What we feed our pets has an enormous impact on their health and well-being. Thank goodness we have moved on from the bad old days of feeding our pets low-quality wet canned dog food. Nowadays, we are more aware of what we feed ourselves as well as the food we give to the furry member of our family. Jenny McKellar*, Founder of Life on the Hedge is passionate about sourcing and supplying ethical human-grade raw food for dogs. Jenny shares her opinion on raw food and a short list of resources for further information.
Pets4Life: Do you recommend raw food for dogs over a good quality commercial dry dog food?
Jenny: Every dog is different, therefore diets should be an individual approach. Generally, I believe that a raw diet is species appropriate – canine and feline teeth and digestive systems are designed to eat raw meat and bones; builds a strong immune system, smaller stools, cleaner teeth, healthy coat and skin.
If a dog is fed dry food, I recommend adding in fresh raw foods where possible, for example, egg, coconut or hemp oil, sardines, pulverised green veggies, yoghurt, blueberries.
Pets4Life: Can dog guardians provide a complete balanced diet with raw food only?
Jenny: Yes, absolutely! If you make your own from scratch, it’s important to get the balance of macro and micronutrients right. I recommend resources like Planet Paws, they have easy recipes to make at home. Variety is good, so consider switching the proteins and other ingredients to ensure your pet is getting all the nutrients they need. Adjust as you go depending on your dog’s weight, condition and activity levels. These days there are also some excellent commercial raw foods available so you don’t have to do the work yourself.
Pets4Life: What are the risks if any of raw food for dogs with food safety?
Jenny: There are always risks with any type of diet, whether human or pet, raw or cooked. Dogs are able to eat raw food as their gastric pH is suited to raw food. However humans are not, therefore standard food hygiene should be practised, just like when we handle raw food when cooking our family meals.
Pets4Life: What do you feed your dog?
Jenny: We feed Pepper a commercial ethically-sourced, human-grade, balanced raw food and add different “extras” each day, like the examples I give above. She devours it! She especially loves coconut oil and mulberries!
Jenny’s recommendations for further reading about raw food for dogs
Dr Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats, Beth Taylor & Karen Shaw Becker (will be updated in 2018)
Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, Steve Brown
K9 Kitchen, Monica Segal
Give a Dog a Bone, Ian Billinghurst
Raw Meaty Bones, Tom Lonsdale
Canine Nutrigenomics, Dodds & Laverdure
Anne Hardacre, Certificate in Small Animal Nutrition; Assoc Dip Applied Science (Animal Science), CPDT-KA, www.pawsitiveconnection.com.au
About Life on the Hedge
We believe in ethical human-grade raw food, tasty organic treats, supportive beds, lovingly hand-crafted accessories & toys, safe cosy natural fabrics, scientifically formulated fur care. We search for the best Australian-made and global pet products that follow these values and bring them to you.
We have a special focus on Australian-made. You will not find many of our products in the big pet store chains. Every product has been put through its paces by our Chief Test Pilot, Pepper our beautiful English pointer mystery mix.
* Jenny McKellar is not a qualified small animal nutritionist.