When is the optimal feeding window for my doggy?

My preference is to feed fruit meals early in the day – usually before noon, because they are very water-rich and this means the dogs need more potty breaks. If we feed fruits too late in the day they can have us up all night for potty breaks so I typically feed fruit meals between 8 am and 10 am and my absolute latest is 4 pm for denser fruits like bananas and noon for watermelon or other melons.

For meat meals, I choose to feed them in the evenings because they tend to be more sleepy after their meat meal. Around 7 pm works well for us because they come in from playing all day, have their meal, and then by 8 or 9 they are all tucking themselves into their crates for the night.

In nature, dawn and dusk are when they would be primarily eating, especially for prey meals. The low light makes the hunt more likely to be a success. During the heat of the day they would be resting. On fruit days they might forage for several hours but they would still be resting in the warmest part of the day.

Healing Stories – Broken Bones, Severe Injuries and Fasting


Healing Testimonial from Gary Kemp

In July 2023 one of my rescue dogs, Sidney, sustained two severe pelvic fractures by being run over by a 2 ton vehicle. 

I will skip the details of this incident, but suffice it to say that the injuries were so bad that he was barely able to use his hind legs, which he had to drag them behind him to move.

After a night on painkillers during which he regularly woke and expressed some distress, I drove him to a vet. An X Ray showed two alarming pelvic fractures and I was told that an operation would cost at least 700 Euros (ie extremely expensive) and other Vets quoted similar prices. 

It was only after two (or three) days on painkillers that I remembered earlier positive experiences I read in the natural feeding Facebook group regarding natural healthcare for dogs and cats, so I revisited their page and thoroughly studied the files on fasting, natural diet and other relevant material on healing, as a result of which I began fasting Sidney three days after his injury. I stopped the medication, restricted his movement so he could only walk within a 10 x10 metre area, and left him plenty of clean water.

I think I noticed an improvement within the first 24 hours, certainly with the first 48. From then on, I noticed what to mainstream people would generally be described as miraculous: Sidneys rear legs were healing noticeably EVERY DAY. At first splayed so far outwards that they were almost parallel to the ground, after about 10 days on the fast, they were at less than 90 degrees to each other, and Sid was not just walking: He was galloping in short bursts.

I stopped the fast after about 12 days, even though Sid had lost very little weight on the fast and showed little interest in eating. For the first few days I gave him raw fruit only, then began to reintroduce butchers scraps in the form of trimmed chicken carcasses. His recovery continued with noticeable daily improvements, until after just four weeks, he was running and playing almost as normal. I think the complete recovery took a bit longer: maybe six or seven weeks, in the sense that it took that long to see him perform his previous play-acrobatics, eg jumping with all four paws in the air, and chasing the other dogs as if he was chasing rabbits.

It is now six months since Sidneys “accident”, and he has shown absolutely no sign at all of any relapse. In fact, his overall health on a raw diet comprised of raw chicken carcasses and bones and raw fruit seems even better than before the accident.

Healing Testimonial from Gary Kemp

Reader Q&A

Blackleg and Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) in Cattle


I see the term blackleg come up often when people talk about vaccinating livestock. They also mention BRD a lot too, which is like pneumonia. These cattle farmers are insistent that they must use the immunizations to prevent the loss of the animals. So why does this work in cattle? The 1st seems to be spore-related and carried until a minor injury turns the muscle into a feast for a toxic soup-creating bacteria. The 2nd seems to be commonly, possibly caused by stress… but stress alone can’t create the disease of mucus-filled lungs. How would the terrain model explain these claims?


Whenever we are looking at a medical label blaming bacteria or viruses for disease there are always clues that point to the answers we seek within the medical literature narrative that can help us see through the false science, misconstrued, misinterpreted, or misinformed opinions, and sales pitches and get a clearer picture of what is actually happening.

Here is one source that we can look at for clues – Blackleg: A Preventable Disease of Cattle from the West Virginia University Extension

As usual, they have the fearmongering statements “Clostridium bacteria have developed the ability to survive extreme environmental conditions by developing into highly resistant spores. As spores, the bacterium can live in soil for many years, waiting for its opportunity to strike and infect a host.”

The Bacteria is present in healthy animals without causing infection

Looking at this first one, we can see that the spores are present with no negative impact on the cattle and can live in the soil for many years, which means hundreds, if not thousands of cattle are exposed to them, but only a some of the cattle suddenly start dying from the bacteria according to the medical literature.

Here is another confirmation”If sheep or cattle have ever grazed the land you are currently pasturing, it is most likely you have the Clostridium chauvoei spores.”

A Narrow “Infection” Window

“It is not uncommon for prime blackleg conditions to affect an area for a period of 10 days.”

So beyond 10 days the bacteria suddenly becomes inert and not harmful? It’s everywhere that cows or sheep have grazed previously, thousands of cattle are exposed to it with no health issues. This is the same pattern used to blame e-coli, MRSA, tetanus, etc in humans when these bacteria are found in all healthy humans.

It’s highly unlikely that the material would only become harmful within such a narrow scope, but perhaps we can find a more rational explanation within the article for why a cow would succumb within 10 days of injury.

“It is not entirely understood what causes the bacteria to proliferate, but one theory is muscle bruising associated with handling and shipping may be a major cause. “

“There are several signs and symptoms an infected animal will exhibit, including lameness, loss of appetite, depression, rapid breathing, fever and swelling. Sometimes the animal will appear lame on the affected leg before any other sign is noticed.”

When these cattle are transported they are crammed into metal trailers and very often become injured. Since the cattle are fed a completely unnatural diet, and raised on pastures that are abused and devoid of nutrition, they start out very weak. The cows are given a wide range of toxic injections and supplements, and antibiotics are fed “preventatively” leading to a chronic state of disease from birth to slaughter. The pastures are often planted with only one or two grasses, which are chosen to maximize short-term weight gain, not nutrition. All of these conditions lead to an animal that is not in a good condition to recover should they experience a traumatic injury.

In chicken farming, they feed the birds a feed that makes them grow so heavy in such a short period of time that it is common for the bird’s legs to break under their own weight. In cattle, we see the same pattern of fattening for the fastest return on investment leading to bodies that grow rapidly, but not strong. No care is given to the animal’s nutrition because the cattle farmer only cares about getting them to maximum weight as quickly as possible, they don’t care about their long-term health. They have no desire to allow the animal to live to its natural life span, so there is no incentive to feed them properly for longevity.

Poor Nutrition leads to weak bodies that easily succumb to injury

Most people recognize that livestock that live in a feedlot system are getting very poor nutrition and a stressful life with little care for their wellbeing. However, we tend to get the false impression that “grass-fed” cows are getting good nutrition and living naturally. This is the furthest thing from the truth. A grass pasture is just a field the farmer has planted with rye, wheat, or other grasses. In nature, cows would eat flowers, shrubs, fruit, legumes, clover, wild herbs, and a wide variety of greens and grasses that would be growing next to each other on wide tracts of natural land. Grass-fed cows are fed a mono-crop or possible a small mix of grasses, flowers and legumes in a small grass field. In nature they would not be limited to a few high-protein grasses selectively chosen for maximum weight gain. In nature, they would grow slowly and naturally. On a farm the goal is to get them fattened for sale or slaughter as quickly as possible to maximize profit.

A “grass-fed” cow is the equivalent of a McDonald’s fed child. A body that has been fed poor nutrition is far more likely to succumb to an injury than a body that is strong and has the materials needed to heal properly.

So we have an animal that is severely injured during transportation and then dumped into a field that offers no rest and little nutrition, likely they are also given their preventative antibiotics (poison) and supplements (poison) because the grass field is lacking in many of the natural materials they need. As a result, the conditions of health are not being provided and therefore we cannot expect the body to heal in effective way and we can expect many of these cows to succumb to injuries which would not be fatal in a healthy animal but becomes the straw that breaks the camels back in these weak mis-fed animals.

Why do the injections appear to work?

Using the same article as above –  Blackleg: A Preventable Disease of Cattle from the West Virginia University Extension

We start with the sales pitch, the favorite of the industry is the “better safe than sorry”, “we offer the solution for very cheap so make sure you use the prevention.” Here it is in the article: “It is a very inexpensive insurance policy to protect animals with vaccination. Most blackleg products will cost producers approximately $1.20 to $1.60 per head, plus the cost of labor, depending on the product used.”

In the disease-for-profit industry, they have inbuilt protections to keep their system running. Hundreds of thousands of different disease labels for a small number of symptoms. A set of symptoms can point to one of 10, 20, or 100 different disease labels, but the presence of any particular bacteria or virus is the definitive factor that provides the specific diagnosis in many diseases.

