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THE ULTIMATE RAW MEAT DIET FOR DOGS including nutrition tables

Dog Meat foodThis is a rare and very complete, a scientific approach to raw meat food feeding of a dog.

If you feed your dog kibble or cans, it will also help you understand how to adjust your food amounts if you decide to include any meat or offal in their diet.

You will find very little analysis of either manufactured dog food or raw diets on the internet, because it is either hard, or no money in it. Today this changes.

For a long time I have been researching and improving my dog's raw food diet, but now is the time where it all comes together. In this article I show how to construct a healthy raw dog food diet (meat based) and compare it to the dog industry standard the aafco tables minimum nutrition requirements.

This article and analysis also shows you how to identify any nutrient that aafco believes is deficient and what to look for in dog supplements to remedy this, if you believe it is necessary.

The following article on  Dog Vitamins and Minerals shows how you can add supplements to meet aafco guidelines if you want to do so.

The above is a big claim, but if you read this whole article, and have a spreadsheet program and internet connection, you too will be able to know everything about keeping your dog healthy on a raw diet, the amounts of ingredients to feed, and even how to look out for nutrient deficiencies.

The following will briefly explain why I am so passionate about this cause and how you can take back responsibility for your own dog. And get them off their convenient manufactured dog food addiction.

How Healthy Dog Treats supplement ultimate dog diets

We can supply you meat, offal and bone for your dog's diets.

The bones we provide aren't mostly small raw bones and not all dogs can eat large dried bones (dont have the strength) so for nutrition for all dogs, we suggest you consider our 100% meat jerkies and offal.

Common meats most dogs have been exposed to chicken or beef, so our Chicken breast fillet and beef jerky are obvious dog food supplement choices.

You can also add Roo jerky, or any of the 100% fish dog treats we sell such as Hoki, Flake or sardines. And in fact these last varieties also provide exceptional Omega 3 oil choices.

Offal wise you can consider our Beef liver or Kangaroo liver.

We have many specialised treats such as bones that have a LOT of meat on them, or beef or lamb lung (which is offal but mostly used as an exciting easy chomping dog treats). Green lipped mussels and shark cartilage are exceptional for reducing arthritis effects and improving joints.

These are all 100% meat dog treats that are ideal for daily inclusion in your dogs diet to make up for the meat deficient in most commercial dog food !

My dogs food journey

From birth I fed my dog kibble exclusively. This action was based on very little besides vet recommendations, dog food sponsored books and the pet food store chatter.

Year two I fed a combination of kibble and cooked chicken drumsticks (no bones), but little else.

Year three was a good year for Archie. This is when during reading of posts in a UK dog forum I became aware of the true  benefits of a raw meat diet.  And so I slowly transitioned Archie over to a raw meat diet (with occasional cooked meats) but little offal and only random small raw bones.

Year 4 - I realised that the information source I was using was also using a massive amount of guess work, and the diets were estimates based on opinion rather than hard nutritional facts.

I now feed my dog a raw meat (and cooked chicken) based diet, with offal (raw and dried) and bones (raw chicken and lamb ribs). He also gets Omega 6 and Omega 3 daily, and 20% kibble.

The reason for this mixture will soon be revealed, and I am sure you will appreciate the truth behind it.

My dog will soon also get supplemental nutrients to reduce the chance of dog dementia (that should be started as early as age six) but that's a future matter.

Why have I gone to the trouble of making my own dog food when I can simply pick it up at the supermarket once a month? Well for me, my dog's health and nutrition are far more important than convenience. He is a vital part of my family and my dog walking business and I have read enough counter information to the big three companies that make dog "food" that seem to run the global dog food industry to realise that you just can't trust private corporations any more.

Please understand, I believe that corporations are not doing anything intentionally to harm dogs, but they are profit driven and source the comparatively cheap ingredients (grains and veggies versus meat) only to make money - not to make your dog the healthiest it can be.

