A Prey Model raw blog for dogs, cats and ferrets (also their owners). Raw feeding is based on long-term pet health and carnivore physiology. I post tips about how to start Prey Model Raw, the benefits of a healthy unprocessed diet, where to locate cheap meat and how to easily create a complete diet. Good nutrition is the very foundation of good long-term health. Pet diets should be based on what they thrive on, instead of what they can simply survive on.
Feel free to ask any questions about raw feeding. Check out my FAQ below.
Complete Starters Guide
Starter guide is aimed at dogs but 80/10/10 ratio applies to cats/ferrets too. Just disregard recreational bone feeding for cats/ferrets, and feed edible bone instead.
Why Feed Raw?
Raw Feeding Myths
Kibble Ingredients Diagram
Learn about your current pet food here
Hi your skepticism is good as it is important to challenge pre-existing ideas. I am a skeptic myself and once thought that kibble was designed with my dogs health in mind. Raw feeding never crossed my mind until I slowly started to learn about the canine digestive system and what they are truly designed to eat.
Raw feeding is based on the digestive system and physiology of dogs and cats. The effects are systemic - ranging from cessation of allergies and digestive problems, to increased energy levels and amazing dental hygiene. Good nutrition is also a preventative and I would call raw feeding the equivalent of a human eating a healthy diet. Dry kibble is full of carbohydrates (plant matter), preservatives (many carcinogens), over-processed fats, altered/denatured proteins and synthetic nutrients (vitamins/minerals destroyed by extreme cooking temps). Kibble is pretty much the equivalent of eating junk food day in day out for an entire lifetime (at least until it catches up). Dog and cats have zero biological requirement for carbohydrates, however kibble is 30-70% carbohydrate. High carb diets are linked to countless diseases in humans, so imagine the effects on a carnivore. Kibble as we know it was an outcome of WWII and has since taken the world by storm due to sheer convenience and price. After all, it can sit on the shelf for years and not be tainted (shows how preserved it is). The cheap carbohydrate base means it can be made at a low cost which is then passed on to consumers. Many kibble companies target vet schools and are there from day one promoting, sponsoring and even teaching ‘nutrition’ classes. They also target vet clinics and become closely affiliated with them in order to be seen as the ‘scientific healthy choice’. Raw feeding is about getting down to the very fundamentals of nutrition; nutrients in their whole food form, friendly bacteria for gut health (green tripe), unaltered proteins, and healthy fats for a glossy coat. Not too mention the mental stimulation, muscle workout, and dental health provided by regular meaty recreational bones. I would recommend reading these Raw Essentials files (vet). They are very short, yet informative and include detailed info about kibble vs raw. Also this page goes into some of the myths surrounding raw feeding too. :)
Hi, thats awesome that you’ve seen such great changes in your cats already; Im glad my blog has been useful. Its always cool to hear about improvements in pets after switching to a raw diet. :)
Hi, there are a few reasons why its better to keep them separate or even better, ditch the carby kibble. The first is that raw meat is digested efficiently and pushed quickly through the short canine GI tract. Kibble is slow digesting (unnaturally so) and the theory is that bacteria from the raw meat could become trapped with the kibble. One of the reasons why bacteria isnt an issue is becuase of the fast gastric transit, so if trapped bacteria could then multiply and present a health hazard. The second reason it’s better to keep them separate is that a meat-based diet promotes gastric acidity, whereas food with a heavy carbohydrate/plant load (aka kibble) promotes alkalinity. Acidity is required to digest raw animal products (especially bone) and manage bacteria. So this could present problems in bone digestion, which is why vets see dogs with bone fragments lodged in their intestines - they struggled to digest them appropriately. It may also increase the risk of bacterial illness. The digestion of raw and processed is markedly different and while many pets have survived with mixed meals, it is just an added safety measure. :)
Hi, I have two dogs at the moment but I was looking after some cats for 5 months, up until a few weeks ago. They are raw fed, although I have backup dog roll in the freezer for the rare occasions when their meat runs out.
No worries, feel free to ask any more in the future. :)
Hi great decision; especially as your future ferret (obligate carnivore) is designed to consume prey alone. I’d recommend learning about Prey Model Raw as it is based on prey quantities and has every component your ferret will need (meat, bone, organ). Chicken/other poultry is one of the best sources of edible bone (10%) as it is very soft and easily digested. Some bone ideas: wings, chicken necks, ribs, small turkey bones.Then you have 10% organ, with half as liver. Other ideas: kidney, brain, pancreas. The remaining part is 80% meat, of which you can feed heart (very cost-effective) as it is a muscle meat. Other ideas: lamb, horse, beef, chicken, rabbit. To get these quantities you just need to weigh your ferrets weekly food intake, and then make sure he/she gets approx 80/10/10 across that week. Balance is achieved over the week as it saves us weighing this ratio out each day. After awhile you can just eyeball the quantities without weighing. Whole prey is another great addition if you can locate some online (many sites deliver) or in a local pet shop. When feeding this, you can disregard the 80/10/10 Prey Model guideline as whole prey already has everything we strive for. Items such as frozen feeder mice, quails and chicks are some ideas. :)
Hi yeah there are a lot of vets here that support PMR and quite a few that own raw feeding companies too. They provide a lot of great info and even studies to back up raw (eg gastric acidity studies). There are also heaps of rural vets who support raw but dont know much about it. They know that most farm dogs are fed raw and its been that way forever. In the cities Ive found that some vets are a bit more finicky and pro-Science Diet though. I cant really blame them considering the sly involvement of pet food companies in the only NZ vet school. Ive heard in the past that Karen Becker encourages vegetables and it sounds as though she’s influenced by the first international Barf movement. The best way to find a PMR vet is to google search holistic vets, vet naturopaths, and also homeopaths. Although its not a deal-breaker for me; I prefer to have an experienced/knowledgeable vet over a raw feeding one. Although one that is both would be even better becuase a nutritionally knowledgeable vet really adds an extra dimension to healthcare.
Hi, here is a post I made awhile ago about the correct dosage information for feeding fish oil, as well as tips on what to look for in a product. The dosage is measured via body weight and the amount of EPA in the product (written on the back). The fact that you already feed organic/grass-fed meat and occasional fish, means that you probably dont even need to supplement with omega 3. Fish meals 1-3 times a week would be sufficient fatty acids. Fish oil supplementation does have therapeutic benefits for older pets and those with allergies or joint problems though (higher epa/dha), so its really up to you. For a dog his size you may need to find smaller capsules and cut them open to get the approx dosage. :)
Hi, interesting question. The mental stimulation itself is unrelated to prey drive as dogs do not connect the slab of meat in front of them with live prey, any more than they would with canned meat and live prey. If they were hunting down animals and killing them though - this would be when their prey drive becomes directly related to eating raw meat. The mental stimulation itself comes more from them engaging in their instinctual ‘chew drive’ and also the great physical workout they get from it (jaw, neck muscles). It is an enjoyable and rewarding activity that is very deeply ingrained in the canine psyche. I imagine raw meat/bones taste great to them too, judging by their behaviour and the fact that its their primary biological diet. I have chihuahuas who lack all signs of a discernible prey drive yet they still reap the mental benefits of raw, especially bones. They could sit for hours ripping and tearing at bones but I have to limit them to an hour to prevent overeating. Overall since prey drive isnt related to raw feeding, all breeds are pretty much equal in regards to mental benefits. :)