The raw diets made to bring science and natural feeding methods together
Raw Feeding in Veterinary Practice
We have all watched the exponential increase in raw and homemade diets in our client's dogs and cats. In a recent anonymous survey of 100 clients at our own practice, we saw that 25% of our clients fed exclusively raw diets. (Be aware that we are NOT a holistic practice, and we do not sell or promote raw food. This means it is likely that the numbers of clients feeding raw at your own practice is far higher than you think....).
I'm sure you will agree that the main concern for most veterinary professionals is nutritional balance. Prey model and '80:10:10' homemade diets are rarely complete and it has recently become clear to me that even raw diets sold with 'complete' on the label often make no attempt to calculate or formulate to meet FEDIAF recommended guidelines.
Why are we different?
Our ethos is simple.
Use all the science that is available to produce a raw diet that meets the same guidelines that complete kibble foods do.
We use nationally recognised nutritional guidelines and nutritional content of ingredients to calculate and meet the requirements of each nutrient. We ensure that minimum levels of essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are met. We ensure appropriate fatty acid ratios and provide accurate calorie counts. We also ensure correct calcium phosphorus ratios, and take great care with mineral interactions to ensure that no mineral is likely to interfere with the absorption or bioavailability of any other.
We also include additional selected ingredients that may add value above and beyond the FEDIAF nutritional guidelines in (Appropriate levels of fibre and selected fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of phytochemicals).
Any diet labelled 'Complete' by us has been accurately formulated to be genuinely complete.
It gives veterinary surgeons the freedom to support clients in their chosen feeding method with the confidence that they have done their utmost to recommend a nutritionally complete option.
My clients want to feed homemade raw or cooked diets
We can formulate for them.
We can use the same software and databases to calculate nutritional requirements for the specific individual. We can use those nutritional requirements to produce a recipe just for them. For now, we can only offer to formulate for healthy dogs, but we hope to offer formulations for specific conditions in the near future.
The owners want to check their own recipes? We can check those too.
We can use our databases and a detailed and accurate recipe from owners to calculate the nutritional content of their current diet.
Sometimes calculations will reveal nutritional deficiencies of concern, occasionally they won't.
Most raw diets share similar issues - most are lower in manganese and vitamin E than FEDIAF would recommend. Some have frightening imbalances in calcium and phosphorus. Clients who feed a very limited diet (we all know a chihuahua that only eats chicken....) will find they lack essential fatty acids and some of the essential amino acids too. We can help them to correct this by making suggestions regarding food choice or appropriate supplements.
Do you only formulate for raw?
No - we can formulate for animals that want or require a cooked diet too.
Are you against kibble or dry feeding?
No. We are fans of individualised feeding, but that does not mean we don't like kibble. We understand that different diets are appropriate for different households and that for most dogs, kibble diets provide a good balanced option. I am first and foremost a vet and a scientist so there will be no 'kibble bashing' of any sort on this page or in our reports or formulations. If a customer contacts us and we really feel that a raw diet is not for them, we will say so. Our recommendations will always be evidence based.
I have included some common veterinary questions in the FAQs, because we aren't silly - we know that it is more complicated than that... but we hope that our diets and formulations provide a scientific way to assist your clients to provide a balanced raw diet that you can have confidence in.