Hey everyone and to welcome to epoch.pet!
A massive aim of ours is to promote raw feeding for our furry friends, so on this page, you will find all the information you need to start your pet on a raw diet. There are so many reasons to do so and we will mention a few down below.
So let’s get started learning all about the best feeding method for your fur baby.
What is Raw Feeding?
Well, raw feeding is when you feed a domesticated carnivore a diet that consists of:
- Raw muscle meat.
- Raw edible meaty bones.
- And raw offal.
It is a natural feeding method that will provide your pet with all their nutritional requirements and keep them strong and fit so they can live a happy and healthy life.
There are many reasons to feed your pet a raw diet and here are just a few:
- It is an all natural diet which means no harsh chemicals, preservatives or nasty ingredients are present in your pet’s food. Since you are giving your pet a diet that consists of raw meat, raw edible bones and raw offal their meals are free from all the nasty stuff that overly processed commercial pet food can contain.
- Feeding a raw diet is superior to an overly processed commercial diet due to a verity of reasons such as Nutritionally superior protein sources, lower carbohydrates, and no harsh chemicals or preservatives.
- A raw diet mimics what our dogs closest ancestor the Grey wolf would eat in the wild.
- Your pet’s diet will be more varied resulting in a happier, healthier pet.
- Lastly, a raw diet can help animals who suffer from digestive issues or skin ailments due to the high amount of carbohydrates and other undesirable ingredients that are present in overly processed commercial pet food.
These are just a few of many reasons why you should feed your pet a raw diet.
So let’s start by getting to know the two main models of raw feeding.
- Prey Model Raw (PMR) or Whole Prey model.
- BARF Model (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw food)
Prey Model Raw (PMR)
So let’s start with the Prey Model Raw (PMR) and the ethos of this model is to attempt to resemble what our dog’s ancestors would eat in the wild which we know is whole prey.
If you haven’t guessed already this is when you feed your pet the whole animal.
An example of this is feeding a whole rabbit or squirrel.
This is the perfect model since we as raw feeders are ultimately trying to mimic what our dog’s ancestors the Grey Wolf would eat in the wild.
PMR feeders believe that dogs are true carnivores and have strict rules on what they think is appropriate for their pet to eat.
The PMR model excludes:
- All dairy.
- And limits supplementation.
This model is the strictest out of the two and a true PMR feeder thinks that their pet does not need to eat any of the above and there diet should solely consist of whole prey.
However, some PMR feeders do supplement with Omega- 3 fatty acids, as standard commercial proteins such as intensely reared chickens, have been fed a diet of high grains which results in much lower Omega-3 fatty acids being present than a high welfare bird or wild prey.
Even though this model focuses on feeding Whole prey there are two different approaches a PMR feeder can take when using this model.
Your options are:
- Feeding strictly just whole prey.
- Or Franken Prey feeding.
We know what feeding strictly whole prey is but what is Franken feeding?
Well, this is when PMR feeders piece together different proteins to reach the required ratios of whole prey. This is an easier way of feeding the PMR method as not everyone can get their hands on whole prey with feathers and innards still intact.
An example of this is a PMR feeder giving their pet a whole duck or chicken from the supermarket and giving them offal and maybe some rabbit pelt on the side to mimic feeding whole prey.
My Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Nia loves eating whole prey, her favourite being a squirrel.
However, my Border Terrier Lily is far too fussy to even humor the idea of eating whole prey!! I think this model is great if you can get a constant supply of whole prey and even Franken feeding is a more convenient way of feeding your pet using the Prey model Raw (PMR) method.
So whats the pro and cons of the Prey Model Raw/Whole prey method?
Well, let’s start with the pros:
- It is the most simple and effective method out of the two for ensuring your pet is getting everything it requires on a raw diet.
I would say this is the main selling point for me, the fact that all you have to do is find the correct weighing whole prey then stick it down for your furry friend to enjoy. There is no worrying about giving your pet the correct ratios because everything is already perfectly balanced.
- It is quick and easy.
Feeding whole prey is simple like I said above, all you have to do is make sure you are feeding the correct weighing whole prey and you’re sorted.
- Identical to their natural diet.
By feeding your dog using this method you are providing them with a diet similar to their closest ancestors, the Grey wolf.
So that’s the pros, now let’s talk about what could be considered not so great about the PMR method.
- It can be a bit messy.
The main issue with feeding a PMR diet is that is can be a bit messy when feeding inside your home.
