We often get the question of what nutrient is most missed when deciding to feed a raw or home-cooked diet for your dog.
For a new raw and home-cooked diet chef, it is Calcium!
Calcium is critical for your dog's health!
When I first made the switch and decided to improve Leo's health I was lost and had no idea where to start. I did the typical research VIA the library "Google" but this left me even more confused.
Do I feed ground up turkey and chicken? Do I just mix in raw eggs and organ meat? Do I add vegetables? An then how much of each?
At this time a mentor appeared and home-cooked / raw feeding was simply explained.
Imagine Leo is a wild dog, Leo is a 60lb Catahoula so this was easy to imagine. In the wild, Leo would kill a rabbit and then proceed to eat the entire rabbit. Fur, bone, meat and organs, he would eat the whole thing!
Then it clicked, I forgot to include bone into his diet and this is how Leo would obtain his Calcium which is critical for health.
Upon further research, I found that Calcium is known for its role in building strong bones and it also performs several other functions in your dog's body.
Calcium helps keep your dog's nails, teeth, and coat healthy.
Calcium is required for digestion, blood clotting, squeezing and relaxing muscles, releasing hormones, and proper nerve function.
If Leo did not have enough Calcium he could have
- Soft and brittle bones
- Bone deformities
- Hip dysplasia
- Stunted growth if he was a puppy
- Tooth deformities, teeth loss, loose teeth
But what if I overdid it and Leo got too much Calcium?
He may have
- Increased drinking and urination
- Loss of appetite
So I went back to the rabbit analogy and found that by allowing him to chew and eat large non-splintering bones like cow femur bones raw and unprocessed like the ones found at the pet store. While avoiding splintering bones like chicken, rabbit or other small bird bones, I was meeting this critical dietary requirement!
(Disclaimer NOT RAWHIDE that stuff is terrible for your dog)
Leo had no complaints and the general guideline is one to two raw bones per week with a few days in between each serving, but this may vary between individual dogs so talk to your holistic vet for advice. They can advise you on the best diet, and the most appropriate raw bones for your dog.
Other Fresh Food Sources for calcium is also:
Broccoli, spinach, and beans, and whole fish like sardines and mackerel.
Make sure you are not overdoing it by providing bone along with calcium from supplements. Because I can read and study and Leo cannot, I had to be his advocate and educate myself and make the best choice for him.
If you are ever wondering if you are doing it right test their mineral levels but wait 45-60 days after you make the diet change to know for sure if you are doing it right!
You can do this! You can help your best friend just take the time to do it right!
If you have questions talk to your vet but do your own research. As much as we love the vet community, unfortunately, a conventional vet only receives 7-9 hours of nutritional training and this training is created by the large kibble manufacturers.
At ParsleyPet we feel "KNOWING IS BETTER!"