What Is Raw Dog Food
Simply put, raw food is a combination of raw meat and fish. Sometimes it is sold fresh and others are frozen or freeze-dried for convenience. Raw food diets often contain meat that is still on the bone, organ meats, and even raw eggs. Some pet owners will also include a source of dairy like yogurt and some fresh fruit or vegetables.
Dehydrated Pet Food Benefits
Dehydrated pet foods offer all the benefits of raw, including minimal processing and high bioavailability of nutrients. The gentle heating slowly cooks proteins without compromising their nutrient value, yet eliminates the dangerous pathogens commonly found in raw meats. The dehydration process also helps to begin the digestive process, which makes it far easier on the digestive tract of a pet that is older or managing other health problems.
In addition, dehydrated foods are not messy like raw, nor do they pose the environmental and public health risks of raw foods. Finally, dehydrated foods are compact, can be packed easily for a summer vacation trip and do not require refrigeration.
In short, dehydrated pet foods are a healthy and safe alternative to raw with all the benefits and fewer risks.
The Dangers Of A Raw Food Diet
Its hard to fulfill your pets nutritional needs with a raw diet. You cant only provide Fido with tasty muscle meat.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions on the ideal makeup of a raw diet. Raw Fed Dogs recommends a diet of 80% meat/sinew/ligaments and fat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organs. Meanwhile, the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet recommends a much higher percentage of bone.
Whichever portion makeup you choose, homemade diets can still be tricky. A study from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine found that even when using recipe books written by veterinarians, homemade meals are rarely nutritionally complete. Its very difficult to feed your pet a balanced diet on your own.
Outside of nutritional deficiencies, raw meat can contain dangerous bacteria. Studies quoted by the AMVA have found listeria and clostridium in raw food diets. These dangerous bacteria can cause your dog to become ill.
Other bacteria in raw meat, like salmonella, are often tolerable to your dog but can be incredibly harmful if spread to humans.
In general, handling raw meat requires precaution to prevent transmitting infectious diseases especially around children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. But did you know these diseases can also be transmitted through your pets poop?
Raw diets can be time-consuming, and very hard to get right if youre preparing the raw meat yourself.
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Reasons To Start Your Dog On A Raw Food Diet
5 Reasons To Start Your Dog On A Raw Food Diet 5 Reasons To Start Your Dog On A Raw Food Diet
When it comes to diet and nutrition, our four-legged friends aren’t so different from us. When our pup’s food tastes better, they get more excited for mealtime. When it’s full of nutrients like protein, fruits, and vegetables, they have more energy throughout the day. When it’s minimally processed, they’re happier and healthier. Sound familiar? All species benefit from higher food qualityand as pet parents, those benefits are in our hands.
We’ve all found ourselves in the pet food aisle, sifting through nutrition facts, packaging, and price. The truth is, there’s an ocean of options out there. But nothing compares to how a raw food diet can unlock your dog’s potential. Just like us humans appreciate a healthy, hearty meal, our dogs appreciate the 100% raw nutrition of Instinct Raw. In fact, as we dig in deeper, you’ll find it hard for any ordinary kibble to compare.
Disinfect The Natural Way
Bowls should be cleaned after every meal, counters and utensils should be sanitized, and any surface or container that touches the food should be disinfected. Disinfecting makes us think of chemicals, but there are natural, pet-safe solutions to eliminate bacteria.
Vinegar is nature’s secret disinfectant. Use vinegar to clean surfaces, floors, bowls, and anything else used in raw feeding. Don’t use full-strength vinegar, as that would be overpowering. Instead, use a vinegar and water dilution. 10-15% vinegar to water is suitable for cleaning, and the smell will dissipate quickly.
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Bottom Line: Every Pup Is Unique
Just because your furry friend gobbles up a raw meat diet, that doesnt mean its right for all dogs. Some animals might never be able to switch due to food sensitivities or other health issues. We strongly emphasize discussing your dogs specific needs with your vet before making any dietary changes and being patient in the process. Remember that any diet change can cause some stomach issues.