The way a vaccine works is you give it long before any symptoms are apparent and you give it en masse to thousands or hundreds of thousands of victims.

“Vaccines are very effective if given to young, healthy animals in time for them to increase their immunity before being challenged by the disease.”

Since most of the victims would never acquire the disease in the first place you simply credit the vaccine for the lack of symptoms rather than the statistical norm that already existed prior to the invention of the vaccine. Now all the animals that never would have gotten the “disease” in the first place we are told only didn’t get it because they were vaccinated and therefore protected from it.

Then when inevitably symptoms arise in some of the animals or humans that match the disease that the vaccine is supposed to protect for, they simply change the disease label. In humans, we vaccinated for polio, and then anyone who got the symptoms associated with polio from being exposed to a neurotoxin but is vaccinated, they are now diagnosed with transverse myelitis, guillain-barre, spinal cord stroke, meningitis, brainstem stroke, botulism, or other medical labels instead of polio. Polio is ruled out because they were vaccinated for polio already. Instead a different label is chosen. In areas where the vaccine was not given en masse, they are still given a polio label and we rarely see the other diagnosis labels being used.

You see, if an animal has been vaccinated for a particular disease then that by default removes that disease from the diagnosis choices the vet is choosing from and they choose another label instead. Plenty of labels are available to diagnose the same limited spectrum of symptoms, so it’s easy to simply relabel.

In this case, “C septicum, C novyi, C sordellii, and C perfringens may resemble those of blackleg.” and malignant edema, tetanus, enterotoxemia, red water, and botulism all share the same symptoms and can be used as an alternative diagnosis.

But to add a further level of protection for the narrative we are also told “calves vaccinated under three months of age must be vaccinated again at weaning or at four to six months of age to be protected.” and ” Animals must be vaccinated annually.”

So if the vet wants to diagnose blackleg they can also claim that the farmer did not vaccinate enough times.

“Delaying vaccination until a calf is older can be inviting disaster” -Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension article Blackleg and Other Clostridial Diseases in Cattle

The industry sales materials always have the call to urgency and the moral imperative – if the farmer does not vaccinate they are “inviting disaster” and being neglectful and abusive. This type of social pressure helps keep questioning to a minimum – no one wants to be labeled abusive or neglectful so “just to be safe” they inject the poison.

“Intramuscular injection of clostridial vaccines causes significant muscle damage and, therefore, clostridial vaccines must be injected under the skin (subcutaneously or SQ) in the neck area. This will prevent injection-site damage to high-value cuts of meat.

The result of “just to be safe” is “significant muscle damage” but that is socially acceptable because it is a result of medical “care” which is deemed necessary and appropriate as long as its not in the high value cuts of meat.

Bovine Respiratory Disease

“Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), sometimes described as “shipping fever,” is the most common and costly disease affecting the North American beef cattle industry.” “BRD refers to any disease of the upper or lower respiratory tracts”

Here the cause is right in the description, “shipping fever”. The extremely high stress the cattle are under during shipping leads to many of the cattle developing detox symptoms after the ordeal.

Symptoms of BRD in cattle:
Fever (up to 42°C)
Watery nasal discharge progressing to a thick mucoid nasal discharge.
Depression and lethargy.
Lack of appetite.
Rapid, shallow breathing.
Unwillingness to move, standing with neck extended.

All of the above are detox symptoms. This is the body’s natural healing and repair processes being instituted as a result of exposure to toxins or stress. When an animal or human is under high levels of stress this creates an overacid condition of the body due to the overworking of the cells. All disease is a result of the overworking of the cells, so stress, especially prolonged stress can certainly result in detox symptoms.

In humans, prolonged stress results in cold or flu symptoms, which are detox symptoms, also known as a healing crisis. In cattle, the medical industry has labeled this collection of healing symptoms as BRD just like they have labeled the symptoms pneumonia, flu, or cold in humans. It’s the same process just with different labels depending on who invents the label first.

However, there are some caveats to stress creating these symptoms. Under normal conditions in a healthy body the body would quickly eliminate the results of the stress in the body and no lasting symptoms would occur. If anything the symptoms would be minor. In a body that is misfed, however, the body is already under a chronic burden and is unable to rapidly eliminate byproducts of stress. The body is dehydrated and as such the lymphatic system is backed up and moving more slowly than it would naturally. This results in slower elimination of waste products and therefore more damage at the site of the cells when the waste is not able to be rapidly eliminated from the area. Therefore, a normal condition that a healthy body would rapidly eliminate with minimal symptoms becomes a major issue with major symptoms and discomfort for a body that has been chronically misfed and poisoned.

On top of this, if the care given to the animal is rest, fasting, clean water, and species-appropriate food that provides the highest quality nutrition then the body will recover rapidly. If the opposite is done, if the animal is applied with poisons and force-fed, not allowed proper rest, and not provided with the needs of health, then the symptoms will linger, the elimination will drag on and the symptoms may worsen depending on the amount of poisons applied to the body by the medical person in charge of their care.

As with any condition of disease, we cannot poison a poisoned body back to health. Stress creates poisonous conditions, and the body responds to these poisonous conditions by creating expulsion symptoms, the medical industry responds to the body healing expulsion symptoms by applying additional poisons in the way of antibiotics, supplements, and other symptom suppressants, attempting to poison away the symptoms which were brought on by the initial poisoning.

If the body survives the initial poisoning and the secondary poisoning the medical poisons are touted as the savior. If the animal succumbs to the secondary poisons the body’s healing processes are blamed for the death rather than the poisons. The explanation always protects the profits of the disease-for-profit industry.

Why do other raw feeding models like B.A.R.F, P.M.R, and R.M.F. fail to heal our pets completely?

If you have been researching a raw food diet or natural food diets for dogs and cats you may have come across the Prey Model Raw  (P.M.R.) or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (B.A.R.F.) diets both of which market themselves as the natural diet for our canine companions.  They have significant differences but both have their proponents who argue each is the natural model.   In this chapter, we will look at both and compare them to nature to see what best mimics the natural diet.   If you have dug further you may have come across Rotational Monofeeding (R.M.F) which is closer to the natural model, but still strays from nature on a few points, we will discuss the pros and cons of this model as well. 

If you venture into social media groups of P.M.R. and B.A.R.F. feeders you will find post after post of people having issues with their dog’s health and looking for recommendations for treatments to deal with these issues. Their digestion, healing from serious conditions and chronic disease, allergies, itchy skin, and eye discharge all lead pet parents to seek out treatments that ultimately will lead to less-than-ideal health.  

While both  P.M.R. and B.A.R.F. are huge improvements over kibble and canned foods and they get a lot of things right, it is the small mistakes in observing nature that lead to health issues over the long term and digestion issues over the short term. 

While they are one of the closest marketed diets to a natural feeding model both make fairly significant errors which over time lead to symptoms of disease. First, let us lay out the basics of each model and then we can discuss where they have gone astray from nature.


Prey Model Raw focuses on feeding a rotation of raw meats, excluding all plant foods. The B.A.R.F. feeding model is similar to P.M.R. however they also include some plant foods. R.M.F is a lesser-known model which stands for Rotational Monofeeding and is built on the concept of feeding plants and meats separately and in closer alignment with the natural model.   


According to Perfectlyrawsome.com, “the Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet eliminates processed foods and provides dogs with a natural diet that mimics what their ancestors and wild cousins consumed. A complete PMR diet is based on whole, wild prey animals and does not include plant ingredients.” 


The PMR model encourages whole prey, raw meat, and bone.  They eliminate all grains, cooked foods, and processed foods and for the most part, they seem to stay away from oils, although some adherents include fish oils. The model has done a good job of eliminating a large number of burdens that commercial dog foods supply.  Since disease conditions grow relative to the burden the body is under, switching from kibble or canned foods to a PMR model diet will for many dogs result in a relative increase in health.  However, there is still an excess burden in this diet compared to what we observe in nature and full and complete health will not be achieved with this excess burden.   


When we look at wild dogs, coyotes, and wolves we see that they all consume between 20 and 80% fruits and other plant matter.  (See “Evidence that Canids eat Fruit in the Wild” https://www.therawkey.com/evidence-that-canids-eat-fruit-in-the-wild/) Fruits are a large part of the wild canid diet.   Removing this important source of nutrition leads to a burden of excess protein on the PMR diet or protein poisoning.  Unfortunately, at some point, humans simply assumed that wolves and coyotes are exclusive meat eaters and that information has led to the idea that our dogs should feed exclusively on meat.  In the short term, taking a dog from a kibble diet to an all raw proteins diet will alleviate a considerable burden and allow for improvements to overall health, but long term that excess of protein is going to catch up with our pets and their health will begin to slide downhill again. 


