That statement doesn't make a deal of sense, sugar is biologically appropriate but hardly an ideal diet lol..
100% Raw every time, its a biologically appropriate diet for dogs, its as simple as that. http://www.thehuntinglife.com/forums/pub...
this is a little out of date but gives the basics.
To BARF or not to BARF?
BARF or RAW, we’ll call it RAW for ease, is a fashionable way to feed dogs but is there any reason why it may be better than any other type of feeding? I often post in the negative, not because I intrinsically disagree with feeding dog’s raw food, it is part of my own dog’s diet, but rather that I disagree to the idea that it should be fed exclusively. It seems to me that many of the claims made to promote this exclusivity are based on little above hearsay, pseudo science and a Disneyfied idea of “nature”. Google RAW diet and you’ll find a plethora of sites promoting holistic this and homeopathic that but little in the way of science or professional backing. Then there is the evangelical belief of the followers that breach no dissent and attack the non-believer at every opportunity with avowed belief in the RAW cure for all of the supposed man made canine ills.
So let’s start with “nature”, the idea is that what’s natural is best. Well what is natural: disease, injury, starvation etc, and un-natural: medicine, physiotherapy, science etc. So it’s natural for a dog to die of parvo and un-natural to inoculate against it, or it’s natural for a working sight hound to have dewclaws and unnatural for them to be removed to reduce injury. I’ve used these two examples, though I’m sure you can think of many more, as they demonstrate the two areas I wish to discuss. The first is a disease that is natural in the sense that it is not altered by man and the second is a problem that is caused by our altering the dog from the wolf due to breeding for certain traits, in this case speed. Both examples can be described as “natural” but it would be hard to argue that “nature is best” in these circumstances. So rather than natural shall we call it inherited abilities and forget the idea that what is natural is intrinsically preferable.
Dogs have a plethora of inherited abilities varying from recent adaptations such as an increased herding instinct in a collie or the physical attributes that produce the speed of a greyhound to the far older basic biochemistry that comes from a shared ancestry with all life on the planet. These abilities have allowed man and the dog to coexist when at times it would seem that we have trouble coexisting with our own species. So to the crux RAW feeding is best because it is natural, why? Both dogs and humans can and do digest cooked food extremely well and often more easily than raw. Neither species has had time too evolve to eating a cooked diet in the few thousand years that we have been eating it beyond some very minor adaptations. What we have inherited is a “natural” ability to utilize a great variety of food sources that includes this “un-natural” cooked food. So if by cooking we reduce bacterial contamination, increase palatability and, to a degree, ease of digestion then to refuse its use on not “natural” grounds is a little like refusing the Parvo inoculation as it’s not “natural”. So if we put to one side the Disneyfied idea of “it’s not natural” is there other reasons why cooked is bad? Some oft used reason for RAW is that cooking destroys nutrients, causes cancers and tooth decay. But what does it really do to the food and its nutrients.
Nutrients, in simple terms, can be described as macro (big) protein, fats and sugars and micro (small) vitamins and minerals. Meat supplies micro and macro nutrients, the macro are protein and fat. Even lean meat from farm animals contains a fair amount of fat; in beef around 40% of its calories will come from fat. This fat will be used as energy either direct as fat or converted to sugar. The protein will be broken down and used for repair/growth or it can be converted for use as energy. Proteins are built from amino acids and these come in different types, some are classed as essential and the rest non essential. The difference is in there ability to be rebuilt into new proteins i.e. essentials can be built into any protein whereas non essential cannot. If you only eat none essentials you will lack some of the building blocks needed so a diet must include all the 10 essential amino acids to be adequate. One way of ensuring this is to eat animal protein as this contains all of them, against some vegetable proteins being short. There are many vegans that get all their and their dogs’ essential amino acids from beans and pulses etc but it takes more effort than I would want to use when all I need is a bit of meat. Both Raw and cooked meats are well digested by dogs and will supply a good amount of the nutrients they contain, there are draw backs such as contamination, this can be from bacteria, such as salmonella, or chemicals such as antibiotics/hormones, used to treat the animal source prior to death.
Carbohydrates are complex sugers and it is often claimed that dogs are not able to digest this food source but in truth that is nonsense and as I have posted on this before I will keep it short. Wolfs digest carbs very well if they are presented in a viable form, an example I’ve used in the past is an Artic wolf eating and lemmings throughout the summer. The stomach contents of the prey animals are part digested seeds etc and make up a fair proportion of a lemmings weight, these would be wasted calories if not utilised by the wolf. So our dogs have an inherited ability to deal with carbs and when presented in a viable form give good digestion rates. Through these sources the dog can gain not only the sugars but also valuable fats, protein and micro nutrients. These three food sources are common to both raw and cooked foods but as has been mentioned need to be presented to the digestive system in a usable form i.e. a lump of wood is made of carbohydrate but there are very few animals with the digestive system capable of breaking down and utilising these calories. Cooking in part has been offered as an aid to this problem and is a little easier to arrange than lemming digestion.
