Raw food is gaining popularity these days. But is raw diet good for dogs? The truth is, more and more pet owners see the value of this for their dog’s health. Specifically, the BARF diet seems to be gaining ground in the pet community thanks to the associated health benefits such as healthier skin, shinier coats, and improved dental health.
But aside from its many benefits, there are still other important things pet owners need to learn about this type of dog food before giving it to Fido. Read on to find out.
What is the Raw Food Diet?
The raw food diet is typically referred to as BARF which stands for biologically appropriate raw food. It’s supposed to be the diet followed by the wild ancestors of dogs. By keeping close to the evolutionary diet of canines, you’re tapping into numerous potential benefits for the pet. Dogs that eat raw food are believed to be healthier, but only when the food is prepared correctly. On this note, you can trust dog food delivery service platforms as mot of them passed standards set by most pet food authorities.
BARF diets for dogs or raw food diets follow a specific composition of ingredients. The brand We Feed Raw is one of the few delivery services out there that customizes high-quality raw meals for dogs of all life stages.
Here’s the typical composition that dog owners should follow:
Muscle meat should be around 75 percent of the total raw meat diet. The uncooked meat itself can come from different protein sources such as pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, or even venison. It is usually cut up in large chunks to give the dog something to really chew on during the meal. Ground meat is also acceptable, depending on your dog’s ability to chew the food.
Yes, raw diets also include organ meats. The organ should be around 5 percent of the overall meal. It could be spleen, kidney, liver, brain, or even the eyes. These parts can also be chopped up and added with the muscle or pureed in a food processor.
Raw Edible Bone
Raw bones should be around 10 percent of the overall meal. This ingredient is essential for its calcium content, but you might have a hard time finding the raw bones. Both whole or ground bones are effective so if you can find ground bones, opt for this one instead.
Fruits and Vegetables
Processed foods rarely have enough fiber in them to produce better poops for your dog. It’s therefore better to include fresh fruits and veggies into the mix to guarantee your pet’s health. Potential ingredients include carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, mixed berries, and cucumber. These additions help create a nutritionally balanced meal so never skip this, even if your dog seems to hate it. Using a food processor to puree them makes it easier to include them in your dog’s diet.
Benefit of Raw Food Diets for Dogs
Freshly cooked meals are good enough, but a raw diet provides benefits other dog food types may not have. See our raw vs fresh dog food comparison to know the pros and cons of each type. Provided that they meet AAFCO standards , raw dog food diet for dogs come with several benefits which includes:
- Firmer and shorter poops. Dogs seem to have better digestion when eating raw meals.
- Shiny coats and healthy skin which can be attributed to the added fat and essential oils in the mix
- Improved hydration thanks to the natural water content of raw meals as opposed to dry kibble.
- Improved oral health – especially if you’re serving bones. The bones helps work out any food stuck between the teeth and gives the gums a good exercise. As a result, your dog will have cleaner teeth even if eating wet food.
- Complete customization opportunities as pet parents have the chance to add in or take out ingredients depending on their pet’s reaction to the meal.
Some Guidelines for Raw Dog Food Diets
A homemade diet can still be an unbalanced diet if done incorrectly. Note though that the content of the meal is just one of the concerns you have to keep in mind. Beyond the obvious, here are other things you should do:
- Raw meats are not made for long-term storage. Once you’ve made the pet food, you’ll have to feed it to your pooch within the next few months. Even freeze dried, it’s really not advisable to create large batches of pet food since you run the risk of bacterial contamination. Proper storage is crucial.
- You need to be mindful of portion control when it comes to meaty bones and raw meals. The rule of thumb is that the meal should be 2 percent of your dog’s weight.
- Some people like to gently cook the raw dog food for the reduced risk of harmful bacteria. Of course, this means that the food isn’t strictly “raw” anymore but some pet parents prefer the compromise in favor of food safety.
- Note that if your dog has pre-existing health problems, consulting a veterinary nutritionist first is important. You want to make sure that the dog’s new diet won’t aggravate his condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risks of a raw diet for dogs?
The bacteria present in the food is the biggest risk involved according to veterinary medicine. Cooking typically exposes the meat to temperatures high enough to kill off the bacteria. With a raw food diet however, there’s no cooking involved hence the added risk of bacterial infections. To prevent this from happening, may pet parents are advised to prepare the food in sterilized areas of their kitchen.
Do vets recommend raw dog food diet?
Veterinary nutritionists are typically divided when it comes to the raw food diet. While some are happy with the diet change, some are wary of the risks involved with this health approach. The fact is that dogs may respond differently to the diet, which is why many pet parents are advised to observe their dog after transition. If you notice any health issues after the switch, you may need to mix it with kibble for nutritional balance.
Is raw really better than kibble?
Compared side by side, raw meat diets for dogs is definitely better for kibble. Raw meat comes with intact enzymes that dogs can immediately benefit from the moment they consume it. Raw meat also contains zero preservatives and fillers – allowing your dog to eat raw protein. Unlike dry dog food, raw meat based diets also introduce more water with each meal.
Can I feed my dog raw food everyday?
Yes, but make sure to watch your dog closely during the initial transition. Digestive reactions may occur as the dog’s body gets used to the new food. Note that eating raw meat everyday can lead to nutritional deficiencies IF the meal is not balanced. Whether you feed raw or cooked food, you want to make sure that the meal is balanced by adding fruits and vegetables.