According to Perfectlyrawsome.com “the recommended guidelines for a BARF diet consists of 70% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 7% vegetables, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ, 2% seeds or nuts, and 1% fruit.”


The B.A.R.F model also promotes a fully raw diet with raw meat being the predominant food.   They eliminate all grains, cooked foods, and processed foods. They incorporate some plant materials, predominantly vegetables using the rationale that the only plant matter that would be eaten in nature by dogs is the stomach contents of their prey, which would be predominantly grasses and vegetable matter.   The B.A.R.F. model has also done a good job of eliminating a large number of burdens that commercial dog foods supply.  Switching from kibble or canned foods to a B.A.R.F model diet will for many dogs result in a relative increase in health in the short term due to the burden they are lifting.  However, just like the P.M.R. model there is still an excess burden in this diet compared to what we observe in nature.  


The B.A.R.F. model has many of the same issues as the P.M.R. model and a few issues unique to their model. As mentioned above, wild dogs, coyotes, and wolves consume between 20 and 80% fruits and other plant matter.  That means the average dog in the wild is eating a meat meal once every 3 to 7 days, not every day.  They are grazing upon fruits and other plants between their prey meals.   While B.A.R.F incorporates plant matter into the diet they do not incorporate it on a scale that matches the natural model.  The reasoning behind incorporating plant matter is to stimulate the stomach contents of the prey animal which would be a very small fraction of the plant matter eaten in the wild.   Additionally, this plant matter in the stomach and digestive tract would be predigested.  In nature, wild dogs, coyotes, and wolves are eating fruits directly from trees, bushes, and vines in large quantities.   

The next issue we run into with the B.A.R.F. diet is food combining.   Dogs, like humans, only have one stomach.  This means that their stomach is only capable of digesting one type of food at a time.   All foods require digestive enzymes to be broken down and assimilated by our bodies.  Different types of foods – starches, proteins, fats, sweet fruits, acid fruits – all have different enzymes that break the material down into its usable parts.  Some of these enzymes also neutralize other enzymes.  If we combine two food types that have enzymes that neutralize each other we end up with neither of the food types in the stomach getting properly digested.  Instead, the food either ferments (fruits/carbs/starches) or putrefies (meat).  When this occurs the body is not getting full use or benefit from the meal and as a result, the body may need to expel the food rapidly through an expulsion process like diarrhea or vomiting to get the putrefying or fermenting substances out of the system.   This is because the ferment creates alcohol a cellular poison and the putrefaction creates ammonia an even stronger cellular poison.  While the B.A.R.F model adds in a small amount of plant matter, they are not taking into account the natural physiological processes of digestion and therefore they are creating more burden on the body than simply feeding the proteins alone.  

The next issue is in the bone ratios.  B.A.R.F. recommends 10% raw edible bone, the problem with this is when we look to the natural prey animals our dogs would be hunting if left to their own devices we often find that the ratio of bone to meat is much higher than 10%.  Small birds like cornish hens are roughly 39% bone, chickens are roughly 32% bone.  Feeding a whole cornish hen or a whole chicken with intact organs is going to be a much closer approximation to nature than trying to recreate that piecemeal.  Wild prey has a wide range of bone content so our dogs are built for some variety meaning this is a relatively minor issue, but one worth noting as we look at the whole picture of each feeding model.  Rigid adherence to a specific bone percentage is not in alignment with the variety found in nature. 

Whole Chicken…32%

Whole Quail…10%

Guinea hen…17%

Squab (pigeon)…23%

Wild Duck…38%

Pheasant whole…14%

Cornish Game Hen (cleaned)…39%

Whole goose…19%

Dove whole…23%

Mouse whole…5%

Rat whole…5%

Guinea pig/cavies…10%

Rabbit Whole (cleaned)…28%

Rabbit Whole prey, unprocessed, with fur…10%

Turkey whole (cleaned)…21%

Whole duck (cleaned)…28%

Source: https://www.rawpetsrule.com/bone-percentage-guide.html

The last issue we find with the B.A.R.F model is 7% vegetables, 2% seeds or nuts, and 1% fruit.”  Since evidence from the Voyageurs Wolf Project shows us wolves eating up to 83% of their diet from fruits during heavy fruiting periods (See: https://youtu.be/0-QzCFs6-SY)  and Coyote feeding studies confirm seasonal fruit consumption ranging from 20% to 60%  (See for example: Seasonal Coyote Diet Composition at a Low-Productivity Site Morgan B. Swingen, Christopher S. DePerno and Christopher E. Moorman https://bioone.org/journals/southeastern-naturalist/volume-14/issue-2/058.014.0219/Seasonal-Coyote-Diet-Composition-at-a-Low-Productivity-Site/10.1656/058.014.0219.short ) we can be confident that fruits are both a suitable food and necessary to maintain the health of our dogs. 

What we do not have support for though is the evidence of vegetables.   Vegetables are the fare of herbivorous animals which have flat molars for grinding and breaking down the tough cellulose found in vegetables.  Dogs are not equipped with grinding teeth and they lack the starch-digesting enzymes that would be necessary in lieu of those teeth to allow for proper digestion.   Cooking of vegetables breaks down the starches into sugars and weakens the cellulose allowing for some increase in digestibility, however, we are then returning to the same question “Who has ever seen a dog turn on the stove?”   Cooking also damages foods, so any benefit in digestibility is countered by the loss of nutrition and the alteration of the food as well as the creation of carcinogens such as acrylamide that increases based upon the cooking temperature.  (For more on why cooked foods cause disease see: “The Folly of Cookery: https://www.therawkey.com/the-folly-of-cookery/ ) Based upon our observations of nature and our knowledge of physiology and chemistry we should therefore rule out vegetables as a source of food for dogs but significantly increase fruit consumption to better match the natural model.  


Where both diets missed the mark is again in fat content . The raw meats available to us in the grocery store come from commercially raised animals. These animals are fed an unnatural diet which creates excess fat on the body of the prey animal so even if you feed raw the meat you’re getting from the grocery store is going to be far higher in fat than natural wild-raised prey.

As we can see in the photo below, the wild rabbit (right), eating its natural foods, has almost no visible fat.  Compare this to the commercially raised rabbit (left) with its large deposits of fat at the bottom end and also a coating of fat on the ribs.   

In nature, eating their wild prey, our dogs would be consuming very little fat.  Most of us however require to get our meat from the local grocery and as such we are left with a product that has an excess of fat.  Over time this excess fat that our companions are consuming will overwhelm the body and slowly lead to less ideal health and eventually into chronic disease as our companion’s age.

When we buy commercially prepared raw foods there is often even more fat being supplied as the meat is first trimmed for sale to humans and then the leftover carcass of mostly bone and fat is what is ground into raw prepackaged foods for dogs and cats. Whether you are preparing the food at home from the grocery store or buying a pre-made PMR or BARF model raw food product the fat issue is going to cause issues in the long term.   


According to RMFPets.com, “RMF diet is based mostly on the wild model and partly on what has been observed to work in domestic dogs. It essentially involves the feeding of raw meat and bones on some days and plant-based meals (some cooked, some raw) on other days. The dog owner determines how many days of each, based on the dog’s age and other factors.”


The R.M.F. model is far and away the closest to a natural model.  They incorporate plant meals that are both separate from the meat meals as they would be found in nature and they incorporate plants in a high enough rotation to mimic nature.   R.M.F. also recognizes the issue with fat consumption, saying on the RMFpets.com website that “The high animal fat content of commercial dog foods and even some home prepped diets is the most common cause of the health problems that dogs experience.”   

R.M.F.’s focus on raw meat and bone alternated with plant meals eliminates a significant amount of burden on the body of our animals, far more than the P.M.R. and B.A.R.F. models thanks to the reduction of meat meals in exchange for low burden plant meals.  However, there is still an excess burden in this diet compared to what we observe in nature.  


No animal in nature cooks its food. Over 700,000 species exist on this planet and only the chronically ill human species cooks our foods. 

Humans are the only species capable of creating fire and setting fire to our food and the consequences of that decision have led to the epidemics of chronic disease we humans experience and now put on to our pets.  The RMF model continues this tradition by including cooked foods including cooked sweet potatoes, cooked quinoa, and certain cooked vegetables.  While these are not absolute requirements of the diet, it is evidenced in the online support group that these cooked foods are used heavily, often in lieu of fruits.   To learn more about why feeding cooked foods is harmful see “The Folly of Cookery” https://www.therawkey.com/the-folly-of-cookery/

Are you ready to switch your companion to the natural diet and watch them thrive? Get our free feeding guide here:  https://www.therawkey.com/the-animals-key/  and join our Facebook group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/700078481585631/

Have more questions? Need one on one help getting started or troubleshooting feeding or healing issues? Need help with  a serious health condition?  I offer consultations here: https://www.therawkey.com/consultations/

Healing Hairloss in Cats


My 9-year-old cat started losing her hair about a year ago. After changing her food, she seemed to improve temporarily, however, she is now worse than ever. She also has a number of tiny red spots on her skin. I spoke to a vet and she said they would probably recommend steroids. I would prefer not to go this route. I have changed her food again. We give her dried and we are now back to tins after giving her freshly cooked food.


