Category Archives: Resources and Links

Glossary of Terms

When reading the posts here on Pack Lunch you may come across terms you’re not familiar with, or maybe would like a refresher. If you clicked a hotlink in an article and this page opened it’s because the word is here in the glossary. Click on the ‘+’ to get the definition. If you have a recommendation for the glossary please use the comments or contact me. Listings are alphabetical.

80/10/10 rule

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The commonly subscribed-to theory that the edible part of a natural prey animal is 80% muscle, fat, and connective tissue, 10% edible bone, and 10% organs, and that this proportion is how an appropriate raw diet should be formulated. 

Bioavailability

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“The degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity.”
Source: Merriam-Webster

Biomagnification 

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The increase in concentration of a substance that occurs in a food chain. 

Carnivore

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An animal that derives most or all of its essential nutrients from animal sources. Canids (dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes), felids (housecats, lions, tigers, lynxes, cougars), and mustelids (ferrets, weasels, badgers, wolverines) are carnivores. 

Corticosteriod

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A class of pharmaceutical drug that imitates a naturally occurring hormone produced in the body. (Not to be confused with anabolic steroids, the hormone that athletes take as a performance enhancer.) Corticosteroids are used in drug form to reduce inflammation and decrease immune response, and have a wide variety of applications in conventional medicine, from skin problems to cancer. Common corticosteroid drugs are cortisone, prednisone, and prednisolone. Corticosteroid use comes with many side-effects, both short and long term, notably liver and kidney damage. Corticosteroids are not used so much to “cure” diseases or conditions, but used in the maintenance of disease and can have a snow-ball effect on declining health. 

Essential & Non-Essential nutrients

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Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the body, or not in amounts high enough to meet requisite amounts for good health. These nutrients must come from food, and include certain vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.

A non-essential nutrient can be synthesized in the body. It’s important to note, however, that the right ‘building blocks’ must be present. These might be sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, or another outside source. Often non-essential nutrients are still very important to the diet as a more efficient way to ingest what the body needs for growth and maintenence.

Interesting note: Essential nutrients are not absolute! i.e., Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for humans, but it is not for dogs or cats. Arginine is an essential amino acid for dogs and cats, but not humans. Taurine is essential for cats, but not dogs or humans.

Functional Food

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A food that is endowed with attributes beyond nutrition. Usually foods that contain substantial amounts of substances linked with preventing or curing disease states. Synonymous with “nutraceutical”.

Herbivore

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An animal that eats mostly or only vegetation for sustenance. Bovids (cattle, bison, oxen) and cervids (deer, elk, moose) are herbivores. 

Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA)

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A polyunsaturated fat that is essential to the diet, as it’s not manufactured in the body. The significant dietary O-6 EFAs are “linoleic acid” and “gamma linoleic acid”. O-6 is abundant in grains and vegetable oils. Humans and pets eat these things directly, and indirectly in the form of meat that was fed grain instead of grass, which is also very high in O-6 EFAs. O-6 EFAs are overrepresented in the average North American diet both in quantity and in balance to O-3 EFAs. A 1 : 1 O-6 to O-3 ratio is thought to be ideal.

Medicine

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a: “A substance or preparation used in treating disease”
b :”Something that affects well-being.”
(source: Merriam-Webster)

Omnivore

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An animal that is designed to utilize both animal sources and vegetation for sustenance. Examples of omnivores are humans, bears, and pigs. 

Physiology

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The organic processes and phenomena of an organism or any of its parts or of a particular bodily process. In other words, how a body’s systems work to produce functionality of the whole being. (source: Merriam Webster)

Process(ed)

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To alter the raw natural state of food either physically or chemically. This can be an everyday technique like puréeing or baking, or more complex handling and manipulating, e.g., hydrolysis. Goals of food processing are usually preservation, palatability, and/or increased nutrient availability. The term ‘processed’ can refer to actions on single ingredients, or food items made from many ingredients. Some food items are processed in many ways before a final product is finished. This gives rise to terms like “minimally processed” and “highly processed”. 