There is a whole emotion charged debate on both sides of this dog nutrition discussion, however this article is actually showing you what standards dog kibble and cans have to meet, and what balanced nutrition you can provide by giving your carnivore dog its preferred food, meat.

The diet is based on nutrition tables as well as AAFCO standards & NCA standards.  NOTE  the AAFCO standards are based on the NCA standards, but the original NCA standards were a lot easier to reach with real food.

What the dog nutrition bible says about meat

"Muscle tissue of meat and poultry alone cannot  supply complete nutrition to companion animals. They supply high quality protein however they are deficient in: calcium; phosphorus; sodium; iron; copper; iodine; several  essential vitamins  (Ref 1). They further go onto say that the deficiencies are because dogs " consumed their entire prey, including bones, organs and intestinal contents .. (which) is often overlooked." This gives you a major hint as to how to create THE ULTIMATE dog diet.

A true raw dog diet, includes meat as its base AND, offal and bones.

I have stated in many other articles on this website my reasons for not following the commercialise Barf diet. In summary, yes dogs eat the contents of their prey's stomachs, yes these have some ripe and chewed green grains. Yes dogs can eat berries when very hungry and sometime grass, but these carbohydrates are a tiny part of the carnivore dogs diet.

DOGS internal digestion processes have not evolved significantly from the time they were wolves, and anyone who tells you different will just be staring at the changes to their physical external form, not their physiology and entire gastro intestinal tract.

The Barf diet seems to be created by people who want to wean you off kibble, but still give a massive unnecessary carbohydrate loading to your pet. This is just another commercialised manufactured diet, that hooks you into buy their products.

The ULTIMATE RAW DOG FOOD DIET

The common view out there is that a raw meat based diet should be 80% meat, 10-15% offal and 5-10% bones.

This is a good starting point and is based on the general dissection of a dog's prey.

It is true that the alpha dog will get the best parts of the animal (maybe a high meat component) and the lowest in the pack fights over bones. However they have the whole of the animal at their disposal. That means that they eat a lot of the stuff left out of kibble and raw diets such as fur, feet, beaks, brains, etc.

The reason that I highlight this is that the best raw diets mix up the meat source and use as many parts of the animal as practical.

You need to ensure that your dog gets all of the main nutrient parts first, but adding the low nutrient parts such as roo tendons etc are meats equivalent of fibre (carbohydrates). These lesser animal parts help to give their stools form and help clear anal glands. They strengthen jaw muscles and clean dogs teeth. They also provide your dog with the psychological enjoyment of eating the whole of the animal rather than sanitised little pebbles of grain stuffed with supplements.

Because of the weakening of jaws etc in domestic dogs (compared to wolves) most domestic dogs need to be supervised when eating something natural that they actually have to chew.

The above is just really a quick guideline.  The following is where the real science comes into it.

In the USA and Australia all dog food manufacturers who want to have their kibble or cans classed as "balanced and complete" have to follow the AAFCO guidelines.

These guidelines are believed to have been 'helped' to be created by dog food companies and other nutrition experts. A previous article shows how the aafco nutrient tables have been created so that no natural blend of meat or carbs (grains or vegetables) can reach the minimum standard. How the only way to achieve this is by a mass of vitamin and mineral supplements. And coincidently some of the largest dog food manufacturers in the world happen to be pharmaceutical companies!

So what my proposal for the creation of the ultimate raw diet involves is using the composition of a raw meat based diet and comparing it with AAFCO tables.

Now a lot of raw feeders believe that the tables are unnecessarily high in their minium nutrient requirements. That they don't account for a lot of the natural micronutrients ingredients that are not shown in the aafco tables. But at least this is a good starting point.

What I have done is provide tables in the APPENDIX of this article that include some of the common meat and offal parts in their 100g fullness. This makes it easy for you to copy and paste these tables to an excel spreadsheet and construct your own ultimate diet.

Below I have included just ONE of the infinite variations of the raw diet, so we can analyse what each component is contributing and the end result. Note this is just an example, not a recommended diet (you know, go and consult your vet).

