Raw Diet for Dogs: What You Need to Know
We all love our pets. Whether they are dogs, cats, or the occasional guinea pig that many of us become attached too. In a modern world, that has given us diets like Paleo, Alkaline, Ketogenic, and whatever other diet fad comes down the pipes, it seems that the quest to improve our minds and bodies, hasn’t just stopped at human beings. The quest for health and fitness is now being transferred to our dogs and the raw diet for dogs is extremely popular and many, many dog owners are switching to this plan.
As a dog lover myself, with three pups to call my own, I am all about doing what is best for them and that includes feeding them food that is healthy. I have often wondered how feeding a dog kibble could actually be good for them. After all, it’s a crunchy food that no one really knows what’s in it. So, how could that be good? Whether the raw food diet is good or bad for dogs, and even their humans, is up for debate and is a controversial topic in many circles. In this blog on the pros and cons of a raw diet for dogs, we will look closer at what this diet is, the different kinds, and finally the pros and cons. Hopefully, if you are a dog lover like most of us are, this blog will help you make an informed decision, as to whether a raw food diet is a right choice for you and your canine best friend. Now, without further ado, let’s delve into the raw food diet for dogs together.
What is the Raw Dog Food Diet?
The basic premise for a raw food diet for dogs is an idea that they should eat the same diet as wolves in the wild do because that’s how their bodies are set up. However, the FDA and many vets feel that the diet is too risky for not only dogs but their owners as well. Of course, it’s completely up to each dog owner, what they choose to feed their pet. However, it’s best to know everything you can about this raw diet, before you decide to feed it to your pet.
What is Included in a Raw Food Diet for Dogs?
The diet is based off of ingredients such as raw meat, bones, veggies, and fruits, but there are a couple of different models out there. Below, we will concentrate on two of them, the BARF diet and the prey model.
The BARF Diet
While a name like the BARF diet sounds horrible, the diet itself is really popular. This diet is based on the idea that dogs should be able to survive on what they ate before they were domesticated and brought into people’s homes as pets. It is said to be a more balanced diet for the modern world’s dogs and consist of bones, meats, fruits, and vegetables, and giving them supplements of some kind.
The Prey Model
The Prey model, as the name suggests, mimics the way that wolves feed in the wild. When a wolf kills, they eat everything about their prey, including the meat, bones, and organs. This model says that dogs are not omnivores and doesn’t encourage giving your pet vegetables and fruits. The model also feels that dogs do not need additional supplements. While most of us are not going throw down wild prey for our pets to eat, this model suggests that you get as close to mimicking your dog living in the wild as you can with this diet.
Now that we know a little about the raw food diet for dogs that is sweeping the nation, let’s look into the pros and cons of the diet for you and your canine pal.
Pros of Raw Food Diet for Dogs
Know Exactly What’s in Your Dog’s Food
One of the biggest benefits of the raw food diet for your canine pal is that you know exactly what is in the food you are feeding your pet. For a pet owner that is extremely conscientious, it’s a major plus to know exactly what is going into your pet’s food. Since there’s no guesswork involved in this diet, it is perfect for dogs who have food allergies, intolerances to certain foods, or medical issues that affect what they can eat.
It’s Super Easy to Customize
Another good benefit of the raw food diet is since you are customizing the diet, it’s easy to monitor your dog’s food intake. This means that if you do your research and know what you’re doing, it’s easy to adjust your dog’s food intake for sporting events and other things. Just be careful, that you know what you’re doing so you don’t jeopardize the health of your pet.
Mental and Physical Benefits
There are also many indications that the diet has a ton of mental and physical benefits. Some of those are listed below as well.
- Improved eyesight
- Cures cancer
- Makes shy dogs more confident
- Cures aggression
- Gives your canine a shinier coat of fur
- They have higher energy levels
- They have healthier skin
- Produces smaller stools
- Gives them clean teeth
These are a few of the advantages that are being lauded by pet owners and experts that believe fully in the raw diet for dogs. Of course, there are the experts and pet owners who say that the diet is dangerous to not only dogs but their owners as well. Next, we will discuss the cons of the raw diet for dogs, so you can make an informed decision of which side of the fence you land on. Remember, you need to do additional research to determine if this is indeed the right choice for you and your canine pal. One sure way to make an informed decision is to take your pet to your vet for a checkup and listen to his recommendations.
