and Part 2~
The second half of the major lessons our Rescued French Bulldog, Koa has to teach us is on the subject of the transformative ability that species appropriate diets have on all creatures including our dogs. This is a pet subject of mine and has been for 20 years or so. I have always been obsessive about learning everything I could about canine nutrition. I have studied the history of commercially prepared kibble diets and how they are made (this alone could convert you into a raw feeder) as well as the canine digestive system and what it is designed to digest. This is such a fascinating subject to me on a lot of levels not the least of which is how the commercial dog food industry has fully brainwashed our veterinary community (with notable exceptions), the majority of pet owners, and retailers. This has produced the only group of medical professionals to insist that a highly processed diet is preferred to a fresh food diet consisting of what a particular species is designed to consume and digest. It is a source of high irritation to me.
Feeding raw is not convenient, easy or cheap. We made the plunge into raw feeding with the help and oversight of my dear friend Calvin, a long time breeder of English bulldogs and French bulldogs, AKC judge and all around awesome human. Two of our Frenchies and our English Bulldog came from Calvin. He was willing to let me order with him and grind food using his enourmous grinder, which is now my enormous grinder. We would plan out 3 months worth of food and spend half a Saturday every three months grinding food for his dogs and mine. I am so grateful for all the foot work Calvin did in order to figure out a way to make a large amount of food for a lot of dogs for a very reasonable price per pound. We made that switch 4 years ago and haven't looked back since! When I first started out feeding raw, the only dog who had chronic issues that I was hoping would clear up with the right nutrition was Koa. He had suffered his entire life with the huge lesions, sores and scabs that he had when I adopted him.
There was certainly a detox process as is common when switching to a raw diet but once his body adjusted and the inflamation he was constantly suffering from had a chance to quiet down which I would guess took the better part of a year Koa has not had a breakout since. No Lesions, no scabs, no flaking skin and yeast issues. I could not have anticipated such a drastic change!
There are so many helpful resources available now to help you switch to raw feeding and take the intimidation factor down substantially! When I first started I relied heavily on the book Natural Nutrition For Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Schultz as well as Yin and Yang Nutrition for dogs: Maximizing Health with Whole Foods not Drugs. By Dr. Judy Morgan. Both of these can be found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Yin-Yang-Nutrition-Dogs-Maximizing/dp/0997250135/ref=sr_1_1?crid=145UY8BPUK00Q&dchild=1&keywords=yin+and+yang+nutrition+for+dogs&qid=1618938756&sprefix=yin+and+yan%2Caps%2C350&sr=8-1
We basically follow an 80% meat 10% Bone 10% organ meat ratio for the base of our diet that we make ourselves. I also like to add sardines (whole frozen), eggs, Answers raw fermented kefir, green beef tripe (not for the faint hearted but its sooooooo good for dogs!) We make sure our dogs are frequently getting new proteins as well. They are all used to having duck, rabbit, lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, goat, venison, elk, fish etc. This helps create and maintain a diverse microbiome in the gut which has a cascade of benefits to the overall function of your dog's whole body. When your body is working efficiently it operates as it was designed. Nutrition has a key role in that process. I would encourage any pet owner to learn what species appropriate diets look like. Ask the questions, what is this animal designed to eat? If you can ask yourself that question you cannot conclude that burnt brown balls of cheap carbs and rancid animal products cooked at such a high heat that it is made dead is the right answer. Remember this, dogs existed long before the commercial kibble industry did and by all accounts lived longer lives before the first and second world wars initiated rationing and out of that a commercially prepared dog food designed to keep dogs alive when resources were made scarce. It turns out there was money to be made and an multi-billion dollar industry was born and made its way into our collective psyche as the best option through clever marketing. I encourage you to think outside the box and give it a try! Maybe, just maybe we can see our beloved pets live longer, healthier lives.