colourants, chemicals, grains, fillers, bulking agents etc that the overly processed and dehydrated foods contain. It comes frozen in plastic tubs and there are different varieties to help give your dog a varied diet. They also provide all sorts of raw bones and treats that your dog will go crazy for. They deliver to your door within a couple of days of placing your order and it arrives very well packaged so it will remain frozen if you’re not at home when the delivery arrives.

All of this natural goodness brings with it a plethora of benefits and advantages:

    1. You know you are feeding your best friend the best possible diet to keep him healthy for as long as possible
    2. Raw knuckles and play bones help to keep teeth clean and in excellent condition (not to mention the lack of sugars in the food mean teeth wont decay prematurely and reduces/eliminates bad breath)
    3. Improvements and often complete elimination of skin problems such as hot spots, itching, dandruff and sensitivities
    4. Improvements and often complete elimination of allergies
    5. Shiny, healthy beautiful coat
    6. Vast reduction in size and quantity of excrement. They are also firmer and less pungent making it much easier to pick up and deal with
    7. Less thirst so it’s easier to toilet train – dehydrated food absorbs lots of water when it is inside their system so they tend to drink much more
    8. Helps with joint and bone health
    9. Increase in the right type of energy – ie dog is more alert and focussed
    10. Can help to decrease the wrong type of energy – anxiety, nervousness, hyperactivity
    11. Easier weight management

I switched my dog to a BARF diet (Natural Instinct) a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. Check out for more information on their excellent products and do your dog a favour by switching to raw.

We are what we eat…and the same goes for our dogs too.

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