Cons of the Raw Food Diet for Dogs
While there are many advantages to strictly enforcing a raw food diet for your pet, there are some worrisome disadvantages to the practice as well. Read on below for a few of the disadvantages to be revealed.
It’s Quite Expensive
There’s no way around it, feeding your dog a raw diet is quite expensive. Even though there are quite a few frozen and freeze-dried options out there, it’s hard to keep up feeding raw food, especially if you are on any type of a budget. This is something that falls differently for everyone, but if you are on a tight budget, this might not be the way to go for you at this particular time.
Runs a Risk of Contagion
It’s a scientific fact that raw meat contains bacteria and parasites that can not only make you ill but can be deadly if not treated in time. Salmonella, listeria, and many other contagions is a very real concern is you or anyone that is around you is very old, very young or have a compromised or weakened immune system. There is the possibility of the raw food you handle for your pup, not only making you and your family sick but your pup as well. This is one of the biggest disadvantages and should be taken very seriously. If you do decide on a raw diet for your canine pal, follow all of the safety tips and instructions associated with raw meat and even more.
Could Cause a Nutritional Imbalance
Nutritional imbalances are a concern with any homemade dog food, even the raw diets. Getting the vitamins and minerals they need is tough to pull off when you are doing everything homemade, and many pet owners complain that the possibility of a nutritional imbalance is worse for the animals than kibble could ever be.
It Takes a Lot of Time
If you don’t have the time to do extensive research, a lot of cleaning and disinfecting and preparing the food for your pet, then this isn’t the right diet to put your pet on. Everything you need to do for this diet is something that can’t be skimped on or hurried through, for the safety of you, your pets, and your family. The research in itself can be a fulltime job, so you need to ensure you have the time and dedication it takes to pull it off.
Tons of Freezer Space Required
Ample freezer space is a challenge for most of us. Unless you own a farm or have a basement where you have two to three deep freezers, then having enough freezer space to store your raw meat may be an issue and very few people can afford to buy the raw meat on a daily basis and still feed themselves and their families.
Choking on Bones
For many, many years now, pet owners have been told to keep bones, especially chicken bones away from their dogs. The bones can splinter and go into their lungs or simply get lodged in their throat and choke them. Now, this diet is saying that you are to give your dog bones, even chicken bones. There is always the hazard of bones hurting your dog, so you need to do your research into preventing this and other problems as well.
The Diet can Make Them Protective of Their Food
It is recommended that this diet not is used by families who have young children in the home or young children around the premises on a regular basis. Many dogs are protective of their kibble and become aggressive if anyone bothers them when eating, so can you imagine how a dog could be when a child tries to pet them when they are eating raw meat or gnawing on a bone? Another concern is that young children have a habit of not washing their hands after playing with the dog. A raw fed dog will have raw meat around their mouth and in their slobber and it could easily be transferred to the child, which could then put their hands in their mouths or wipe their eyes, causing them to become sick.
A Few Things You Need to Know
That takes care of the pros and cons of using a raw diet plan for your pet. But, there are still a few things you should think about before making a final decision. Read on below for a couple of those things.
What to Include
There are a few foods that are recommended when you have a dog on a raw food diet. Meaty bones will help your dog get the calcium they need. Good sources of meaty bones include chicken bones, beef ribs, lamb racks, chicken backs, turkey tails, and pork necks. It’s important that meat still is on these bones and that you make them soft enough that they won’t splinter when your dog is crunching down on them.
Your dog needs essential fatty acids and this can be accomplished with fish. Freeze the fish before preparing and serving it to your dog. It’s not a good idea to feed them fish over once a week, because of mercury poisoning.
Other foods that should be included in a raw diet for your dog include the following.
- Organ meat
This brings us to the end of our blog on the pros and cons of a raw food diet for dogs. As you see, there is no clear-cut path to deciding whether a raw food diet is the right choice for your canine pals needs. The best thing to do is research carefully and learn everything you can about the diet before making a final decision. A raw food diet isn’t right for everyone and it isn’t right for every pet. Even if you decide you want to get the raw food diet a try for your dog, it is still best to make an appointment with your dog’s vet to see what they say and the options they think are best to keep your pet healthy and happy for many years to come.
- Webmd: Raw Dog Food: Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks
- K9 of Mine: Raw Dog Food Pros and Cons: Should I Feed My Dog Raw?
- Wide Open Pets: Feeding Your Dog a Raw Diet: Everything You Need to Know