DCM IS A HEART CONDITION... SOME STUDIES INDICATE PEAS, LENTILS, ETC IN GRAIN FREE FOODS BLOCK TAURINE ABSORPTION, LEADING TO THIS CONDITION
Is interesting... we understand that different foods have different quantities of purchasers... & even that some different foods may indicate different levels of vet care (chicken is predominant as a protein base in most non-specialty foods.. so the protein guide is almost certainly biased & irrelevant)... nothing is perfect in a study such as this... however, all we have are studies & guidelines to extrapolate from & try & do the best we can for our companion pets. The link states foods, breeds, & more in easy to follow charts... & how they relate to the influx of DCM being diagnosed. Check for your food & breed(s) & see if they made the lists!!
Let's discuss ALLERGIES & related YEAST & ITCHING & SCOOTING that are often all related.
Just one search on Google (dog yeast allergies) brought 3,140,000 search results!!! Like... where do you start, right?? The causes & potential treatments are endless.
Well, allergies & associated chronic symptoms (fur loss, hot spots, ear infections, rashes, licking of feet, bum scooting, etc) are often very complex to uncover the root issue of. Why?? Because the root cause can be literally ANYTHING &/or MULTIPLE things. A good example?? Our senior Great Dane was plagued with heat rashes around his groin/stomach. We used Quercetin with some success & other topicals for relief, etc (see link below.. a natural antihistamine... I don't support dogs naturally as a medical resource, but, this article is well written with substantiated info). We did elimination trials of all kinds of foods & environmental causes. I changed laundry soap to a natural based one just because we were trying to become less chemical dependent & more environmentally friendly. His rashes cleared up!! I ran out of the laundry soap & used a chemical based one briefly... & his chronic painful rashes returned!! Once back to the natural laundry soap, he cleared up without any treatments & we never had an issue again. This was the only way we learned what he was allergic to... literally a freak accident. So for those trying to help your pets with chronic allergies (1 in 2 of our new customers come to us for allergy-related issues), I completely empathize & sympathize!!
Probiotics (healthy gut flora drastically reduces & can prevent allergies).
Kefir (has 30 strains of good bacteria & yeast, incorporate slowly into diet).
Apple cider vinegar (diluted is a good topical cleaner... we use as an ear cleaner, & in food is a good antifungal/bacterial... make sure it is unprocessed raw
ACV with "mother" for full benefits).
QUECERTIN (a NATURAL anti-histamine that is safe for long term use while trying to figure out the root cause of potential allergies... I recommend this to EVERYONE dealing with potential allergies while we begin investigating solutions).
GENERAL DOSING GUIDELINES (exact formula below in link... found to be more effective dosing twice a day)
50mg twice a day <20lbs
125mg twice a day 20lbs-50lbs
200mg twice a day 50-100lbs
250mg twice a day >100lbs
Allergy testing can be done at most vet clinics & a valuable resource in finding the source of allergies. Keep in mind, those tested as environmental or seasonal allergies can potentially be chemicals in the environment/household as well as there is no differentiation.
Food elimination trials... this means feeding only ONE food (protein) for a minimum of 8 weeks (is fine for a short period if not a balanced diet)... if successful, slowly begin adding in other foods & if not successful, start again with a novel protein the dog/cat has never had prior (personally, I know of one dog allergy tested & shown to be allergic to all poultry, most red meats.. even venison, & can only tolerate a fish based diet as costs are prohibitive to feed proteins like kangaroo & camel) IF ANYTHING ELSE IS FED DURING THE ELIMINATION TRIAL PERIOD, THE TRIAL IS A WASTE OF TIME &/OR MUST BE EXTENDED FROM THE TIME THE ADDITION WAS INGESTED (all prior data is invalid).
Common allergens (sources of yeast, fungals, etc) are dairy, beef, wheat gluten, chicken, chicken eggs, lamb, & soy... however, ALL companion pets are different & will require a different course of treatment & solution (perhaps the most frustrating thing of all as there is no one cure or solution & all needs to be designed on an individual basis & often via trial & error).
First response?? WHY NOT?? Dogs are facilitative carnivores meaning they can exist on a diet not predominantly meat-based, but, they are DESIGNED to extract nutrients from & THRIVE on meat-based diets. Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they require a predominantly meat-based diet to SURVIVE & THRIVE. Science proves this based on anatomy & physiology. From the sharp canine teeth & strong jaws to the highly acidic stomachs & short digestive tracts, they are DESIGNED to digest a diet that is predominantly raw meat-based.
CAN YOU FEED KIBBLE & RAW FOOD TOGETHER???
