The wild dog
If we are looking to the wild dog as a guideline for feeding our dogs a raw food diet, we see that vegetation is an important part of a balanced diet. When eating their prey, wild dogs will first eat the contents of the stomach and intestine which is full of vegetation eaten by the animal. Vegetation provides additional vitamins and minerals along with fibre. Fibre promotes a healthy digestive tract and helps feed the gut flora in the large intestine. A good rule of thumb is to try to incorporate 5-10% vegetation in your pups diet.
Other reasons to provide vegetables in the raw diet:
- Vegetables are a good source of water.
- Vegetables contain phytonutrients which help prevent and treat disease. Phytonutrients are only found in plant sources.
- Vegetables contain carotenoids which are anti-aging and antioxidant nutrients.
- Leafy green vegetables are sources of A, E, C, and K which are essential for growth, reproduction, disease prevention.
Ok, so vegetables are good, but how do we feed them?
Plant cells are protected by something called cellulose. A dog's digestive tract is adapted to eat mainly animal products and they are unable to digest cellulose found in plants. Because of this, it’s important that any vegetation fed to our dog is broken down first. We want to mimic how vegetables are eaten in the wild - chewed up and processed. The best way to achieve this is by feeding pureed raw veggies or pulp produced from juicing. You can also use a food processor; it helps to add a little liquid (bone broth, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, water) to help break it down into a paste.
Another reason why the vegetation found in the preys stomach is easier to digest is because it has gone through a process of fermentation which has broken down the cellulose walls. Not only do fermented veggies best mimic what would be eaten in the wild but they provide good bacteria and enzymes to help create a healthy gut in your pup. Since the veggies are fermented, it's not necessary to puree or grind like you would with fresh vegetation. When looking for fermented veggies, make sure it is raw and found in the fridge section of the grocery store as this will have the most bacteria and enzymes!
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Do you incorporate vegetables into your dogs diet? What are their favourites? We want to hear from you, comment below to join the conversation or ask questions!