Note we compare the nutrition to the AAFCO dog maintenance standard and

50% meat (beef chuck steak) + 16% lamb heart, + 8% beef liver + 11% Lamb Kidney + 7% chicken Syuncsacrum (bone)

Of course varying the main meat type, and offal types is important for your dog.

In the wild your dog would get to eat many types of different meat from large game to small vermin.

The main issue in the construction of the diet and the tables is to ensure that the combination is as "complete and balanced" as possible.

THE NUTRITION DATA TABLE

Note the following table is NOT the raw table (shown in the Appendix). It is the table constructed by using the percentage of each component as used in the diet. For instance beef Arginine amino acid value is actually 1.228 mg per 100g of beef. Because we are using near 50% wet weight of beef muscle in this diet, beef contributes only 50% of 1.288 mg or 0.645 mg (Green cell)

Also note that all of the meat and offal data is already converted to the AAFCO units of: %, mg/kg and IU/kg for direct comparison.

The final column, (TOTAL meat+ offal far right), shows how the total meat and offal diet compares with the AAFCO column.

Nutrients that fall below the AAFCO minimum standard are shown in red font. But of course many of these meet the NRC dog standards, or can be easily rectified by adding supplements, just like all the 'dog food' companies do with their kibble and cans.

PROTEINS

DM basis

AAFCO

Raw Beef

Lamb heart

Lamb Kidney

Chicken Neck

Beef LIVER

TOTAL meat+ offal

Arginine

%

0.51

2.187

0.810

0.565

0.000

0.026

3.588

Histidine

%

0.18

1.079

0.283

0.246

0.000

0.013

1.622

Isoleucine

%

0.37

1.539

0.537

0.390

0.000

0.020

2.485

Leucine

%

0.59

2.691

1.053

0.735

0.000

0.040

4.519

Lysine

%

0.63

2.858

0.932

0.635

0.000

0.034

4.459

Methionine-cystine

%

0.43

0.882

0.271

0.199

0.000

0.011

1.363

Phenylalanine-tyrosine

%

0.73

1.336

0.535

0.454

0.000

0.023

2.347

Threonine

%

0.48

1.352

0.584

0.461

0.000

0.018

2.415

Tryptophan

%

0.16

0.223

0.134

0.132

0.000

0.006

0.494

Valine

%

0.39

1.678

0.616

0.574

0.000

0.026

2.894

Fatb

%

5

19.591

0.004

0.001

0.701

0.000

19.597

Linoleic acid  omega-6

%

1

0.582

0.180

0.108

0.000

0.000

0.871

Omega 3

 

 

0.030

0.173

0.099

 

0.000

0.303

ASH %

%

 

0.000

0.001

0.001

3.334501

0.000

0.001

Hydroxyproline

%

 

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.260595

0.000

0.000

Ca / N

 

 

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.161821

0.000

0.000

Minerals

 

 

Beef

L. Heart

L Kidney

C. Neck

Liver

0.000

Calcium

%

0.6

0.011

0.005

0.007

1.244

0.000

0.023

Phosphorus

%

0.5

0.328

0.132

0.120

0.000

0.008

0.587

Ca:P ratio

 

1:01

0.000

0.000

0.000

 

0.000

0.039

Potassium

%

0.6

0.550

0.238

0.074

0.000

0.006

0.867

Sodium

%

0.06

0.132

0.067

0.063

0.000

0.001

0.262

Chloride

%

0.09

0.000

0.000

0.000

 

0.000

0.000

Magnesium

%

0.04

0.037

0.013

0.008

0.000

0.000

0.059

Ironc

mg/kg

80

42.744

34.575

51.356

0.000

1.022

129

Copperd

mg/kg

7.3

1.781

3.007

1.657

0.000

2.407

8.851

Manganese

mg/kg

5

0.000

0.000

0.414

0.000

0.066

0.480

Zinc

mg/kg

120

122.889

14.281

15.738

0.000

0.857

153.