Since your feeding, a whole animal that still has all its guts and unfortunately poo inside this can result in some of those innards going all over your kitchen floor. However, this can be solved easily by feeding outside in your garden or by purchasing an extra large feeding mat.
- It isn’t a good method for fussy pets.
I have both extremes with my girls, Nia is pretty much willing to eat anything and turns her nose up at very little. Whereas Lily the youngest out of the two is about as fussy as it gets and won’t consider eating whole prey. If we are lucky she will occasionally eat some rabbit pelt or a chick if she’s feeling adventures but that’s as far as she will go!
So this method of raw feeding for fussy pets is not the best.
- It can be hard to get hold of enough whole prey to solely just feed your pet using this method.
Unless your a farmer or hunter it can be difficult to get enough whole prey to feed your pet for the month. We order our raw food from Scruffles Pet Supplies or Paleo Ridge and some months there isn’t a lot of whole prey on offer which limits how much we can feed.
Now it’s time to move on to the second method of Raw Feeding and this is the BARF approach.
The BARF model
BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw food.
This method is a bit more tricky as it’s your responsibility to ensure your pet is getting the correct ratio of muscle meat, bone, and offal. BARF feeders make their pets meals by sourcing separate components of different animals and putting them together to mimic the correct ratio that their pet requires.
The BARF method of raw feeding is great if you have a fussy pet and want to switch or start them on a raw diet, cannot get access to whole prey or just simply prefer this method over Prey Model Raw (PMR).
There are two different feeding methods for BARF feeders and these are:
- The DIY approach, where you make your pets homemade meals from a verity of proteins, following the BARF percentages.
- Or you can purchase commercially prepared raw food from raw feeding manufacturers and distributors.
We started out making our girls meals using store-bought minces, chicken legs, offal and Natures Menus minces from Pets at home. However, after a while, we realised how unvaried their meals were and we really wanted to start giving them more verity and adding some whole prey in.
Thankful my partner stumbled across Scruffles Pet Supply’s one night and we have never looked back. We now order our girl’s food online from various companies, it’s so simple and they love how much variety they are getting, unlike before.
Pros of the BARF method.
- Have easy access to raw food.
Since the BARF approach is a DIY method then it is very easy to get hold of different proteins to feed your pet. You could go to your local supermarket or butchers and get a mixture of different meats or you could do what we do and order from a raw feeding distributor.
Either way, you won’t struggle to get hold of raw food.
- This method allows you to add some fruit, veg, and dairy into your pet’s meals.
We know that PMR feeders don’t believe that their pets should be consuming fruit, veg, and dairy but when following the BARF method it is totally fine in moderation.
We love to give our girls:
- Goats milk
- And a small amount of fruit such as Blackberries or Blueberries as a treat every now again or on the side of their meals.
Kefia is filled full of healthy probiotics and is great for maintaining a good balance of healthy gut bacteria. Please don’t give your pet cows dairy products as it is not easily digestible and most cows milk from Europe contains A1 beta-casein which is pro-inflammatory.
Why feed your pet a raw diet?
- Raw feeding provides your pet with all their nutritional requirements.
Raw feeding is the best feeding method for ensuring you are providing your pet with everything it needs to live a happy and healthy life.
- Raw feeding gives your pet a varied diet that is suited to their genetic makeup.
Both methods focus on feeding your pet a diet that works alongside their biology.
Unlike mass-produced commercial diets, raw diets take into consideration what our pets are built to eat, which is a high protein and fat diet, with a low functional carbohydrate intake.
- Feeding raw will give your pet a super shiny and healthy looking coat.
What you will notice from feeding your pet a raw diet is how quickly their coat changes from dull and dry, to super soft and shiny. You can tell a raw fed pet from a processed commercially fed one just by looking at them.
- Your pet will have more energy on a Raw diet.
One thing I have noticed from feeding our girls a raw diet since they where pups are how much more energy they have in comparison to my non-raw fed pets in the past.
- Feeding raw bones will keep your pets teeth clean.
Raw bones are natures tooth brushes for dogs, by feeding your pet a raw diet you will help maintain a clean set of teeth and in turn have a healthy and happy pet.
Honestly, the list of benefits goes on and on. These are only a few of the many reasons why raw feeding your pet is the best option for ensuring our they live a happy and healthy life.
So a lot of people worry and get really stressed out when they are first starting or even considering raw feeding because they aren’t sure how much they need to feed their pet.
The truth is it is so simple!
The basic percentages for feeding your pet is worked out in relation to their ideal expected body weight.
You should feed your pet 2-3% of their ideal expected body weight per day.
