Raw Dog Food Diet
Raw Food for Dogs: Is it Right for Your Dog?
The raw dog food diet is understandably controversial, but there is no denying that the diet is increasingly popular and finding its place with dog owners today.
Dogs have been eating raw food in many cultures for many generations.
Although racing greyhounds in particular have kept the practice having long eaten raw food diets; domesticated dogs, started feeding on processed for almost a century now.
The trend of returning pets’ diets to raw food is becoming more prominent and many dog owners intend the best for their dogs, hoping for a longer, happier and healthier life for their pets.
For optimal health, a raw food diet typically consists of 60-80% raw meaty bones and 20-40% of a mixture of vegetables, organ meats, eggs, and dairy foods.
The raw meaty bones need to have the correct meat-to-bone ratio and those considered appropriate are chicken wings, necks and backs, turkey necks, pork necks, pig feet, chicken feet, lamb and oxtail. Though meaty bones can be ground, it is best given whole to benefit the teeth and gums.
Vegetables, however, are best crushed as dogs aren’t able to digest cellulose well. A wide variety fruits and vegetables is best for balanced nutrition but avoid feeding too much potatoes, green peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, as they are difficult to digest.
Avoid grapes, raisins and dried fruit in large doses as well because they can cause stomach upsets. Adding supplements to the raw food diet is also helpful to make up for any nutritional deficiencies your dog may experience.
Your vet will be able to recommend you some good multivitamins and supplements which you can add into your dog’s food.
Most of us would never doubt that raw meaty bones and raw vegetables are best for our dogs but mainstream veterinarians and the FDA seem to disagree with the risk of raw diets found in several studies published in veterinary journals.
The main concerns regarding the raw food diet includes the bacteria and parasites present in raw food, and, the potential for dogs to choke on bones (including pips and seeds), break teeth or cause an internal puncture.
Raw chicken bones, in general, are soft enough to break and chew, but as an extra precaution you may choose to grind them. It’s true that raw food contains bacteria but this is true even with cooked food or commercial foods.
As long as you follow basic food safety and cleanliness, foods served will be healthy and free of parasites. Dogs also tend to experience diarrhea, constipation and vomiting when first introduced to raw food.
So it’s best to introduce one new raw food at a time until the dog’s digestive system gets used to each one.
In time, you will see the benefits of a raw dog food diet in your dog.
Benefits of a Raw Dog Food Diet
- Shinier coats
- Healthier skin
- Cleaner teeth
- Better energy levels
- Firmer and fewer stools
- Less body odor
- Improved muscle developing around the neck, jaw and shoulder
- Decreased allergies
- Decrease in weight management issues
- Added longevity.
When you and your dog are ready to make the switch to the raw food diet, seek advice from your veterinarian first to make sure your dog can safely make the transition.
Your vet will also be able to give advice on the best and right ways to manage the switch. Some dogs will do well when making a total diet change altogether but others may have problems when making the switch too quickly.
Your vet will also guide you through the steps to introducing each new raw food, which foods to do first, and at what portion. Some sample meals from your vet can also be very useful as it’s often complicated and hard to know if your dog is getting a well-balanced diet.
Each dog adjusts differently and at a differing pace to the raw food diet, so watch your dog as he eats and be alert of any behavioral changes.