Feeding Fido raw dog food would seem to be a straightforward and super easy task for any dog parent, but did you know that there are some things you will need to consider first before feeding your fur baby a raw dog food diet? What? Why?
Although a raw dog food diet is oftentimes perceived as a dog’s natural diet or natural ancestral diet, plenty of us are not aware of what truly constitutes that.
- Is it purely meat?
- Should it be fresh kill?
- Are bones okay?
These are just some of the questions that come to mind prior to feeding your dog a raw diet.
So, what is the raw dog food diet to begin with?
The concept of feeding your pooch raw food stems from the roots of the history of dog food. Dogs, or rather their ancestors the wolves, are classified by experts as scavenging carnivores (or carnivores with an omnivorous streak). But what do these terms mean?
- Carnivores are animals that eat only meat, usually from a fresh kill. A perfect example of this is in the cat family, included are tigers, lions, and even our domestic kitties.
- Scavenging carnivores are animals that eat mostly meat, and are also fine with eating ‘non-fresh’ kill. Examples are hyenas, dogs, foxes, and wolves.
Although both carnivores and scavenging carnivores have a strong desire to catch prey and eat them, scavenging carnivores will eat and will mostly be content with an omnivorous diet (omnivores eat both plants and animals, or whatever is available). But what is best for your dog?
Why the Ancestral Diet Is Best
Dogs are descents of wolves, and in the wild, wolves hunt other animals and eat the choice parts when supply is plenty, and eat every edible part when supply is scarce. We guess it goes without saying that wolves, the ancestors of dogs, are about 99% carnivorous and would only nibble on some greens when they are sick or if there are some other reasons to do so.
The raw dog food diet is designed to be as similar to the dog’s ancestral menu as possible. Yes, it is formulated to cater to the dog’s carnivorous bias and that’s why it is a lot better than what most of the world is feeding their dogs these days.
You see, a dog is not designed to eat corn or wheat. Just take a look at dogs teeth and the effects are pretty evident. Further more, the protein content of grain is not what is optimal for our dogs. Commercial kibbles are composed of at least 50% carbohydrates and that is far from the almost 99% raw meat diet which wolves and, down the line, dogs were designed to eat.
Some people may argue that “hey, dogs have evolved alongside humans for a few thousand years, surely they have adapted?” Okay, that is partly true, but again, a dog merely ‘putting up’ with what food you provide is not a dog who is getting what nature intended. It could be compared to withholding breastmilk from an infant. The infant will survive with formula, but nothing beats breastmilk. The same goes for dogs and the raw dog food diet.
Raw Dog Food Diet Pros and Cons
We’ll talk about this more in the next chapter but feeding your dog raw food or the ancestral diet has so many benefits, we can’t stop raving about them!
Firmer stools, better weight management, reduced allergy symptoms, cleaner teeth, improved digestion, healthier skin and coat, higher energy levels, and an overall better health, all of which are surely worth any extra efforts you’ll have to put in.
As for the downside, feeding your dog raw food requires a lot of effort on your part. Why? It isn’t as convenient as opening a can of manufactured dog food or scooping out some dry food pellets. You need to plan ahead of time, learn about proper storage, and know the basics so you can protect yourself from food-borne disease caused by salmonella and E. coli which are found in raw meat.
The Recommended List of Foods for the Raw Food Diet
First of all, we are aware that these days, even raw dog food has been commercialized to the extreme. There are even commercial varieties which combine raw grains, processed vitamins, leftover raw meat, and vegetables (we are not advocating that type of raw dog food diet for your dog). What we support is feeding your dog a mix of fresh raw meat and maybe a bit of vegetables and fruits as the healthiest menu possible!
See how mouth-watering these are (even if you are not a dog):
- Organ meats such as kidneys and livers (hey, they are delicacies in some parts of the world!)
- Raw eggs (eaten by some people too)
- Muscle meat, most often still on the bone
- Ground up bone (this is for calcium and vitamins people!)
