Nitro K-9 Raw Feeding FAQ

Why should I feed my dog a raw meat diet?

A raw meat diet provides undamaged enzymes and amino acids to your dog. It contains natural digestive enzymes and the most complete amino acid profile. When they are provided raw, they are in their natural state and therefore undamaged. Most processed and canned pet foods are cooked at temperatures above 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The problem is, most of the important amino acids and all the digestive enzymes are destroyed when the temperature is greater than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Animals consuming the highly processed food then lack the much needed nutrients and then suffer from dry and itchy skin, weight problems, lethargy, dull coats, and many more symtoms that may not be as apparent. These enzymes are essential biological catalysts, which enhance both the quantity and the quality of the nutrient assimilation. A raw diet therefore allows your pet to converse its own enzyme energy for important life-enriching health benefits, such as longevity. This could help your pet live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

My veterinarian does not recommend a raw meat diet and says it is unsafe. Is this right?

Most veterinary schools don’t teach their students about basic canine nutrition. Raw meat diets were developed with veterinarians and nutritionists. Unfortunately, most veterinary schools provide grossly inadequate education on basic canine and feline nutrition. Few veterinarians know that raw diets are used in zoos, circuses, wildlife parks, and professional dog and cat breeders for nearly three decades.

Can a raw food diet help my obese dog?

Raw food diets contain low amounts of soluble carbohydrates, which are not natural ingredients for any animal–even you!  As blood sugar rises (which happens when soluble carbohydrates are eaten), the dog gets fatter. If the amount of soluble carbohydrates is reduced even slightly, the dog’s diet is improved. One way of reducing this is to increase other parts of the diet, like fat and protein. Protein can convert into sugar, which is slowly released into the blood instead of quickly. This prevents your dog from getting fat.

Why do I see such a difference in my dog’s stool when I feed him on a raw diet?

The high biological value of the protein is the reason for the large reduction in amount and frequency of elimination. Digestion studies show that protein absorption is in the 90% range. Many… most… commercial pet foods are filled with indigestible, however palatable, ingredients, which cause the dogs to overeat and therefore eliminate several times a day. Animals on a raw food diet eliminate once a day, or even every other day. The stool will also have a reduction in odor.

I have heard a raw meat diet helps my dog’s teeth… is this true?

Due to the enzymes in the raw meat diet, no tartar is created. Any raw meat left behind will self-digest because of the natural digestive enzymes that are left intact. Cooked food particles will remain on the tooth and not self-digest–bacteria can proliferate. A raw meat diet avoids periodontal diseases. Raw meat diets do not produce tartar on teeth for one reason – enzymes. Raw meat left between teeth or along the gum line will self-digest because of the undestroyed natural digestive enzymes. On the other hand, cooked food particles can remain on the gum line, setting up the perfect host for bacteria to proliferate, causing tartar and bad breath. Excessive tartar can cause periodontal disease.

Do raw meats reduce bloat?

There are various probable causes of bloat, but raw feeding has never known of a dog bloating on meat. Just the opposite seems true. Our raw meat diets have a high digestion and rapid absorption rate, which reduces the chance for gases to form. Many of our customers have reported bloat and flatulence disappearing after their dogs were fed on raw meat diets.

What are some other benefits of a raw food diet?

Some symptoms of synthetic ingredients are reduced: lots of poop, lots of itching, lots of whining, lots of shedding.

What about diseases, worms and parasites?

  • Can my dog get worms or a disease from eating a raw meat diet?
  • If you use a common in-home processing procedure without cooking, processing, or freezing, diseases like toxoplasmosis and intermediate stages of parasites like tapeworms could be transmitted.
  • Do store-bought raw foods contain diseases?
  • Store-bought raw foods are frozen below -40 degrees F. This deactivates diseases and eliminates bacterial growth. They are USDA certified and therefore are up to human environmental standards. These foods therefore have superior quality and freshness.
  • What about Salmonella and E-Coli?
  • These diseases are becoming more and more common today because animals are living closer together. Handling, chilling, and flash freezing raw meat reduces the risk of bacterial contamination. Dogs also have an inherent deterrent to ingest bacteria because they have highly acidic stomachs. You should introduce raw meat diets slowly so that your dog adjusts and therefore takes full advantage of the rich raw meat without much risk. Bacteria such as Salmonella and E-coli are becoming more difficult to control in today’s meat because of the concentration of animals living in close proximity. Make sure you always feed free range beef. In addition, dogs and cats have a natural deterrent to ingested bacteria due to their highly acidic stomach environment. However, it is important to introduce any raw meat diet slowly to their present food and gradually increase daily for 7-10 days to recommended levels. This gradual increase allows your companion pets the opportunity to adjust to, and take full advantage of their ancestor’s food of choice – nutritionally rich raw meat with minimum risk!
  • What about worms and parasites?
  • If fresh table meat (using common in-home processing procedures) is fed without cooking, processing, or freezing, diseases such as toxoplasmosis and intermediate stages of parasites such as tapeworms could be transmitted. However… most quality control methods include the instant freezing of products to a -40 degrees F which deactivates such agents; both freezing and freeze-drying procedures used in product manufacturing eliminate bacterial growth, as well.

