Stories and Resources

A Story: Why I feed my dogs raw food

My family had a beautiful Border Collie named Prince, he lived to be 16, into his 17th year. We all want our dogs to live forever I will always know that we were fortunate to have him for so long. Prince had the will to live for his people, and the ideal diet.

Initially we gave him a dry kibble, mixed with a canned food. That is how dogs 'were' fed once commercial foods became readily available. When Prince was 7 or 8 he was very sick due to a canned food. It affected his kidneys and was a terrible scare. The old country vet that we visited, Dr. White (Simcoe Animal Clinic) told my mother to make food for him. I can well imagine he saw in his practice the earlier demise of the commercially fed dog than the longer life span of the dog that had been fed table scraps.

So my mother did just that...bi-weekly out came the big spaghetti pot and a brew of ground beef, oatmeal, rice, eggs, carrots...whatever leftover veggies were around (except for peas...he could somehow ate around or gracefully left each pea. They would be sitting at the side of his bowl after his meal :) !! ) and an oil supplement where combined, moderately cooked, repackaged in 16 oz containers and frozen. That meal took a dog that could have had early kidney failure to a dog that lived as dogs should..into his later teens.

A few years later, I got my own dog, Wigan. I initially fed her as one was lead to feel, as a responsible pet owner, with the best commercial food I could find. I was on a quest from the start... I read every label inside and out. Never confident that I liked what was on the shelves and that I was feeding her the best. There was a time I found a brand that was not sold in the pet food stores and would drive all over to farm coops to buy it. When she was 5 she had a stomach upset and that was it...that was the ticket I was looking for to switch her diet to that of my dear Prince.

To make sure I was doing the right thing, I hit the books. That was 1998 and the BARF diet and nutrition were starting to gain notice. At the time East York Animal Clinic were teaching classes on Saturday's on how to make your own food. One of the books I read that was valuable in helping me, to this day it is recognized as a valued resource, Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats by Diane Stein. Wigan lived into her 15th year... her diet enabled her to be a healthy and active senior.

My dog Whiterose Ash, is now 10. He has been with me since he was 5 months old. His diet has been that of a raw fed dog throughout his life...of course like us all there is the occasional "pizza night" (aka Non-raw food dinners eg hamburger patty via a restaurant, frozen shepherds pie, no grain dry food)!!! when we are travelling.

Written by: Ann Brown, Founder, Your Dog’s Dinner (which is now Barkside Bistro)

 

Interesting Blogs and Articles

Several years ago, Ann Brown overheard her Veterinarian, Dr. Paul McCutcheon, of East York Animal Clinic (http://holisticpetvet.com ) and author of The New Holistic Way for Dogs and Cats: The Stress-Health Connection (http://www.newholisticway.com), talking to a family about the nutrition of their dog, while waiting in the neighbouring examination room.

He explained to the family that their pet's system retains what it needs and expels what it doesn't (those were not his exact words, but more or less). To him, the best way to provide the essentials was through a raw food diet and so began her journey.

To help you do your own research on this subject to make sure raw food is the right choice for you, here are some resources and links available to you that we have found:

"Every time a pet trustingly eats another bowl of high sugar pet food, he is being brought that much closer to diabetes, hypoglycemia, overweight, nervousness, cataracts, allergy and death."
R.Geoffrey Broderick DVM

(http://www.felineinstincts.com/successstoriesdrbeldfieldsfoodnotfitforapet)

 

Raw meat for dogs: Is the theory half baked?

AMBERLY MCATEER
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jul. 09 2012, 3:36 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 10 2012, 11:58 AM EDT

It’s 7 a.m: I’m barely awake, sawing through a log of raw meat with a bread knife. There’s a cold puddle of drool accumulating on my foot, as my dog trembles with excitement under the kitchen counter. Gagging, I flick a big chunk of the meat into her bowl, top it off with a scoop of puréed sheep stomach, turn on the coffee and crawl back into bed.

A year ago, I was among a niche pocket of weird dog ladies who fed raw. A number of dog breeders, behaviourists and trainers recommended it – but the average owner at the park thought I was certifiably crazy.

But now, feeding raw – that is, feeding your dog hearts, necks, livers, kidneys, bones and muscle of animals such as chicken, lamb and rabbit – is becoming more mainstream. It’s a $100-million industry in the United States, and while there aren’t market figures available for Canada, the Canadian Association of Raw Pet Food Manufacturers says raw companies are multiplying rapidly, with some reporting a 30 to 40 per cent growth in business last year.