If your dog does get sick or needs medical attention, see a vet right away and consider getting pet insurance now so if a need arises, your medical costs would be partially covered for any exams and medications of issues that exclude pre-existing conditions. Learn more about the benefits and if pet insurance may be a good fit for you. You might also check out these other homemade dog food recipes that contain cooked food as an alternative to raw.
Why are you considering a raw diet? Have you tried it with your pup?
Best Raw Dog Food Brands
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Billinghursts book, Give Your Dog A Bone, has sparked commercially processed raw dog food diets to help pet parents who are short on time.
Shopping for ingredients, grinding, chopping, measuring and mixing may not be something you have time for. Thats why these already made raw dog food delivery services can be so convenient for busy families.
Read our comparison of the best raw dog food delivery options and check out our rankings on the right. These food products are freeze-dried or frozen to maintain their nutrients and consist of meat, grains, vitamins and vegetables.
Freeze-dried options can be convenient for traveling, but frozen is typically less processed than freeze-dried. So keep that in mind when youre purchasing raw food for your dog.
Some pet parents choose to serve these raw food packages on top of some kibble to help the dog adjust to a raw diet.
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Raw Or Cooked Food For Dogs
If you are wondering what to feed your dog to keep them healthy, then youre not alone. In fact, lots of dog owners say they feel torn between a raw and a cooked diet.
Raw food is easier for dogs to digest, but its hard to prepare a nutritionally balanced raw diet at home. In contrast, cooked food is nutritionally balanced, but its also heavily processed. As a compromise, you could try commercially prepared raw food or lightly cooked fresh food.
But, when choosing the best food for your dog, dont just ask raw or cooked?. You should also consider the overall quality of the food. In fact, both raw and cooked foods can be considered healthy, as long as you choose the right types.
Myth #: A Raw Meat Diet Isnt Suitable For Small And Toy Dog Breeds
Many people think of a raw meat diet as something that is suitable exclusively for large, robust working dog breeds, and that you shouldnt feed raw to small and toy dogs.
This myth arose from a fear of choking on bones, which weve covered in myth number 6 above. There is no reason at all why your pint-sized pooch cant enjoy a raw meat diet alongside their larger cousins. As long as the diet is planned and served up in the right way to meet the needs of your own individual dog.
Bones that are good picks for smaller dogs include chicken or duck necks and wings, and lamb riblets.
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Metabolism And Weight Gain
Small breeds have a higher metabolic rate. This means that even when sitting still, their bodies burn more calories than a large breed dog. They use calories more efficiently and gain weight more gradually during their puppy stages. This puts less pressure and strain on the hips and joints.
Large breeds have a lot more growing to do, and that extra weight can damage the connective tissues that support their joints. This is why large breed dogs should monitor their calories to prevent gaining too much weight too fast. When calculating feeding guidelines for small and medium breed puppies vs a large breed puppies, the smaller breeds will require a higher percentage of food based on their body weight.
Stick to more conservative feeding guidelines for your large breed to slow growth and prevent early onset joint issues. Dont underfeed but try not to offer more than is needed. This will reduce wear and tear on your dogs connective tissues and bones.
Keep in mind that both large and small breeds can quickly gain too much weight if they are eating too much and not spending enough energy. Make sure that your feeding guidelines suit their activity levels.
Dangers Of Raw Diets For Dogs
“Should I feed my dog a raw diet?” If you’ve ever heard another pet parent rave about how his or her dog appears to be thriving on a raw meat diet, you might be asking yourself this question. Proponents of raw diets for dogs point out that dogs are biologically similar to carnivorous wolves, and claim that the benefits of this type of diet include healthier skin, coat and teeth, more energy and smaller stools, according to PetMD. However, there is very little scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, most of the scientific research on raw meat diets for dogs shows that they could do more harm than good.
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What Should You Feed Your Dog Raw Vs Kibble
From how you train your dog to how you feed them, almost every facet of dog ownership has a debate surrounding it.