Why is the raw food diet all meat and lacks grains and vegetables?

Although feeding raw vegetables is fine, a purely meat diet is optimal. When feeding vegetables, they should be pureed. If fet raw, the dog will gain the maximum amount of antioxidants and natural digestive enzymes, although steaming the vegetables is also appropriate. We recommend additional supplementation, depending on which food. For example, beef would be lacking in calcium; therefore, a supplement would be recommended. Feel free to contact Steve if you have any questions. Some add cereal foods, which are high in fat content, to the raw diet so that, for active dogs, there are more calories in the food, necessary for the increased burning of calories. If your dog only consumes cooked grains as his predominant pet food, there is a great probability that your dog could suffer from nutritional deficiencies, for example weight, skin, and odor problems.

Why would it be best to feed a raw diet to my dog when I have difficulties digesting meat myself, as a vegetarian?

Humans lack the digestive tools in order to handle raw meat. The natural nutrients which are derived from fresh raw meat diets (either frozen or freeze-dried) are crucial for optimum health.

A raw meat diet seems lower in protein and fat than dry food… why?

You can’t compare apple and oranges! It is crucial to compare the foods on a dry-matter basis. On a dry-weight basis, the raw food diet is about 44 to 55 percent protein and between 29 and 35 percent fat. But, the most important aspect is the quality and the source of the protein: the measurement of how much of the protein is actually turned into body tissue. These diets are the best when it comes to digestibility and biological value.

My dog food’s packaging says it is “complete and balanced”… so isn’t it equally nutritious?

The text “complete and balanced” do not refer to their nutritional adequacy. In order for the legal use of this phrase, the food only needs to meet the minimum requirements to keep an average pet alive. Is your pet more than average? Wouldn’t you rather have a dog live a healthy life rather than merely keeping them alive?

Will mixing kibble with the raw meat be harmful?

It is not recommended for small breeds. Many large breeds owners and multiple dog owners do feed their dogs this way, especially when budget restraints are an issue, and the results are quite successful. Raw meat diets are very rich in all of the crucial ingredients, then are fortified with natural vitamins and minerals. The raw meat will therefore over-compensate for the nutrients that the kibbles lack. If there are too many nutrients in the diet, the body will simply discard them as waste material. The quality of the kibble should always be taken into consideration. Don’t assume that a higher price always indicates a higher quality. If you feed your dog half raw meat half kibbles, considerable positive changes will be obvious in as little as one to two weeks. You will see improvements in the dog’s appearance, mobility, behavior, and stools. Your pup’s stool will reduce in size and frequency. In less than thirty days, you may be surprised that you own a new dog…. but it is actually the same dog…. only greatly improved! So after those thirty days, a decision between a 50/50 diet and a full raw food diet can be made. Kibbles are mainly filled with indigestible grains and other random ingredients that solely increase the fecal matter. The meat source in kibbles, sadly, is mainly not made from fresh or whole meats, but rather animal waste materials from meat packing plants, grocery stores, and hotels. Once the meats are cooked at extreme temperatures, the bacteria is completely destroyed. Then, grains and grain flours are added. Then cooked again. Not much nutrition can be left after that. Check the labels before buying your kibbles–you’ll want kibbles which are mainly meat-based, not grain and/or animal meal predominant ingredients.

Is it bad if I cook the diet before feeding it to my pooch?

Meat cooked over 120 degrees Fahrenheit loses natural digestive enzymes as well as some of the important fragile amino acids, for example Taurine.

My neighbor’s dog seems to do great on commercial dry and canned food. My dog is not doing so well. Why is there a difference?

Some dogs, especially when they are young, have an amazing ability to digest just about anything that looks like food and do well on it. However, even they have a tendency to degenerate as they grow older, usually at 4-5 years of age. When the organs of the body, especially the all-important digestive machine, the pancreas, starts to age, it is much easier on the animal’s system to be eating a diet with the digestive enzymes still intact and undamaged by heat processing. Raw foods provide this. Numerous people from European countries who feed raw meat diets confirm the health benefits and longevity of large breed dogs, i.e. Great Danes, Rottweiler’s, Mastiffs, etc. to ages of 15 years or longer. This reality is nearly unheard of in our country, except those companion pets on raw meat diets. When the organs of the body, especially the pancreas, starts to age, it is much easier on the dog’s digestive system to be eating a diet with digestive enzymes still intact and not damaged by the heat process. Raw foods do provide this. Raw feeding is very popular in Europe and longevity has increased hugely for large breeds, such as Great Danes, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, and so on. They live to 15 years and longer.

How long can I leave the raw meat out in the bowl?

