Welcome to epoch.pet’s raw feeding section!
Here you can find everything you need to no to start your pet on a raw diet following the Prey Model Raw (PMR) method or the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) method.
On this Raw Feeding 101 page, we will cover the basics of raw feeding and answer some frequently asked questions such as:
- What is raw feeding?
- Why should I start my pet on a raw diet?
- Is my pet safe to eat raw meat?
- What are the useful resources out there to help get you started?
I’m thrilled you’ve ended up on epoch.pet and our raw feeding section, as that most likely means you are considering raw feeding your pet. However, whether you are pet owners with no raw feeding knowledge, a little or a complete novice; you’re in the right place.
To start, I want to tell you a little about my raw feeding journey and how I’ve managed to get to grips with everything raw over the last six years.
My Raw Feeding Journey
Initially, when my partner and I first got together, he had a stunning rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Freya (to learn more about Free check out the linked post) who wasn’t fed a raw diet.
However, after heartbreakingly losing her to a road accident just six months into our relationship, we decided to get a puppy, another little staffy, who we called Nia. This time my partner was adamant that we were going to give little Nia the best life possible, which meant looking into the multiple feeding options out there.
After a few weeks of investigation, we settled on feeding Nia a raw diet, which neither of us had heard of before. Initially, I felt quite lost, and I remember the first time we fed her a raw chicken wing, everything in my head was screaming, is this right? Can she handle raw chicken? Will this make her ill?
These feelings of doubt may be how you are currently feeling, and that is entirely normal. We spend our whole lives, for a good reason told to be extra cautious around raw meat, ensure your meats thoroughly cooked and for us humans these are sensible rules we should follow.
However, for our four-legged companions, the rules may be bent as they are really wild animals in disguise and not only survive but thrive on a raw diet.
A Wild Animal In Disguise
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com
- Can my pet eat a raw diet?
Although our often cute and docile dogs may look a lot different from their wild counterparts, under the skin, they are very much the same. Through our countless generations of selective breeding, we have chosen to modify the temperament firstly, favouring the more friendly and obedient, and secondly the size and shape to create a vast amount of variation in the appearance of one breed to the next. With this, we can truly see how much potential is locked away in these genes.
One aspect that we have not significantly influenced by all of this selective breeding is the digestive system, obviously, over the time we have spent together some aspects have changed. For instance, our dogs have a higher tolerance for starches than that of the Grey Wolf, and this is likely due to generations of poor diets provided by people with not a lot to offer and constant availability of table scraps.
Despite this, the similarities between our furry friends and the Grey Wolf are uncanny, and there is no other place we should look to see what our dogs should be eating to be in optimum health. What do Grey Wolves eat then, and what can we take from this to try to feed our dogs the right thing? You might be under the impression that wolves and dogs fall into the same group as we do, and as omnivores, we can eat a wide range of meat and vegetable matter.
However, our dogs and their wild counterparts fall between what it is to be a carnivore and an omnivore; this group is referred to as ‘non-obligate carnivores’ or ‘facultative carnivores’. Which can be confusing as there are no distinct lines drawn between the amounts of vegetable matter a non-obligate carnivore could eat before it would be classed as an omnivore.
And this is why our dogs can survive on a diet rich in carbohydrates such as low-quality kibble or canned/pouched wet food that is limited in protein and fat. They are still able to get nutrients from it, but that doesn’t mean it is benefiting them or helping them to be in an optimum state, which is not the case for our feline friends though as they are strict carnivores. To learn more about raw feeding for cats, check out our post on Raw Feeding for cats: the basics!.
2. What is raw feeding?
Now that you are aware of your canine companion’s ability to not only survive but thrive on a raw diet, what exactly is raw feeding?
Raw feeding is when you feed a domesticated carnivore a diet that consists of:
- Raw Muscle meat
- Raw Edible Meaty Bones
- Raw Organ Meat
It is an all-natural feeding method that will provide your pet with all their nutritional requirements and keep them healthy and fit so they can live a happy and healthy life. There are two main models of raw feeding, and both are great options are great but have some small differences.
The two raw feeding models are:
- Prey Model Raw (PMR) or Whole Prey Method
- BARF Method (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food)
To learn more about these two raw feeding methods, simply click on the link above and head over to the BARF and PMR pages within our Raw Feeding section.
Why should I feed my pet a raw diet?
There are many reasons why you should consider changing your pet onto a raw diet and below I am going to list a few of the most common reasons people make the switch. to a PMR or BARF diet.
- It is an all natural diet.
Firstly, It is an all-natural diet which means no harsh chemicals, preservatives or nasty ingredients which may be present in mass-produced commercially prepared pet foods such as kibble or wet food. Since your pet is consuming a diet of raw meat, raw edible bones, and raw organ meat, 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.
By feeding your pet a raw diet it is far superior nutritionally speaking than a highly process commercial diet, due to a verity of reasons such as nutritionally superior protein sources, lower carbohydrates, and no harsh chemicals, fillers or preservatives.
- A raw diet mimics what our dogs closest ancestor the Grey wolf would eat in the wild.
As mentioned above, your canine companion is a wild animal in disguise, and this is why they are not only able to survive but thoroughly thrive on a raw diet. Being 98.8% similar in their genetic makeup to a Grey Wolf, this means they still have the exact digestive system and should be eating a species-appropriate diet to be in optimum health. To learn more check out our post on Can dogs eat raw meat?
- Your pet’s diet will be more varied resulting in a happier, healthier pet.
