Should I Add Rice, Grains or Other Foods to the Raw Diet for Dogs and Cats?
The raw meals we source have been formulated to provide a complete meal, and therefore our typical answer will be no. However, there is a large amount of debate raging on this topic, and some good arguments for and against the use of grains in your fur kids diet.
Refined grains (rice, wheat, oats, corn, barley, millet, oatmeal, and quinoa) are not a natural food for your fur kids, in others, they are not good choices. Grains (there are many articles and research available on this topic, you can start here [DogFoodAdvisor] to educate yourself) have high levels of carbohydrates which are converted to sugars. It is common knowledge that cancer cells feed on sugars and it is believed that by decreasing the amount of carbohydrate in the diet, we may greatly reduce the risk of cancer in your pets.
Rice products have long been considered a premium (and more expensive) ingredient in pet food. The reality is all rice is not bad: what matters is what quality you use and where you get your ingredients.
Human grade rice is no comparison to feed grade rice, which is loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Feed rice is also not the whole rice, but the scraps of rice that are left over when rice products are made for human consumption. These are much more likely to absorb toxins during multiple processing stages. Most commercial kibbles and canned food will use feed grade rice; so with this part of the toxin controversy we agree – you should be weary of processed rice in commercial kibble diets, especially the lower quality brands.
We do advocate grain and gluten free diets. We must remember that both dogs and cats do ingest fermented grains whenever they catch and eat live prey. The natural source of prey for dogs and cats is generally herbivores …. plant eaters. When a carnivore catches its prey, it will first eat the gut content of the prey animal, which is full of semi-digested plant and grain material. This can make up almost 30-40% of the weight of the prey animal. Next, the dog will eat the organs, and finally the meat and bones.
The basic controversy has arisen because of the ever soaring cereal content used in processed pet foods. Many canned and dry dog foods can contain up to four times as much cereal content as meat. This cereal is cleverly flavoured with meat render (boiled offal and carcass remains), and is often disguised as “meaty chunks” using food dyes. The simple fact is that dogs and cats are not designed to eat such a high content of highly refined starch (cereals ground into flour). These cereal flours are used as cheap fillers, to bulk out the pet food. Cheap starch has little nutritional value, except for calories, and can result in a diet with too much refined sugar. It is this fact that has led some vets and nutritionists to broaden the issue on cheap carbohydrates, to encompass grains in general. We agree that cheap carbohydrates used in commercial pet foods are not good for health, but this does not mean that dogs and cats do not actually eat grains.
Certain grains can be used, as long as they are unprocessed, cracked or crushed, pre-fermented, and make up a smaller portion of the diet than the meat content – like the fermented raw material in the gut of the prey.
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