Should you feed your pet raw meat?
Well, let’s see!
Dear readers, this publication is for those of you who’ve been sitting on the fence and wanting to switch your pet to a raw food diet yet you’re quite not sure about how to implement that switch.
And for those who have a genuine interest in feeding their pet raw food as a result of knowing or experiencing the incredible health benefits that come with it.
Although, commercial pet foods are all over the place; nevertheless, some people believe in feeding a strict RAW meat diet consisting of beef, chicken, duck, turkey, or lamb to their pet.
The theory of feeding pet raw meat has to do with feeding your pet the way nature intended.
Pet owners, however, prefer to stick to simple, nutritious, and above all, natural diets for their pets. As humans move towards the all-natural foods, pet owners have been bringing their pets into the whole food movement as well.
Whether you choose to eat foods, stick to a Paleo diet, or even choose a raw food diet, eating healthily is good for both you and your pet.
Many vets are more prone to tell you that that kibble is better.
Well, this could be for a number of reasons.
Have you ever noticed that your vet usually sells a specific brand of pet food on his shelf? This is because he gets a kickback from that company for selling that brand.
If you have a vet who does not understand the nutritional value of feeding your pets a diet that is as close as to what they would eat in the wild, then you can do one of these two things.
You can either request that your vet go back for a couple of more years of education, or you can switch vet. Dogs and cats that are fed raw diets have a tendency to be generally healthier than the ones that are given strictly kibble.
Dogs that live in the wild are used to catching and killing their prey, as well as eating carrion, so they are more used to gnawing and chewing bones than regular dogs that eat kibble.
Hence, domesticated dogs that eat kibble still have this natural urge to chew, give their jaws a workout and scrub their teeth, and bones provide perfect outlet to do so. Since bones are a lot tastier than many other items that dogs commonly chew, dogs love them.
So selecting a raw food diet for your pet is a sensible call. The drawback though is that going raw can be a massive commitment on the part of the pet owner, particularly if the animal has been primarily raised on commercial food.
The transition to raw can be tricky, and preparing certain homemade recipes can be laborious. However, the health advantages of feeding your pet friend a well-balanced raw food diet completely outweigh the sacrifices, and the price savings for food and hospital care over the life of your pet are definitely worth it.
Potential benefits of raw pet food diet supporters tout include:
- Shinier coats
- Healthier skin
- Cleaner teeth
- Higher energy levels
- Smaller stools
- Improved immune system
- Reduced risk of diabetes
When considering raw treats for your pet, look for the following:
1) Beef raw meat
We may insist that our little Labrador would never hurt a fly, but when we see them tearing the guts out of a new stuffed toy, we can’t help but think of their carnivorous instinct.
The pets we share our homes with live mostly on kibble and carrot sticks, but we can see their inner meat-eater every time we look at them. One look at those sharp teeth and we can’t help but wonder if meat may be better for them than kibble.
Many people love beef, so it seems like a good treat for our domesticated canine companions.
But is it safe and healthy? Can dogs have beef?
Beef is one of the most widely available and most commonly used meat sources for pet food, second only perhaps to chicken. Beef and beef by-product (by-product indicating non-meat parts of the body like offal, bone, feet, and horns) are the major red meat sources.
The majority of beef used in processed pet food is actually meat meal, which is a combination of all non-useable body parts from the slaughterhouse (e.g. bones with meats left on, offal, contaminated carcass parts, etc…) which is ground to a pulp and then dried at high temperature to produce a powdered product.
Meat meal generally forms the protein component of dry foods and is also used, in combination with milled cereal and gelatin, to form the “meaty chunks” in tinned pet foods.
One of the beef’s biggest assets is its large amounts of protein.
Protein provides the raw materials that make up nearly every part of your pet’s body, from their fur to their toenails, to the muscles that help them twitch their nose and swivel their ears.
Animal proteins contain all of the essential amino acids that your dog will need to build and maintain a healthy body. Beef products are also very high in iron, which may help prevent anemia.
Nutritionally, beef can be quite good if it is raised naturally on pasture. It has good amounts of protein and can have quite high-fat content (14%+), and this level can be much higher in grain fed beef.
In traditional Chinese Medicine, beef is seen as “heating” meat, because it originates from a colder climate. Beef is often raised using traditional farming practices, which include the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, drenches, and antibiotics.
Free-range, organic beef can have a lower fat content than the traditionally farmed product, cost per kilo is higher.
Since the pet is well-nourished, its activity will also be improved, if your pet is inactive and seems to look lethargic, a raw beef diet can transform it into one that is aggressive, active, and full of energy.
