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Science Behind Natural Diet

One of the most common arguments that opponents of raw diets use to discourage owners from feeding raw is that there isn’t enough research to prove raw diets are safe or effective. While we can all agree there are not nearly enough clinical studies comparing raw diets and kibble, I disagree that there is no evidence to support the idea that raw diets can be more beneficial and safe for dogs, cats, ferrets, and other meat-eating pets in comparison to a commercial dry food diet. [1]

 Here are some studies that exist so far: 
A study published in the Journal of Physiology, shows us that an all-meat diet has been found to improve kidney function in previously dry-fed dogs, with vast improvements in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR is the best test of kidney function, O’Connor and Summerill 1976).
O’Connor, J. and Summerill, R. A. (1976). The effect of a meal of meat on glomular filtration rate in dogs at normal urine flows. Journal of Physiology, 256: 81–91.

A study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice found aggressive Golden Retrievers changed from commercial to home-prepared food showed dramatic improvements in behaviour (Mugford 1987).
Mugford, R. A. (1987). The influence of nutrition on canine behaviour. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 28: 1046–1055.

Oxidative damage from free radicals plays an important role in several diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease. Dogs fed Alaskan blueberries while exercising are better protected against oxidative damage (Dunlap et al. 2006).
Dunlap, K.L., Reynolds, A.J. and Duffy, L.K. (2006). Total antioxidant power in sled dogs supplemented with blueberries and the comparison of blood parameters associated with exercise. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 143(4): 429-434

A remarkable study in Scottish Terriers revealed that simply adding green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, and yellow – orange vegetables like carrots to their “complete” dry diets three times a week reduced the risk of dogs developing transitional cell carcinoma (bladder cancer) by 90 and 70%, respectively (Knapp et al. 2014).
Knapp, D.W., Ramos-Vara, J.A., Moore, G.E., Dhawan, D., Bonney, P.L., Young, K.E. (2014). Urinary Bladder Cancer in Dogs, a Naturally Occurring Model for Cancer Biology and Drug Development. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, 55(1): 100–118

A large survey of American and Australian raw-fed dog owners, published in the International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine, reported that 98.7% of dog owners and 98.5% of cat owners deemed their pet healthy on a raw food diet (La Flamme et al. 2008).
Laflamme, D. P., Abood, S. K., Fascetti, A. J., Fleeman, L. M., Freeman, L. M., Michel, K. E. et al. (2008). Pet feeding
practices of dog and cat owners in the United States and Australia. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 232(5): 687–694.

Dogs suffering atopy and allergy do better on raw meat diets (Hielm-Björkman et al. 2015).
Hielm-Björkman, A., Roine, J., Roine, M. and Velagapudi, V. (2015). Metabolomics from a Diet Intervention in Atopic Dogs, a Model for Human Research? Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 67:290–291

In 2017, a New Zealand study (Roberts et al. 2017) found that high-meat diets are more digestible for dogs resulting in greater nutrient absorbtion, less faecal waste and better faecal health, a result of more favourable gut microbiology. "
Roberts, M.T., Bermingham, E.N., Cave, N. J., Young, W., McKenzie, C.M., Thomas, D.G. (2017). Macronutrient intake of dogs, self-selecting diets varying in composition offered ad libitum. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 10.1111/jpn.12794



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