My girl Nia’s ideal body weight is about 15/16 kilos.
1% of 15 Kilos is 150grams x 2 is a total of 300grams a day.
1% of 16 Kilos is 160grams x 3 is a total of 480grams a day.
Therefore she gets between 300 and 480grams a day, it all depends on how much exercise she has done and also how lean or plump she is looking.
What is important is to keep a close eye on how your pet looks and adjust accordingly, if your pet looks too skinny and has started doing more exercise then increase how much you feed. If your pet is starting to put weight on or has had a decrease in exercise then decrease how much you give them.
It is very easy to find out what your pet’s ideal expected body weight should be, you could:
- Search online.
There are many places online you can find out your pets ideal expected body weight if you just search your dogs breed along with ideal expected body weight it should come up straight away.
- Ask your veterinarian
You could ask your vet when you take your puppy or dog for a checkup as they will most likely know how much your pet should be expected to weigh when fully grown.
Once you have found out your pet’s ideal expected body weight then you can start working out how much to feed them per day.
So depending on what raw feeding method you go for will depend on how much muscle meat, raw meaty bones, and offal you give your pet.
If you want to use the Prey Model Raw (PMR) method, then you will feed your pet:
- 80% Muscle Meat
- 10% Raw meaty bones
- 10% Organs & Offal (5% of this must consist of liver!)
This is what a PMR feeder would give their pet following this method.
However, if you follow the BARF method then the percentages are a little different.
- 70% muscle meat.
- 10% Raw meaty bones.
- 10% offal (5% of this must consist of liver!)
- 10% fruit, veg or dairy such as kefia, goats milk or other appropriate diary sources, not cows products.
If you choose to feed the BARF method and do not want to constantly give your pet fruit, veg or dairy in their meals then just follow the percentages for Prey Model Raw (PMR) and add them in when you feel like it.
Feeding percentages for a puppy
So feeding percentages are a little different for puppies as they require more meals per day and extra nutrients to ensure they grow into a strong and healthy pooch.
You will find a verity of percentages out there but the resource I use is Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for dogs by Jonathan Self. The following information has been taken from this book and I definitely suggest purchasing it if you are going to start raw feeding, I have found it to be invaluable!
In terms of volume of food there is no hard-and-fast rule but, generally speaking, you should follow these guidelines:
- 0-4 months: 8%
- 4-6 months: 6-8%
- 6-9 months 4%
- 9-12 months: 3%
- >12 months: 2%
The percentage refers to the weight of the food to be fed per day in relation to the body weight of the puppy.
The transition should be gradual, not sudden. So the day a puppy turns 6 months you don’t suddenly drop the food from 8% to 4% and in case of smaller breeds you need to up the quantity by half as much again. (Self, J. 2012 Honey’s Natural feeding handbook, second edition, page 88)
Remember that puppies must consume more meals a day than an adult dog, give your puppy 3 meals a day and always supervise when feeding.
Feeding a balanced diet is vital to all dogs but especially puppies as they require a verity of nutrients to ensure normal bone development and that they grow into a strong and healthy dog. Dogs have ten essential amino acids that their body cannot manufacture themselves, therefore they must acquire them from their diet.
Up until a few years ago, I didn’t know anything about raw feeding and it was only when we got Nia, that I learned what our pets should really be eating!
At first, people think the idea of giving their dog or cat a diet of raw meat is absurd but the truth is it is what they are made to eat.
We have become totally brainwashed into thinking that our pets need to be eating a processed commercially prepared diet of wet food and kibble and this is all because of good advertising.
The truth is that we as pet owners are silently hurting our pets by providing them with a diet that welcomes all kind of harmful diseases such as cancer, diabetes, digestive issues, skin allergies and so much more. The fact that pet obesity is so common in today’s society just proves that what we are giving our furry friends is not appropriate for ensuring they live a happy and healthy life.
But we can change and help many pets and their owners around the world by spreading the word about raw feeding and the amazing benefits it brings to our pets.
We as owners are responsible for ensuring we are doing the best we can do for our fur babies. So if you don’t raw feed yourself or know people who have no clue that raw feeding even exists, please share this post and let people know that there is a healthier more natural way to feed our pets.
Don’t forget that your dog is 98.8% genetically similar to a Grey wolf and they have the same digestive system, which means our dogs should be consuming a species appropriate diet to suit their genetic makeup.
Let’s go back to what nature intended!
I hope this has helped anyone who wishes to start their pet on a raw diet if you have any more questions just head over to our Contact page and let us know how we can help.
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