Here are 3 pdfs that relate to raw feeding:

1) This is Chapter 7 from my cat cookbook (published in 2013) titled "Cooked vs Raw" which provides an overview of the risks and benefits of raw feeding. Although it is taken from the cat cookbook, the information is relevant to dogs as well.

2) This is my July newsletter which has an article in it (page 6) called "Science vs Pseudoscience - Can you tell the difference?" This article discusses how to differentiate between sound nutritional information and misinformation.

3) This is a pdf with 14 complete and balanced all-raw recipes. I do not recommend feeding raw meats to dogs. However, feeding complete and balanced all-raw is a million times better than feeding nutrient-deficient and improperly balanced all-raw diets. These 14 all-raw recipes do meet the nutrient guidelines published by AAFCO.

4) As well, here is a list of recipes from my cookbook that can be served raw (use the raw meat weight instead of the cooked meat weight in preparing these recipes raw).

5) I also recommend the book Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham.

Catching Fire

Many people believe that raw meats are more digestible than cooked meats when in fact, the opposite is true. Consider how much work is involved in chewing a piece of raw steak, and how long that meat would sit in your stomach slowly being broken down by stomach acid. Lightly cooking (especially with water or steam) contributes to food digestion in much the same way that stomach acid does. By opening up the coiled and folded structures of proteins, cooking allows digestive enzymes easier access to their interiors, facilitating digestion.

Richard Wrangham discusses the role of cooking in human evolution in his book “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human”. Wrangham explains that cooking greatly increased the digestibility of our foods and postulates that this improved digestibility allowed our digestive tracts to shrink and our brains to expand. Wrangham describes a study involving healthy humans and ileostomy patients (people who are missing part of their small intestines) who were fed 25g of protein, as either raw or cooked egg. When the egg was cooked, protein digestibility ranged from 91-94% in both groups. When the egg was raw, the protein digestibility was 65% in the healthy volunteers and 51% in ileostomy patents. Wrangham says, “The gastroenterologists noted that heat predictably denatures proteins, and that denatured proteins are more digestible because their open structure exposes them to the action of digestive enzymes (p 64-65). Cooking provided a 30-40% improvement in protein digestibility in this study. Since meats are the most expensive component of any recipe, it makes sense to maximize their nutritional value by lightly cooking them.

There are obviously significant differences in the digestive physiology of a pet and a human. In fact, it could be argued that pets are closer to the ileostomy patients in this study since they have much shorter digestive tracts than healthy humans. Regardless, the basic premise holds. Proteins must be “denatured” and broken down into amino acids which can be absorbed into a pet’s body. Stomach acid denatures protein, as do digestive enzymes produced by a pet’s pancreas and intestinal cells. Light cooking also denatures protein and contributes to the digestive process allowing a pet to get maximum value from the fresh meats in his/her diet.

Catching Fire provides a comprehensive review of the scientific research related to the digestibility of cooked versus raw foods. This book explains how cooking shaped our evolution by dramatically improving the digestibility of the foods we eat. Cooking yielded more fuel for our brains since less energy was required for food digestion and absorption. Without cooking we may never have evolved past Neaderthals.