Ruminant

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A classification of herbivorous animal that has a chambered stomach including a “rumen” where grasses and other roughage are fermented. The fermented mass is called a “cud” and is usually brought back to the mouth and chewed before being formally digested. Ruminants include cattle, sheep, goat, deer, and bison, among other animals, and make up the mainstay of prey animals for wolves and other apex predators.

Supplement

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Something that is added to something else in order to make it complete.
(source: Merriam-Webster)


 

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What Is Raw Feeding?

Raw feeding is just what it sounds like: Feeding biologically carnivorous animals (which includes the domestic dog, cat, and ferret) a species-appropriate diet of meat, bones, and organs, and — as the name implies — not cooked or heavily processed.

Why? Commercially prepared dry and wet pet foods are processed, and have the same pit falls of processed food for humans. Commercial kibbles and wet food have to be formulated for not only the nutrition of the animal eating it, but also ease of transport, shelf-stability, function, profit, and palatability. (You can’t sell something a pet won’t eat!) To achieve these qualities they have to (or simply do) include ingredients that are completely unnatural to the pets eating them. Sourcing of ingredients is often done to maximize cost efficiency for the producer, meaning low-quality protein sources and meat by-products, which can even come from animals not fit for human consumption because of disease or decomposition. All of this can contribute to a range of health problems over time, including but very much not limited to rapid tooth decay, highly fluctuating blood sugar levels (leading to hypoglycemia and diabetes), kidney trouble including “stones”, food allergies and intolerance, cancer, obesity, and behavioral problems.

A fresh/frozen raw food diet reduces and/or eliminates the processing and the need for unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. In addition, when pets are allowed to eat food in a more natural form (which includes chewing meat off bone and crunching bone-in hunks of meat) they are getting a more complete experience whereby food not only delivers nutrition, but a work-out for muscles and brain.

What Is Raw Feeding? (image: Meridian eats chicken)What?  Raw fed carnivores eat a combination of meat, bones, and organs. All of these elements must be present in the diet for complete nutrition. The short and sweet (and not entirely complete) explanation is that meat delivers protein and fat, organs confer essential vitamins, and edible bone is crucial for it’s mineral content. (For more read Terminology: The Prey Model.)

How? In the process of becoming domestic carnivores, our pets traded hunting and scavenging for a place in our lives and homes and it became our responsibility to procure food for them. Somewhere along the line (in North America this was the 1950’s) the trend became for this food to be the processed pet foods we rely on today. Raw feeding can take on several different forms. The author adheres to a do-it-yourself type of diet, consisting of chunks, parts, and pieces of meat, bone, and organ that can come from the plain old meat section of the grocery store. Of course there are as many potential meat sources as you can dream up — farm-direct, 4-H club, wild game, restaurant suppliers, reptile feeder producers, etc. While one of the beauties of raw feeding is getting away from commercially prepared formulas, there are a number of frozen raw foods on the market. These meet the pet owner half-way with the benefits of a fresh/frozen diet of minimally processed food, but with the “convenience” of pre-formulated meals. These foods are usually ground and come in patties or medallions. There are pros and cons to these products, but they are there, and a reasonably viable way to feed a raw diet.

Sounds great, how do I start feeding raw to my pets? Reading more about the specifics of the diet and “how tos” written by vets and other experienced raw feeders is a great place to start. Concurrently you can donate that last bag of kibble to your local animal shelter or wildlife sanctuary, go shopping for “real food”, and get on the road to better health for your pet and more conscious consumerism overall. There is a vast amount of information in books and on the internet. I don’t presume to write a “how to” guide for beginners as part of Pack Lunch (yet), but my favorite resources for learning more about how to start feeding raw are listed in the Read About Raw: Links and Resources article. There’s also a page of Frequently Asked Questions.

