If you own personal protection dogs and rely on them, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them the best possible diet. You may be considering raw feeding for your dogs instead of processed dog food. With our long experience in offering personal protection dogs for sale and taking care of them, we believe that a raw diet can be great for your dogs’ health — if you follow these ten important rules.
1. Variety is important. Dogs, like people, can get bored if they have to eat the same things every day. Too limited a range of foods can also lead to dietary deficiencies. As you’ll see, raw feeding offers a great wealth of options.
2. The diet should be balanced. You don’t need to provide exact ratios of each individual type of food for each meal, but the diet as a whole should be balanced, ideally over a period of a week or so. It’s OK to emphasize fish one day, red meat the next, and so on, as long as your dogs get the right mix of types of food in the course of a few days.
3. Muscle meats are the core of the raw diet. These meats will be your dogs’ main source of protein, and they should make up one-third to one half of the total diet. The best muscle meats for your dogs are the same as those that humans eat in cooked form for protein, such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and turkey.
4. For vitamins, give your dogs organ meats. Animal livers, lungs, spleens, kidneys, and even brains are excellent sources of vitamins, much better than muscle meats alone. Ideally organ meats should be 30% of the raw diet. However, liver should never make up more than 10% — if your protection dogs eat too much liver, its high vitamin A content could give them diarrhea. In fact, if your dogs are not used to raw organ meats, it’s best to start them on smaller amounts and gradually increase these foods to the optimum level.
5. Give your dogs enough minerals, especially calcium. Calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals for dogs. Meat in itself is rich in phosphorus, but to get enough calcium, your dogs will need bones as well. Ideally the raw diet should consist of 12% to 15% bone. Small whole animals such as rabbits or small fish provide plenty of bone material. Other good sources include chicken parts, beef tails, and the necks of medium-size animals such as goats or turkeys.
6. Fish is good in moderation, but avoid fish oil. Fish should be about 5% of the total diet. Including a whole fish in one or two meals per week is enough. Some raw feeders give their protection dogs fish oil, but this should be avoided; it can easily turn rancid, and as a highly processed food it doesn’t belong in a raw diet.
7. Fat is healthy — but not too much of it. You shouldn’t try to eliminate fat entirely from your dogs’ diet. It does have some benefits. But it is high in calories relative to nutrients, and too much of it can be bad for your protection dogs for the same reasons it’s bad for humans. Ideally fat should be no more than 10% of the total diet. Unfortunately, the cheapest cuts of meat are often the fattiest. Choose light poultry meat over dark, and when you buy chicken, choose skinless. Rabbit, pork loin, and most fish are low in fat. Avoid pork bellies and ground beef.
8. Include some fruits and vegetables. Although dogs are mainly carnivorous, some fruits and vegetables are good for them. They contain fiber and antioxidants, which protect against cancer and inflammations. It’s best to mulch, juice, or lightly steam these foods before offering them. However, avoid starchy vegetables like grains and potatoes. Your dogs don’t need starches, and will tend to gain fatty weight from eating them — something you especially don’t want in personal protection dogs. In fact, one of the benefits of raw feeding is that a raw diet is low in starch.
9. Feed the right amount. Each dog should get two to three percent of its optimum adult weight per day. Since personal protection dogs are expected to be active and energetic, they’ll tend toward the higher end of the range. Puppies less than half a year old should get three percent of their ideal adult weight, and their diet should be especially calcium-rich since their teeth and bones are still forming. So for puppies, provide extra bone as part of the diet.
10. Don’t feed your dogs too often. One meal per day is usually enough. If your dogs get meals too often or are nibbling continuously, their digestive systems will be “busy” all the time, and this can be bad for their immune systems in the long run. The exception, again, is puppies less than half a year old, who should be given smaller meals three times per day.
If you want to know more about raw feeding, don’t hesitate to contact us. We not only have personal protection dogs for sale, we want to help you take care of them too.