When the body has an excess of waste it will push that waste out through the skin and as a result, the hair follicle becomes damaged. Steroids will temporarily stop the symptoms for some cats but at great cost to the health of the animal. The body is creating this symptom because it is in distress and it is trying to alleviate that distress. Using steroids is akin to shooting the messenger, it hides the symptom for a little while by impairing the ability of the body to push the waste out through the skin, but it does nothing to remove the cause, so the cause continues to build internally, and since the original waste cannot use the skin as an outlet the body has limited choices of what to do with the waste. The end result of this process usually results in the body creating tumors to store the waste since it is being stopped from eliminating the waste through the secondary channels.

In a healthy body, all waste is eliminated through the primary channels – kidneys, bowels, and lungs. When the burden on the body becomes too high from feeding the wrong foods – cooked foods, processed foods, mixed foods, etc – the body cannot keep up with all of the waste through its primary channels and it will start to open up secondary channels. When it does this we see waste coming out of the skin, the ears (diagnosed as ear infections), eye discharge, nose discharge, red or irritated skin, and paws.

The body itself is creating all of these symptoms to get the excess waste out because the waste damages the cells and causes them to malfunction. If the waste backlog becomes too high then the body will no longer be able to function and life will cease, so the body’s ability to create these expulsion symptoms is crucial to survival.

So the symptoms are the result of a backlog of waste which means too much waste is being created. We can then fix this issue by stopping the input. We do this successfully for all disease conditions by returning the animal to their natural diet. When we correct the diet we lift the burden, there is no more excess waste being created and the body can start to catch up on the backlog. Once the backlog is cleared the body will stop pushing waste out through the skin because it will no longer need that pathway.

You can find the cat feeding guide here: https://www.therawkey.com/the-animals-key/

It includes everything you need to know to get started. Let me know if you have any questions!

The Folly of Cookery

Why I don’t feed cooked foods to my dogs and cats and you shouldn’t either

It hardly needs to be stated that our companion animals are sick and getting sicker on the standard kibble diet.  Few will deny the decline of the health of those under the care of the current feeding regimens, especially kibble and canned foods.  For this reason, many people these days are seeking out home-prepared alternatives to commercial foods which are providing lackluster health for our beloved companions. 

Some choose a home-cooked meal, others a raw food regimen, while others seek to straddle the line feeding some cooked and some raw. In this article, I hope to persuade you that there is no benefit to cooking any food for our companions. Not only that but cooking their food is actually detrimental to their health and adds to the disease burden on their bodies, keeping them in a state of less-than-ideal health. 

First I will cover the biological, chemical, and physiological reasons why cooked foods are less than ideal and even harmful. And then I will discuss my observations in healing my rescue dogs who come to me with terminal and serious chronic conditions and how cooked foods negatively impacted their symptoms while going to a fully raw, species-appropriate, fruit-heavy diet saw a near-immediate cessation of those symptoms. 

Dr. B.S. Claunch, in a talk on How Disease is Built stated: “There are nearly 700,000 species of animal life, and everyone of  these species except man – the highest – live exclusively on live, uncooked, organic food. No other animal except man eats devitalized foods that have been rendered inorganic – reduced from their organic structure to dead, inorganic substances…. Incidentally, man is the only species in the entire animal kingdom that is sick, with the exception of a few that have their diet prescribed for them by man – domesticated animals. They are sick the same as man, because man supplies their food and directs their eating habits instead of permitting them to select their own foods. Cooking foods and processing them – refining, sterilizing, preserving, pickling, flavoring and coloring – all tend to devitalize them.”

I could stop right here with this simple truth.  No other species on the earth cooks their food and no other species suffers disease at the rate that mankind does, except for those mankind feeds.    Our companions are suffering the same avoidable fate that we have placed upon ourselves with our “art” of cooking foods into toxic concoctions of more drugging value than nourishment. 

I could even point out another somewhat obvious fact, that none of our companions have the ability to create fire, nor do they have the ability to stand up at the stove or turn on the oven. Cooking is therefore not even within the realm of their abilities to provide for themselves.  Some like to argue that humans have adapted to our cooked food habits, but this is utterly false, degeneration and chronic disease are the opposite of adaptation. When it comes to our companion animals, though,  this argument doesn’t even begin to have a foundation, they have no adaptations to cooked foods and no ability to cook the foods themselves.  Their only exposure to the debilitating effects of cooked proteins or cooked plant meals is through our mistakes in feeding them.  

What happens when we cook?

The application of fire to any substance will alter that substance.  When we cook food that is exactly what we are doing.  We are to some varying extent or another setting fire to our nourishment.  Set fire to your home and you will not soon have a suitable place to call home.  Set fire to your food and your body will soon not be a suitable place to call home either.    

“At about 145 degrees Fahrenheit certain properties of plant life are destroyed. A leaf of cabbage, for example, if immersed in water that can be easily borne by the hand, will wilt, showing that part of its cellular life is destroyed at that low temperature. The heat to which such foods are subjected in cooking may be increased or prolonged until all the properties of the plant are destroyed. Many articles of food which are baked in an oven are subjected to a very intense heat ranging from 300 degrees F. to 400 degrees F. Much of their food value is destroyed, thereby. Bread that is browned in an oven is half-destroyed, being partly charcoal, tar, and ashes. If it had been left in an oven twice as long it would have been entirely destroyed. At every step in the process of cooking from the time the food is put in or upon the stove until it is entirely destroyed, if it be permitted to cook that long, destructive changes take place that impair its food value and unfit it for use by the body.” – Dr Herbert Shelton

Kibble is heated to very high temperatures, in the range of 600 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit to make it shelf stable so it can be stored for months or even years. Kibble is the charcoal, tar, and ashes of what once was food. It retains little of what the body recognizes as usable material.  Canned foods are treated in much the same way.   However, a home-cooked meal does not escape the wrath of the fire either.  Many well-meaning pet parents will serve boiled chicken and rice to a sick pet, often on the advice of their vet, or will give treats or even full meals of cooked meats or cooked vegetables or some combination of the two.  Even the most diligent pet parent will feed steamed vegetables or roots on different occasions, be it a regular meal, an occasional treat,  a perceived money-saving alternative, or because they have been told that it is relatively clean fuel or a low-burden option.   There is no such thing as low-burden cooked food and no such thing as cooked food that is a clean fuel.  Cooked food is always injurious to the body, as you will see below.

“Simple prolonged heating of foodstuffs, especially at a high temperature and doubly so in the presence of water, either that contained in the foods themselves, or that added in the process of cooking, certainly results in a number of important changes in the foodstuffs which render them less and less valuable as foods. Even those foods that are regarded as fairly thermostable are certainly damaged by prolonged heating so that a diet that may be adequate in the uncooked state may be very inadequate after being thoroughly cooked.” Dr Herbert Shelton

What makes food valuable?

In order for a substance to be of value to the body it must meet the body’s needs for nutritive matter while also being digestible and assimilable.   Food must give more than it takes away.   It must be a low burden to process while supplying the body’s basic requirements.   These factors will vary from species to species adjusting the relative value of a food.  The raw flesh has great value to a carnivore like a cat, moderate value to an omnivore like a dog, and no value to a frugivore like a human.   Fruit on the other hand has no value to the carnivore, is well utilized by most omnivores, and is ideal for the frugivore.   Raw flesh and fresh ripe fruit both contain a variety of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients but their value is dependent on the ability of the species to digest and assimilate or utilize those nutrients.  

Cooking food negatively impacts the ability of all species to digest, assimilate and utilize a food substance.  Applying heat to food alters the food chemically and structurally in a way that makes it anywhere from difficult to impossible for the body to assimilate the nutrients. Let’s look at some of the specifics of how cooking negatively alters a food:

Hardening of Proteins

Cooking coagulates (hardens) the proteins of meat, milk, eggs, grains, etc., making them tough and less digestible, while impairing their food values. Meat protein is hardened at 160° F.  This means cooking our companion’s meat meals coagulates the proteins, altering the bonds and changing the structure to one that the body was never designed to digest or assimilate. 