- Apples and other fruits
- Dairy products like yogurt and cheese
- Vegetables like celery, spinach, and broccoli
You’ll notice that with the above foods, the change in your furbaby’s health is almost immediate. It’s like the same effect a cleansing and juicing detox has on humans, only made doggie-edition!
Of course, you cannot simply switch your pooch to a raw dog food diet overnight. What we mean is, there are some things you will need to read up on and do first. Ready for them? Here they are:
The 5 Must-Knows and Must-Dos for Feeding Raw
Every good thing requires advanced preparation, and the same is true for feeding your pooch raw food. You cannot just decide to do it and start on the same day without any prior planning. Why? Well, this is concerns the health of your precious furbaby so you better be ready to put in some effort. Don’t worry, the returns are so positive, you’ll end up wondering why you haven’t done this earlier.
Without further ado, here are some of the must-knows and must-dos for feeding your dog raw:
1 - Know what’s safe
Not all types and sources of meat are good for your pooch. We don’t mean to buy gourmet, but at least be sure that you’re getting your meat from reputable sources. Being safe does not end here either. You also have to know what types and parts of animals are safe to give to your pooch. As a whole, cow brains are not considered safe. A good rule to follow is to stick to animal parts which a dog would have access to if it were a wolf. Note that homeopathic supplements and probiotics are also safe for your dog, especially if your baby is a bit on the older side.
2 - Know when there’s a sale
Meat can get pricey in the long run, especially if you live in an area where meat production and supply is not as high. The answer for this? A big freezer and keeping your eyes peeled for meat sales! Hint, there is usually a meat sale after a holiday so go shopping on those days!
3 - Manage your schedule like a pro
Feeding your dog raw means having to shop in advance and prepare food in advance. You can easily freeze them in batches, but don’t forget to make sure that you always have a bag thawing in the refrigerator for the next feeding. This means that you’ll have to be a bit more organized with your time. There’s a silver-lining in this though, reports by pet parents who’ve started feeding their furkids raw say that their lives are a lot better and smoother-running after doing so. Maybe the ‘skills’ learned in feeding your pet a raw dog food diet easily overflow to other areas of your life. It’s a grand slam!
4 - Understand contamination
Most of the detractors of the raw dog food diet say that the diet is not safe for the humans taking care of the dog because of contamination issues. Sure, a dog’s stomach can handle some nasty bugs (they are a bit tougher than us puny humans) but hey, sanitation and contamination issues are things all of us need to know and understand, no matter what food the dog is eating.
5 - Be ready with your wallet!
Feeding your pooch raw dog food diet can range from $2.50 per day up to $5 a day for a medium sized dog (25-35 lbs). This is not cheap compared to super-premium commercial dry dog food which usually costs $1 a day for a medium sized dog. At first glance, it does seem a lot more expensive, but remember that you will also save on vet bills and all other sorts of bills you’ll have to pay if your furbaby is not in the peak of health.
What Research Says About the Raw Dog Food Diet
Have you ever wondered why there isn’t a lot of research about feeding your dog raw and why the majority of research you can find is mostly advocating a diet consisting of commercial manufactured dog food? Well, the answer lies in the fact that about 95% of all the research you can find is all funded by commercial dog food companies. Small wonder why they are advocating their own product, right?
Think about this, what are you going to believe? Research based on a few decades of commercial dog food and funded by the same companies peddling the food being advocated, or are you going to believe thousands of years of evolution and nature?
Are you going to believe photos of happy dogs eating kibbles or your on furkid nibbling away at a chunk of real bone?
There’s a lot to ponder, given the truth about manufactured pet foods for cats and dogs. Surely we’ve given you enough to think about?
We hope that this article helped you out and that you’ll be on your way to plunging head on into making the right choices for your pet. Got a question? A suggestion? Feel free to drop us a comment below or chat with us via the chatbox.
For more articles like this, you can check out the sneak preview to the raw dog food diet series and don’t forget to sign-up for the HomeoAnimal newsletter .
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