Iodine

mg/kg

1.5

0.000

0.000

0.000

 

0.000

0.000

Selenium

mg/kg

0.11

0.531

0.241

0.907

0.000

0.005

1.684

Vitamins

 

 

 

         

Vitamin A - Retinol

IU/kg

5000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

Vitamin D

IU/kg

500

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

Vitamin E

IU/kg

50

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

Thiamine B1

mg/kg

1

1.781

3.007

1.657

0.000

0.033

6.477

Riboflavin B2

mg/kg

2.2

3.562

7.516

8.697

0.000

0.560

20.

Pantothenic acid B5

mg/kg

10

17.810

19.543

8.283

0.000

1.137

46

Niacin  Vitamin B3

mg/kg

11.4

60.554

45.850

24.850

0.000

2.885

134.

Pyridoxine B6

mg/kg

1

7.124

3.007

0.414

 

0.165

10.710

Folic Acid

mg/kg

0.18

0.053

0.015

0.335

0.000

0.043

0.447

Vitamin B12 cobalamin

mg/kg

0.022

0.091

0.077

0.327

0.000

0.137

0.632

Choline

mg/kg

1200

1654.546

0.000

0.000

 

68.899

1723

Dog Nutrition RESULT

You can see that for this simple example (no carbohydrates) that raw meat, unlike the example of grain nutrition in a previous article, achieves ALL the minimum requirements for the amino (Protein) list. And the amino acids are much easier for the carnivore dog to digest and utilise.

Addressing Ref 1's concerns "low in calcium; phosphorus; sodium; iron; copper; iodine; several  essential vitamins."

The addition of small raw bones (chicken necks, lamb ribs or shark cartilage) takes care of the minimum Calcium amount. It also addresses the Phosphorus issue, which will be discussed in more detail in the next article. The AAFCO Calcium to Phosphorus ratio is required to fall between 1.01 and 2.01.

Essential fatty Acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 need to be added.

Interestingly the AAFCO standard only lists the Linolec acid (OMEGA 6) requirement as 1%.

Canidae All life stages Chicken has Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio ( 3.7% : 0.5%) or  7.4

Ref 1  Acknowledges that there is no complete agreement on Omega ratios of absolute amounts. It mentions that AAFCO tables say a minimum of 1% Omega 6, however "many commercial pet foods, have Omega 6 contribute more than 4% of the foods energy."

Rather than go through how to get the right amounts, you should be aware that commercial dog food usually uses a vegetable source such as flax seed to get its Omega 3. Vegetable sources provide Omega 3 in ALA form that needs to be converted to DHA and EPA (with very poor efficiency). Read this article on Omega 6 and Omega 3 to get the right type and amounts for your dog.

What does the TOTALS column mean?

Firstly the aafco standard was originally based on the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs values from 1985.

The NRC tables are not easy to find however I have included them alongside the aafco column so you can see how the standards have changed. (see the APPENDIX at the bottom of this article).

More than that, the NRC table for a adult dog maintenance diet is based on a "Average 10-kg-BW adult dog consuming 742 kcal ME/day."  The units are almost all in mg, and so are not directly comparable to the aafco tables that converted their unit of measurements mostly to mg/kg of dog bodyweight.

And that is why I provide the NRC column for " TABLE  2 Required Minimum Concentrations of Available Nutrients in Dog Food Formulated for Growth."

You will see from both the NRC (growth nutrition requirements) and the AAFCO (adult maintenance) values, that the AAFCO minimum requirements are often double that of the NRC values.

Noting that the NRC values are also possible double what the NRC adult maintenance values should be.

This suggests that the AAFCO adult maintenance values are possible much higher than required. This calls into question why the AAFCO levels were so massively boosted between 1985 and now.

You should also be aware that the AAFCO tables and feeding trials are performed mostly on manufactured dog food that is mostly grain based. And grain has much lower digestibilty (nutrition available components) than meat. That would make sense why the AAFCO values need to be so artificially high.

