If you ask us what is the best food to feed your pet - we will say RAW. All commercial food, regardless of the quality and brand, is just that - processed, dry feed, crunchy chips with vitamins. If you look at publications from 40 years ago, you will see that dog's life expectancy used to be 18-20 years and it is with the rise of commercial feed, we see the life expectancy to now to be only 10-12 years and if a dog makes it to 14 or 15 , it is considered "very, very old". My grandma would probably make a fool of me if I told her I am buying a bag of dry dog food from a store. Dogs are carnivores and the best food for them is raw diet. But what is a Raw Diet? Just like it sounds - a meal made of raw ( or minimally processed) meat, meaty bones and vegetables.
Potential benefits of the raw dog food diet that supporters tout include:
Higher energy levels
Potential risks include:
Threats to human and dog health from bacteria in raw meat
An unbalanced diet that may damage the health of dogs if given for an extended period
Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture
We have seen different opinions on what exactly goes onto the "raw meal" plate, but here are some different recipes:
Proteins = 80 % Bones = 10% Organ meat = 10%
Proteins = 70% Grains = 20% Vegetables = 10%
Proteins = 70 % Grains = 10% Bones = 10% Vegetables = 10%
As you can see from those examples, the main ingredient is MEAT (protein). This protein can be a one kind (beef only or venison only) or a combinations of a few different kinds of meat. We have seen breeders and dog owners posting images of their raw feeding plates that had meats from all kinds of animals - from bison tails and alligator paws to pork brains and duck heads. In reality, a dog does not need to have a fancy meal made from a variety of animals. They need quality lean meat.
We are very careful in all foods that we put on our table, but choosing meat & it’s source is extremely important. We were lucky this year to grow our own 100% Grass-fed and Grass-finished (ZERO GRAINS AT ALL) Dexter bull and non-GMO chickens and quail this past year. So, having our freezers full, we do not shop for meat in the grocery stores. But what if we did not? What are some things that we look for?
Having meat being LOCAL
Making sure it is raised without antibiotic, growth hormones, on a pasture & being grass-fed (cattle, lamb, goats, pigs) and free-range (birds).
Making sure it is processed without nitrates, nitrites, added water or anything else in that matter
Now, meats of this caliber are usually expensive. You would not find these cuts in large chain stores, and sometimes have to travel miles to a butcher shop or a co-op, or place a special order with them. Over the past few years we have a privilege to meet with dozens of wonderful local farmers. Some of them are our close friends and we are very grateful for their friendship.
So, when my friends ask me for recommendations, we make those based on the criteria we listed above and not on our relationship with a farmer.
When it comes to raw feeding for dogs, we recommend LEAN beef cuts (not ground, no fat), organ meat (tripe, liver, lungs) and hard-boiled chicken feet to make gelatin for ear support (never feed raw chicken or chicken bones to dogs). We do not recommend pork for dogs, and are very careful with pork that we buy for ourselves, not for religious reasons, but because pigs do not sweat/detox and are considered the dirtiest meat anyway. We love pork chops and bacon, though, just make sure it is raised an a pasture, which is hard to find.
Twice a week we feed our dogs TRIPE - the Healthy Green Tripe Diet. It consists of Raw Beef Tripe, with an addition of Oils, Herbs, Enzymes, Vitamins, Minerals, Organic Grains, Vegetables and Fruits. We cook their meals from scratch using raw ingredients. Yes, we care for them that much!
Here is a little info about the Tripe: the magical mystery meat that dogs crave and humans fear!
Tripe seems to be the line in the sand drawn between beginning raw feeders and the ‘been there, done that’ old pros. If you are among the uninitiated, then you will find feeding tripe to be a real treat (as will your dog). Not only will tripe provide immense health benefits for your dog, it will catapult you to the rank of seasoned raw feeder, just one rung below raw feeders who scoop road kill off the road and tote it home in their trunk to proudly offer as a gift for their furry charges!
What is tripe?
Tripe is the stomach of a ruminating (grazing) animal including cows, buffalo and sheep. The unique stomachs of ruminants have four chambers which systematically break down grasses with a slew of digestive enzymes, gastric juices and amino acids.
