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Health Considerations and the Raw Diet

What are common signs of food-related allergy?

A food-related allergy may be detected in many different ways. Common signs would include, itchy skin, inner ear infections (yeast infection), chewing at the base of their tail and paws, hot spots and rashes on their chest, stomach and between their toes.

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How do I treat the symptoms?

We recommend eliminating grain content and providing an alternative protein to your canine or feline’s diet. This approach is known as an elimination diet. For an 8 week period only allow your pet to consume an alternative protein source and fresh water. By supplying a protein source such as bison, elk or herring which are not commonly used in commercial pet food you are greatly improving the chances of overcoming these reactions. Food-related allergies arise due to a suppressed immune system, supplementation with a multi-vitamin mineral supplement is also recommended.


My dog has skin problems. Will raw food help?

Quite often, dogs show improvements depending on the cause of the problem. If your dog’s skin condition is due to preservatives or additives, allergens to specific food ingredients or his immune system needs a healthful boost, then a fresh food diet may be helpful. Your dog may be deficient in certain essential fatty acids. You can contact us for specific diet programs for this condition.


I’ve heard dogs can get pancreatitis from eating raw diets. Should I be concerned?

Pancreatitis can develop for a variety of reasons. Dogs with a predisposition to pancreatitis may be introduced to a raw diet that is too high in fat. Other contributions to the development of pancreatitis can include stress or medications such as steroids. We recommend a careful transition to a fresh food diet that takes into account the dog’s health history to eliminate the possibility of pancreatitis.


My dog is a diabetic. Can I feed her the raw food?

Yes. In fact, it is a healthier way to feed diabetic dogs. A raw diet supplies protein and very little unsuitable carbohydrate. Protein-based diets prevent the development of diabetes whereas diets based on carbohydrates increase glucose levels in the blood.

My dog has been diagnosed with cancer. Can I feed him raw food?

Yes. Dogs with cancer respond favorably to low carbohydrate diets. This means a cancer-specific diet should contain high-quality biological protein, the correct balance of appropriate essential fatty acids, no grains and no vegetables that are high in starch or sugars. Of course, it goes without saying that only pure food sources should be fed.


My dog has a health condition. How should I transition him to a fresh food diet?

If you have a dog that is on medication, has a compromised immune system, autoimmune disease or is a senior, you must take extra precautions when introducing and feeding a raw diet. The job of some medications such as steroids is to stop the immune system from functioning. Some medications may lower immunity, even on a temporary basis. Older or ailing dogs need to undergo slow, thoughtful transitions to a raw diet.


What if my dog vomits after eating raw food?

If the food is served too cold or your dog eats too quickly, it may cause vomiting. In any case, many dogs will re-eat the food if allowed. Vomiting several hours after eating with or without diarrhea may indicate digestive upset due to a change in diet providing there are no other reasons to cause vomiting. Do not feed your dog until his system returns to normal, with the exception of availability of fresh water. Once your dog has recovered, you can begin feeding two to three smaller meals throughout the day. Ensure that the diets you are feeding are not too high in fat for your dog. If your dog vomits bile in the early morning or long after his last meal it may be due to an empty stomach. More frequent feedings may be necessary. Sometimes dogs have difficulty recycling bile salts and when the body is unable to resorb bile it accumulates in the small intestine causing vomiting of bile. Continuous vomiting will require veterinary intervention.


My dog is having trouble passing his stools. Now what?

Hard stools that are difficult to pass or that involve any amount of straining are indications that the diet may require additional fiber. The Urban Carnivore Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit or Prairie-fed green tripe can be added to the whole animal diets. Impaction can become a problem if stools are too dry or hard. If you find that your dog cannot pass a stool after repeated attempts, then a trip to the veterinarian may be in order. Blood or mucus in the stool may be a sign of intestinal irritation and diet modifications should be considered. Contact us if you have any questions about individualizing your dog’s diet.


Why does my dog have mucous in his stool?

Mucous in the stool may appear when dogs are initially transitioning to a raw food diet. Mucous should not last for more than a day or so. Although rare, mucous may appear in the stool of dogs that have been eating a raw diet for some time. This may be due to intestinal irritation, or other factors. If mucus in the stool is diet related then modifications may be necessary if the situation doesn’t rectify itself within a day or two. Mucous in stools can also be a sign of coccidia (a parasite), so you might want to consult with your veterinarian.


Do raw foods cause health problems due to bacteria?

Statistically, the answer is not often. Human quality, raw foods that are properly manufactured and appropriately handled by the manufacturer and at home can generally be considered safe. If this were not the case, then thousands of pets consuming raw foods would not be thriving today! Bacteria are everywhere, including processed dry or canned pet foods. Remember that proper handling is an important key to raw food safety.


I’m worried about bacteria in raw pet food making me sick. Will my children be at risk?

If you prepare meat for yourself or your family, then you need to follow the same hygienic rules when handling raw food. It is unlikely that your children would be at risk, but if you are concerned you can encourage your children to wash their hands after playing with the dog. Picking up your dog’s stools immediately after he defecates will also help alleviate environmental bacterial concerns.


Whats the best way to switch to a raw diet?

Read our next article: “SWITCHING TO RAW DOG FOOD” for more tips on the best way to make the switch.



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