Feeding your dog Raw food - what/why

Pals, we are now stocking Cotswold Raw!

If you are getting a puppy and want to know the benefits of raw feeding, or you are thinking of changing your dog's diet due to various factors, the below information will help you make some choices.

This below information was written by Cotswold Raw, the experts in the subject.


Feeding raw can have a significant effect on your dog's vitality. If you're thinking about making the switch, there's a whole range of benefits you might not know about - from enhanced digestion to improved oral hygiene.

Dogs are carnivores, feeding a balanced and complete raw diet emulates the food and nutrition that nature intended. Processed pet food on the other hand was created for the ease and convenience of humans, not always to the nutritional benefit of your dog.

All our ingredients are fresh and seasonal, by feeding your dog Cotswold RAW you can guarantee there will be no artificial additives, grain or high temperature processing.


Why Feed Raw Dog Food?

There are many health benefits for your dog when switching to a BARF raw dog food diet. Dogs were in existence long before man created processed pet food and processed food was invented for the convenience of man, not for the benefit of your dog. They are, both domesticated and wild, carnivores, and are anatomically built for eating meat, and feeding your dog raw is a natural option for their digestive system. 

Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diets are based on fresh foods such as raw meat and bones, vegetables and minerals and are designed to replicate your dog’s ancestral diet.
A BARF diet acknowledges the dog’s evolution and natural diet and contains 60-100% raw, meaty bones, with up to 40% carbohydrates. At Cotswold RAW our recipes follow this principle – containing raw, meaty bones and fresh vegetables with NO grain.
Humans are the only animals that cook their foods and cooking breaks down the proteins and amino acids in raw meat, destroying much of its nutritional goodness. A Cotswold RAW dog food diet guarantees

  1. Quality ingredients
  2. No high temperature processing
  3. No filler, no grain
  4. No artificial additives or preservatives.

Why is processed food so bad?

As in all things, there are good processed foods and bad processed foods. Bad processed foods can contain 60-70% poor quality ‘feed grade’ grains and the unsavoury parts of the animal. The labelling ‘fit for human consumption’ is of little comfort as this label is applied to the whole animal, even the unsavoury bits. Good quality processed food contains better cuts of meat and some vegetables but is still often ‘bulked out’ with grain.

There are two problems however. Firstly, whether the carbohydrate is good or bad it is used as cheap filler and represents too high a proportion of the food. Secondly the act of cooking destroys much of the nutritional value of the constituents. High temperature cooking of meat also forms heterocyclic amines and other carcinogenic compounds (50% of dogs that reach maturity will die from cancer). Finally in order to qualify as ‘balanced’ or ‘complete’ under EU guidelines all the nutrients lost in the processing need to be added back in the form of chemicals.

So the argument for feeding a processed wet or dry food runs as follows

Dogs don’t eat grain in the wild and can’t digest raw grain, but grain is the cheapest source of energy, so cook it at high temperature and now the dog can digest it, but cooking has destroyed 70% of the nutritional value, no problem, add synthetic nutrients to the recommended level.

There are many dog food options out there for dog owners, but choosing a raw food diet could improve their health and wellbeing. Let your dog decide!


Will my pet’s stools be affected if they are changed over to a raw food diet?

The answer is almost certainly yes, and for the better. The stool represents the difference between what a dog eats and what it has digested and absorbed. Your dog will excrete less because most of the food he or she is now ingesting is being properly utilized by the body...thus, less waste.

The general observation and feedback we hear from our customers feeding a Cotswold RAW diet is that a dog on a raw diet, with the appropriate amount of raw bone, will have a smaller, drier, more solid stool that may appear paler (due to the bone content) and that is consequently much easier to pick up.

Can a raw diet be fed to a pet with a sensitive stomach?

As a general statement the answer is yes, in fact a raw meat diet can very often solve a sensitive gut issue. Many holistic vets attribute a pet's sensitive stomach to the pet’s reaction to having to digest cooked, processed, starchy, high grain foods, ingredients that its digestive system has not evolved to handle.

If you know that your dog has a specific allergy, strong intolerance or you are worried about the health of their digestive system we would highly recommend visiting a specialist natural or holistic vet. These vets have studied animal nutrition to a greater depth than the short introduction that is included in most vet qualification studies.

What are digestive enzymes and probiotics, and why is their use recommended?

Digestive enzymes break down food so that it can be absorbed and utilized by the body. Raw food contains abundant enzymes which supplement those produced by the body. When your dog eats Cotswold RAW it receives plenty of enzymes from the natural ingredients, hence there is no need to add any supplements. When dogs eat cooked food, which is devoid of enzymes, the enzyme-producing organs must work overtime to compensate. It doesn't matter what you put into the body if the digestive system is not equipped with enough enzymes to break it down and put it to good use. Supplemental enzymes can, therefore, be beneficial when feeding processed food and in cases of digestive disorders.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. They are normally present in a healthy intestinal system. Beneficial bacteria keep unwanted bacteria from disrupting homeostasis. Beneficial bacteria are killed by antibiotics and for a dog recovering from such treatment the supplemental use of non-dairy probiotics can help re-establish normal intestinal function.


