So recently I bet everyone’s been seeing the Raw Feeding World going absolutely crazy over “Balancing” and the NRC guidelines (National Research Council- Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats)
Now let me define the word “Balance” in this context as it’s often used freely and open to interpretation.
To Balance- To feed a Nutritionally Optimal diet on a cellular level that the specific animal needs.
If your wondering why I had to define the word, this is because ALLOT of raw feeders use the word “Balanced” for them feeding “Ratio Balanced Meals” in respect of 80/10/10(5/5) but many aren’t aware that this doesn’t mean Nutritionally Balanced or even Nutritionally adequate for your dog, cat, ferret etc.
Now this is something that needs to be acknowledged because if you don’t and you feed a large breed puppy like an American Bulldog a standard 80/10/10 mince , they’ll more than likely be depleted in a few areas, calcium being the most important which can lead to brittle bone disease, hip dysplasia etc.
Unfortunately many new raw feeders will be put off by the whole idea of feeding their dogs a fresh food diet simply out of the fear of doing it wrong, we all know fresh foods are best but when it’s fed incorrectly it can be detrimental especially with puppies. (Don’t want to be a party pooper but that’s a fact and it needs to be said)
Now why is balancing so important? You may ask, as we humans don’t go through the efforts of eating balanced diet (We should) and were all healthy? Aren’t we? Well I can assure you if I got my bloods tested, I’d be deficient in allot of nutrients and minerals no doubt which will cause ailments in future. (I already suffer with joint issues which I have no doubt is diet related)
If you balance your diet to suit your dogs needs there is so many factors you need to consider such as;
- Metabolic Rate
- Malabsorption Issues
- Current Illnesses (Cancer)
- Genetic Illnesses ( so you can feed and avoid certain nutrients to stop genes from activating ) and many more, in respect of a therapeutic diet should your dog become ILL or has currently been diagnosed, once their immune system is suppressed the aforementioned “Balance” is more important as certain nutrients can accelerate certain Illnesses.
Now the NRC I mentioned above lists the nutritional minimums a dog needs to survive, it also states what foods contain what nutritional qualities in order to balance meals. There are many studies in this publication which back up/generate their recommendations.
The Pet Food Industry use this publication as a Bible in effect and use it to back up their formulas, now the issue with the Pet Food Industry is that they are using synthetic vitamins and minerals (There’s no law that says they can’t, they just have to hit nutritional minimums to be approved) Not to mention low quality ingredients in the first place, most being pretty much Vegan along with chemical additives and preservatives. #WatchPetFooled
Now us fresh food feeders can use the “Requirements” as a guideline rather than just winging it but unfortunately allot of us owners don’t have time to sit there with a calculator and crunch numbers, it’s simply to much effort right?
You must remember when feeding Whole Fresh Foods such as Meats, Offal’s , Bones, Vegetables and Fruits it’s much harder to unbalance, your balancing on a wide platform, you also avoid side effects from chemicals in foods.
Now when the Pet Food Industry formulate their foods, because their using synthetic vitamins and minerals everything is balanced to a T and it’s allot easier to become unbalanced, imagine a Tight Rope Walker (Pictured) or in the words of Dr Ian Billinghurst, it’s like balancing on a knife edge.
What I’ve been doing for my own Dogs though to simply HIT the numbers is feed a well varied animal protein diet and included a well varied low GI (Glycemic Index) Cruciferous Vegetable blend also to give them a Vit/Min boost. I’m a firm believer when we provide enough of what the dogs need Nutritionally, they will use it and excrete what they don’t, thus balancing their own intake.
Is also feed once a day to Adult dogs, Puppies Twice.
Michael K A Bennett
Canine+ Nutrition and Welfare Fanatic