Of course, this is if your pet doesn’t have any other underlying condition which makes it lethargic or move seemingly without enough energy.
2) Chicken raw meat
Can pets eat raw chicken?
The answer is yes.
Pets can certainly eat raw chicken including the bones.
Chicken is a common ingredient in many pet foods. Poultry serves as a great source of protein and a very good source of the cancer-protective B vitamin, niacin, which aids in energy metabolism.
Components of DNA require niacin, and a deficiency of niacin can cause fatigue, poor appetite or vision, high cholesterol, diabetes, and muscle weakness that may increase infections and digestive problems in male and female animal pets.
Raw chicken, along with the bone is relatively safe for your pet to eat. The bones are chewy when raw and are a beneficial part of your pet’s diet.
When you feed your pet chicken bones, you have few more precautions to take.
First, ensure that the bones you’re bringing your pet aren’t cooked. As soon as they’re cooked, they take on that brittle, splintering quality that can damage the esophagus and intestine, as well as lodge in the throat or digestive tract.
The bones should be big enough that they can’t be swallowed whole by your pet. Feed raw bones in moderation.
While they’re food for your pet, too many of them will constipate your pet.
Some say the raw chicken meat may contain bacteria that are unsafe, and therefore should not be fed to dogs.
There’s is a possibility of salmonella contamination if your pet eats raw chicken. However, dogs
However, a dog’s digestive system is developed in a way that can process even contaminated foods. This means dogs and cats can eat raw chicken with relative safety.
As a precaution, you can control the amount of potential contamination by following the same procedures you would in human food preparation.
Namely rinsing the raw chicken thoroughly before serving and making sure worktops are clean.
Do not suddenly throw old food away and begin to feed your pet raw chicken. Start by introducing one or two small raw chicken wings into your pet’s regular diet.
Continue to do this over a lengthy period of time until you are confident you can completely switch to raw foods without any complication.
The dietary change to raw food for your cat should take several weeks to complete, and only if you have not witnessed any adverse effects.
Feeding cats raw chicken is the best idea as you can find it cheaper than other meats. You may have to do a bit of dressing yourself to prep the meats such as cleaning and cutting the meat into proportions the pet can eat and not make a mess.
I also wash it with vinegar and pack the pieces into small Ziploc bags so they don’t stick together. You might prepare a week’s worth of meat in one shot, freezing the excess and defrosting it each day. It is best to freeze meats for at least three days prior to feeding as it gets rid of all the salmonella worries.
In addition to aiding in energy metabolism, a diet inclusive of chicken can also have positive effects on cardiovascular health.
One of the main benefits of incorporating chicken into your pet’s diet is that it can help decrease bone loss in your dog, an ailment that many again dogs suffer from (mainly in the hip area).
3) Fish raw meat
Whether they are fresh or frozen, whole fish provide adequate nutrition for dogs and cats. In areas that have access to local sources of fish, it can be a readily available source of protein.
This can be a nice option for people who are looking to include another variety of meat into their pet’s diet. It’s important to note the importance of feeding whole fish (blood, guts, bones, internal organs, eyes, and of course skin), as this is considered a well-rounded nutrient source.
Whole fish also provide high levels of Taurine which is a valuable component for cats and it is also an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids.
If you’ve ever taken a glimpse at the ingredient panel of your pet’s food or examine other brands of pet food in the store, then you know that fish is frequently on the menu.
Just because it is an ingredient in pet food; however, does not mean that dogs and cats can safely eat just any old fish we throw their way. If you want to add a fishy treat to your pet’s diet, here’s what you need to know.
Best Types of Fish for Pets
There are many fish in the sea, but the most common types of fish used in commercial pet food are shorter-lived species like salmon, ocean whitefish, lake whitefish, herring, walleye, founder, and Arctic char.
Longer-lived fish species, like tuna and swordfish, on the other hand, can contain heavy metals like mercury. Mercury builds up over time in the fish’s system can lead to heavy metal toxicity, which is why feeding a shorter-lived fish species is preferable to tuna or swordfish. With some many fish to choose from, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Is Fish a Good Diet For Pets With Allergies?
The bioavailable essential fatty acids in fish can help to heal sore, flaky, damaged or itchy skin. This is because Omega-3fats found in fish oil help to reduce inflammation, which can lessen the intensity of many allergies.
Omega-3 fats can also reduce a dog’s reaction to pollen and other common allergy triggers found in the environment.
In the wild, the canine didn’t just restrict himself to eating just the meat of his prey. He ate the entire animal, including the contents of the stomach. Wild dogs and cats were known to kill each other while fighting over the stomach content of their prey.
Thus, nature provided the wild animal with a diet considered nutritionally complete.
