Fresh dog food has been popularized recently due to the rise of different brands, subscriptions, and meal plans. However, few people realize that fresh food is not the same as raw food. They are similar in that they contain the same ingredients: animal protein, vegetables, and fruits. The difference is in the preparation considering fresh dog food is cooked while raw food is served to the pet as it is.
Fresh pet foods apparently require some form of storage and preparation, though the manufacturer’s instructions always have to be followed. Raw food is also bland, considering it only means getting uncooked food. However, it is not as straightforward as a slab of meat from the grocery store. There is a structure to it, such as muscle and organ meats. Raw food diets also include vitamins and minerals.
What to look for when getting a raw food diet
A raw dog food diet entails particular commitment as it is supposed to mirror the meal plan dogs ate before domestication. That is a diet largely consisting of animal proteins with a complement of fruits and particular vegetables. Raw food is also vulnerable to pathogens such as salmonella and listeria, which can make your dog sick. So you would have to plan how to store the food because it does not have a long shelf-life. However, trusted brands like We Feed Raw follow certain protocols to ensure food safety.
The costs and feeding plan should also be considered. If you are preparing homemade raw food, it ought to fulfill the balanced diet requirements, so it is nutritionally complete. That may mean consultation as well with the veterinarian or the nutritionist. Raw food also comes in different forms, such as freeze-dried or homemade, depending on your budget or what you have in mind.
What to look for when getting fresh food
Dog food is typically regulated by the Association of American feed control, which approves the use of pet foods. It is then important that you source a brand with the AAFCO approval printed on the packaging. This body ensures the nutritional levels are provided, and the food is safe for your dog’s consumption. A good example is The Farmer’s Dog, a fresh pet food supplier that use human-grade ingredients and is guided by AAFCO standards.
Like raw dog food diets, fresh pet food requires careful storage because it can easily go bad. They are also higher cost compared to kibble alternatives, but the prices vary depending on the brand. That is because of the methods of preparation along with other amenities offered. It would be advisable for dog owners to go for a brand that fulfills all nutritional requirements while still being financially sustainable to deliver.
Pros of raw food
A dog’s digestive system is made to handle raw rather than cooked dog food. It is because before they were domesticated, dogs hunted like wolves so they are used to eating meat and crushing bones. This diet will provide them with most things they need without causing significant health issues.
Suitable nutritional elements
The process of cooking food kills off the pathogens within the meat and vegetables that would be harmful to your dog but also denatures the nutrients. That includes essential digestive enzymes which could have been beneficial to your pet. Now your dog has to produce these enzymes in their organs, forcing them to work overtime.
Suitable moisture content
Meats and veggies are naturally wet as they have some moisture in the tissues. Internal moisture is advantageous to dogs during consumption, as it is released when the food reaches the intestines. It coats the intestines with moisture and aids digestion by reducing the conditions leading to constipation.
Pros of fresh food
Improved food safety
Fresh dog food concerns cooking the dog food so that it can be served. The mode of preparation is through gentle heating in most cases, so the nutrients are not all denatured. That ensures the food is palatable and healthy for your pet’s consumption. True, there is some denaturing due to the heating process, but it mostly kills the bacteria rather than the nutritional elements.
Cooking the food during preparation also breaks down cell walls and fiber. That makes the food much easier to digest, so the dog absorbs as many nutrients as possible from the diet. The application of heat in certain foods also enhances the bioavailability of the nutrients  like lycopene within tomatoes.
Cooked food can bring palatable aromas, which make the food attractive to your pup. That encourages its appetite. The food is also easier to chew and digest because the gentle heating process has broken down the tissues. Cooking also increases the antioxidant capacity of some vegetables, thereby improving health attributes. Find out how much fresh food to feed a dog to make sure you are giving Fido a balanced diet.
Is Raw or fresh food better for dogs?
Fresh dog food is the better option for your dog because it entails the required ingredients but also entails cooking them for palatability and safety. It would be advisable to choose a high-quality brand, and that prioritizes meat and gently cooks the ingredients.
Do vets recommend a raw diet for dogs?
Veterinarians do not recommend raw meat because of the potential for pathogens within most raw foods. Raw meat which has not passed through high-pressure pasteurization may have salmonella and listeria that can cause problems to your dog. These infections may cause not only sickness but even death.