You may have seen tripe on the grocery store shelves in a white and bleached form. This is not what you want to feed your dog: it is devoid of any real value. What you want to feed is ‘green tripe’, the stuff that comes right out of the animal, dripping with all of those wonderful juices.
Why does it have to be green?
The same digestive enzymes and beneficial bacteria that help the ruminant animal digest foodstuff will do the same for your dog. Think how much money you can spend on digestive enzymes and probiotics in a bottle and those same wonderful, natural substances are in abundance in green tripe.
Digestive enzymes aid in digestion, meaning the body does not have to expend as much energy when digesting a meal. This means your dog gets the most nutritional benefit from his meals. Digestive enzymes also do much more than aid in digestion: they purify and cleanse the blood and remove toxins, parasites and fungus. They also improve metabolism, hormonal function and boost the immune system.
Cooking destroys digestive enzymes, so it is important that your dog’s tripe is not only green, but raw. If your dog eats a cooked or commercial diet, then he may be suffering from enzyme deficiency. The signs of this can include anxiety, lack of energy, chronic diarrhea and digestive problems, gingivitis, viral and bacterial infections and yeast overgrowth. If your dog suffers from any of these disorders, consider the value of adding green tripe to his diet or increasing the amount you currently feed.
The gut is populated by hundreds of different kinds of bacteria or microflora which are divided into the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’. The ‘bad’ bacteria are those responsible for health complaints and some of their members include e- coli, salmonella, campylobacter and listeria. These are the bacteria contained in foods and the environment that could potentially make your dog sick: if it weren’t for the protection of the ‘good’ bacteria.
The good bacteria improve immune function simply by out- numbering the bad bacteria and maintaining a healthy microflora in the gut. Green tripe is loaded with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, one of the bacterial ‘good guys’. Your dog’s gut can only feed so many micro-organisms, so the more ‘good’ bacteria he consumes, the less ‘bad’ bacteria will find anything to eat in his gut and they will get crowded out.
Many health issues are caused by imbalance in the microflora. Older dogs are especially prone to this as they tend to have lower levels of beneficial bacteria in their guts. Supplementing your dog’s diet with lots of raw, green tripe will help him maintain a healthy balance of microflora, manufacture more B vitamins, and prevent many health disorders.
If your dog already suffers from health issues, consider adding raw, green tripe to his diet. Acidophilus can be used to treat a myriad of health complaints.
More good news
Not only is tripe loaded with digestive enzymes and probiotics, it has the perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus – 1:1. Green tripe also contains the essential fatty acids, Linoleic and Linolenic, in their recommended proportions. It can also be served in nice, large rubbery chunks which will provide your dog with good exercise and better dental health.
The bad news
The rumors you heard are true: tripe stinks! If you are really serious about your dog’s health, you will get past the smell. Instead of thinking about the horrific smell, think about all of the great stuff tripe will do for your dog. Don’t worry, those dry-heaves will go away with time!
Tripe can be a bit difficult to find. Obviously, you will not find it in the grocery store. You will also not find it in most large, federally licensed slaughterhouses. You will have to look for the smaller butchers who do custom killing. Be prepared however: they will want if off their premises as soon as possible and you may be required to supply your own buckets to take it home in.
It is also important to note that tripe does contain its share of bacteria. Use care when handling it as we humans do not have the natural resistance to harmful bacteria as our dogs do. Just wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
Finding sources of tripe can be a daunting task and when you finally find it, you will discover that the hard part is just beginning! Cutting tripe can be a nightmare for you and for your knife! You will need a very sharp knife to cut through your tripe and you might need more than one as it will dull quickly. Tripe is much easier to cut if it is partially frozen first. Forget trying to use a cutting board, the cutting will go much smoother if you hang the tripe with one hand and cut it with the other, sawing it into nice big chunks.
With time, you will see that the icky parts of tripe are far outweighed by the good parts: gloriously good health and vitality for your dog! And that rise in rank to seasoned raw feeder won’t hurt you any either!
Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Treats and prevents vaginal infections
Treats diarrhea and GI infections
Treats chronic constipation
Treats symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Enhances the immune system
Lowers the risk of pollen allergies