“Simple prolonged heating of foodstuffs, especially at high temperatures or under pressure, produces the following effects:

1. The disaminisation (deaminization) of vitally important amine compounds.

2. The decomposition of similar sulphur compounds (and perhaps of substances belonging to other unstable groups.)

3. The metamorphosis of metaphosphates and pyrophosphates into orthophosphates.

The first two of the above listed effects renders it impossible for the foodstuffs to be assimilated to form cell-substance, for the unstable groups in the food mixture will have been destroyed.

In considering the evils that may flow from deaminization of proteins (or of amino acids) by the cooking process, it is probably important that we think primarily of the effects of cooking upon the essential amino acids. Berg’s conclusion, however, after reviewing the evidence, is that deaminization is not as important as the change of organic phosphates into inorganic.” 

– Dr Herbert Shelton, referring to Ragnar Berg on the experiments of Francis and Trowbridge and Trowbridge and Stanley.

Deaminization means the removal of an amino group from an amino acid or other compounds. In layman’s terms, this means the structure of the amino acids that make up the protein are altered in a way that makes them unusable to the body.   The decomposition of sulfur compounds also means an alteration to the food which makes the materials in the food unusable.   But as Shelton mentions, the most impactful of all changes is the change of organic phosphates into inorganic.   This is an important factor that is perhaps the most impactful of all factors and will turn any food, both plant matter and flesh into a toxic substance when cooked. Shelton reinforces the organic to inorganic again: 

“I quote the following from Vitamins by Ragnar Berg: “the experiments of Francis and Trowbridge and those of Trowbridge and Stanley have shown that when meat is boiled even for a comparatively brief period, organic phosphates are transformed into inorganic.” – Dr Herbert Shelton

What is Inorganic vs Organic?

When most people hear the word organic they think of the modern usage of the term which describes particular growing practices for fruits and vegetables.  This is not however the original meaning and is not relevant to the current discussion.  In this context organic refers to the organization of a mineral, also referred to as a salt.  This is not to be confused with table salt, which is an inorganic mineral and a poison.  

Inorganic minerals are the rock form, unusable by our bodies. Organic minerals are modified by plants into a form usable by mankind and animals alike.  Humans and animals both lack the ability to take the crude elements of the earth and synthesize these into acceptable organic compounds. Instead, we ingest our minerals in organic form, through the plants we consume.  Our dogs also get their minerals through fruits and vegetables, and also through the flesh of animals that have eaten plants.  Our cats get their minerals in their organic form through consuming prey that has consumed plants.   In all instances, it is the organic form that is consumed and utilized by the body and not the inorganic form. 

“In order to convert these inorganic elements or minerals into a form which can be assimilated by the human body it is necessary for nature to create from the soil vegetation in which these same elements are present in organic form. In vegetation they remain organic until, by oxidation, they return again to their original inorganic form ready to produce more vegetation. True food is totally organic substance. If that organic substance is permitted to become, to any degree, inorganic, it simultaneously becomes to that degree useless as food. All organic minerals oxidize when they come in contact with oxygen and moisture. That is, they thus become inorganic again. In ordinary room-temperature the process of oxidation proceeds; but in the presence of heat oxidation is very greatly increased. Therefore, the cooking of vegetation in the presence of the oxygen of the air – the condition under which all home cooking and most commercial cooking occurs – changes a large part of what was organic and useful as food into inorganic oxides which cannot be assimilated by the human body.” – Dr Herbert Shelton

Plants uptake the rock form of a mineral from the soil (inorganic) and structure that mineral into its organic form.   Humans and animals consume the plant and make use of the organic minerals, creating new tissues, bones, and teeth and utilizing them for various body processes.   When these same plants are cooked their organic minerals are converted back to inorganic minerals by the application of heat and oxygen as the food breaks down.  The food is now rendered toxic by the presence of inorganic minerals and the loss of its organic minerals. Any value supplied by increasing the digestibility of some aspect of the food, for example, making the fiber more digestible is superseded by the toxic effects of the organic minerals converting to inorganic minerals.  

“In Vol. 39 (pages 21-31), 1939 of the Transactions of the American Therapeutic Society, F. M. Pottenger, M. D., and D. G. Simonsen recount the results of some experiments which they performed with cats. For a lengthy period of time they fed two groups of cats on similar quantities of meats and vegetables. The only difference between the diets of the two groups was that the meat of one group was uncooked, that of the other group cooked.

These men report that all the cats that received the uncooked flesh led normal lives, appeared perfectly healthy and were able to reproduce themselves throughout the length of the experiment which ran through several generations. On the other hand, none of the cats fed cooked meat were able to maintain good health for any length of time, nor were some of the second and third generations able to reproduce. All of the cats eating cooked flesh developed very serious troubles, such as softening of the bones, including those of the skull, bowed legs, rickets, curvature of the spine, paralysis of the legs, thyroid abscesses, convulsions, cyanosis of the liver and kidneys, enlarged colon, degeneration of the motor nerve ganglion cells throughout the spinal cord and brain stem, with some cells affected in the cerebellum and cerebral cortex.

The reader’s attention is directed to the cumulative effects of this diet. A diet that seems adequate in one generation may turn out to be very inadequate if carried out through a few generations. It should not be thought that because a particular mode of eating seems adequate for an individual that it will not produce serious results in the children or grandchildren. Long ago it was said: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

Dr. Shelton here makes an important point, we should not assume that simply because we don’t see an immediate negative effect feeding our dogs and cats cooked foods does not mean that there will not be longer-term consequences in the form of chronic disease, arthritis, skin conditions, heart disease, cancer or other disease factors which will shorten our pets time with us. Nor should we assume that a balance of raw and cooked foods will undo the damage or negate the detrimental effects of feeding cooked foods. Even dogs fed a raw meat diet with the inclusion of raw fruits decline when cooked plant matter is added to their diets and improve when those cooked materials are removed from the diet. 

Alteration of Fats

Cooking alters the fats in food making them both less digestible and making some into poisons. Fatty emulsions break down when exposed to heat and fats exposed to high temperatures are less digestible.  Heat applied to oils and fats creates free fatty acids which are poisonous and not assimilated by the body.

Additionally, the alteration of fats has an effect on the fat-soluble vitamins.  For example, vitamin E is moderately affected by cooking, however, it is very sensitive to slight oxidative changes in the fats, therefore, cooking will produce certain destructive chemical modifications in this vitamin by disorganization of the fats.

Heated fats have been shown to be carcinogenic to animals in clinical studies.  The application of heat to fats breaks them down chemically into fatty acids which are not usable by the body and instead become free-floating poisons in the body fluids. 

“However, we also know that fats (triglycerides) are responsible for body balance of the metabolic processes working with the nervous system. High triglyceride count slows the utilization of minerals causing excess mineral build-up and depression of the nervous system communication capabilities, a state certainly capable of confusing the entire system’s operational accuracy.” -T.C Fry, Life Science Course, Lesson 43

Loss of Minerals 

Cooking causes a great loss of soluble minerals in the food.  Studies show that when meats are boiled from 20 to 67% of their mineral salts are lost and found in the broth.  When baked up to 57% of them are lost and found in the drippings. When potatoes are peeled and soaked before boiling 38% of the mineral matter is lost. Green vegetables when boiled lose nearly all of their soluble minerals.   The amount of mineral loss varies by cooking method and length of the time cooked but in all modes of cooking there is considerable loss of nutrients both vitamins and minerals as well as the destruction of enzymes. This means the intelligent balance which was created by nature is disturbed and food that is alkaline-forming in its raw form may become acid-forming and its cooked state

“Professor Snyder showed that 100 pounds of cabbage contain 7.5 pounds of solids, more than 1/3 of which – 2.50 or 3 pounds – are lost when cooked in water. Spinach has a solid content of 10% of which nearly 1/4 is lost when cooked in water. Carrots cut into small pieces and cooked in water lose 20 to 30% of the weight.”

Studies by Ragnar Berg have shown that steaming vegetables for just five minutes eliminates so many of the minerals that the remaining residue contains an excess of acids. In addition to this, the vitally important vitamins are entirely dissolved out of the vegetables.

Not only does cooking vegetables and roots alter their structure of fats and proteins, it negatively impacts the vitamin and mineral content to such an extent that the foods become acid-forming in the body rather than alkaline.  Any proposed benefit of including these foods for their nutrient or fuel values is fully negated by the acid-forming nature that is their cooked state. 

Decreased Digestion of Starches

One of the most common reasons given for the feeding of cooked sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and other roots and vegetables is that cooking makes the starches more digestible and converts them into usable sugars. In truth, cooking renders starches less digestible and more prone to fermentation. This fermentation means for our pets more symptoms of disease like itching, red skin, hair loss, eye discharge, ear “infections,” digestion issues, inability to maintain weight and mucus in the digestive tract which blocks the absorption of nutrients. 