Leading Veterinary Surgeon and Homeopath Sue Armstrong, says “Fish is an excellent easy to digest protein source for dogs and cats. With only one protein source the recipe is suitable for animals with hypersensitivity to other meat types”.
With a good broad vegetable spectrum and added super foods it is a perfect complete meal.
4) Goat raw meat
Beef, chicken, and pork are more widely consumed at American dinner table than any other protein so most people are surprised to learn that goat is the world’s most popular meat!
Approximately 75% of the world’s population eats goat meat.
Goat meat, also known as Chevon, Capretto or Cabrito, is the most widely eaten meat in the world. Popularity in Australia is increasing as diversity in population grows. Feral goat meat is now commonly fed as pet meat.
Goat is available at many butchers and is becoming more widely available in supermarkets due to the demand attributed to its use on television cooking shows.
Goat meat is lean and lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken, lower in calories than beef, lamb, and pork and contains iron levels higher than beef. The taste is described as being similar to lamb.
Goat has a great flavor and is very healthy protein, especially for health since it is naturally low in fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is over 50% lower in fat than beef and is 40% lower in saturated fat than chicken.
Goat as a protein source is virtually nonexistent in today’s dog food market, despite the fact is such a great protein source for pet. By adding goat as regular protein to your pet’s diet, you help the development of food allergies while giving them a more complete feeding cycle with rotational feeding.
Goat is actually the world’s most consume red meat, which is probably news to most of us in the USA since it’s only the last few years that goat started becoming more of an option in this country.
We have already been touting the benefits of goat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and the meat is now also gaining popularity.
On the other hand, if you have a pet that has always been picky about food, he may not like the raw food you offer him as a treat, Some pet might try a bite and spit it out.
Pets really have individual reactions to raw food when they are older. But offering your dog a little raw goat won’t hurt them if you have followed good food handling practices with the food.
The fact that goat meat is a less-common protein source in this country is great news for our pets since the overuse of chicken, beef, and lamb in commercial pet foods has led to a range of issues in our furry friend including various intolerances and allergies.
Dog love bones so if there are bones in the meat you want to give your dog, the rule is as follows: big raw bones are fine but don’t give your dog cooked bones. Those are the bones that can splinter and harm your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
They can lodge in your dog’s throat or puncture his intestines. They are dangerous. But uncooked bones are softer and more pliable. Your dog can handle them.
Feeding more unusual, or “novel” protein sources to our pets can help alleviate many of our canine companions’ issues.
5) Turkey raw meat
Turkey is a much drier meat than chicken and is ideal for dogs or cats that may be allergic to other sources of protein. It’s also relatively low in fat, so can assist with a weight reduction diet.
When you swap him to raw, you remove the possibility that even though he may be healthy now, the odds are stacked against him remaining so. By swapping him to raw BEFORE he gets sick, you can stack the odds of him remaining healthy, he will then thrive, not merely survive.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Bones?
Some veterinarians say that “No bones is a good bone”. If you really want to feed chicken or turkey bones to your puppy, so be aware: ANY bone that has been cooked has become breakable, and a dog chewing on it can cause it to shatter into small pieces, which can choke or seriously cut, your dog.
Only provide raw bones to your dog.
Turkey Necks And Ground Turkey
Raw food diets include turkey necks as raw meaty bones. Raw meaty bones consist of raw meat and soft edible bone and can be consumed in their entirety.
It combines both 70% white meat and 30% dark meat are both high in protein and low in fat (except for the skin). Turkey is a good nutritional source of iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorous, and contains vitamin B6 and niacin.
Turkey farming is nowhere near as intensive as chicken sheds, and most birds enjoy a lot more space and outdoor time.
Some individuals feed raw turkey necks to their pets for teeth-cleaning purposes, in addition to the calcium they provide. Raw turkey meat can also be ground before feeding it to your pet.
Even when bone is ground with the meat, ground meat doesn’t clean your pet’s teeth the way that whole turkey necks do.
What About Frozen Turkey?
The worst thing about frozen turkeys is just that, they are frozen. It takes such a long time to thaw them out so the pets can eat them. However, unlike thawing turkeys for humans, you don’t have to worry about health issues when thawing the turkey for your dog.
Any “bugs” the turkey gets while thawing won’t affect canines. Once the turkey is thawed, you can either feed it to your dog whole or do as I do and cut it up into individual meals.
Any time you rapidly change your pet’s diet you risk the occurrence of pancreatic problems. This is because a pet really needs an adjusted period to diet changes.
This means that you should start any and all changes slowly. Do not be so fast to toss the kibble in the trash and start throwing raw turkeys and carrots to your pet instead. You will want to begin slowly.