CALCULATING AMOUNTS of dog food.

The 80/ 10/ 5 rule sounds about right, however it is not very scientific.

Digestibility and palatability concerns that the reference book goes on about are really only a concern to carbohydrates and grains in particular. Unprocessed grains are as tasty and digestible as cardboard to the average dog.

Whereas MEAT is both highly digestible and palatable to the majority of dogs. You don't need to cook and tweak the taste of meat to make a dog eat it.  Note that if you have feed your dog kibble or canned food for a long time then it needs to slowly be transitioned into a meat based diet.

Science papers have been published that show it is preferred by dog frood manufacturers to convince you to feed your dog kibble from birth and nothing else. Doing so will create an extremely narrow palate (for most dogs) and make it difficult for them to try novel tastes, like meat later in life.

If we continue working on the preface that dog food should meet the AAFCO standards, then two major things need to be considered in a raw meat dog diet. They are: s it supplying close the 'balanced' nutrient profile and how much do you feed your dog.

Knowing how much you can feed your dog should go directly go into calculating the proportions of each meat components. In the end, you will see how your dogs body responds to the diet you feed it, you adjust the level of food based on their age, breed, exercise amount and their final body shape once on your new diet.

Creating the ULTIMATE raw meat diet

A basic set of equations exist for energy requirement determination of your dog (Ref 1 p 66 )

Inactive dogs ME (metabolisable energy) requirement = 95 x W kg (power 0.75)

Active or working dogs ME = 130 x W Kg (power 0.75)

My dog example: My adult dog receives two off lead walks per day. He receives no where near the workout of a working dog, but he isnt idle. If I estimate his ideal weight as  20Kg  then the estimated ME = 105 x 20 (power 0.75)

= 105 x 9.457 = 993 kcal ME/ day

Where 1 calorie = 4.184 Kj

DOG ENERGY USAGE

The most accurate method of determining the energy USAGE of a specific dog is actually done in feeding trials. In scientific settings technicians see what food is used for energy and what passes through the dog as waste.

However there is a good short cut that we can use. "The Atwater factors work quite well for estimating the ME of homemade dog and cat diets and for commercial products with very high digestibles." (ref 1 p 6) "In general, calculation of ME from analysed levels of carbohydrate, fat and protein in the diet using modified Atwater factors provides a reasonably accurate estimate of the ME for most pet foods evaluated."

In simple terms:  ME diet  = (3.5 x g protein) + (8.5 x g fat) + (3.5 x g NFE carbs)

As long as you have the gram amounts of protein and fat in a raw meat diet (usually provided in nutrition tables), you can calculate the ME (kilo joule) value of each component, and then the total energy value of your diet.

And the great thing about the nutrition tables that I have used (see references) is that they provide the % of Protein, % carbs and % fat in every selection.

Calculating the energy amounts of the Ultimate dog diet.

Fill in all the nutrition values in the columns of each meat product you want to use (from reference tables shown in the reference section of this article). Or you can copy the table I have provided in the Appendix.

Make sure that the values in the data tables are all for 100g quantities of meat. That way the values will easily be converted to a percentage format.

Now replicate these columns to the right of your primary data table.

Above the copied table create a 'header' table like that shown below.

NOW select what you think is a good mix of primary muscle meat, offal and bone. Put the gram amounts of each meat product in the g cells.

The second row I have put in the % that the WET meat product makes up of the total wet weight.

As you can see in this example beef meat only makes up around 50%. The reason is that half a lambs heart weighs about 100g and one lamb kidney weighs 70g. This first step is just trial and error and you will vary it from meal to meal. Depending on the meat offal you want to use, and the resulting nutrition data effect.

Some of the meat products you will feed your dog in the morning, some for its night meal.

You will see that I include EVERYTHING that the dog is going to eat for the day, including dried liver training treats (these are extremely nutritious). You will note that bones typically are not included on the major nutrition data sites, so much of their nutritional values are missing, and I have had to estimate the amount of protein and fats (marrow) included in the chicken necks.

