Back to Back Issues Page
Bully for You!: Raw Food Basics and More
November 03, 2010

Bully For You!

The Ezine for Pit Bull Lovers

November 2010           Volume 8

In This Issue:

Paws-i-tive Press
What's New at The Proper Pit Bull
Feature Article: Raw Food Basics by Lisa Smith
Quote of the Month

Paws-i-tive Press

Here's a fun video from the Ukraine. Apparently this dog thinks the whole world is his agility course!
From the Chicago Tribune: A Special Dog and a Strange Dream.
A surprising landslide victory for a pit bull named Oxford.
Article: It Pays to Not Give Up on a Struggling Pet.

What's New at The Proper Pit Bull

Congratulations go to Emma, Pebbles and Bones for being our top three prize winners in the first annual Proper Pit Bull Howl-o-ween Costume Contest. And a very special thank you to our wonderful sponsors: The Pit Bull Princess, Unbreakoball and Blocky Dogs custom dog collars.

Your Questions Answered About...
Introducing my pit bull to my newborn
Help with an abused foster dog
Merle coat coloration
Can toenails change color?
How to tell an Amstaff from a pit bull

Feature Article: Raw Food Basics

by Lisa Smith
Lisa would like to thank Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue where she has been a volunteer and where she found and adopted her beautiful pit bull.

Homemade dog food has become increasingly popular since the massive recalls in 2007 when thousands of pets died from eating contaminated commercial food. When done properly, the raw diet appears to be healthier than even the most high quality kibble. Every dog food on the market contains some form of grain. Dogs don't derive their energy from carbohydrates like we do; they use fat as fuel. Grains may contribute to allergies, skin problems, ear infections, and a malady of other health issues.

Unfortunately, veterinarians profit from treating these diseases and from prescribing expensive special diets that would not be needed if the animals had been fed properly from the start. "Rather than addressing what their patients are eating, far too many veterinarians put them on cortisone/prednisone to stop self-mutilation from scratching and chewing," explains Dr. Michael Fox. "These clear up once the dogs are taken off highly processed manufactured foods."

Imagine what your dog's ancestors ate before Kibbles N' Bits was invented: the raw meat, bones, and digested stomach contents of prey animals. When preparing your dog's meal, use that "prey animal" as your model.

Raw Meat: This group includes beef, poultry, lamb, rabbit, and whole raw eggs. You can feed it whole, in chunk form, or ground, as long as the quality of meat is fit for human consumption. Is it safe to feed your dog raw meat? Yes! Domestic dogs have the same short, acidic digestive tract that their wild cousins have. Dogs are notorious for snacking on old carcasses; bacteria is not a concern for pets with a strong immune system.

Also worth noting: eating raw meat will not encourage your pet to kill other animals. Every animal's prey drive is inherent and instinctive. Your dog won't connect the chicken in her food dish with the neighbor's cat.

Raw Bones: It is imperative that you only feed UNCOOKED bones! Cooked bones may splinter and cause choking or intestinal damage. However, chicken bones are soft enough to bend easily, and they break well for the dog to digest. Many people buy inexpensive neck bones from their local butcher, but you can also use packaged meat from the grocery store. Bones are a crucial part of the raw diet because calcium deficiency can lead to severe orthopedic problems.

Meat and eggs are high in phosphorus but don't contain calcium; bones and egg shells contain calcium. When there is more phosphorus than calcium in the body, the body will use calcium stored in bones so it is imperative to feed a balanced diet that includes raw meaty bones.

Raw Vegetables: Use a food processor, blender, or juicer to make fresh raw vegetables easier for your pet to digest. A combination of above ground vegetables (broccoli, kale, celery, squash) and below ground vegetables (carrots, yams, potatoes) should be fed daily.

Some common changes reported by pet owners who have switched to a raw diet include:
  • previously sluggish dogs have more energy
  • allergies are alleviated or disappear completely
  • arthritis is significantly reduced or eliminated
  • better weight control
  • dogs are living longer
  • less stools produced
There is usually initial concern about the cost. Many pet owners, however, have found that feeding their pet fresh food isn't much more expensive than buying a bag of "high quality" commercial food. Since the raw food is more nutrient-dense than kibble, they won't need to eat as much.

Generally speaking, adult dogs should only be fed once a day. A typical meal for a 100-lb dog might be 2 lbs raw meat, 2 chicken necks, and 1/2 cup vegetables. Some people feed their dog a large chicken quarter (including bones) and the vegetables. The raw diet isn't an exact science and it leaves a lot of room for variety. However, you need to make sure that your pet is getting a balanced diet. So, while you can vary the meat, it's important to stick with the basic formula.

There are lots of resources online, and there is also a great book by Kymythy R. Schultze called The Ultimate Diet - Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats.

Disclaimer: There is some evidence to suggest that humans with weak immune systems may be at greater risk for contracting zoonotic infections from dogs eating raw protein. Raw feeding may not be right for some dogs. The information contained in this article is not a substitute for advice from a qualified pet care professional. Before changing your dog's diet, consult your veterinarian.

Would you like to share your experience with feeding raw or ask a question about it? Add your comments to the raw food diet discussion page at The Proper Pit Bull website.

What NOT to Feed Your Dog

Not everything that's good for us is good for our dogs. This list isn't all inclusive. It doesn't contain things like caffeine, chocolate and xylitol. But, here is a list of raw food that you should never feed your dog.
  • Garlic and Onions
  • Raw potato peelings and green potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Macademian nuts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Pits and seeds of most fruit (though the fruit itself is ok)
  • Rhubarb
  • Green parts of tomatoes
  • Yeast dough
  • Nutmeg
  • Mushrooms
  • Moldy or spoiled food--if you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't feed it to your dog!
Broccoli is generally thought to be part of a healthy raw diet. However, if fed in large quantities, it can be toxic. Fish and eggs are controversial depending on which book or article you are reading. If part of the diet, they should be fed in moderation.

Quote of the Month

"Ever consider what dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!"
~Anne Tyler~

Back to Back Issues Page