Raw meat for dogs – many people are wondering about whether the commercial foods they feed their dogs, including Boston Terriers, are of the quality they've been told. Sometimes referred to as the "BARF" (Bones And Raw Food) diet, it is based upon the fact that a natural dog's diet would be in fact, raw meat mixed with some raw vegetable and plant. And certainly, there is something to be said for a diet that consistently mostly of raw meat.
I remember when I was a young boy and we had the old fashioned butcher shop nearby where the meat was processed in that shop and not in some large corporate "factory" which is what we mostly have today. Often, we would go to the butcher shop and he'd give us big meaty bones for our dogs, for nothing. He couldn't sell those meaty bones for anything, and was happy to give them away to those of us that new our dogs loved to chew and gnaw at them. Sometimes for hours, they would keep the dogs occupied, and certainly we didn't cook the bones and the meat that was on them.
Our dogs never got sick either, and whenever they were taken to the Vet for their annual rabies shot and checkup, they were always given a clean bill of health. There were no teeth issues, the vet never needed to remove tartar and we were never told we needed to brush the dog's teeth. They were always very healthy. They did have a mixed diet of commercial dog food and whatever scraps we had available.
Later in adult life, I began to switch my thinking, believing that Vets were experts on dog nutrition, and what I studied suggested that the best food for a dog was a high quality commercial dog food, generally a dry kibble. Oddly enough, I still had to supplement this food with a vitamin and some oil (the Vet at the time suggested corn oil) to help improve the coat and skin. Corn oil might have been ok, but there are far better alternatives!
When we first got Beans, our Boston Terrier puppy back in May, I was still stuck in the mode that high quality brand name dog food, supposedly "specially formulated" for the demands of puppies, and then adult dogs, etc etc was the best choice to make. And indeed, when we took him to the Vet for his first check up and vacinations, we were asked what we were feeding him. When we replied with the brand name we had chosen, we were told we had made a good decision. But, we were also told that he still might need supplements and other things as he grew to keep him in top notch shape.
Why is that? Well, perhaps it's because commercial grade dog food isn't all what it is shaped up to be. It seems to be "convenient," no special handling required, and yet there is still a good chance that he might need supplements? Well, when commercial dog food is made, it's not exactly the best stuff available. Often, the meat that is used is meat that is not considered "human consumable." In other words, this food is not even what a "natural diet" of canines would be – imagine wolves, coyotes, and other dogs, whose digestive systems are exactly the same as our pet's, going for the "non-human consumable" parts of their prey! That just doesn't make sense.
Further, dry dog food kibble contains a lot of filler including grains that are simply not natural for canines to eat at all. This creates a carbohydrate imbalance to protiens that would is natural for canines. And when the meat that is in commercial dog food is prepared, it is subject to such high heat that it destroys enzymes and nutrition to the extent that additives have to be added back in. Certainly, in this respect, a raw meat for dogs diet is superior.
In their natural state, canines would eat not only raw meat from mammals such as lamb, beef, and other animals, but also fowl such as chickens and birds that they could capture. Raw eggs are also included in that natural diet. While bones from cooked foul like chicken bones are dangerous, uncooked chicken bones pose very little hazard to dogs, including Boston Terriers. And, there is the additional benefit of bones of all types that they help to keep teeth clean and free from tartar build up.
One of the common arguments against feeding a raw meat diet for dogs is that there is no scientific studies to show that this is preferred. Well, indeed this is true – but this is because there have been no scientific studies conducted! That's kind of like in the "old days," when the common belief was that the world was flat, to tell sailors not to believe or consider the anecdotal evidence because it was not "scientific" belief of the day. Although the scientists of the day had conducted little or no study on the matter, imagine telling Christopher Columbus that he should not sail across the Altantic because he risked falling off the edge of the world simply because that was belief at the time, and to ignore the anecdtotal evidence that science, ruled by The Church, refused to study!
So in this case, the best evidence we have, is indeed anecdotal evidence. And it is that anecdotal evidence that motivated me to give it a try, knowing that all wild canines seemed to survive, and thrive, on a raw meat for dogs diet. I am weaing Beans the Boston Terrier puppy off commercial dog food, to a raw meat diet – and Beans appears to not only enjoying it, but thriving even better on it!
As far as preparation and safety considerations, it's not different than what I would consider for myself. Raw meat on it's own, as long as it has not been left out for hours and hours at room temperature, is safe. And in that regard, canines have a digestive system that is far more resistant to bacteria anyhow. So if I am using safe practices for myself, but instead of cooking, giving raw and uncooked, Beans will be quite safe.
There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that pet dogs fed a raw meat diet including bones live longer, have fewer health issues over time, and in fact, over the long run, this type of diet is less expensive than a commercial dog food diet.
If you'd like to know more, I would highly urge you to go here and find out more!