The need for feeding a dog a 100% complete and balanced meal every day is an unusual approach to feeding anything and along with it can cause innumerable health problems. Dr. Billinghurst quotes in his book Give Your Dog A Bone the following prediction:
The problem I have with the 100% balanced and complete premise is two fold:
First is the issue of nutrient combination. When you combine nutrients and cook them as in a dry food product, it allows the nutrients in the food to interact with one another. This interaction between nutrients prevents many nutrients from being absorbed and available to the dog. Most affected in this example are the vitamin and mineral compositions.
At least, the reduction of using high heat to process pet food and using freezing to preserve the integrity of the nutrients is a plus for the conversion to a raw food diet. A controversial issue exists between conforming to AAFCO (American Association Of Feed Control Officials) standards which are stated for dry food preparations and not for raw meat diets. Manufacturers of raw meat diets are forced to comply with the guidelines set for nutritionally adequate formulations of dry food diets. It is not a fair process because it assumes that a raw food diet has and possesses the same level of nutrient value as a kibble diet. This is not a fair comparison to make but there has been no guidelines presented specifically for raw meat diets. The bottom line is that we are forced to become a complete and balanced producer of raw meat diets. Is this a good or bad scenario? At least the problem of nutrient destruction by application of heat has been eliminated and the use of a balanced and complete diet with raw food provides an adequate daily intake of proper nutrients.
The second problem of being complete and balanced is the inadequacy of several homemade formulations that are completely inadequate nutritionally. That is because of several factors such as: ingredient availability and supply, quality of ingredients, lack of adequate bone material as a calcium source, and the inability to monitor proper ratios like calcium to phosphorus. Invert this ratio and you have potential skeletal issues.
The decision to use a commercially prepared formulation from a company that has tested their diets and uses human food manufacturing standards and has a history of success with the formulation being sold to the public is a major decision making process for the consumer. The choice is yours– do your homework!