You definitely need to include the Omega 6 and Omega 3 values (as determined per the previous article - because with an "atwater conversion" factor of eight, these components account for a significant amount of energy in your dogs diet.

Note that I have included 40g of dog kibble in the table. Depending on the activity of your dog and its size you will want to adjust the dog kibble amount. You will see why I have chosen 40 g in a moment.

The next column is the kcal/kg row. This is mostly calculated from the Original data table data.

The raw data will provide you with the Percentages of protein, carbs and fat in each meat component.

Use the modified Atwater  formula: ME diet  = (3.5 x g protein) + (8.5 x g fat) + (3.5 x g NFE carbs)

If you used nutrition data for 100g amounts of meat then multiply the above formula by ten to get Kcal/ kg values for each meat component.

For example: 300g wet Beef kcal/kg =  300/1000 x 10 x (3.5 x 19g protein + 8.5 x 11g fat + 0 g carbs)

300g beef muscle = 480 kcal/kg

By doing this for all the amounts of meat, offal, bones and EFA's I have selected we achieve a Kcal value of approximately 940 kcal ME/ day.  Which if you remember the previous energy calculation I did for my dog is close to the desired value of 993 Kcal ME/ day.

The second last row in the table below is the DRY weight grams of each component.

This is a very important row for later estimates of the supplements that need to be added to reach AAFCO requirements.

The dry weight can easily be calculated since the nutrition data tables include the grams of water in each component.

Below that (the final row) I have calculated the DRY % of each component. This is particularly useful for understanding what percentage dry weight the kibble added will comprise. If you are using AAFCO 'complete and balanced' dog kibble then using kibble at 20% dry weight means that you really only need to add vitamins and minerals to make up 80% of the minimum AAFCO or NCA values.

 

BEEF

Lamb heart

Lamb Kidney

Chicken

LIVER

Omega

Omega

Dog

 

UNIT

Raw

Raw

Braised

Syncsacrum BONE

Dried

6

3

Kibble

TOTAL

WET g

300

100

70

40

8

9

4

40

518g

WET g %

52.5%

17.5%

12.3%

7.0%

1.4%

1.6%

0.7%

7.0%

 

kcal/kg

480

108.75

81.865

17.8

10.712

70.38

34

134

937

DRY g

88.5

23.3

20.72

 

7.2

0

0

35

174

DRY %

50.7%

13.3%

11.9%

0.0%

4.1%

0.0%

0.0%

20.0%

 

Why did I use beef as the major meat in the dog food?

You can use:  beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, camel, rodent, anything you have at your disposal and you know the nutrition profile for. I  have used beef here (0" fat trim) because it's one of the major meats I can easily provide my dog and that he has no issue with digesting.

Raw feeding guides often suggest between 2 and 3.5% body weight of a dog in meat and offal/bones. 3% of a 20kg dog is 600g.

As you can see from my more thorough calculations the 600g weight weight target is close to the 500g plus I calculated.

I did not feed my dog raw kidney when he was young and he usually won't eat it raw, so I  microwave this for 30 seconds at the moment. That is why I have used the 'braised lamb kidney' nutrition profile. You can see Kidney is a great source of Iron - one of the minerals that the book points out that raw diets are often deficient in.

If you are interested in how bones work in a dogs diet, I have created a bone article here:   Bones as part of a dogs raw diet

Unfortunately since bones by themselves are rarely used a the centrepiece of human food, there are very few complete nutrition tables for them. I usually feed my dog chicken necks (and occasionally a carcass or wing) to strengthen his jaw and clean his teeth and add the equivalent of fibre to his diet.

As the chicken necks are mostly bone, with a little bit of meat on the outside and fat as marrow in the inside, I have only been able to estimate the protein and fat levels in this diet component.

