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Kibble not working out? Try raw food

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While most dogs do fine on kibble, a raw food diet might be in order for others. Some pet owners find their dog’s gas problems disappear after switching to raw food.

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While most dogs do fine on kibble, a raw food diet might be in order for others. Some pet owners find their dog’s gas problems disappear after switching to raw food. Photo Store

Last year, I talked about the Raw Truth, addressing some of the concerns people express over feeding their pets raw foods.  

More recently, I discussed how to buy a better kibble. I got quite a few responses from both columns, and a lot of questions about the difference between raw and kibble.
Kibble has been around for over 100 years, but when dogs first started being kept as companion pets, that’s not what they ate. We were nomads, and the dogs got what they could catch, plus our leftovers and anything we didn’t eat from what we caught. Heads, feet, guts. When we settled down to farming, and the dogs came with us, we still had lots of stuff for them to eat whenever we butchered anything for us. But when we moved to the city, we started getting our meats already cleaned. So we had nothing for the dogs to eat other than just table scraps.

Enter biscuits. James Spratt concocted the first dog treat after he witnessed dogs around a shipyard eating scraps of discarded biscuits. Shortly thereafter he introduced his dog food, made up of wheat meals, vegetables and meat, which evolved into the kibbles we know today.

This food was created for economy and convenience, not optimum nutrition. Most dogs can seem to do just fine on kibble. We’ll never see the day when kibble isn’t available for people to buy. As time goes by, people are learning and demanding better product from kibble manufacturers, so it is getting better.

We’re seeing a re-emergence of the return to natural diets in our foods. Paleo diets, rawgans, organics, and more have become common in human diets. But like these diets, feeding pets raw isn’t for everyone. Just like these diets aren’t as easy as fast food, just like feeding raw isn’t as convenient as scooping some pellets into a bowl. But it isn’t that tough, either, once you get into the routine. And there are now some quite reasonably priced prepared frozen raw foods out there if you shop around.

Raw is back to nature. Dogs share 99 per cent of their DNA with wolves, and like wolves, are meant to eat hydrated raw meat, not cooked dehydrated carbs. The molars they have are for crunching bones, not grinding grains. Their short digestive tract is designed to process meat.

Omnivores and herbivores have much longer digestive tracts to allow carbs to digest.  
One big benefit we’ve seen from our customers changing to raw is a reduction or elimination of gas. One Boston Terrier client could clear the room with her toots. Days after converting to raw, she’s gas free.  And because raw does not contain large amount of plant fibre, the waste product is a lot smaller, and quickly biodegrades. Many raw feeders don’t even pick up in the yard, as the much smaller pile just disappears in a few days.

We’ve seen marked improvement in dental condition after transitioning to raw, improvements in coat, the gas and waste improvements already mentioned. And many that had lingering allergies or undiagnosed ailments got healthier having real food to give them the strength to fight things off.

Raw is not for everyone, but for those that want to invest a little extra effort and money, and I do mean just a little, the dividends it pays for both partners are well worth it.

Contact Jeff with your questions or ideas at aardvarkpets@shaw.ca or visit www.aardvarkpets.com

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