The most important piece of information I can tell you is that balance is achieved over time.
- This means stop worrying.
- This means you don’t need to feed a complete balanced meal every time.
In fact I have never ever met anyone that manages to achieve a perfectly balanced meal 365 days a year 2/3/4 meals a day. If you do have a perfect recipe then it becomes imperfect as feeding this alone wouldn’t give variety which equals no balance over time.
Fresh feeding guidelines key points
• Balance over time – one meal could have more bone content, another more meat or organ. The approximate ratio to aim for overall is:
80% meat, sinew, ligaments, fat
10% edible bone
5% other organ meat
( this suits all felines, but our canine friends can have fruit and vegetables too)
• Meats are high in phosphorus, bones are high in calcium. When meat is fed with 10% bone you have the exact ratios of calcium to phosphorus required by a dog. Whole prey, fish, eggs and tripe have a balanced ratio.
• Organ meat should not exceed 10% of the diet overall and 5% of that should be liver (beef liver has the highest nutrient levels). Feed liver once a week (or several small servings per week) and try to find an organic, free range source if possible because the liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body.
• If feeding pork or salmon, be certain to freeze the meat for two weeks before feeding to reduce the small risk of parasites.
• NEVER feed cooked bones of any type as when bones are cooked they become harder and are dangerous for the dog as they can splinter and pierce the stomach or intestines. Raw bones are soft enough to bend and digest easily.
• Feel free to feed ‘weird and icky things’ such as chicken feet, beef trachea, tails, lung, kidney, testicles and pizzles (penis). Beef trachea, trim, chicken and turkey feet are loaded in natural chondroitin and glucosamine which help to build healthy joints.
• Weight bearing leg and knuckle bones from large animals such as beef should only be fed as a play bone. Play bones can be used to make bone broth. Raw meaty bones are the sort of bones that are fully edible. They are fantastic for oral health, mental stimulation, nutrients, calcium and phosphorus and they are rich in omega 3 fats to name a few. Examples of the sort of bones are chicken wings, rabbit quarters, turkey necks, lamb ribs pheasant carcass I could go on.
• If possible, try to find grass fed animals that are not given hormones or medications if possible. Younger animals in general will have accumulated fewer toxins to pass on to your dog. Remember budget is important to all of us, feed within your budget.
• Carbohydrates, in particular grains, are not a natural part of the dog’s or cats diet and we do not recommend they form any part of the diet. Dogs or cats do not have the ability to digest grains properly, so instead, an extra strain is put on the liver as it has to produce more bile to break down the insoluble fibre.
There are many sources of information and books out there about feeding a fresh diet. Remember what suits my pets might not suit yours. Keep a close eye on their stools, this is a great indicator of what’s happening. White stools equals too much bone, dark black stools means too much offal. Try to balance meals out feeding a high bone meal for breakfast followed by a boneless meal for tea.
You don’t need to feel like a soldier and battle on trying to feed a diy diet. No one will judge you any less, just because you don’t become a slave to preparing their dinner every meal. I personally make up the majority of my pets food with completes, as I’m a busy working mum (no children, just 4 legged fur balls) We are all so lucky now, because there are some many companies making fantastic ‘complete’ meals in a tub/carton/bag/roll bringing back the convenience of fresh feeding and giving us the confidence they are getting the very best.