Recent studies show that kibble may actually digest even faster than raw food & there is no harm to your companion pet if mixing meals &/or alternating. In our opinion, ANY real raw whole food is better than none! In our opinion (with people too), ANY step in the direction of optimal health is a positive one! A dog may not tolerate mixing meals for various reasons (so alternating meals is recommended), however, this is not solely due to the mixing of the meals. So, you CAN transition to a raw diet by slowly mixing in raw food with an existing diet of kibble. In fact, we recommend doing so to limit potential digestive problems that can occur with sudden diet changes.
WILL MY DOG ACQUIRE PARASITES FROM RAW MEAT??
There can be parasites in raw meat. If you are purchasing meat, organs, & bone from a reputable source (human grade food), the concern of parasites is almost non-existent. Becoming “bloodthirsty” & getting scary diseases & bugs are scare tactics used by those un-educated on the subject, those who have witnessed poor sanitary practices firsthand, & large kibble company promoters. Most healthy companion pets (we ALWAYS recommend consulting a veterinary professional prior to transitioning your companion pets to a raw diet) can deal with parasites even before they get a chance to establish themselves, if the situation arises. Freezing meat can help kill many parasites. If feeding meats such as wild game, we ALWAYS recommend avoiding the brain & spinal column (IF something like chronic wasting disease.. host specific… is present, it will be in these locations) & freezing 3 weeks prior to feeding.
WILL BACTERIA IN RAW MEAT HURT MY DOG??
IF your companion pet is immuno-compromised for various reasons, bacteria may hurt your pet. Cooking meals can then be an option & at Real Life Raw we offer safe alternatives to bone... which then allows meals to safely be seared &/or cooked if required. In a HEALTHY companion pet, the saliva has antibacterial properties (contains lysozyme) & the short acidic digestive tract is adapted to quickly push food & bacteria thru without giving it time to colonize. Sanitary handling practices (keep food cold til use & save a maximum of 3 days in the fridge, etc) will limit excess bacteria from producing. Even kibble-fed dogs regularly shed salmonella & other bacteria & kibble has been routinely recalled for bacterial contamination… not to mention mold & other deadly toxins.
To approximate your pet's daily raw food needs, a guideline is 2% of your pet's body weight in pounds. This guideline is affected by factors such as age & activity level.
For example, our 2 year old 170lb Great Dane brothers each would eat approximately 3.4lbs raw food per day (2% of 170lbs).... HOWEVER, being active & young, to maintain healthy weight each eats approx 3.5% of 170lbs = 6lbs raw food per day \ 2 meals = 3lbs raw food each at breakfast & dinner. Our 11 year old senior 175lb Great Dane maintains a healthy weight given 2% of his body weight in raw food per day = 3.5lbs, 1.75lbs at breakfast & dinner.
The link provided has good info on debunking myths regarding feeding kibble & raw regularly as well as info regarding the actual digestion system of the canine. Although directed at canines, most if not all of the info pertains to cats as well.
There are other options to transitioning & troubleshooting picky eaters if problems arise. Please contact Real Life Raw for more info.
I often refer to a healthy, adult guideline of 2.5% raw food per "desired" body weight per day. Below is a fantastic reference for younger pets who require more food while growing. Don't forget, the actual calories & source (high fat, low fat, etc) are crucial as well. 6% fat & 3% protein isn't going to help your little one grow healthily. Older or health-compromised pets may have different requirements as well. All raw feeding should be altered based on observation of body condition of your pet(s) post-guideline beginning.
7-10 weeks 10%
10-16 weeks 8%
16-20 weeks 7%
20-24 weeks 6%
24-36 weeks 5%
36-56 weeks 4%
56-68 weeks 3.5%
68 weeks+ 2%-3% (adult maintenance)
Great article on Omega 3's & pet needs in relation. Discusses the relationship between Omega 3's & vitamin E. Omega 3's require vitamin E for bioavailability & actually lower the available vitamin E. Being that vitamin E is already low in raw diets, I recommend supplementing both Omega 3's & vitamin E. It doesn't say a requirement for Omega 3's. A good guide is 1000mg of combined 300mg EPA/DHA per 50lbs of body weight daily. A good guide for supplementing vitamin E is 2 IU per 5lbs of body weight daily. The article does state cautions w fish oils & recommends certain oils. One last word, MOST fish oils only contain enough vitamin E to be a preservative, not enough to meet supplemental requirements.
