We at Cota Farms feed our dogs raw meat and we sell this same meat to others. If you search the internet for information about feeding raw meat to your dog you will not find a simple explanation about this practice. You will find opinions pro and con with lots of ideas about where dogs come from, what wild canines eat, similarities between the two, the dangers of bones impacting the colon, nutrition, bacteria, what nature intended, veterinarians opposed to the practice and so forth. Unfortunately if you give a thought to what you are feeding your dogs and question it even a little you will be pulled into this mess and have to deal with it, decide what is right for you and your dogs.
I think it is important to consider the source of the information and how it may be biased. Most important is to use a little common sense! This may sound like a simple matter and maybe even a little patronizing but it certainly is not. We have been trained to not think critically and to avoid questioning any figure of authority or commercial product.
Let’s take the issue of feeding bones for example. I have no doubt that some veterinarians have had to help dogs that have been over fed bones. I would bet however that they are far fewer than the number of medical doctors who have had to help people that have been over fed junk food. Raw meaty bones are not a meal and if you feed this to your dog every day you will eventually hurt your dog. Because some people out there are negligent when it comes to feeding raw bones is not an argument against giving your dog a bone. We sell bones to our customers, a variety of bones of high quality. We do not present the bones as a meal for your dog! Consider this choice, an occasional raw bone or a hunk of nylon in the shape of a bone.
And of course all dogs are not the same! We have several dogs, most live outside on the farm; they are livestock guardians and have free access to 25 acres of pasture, wetland and ponds. They are a lot like wild animals if you ask me. They will at least taste almost anything and eat things so disgusting that the idea that clean raw meat is bad for them is laughable. We also have small dogs that live in the house and sleep in our bed. They are nothing like the LGDs and we don’t feed them like they are. Here is an opportunity to use a little common sense, some critical thinking. Because we don’t feed raw meat to our small dogs, nor subject them to things like Hurricane Sandy, is not an argument against feeding raw meat. By the way, our LGDs did not take that evening off; I watched them run around in the storm doing their job without any indication that they were bothered by all the weather. Since our small dogs would not have survived even one hour in that terrible storm am I then to deny the fact that my other dogs are better suited to that environment?
Our small dogs are quite partial to the same food we feed all our dogs it is just that they prefer it to be cooked a little and cut into tiny bits, tender pieces please. Cota will choose my home cooked sliced kidney every time over commercial dog food. Now if I were to feed him just kidney that would not be good for him and I would be negligent – again, common sense to the rescue.
I tell my customers that variety is key in feeding a raw diet. Money is also a very important factor. I have seen raw diet menus that no honest veterinarian could argue against yet they are not practical. Still there is a lot you can do by being creative. If you have a source for discount can goods that can be very helpful. For example, fish is a good food to rotate into your dog’s diet, preferably cold water fish as they have the good oils in them. A dented can of sardines or mackerel is just great. A can of pumpkin or yams mixed in now and again is good too. Raw eggs are an inexpensive item that should be on your menu. Our dogs eat more eggs than most as they live on a farm and are not opposed to self-service.
We sell raw meat for your dog’s diet; it is not a complete or balanced diet but does make for some good meals. We are pleased to offer a variety of basic food at a price far lower than any we have seen. We encourage our customers to seek out additional foods for their dogs, as best as they can afford and if you find a good source for gazelle pancreas please share it with the rest of us.