Throwing it out there, the endless raw debate… to use plants or not, as all too often things are being presented as fact such as there is no benefit for dogs to eat any vegetables or fruits or herbs.
1. Plant materials chosen wisely and processed well do NOT stress the system, that is simply untrue. (There is even scientific evidence to say so as was published in Nature 2013 to say dogs have evolved to be able to digest plant materials.) This does NOT mean that they are any less of a facultative carnivore.
2. In all my reading I have not come across a SINGLE pro-raw who would advocate a meat only diet (even Lonsdale includes some plant material).
3. Plant materials can be of use if concerned about soil and therefor mineral depletion in the meats we feed. This is quite clear in studies between Organic (therefore) grass fed animals V factory reared animals. There are mineral differences.
4. We use plant materials all the time …
- garlic, what many of us use against parasites,
- turmeric against joint issues, or
- slippery elm for upset tummies, or
- pumpkin seeds against worms or
- coconut oil for certain skin conditions or
- spirulina as a general immune system booster….
- herbs for a variety of ailments opposed to using chemical based medications.
5. Cancer! Many alternative and succesfull cancer diets for dogs do include well chosen veg and other plant material because it works. Kale in particular has shown in studies to have an effect in terms of cancer prevention.
6. Not all plant material is equal – some are better than others for a variety of reasons. Think carrot V kale or strawberry v blueberry.
In terms of diet remember your dog is a facultative carnivore so the biggest part, IF YOU WISH to feed veg, is meat, bones, offal with eg 10% max veg (I’d say really).
Some veg are starchy (sugary) and cause or make things like yeast infections worse, such as carrot, sweet potato, parsnips, pumpkin, – root veg.
Non-starchy / very little starch vegetables: spinach, broccoli, kale, cucumber, celery, beets, asparagus, green/Chinese cabbage, collard greens, swiss chard… you should have little or no problems with these if they are, as they should be a small part of the diet.
If you make you own veg mix – include leafy greens.
Fruit, tricky really as it’s very sugary so definitely not too much!
7. Fruit; as long as canines (forefathers included) have roamed the earth they have eaten plant materials such as berries.
Stay open-minded and the book Canine Nutrigenomics (by Jean Dodds) is a good read on functional foods and diet affects gene expression at the cellular level, creating vibrant health or chronic disease.
I personally don’t mind how you feed, but I feel it would be good to get away from some of the often repeated myths that stop people learning or exploring things which MIGHT actually be good for their dog. There are many more reasons NOT to see it black and white, then the opposite.
We promote for most newbies an 80/10/10 diet as a place to start from and to then explore having the basic framework in place (basic framework being 80/10/10) which you can then alter or add PLANTS on top… if you so wish, this is all ENTIRELY up to you – I will not tell you ever but explore, have fun feeding your opportunistic scavenger of a facultative carnivore!