Another reason why feeding a raw diet following the BARF approach could be considered better than feeding mass produced kibble or canned food is because the more variation when it comes to your pet’s diet the better in my opinion. We try to give our girls lots of different protein sources each month, which helps to keep their meals exciting.
- Feeding raw bones will keep your pet’s teeth clean and their gums healthy.
One of the best benefits of feeding a raw diet is how clean it keeps your pet’s teeth. My girls have lovely clean teeth, and it is all because they get weekly bones to help scrape off any plaque build-up. Raw bones are natures toothbrushes 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.
- Feeding raw will give your pet a super shiny and healthy looking coat.
Another benefit of raw feeding is that your pet’s coat will improve massively. What you will notice after a few weeks of 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 one who consumes a mass-produced wet food or kibble, just by looking at them.
- Your pet will have more energy on a raw diet.
Another benefit from feeding raw is how much enegery your pet will have. My girl Nia could run all day if we let her and although she is turning six this year, she plays just like a puppy.
- Lastly, a raw diet can help animals who suffer from digestive issues or skin ailments.
The last benefit I want to mention is that a raw diet can help pets who suffer from allergies or various skin ailments, due to their being no fillers such as grains in their food or nasty preservatives.
These are just a handful of the benefits of starting your pet on a raw diet and I could fill a whole page up stating many others. Raw feeding is a great way to ensure your pet is as healthy as can be.
However, a raw diet isn’t right for every pet and a high quality freeze dried kibble or home cooked organic diet is a wonderful option for those who are unable to consume a raw diet.
Raw Feeding Resources
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com
When I first started raw feeding, blogs, articles and a handy little guide book which I will mention soon, were all lifesavers. Thankfully, there are so many great resources out there to help get you started, and I’ll list the ones that helped me the most.
So aside from epoch.pet, there are many other useful and great blogs out there that will help you when it comes to starting your pet on a raw diet. Below is a list which you may find useful:
All are great sites which can help you get started, alongside epoch.pet’s raw feeding content.
Below I’ll listed some of epoch.pet’s most popular raw feeding as well as some broader nutritional articles which you may be interested in:
- COMMON RAW FEEDING MYTHS, DEBUNKED!
- THE LOWDOWN ON RAW GREEN TRIPE, RAW FEEDING INFORMATION.
- RAW FEEDING FOR CATS: THE BASICS!
- BARF, BIOLOGICALLY APPROPRIATE RAW FEEDING OR BONES AND RAW FOOD.
- RAW FEEDING FOR DOGS: THE BASICS!
- CAN DOGS EAT RAW MEAT?
- BENEFITS OF FEEDING A BARF OR PMR DIET.
Raw Feeding Companies, Raw Food Reviews & Natural Supplements
- NUTRIMENT DINNER FOR CATS, RAW FOOD REVIEW.
- NATURAL INSTINCT BEEF AND CHICKEN COMPLETE, RAW FOOD REVIEW.
- DURHAM ANIMAL FEEDS, RAW FOOD REVIEW.
- ANIFORTE’S BARF COMPLETE SUPPLEMENT REVIEW.
Broader Nutritional Articles
- EGGS, THE PERFECT ADDITION TO YOUR PETS DIET.
- FIVE HEALTHY ADDITIONS TO THE BARF DIET FOR YOUR CANINE COMPANION.
- THE BENEFITS OF FERMENTED VEGGIES FOR OUR CANINE FRIENDS.
- HEALTH BENEFITS OF KEFIR FOR YOUR CANINE COMPANION.
- OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS, THE IMPORTANCE OF FISH OIL FOR YOUR DOG.
- THE ROLE OF CARBOHYDRATES WITHIN OUR DOG’S DIETS.
- THE BENEFITS OF CURCUMIN FOR CANINES.
Books are next on our list of resources and there is a small yet highly informative book that was a god sent when I first started raw feeding.
- Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs by Jonathan Self
I love this book!
It is perfect for anyone who wishes to gain an insight into raw feeding and talks about the reasons to do so. Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs is a great book to start your Raw feeding adventure. You will learn about the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food) method of raw feeding.
Also, you will learn about the health issue that can arise from feeding our pets an overly processed commercial diet, such as mass-produced kibble or canned wet food. It is a concise read and only has 158 informative pages, so it won’t take you long to read.
I’d suggest getting this little book before you start raw feeding as it will provide you with a good understanding of the subject and help you on your way to being the best pet parent possible. To learn more check out a previous post HONEY’S NATURAL FEEDING HANDBOOK FOR DOGS, BOOK REVIEW.
- Canine Nutrigenomics
Canine Nutrigenomics is another wonderful book that doesn’t solely focus on raw feeding but a wide array of scientific knowledge about how to optimise the health of our pets by focusing on promoting positive gene expression by feeding functional foods.
Although I haven’t finished this book fully and tend to delve into a chapter when needed, it is worth getting if you are interested in a deep dive into how to optimise your pets diet and life. It also talks about diets for pets battling cancers, arthritis and lots more. I’ve found it very useful when it comes to writing more scientific articles on the blog.
If you’d like to get yourself a copy of Canine Nutrigenonimcs one of Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs, then I’d appreciate it if you used the links on the blog. I earn a tiny percentage of your via affiliate links at no extra cost to you, which helps me keep the site up and running and provide pet owners with free quality content.
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Thanks for checking out epoch.pet’s raw feeding page and I hope this content has helped clear up any of your pressing questions.
However, if you have a question which hasn’t been covered or simply just want more information regarding raw feeding and how to start your pet on a raw diet, then drop me a line by heading over to our Contact page.