Let Them Eat….Turkey, Beef, Chicken, Tripe…But Skip The Cake… Variety, variety, variety. It is probably the one issue we run into the most – people who feed raw but avoid feeding a variety of raw. In part, this is due to the long history in this country of feeding one food (kibble) only and the admonitions of commercial kibble companies and some vets to decide on one brand and stick with that exact food for the life of your dog. What people don’t consider is that companies that mass produce kibble aren’t terribly interested in your dog or his health – they are interested in the bottom line. Most vets have little to no nutritional training. If you can find one that does you are WAY ahead of the game but in general, nutrition, unless a specialty, isn’t discussed to any great length in vet school. In this modern world of inquisitive owners determined to do right by their pets, that might be changing. One can hope. By in large, in years past, nutrition has been a subject that is merely glided over and often taught by the same dog food companies who are so enamored of just how much money they can bring in. “Don’t make me eat the same thing day in and day out! Pretty please?” Okay, they are a business – its understandable that they need to make a profit – we all do. They may have stock holders to keep happy and so on. None of that keeps your dog’s best interests in mind as much as they may want to think that they do. When feeding a raw diet, variety should be the base of it. Certainly, in some circumstances, your ability to provide a huge variety is somewhat hampered. Your dog may be allergic to certain proteins, the availability of some proteins may be compromised – any number of things. What is important is that we do our best. Just don’t make the decision to feed ‘only chicken’ or ‘only beef’ because you think its the best thing – its not. We have been so brainwashed into thinking that we pick one food – usually some sort of chicken and rice kibble – and never deviate. Deviation will result in the dread ‘dire rear’, upset bellies, problems we can only imagine!! Oh no! In reality, we can CREATE problems by feeding only one protein source. Allergies and food intolerance can develop over time in dogs who only receive one protein source. Medical issues due to a lack of certain nutrients happens and we don’t even realize it. Even dogs on kibble should have their food switched up every so often. If not brand to brand, variety to variety. The same it more true for naturally raw fed dogs. Variety is necessary. Dogs (and cats) get different nutrients from different foods and not all foods are created equal. They all have different amino acid chains that give different nutrition. They are all rich in different vitamins and mineral – and some of the same ones as well. Variety is a great way to keep your pet from getting bored of their food which helps to stave off picky eating behavior. Chicken always seems to be a go to for raw feeders (and actually most kibble that is fed is chicken based as well). Its easy To maintain a healthy body, gorgeous coat, bright eyes and optimal health, feed your pet a variety of proteins to ensure they get all that they need to thrive. to obtain and cheap as well. There is no problem in feeding chicken, no problem in making it the staple of your pet’s diet, but its not okay to feed ONLY chicken. While initially you may see nothing amiss, eventually, when fed a diet of chicken only, deficiencies will make themselves known over time. This is true of almost everything. Tripe tends to be a relatively complete food and as such is one of the best things to choose if you can only feed one thing but unless there is a sound health reason for doing so, its always best to feed variety even if tripe is your staple. A sound health reason for feeding one protein is just that – a medical type reason. Pickiness is NOT a sound reason to feed only one item even when it seems to be the only thing that your dog likes. As their owners it is up to us to know what is best for them – not for them to dictate. Picky dogs will stop being picky when they get hungry enough – no question! Beef, tripe (from any ruminant including but not limited to cows and lambs), chicken and turkey make a great basis for a meal plan for your pet. Cats can occasionally be a little more difficult and often do best eating poultry (they are notoriously picky and if they don’t eat can indeed cause themselves harm whereas dogs do not suffer this same issue). Its fine to have a base protein for your dogs – with most people it is chicken, with others it is tripe and some rely on beef or turkey as their primary meat. It will depend on what is available to you and affordable for you. Even if your pet eats chicken most days in some form, remember to give them days of other foods – beef one day, tripe another day, turkey another. While this is not set in stone of course, its a viable plan for keeping your pet’s diet varied and complete. Mixing it up is another method. Feed a chicken back with some tripe. Feed a turkey neck with some beef. Once your pets are acclimated to raw food, there isn’t any reason to not mix it up and give them variety in one meal. It will depend on the individual pet, of course, but for most it is a reasonable plan. Making sure your pet gets all of the nutrition that they need is important to pet owners – more so now than ever. While there is no one right way of doing anything, pet owners must understand that there are most definitely wrong ways – across the board. Do what’s right, figure out what is best for your pet and go for it!