“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your Food.” - Hippocrates 400 BC
So, maybe you’re convinced that raw food is definitely better and necessary for good dog health, but what if you can’t (or don’t want) to feed raw meat? It’s expensive. Read this article which weighs the pros and cons of commercial raw or homemade raw diets. And this article gives you tips for choosing a commercial raw dog food.
Yankee Shelties has a website that has a ton of good information about what you can give your dogs to keep them healthy. This page gives a quick run-down of the different “raw” schools of thought. And this page is so encouraging, reminding us that switching over to raw, even if it’s commercially prepared, is still so much better than kibble. Start with baby steps, and build up from there. :)
We feed a mixture, because of both time and expense. Here are some things we feed our dogs:
• Organic, raw chicken backs. This gives the dog a chance to eat raw, meaty bones, which are essential for getting enough calcium and trace minerals.
• Only Natural Pet’s “Easy Raw” dehydrated food. We don't feed this as often because the dogs prefer the chicken backs. It does contain a couple of synthetic vitamins, but overall we feel that it’s a ton better than the dried out commercial kibble that we had been feeding.
• Home grown, organic eggs (with or without shells) from pasture-raised chickens
• Leftovers and raw milk as available
• Well water
Raw Food - Does it need to be organic?
If you haven’t already looked into it, raw food can be a LOT harder to find and more expensive for your dog than plain store bought kibble. But we’ve established that raw is necessary for achieving and maintaining a healthy immune system, and in turn, a healthy dog.
This article suggests that the food being raw is more important than it being organic. Yes, organic is definitely better. For humans, organic is a necessity. But what if you can’t afford to buy all organic for your dog? Here are some suggestions:
• Raw, organic eggs. The article above mentions organic raw eggs. Raw eggs are rich in glutathione (which is an antioxidant that strongly supports eye health). We feed our dogs raw eggs, and it’s great. They actually help keep your dog free of worms, or so I've read. The best kind of egg to get is from a local farmer who keeps their chickens on grass. Even if the chickens are not being fed organic grain, their eggs are still so much better than store-bought simply because they are outside foraging in the grass. I have watched a chicken eat grass, I have watched chickens peck at bugs.
The “free range” eggs at the store are still from chickens being raised in huge, long hen houses. They might have access to outdoors (like for example, a little concrete platform sticking off the side of the building - for real!), but they stay mostly indoors, because that's where their food is.
• Beef. Joel Salatin, who is a champion of raising animals as healthily as possible, says that beef is better than chicken, if you’re eating something that’s not raised right. The reason is that beef cows usually spend at least a portion of their life on grass until the last few months when they’re fattened up on grain. So at least a portion of their life, they are eating what God intended them to eat, out in the fresh air where God intended them to be. With chickens, they are normally raised on GMO corn, and never see the light of day. So you can imagine how healthy their meat is - not very! I know it is suggested that we should feed our pets a variety of meats, but I think they would do much better on just beef and eggs than they ever could on dried out store-bought kibble!
• Healthy Supplements. These will help boost your dog’s immune system, and don’t have to be super expensive.
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