Saturday, February 10, 2007

Can I Feed My Dog Meat Only?

There are a few dog feeders who foolishly insist that meat is the only thing a dog should ever be fed. Meat alone is entirely inadequate for a dog. The foremost deficiency in a diet of meat is its lack of calcium. lf the meat is trimmed of fat there is also likely to occur a deficiency in energy. There are numerous other deficiencies, but none as dramatic as these two.

Meat, nevertheless, is the single most important source of protein fed to dogs. Thousands of tons of horse meat and beef are used each year in producing commercial dog foods. Hundreds of tons more are fed as a supplement to commercial foods or in home-made rations.

When fed as an addition to a balanced commercial food, meat can be added up to 10 percent of the weight of the mixture. When added in any greater amounts it will dilute the commercial food to the extent that the diet will no longer be balanced or adequate. When used as the sole source of protein in a home-made ration, meat should constitute at least 25 percent of the total weight of the diet. However, home-made rations should ever contain more than 75 percent of its weight as meat.

All meats except pork can be fed to a dog either cooked or raw, but will usually furnish more nourishment in the raw state. Vitamins are destroyed by the heat of cooking. Fat also is driven out of meat during cooking, and unless it is poured back into the ration, it will become lost as an energy source. The only real justification for feeding a dog cooked meat in a homemade ration is because it is pork, or because the dog does not like raw meat. Dogs having a genuine dislike for raw meat are few and far between.

The nature of the animal from which the meat comes does not seem to be too important where protein is concerned. Nutritionally, most proteins from different animals seem to be about equal. For years it was contended by some dog owners that pork could not be fed to dogs. Feeding experiments do not find this to be true. In fact, pork liver is probably among the most nutritious livers commonly available to dogs. The only restriction which pork has when being fed to dogs is that it be cooked.

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