Dr Shelton states, “It has long been known that animals digest raw starch best and that they do not fare well on cooked foods.  Farmers quit cooking food for their animals years ago.”

Milo Hastings shares his observations: “ I got suspicious of the idea that humans couldn’t digest raw starch when I was in college and read about experiments in cooking grains for farm animals, in which the scientist proved that the cooked foods were less digestible than uncooked foods – for animals.”

Raw cabbage requires two hours for digestion while cooked cabbage requires four hours to digest. Most people are familiar with the fermentation effects of eating cooked cabbage, the gas and bloating being notorious. For most, cooked cabbage is followed by a rapid elimination of the bowels showing the distress the body is under from that fermentation. 

In addition to the fact that cooking renders starch less digestible, we tend to cook most starches by boiling, pressure cooking, or steaming. Saturated with water the starches then prevent salivary digestion. In humans the salivary enzyme ptyalin is responsible for the digestion of starches diluting that enzyme leads to less effective digestion which further adds to the fermentation issue. In our dogs they excrete amylase from their pancreases, allowing for the digestion of starches in the gut. In either case, the water will dilute the enzymes leading to insufficient digestion of the starches when cooked. 

Destruction of Vitamins

Most people today are already aware that cooking destroys the vitamins in foods. In addition to this cooking impairs or completely destroys their antineuritic and anti-scorbutic factors.  In layman’s terms antineuritic means preventing or relieving inflammation of a nerve and antiscorbutic means preventing scurvy. 

Even before the discovery of vitamins, raw food advocates proclaimed that cooked food is dead food.  While we did not know what the material in whole undefiled food was, however, we did know that “cooked food is humanity‘s greatest curse“ and the difference between cooked and raw is the difference of life and vitality versus steady degeneration and disease. 

Studies have shown that vitamins B and C are soluble in water and dissolved out in the first boiling. Vitamins are very delicate and unstable and many are lost and destroyed not only in the cooking process but in dehydration of foods and even in the cutting and chopping of foods. Vitamins are lost to varying degrees based on the cooking method and the exposure to light or oxygen but in all cases vitamin content is damaged regardless of cooking method. 

“In his experiments with monkeys McCarrison showed that cooked foods, the same as deficient and ill balanced foods, produced, within a short time, diarrhea, or actual dysentery. The monkeys so fed lost appetite, developed anemia, unhealthy skin, loss of body weight and all the vital organs began to atrophy. He pointed out that “among the pathologic processes resulting from deficient and ill balanced food are the impairment of the protective resources of the digestive tract against infection,” and added that there is a good reason to believe that the prolonged use of moderately faulty food will lead to these results as certainly as the less prolonged use of more faulty food.”

Cooking is a waste of resources

Many people choose to feed cooked foods like lentils, beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and others because they are inexpensive and provide bulk for meals.   I will argue that in fact most of these foods are more expensive per pound than the far more ideal bananas which are universally available and nearly universally enjoyed by all dogs.   Here at my local grocery store, even with bananas doubling in price this year, sweet potatoes are still 3 times the cost per pound, broccoli is nearly 4 times the cost, lentils are roughly 3.5 times more expensive.

Despite the idea that serving these foods is saving money, it has been found that when feeding cooked foods in order to maintain weight we must actually feed more because the body is simply not able to get as much value out of a cooked food as it does with a raw food. So even if the fruit is more expensive, the required volume of cooked foods versus the raw will easily overcome any perceived savings.  In addition to requiring more volume of cooked foods, the constant digestive injury of cooked foods makes the body less able to get everything out of the raw foods we are feeding, leading to a need for more raw food in addition to more cooked foods in the long run. 

The United States Department of Agriculture Bulletin, number 22,  discussing experiments comparing the value of cooked versus uncooked foods concluded: “In 10 of these trials there has not only been no gain from cooking but there has been a positive loss, i.e., the amount of food required to produce a pound of gain was larger when the food was cooked then when it was fed raw and in some cases the difference has been considerable.” 

Not only is cooking less efficient from a feeding standpoint, it is also a far less efficient use of your time.   Peeling, chopping, steaming, baking or boiling and then the clean up required after all of this is such an inefficient use of your time compared to peeling a banana or handing your dog a whole apple.  That time could instead be spent snuggling on the couch with your furry companions instead of slaving away in the kitchen.  There is simply no upside to cooked foods and far too many downsides.   As Dr. Oswalds so wisely stated, “For even the most approved modes of grinding, bolting, leavening, cooking, spicing, heating and freezing our food are, strictly speaking, abuses of our digestive organs.“ Yet, not of our digestive organs only, but truly abuses of the whole body.

Cooking creates tars

Most people are familiar with the sticky foul smelling black substance found in a smoking pipe, tar. Tars are complex heterogeneous substances that are derived from any organic compound that is subjected to high heat. These organic compounds undergo decomposition which results in a black tar which is a carcinogen.  Baking, boiling, and panfrying all result in this browning and blackening of foods, creating tar. Tar is an irritant and is known to result in the formation of tumors and cancers. We all know the dangers of inhaling cigarette smoke and the tar that comes along with it, so why would we want to subject our precious furry companions to carcinogenic tars when what they truly thrive upon requires no cooking whatsoever?

Cooked food belongs in the compost heap, not their bowl

To summarize, from Herbert Shelton, “Cooking destroys the elementary plant form, tearing down its structure, changing its composition and bringing about certain destructive changes in the element-groupings in all foods, returning part of these elements, especially the organic salts, to their inorganic and, therefore, useless state, so that a large part of their mineral content is lost. 

“Plant processes take the unorganized elements of the earth and air and organize these into related compounds, which, then, become available for animal life. Without vegetation there could be no animal life, for the reason that soil and rock are not available substances for animal replenishment. This being true, it is only natural to conclude that once plants have organized these elements into forms available for animal sustenance, any process which returns them wholly, or in part, to their primitive condition renders them, to that degree, unfit for food, and more or less disease producing. That cooking brings about more or less oxidation and disorganization in every accessible substance in foods of all types, admits of no doubt. When nutriment has been oxidized in the body, the resulting “ashes“ cease to be usable and are eliminated. What reason have we to believe that food oxidized outside the body is more fit for use? Ralph E Sunderland, chemist and food scientist, declares oxidation to be the chief destroyer of foods and explains the matter thus: 

The same elements (the 16 chemical elements composing the human body), are the component parts of technically ‘fertile’ soil in which they are present in inorganic form and as such are not assimilable by the human body, else we could look directly to the soil for our substance. In order to convert these inorganic elements or minerals into a form which can be assimilated by the human body it is necessary for nature to create from the soil vegetation in which these same elements are present in organic form. In vegetation they remain organic until, by oxidation, they return again to their original inorganic form ready to produce more vegetation. 

“True food is totally organic substance. If that organic substance is permitted to become, to any degree, inorganic, it simultaneously becomes to that degree useless as food. 

“All organic minerals oxidize when they come in contact with oxygen and moisture. That is, they thus become inorganic again. In ordinary room-temperature the process of oxidation proceeds; but in the presence of heat oxidation is very greatly increased. Therefore, the cooking of vegetation in the presence of the oxygen of the air – the condition under which all home cooking and most commercial cooking occurs – changes a large part of what was organic and useful as food into inorganic oxides which cannot be assimilated by the human body.”  – Herbert Shelton

What are the observable effects of feeding cooked foods? 

T.C. Fry reminds us of the observable effects of feeding on cooked foods for both ourselves and our companions. “Such practices will result in excessive mucus, thickening of blood vessels and of the fluids, derangement of the lymph and blood fluids as, for example, an increase in viscosity (thickening), formation of plaques in the blood and concretions (accumulations of precipitated overload, as of uric acid, for example anywhere they may be dumped to get them out of the way, as in a joint); plus a host of other annoying and dangerous symptoms of systemic poisoning. All such derangements tend to alter homeostasis within the body.”

What this means for our pets is symptoms of disease and a failure to thrive, it means less than ideal health and a slow but steady decline of vitality that is completely avoidable if we instead choose to work with nature and stick to raw, whole, species appropriate foods for our companions (and for ourselves!)

