A good diet is essential to the health and longevity of your furry friend, so it is a given that people are interested in what their dog eats.
Domesticated dogs have moved on from the days when they hunted in the wild for prey; there is now a cacophony of different brands and types of dog food: kibble, canned, leftovers and a more recent phenomenon – the raw food diet.
Advocates of a raw food diet for dogs say that it is a more natural and healthy way of feeding your pet in that it reflects the days of yore when your dog’s ancestors roamed the wild looking for dinner. Opponents highlight the risks of eating raw meat and the nasty bacteria it can contain.
But the burning question remains;
Is raw food better for your dog than cooked food?
What Is Raw Dog Food?
Raw food consists of either homemade or commercially produced food consisting of predominantly meat based products with grains and vegetables added for additional nutrition.
Commercial raw food comes either fresh or frozen in nugget or patty form. Homemade can be presented however you want it to be.
What Are The Risks Of A Raw Food Diet?
- Giving your dog bones always carries a risk of cracking and puncturing your dog’s internal organs, although the chances of splintering is much higher with cooked bones;
- Raw food can carry bacteria that can lead to salmonella or e coli, although this is more of a risk for the human handling the food than the dog;
- It can be easy to miss out on essential vitamins and minerals as raw vegetables are often difficult to digest for dogs;
- Preparing a raw food diet can be time consuming and expensive if not planned properly and may lead to poor choices when choosing ingredients, leading to long term health implications for your pooch.
What Are The Benefits Of A Raw Dog Food Diet?
- Knowing exactly what is going in to your dog’s mouth. No more ‘filler’ or additives, just healthy, back to basics food;
- Home prepared raw diets can help you in avoiding foods that affect your dog. Allergy to wheat? Leave it out.
- Chewing on bones helps with dental hygiene. A raw bone will help clean your dog’s gnashers;
- Chewing on bones can help dogs that naturally gnaw on things. A raw food diet can save your chair legs! It also gives your dog a great jaw and shoulder workout;
- A raw food diet can often work out less expensive than buying traditional cooked products and commercial dog food if you buy in bulk and freeze ingredients;
- Anecdotal evidence has suggested that a raw food diet can give your dog improved digestion, improved weight management and healthier skin and coat.
The scientific evidence about raw food is sparse, making it difficult to advise people on what is best, however, the benefits listed above do seem to outweigh the negatives.
Ultimately, you know your dog and your lifestyle. A raw food diet can bring a lot of benefit to your dog’s life, as long as you remain aware of the potential risks.