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Read (and Talk) About Raw: Links and Recommendations

A list of books, links, and groups was one of the main features of the old Pack Lunch website, and what started it all! The resources listed here are ones I view as a good starting place for people new to the idea of raw feeding, as well as some old standbys that even the most experienced raw feeder might find themselves visiting over and over. You can also check out the Pack Lunch Pinterest boards for blog posts, articles, and all sorts of other info that you might find useful. Click on book titles and images to take you directly to the Dogwise catalog listing where you can get more info, read reviews, and purchase titles.

BOOKS

Raw Meaty BonesRaw Meaty Bones by Dr. Tom Lonsdale
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in raw feeding. One of the more comprehensive texts on the subject, it covers the recent history and foundation of the concept of raw feeding. I’m not going to lie, the first chapter is a bit dry and lengthy, but the rest is a captivating read for anyone interested in a natural approach to diet and healthcare.

 


Work Wonders by Dr. Tom Lonsdale
While Raw Meaty Bones: Promote Health is more about theory and politics, Work Wonders is a shorter “how to” practical guide from veterinarian Tom Lonsdale. It is a simple read and lays out the foundations of feeding a raw diet in a simple easy-to-understand way.

 


Raw Dog Food

Raw Dog Food: Make it Easy for You and Your Dog by Carina Beth McDonald
This book covers the basics, has a great “how to”, and is a really amusing read in general. This is a great book for those who like a down-to-earth approach and a reminder to keep things light and easygoing. Despite its fun and approachable style it has favorable reviews from the “who’s who” in raw feeding and veterinary sciences including Jean Dodds and Tom Lonsdale.


Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Shultze
A little book with some good info. I personally don’t agree 100% with her “ultimate diet” as it is described in the book, but there is no one ‘right way’ to feed raw. There is some great information on nutrition, disease, and some fun-to-read anecdotes and testimonials about raw fed animals. A great addition to any pet care library!


Give Your Dog A Bone by Dr. Ian Billinghurst
“Give Your Dog A Bone” is the first book from one of the pioneers of the modern raw diet, Dr. Billinghurst. This one is chock-full of interesting and useful info about why a raw diet is beneficial and the problems that have been caused by feeding dogs with commercial diets. I, personally, start to lose him when it comes down to exactly WHAT to feed, but it’s definitely a must-read for those new to the world of raw feeding. If nothing else it will give you a wider perspective on different ways of providing a raw diet. (I would like to say that I do not support the direction Dr. Billinghurst has gone in recent years with his prepared raw foods or revised advice.)


Grow Your Pups With Bones by Dr. Ian Billinghurst
This book is a companion piece to “Give Your Dog A Bone” and approaches the subject of raw feeding from the perspective of breeding and feeding puppies. Not just for breeders, this book is a good one for anyone who is feeding or will be feeding a puppy, or anyone wanting to learn all they can about raw feeding and health.


The Nature of Animal Healing by Dr. Martin Goldstein, DVM
Though not about raw food specifically, this is an incredible book about holistic pet care, the importance of diet, and the effects of vaccinations and drugs. It goes into detail about pet nutrition, a discussion of commercial pet food, and holistic veterinary medicine

 


Pukka’s Promise by Ted Kerasote
This is another book that’s not solely about raw feeding, though it does discuss it. This is a narrative written about the author’s quest for the best ways to ensure longevity and health for his dog, Pukka. It discusses a host of factors, including diet. It is a great combination of facts and stories, with complete citations and excellent writing.


Canine Nutregenomics by W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana R. Laverdure
I was actually at first a bit surprised at the lack of mention of raw feeding in this book, but the concentration is less on overall diet basics than the role of functional foods. Overall I think it’s a great book for any dog-owner’s library, and it could have real value if you’re being introduced to the world of fresh whole foods for your dog and/or are experiencing food intolerance or allergy problems.