My experience healing rescues with chronic disease

Over the last 6 years I have taken in 130 and counting foster dogs and I have healed 25 dogs and counting from a wide range of health conditions including terminal cancer, seizures, heart murmurs, skin issues, and a long list of other serious health concerns.  During this time I have researched a number of raw and home prepared diets with varying degrees of cooked foods.  We have tested long periods of raw foods (3-12 months) only and then added back in some cooked foods including steamed broccoli, steamed squashes and pumpkin, steamed sweet potatoes and quinoa.   In every instance I have noted an increase in symptoms with the addition of the cooked foods.  Here are some of the symptoms we have notated:

  • Itching
  • Hair loss or brittle hair
  • Eye discharge
  • Ear “infections” 
  • Red skin
  • Fungus/Yeast
  • Weight loss or inability to maintain weight on same portions as fully raw
  • Increase in seizures
  • Bad breath/Tartar on teeth
  • Mucus in stool
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Food aggression or insatiable hunger
  • Behavior issues

In addition, clients I have worked with have noted many of the same issues, the most prevalent being failure to maintain weight, itching, ear issues, and poor digestion or impaired digestion of raw foods (fruit and meat).  Upon eliminating the cooked foods all report a clearing of most if not all of their recurring symptoms within a few weeks.   


When we cook foods we may make some parts more digestible but that does not mean that their being digestible is a benefit. For example, when we eat a raw apple, we don’t digest the fiber. The fiber maintains its structure and is able to sweep through the digestive tract and carry waste out with it, so the benefit is in the fact that it does not digest but remains intact and is able to help clean out the digestive tract. When we cook foods we weaken those bonds and now the fibers are breaking down so they are no longer a broom to sweep things out. When we apply heat to any food we begin to break down the perfect balance that nature has created. We alter the minerals, we break down the enzymes and we destroy the vitamins. Foods that require cooking are not suited to digestion by that species. Altering them to make them digestible may improve one thing, but it destroys a dozen in the trade-off. 

Our companions thrive when we stick to simple meals, the species-appropriate foods, keep them as close to raw and whole as possible, and feed them appropriate quantities.  The simpler we feed the more they can get out of every meal and the more efficient and cost-effective natural feeding becomes.   

Are you ready to dump the cooked foods and go fully raw so your companion can thrive?  Get our free feeding guide here:  https://www.therawkey.com/the-animals-key/  and join our Facebook group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/700078481585631/

Have more questions? Need one on one help getting started or troubleshooting feeding or healing issues? Need help with  a serious health condition?  I offer consultations here: https://www.therawkey.com/consultations/

Organic vs Conventional


Often when I speak with people to troubleshoot feeding issues, I find that most problems fall into one of three areas: underfeeding, overfeeding, or over-complicating. 

Among the issues with over-complicating is settling only for organic produce and organic meat.  

In the mainstream, in the rare instances that the cause of disease is mentioned, it is nearly always blaming toxins for disease: air pollution, water pollution, food additives, mold exposure, and it is almost never talking about what the actual cause of disease is – overworking our cells.  So it is completely understandable that when we are faced with all of this information about toxins we naturally continue to focus on that even after we have understood that the true cause of disease is the suitability of the food rather than toxins.  

The reality is, even if you ate perfectly for your species, but you ate excessive amounts, gorging yourself till discomfort on salad and fruits, you will create disease.  No toxins are needed.  When we overwork the cells we create excess waste and cellular debris which clogs the interstitial spaces and keeps the cells from operating properly.   

On the flip side, if we eat the foods suited to our physiology which are easy to digest and easy to assimilate, and we eat them moderately then we will not create excess waste. Our elimination channels will be free-flowing and our interstitial spaces (areas around the cells) will remain clean (clean terrain = happy cells) the cells will operate normally and no disease symptoms will be present. 

When we look at the suitability of food, the level of toxins present should be a factor that we look at, but it should not be the foremost factor.   When feeding fruits the first thing we need to be looking for is ripeness.  It’s far more important for fruit to be ripe than it is for it to be organic.  Ripe fruit is easily digested and easily assimilated.  The unripe fruit is acidic and difficult for the body to digest. This means when we consume unripe fruits we are putting a large burden on the body to process fruit not ready to be processed and eliminate all of the unusable material.  Non-organic fruits that are ripe may have trace amounts of pesticides or herbicides which can lead to a general burden on the body but they are not overworking the cells, so those minor burdens from toxins are simply filtered out in the stomach and eliminated in the stool.  As long as the elimination channels are moving as designed the toxins are not sitting around inside the body long enough to do any damage.   Even at that, when we look at pesticides and herbicides we find that most are either water-soluble meaning they wash off in the rain and when we rinse our produce, or they are fat-soluble, meaning they break down in the sun.  This means the herbicides and pesticides do a lot of damage to farmers spraying them but are very minute by the time they actually reach our refrigerator.

It would be nice to be able to have good quality, affordable, and readily available RIPE organic fruits but the reality is that rarely exists.  Unless you are growing your own, organic fruits are going to be picked unripe so they can ship long distances. It is very rare to find good ripe organic fruit in most places.   

For this reason, I do NOT feed organic fruits to myself or my dogs.   Ripe is much, much more important than organic and the availability and affordability of ripe fruits mean we are shopping in the conventional section of the store.   If I find some organic fruit that is actually ripe I will buy it if the price is not absurd, but 95% of the fruit I eat is non-organic and all of my dogs have always eaten non-organic as well.  I look for locally grown whenever possible because that means it is being picked ripe.   I will get it from farmer’s markets when available.  I will also grow a lot of my own fruit in the summer.  But the bulk of what we eat ourselves and what we feed is conventional produce, bought at the local grocery and discount stores.   All of my dogs with cancer, dementia, seizures, and every other health issue have always been fed conventional produce AND conventional meat and healed everything because disease is not about the toxins, it’s about the burden of digesting and assimilating inappropriate substances for our physiology.

If you are currently stressing out about getting organic produce or grass-fed, organic meat, or any other marketing label, please don’t.  This is focusing energy on the 1% instead of focusing on the most suitable foods for their physiology.  The body can easily eliminate any trace amounts of toxins in the fruits and the meat, as long as it is given ripe fruits and suitable proteins with the fat removed.  But if the body has to break down unripe fruits it is going to be overworked and not get as much nutrition from the fruits.  

If you have a great source for local, organic, and RIPE produce and you can afford it, then go for it.  But it’s not needed.  Conventional fruits from your local grocery store and regular meat from the local store are all you need.   Keep it simple, don’t overcomplicate things, and make your life more difficult then it needs to be. 

Have more questions? Need one on one help getting started or troubleshooting feeding or healing issues?  I offer consultations here: Consultations

Recommended Products and tools

The following is a list of products I use for preparing meals and general care of dogs and cats.  I get questions about these items frequently so I thought it would be useful to compile them all in one place.  

Food Preparation

Training Treats


Cleaning Up

  • White vinegar – pick up at any local grocery store
  • Animal odor eliminator – https://amzn.to/3jmccOp
    • Removes urine odor, great for cleaning crates and deodorizing pet beds, stopping marking behaviors as it fully removes the smell by breaking down the proteins.
  • UV light – https://amzn.to/3l01cqj
    • To find pet stains

Preventing the need to Clean up

Bathing & Grooming 


  • Coconut soap
  • White vinegar – pick up at any local grocery store – Dilute 1 cup to 1 gallon of water or less, use as a rinse after shampooing to clear hard water minerals, restore fur Ph and 

Dog Grooming

Pest Issues:


  • Flea traps – https://amzn.to/3DxbzbD
  • Flea Combs – https://amzn.to/3WXoTgl
  • Flea Shampoo – https://amzn.to/3YgoVRn
  • For major infestations
    •  Essential oil-based flea spray – https://amzn.to/3Y01tbu
    • Diatomaceous earth – https://amzn.to/3YfUlr8
      • It would be best to not use either of the above directly on a cat or dog unless there is a severe infestation that is not responding to bathing.   Instead use this on dog beds, blankets, and carpeting where fleas congregate.  Essential oils are plant toxins and the fact that they can kill small insects such as fleas tell us they are toxic, so these should be used sparingly and only when other avenues have been exhausted.    Diatomaceous earth is a lung and eye irritant, so use caution when applying and let the dust settle before allowing pets in the room.  Use a mask and eyewear to protect yourself when applying.


Tick Key – https://amzn.to/3HTEjxY

Travel Safely

Other General Dog and Cat Care Items

Gorge Feeding vs. Daily meals


In nature, dogs follow a gorge and fast model of feeding.  In our homes we tend to do the opposite, offering smaller meals daily.  In this article, we will explore what gorge and fast feeding are, why most people feed the daily model, which option is better for your dog now and in the future, and what are the potential trade-offs of daily meals versus the gorge and fast model. 

While you may be tempted to go straight to the more natural model, this issue is multifaceted, with various contributing factors that can affect this choice. It is best to make this choice deliberately armed with some knowledge to make an educated decision.

A wolf in the wild does not have access to a grocery store and refrigerator. They must work hard to earn their food. They may go days or weeks without making a successful prey kill.  Once they do, they want to eat that kill as quickly as possible to avoid loss from other scavengers.  They will gorge themselves on the meat when they have it available, sometimes eating as much as 25% of their body weight or more. 