The last of the three food types are fats these are found in varying degrees in meat from small amounts in a wild rabbit to large amounts in a farm reared pig. Fats are used for a number of processes but for this essay we will stick with their use as an energy source. Fat has 9 calories per gram against 4 for carbs or protein so it is a dense form of fuel that forms a major part of supplying low speed, stamina type energy needs. The fats found in meat are not the only source of this nutrient there is another available source that is relatively cheap and available in the form of vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are not often met by wolves but they are well digested by dogs and, in the main, they have a bonus of being high in linolic acid which is very important to growth and general health, when lacking in puppies it leads to retarded growth, failure to thrive and skin problems (Hilda). So vegetable oils are both a cheap and also good quality form of fat that dogs can very easily assimilate in exactly the same way as they would an animal fat, again perhaps not natural but defiantly useful.
So how does how does cooked versus raw stand up? It has already been mentioned that a common accusation is that cooking destroys nutrients and the equally common answer is that cooking helps with digestion. Well as with most augments they are both right. It all depends on how and what things are cooked, there is evidence that cooking increases absorption of many micro nutrient, especially in vegetable matter, but also that it might slightly slow digestion of meat if excessive heat is used (Oste 1991). What needs to be considered is if this will affect the diet to any real degree or are the percentages just academic rather than real. If an animal is short of nutrients then there may be an argument for choosing to cook some things and not others but for the average dog in the UK or Ireland there is no reason why they should have any shortfall. So if you have a portion of meat then either cooked or raw it will supply a good quantity of its macro and micro nutrients to the dog’s digestive system. Personally I feed meat raw, as mentioned above butchers waste and rabbits etc, not because raw is intrinsically better but just the cooking is unnecessary in most situations. If a supply of cooked meat became available I would have no hesitation in feeding it as an alternative or alongside the raw and as I use a percentage of complete food it could be said I already do.
I use a variety of commercial complete foods and I have gotten good results; I must say that they have never been used as the only food but in truth for the average pet dog I find no reason why they shouldn’t be. They are more than adequate in the three food groups and necessary micro nutrients. There is an ongoing discussion about price and quality but Krogdahl et al suggests that there is more likely a variance in brand rather than price and a study they undertook showed all the brands tested exceeded minimum requirements. Carpenter looked are the digestibility of low grade meat like mechanically recovered such as might be used in pet feeds, or sausages for human consumption, and found that other than the expected variance through increased cartilage type material there was little relevant difference in digestibility from other meat sources. Dogs getting home prepared meals should also have adequate and balanced macro and micro nutrients if the owner has a realistic knowledge of feeding and if not then I would have no hesitation in recommending using such a preparatory dog food. The claims of them poising dogs and causing long term health problems seem hard to believe when over the period of there use dogs lifespans and general health has improved. This is likely in part due to better health care but if dog food was as dangerous as some would claim they would surely have a noticeable negative impact on general health and well being. There is growing evidence that burning food may have some negative health benefits but the rendering process of most pet food does not reach those sorts of temperatures. Some other negatives that are sited are dental problems but these are down to eating a soft diet rather than the ingredients so a dog fed on raw pet mince is as likely to get plaque build up as will an animal on any wet soft diet, feeding dried food will limit this to an extent. To further avoid this problem there needs to be opportunity to chew a harder object to reduce the amount of soft feed sticking to teeth and to break off plaque. Bones are very good for the latter and I feed raw bones once or twice a week but it must be born in mind that there are risks in feeding bones, even raw, and the owner needs to decide for themselves if it is worth it. There are alternatives in the form of chews etc available in most pet shops that in theory should do a similar job but not having tried them I would not like to judge.
Lastly there is the dietary effects on performance, feeding a raw only diet will give little in the way of adjustability, it may well suit the lifestyle of a wolf but not so the modern dog. Modern domestic dogs perform a great variety of jobs from the extreme of a long distance sled dog racing over hundreds of kilometres to that of a greyhound sprinting over 500mertres and their dietary needs will vary accordingly (Wakshlag et al). One problem is in the amount of protein, and this goes with high protein completes as well as RAW. Various authors including Kronk and Hill et al state that greyhounds run fastest on medium protein diets and Hill suggests, 25% protein, 30% fat and 45% carbs, whereas long distance huskies will need high fat, higher protein and only minimal carbohydrate, such as 35% protein, 45% fat and only 20% carbs. These authors suggest that increasing dietary protein to the greyhounds slowed racing. Hill suggest that carbs are useful as a recovery aid to restock glucose stores more efficiently and faster than is possible through protein and fat alone in sprint type dogs and Wakshlag goes further in suggesting that sprint type sledge dogs would also benefit from the addition of carb replenishment to aid faster recovery. The carbs that are being advocated are not available in a raw only diet, although as stated are probably part of a wolfs diet, and to exclude them would be rather like excluding an energy/electrolyte drink to Paula Radcliff because it’s not “ natural” although it will decrease race times and aid in her recovery process.
So in conclusion the RAW type diets sell books and in the world of those keen on all things “natural” in a “Disney” type way may well suit their sensibilities but in the real world then it is hard to see any real purpose or reason to such a restrictive regime. It is supported with an almost evangelical following that seems to breach no dissent but has no real science to back it beyond the all things natural brigade. I specialise in sight hound types and have for the past 40 years and these type of dogs especially have moved beyond their wolf ancestors in both physical structure and use so why oh why should they eat a wolfs diet, it doesn’t apply to their current energy requirements?
References on request posted/pm’d on request.
Edited by sandymere, 14 April 2011 - 03:45 pm.