Dried liver is a universal quick and cheap dog training treat. I use it with my dog every day. Its value needs to be included in the energy values. As you can see from the tables it is a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Dog Kibble. I have added kibble to the mix for several reasons. My vet suggested to do so as a safety measure to ensure that my dog was getting somewhere near the 'complete and balanced'  nutrient profile.  My main reason for kibble is that the reference made many good points about the right kinds of carbs include the right kind of moderately fermentable fibre. This form of fibre both make firm stools and is the preferred energy source for the cells in the wall of the intestine.

Without fur and all the other wasted parts of prey, a dogs diet is often deficient in solid matter and their stools are often loose, which risks malnutrition. So I use kibble like a fibre supplement.

Unfortunately because of the very poor nutrient table requirements of dog food, the main data that I can use in my tables is the protein. fat and carb %'s which at least is enough to calculate the energy contribution.

Note if you give your dog any dog treats, It is ideal to use a high meat source. For instance the types I choose typically are either 100% meat or 85% meat (up to 15% wheat). By using high percentage meat treats you are not adding any more carbs to your dogs diet than added by any supplemental kibble, and you can easily allow for their energy contribution based on the tables you already have constructed.

dog meat

 

DISCUSSION

It is obvious from data sheets and dog evolution that the use of grains or carbohydrates in general are of limited use in a dog's diet. Grains in particular mainly add bulk and help in the creation of firm stools. Their protein profile and general mineral and vitamin amounts are poor compared to a raw meat diet. Grain acts as a cheap vitamin and mineral delivery system.

The main value of grain in dog food is that it is cheap for manufacturers to put into bags. That is why Meat and a mass of vitamins and minerals have to be added to grains to meet the minimum standards.

This article is a direct comparison with one meat type BEEF, with several of the major grains used in kibble. You can easily see the difference in the beef muscle, let alone the excellent nutrition profiles of the offal's shown here.

It appears that there are very few sources of vitamin and minerals made specifically for supplementing a carnivore dog diet. Of the supplements analysed here it appears that it appears that Carnivore Blend does supply the types of minerals and vitamins that are needed to make a raw diet get close to the AAFCO minimum standards (using one tablespoon only).

In Australia I have been able to find NO canine vitamin and mineral product that is suitable for supplementation of a raw meat diet. This is because it seems all vitamin companies assume that their minerals are to be used for dogs eating a poor quality kibble diet, not a carnivore diet. That is why they usually have ONLY 4-5 minerals and mostly the B group vitamins in them.

What does not meeting the AAFCO standards mean?

If it is for a grain based diet, this is a bad thing.

However for a meat based diet, Dog nutritionist who believe that biodiversity and access to minerals from natural sources (as opposed to mineral compounds being added to a diet, such as done in kibble and canned dog food) is the reason why a carnivore diet doesn't strictly have to adhere to an AAFCO table.

Using supplements. Excesses and deficiencies

I have (will soon do) created a separate article to specifically discuss the affects of deficiencies and excesses of the main vitamins and minerals listed in the AAFCO tables.

However the following discussion specifically addresses what occurs in a real world raw diet.

Supplements should ideally be tailored to the exact raw meat/ offal/ bone diet you are using.

In this simple example I have shown beef and only a few offal additives plus chicken bone.

Using this example we can see that using only 1 tablespoon of Carnivore blend (4 g) almost completely achieves the AAFCO minimum standards of vitamins and minerals.

Let me know how you go in disguising the taste of this powder with a fussy eating dog!

SPECIFIC mineral and vitamin analysis

The Calcium issue is resolved with the addition of bones (that a dog in the wild would naturally eat). The issue is more about how to get the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio to be as low as 2.

Potassium Copper Manganese Zinc are all above aafco requirements

Iodine achieves only about half the AAFCO 1.5 mg/kg but is above the NCA of 0.59 mg/kg The reason that iodine is so poor is that it typically is not found in meat products.

Vitamin A achieves the NCA of 3710 IU/kg but not the AAFCO of 5000 IU/kg

Vitamin D is slightly below the NCA 404 IU/kg and AAFCO 500 IU/kg

Pyridoxine B6 is slightly below the AAFCO of 1 mg/kg

Is not meeting the AAFCO standard a bad thing?