It doesn’t come cheap: For a 50-pound (roughly 23-kilogram) dog, feeding raw costs about $2 to $8 a day compared to $1 a day for grocery-store kibble. But more and more people are willing to pay the price, says Inna Shekhtman, manager of Red Dog Deli, one of British Columbia’s largest raw dog-food manufacturers. Her company goes all out – adding juiced, organic veggies to the raw-meat mixture, to mimic the “semi-digested greens that a wild dog would find in the stomach of its prey,” she says.

“Dogs don’t have microwaves or grocery stores in the wild,” she says with a laugh, adding that she believes a dog that eats raw will lead a longer, healthier life than one fed traditional dog food.

The raw theory has no shortage of critics, however, especially in veterinary circles. (I’ve broken up with three vets in one year over my feeding choice.)

“It’s a fad, absolutely,” says Danny Joffe, medical director at Calgary’s Animal Referral and Emergency Centre. “As a scientist, I need evidence – and there is zero scientific study here. Just anecdotal stories on the Internet. And sorry, that’s not good enough.”

Dr. Joffe says owners should stick with kibble that is “based in good science” – brands such as Iams, Hills, Purina and Royal Canin. He has written papers in peer-reviewed veterinary journals and lectured across North America about the perils of a raw diet (including what he views as the human risk – salmonella levels in the home, and dogs eating raw meat, then licking a human’s face).

But Dean Ricard, president of the Canadian Association of Raw Pet Food Manufacturers and owner of Edmonton’s Mountain Dog Food, which sells nearly three million pounds of meat a year, says safety is at the top of his mind too.

The raw pet-food industry in Canada is unregulated – something Mr. Ricard wants to change. He’s recently created a set of guidelines on how to operate a safe raw company. “We want protocols and processes and inspection agencies coming in,” he says. “Right now anyone could just start a raw company out of their kitchen, and that’s so worrisome.”

Mr. Ricard says dog owners buy kibble because it’s what they’ve always known dog food to be: cheap, transportable, with a distant expiry date.

“Most folks think that kibble doesn’t go bad, so it’s a good product. But why isn’t it consuming itself? Why isn’t bacteria liking it – what do the bacteria know that we don’t know?”

It’s a criticism heard often by the Pet Food Association of Canada, whose members include the vast majority of kibble companies in this country. “Those who criticize are just misinformed – they believe what they read on the Internet,” says executive director Martha Wilder. “The fact is kibble is highly tested, based on decades of science, and it’s formulated in accordance with a dog’s complete nutritional needs.”

Gwen Greene, however, is one of the converted. On a kibble diet, her dogs were “overweight, with no energy – scratching all the time from all the allergies,” she says. “These were our fat, miserable, lethargic dogs. “We were spending $500 a month on pain management, weight allergy, arthritis medications,” she says. “And our backyard was just rancid – three dogs, going out there three times a day – disgusting.” She decided to try raw patties from the Toronto raw food company Keoni. She says she spends $236 a month on raw food for all three of her giant pooches. A year later, “they are completely different dogs,” she says. “They all have the energy of puppies, we can’t keep up with them. And our vet just gave them all perfect bills of health.”

The best part? “Their poop is wonderfuuuul!” she says, describing it in TMI-detail. As for the safety concerns, she’s not fazed. “If you know what you’re doing, and you use common sense, anyone can do it.”

 

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May 7, 2012
http://www.barfworld.com/blog/
Posted In : Raw Food Articles

Optimal Pet Foods Blog

http://www.optimalpetfoods.com/blog/raw-dog-food-raw-cat-food-20583.html
http://www.optimalpetfoods.com/blog/raw-dog-food-20429.html
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Love My Dog Raw

April 17, 2012
http://www.lovemydograwdiet.ca/articles/raw-dogs-article-from-tonic-toronto/
Posted In : Raw Food Articles

My Dog Loving Friend

Blog Interview with Ann Brown
http://dogstwentyfourseven.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/my-dog-loving-friend/

BARF World Blog

May 7, 2012
http://www.barfworld.com/blog/
Posted In : Raw Food Articles

Optimal Pet Foods Blog

May 7, 2012
http://www.optimalpetfoods.com/blog/raw-dog-food-raw-cat-food-20583.html
http://www.optimalpetfoods.com/blog/raw-dog-food-20429.html
Posted In : Raw Food Articles

Love My Dog Raw

April 17, 2012
http://www.lovemydograwdiet.ca/articles/raw-dogs-article-from-tonic-toronto/
Posted In : Raw Food Articles