Read (and talk) About Raw (Image: Dog and cat in library. Public Domain -- source unknown.)

WEB SITES/SOCIAL MEDIA/E-MAIL SERVER LISTS:

The Raw Feeding Community — https://www.facebook.com/groups/preymodeldiet/
This group was started more recently and uses the Facebook group format for discussion between members. This is an INCREDIBLY active forum currently. As opposed to other forums and groups, this one covers a very broad base of feeding styles and approaches, and fosters a more “laid back” inclusive attitude in its members. I happen to like the fact that they also have a sister-group in the network called “Raw Feeding Community Extreme” geared towards raw feeders who enjoy discussing the feeding/sourcing of meat that doesn’t just come in small portions on styrofoam trays.

Raw Feeding — http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rawfeeding/info or
http://www.facebook.com/groups/rawfeedingcarnivores/
The grand-daddy of all raw feeding groups on the web is an email server list that is still going strong in that format with tens of thousands of members worldwide. It is carefully moderated by a group of very devoted long-time raw feeders, and is an unparalleled resource. I encourage anyone and everyone — especially those new to raw feeding — to join this community. In recent years they have recognized the potential of Facebook, and have started a sister group there. I will say that the scope of this group is rather narrow, and the advice is usually very straightforward and succinct. Some find the no-nonsense attitudes you’ll encounter in this forum problematic, but if you keep within group guidelines you will get helpful advice and feedback.

The Many Myths of Raw Feeding — http://www.rawfed.com/myths/
This page is authored by a woman named Carissa Kuehn. It is formatted as a list of myths about canine nutrition and the raw diet, and her rebuttals to these myths. It is based on years of experience and research. This page is a must-see for anyone with a dog, and offers a fantastic introduction into the “why’s” of raw feeding. The home-page for her site can be found at http://www.rawfed.com/index.html.

Raw Learning — http://www.rawlearning.com/
This site contains a lot of great info for those new to rawfeeding. There are tons of resource links and a little more of a basic “how-to” than other sites have.

Raw Fed Dogs — http://www.rawfeddogs.net/
This is another fantastic website made by a prey-model feeder. This site features lots of photos and “recipes” for different meat products and is both informative and amusing. The author of this site feeds a pack of 12 dogs!

Meat charts from www.virtualweberbullet.com —
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/meatcharts.html
Once you have decided to make the switch, you will need to buy meat! Dogs don’t need prime cuts of, well, anything, and sometimes it’s helpful to get to know your cuts of meat and where on the animal they come from. This way you can ask your butcher about specific cuts and get the best deals. Heck, sometimes it’s just fun to know what the weird hunk of cow you just bought! This link, which is actually from a Weber meat smoker web page, has really nice beef, pork, and lamb charts. The government of Alberta also has really detailed meat cut charts for beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and veal on their Food Inspection Agency site, which can be found at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/mcmancv/mcmancve.shtml.

Dogster.com/the raw feeding forum —  http://www.dogster.com/forums/Raw_Food_Diet
UPDATE Feb 2017: Dogster has been going through changes over the last several years. For a while spam-bots were making the forum virtually unusable, but it looks to be cleared of that, and hopefully we will see it return to the community it once was. Unfortunately I am not hopeful, but I spent so much time posting on that forum over the years I’m hesitant to just delete this option! I am considering the listing here ‘on probation’, as it’s not the resource it used to be for live-time help. The search feature will help you search past content, however, and there are countless man-hours (actually, probably more woman-hours!) that have gone into answering questions and sharing ideas over the years, and that content is still very much applicable and helpful. 

Primal Pooch — http://primalpooch.com
Primal Pooch went live in June of 2013, and is a blog that not only features raw feeding and related issues, but all-around lifestyle interests that I think would appeal to Pack Lunch readers. After all, food is but one part of health! I highly recommend checking it out for specific info you might be looking for, or just to peruse.

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