Raw Meat for Pitbulls

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Feeding pitbulls with raw meat has become more popular among pitbull owners in recent years due to perceptions that raw meat diets may be healthier for the breed. Some owners began feeding their pitbulls raw meat diets long before it became popular due to health reasons. The grains used in dog foods as recently as a decade ago were different than the ones used today, and certain pitbulls were allergic to those grains, which meant they had to be fed alternate diets to preserve their health. This is also the case when pitbulls have environmental allergies.

If your pitbull has allergies to traditional foods, your veterinarian might recommend feeding him or her a raw meat diet. However, not all veterinarians have experience with raw meat diets, and they may ask you to figure out the process on your own. If you aren't able to find resources, you will have to do some experimenting. Good places to start are with oats and millet for the grain components, poultry and beef for the meat parts, and different kinds of vegetables. You can also try eggs, organ meat, and raw bones for good measure. You might find that grains are unnecessary after a while, but it depends on your dog.

You are likely to notice a number of health benefits to your pitbull when you switch him or her to a raw meat diet, including a decrease in weight and an increase in energy. Closely monitor your pitbull throughout the transition from regular dog food to raw meat to make sure he or she is handling the change well.

How to get started

The transition from regular food to raw meat for your pitbull should be a gradual one so your dog doesn't go into shock or reject the food from the start. The best idea is to gradually introduce raw meat to your pitbull as a treat during the first three or four days. You can slowly increase the amount of meet you give your dog until he or she is capable of eating an entire meal of raw meat. If you provide your pitbull with an entire bowl of meat that has been cut up or a bone that is raw and meaty, your dog is likely to either have the runs, vomit, or do both. It will be messy to clean up and potentially frightening if you aren't used to your dog getting sick.

Many pitbull owners report that their dogs are still likely to get the runs when they are first fed raw meat bones, due to the extra layers of fat on the meat. This is particularly common with puppies that get their first chicken carcasses or raw bones. However, they will quickly adapt as long as the meat is good and will develop much stronger stomachs that don't get upset when they are introduced to new food. One of the advantages of feeding your pitbulls raw meat is that they will develop stronger internal systems because of the process, and you will be able to feed them a variety of new treats and foods without them throwing up or rejecting it in the future.

The types of meat you use are really up to you. There are only a few hard and fast rules to keep in mind:

First, try to avoid raw pork. This isn't because of anything to do with pork and your pitbull's stomach, but because some pork can still carry serious diseases that can get your dog violently sick, such as trichinosis. This is a small parasitic worm that can infect both humans and dogs, and unless you are absolutely sure that you are getting good meat that is worm free, it's just safer to stay away from raw pork. The worm is killed when you cook the pork, of course, but that would defeat the purpose of the raw meat diet.

Second, try to avoid raw salmon. Similarly, there is nothing inherently wrong with cooked or canned salmon, and in fact, your pitbull will likely enjoy both of these. However, raw salmon is sometimes infected with liver flukes, which are parasites that go after the liver, and they can potentially reduce your pitbull's liver to shreds.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of meat you feed your pitbull, if the meat is raw, your dog will have to go through a period of detoxication. The only real exception to this if you have a pitbull puppy, as it will be less used to any kind of diet, whether dry, canned, cooked, or raw. Detox simply means your pitbull's system has to cleanse itself from all of the bad components that built up inside the pitbull from years of eating dry food, no matter whether it was high quality food or lower end stuff. Typically, it will take about a month for your dog to be completely ready to go on the raw meat diet.

During this month, your pitbull is likely to smell more than usual. The coat will become brittle and dull. The skin might become extra oily, and you will probably detect worse odors from their breath and stool. However, seemingly overnight, your dog will suddenly become completely different, and in a good way. It happens to virtually every animal used to a dry food diet and switched to a raw one, so don't worry about it.

Another concern to keep in mind is one about bacteria and germs. Sometimes people worry about the switch to a raw meat diet because they don't know if their dogs will be able to handle it from a health standpoint. However, dogs are designed to eat raw food; they are essentially domesticated wolves. The digestive systems of your pitbulls will easily break down bones, and in most cases, they will not be too susceptible to listeria, salmonella, or e-coli. However, certain dogs will be more susceptible than others, including the very old, the very sick, and the very young. Use more caution with these dogs when thinking about transitioning them from dry to raw meat diets. To take care of germs in general, just use the same ways of cleaning your surroundings that you would if you were preparing food for yourself and you shouldn't have any problems. Clean your dog bowls after each meal you give them. Scrub your prep surfaces and wash your utensils. If you use common sense and good practices in the kitchen, germs shouldn't be an issue.

What size portions should you feed your pitbulls?

The amount of raw meat you give your pitbulls will depend completely on your dogs. Think about how active they are, how much they weigh, whether they are in healthy weight ranges or could stand to gain or lose a few pounds, and to some degree, how old they are. Keep in mind that during the first few days of a raw meat diet, your pitbulls will eat as if they are completely starved. In a way, they will be, because they will still be unfamiliar with the diet and their bodies will not yet be sure how to derive energy from the meat. As a reference metric, a 70 pound pitbull might like 1.5 pounds per day, while a 20 pound pug might like 1/2 a pound per day.

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