I wanted to take a moment to discuss something that is a pet peeve of mine. That is people that feed raw incorrectly and not in a balanced way that results in their dogs becoming ill and then blaming it on raw feeding. They say "Feeding raw is Bad" or "Raw food makes dogs Sick". I have read comments and stories from and about people that feed raw inappropriately in so many different ways. I will address some of the worst.
1. Feeding only one type meat.
I have heard about farmers that feed their dogs only chicken carcass scraps or beef scraps, or hunters that feed only deer meat. Also pet owners that feed a commercially bought product in only one "flavor" such as chicken.
An example from a friend of mine: "I just currently had a friend that feeding raw long before me so we never really talked much about what she was feeding... a good friend but don't chat often, and she calls me one day, her dog is brutally sick. First thing I ask what exactly is she eating.. "mainly chicken backs".. !?what?? I asked if she was feeding organs.. "not really".. !!what?!! I know that this poor dogs body finally was so malnourished, nutritionally deficient that this was her entire problem! She was having multiple organ failure and even ended up having a stroke !! She's still here but barely.. I was so mad that I never discussed food with her and just assumed she knew what she was doing!!"- Kim
When feeding a raw diet, you need to provide as much variety as possible. Feeding only one meat can lead to nutritional deficiencies in specific vitamins or minerals. One meat may be plentiful in certain nutrients and low in others. Here is a link to the different nutrients levels in different meats- Nutrients in Meats . My following suggestions are not scientific, because there is no way to know for sure exactly what the level of nutrition a specific food is providing without doing analysis on it. Due to local differences in nutrition and different farming practices, and different levels of nutrition available in different meats. I recommend trying to feed at least 2-4 different meats per month and at minimum 5+ different meats per year. The more variety the better.
2. Feeding only boneless meat. I have heard of those pet owners that also only feed boneless meat, this may be because they are afraid to feed bones. They do not do enough research, and do not understand that the phosphorus in raw meat must be balanced with the proper amount of Calcium.
10 % of a raw fed dog's diet should be edible bone. Here is an article about balancing the calcium/phosphorus ratio. Bones help your pet clean their teeth as well as providing roughage & firmness that helps clean gunk from the intestines and express anal glands. However some dogs cannot eat bone or you may have a lot of boneless meat and not enough bone on hand to go with it. So here is another about substituting ground eggshells for bone How to make Ground EggShell Supplement.
3. Neglecting to feed organ meat. I think many people leave organs out of their dog's diet because they think the organs are not truly needed. This is not true. I think the other reason is that people cannot easily find a variety of organs locally so they do not pursue finding them elsewhere. Organ meat should be 10% of the dog's total diet. Half of that, 5%, should be liver (any meat source) and the other half, 5%, should be other organs like kidney, brain, or pancreas. If you can not readily find organs at your usual places, then try an ethnic market or a farmer's market. Another source would be ordering them online. I have several different reputable companies listed on my links page under FOOD. Organs are very important to your dog's health. Here is an article about Why Organ Meat Is Important For a Raw Fed Dog
These pitfalls are easily avoided and the raw diet can be safely fed to your pet dogs and cats. By feeding only a raw diet in a wide variety of meats and following the basic proportions of 80/10/10, 80% muscle meat, 10 % edible bone, and 10% organ meat - (5% liver and 5% other secreting organs)your dog can thrive and be healthy and happy too!