Having never eaten unnatural foods, coyotes, wild dogs and wolves have their senses intact and unimpeded, so they are able to feel when they are full and stop eating.  Dogs that are fed kibble and commercial food however often have their senses damaged by the chemicals and toxins present in all commercial and cooked foods. This can lead to some of our dogs gorging too much and then vomiting the food back up.  This issue will heal over time but can be an issue for some dogs when they are still healing which would make the gorge model less ideal for these dogs.   

Here are some common reasons why we might choose daily feeding over a gorge and fast:

  1. Hunger Sensors – As mentioned above, a dog that has been kibble-fed may have had its natural stop-feeding senses dulled or damaged. I see this very often in our senior rescues who have been on kibble for a long time and in the younger ones who are really overweight. In most dogs, this will heal over time. But in these dogs they will gorge themselves to the point where they throw up because they simply don’t have that “Stop, I’m full” sense working properly. So we have to take that into consideration and in those dogs prone to overeating it would be best to stick with smaller daily meals.
  2. Breeding Issues – Dogs are wolves that have been selectively bred for various traits, many of which are not beneficial to their overall health. Unfortunately, this means we have to concern ourselves with bloat in some of these breeds. The risk for bloat increases if they have been fed kibble for part of their lives or if their mothers were kibble fed. This can lead to structural weaknesses making it possible for bloat to occur. If your dog is a breed with a high bloat risk, then sticking with small meals daily is the better option.   Also, proper food combinations and avoiding all non-ideal foods are essential for bloat-risk dogs. 
  3. Feast and Famine Dogs retain their natural instinct to gorge on high-calorie density proteins when they are available because in nature they did not know when their next meal would be available. If I gave 6-pound Ziggy a whole cornish hen every day, he would eat it every day. He wouldn’t stop eating them when he started to get fat because his instinct says, “Eat all the prey when it’s available because it’s hard work to catch prey, and we don’t know when we will catch another.” Prey is fast and smart. A wolf might catch one in 10 or one in 20 attempts. A grocery store-fed dog lies on the couch all day and then has his prey delivered on a silver platter.  Obesity and disease are the end result. Since prey is always available in our fridge with no work put in, it becomes our human responsibility to adequately exercise our companions before feeding and to put in an adequate number of fasting days between meals to mimic the natural feast and famine cycle of nature.   Gorge feeding is only a healthy option when the accompanying fasting time is observed as well. 
  4. Emotional Feeding – While feeding the gorge and fast style may be the most natural option for our companions, as humans, we tend to introduce complications because we misfeed ourselves and have emotional attachments to eating.   We tend to project these emotions we feel onto our pets which leads us to create feeding habits that are in alignment with our emotions rather than our companion’s physiological needs. If you ever feed to reward your dog or feel bad if they skip a meal then gorge feeding is likely not a good option for you right now.
  5. Overfeeding Humans naturally want to overfeed. We overfeed ourselves. We mistake the body’s healing pains for hunger pains, we think we need or benefit from eating multiple meals a day plus snacks, etc. Naturally, we will be inclined to overfeed our pets as well. If we want to take on the more natural model we as humans need to connect with our true nature and release a lot of the social programming that makes us overfeed.   If you haven’t worked through this yet on your own, gorge feeding may be difficult for you to manage.   
  6. Fasting – Many humans are fasting averse.  This becomes an issue because the gorge model requires anywhere from 3-7 days or more of fasting between meals and it requires us to learn the true signs of hunger and be in touch with what our pets require.  If you are nervous about fasting then the gorge model is not for you right now.   You can always revisit this in the future. 
  7. Working for food – Wild dogs, coyotes, and wolves will forage on fruits between prey meals. They will sift through the fallen fruits to find the best fruits. They are not eating out of a bowl hand delivered so they are not eating as quickly. They are allowing the body time to adjust to the fullness of the stomach. Most of us don’t have a yard full of fruit trees for the dogs to forage in. So we are hand delivering a pile of fruit, often cut up into tiny pieces, which requires no work to find, pick, forage, or to even break apart to chew. This can affect our companion’s ability to self-regulate on fruit and on meat meals. This is another factor that needs to be taken into account if gorge feeding. 
  8. Clean up – Gorge feeding often means there will be an unfinished carcass to deal with.  In nature, our dogs and cats would bury their leftovers and dig them up later.  That is nature’s refrigeration method.   However, the nature of feeding in our homes means having to figure out another solution.  This might also entail having to get the leftovers away from your dog if they are guarding them or not able to dig to hide them.  
  9. Play and activity level –   In nature, after a large meal dogs, wolves and coyotes will sleep the day away and often the following day as well. They won’t be up and playing and active until the digestion completes.   For some this is a benefit, if you go to work all day and they are at home with a full belly sleeping the day away then everyone is happy.   But if you are used to your dog being up and running around and playing all day then gorge feeding will change this which is something worth considering.   Fruit days and fasting days will be high-energy days, and meat days will be low-energy days.    

If we want to consider the gorge and fast feeding method we need to take all of the above into account.  We must also be mindful of whether or not this feeding protocol might be right for a dog breed that has issues with bloat. It is the most natural method but we and our dogs do not live in nature so adjustments must be made to account for our unnatural living conditions and habits.  

If you read all of this and feel like both you and your dog or cat are ready for a more natural feeding model then give gorge feeding a try.  Simply offer a large prey, perhaps a whole cornish hen for smaller dogs, a whole or half a chicken for larger dogs, and let them eat until full.  Then incorporate 1-2 days of fasting and then offer fruits to free feed upon between prey meals.   Dogs can eat up to 20-25% of their body weight, so offering prey that is roughly that weight will allow your dog to eat until they are full. 

Fruit is Essential to the Wild Canid and all Domesticated Dogs

Evidence that Canids eat Fruit in the wild

One of the biggest mistakes made in feeding dogs is the idea that dogs are exclusively meat eaters and do not require fruits in their diet. This mistake of overfeeding proteins to our companions has led to epidemics of chronic disease. Yet the most popular raw feeding models, PMR and BARF miss the mark on this essential part of the natural diet for dogs. Even when presented in raw feeding groups to substitute fruit meals for some of the meat meals to lessen the burden on the body, it is nearly always rejected. Luckily we have tons of evidence from nature to guide us to the natural eating habits of canids and we see their love of fruits is clearly evidenced. Below is a collection of various studies and amateur and professional wildlife videos showing clear evidence that our dogs are meant to eat fruit and thrive. Adding to this evidence I have personally seen all of my rescues with chronic and terminal disease conditions heal rapidly once put on a fruit-heavy raw natural diet. If you want to learn more about the natural dog and cat diets get our free feeding guide here: https://www.therawkey.com/the-animals-key/

The Voyaguer Wolf Project has been studying the diet of wolves and has found many examples of the wolves feeding heavily on fruits!

Read the full study “Berry Important? Wolf Provisions Pups with Berries in Northern Minnesota – https://www.therawkey.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Berry-consumption-of-Wolves-Voyaguer-Wolf-Project.pdf

Studies of the natural diet of coyotes show a heavy reliance on plant foods even in areas of low productivity.

Videos of Wolves, Coyotes and Dogs enjoying fruits

Voyageurs Wolf Project Wolves eating blueberries
Coyote climbs a tree to eat apples
Coyote eating apples from a pile on the ground
Coyotes eating bananas
Coyote eating apples that have fallen from a tree

Coyote enjoying apples in a yard
Cooper the Coyote eating apples
Wolf mom and pup eating blueberries
Captive wolves enjoying a pumpkin

Wolf enjoying a watermelon
Coyote Eating Bananas
Coyote eating plums
Coyote eating apples from a yard.
Wolves eating berries
Wolf eating watermelon

Wolf eating a pineapple
Dogs living on a fruitarian orchard enjoying their fill of fresh fruits
Coyote eating bananas left in the woods. – Banana footage starts around 2:30
Coyote eating cauliflower left in the woods.
Coyotes eating Persimmons
Coyote eating wild persimmons
Note from the video: This is a short time lapse video I shot of at least two coyotes eating persimmons (sharon fruit) from our garden. Pretty amazing for a carnivore. They are also fond of our avocados. They are feeding from about 11pm to 7am the next morning so they obviously like them! At one stage one climbs up into the tree.
Coyote eating persimmons

Photos of Wolves, Coyotes and Dogs Enjoying Fruits

I hope you have found this collection insightful. Please check back regularly as we are constantly expanding this page with new videos, studies and photos! If you have any photos, videos or other insights you would like to share, send me an email I would love to add them to our page for the benefit of all!