There are many pre-made raw products out on the market as well as recipes on the internet. Some follow a true carnivorous way of feeding while others unfortunately do not. In this series, we will be evaluating various products and raw recipes based on a true carnivorous diet…. Prey Model or Franken Prey Model Raw Feeding.
The Nutrition Code will be analyzing each recipe or product based off of a Prey Model Raw style of feeding. What does this mean?
Prey Model Raw is a way of feeding our cats, dogs and ferrets using nature as our guide. Prey Model Raw includes:
Whole Prey as well as chunked meats, organs and bones from various animals also known as Franken Prey. We base this off of the ratio 80% meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs and 10% bone (the ideal ratio of a prey animal) This also excludes the use of fruits, veggies or grains as well as artificial supplementation (pills, tablets, premixes etc.)
In this series no brand names, products or websites will be provided (unless completely unavoidable). The Nutrition Code does not wish to name bash or product bash others. Therefore, when evaluating products and recipes please utilize information and tips provided to make an educated decision on whether or not a product or recipe is appropriate for your cat, dog or ferret.
5 lbs ground chicken/ turkey/ beef/ lamb/pork (combine any)
1 can water packed sardines
4 raw organic free range eggs with shell for calcium (if you can't get the far more nutritious organic free range eggs, you may boil those cheap eggs in the shell for 3 minutes but make sure the yolk is still raw/runny)
Optional: 1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped vegetables - kale/romaine lettuce/parsley/spinach/broccoli stalks/asparagus/carrots (combine any)
Meat is essential to all raw diets. Our canine companions are carnivores. This means they are designed to consume meat, organs and bone. Other than other carnivores and a few scavenger animals, dogs can eat pretty much any meat protein. The author of this diet recommends feeding a variety of proteins which is fantastic. Variety is important to prevent intolerances and boredom. It is an important part of a balanced diet as each protein source has various nutrient profiles. As in this recipe, muscle meat should be a majority of the diet.
Water Packed Sardines
Sardines and other oily fishes are an important source of omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty acids like omega 3’s provide anti-inflammatory action on the body easing pains, allergies and cancers. It is a great source of fats to keep the brain and eyes going, help nerve conduction and hormone production as well as aid in fetal development among many other purposes. However, the only issue with packed sardines in water is that they are cooked. Tinned or canned sardines are not raw and with fats being so sensitive to heat, I doubt they have as much benefit in the way of omega 3’s as raw fish.
Organic Raw Eggs including Shells
Eggs are a great addition to the diet. They are chalk full of nutrients, is the least expensive protein source and contains no carbohydrates. The author mentions hard boiling the egg however if using “cheap” eggs. Unfortunately cooking in any form very quickly destroys many heat sensitive nutrients and essential fats as well as enzymes that help to make the egg beneficial.
Egg shells are a great alternative for bone as they are pure calcium carbonate. Just ½ teaspoon of ground eggshell per pound of meat and organ mix can supply 400 mg of calcium. Although a great alternative, whole bone or ground bone (no bone meal) should be your first go to.
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped vegetables
Dogs are facilitative carnivores. This means they are by physiological and anatomical design meant to consume meat, organs and bones unless in a dire situation where they need food (be reminded dogs in the wild can go up to a week and a half without eating). Dogs do not have the digestive enzymes to break down plant material which include amylase and cellulase. Although the pancreas does produce a VERY small amount of amylase carbohydrates (fruits, veggies or grains) such as those in this recipe most likely will tax the body especially over a long period of time. Their digestive tract is also extremely short, only about 3 times their body length so food stuff moves through their systems very quickly leaving little time to utilize nutrients from low bioavailable foods that are not meat, organs or bones. Besides being biologically inappropriate for dogs there are many other concerns with this selection of vegetables specifically:
Broccoli is a Cruciferous plant and known when fed in excess to cause goitrogens which can interfere with proper thyroid function. Even though a fully healthy individual can consume goitrogen containing carbohydrates in large amounts with no effect on the thyroid, it is a good idea to avoid them as thyroid conditions seem to have become an epidemic among our companion animals.
Spinach and kale contains oxalate acid. It can prevent absorption of important nutrients and further exacerbate stone and urolith formation especially in companions that already have a history.
Carrots. Although carrots contain beta-carotene dogs can only covert 50% of the beta-carotene they consume into Vitamin A, it is much better to provide Vitamin A from liver for example to satisfy this recommendation. Furthermore, carrots contain a lot of sugar which is not required in the diets of our companions as it simply is a quick shot of energy and from there turns into fat. Sugar from fruits and veggies like carrots can contribute to inflammation affecting obesity, cancer, diabetes, hip and joint problems and more.
Fruits and veggies DO have nutritional benefits BUT only for organisms that can properly digest them like herbivores and omnivores. Carnivores like dogs are not one of them. These food items for a dog are simply fillers that more often than not tax the body and contribute to several health concerns.
According to the author of this recipe, this recipe consists of:
5 lbs of ground meats
4.3 oz of sardines (average weight for a tin of sardines)
7.6 oz of eggs
4 oz – 6 oz of vegetables
This totals about a 6 lb batch of food made up of:
5% fruits and veggies
In contrast, a Prey Model Raw diet (and most raw diets) consist of 80% muscle meat, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ and 10% bone.
This recipe recommends ground meats. Grinding unfortunately increases the surface area of the meat making it more susceptible to bacterial growth. Although our dogs can certainly handle it, why knowingly provide something that could have more growth on it? It also does not maintain as good oral health especially because whole bone is not included in this recipe that otherwise is abrasive enough to scale the teeth.
Overall a few tweaks here and there would make this recipe perfect. The elimination of the veggies and reduction in meat to 80%, plus the addition of 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs and 10% bone would greatly improve this recipe. We love that all ingredients are raw, that the diet is primarily meat and the author recommends rotating proteins so it’s definitely a good start.