Raw diets for dogs have been rising in popularity. The idea behind this is to feed your pet a diet that is close to what her ancestors would eat, which is suited to a canine digestive system, and that has multiple health benefits. They also come with health risks because the ingredients are not cooked, and improper handling could expose you and your dog to potentially harmful bacteria. However, it has been successful in many dogs and has given them benefits over kibble.
Benefits Of Raw Food Diet For Dogs
Raw dog food consists of raw meat, bones, and additives for micronutrients. Because they are raw, they also contain a whole host of beneficial bacteria and enzymes that don’t get denatured in the cooking process. This is very good for a dog’s gut health. Many owners report that they have smaller stools as well!
Pets who have been switched to a raw food diet often get shiny coats and healthy skin. This is because many raw diets use a mix of meats that are naturally high in fat, which supports these body processes. Healthy skin means that your dog will be less itchy, and commercial additives like salmon oil can get very expensive. Raw meat, on the other can, can be cheaper if bought in bulk.
Big meaty bones are a big part of raw diets. Chewing on these can help keep your pet’s teeth clean by removing the plaque on his teeth! Owners have also reported that their dogs are more energetic on raw food diets. If your dog experienced gastric distress from his previous food, and a raw food diet cuts out the ingredients causing the distress, then he will feel much better and want to play a lot more!
I’m Sold On This! How Do I Start?
Typically, a pet owner buys appropriate ingredients before mixing it all up in a dog bowl and feeding. To start, 1/3rd of the diet should consist of meaty bones. Chicken thighs, wings, and both chicken and turkey neck are some easily available cuts you can get at the store. You can also ask your butcher for beef tail bones, and if he carries lamb or goat, neck and rib pieces from them. If you hunt and fish, whole fish and small game animals like duck or rabbit are also options.
For calcium, turn to whole raw eggs. You should also include up to 1/3rd portion of organ meat in the diet. If your only organ meat is the liver, don’t feed more than 10% as the liver contains a lot of vitamin A, and could lead to Vitamin A toxicity over time. However, other organs like hearts, kidneys, lungs, and pancreas are fair game. You can also feed brains, but you should ask your vet about how safe that is as there are many infections you can get from eating brains.
Include a small variety of vegetables and fruit in the diet as well. They provide fiber and other nutrients necessary for a healthy digestive system. Since you will be giving these vegetables raw, it is advised to cut them into small pieces or puree them to make them easier to digest. Fruits should also be a part of your dog’s diet, and it adds both nutrition and variety. Never give your dog grapes and raisins as they are poisonous for canines, and always double-check with your vet to avoid mistakes when feeding a raw diet.
That Sounds Like A Lot Of Work. Are There Easy Options To Start?
Because of the rise of the popularity of the raw food diet, there are several commercial options available for busy pet owners whose dogs are happier on raw diets. You can get fresh raw diets delivered to your doorstep, or you can buy frozen pre-made raw diets. Frozen raw food is a popular option and is reasonably priced. The downside with frozen food is that you have to defrost under exactly the right conditions otherwise the food will not be considered safe to eat.
For this reason, freeze-dried and dehydrated dog foods have become popular. Freeze-drying preserves the nutritional value of the food, and also makes storage easier. Dehydrated dog foods like honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Chicken Recipe for Dogs are not only easy to store and reasonably priced but are also available in limited-ingredient varieties for dogs who have sensitive stomachs. When buying dog food, you should look for human-grade ingredients so that you know the manufacturer isn’t using low-quality materials in the food, as this is a sensitive issue when feeding raw.