A guide to raw feeding with Colin from local raw food shop MeruMhor
Colin from MeruMhor Natural & Raw Pet Food Supplies took the time to answer some questions and provide a great insight into the world of raw feeding. As a recent convert to raw feeding I have to say it is the best decision I have made for my dogs and completely agree with all of the positives to raw feeding. Do you raw feed? Is it something you are interested in but don't know where to start? This blog post should provide you with all of the answers you are looking for.
Q. What is the best way to start the day?
A brisk walk with the wolfies then coffee.
Q. When was MeruMhor established and what were you doing before this?
MeruMhor Est 2014, before this I worked at University of Strathclyde as Chief Technician in the National Centre for Training & Education in Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Q. MeruMhor is an interesting name, where did it come from?
Long story, short version…As very keen hillwalkers in Scotland the mhòr part of the name is great or big eg: Beinn Mhòr etc.
The Meru part comes from “Mount Meru”, located north of Arusha in Tanzania. this is visible from Mount Kilimanjaro and on a clear day and was the first peak we seen at dawn when we climbed Kilimanjaro, we named three of our dogs following this trip (Kibo, Meru and Shira). As you will see further on “MeruMhor” was a natural choice for us.
Q. What pushed you to open your own raw feeding shop?
As very keen raw feeders when we took early retirement it was a natural step for us. Having looked around at the food choices available we decided to open our own shop, and by suppling only the quality and variety of foods that we feed our own dogs, we think we have a winning combination.
Q. How long have you been raw feeding and where did it begin for you?
Approx 18years, it started with our “German Shepherd” Meru who had a very dicky tummy and was constantly having the runs with all other processed foods we have tried with her, we were advised by an old trainer to put her on a raw diet, “get her onto raw chicken wings and thighs” we were told…like most new to raw feeding we were very sceptical…however within a few days we were converts and we and Meru never looked back, we increased the variety of natural & raw foods and transformed a very poorly dog to a fine heathy full of life happy girl, we had 12 fantastic years with Meru and I still miss her.
Meru - where it all began for us
Q. Do you have a favourite breed of dog? If yes, what breed and why?
Not really, although I am a big dog person and will always have a soft spot for the German Shepherd Dog.
Q. How many dogs do you have and are they all on a raw food diet?
We have 6 Border Terriers and 2 Caledonian Wolfalike’s, ranging from 18 month to 16 years, all natural & raw feed from birth.
Q. What would you say are the biggest advantages of raw feeding?
Here is just some of the health benefits that we have with our own dogs and our customers tell us come from feeding a raw diet:
Lots of energy
Healthy digestion and bowels
Dense muscle structure
Strong bones, teeth and joints
More resilient immune system
Stools reduced & easier to clean up
Q. What would your advice be to someone who wants to start raw feeding but has no idea where to begin?
This can be quite a challenge and confusing with so much information available on line, for us keep it simple to start. Find a good quality supplier who is willing to spend some time with you and explain things, pick a complete food to get you started, that way you are giving you dog/cat a balanced diet, don’t rush, some dogs/cats take longer than other to adjust to there new diet. Quick unashamed plug, give us a call.
Q. Is raw feeding for every dog?
No, some dogs/cats will have health issues that do require specialist diets, but in our experience, this is the exception and by far the most dogs/cats will do very well and indeed thrive on a natural raw diet.
Q. Have you ever come across a dog that does not agree with a raw food diet?
Yes, but again in our experience, this is the exception and by far the most dogs/cats will do very well and indeed thrive on a natural raw diet, some just take a bit longer in the transition which is normally around 5 to 10 days, although again in our experience this is normally much shorter.
Q. What are the most popular treats or food items that fly off the shelves?
Difficult question, as they are all popular, we only stock natural items that we feed our own dogs.
Q. We know there are many positives to raw feeding but, in your honest opinion, are there any negatives?
In my honest opinion the only disadvantage to natural raw feeding is freezer space, you may need a bigger freezer.
Q. What would a typical raw food portion contain? (Eg, protein% carbs% and fats%)
In general most complete food are based on an 80% meat 10% bone 10% Offal ratio, each recipe will have its own values according to the proteins used, some may have fruit and vegetables, other may have no bone, not all contain offal, there is a great variety which to choose from.
Q. How does this compare to processed dog food (eg. Kibble and processed wet food)?
To answer both the above questions, for me it’s more “Natural” v “Processed”
We now know that processed convenience foods are not healthy for humans, so why would processed dog foods be good for our dogs? As a society in general we have become used to eating convenience foods, and unfortunately, we have passed this ‘convenience’ on to our canine companions.
Raw food (also known as BARF - Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is a completely natural diet for your dogs, free from processing. Dogs are carnivores - they have evolved and thrived on raw food for a millennium, it is what their digestive systems are designed for.
Raw feeding is commonly mistaken for a new way to feed your dogs. Raw feeding existed long before the invention of man-made kibbles (dried biscuits). Dogs have evolved for a millennium on a raw diet. Many argue that domestication of the wolf, which in turn led to all the different breeds we have today, has caused dogs to be far removed from their raw meat-eating ancestors.
Externally, there are many different shapes and sizes, but internally all dogs have the same anatomy. From skull shape and dentition through to the shorter foregut and hindgut, a dog's internal anatomy is consistent with carnivorous animals.
Q. Do you hold any informative raw feeding workshops at your shop or anywhere else?
Not currently, however we do offer advice and help to all our customers and potential customer by way of telephone conversations, email, social media messages etc. We are very much an information service and well as a supplier.
Q. What are your future goals for MeruMhor?
To keep suppling Quality Human Grade Natural and Raw Foods and expand our customer base by offering quality and service, it’s what we do.
Figure 5 Some of the MeruMhor Pack
Q. What is the future looking like for raw feeding? Is it becoming a more popular choice?
For us we think the future is very bright, more people are now seeing the difference that a natural & raw diet can and is having with both dogs and cats. The quality and choice are getting better and for us there is no substitute for a quality human grade natural & raw diet.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add? Any tips for someone who is just getting started or something people might not know about raw feeding?
With the answers we have given above we hope to have given an idea/flavor of the benefits to Natural & Raw Feeding, I could talk all day on these and the success we have had with lots of dogs with digestive and skin issues, fussy and poor eaters simply changing there diet can and does make a massive difference. Meal times become so much more interesting for both you and your pets.
For us it’s all about the Dogs & Cats, should you wish to discuss further please give us a call or pop into the shop, we would be more than happy to advise.