Welcome to The Barking Lot!
We believe that pet parents are passionate when it comes to the subject of what they feed their fur-kids, and with good reason. A good diet can contribute to a long and healthy life and even psychological well-being for our fur-kids and likewise for our pet parents. Our moto: Happy Pets = Happy Parents! The question you are trying to answer;- what is the best food to feed domesticated dogs or cats? While the majority of pet parents feed commercial grain-based kibble or canned food, many pet parents like you, today, are looking for healthier options. And the net is full of materials to help you, and confuse you, when it comes to natural feeding.
You will find many anecdotal reasons for feeding on biological specie appropriate diets, for and against, or home-cooked for that matter, even more on the prey model. You will also find many “scientific” articles on why not to feed raw, sadly, as little research is done into raw feeding.
And not too mention all of the confusing terms! Why do we refer to natural diets? In our minds, raw is complete, and therefore natural, as designed by nature, and not broken. Raw, in today's convenience society, seems to indicate part of something, and not complete. But natural contains all the parts needed (as designed), therefore complete (or whole), so we advocate natural pet cuisine, or if you want to knit-pick, biologically specie appropriate natural raw pet cuisine.
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” - Buddha
To paraphrase Dr Ron Hines from Texas, USA, what we have learned to date, is that there are exaggerations on both side of the pet food diet debate. Your fur kids will not live forever on natural unprocessed diets, but they won’t either die tomorrow from eating them, and the right decision for you depends on you and your pet's specific situation.
The difference is that we are documenting our learnings here for everyone to read, review, comment and contribute! When we started, we spend hours on end trying to decipher the garble available on the net to read, purchased many thousands of dollars of books to read (and have read), and are now starting to document our learnings, so that you, as the pet parent and guardian, can benefit.
By definition, prebiotics are a type of non-digestible fiber compound. Just like other high-fiber foods, prebiotic compounds - including the kind found in foods like garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, dandelion greens and onions (for humans only) - pass through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and remain undigested, since the human and canine body can’t fully break them down. We discuss the importance of prebiotics in the diet.
Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem - literally and figuratively - hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. We discuss the role of probiotics in your pets' health in more detail.
Your fur kids’ digestive system is different than a human's and therefore dogs (and cats) process and eat differently than us. This is important to know and understand so that you can feed your fur kids the correct diet and be aware when something goes wrong. We discuss this in more detail.
Numerous supplements are available today on the market. Using natural, chemical free supplements will benefit your pets whether they eat processed (kibble or canned) diets or fresh raw diets. Every pet can benefit from a good natural vitamin-mineral supplement. We discuss this topic in more detail.
Preservatives are essential in preventing spoilage of food. As people learned more about food and as chemicals were developed to prevent spoilage, the incidence of food poisoning statistically decreased. However, chemicals also have a bad side. Long-term ingestion of certain chemicals might be harmful and may be linked to chronic disease including cancers. We discuss this topic in greater detail.
Vitamins are a group of compounds that are essential for keeping your fur kid fit and healthy. They cannot be produced in sufficient quantities by the body and so have to be taken in through diet. Because they aren't stored efficiently, daily intake is important. We discuss this topic in greater detail.
'Ash' is one of the most commonly misunderstood terms in pet food. Contrary to the images it conjures, ash is simply a measure of the mineral content of a food. When calculating the food's calorific content, it is incinerated and the energy released is measured. All of the carbohydrate, fat and protein burn off leaving only the minerals. We discuss this topic in greater detail.
Although there is some discussion over whether dogs need fibre in their diet or not, there is now a growing consensus that dietary fibre can be beneficial for dogs, if used responsibly. We discuss this topic in more detail.
Fats (or oils as they are often called) serve a number of essential functions in your fur kids. Healthy skin and hair are maintained by fat and per gram, fat provides more than twice the energy of protein or carbohydrates. We discuss the role of fats & oils in your fur kids' diet in detail here.
Protein is an important part of every cell in your fur kid's body and is essential for healthy growth and repair. Skin and muscle tissue both contain large amounts of protein, and it is also the main component of hair and nails. In dogs, protein is also an important energy source. We discuss the role of protein in the diet in greater detail here.
Carbohydrates – sugars, starches, and fibre – can be good sources of energy in common commercial pet foods, if used responsibly. However, irresponsible carb contents of current commercial pet food offerings is the reason for the current debate on raw diets taking place. Please discuss this topic in greater detail.