A sceptic’s guide to raw food – 3 - Veterinary Practice
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A sceptic’s guide to raw food – 3

Nick Thompson continues his series on the feeding of dogs and cats with raw food with a summary of ways of creating such a diet as well as how not to do it and ingredients not to use.

CREATING a raw food diet is easy.
Doing it badly is even easier.

Some people insist on this, which is a
shame as creating a safe and complete
diet regime takes a little work, but is far
from difficult.

As mentioned
in the last piece,
there are now
frozen raw
food, according
guidelines, who
do all the work for you, so if you have
a hankering to feed raw or advise on
raw, they do the work for you.

In this article we will look at the individual ingredients of a raw food
diet and then put them together to
form a whole.

First the meat. There is a plethora
of choices of species, minces/chunks, quality and welfare standards. My
advice is to find a company you like,
avoiding battery chicken, and stick with
them to keep things simple.

I like to use rabbit, duck, venison,
lamb, turkey, tripe and sh. I do advise
beef and chicken, but find they are the
most allergenic of all the meats (many
cats and dogs are fine on beef and
chicken, but I don’t start animals with
known or suspected sensitivities on
them initially).

I actively deter people from getting
a “bag of meat” from the butcher as
you don’t know what species/organ/
quality of meat goes into it. This is
especially true of dogs with bowel or
skin conditions.

Equally, I deter people from buying
their meat at the supermarket. This
comes as a shock to most as they think
it is the best quality. I explain that the
best meats for cats and dogs are those
minces that contain ground bone as
this allows a more complete base to
the diet.

Pure meat minces need additional
mineral supplementation to make up
for the lack of bone. It seems foolish
to me to add supplements to a meat
when one can buy meat with bone
particles as part of the package.

The meat/bone component of the
diet for dogs makes up 50-100% of the
diet, depending on which raw meaty
bone guru you happen to read. I go
for the middle ground, about 70%,
not liking extremism in most spheres
of life. For cats, this figure rises to 90-95%. The rest of the diet is mainly
vegetable material, with some fruit,
herbs and supplements.

Vegetables for dogs can be anything
raw. To clients I say “Anything you can
eat raw, you can feed the dog raw”; for
example, you can feed raw cauliflower
but not raw potato. You can feed raw
oranges but not the peel. The easiest
veg are cabbage, peas, carrots, swede,
broccoli and “anything in season”.
Onions must be avoided.

Garlic is, technically, as toxic, but
in 22 years’ practice, I’ve never seen
any garlic poisoning. On the contrary,
many of my clients feed a little raw
garlic daily to their dogs. Brassicas
(e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli
and brussels sprouts) are considered
goitrogenic, so not to be used
repetitively for any length of time.

All vegetables (approximately 30%
of the total diet for dogs, 5% for
cats) should be blended to a coleslaw
consistency or even a smoothie
consistency; determined by the palate
of the dog, usually. This is to break
down cellulose cell walls to liberate

Cats can have similar veg, but I
advise pureeing the veg/fruit mix and
pouring into ice cube trays to store in
the freezer for convenience; 10-20%
fruit as part of the “veg component” is fine, in my experience.

My rst choice for fruit would always
be berries (blackberries, red currants,
etc. – best bought as “summer fruits”
in the freezer section of your local
supermarket), but apples, pears,
oranges or kiwis are very good. Add
herbs such as mint, parsley, sage,
thyme, etc., depending on what’s in

Do not feed grapes or raisins. Many
clients do, especially to toy dogs, but I
strongly warn against it in light of the
cases of reported renal failure.

To this meat/veg/fruit/herb mix I
will add sh oil, the best you can buy.
Not cod liver oil as this tends to be
very high in vitamin D and I believe
cod stocks are still in decline. I avoid
farmed salmon, but highly recommend
wild salmon oil or low-mercury sh oil
combinations like sardine, anchovy and

I do add minerals and vitamins
to home-prepared diets. I think the
chance of hypervitaminosis is very
small, but creating deficiency, although
distant, is more worrying. My current
favourite is Wickedly Raw Superfoods
by Din Dins.

When presented with the above,
some clients rapidly review their
thoughts on buying a complete frozen
raw food package. Many clients are
delighted they can do so much for their

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