To understand what feeding a dog correctly means, we need to put to one side all the marketing jibber-jabber we are exposed to about dog food and think about what type of fuel is best for man’s best friend. We need look no further than the shape of their jaws and teeth, the relatively short length of their intestines compared to grass eaters, and what food they would choose if they had a choice. Not only are their jaws and teeth adapted for hunting and eating meat, but their entire digestive system including the acidity of their stomachs, the enzymes that their pancreases produce to break down the food they swallow, and the bacteria that normally resides in their intestine are all designed for hunting and meat-eating. When fuelled correctly, our domesticated hunters thrive.
Since dogs were domesticated about 20,000 years ago, some changes have occurred with their digestive systems to allow them to eat more plant material (carbohydrates such as starches, sugars and fibre). Plant material and animal derivatives (ofal, skin, hair, hooves) are cheap so it is not surprising that these food sources find their way into pet food. With flavourings, colourings, and preservatives, it is possible to entice dogs to eat poor quality food. But, as with all things, you get what you pay for. In our experience as vets, dogs fed a poor-quality diet are more prone to obesity, an upset tummy, itchy skin, diabetes and even cancers.
Why feed raw?
Various nutrients such as enzymes (important for digestion and multiple body functions) and proteins are damaged by the process of cooking. Cooked meat is far better than cooked plant and animal derivatives, but raw meat is the premium option.
In order to give our pets the best food we can, a meat-based diet is an excellent start. But it is not enough. The diet must contain all the right bits and pieces (macronutrients and micronutrients) and these need to be in balance. This is difficult (although not impossible) to achieve in your own kitchen. Natural Instinct guarantees that their food contains the right balance of bits and pieces so that you don’t have to worry!
In a bid to help curb dog obesity this Spring, Natural Instinct has launched the ‘Fitness Furst’ Diet Club, providing expert opinion and advice to owners whose dogs need to ‘shred those extra doggy pounds!’ The club, hosted by Vet, Richard Doyle and Animal Behaviourist, Kirsten Dillon, will include support on feeding, diet and fitness advice for members. To register your interest in joining the club, simply email email@example.com.
Written by Vet, Richard Doyle, Director of The Wylie Veterinary Centre Ltd.