The above vitamin and mineral issues are only an issue if you believe that the AAFCO minimum or NRC values are valid for a raw meat diet.

If you assume they are, then a diet that includes 20% dry weight kibble (mainly to add structure to the dogs stool) also means that 20% is AAFCO 'balanced and complete" so comes with its own stash of vitamins and minerals to achieve the minimum standard. Thus any of the vitamins or minerals mentioned above that are close to the minimum standard (within 20% of it) will achieve the standard because of the addition of 20% dry weight 'complete and balanced' kibble.

For this Beef muscle meat example: Phosphorus needs to be increased. And the others that are slightly below the minimum AAFCO are often above the original NCA standard or are met by including of 20% kibble.

CONCLUSION

This article gives you a practical method of achieving AAFCO minimum standards using a raw meat and offal diet, plus carnivore supplement.

The tables I have included in the above report are:

• My nutrition table for adding specific percentages of meat and offal and how they compare to AAFCO and NCA standards
How the addition of supplements can be used to achieve minimum AAFCO and NCA standards.

The APPENDIX below provides the data the above tables were constructed from. You can cut and paste these into an excel spreadsheet and experiment with your own ratios, or add your different meat types (i.e. chicken, fish, buffalo, kangaroo etc)

These tables don't include the addition of any carbohydrates (except kibble). It may be possible to boost trace elements of some minerals and vitamins that the tables suggest the raw diet falls short of the AAFCO tables on. This is your choice. However remember to adjust the diet for the extra energy values (kJ) that the extra food contributes.

My dog has a very refined palate and has been raised to eat meat lately so getting him to eat blueberries or any other fruit or leafy vegetable is most likely to be very problematic.

Note the only other MANDATORY supplement I use in these tables are Omega 6 and Omega 3. Getting the right sources, absolute amounts and ratio between the essential fatty acids is vital and I recommend you read this Essential Fatty Acid guide.

To understand what deficiency or excesses of minerals and vitamins will affect your dog please look at a future article that I am going to write about this. Seeing the affects of any specific deficiency may help you in understanding what you may need to add. Noting that many minerals and vitamins have major affects on other Minerals and vitamins. You may find that increasing one mineral may require an increase in other vitamin and minerals.

This article took a long time in its preparation. It was primarily created to help myself understand the facts and figures behind a raw meat diet, rather than the hyperbole that manufactured dog food makers put out there about the dangers of such a diet, to ensure you keep buying their products.

I believe that the healthiest dog diet is the one that nature created for dogs. Their internal processes and organs have not evolved significantly from the times they were wolf, just their external appearances and behaviours have been modified.

If you took the profit motive out of manufactured dog foods, and the effort out of a raw diet, you would find a lot more people feeding their dogs meat and offal diets.

NOTE this article is already long enough. I provide analysis tables of the Carnivore blend and Vetbasix vitamin and mineral supplements in THIS article.

I hope that this article gives you some insight into what the manufactured dog food standards are and how you can prepare your own natural meat based mix to achieve these standards (assuming you believe the manufactured dog food AAFCO standards are not excessive for raw feeding).

Of course I am not a vet, nor do I sell dog food. I only sell high quality meat based dog treats. Which means that if you are still on a kibble diet Meat based dog treats are an EXCELLENT way of providing high quality meat proteins into your dog.

If you are considering changing your dog's diet please consult your vet, and transition the diet gradually.

Young puppies and older dogs need extra consideration in their diets. Discuss your dogs particular needs with your vet.

 

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to http://www.healthydogtreats.com.au

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References

Canine and Feline Nutrition  Case et al 3rd edition

AAFCO tables:  http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/ucm047120.htm

FOOD DATA: http://nutritiondata.self.com/    or    http://caloriecount.about.com/

 

APPENDIX  (BELOW)

 

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