"I just feed my 3 month old puppy chicken."
"My dog will only eat tripe."
"I cook their raw just to take the chill off."
"The other shop said I was ok to just feed (insert an incomplete mince with no offal or bone).
These are statements we hear regularly here at Tilly's. These and many others on a similar theme.
It's these statements that make me realise why many vets hate raw feeding. It's these statements that make me hate raw feeding too.
Puppies need balance. They need this balance daily. You can't feed offal free one day, boneless the next and an 80/10/10 the next. Puppies need all their nutrients daily. Every single day.
If you come into our shop, we always suggest feeding a complete. And no, I don't mean one that says 'complete' on the packaging. I mean one that is actually complete. One that is balanced to FEDIAF guidelines to ensure it meets the puppy's growing needs.
We appreciate that completes are more expensive so if they are out of your budget, we will guide you on how to make your feeding cheaper but you cannot miss out ingredients and hope the puppy will grow up healthy. You just can't!
Too much calcium, too little calcium, the wrong calcium to phosphorous ratio, etc, etc can all affect you dog's growth and cause problems. That is just an example of one mineral your puppy needs in the correct amounts. There are many, many more which will not be met by feeding 'just chicken' or any unbalanced meal.
Once your puppy is an adult, there is a little bit more leeway with balance. You can balance overtime. However, you still need to met all their nutritional needs. Yes, it's ok to feed tripe for one day but if that is all you feed, your dog's diet will never be balanced and will be deficient in many nutrients. Feeding an offal free meal on Tuesday? Fine, but make sure you feed offal on Wednesday. Beef on Saturday? No problem, but try a different protein the next time.
Adult dog's need variety (as do puppies). Variety cannot be achieved through feeding only one protein, and often not from just feeding one brand.
Manufactures often call their 80/10/10 complete. They aren't. An 80/10/10 is not complete. It is lacking nutrients (e.g. vitamin E, zinc, manganese) and it lacks prebiotics. Add fruit, add veg, add eggs, add oily fish, add different offal, add variety!
You might not notice your dog is unwell. You might think that they are thriving on their diet but in reality they aren't. Lack of micronutrients can cause many problems that often take a long time to show up. In fact, by the time you notice the problems the deficiency could be huge.
Cooking any bone is dangerous. Even just warming it up is dangerous. Cooking changes the bone's chemical composition making them brittle. This means they are likely to splinter. It also makes them much harder for the body to digest, causing blockages in the digestive tract. Dog's need bone but they need RAW bones!
Make Vets Love Raw!
If you feed raw, fabulous! It is definitely the best diet you can feed your dog BUT (and it's a big but!), it can also be the worst.
It's not difficult to get raw feeding right but it's even easier to get it wrong.
Vets rarely see dog's that are fed a good raw diet with lots of variety. They do see dog's that have blockages from cooked bones or too much bone; they see dogs that have nutritional deficiencies; they see dogs that have loose poos or constipation. They see the bad side of raw. They see the people who 'just feed a 3 month old chicken'; they see the people whose dog will "only eat tripe"; they see the people who "just take the chill off their dog's raw food".
I completely understand why vets take a dislike to raw when we hear what we hear.
Please don't give vets a reason to hate raw. Let's make them see that raw food is THE BEST diet for dogs.