Optimising A Raw Diet For Your Dogs

Posted by Dr. Vicky Simon on 25th Nov 2021

Optimising A Raw Diet For Your Dogs

25th November 2021

Optimising A Raw Diet For Your Dogs

As a responsible pet owner you ensure your dog is getting all the goodness from their meals. Whether you DIY or feed a complete and balanced meal.

There are tons of options available these days for feeding your dogs raw. You can do DIY, whole prey, complete & balanced, or a bit of mix and match. Whichever approach you choose, there are various thing you can do to optimise the health of your pet using their diet.

 

The key centre of raw feeding is Meat, Bone, and Organs. These are essential whichever approach you take and if you don’t get the right amount of these over time then there could be a significant nutritional imbalance. The general guideline is to feed about 10% bone, possibly slightly more in growing dogs depending on size and age, and 10-15% organs, including 5% liver (this can be very rich, so take care with feeding more). With organs, the more variety you can get the better. So kidney, liver, heart, pancreas, brain, etc. In reality, most people can only get the 1st 3. Heart is really a muscle meat, but as it is the hardest working muscle in the body it is a great one to feed. The remaining 75-80% should be meat.

 

We have covered vegetables and fruit in another blog, but in summary, these make a great addition to the diet, due to all the phytonutrients they contain. These phytonutrients can help to optimise health, slow ageing and minimise the risk of chronic disease. Some are better than others so check out the other blog for more info: Feeding Your Dog Fruit & Vegetables.

 

So what else can you do? And if you are feeding a complete and balanced food with veg added, why do you need to do more?

Again this comes down to whether you want your dog to be thriving or surviving! When a diet is complete and balanced it tends to mean it fits the minimum nutrient requirements set down for that specific animal. This means these are the nutrients essential for survival, but that doesn’t mean they are the optimum levels of these nutrients, as we really don’t know what is considered optimum as that is such a hard area to study. In my opinion, the key to optimising health is in variety – variety of foods, variety of nutrients, variety of microbes (in the microbiome), variety of life! One of the easiest ways to get this variety in is through feeding a range of different flavours, so different meats. Each animals’ meat contains a slightly different selection of nutrients, and their organs are the same. So, if you only fed Beef, you would get 1 specific nutrient picture. Farmed meats will contain a different nutrient picture to wild meats; Animal meats will have a different nutrient picture to poultry meats; Meat will have a different nutrient picture to fish, etc. By feeding a good selection of flavours you will ensure that your pet gets the widest range of nutrients.

In summary, a raw diet is a fantastic diet for great health in your pet, but there are a few easy ways you can optimise the diet, and so optimise the health, of your dogs.

- Dr. Vicky Simon

The other 2 biggies that I love to add for optimum health are oily fish and eggs.

Oily fish are a fantastic source of omega 3s, useful in reducing inflammation which can be a major contributor to chronic disease. There are lots of concerns with heavy metals in ocean caught fish, due to our pollution of the oceans. These are a lot more of a problem in large ocean fish, who prey on smaller fish, as the heavy metals can then more easily accumulate in their tissues. Luckily there are lots of small oily fish available, such as pilchards, sardines, anchovies and sprats. These can be fed raw, but you can feed the odd tin of fish as well. Fish is great added to a meat-based diet as it is much richer in certain nutrients, such as Vitamins D & E, which aren’t usually found in large quantities in meat.

 

Plant based sources of omega 3s can also be added, and my favourites are those with the best omega 3 profiles: Hemp and Flax. With both these fish and plant-based omega 3s, I always prefer to add them as a whole food, rather than an oil, as oils can quickly go rancid through oxidisation once opened. If feeding them in an oil form, then ensure the bottle is kept tightly closed, stored in the fridge and you are better buying small quantities more frequently, than a large bottle to last a long time.

 

Eggs are another great nutrient powerhouse, and can be fed with the shell. An egg is designed to provide nutrients to grow a whole chicken, so it has a great range of nutrients within it. I always feed eggs raw, as I get them from my own chickens, but you can cook them if preferred. Duck, goose, quail or chicken eggs can all be fed. I think feeding egg a couple of times a week is great, but even once a week or fortnight is better than not at all. If you have a small dog then you may want to whisk up larger eggs and just feed them part of it, as if they’re tiny the whole egg might be their whole meal otherwise! Eggshell membrane has also been found to be great for the joints, particularly with arthritis, so even more reason to include the shell.

 

Fermented foods are my final top diet optimising food, and again with these, variety is best. There are a huge range of fermented foods now available for you to buy, but they’re also very easy to make yourself. Each different food item will ferment a slightly different collection of good bacteria, so more variety with these, will help add to more variety in the microbiome. The most well known fermented foods are kefir, yoghurt and sauerkraut. Kefir and yoghurt are both dairy-based so monitor your dogs reaction to see if this suits them, as some don’t get on with dairy. Others are much better with goat or sheep dairy, instead of cow, so this is worth considering too. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage so suits most dogs. If you add a selection of other veg to the cabbage when it ferments then you will increase the diversity of bacteria your pet is getting. With any fermented food, start with a small amount and build it up, as too much at once can upset some digestive systems. 1tsp is a good place to start, and after a week, try increasing to 2-3tsp, depending on the size of your dog. If a small or toy breed, then you may want to start even smaller.

 

In summary, a raw diet is a fantastic diet for great health in your pet, but there are a few easy ways you can optimise the diet, and so optimise the health, of your dogs.



Our complete meals contain added fruit & vegetables including apple, parsley, carrot, broccoli and kelp.

Naked Green Tripe provides a nutritious meal that your dog will find very hard to resist! Green tripe contains natural digestive enzymes and probiotics, making it a great choice for dogs with digestive symptoms. Raw feeding is your way of feeding your dog their natural diet, the barf diet.

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Naked Green Tripe provides a nutritious meal that your dog will find very hard to resist! Green tripe contains natural digestive enzymes and probiotics, making it a great choice for dogs with digestive symptoms. Raw feeding is your way of feeding your dog their natural diet, the barf diet.

Sold out
Naked Green Tripe provides a nutritious meal that your dog will find very hard to resist! Green tripe contains natural digestive enzymes and probiotics, making it a great choice for dogs with digestive symptoms. Raw feeding is your way of feeding your dog their natural diet, the barf diet.

Sold out
Naked Green Tripe provides a nutritious meal that your dog will find very hard to resist! Green tripe contains natural digestive enzymes and probiotics, making it a great choice for dogs with digestive symptoms. Raw feeding is your way of feeding your dog their natural diet, the barf diet.

Sold out

Written by Dr. Vicky Simon

Vicky graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 2012. She then spent seven years in two small animal integrated veterinary practices. Vicky practiced conventional medicine, surgery and diagnostics alongside herbal medicine, homeopathy, natural feeding and acupuncture. Vicky completed a two year veterinary herbal course in 2015 and qualified as a veterinary homeopath in 2019. Vicky is an advocate of raw feeding and a member of the Raw Feeding Society. Vicky established her own clinic, Holistic Vet Vicky in 2020. She is able to take referrals for holistic veterinary medicine and also offer general holistic health advice. In her spare time Vicky enjoys spending time with her pets and the great outdoors; using nature as a basis for cooking and health.

Learn more about Dr. Vicky Simon

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