An amazing article by a reputable veterinarian explaining the role of the digestive system in overall health & why almost every digestive system is already compromised by a poorly chosen diet. This article explains the digestive system, what it does, why it gets compromised, & what can be done to nurture a healthy digestive system. It touches upon genetics & how digestive evolution can be negative or positive. A great "real life" example of digestive evolution is our Great Danes. Our senior was transitioned from kibble to raw many years ago. We used digestive enzymes & probiotics/prebiotics & still use some in his diet for various reasons. He was not conditioned to digesting bone or real food for that matter.... it took his body time to adjust to digesting & absorbing real nutrients because, over years being kibble fed, his body forgot how to digest like a dog should. Our two year old Great Dane brothers are from a raw fed line of parents, grand, great-grandparents, & so on. They have never known a meal that wasn't raw. They eat TWICE as much as our senior who is relatively the same size, with a slower metabolism. Our senior has smaller stool than a kibble-fed counterpart (HUGE benefit of raw), however, the brothers' stool are HALF the size of our seniors' even!!!! They, due to their entire lineage being raw fed, are conditioned to absorb every last bit of nutrients from a species-appropriate diet. They never forgot how to digest like a dog & it is quite apparent in real life comparison. You are what you eat!!!
An excellent article discussing the feline digestive system & benefits of a raw diet for your cats from a reputable source. Quite simply, cats are designed to eat moist, raw meat... even their urinary tracts benefit from a real, moist, raw diet. DUE TO BLADDER CRYSTAL ISSUES, NO CAT SHOULD BE FED AN EXCLUSIVELY DRY FOOD DIET. Most of the info also applies to canines.
Not all pets will like every raw food, no matter how expensive 😉 Fact is consistency, texture, taste, & temperature can all be huge determining factors for some pets. For instance, our one boy does NOT like veggie alone within his food... he will pick all around it & take 30 minutes to slop it all over the floor.... brat! So, we have a mix of berries, veggie, & fibre that we add & mix into meals, at meal time, instead. With the sweetness of the berries & fibrous texture... he & the rest of the pack gobble it up!
There are usually options. Organ needs to be fed, as does meat & bone. Organs are nutrient dense including high amounts of vitamin D (deficiency linked to muscle weakness, autoimmune diseases, etc), vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, numerous B vitamins, choline, biotin, folacin, selenium, iron (needed for energy), zinc, essential fatty acids (not only found in seafood & oils), magnesium, taurine (amino acid essential for heart health), & numerous other nutrients.
As a standard at Real Life Raw, all organs are mixed in ratio & ground within all meals indicated to contain organ. We can always limit to one organ & protein source & test which organs your pet truly dislikes by doing so, & formulate a meal plan with that in mind. We can add less organ in ratio, although may have to make up the nutrient loss in another way. We can attempt to "hide" the organ in certain proteins. Although cooking alters the nutrient profile, searing separately & adding to raw meals is an option. Adding a nutritional supplement is another option. Not all are created equal in quality & many are not designed to supplement raw diets. We are in discussion currently with select high quality Canadian companies about the option of distribution & hope to be able to offer nutritional supplementation to customers in the near future.
Regarding consistency, organ is moist & sticky.... as are certain proteins like poultry. We are working on methods to drain moisture/blood from poultry prior to processing, to moderate this concern to a degree. Thank you for your patience & understanding. If a problem, please consider mixing with a red meat protein which absorbs some moisture. We offer mixed protein options & you will see these always utilized by us for our own pack. Feeding meals slightly frozen may be another option, although some pets don't like meals that cold either.
Please discuss options & ideas with Real Life Raw if your pet has a discerning pallet & you are unsure how to encourage a species-appropriate real raw diet. I'd love to eat cheesecake daily lol, but, know I could never thrive on it alone 😉 When you are what you eat, healthy nutrients are essential!
Although directed at felines, the info in this simplified informative link pertains to canines as well. Felines can thrive on a slightly higher ratio of calcium to phosphorus (up to 1.5:1) compared to canines who should aim for an equal ratio w slightly more calcium, if anything (1.1:1). This means felines can enjoy slightly more bone content in their meals, without adverse problems. Calcium to phosphorus ratio is particularly CRUCIAL in growing pets, specifically large/giant breed puppies due to their extreme rate of growth. Slow & steady is best for optimal health.
At Real Life Raw, all nutrient balances are of utmost concern. I have done sample nutritional analysis' on our own private meal plans & will be providing detailed analysis on samples of our available meals soon. We are in construction as most are aware... building a website, upgrading tech & programming, etc & will post data as it is completed. Thank you for your patience.
According to Merck Veterinary Manual insufficient calcium or excess phosphorus can lower calcium absorption & result in irritability, hyperesthesia (over sensitivity to sensory stimuli), & loss of muscle tone. Calcium deficiency can also cause skeletal demineralization, particularly of the pelvis & vertebrae (skeletal weakness & deformities).