Raw dog food has many benefits, including keeping dog's teeth and gums healthy. Overtime, plaque builds up on dogs teeth, caused by bacteria from food and saliva, which then hardens to become tartar. Similar to humans, if this is not treat edit can cause dental problems such as gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and even loss of jaw bone.

To keep teeth and gums healthy in the wild dogs would gnaw on the bones of their prey, a practice which chewing on our raw bones simulates. While you still have to get them checked, it can be helpful for dogs who are prone to gum disease. Our complete meals might also support a dog’s dental health, as raw dog food also contains naturally occurring enzymes, which helps to protect teeth and gums.

While eating a raw dog food diet can't eliminate the problem, carbohydrates found in processed kibble can make gum disease worse, due to the high levels of sugar in the food. Switching to raw may help to control a dog’s gum disease. 

Why do you include ground bone in Cotswold RAW complete meals? 

Our recipes include ground raw bone which will provide all the above mentioned nutrients. However, in order to promote healthy teeth and gums and provide all the behavioural and emotional benefits of chewing on a bone you should still feed raw meaty bones at regular intervals.

Is it safe to feed bones?

Only if they are raw. Cooked bones are low in moisture and can easily split or cause choking. Raw bones are rich in natural moisture, softer, more flexible and easily digested in the low pH of a dog stomach. Simply give one to your dog at regular intervals for them to gnaw at and improve tooth, mouth and gum health. Bones and chews also provide your dog with an outlet for natural species-appropriate behaviour and chewing releases calming endorphins.

Some bones may last longer than others and some may be too hard for young dogs or older dogs with weaker teeth. Please choose the most appropriate bone or chew for your dog from the selection we offer. Choose a bone about as big as the dog’s head – too big to swallow but small enough to handle. Always supervise your dog with a bone.


Dog Food for Joints, coats and skin

Our Raw dog food helps to support a dog’s joints, coat and skin. When dog owners begin feeding a raw dog food diet they may discover that a dog’s coat becomes much shinier, and in better condition than it was previously. 

Do I need to add any supplements?

Cotswold RAW recipes provide everything your dog needs - all in a highly bio-available form. Our philosophy is always to provide essential vitamins and minerals in their natural form. If you feel you need to provide more of a particular vitamin (B for example), then consider what foods contain that vitamin first (e.g. liver) rather than reaching for an artificial supplement.
B and C vitamins are water soluble, which means whatever the body does not use are eliminated in the urine. You basically cannot "overdo" these vitamins (note also that dogs, unlike humans, can manufacture their own vitamin C). Vitamins A, D, E and K however are fat soluble and it is possible to cause problems by over-supplementing. Hence at Cotswold RAW we do not supplement these vitamins and should you wish to do so please consult your vet.

What about osteoporosis and arthritis?

Osteoporosis is usually caused by hormonal changes or a deficiency of calcium or Vitamin D, both of which are found in Cotswold RAW recipes to the correct level. Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is common in older dogs and whereas our Adult recipe contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the correct ratio our Senior recipe contains additional natural supplements (MSM, glucosamine, hyaluronan and chondroitin) that will help ease aching joints.

Will feeding RAW make my dog hyperactive or nervous?

Raw food is the natural diet for dogs and has a beneficial effect on both physical health and behaviour. The behavioural benefits are recognised but little understood. Some believe that problem behaviour in dogs can be linked to artificial additives in processed foods. Research into omega-3 fatty acids (which are abundant in raw food made with high quality, grass-fed meat) has shown that they maintain mood levels and a sense of well being. The respected animal behaviourist, Julia Langlands ACFBA, believes that whereas high protein kibble can often exacerbate existing nervousness, fear and hyperactivity for some reason raw food, which is high in protein, does not. She believes the answer lies in the gut which plays host to many beneficial bacteria and chemicals which influence self-control, mood balance and feelings of happiness and contentment (90% of serotonin is stored in the gut). Communication between brain and gut is influenced by gut health and raw meat and bones improve the health and balance of the gut.

If your dog is exhibiting behavioural problems diet may well be a contributory factor. recipes high in trytophan, which is abundant in poultry, especially turkey, have been found to improve matters. Should the problem continue please contact us.


Will feeding a raw diet make my dog more aggressive?

There is no causative relationship between eating raw meat and aggression. It has nothing to do with what a dog is fed and has everything to do with socialisation. The hunting instinct is an ingrained primal one and the sight of an animal running can bring this out in any dog no matter what they are fed. Once socialised, dogs can easily distinguish between what they are protecting and what they should be eating.

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