First and foremost, the food will more likely be gobbled up in moments! The canine and feline will instinctively recognize the smell and taste of the organ meats and you will witness a finicky eater rapidly convert to a fast eater! However, pet owners don’t always remember in the beginning that a much smaller portion of raw products is all that is needed (nutrient packed, not full of fillers) and may overfill the food dish. Should this ever occur, any portion of our fresh and safe ingredients that are left uneaten, even if mixed with other foods, should be placed in a covered container in the frigerator and brought out to serve at the next feeding. When a meat temperature rises to 40 degrees F, or warmer, bacteria can multiply, and can lead to a sick animal if eaten. (This is also true of all human meat consumables.) We recommend thawed frozen or any re-hydrated freeze-dried meat products be placed into the refrigerator or freezer within 20 minutes.

Established Raw Protocol:

Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food

Nutrient Profiles “For all life stages” is as follows:

Linseed Meal: A high source of plant protein and high in alpha linolenic acid; an omega-3 fatty acid used by the body to make cell signaling messengers (prostaglandins) and help regulate immune response.

Sunflower Meal: A source of plant protein and plant fiber.

Tomato Pomace: Source of plant fiber, and excellent source of plant carotenoids (pigments) such as lutein and lycopene, a plant pigment with provitamin A activity.

Kelp: A sea plant, kelp is a source of nutrients abundant in the ocean such as iodine and omega-3s.

Choline Chloride: Source of choline, a very critical component of phospholipids essential for all cell membranes. d-a-Tocopheryl Acetate (Source of Natural Vitamin E): Vitamin E serves various roles in the body; one of the most being a sink for free radical species generated by normal life processes.

Manganese Sulfate: Source of manganese, a trace mineral proven to be essential for animals. Among other roles, it is a cofactor (essential for proper function) in several enzymes systems, including manganese superoxide dismutase.

Zinc Sulfate: A source of the trace mineral zinc, present in virtually all cells, and long recognized as essential for animals and humans. A common deficiency symptom is poor skin and coat health and slow wound healing.

Vitamin A Supplement: An essential nutrient well known for its role in vision. Vitamin A interacts closely with zinc in some pathways and plays a role in red blood cell production.

Niacin: The generic term used for nicotinic acid, a critical molecule of metabolism found in every cell. Nicotinic acid can also be synthesized by the body using the amino acid tryptophane.

d Calcium Pantothenate: Source of pantothenic acid, a critical part of the molecule coenzyme A (CoA) vital to all cells.

Vitamin D3 Supplement: Converted to its active form by sunshine on the skin, Vitamin D has been known to be involved in calcium and bone metabolism. Vitamin D has recently been the subject of intense reevaluation. Its role in human health is now recognized to go far beyond bone function.

Copper Sulfate: Source of the trace mineral copper, essential as a cofactor in numerous enzyme systems. Copper is most famously found in Cytochrome C, an enzyme system used to reduce molecular oxygen to water. This most fundamental of all reactions in biology is in the mitochondria of every eukaryotic cell in the world.

Riboflavin: A water soluble vitamin that serves mainly as a component of the molecule FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide), essential in intermediary metabolism in all cells.

Selenium Yeast: An organic source of selenium, more bioactive than inorganic sources of selenium, such as sodium selenite. At least 18 enzymes or proteins have been identified as containing selenium. Selenium is an essential trace mineral and its lack can cause different problems in different species. The most common deficiency symptom is white muscle disease and heart pathology. It has been the subject of active investigation in humans for its role in cancer prevention.

Biotin: Biotin is a water soluble vitamin involved as a cofactor in several enzyme systems, with recent evidence of a role in DNA transcription and replication.

Vitamin B12 Supplement: This vitamin is unique in the history of nutrition because there was a specific human disease (pernicious anemia) that resulted in death before B12 was discovered and oral supplementation became possible. B12 is a very complicated molecule with cobalt at its center, and only microorganisms are able to make this vitamin. Supplementation for monogastrics at very low levels is usually recommended.

Cobalt Carbonate: The major need for cobalt, a trace mineral, is for incorporation into the vitamin B12. If intake of B12 is adequate, cobalt deficiency is unlikely.

Pyridoxine HCL (Vitamin B6): An important cofactor in over 100 enzymes systems, B6 is widely distributed in meats, grains, vegetables and nuts. As various conditions can hinder its bioavailability, prudent supplementation is often recommended.

Thiamin Mononitrate: An essential catalyst in several key enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, thiamin has historically been associated with disease seen with high intake of highly processed (polished) rice. Beriberi is a form of thiamin deficiency that mainly affects the legs with paralysis, but another deficiency is heart failure and generalized edema.

Folic Acid: Folate is a term for different forms of a coenzyme essential for the metabolism of amino acids and other key cellular components.

Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodine: EDDI is an organic form of iodine, a trace mineral needed for proper function of thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone has multiple roles in the regulation of cell activity and growth.

Disclaimer: This information was written and published for educational purposes only, and it not intended to take the place of veterinary care. Please consult a veterinarian should the need for one be indicated. The author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person, pet, or entity with respect to loss, damage, or injury caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book. Some breeds, such as Dalmatians, can have problems with the purines in beef liver and hearts. Giant breed puppy owners should consult with their veterinarian or their puppy’s breeder before making any dietary changes.