As always, I look forward to any comments, questions, &/or concerns.
For my BC coast followers & any feeding fish. Salmon & trout from the Pacific Northwest (of course localized to our area... sigh!) commonly have a bacterium & fluke (only dangerous when raw, killed when cooked for human consumption) that can be fatal to your pets. My advice for adding necessary Omega 3's to your pet's diet?? Use quality seafood oils (fish, krill, phytoplankton, etc), however, seafood oils are NOT all made the same & some become rancid or are not very bioavailable. More to follow soon on selecting safe, effective Omega 3 sources.... sardines, mackerel, oysters, etc can be options.
I know a lot of you following live with northern breeds. Zinc Deficiency Syndrome, caused by malabsorption, can cause all kinds of health-related problems. Northern breeds are COMMONLY genetically predisposed to this condition & to a lesser extent Great Danes, St. Bernards, Dobermans, Beagles, & some other breeds. The link below (imbedded are links to parts 2 & 3) is an excellent resource on EVERYTHING related to this discussion.
A great article by reputable UC Davis on the relationship between grain free kibble & heart issues. To be clear, grain free doesn't cause heart issues. The replacement legumes (peas, etc) block the absorption of Taurine which is an amino acid necessary for healthy heart function.
A good basic article on bladder/urinary issues (crystals/stones) & the relationship to diet, written by a VMD. Although more common in cats, dogs & any animal can be afflicted. Dry cat foods are NOT suitable for any cat. Cats are designed to obtain moisture from their food. Most commercial cat food companies acidified their foods to prevent struvite crystals/stones from forming.... this led to an epidemic of oxalate crystals/stones forming!! Key points are increased moisture intake & an easily digestible species-appropriate diet are necessary for cats.... all cats. Please inform Real Life Raw if your cat has bladder/urinary conditions (or has in the past), prior to purchasing, so that we may help suggest an appropriate meal plan.
Let's clear something up since I've had a few inquiries. From the CDC... not a random blog.... everything you ever want to know about feeding raw pork. If you choose not to, fair enough.... I didn't feed pork for years.... guided by incorrect FB myths. Sadly, all meats can have worms if not sourced for quality & prepared properly. Pork is no different. The pork sourced by Real Life Raw is mostly locally sourced & certainly of high quality & frozen per standards, prior to product being sold. Real Life Raw intends to be transparent & will only post information that is substantiated by reputable links. Real Life Raw does not recommend feeding wild boar.
A great article by reputed Tufts University on copper toxicity. Copper toxicity can be due to a genetic inability to absorb copper which is more common in certain breeds such as Bedlington terriers, Lab Retrievers, Dalmations, & (not listed) Dobermans. Other breeds can be afflicted & sometimes cause can be unknown (idiopathic). Genetic & blood testing can indicate this affliction.
NOT ALL DOGS OF INDICATED BREEDS SUFFER FROM THIS AFFLICTION.
Suspected or diagnosed dogs will benefit from a raw diet low in copper (different organ proteins have different levels of nutrients, a decrease in organ content, & various other pro-active steps in the article).
A very comprehensive article on pancreatitis (more common in dogs, but, cats & any animal can be afflicted). Some causes are unknown, but, high fat diets & medications appear to be chronic instigators. For those who have suffered pancreatitis, lamb & pork diets would not be good choices. Sticking to chicken, turkey, rabbit, & lean red meats would be ideal. Additional digestive enzymes are recommended, as is adding fibre/carbs in moderate quantities. The info relating to raw diets is about 2/3 down the article. Please inform Real Life Raw prior to purchasing if your pet has suffered pancreatitis so that we may help choose an appropriate & safe meal plan.
Most commonly herding breeds are affected, however, other breeds have tested positive (see full list of common breeds in link). The provided link is excellent in explaining what the MDR1 gene is & the importance of it. Dogs with this gene mutation are far more susceptible to common companion pet & livestock medications/drugs. This genetic mutation is much more common than many may think & can assist in making crucial medical decisions at a time of crisis... knowledge is power. This is only one of the reasons we are so cautious as to the medical history (medications, hormones, antibiotics, etc) of all the animals our meats are sourced from & ensure all are CFIA approved & meet very stringent requirements. It is unknown how such residual medications may affect any companion pet, much less one with the MDR1 gene mutation. The gene mutation was first discovered due to farmers (veterinarians) using Ivermectin (common wormer) on their farm dogs & these dogs began falling ill & even succumbing to seizures & death sadly.