Start by incorporating a couple of small raw turkey wings in your pet’s regular diet. Continue to do this until you are able to gradually switch completely to raw foods. This process will not happen overnight and the diet change should take weeks to complete.
6) Lamb raw meat
Raw lamb pet food is great “red meat” alternative to raw beef when taking the raw pet food route as it is much less likely to have harmful properties.
Lamb is often recommended to pet owners by veterinarians and is one of the best and most nutritious meats for cats and dogs. Lamb is an optimal source of protein, infused with the essential amino acids pets need to stay healthy and active.
The structure of the canine body is built on protein, and they require both animal and plant sources of protein (many people don’t know this).
Raw meaty bones such as lamb ribs (not lamb chops though), raw lamb flaps, and raw lamb tail bones, help to keep teeth and gums healthy. Too many raw bones may lead to constipation.
Generally, 1-2 raw bones may be offered per week with a few days in between each serving. The bone must be large enough so that the dog cannot fit the whole bone in its mouth or swallow the bone whole.
Never feed cooked bones as these can splinter and cause internal or become an intestinal obstruction. Always supervise pets when they are raw bones. Dogs ‘like’ bones very much and sometimes become protective.
It’s a widely known fact that dogs love their bones. They salivate at the site of them and just love to drag one off to a quiet place and gnaw on it for hours. But there are a few misconceptions about what bones dogs can and can’t have.
Raw, not cooked
Make sure that any bones you give your dog is raw. I know a lot of pet owners give their pooch cooked bones left over from a roast or a ham, but it’s not a great idea.
Cooked bones are softer and lose a lot of their structure. This causes them to break and splinter easily and these pieces get stuck in your dog’s esophagus and digestive tract.
One of the biggest benefits of feeding lamb to your pet is that it’s a good source of zinc, a mineral that affects many fundamental processes, including that of immune functioning.
If one mineral were to be singled out for its beneficial effects on the immune system, zinc would definitely be the most notable of them all. A cofactor in a wide variety of enzymatic reactions, zinc is critical, not only to immune function but is essential in wound healing, as well as for normal cell division.
Zinc also helps pets stabilize their blood sugar levels and their body’s metabolic rate, and is necessary for an optimal sense of smell.
7) Duck raw meat
When today’s pet parents browse through the aisles of pet food stores, they have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to protein sources for their pets.
The main protein options for pets used to be chicken or beef, and while those two types of meat are still popular, there are other novel proteins that pet parents can try.
One such less common meat option for pets is duck. Duck is rich in iron and it provides pets with a lean, easy-to-digest protein source. Duck is also a great source of amino acids, which helps to support strong muscles.
Duck is a healthy choice for many dog owners, and pet foods containing duck are becoming more commonly prescribed by veterinarians due to its high protein and low-fat content.
Duck is an excellent source of high-quality protein and contains a well-balanced array of amino acids. Duck also contains generous amount of iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.
Many pet owners with dogs that have food allergies switch to foods containing duck, due to the fact that duck is probably one of the best foods to feed pets who have allergic reactions to other forms of meat.
More and more pet owners are considering duck for dogs as a protein variation and as a solution to common food allergies.
Duck has several options when it comes to raw, meaty bones for dogs and cats of all sizes:
Necks are the leanest option for duck raw, meaty bones, as they do not have the skin attached. They are a medium size bone, making them great small or medium sized pets.
Duck necks can be too small for large dogs that don’t chew their food. Each neck is approximately 4 oz. making them a great whole meal otpion.
Duck feet provide a healthy treat for dogs and cats. Some pets prefer them frozen as they have a rubbery texture once thawed. Duck feet average about an ounce each so they can be fed as an occasional treat or you can account for them within your pet’s meal.
Many owners feed duck feet daily, as they are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin. They are a fantastic option to provide your pet with natural join support.
Pets rely on a high-protein diet for optimal health. Of course, some proteins are better than others, and duck meat is among the proteins with the best biological value to pets.
Like humans, dogs and cats thrive on a varied diet, and the introduction of duck into a diet that relies heavily on beef or chicken can help create a more balanced nutritional profile. Unlike humans, pet’s allergies are nearly related to common food proteins, and duck for pets represents relief chronic allergic itch.
Why offer duck for pets?
Duck meat is a rich source of trace minerals like selenium, zinc, copper, and iron. These help boost the immune system, support the thyroid, promote red blood cell health and keep energy levels balanced. Vitamin B3 (niacin) and many other B vitamins help keep the heart strong and contribute to skin and coat health. Duck meat also contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 for antioxidant protection against free radicals and vitamin A for eye health.