One of the most heated controversies is pet nutrition. Should you feed your dog a raw food diet or kibble?
Raw diets consist of organ & muscle meats, bones, and other animal parts. Dogs on a raw diet can also eat raw eggs, some dairy , and dog-safe fruits, vegetables and grains.
Kibble is generally made with grains, protein sources, starches, and fruits & vegetables. Its supplemented with vitamins and minerals to meet your pets nutritional needs. Higher-quality kibble contains more protein than starches, and many brands are even grain-free.
There are pros and cons to each diet. But this debate begins with the question: do dogs even need to eat plants?
Are There Risks To Giving Dogs Raw Meat
In addition to the risk of nutritional deficiencies, raw meat does pose other health risksboth for you and your dog.
Not only does it pose a risk to your dog, but it poses a risk to you and your family, according to an FDA study. Raw meat is likely to contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and more.
Cooking meat to a safe temperature kills off those harmful bacteria. By feeding uncooked meat, theres a higher risk your dog will develop a foodborne illness or other type of bacterial infection. Additionally, theres an increased risk you or a member of your family will come into contact with the bacteria and develop a foodborne illness. Handling the raw meat, letting your dog lick your face, cleaning up his feces or touching any contaminated surfaces increase the risk of infection. If you do choose to feed your dog a RFD, we recommend referring to the safety guidelines published by the FDA, CDC or AVMA. Doing so will help minimize the risks of contamination and foodborne illnesses. Its worth noting many therapy dog associations, such as Pet Partners, prohibit dogs on RFDs from being part of their program. This is because the raw food poses too much risk for the humans they are trained to help.
How Much Raw Food To Feed
The amount of raw food you should feed your dog each day depends on whether hes a puppy or an adult.
How much raw food should adult dogs?
As a starting point for raw foods, feed your dog about 2% to 3% of his ideal adult weight.
If your dog is very active, you may need to feed a little more. And if your dog is more of a couch potato, you may need to feed a little less.
The best way to tell if youre feeding the right amount is to run your hands over your dogs ribs. If you can feel the ribs, but not see them, your dog is at a good weight.
Feed adult dogs 2% to 3% of their ideal body weight daily. Unless your dog is very active, here is a rough guide to get started:
25 pound dog: 1/2 pound daily50 pound dog: 1 pound daily100 pound dog: 2 pounds daily
How much raw food should puppies get?
Pound for pound, puppies need more calories and nutrition than adult dogs. Puppies should eat 2% to 3% of their expected adult weight or about 5% to 10% of their current weight.
Remember, puppies need to eat more calcium and less fat than adult dogs too. Try to feed puppies 15% bone and less than 20% fat to make sure they get enough nutrients and minerals.
Puppies need to eat more to support their growth. As a general guide, feed:
Puppies 2 to 3 months: 8% to 10% of body weight dailyPuppies 4 to 5 months: 6% to 8% of body weight dailyPuppies 6 to 8 months: 4% to 6% of body weight dailyPuppies 9 to 12 months: 3% to 4% of body weight daily
Pros And Cons Of Raw Dog Food
These are all the pros and cons of giving raw food to your dog eating. Many experts suggest that raw dog food is not suggested for every dog. The dogs suffering from kidney diseases or liver diseases should not be given raw food as it has high protein levels that become difficult for dogs to digest. Also, the people who prefer to feed homemade raw food meal should see to it that the nutritional value of the meal is meeting requirements for their canine.
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Preparing Raw Dog Food
Not every raw diet is designed the same. Portioning out your pets food may require you to divide and weigh large blocks of raw food, add supplements, or even mash the food to make it easier for your pet to eat.
Look for raw food that is in a format most suitable to your pets feeding guidelines. For larger dogs, blocks and patties are convenient. They tend to be the most cost-effective and are ideal for larger portions.
For small breed dogs and cats, dividing an 8 oz. patty into 1.5 oz. meals can be challenging. Some raw foods offer options for smaller pets that are pre-portioned into kibble-sized pieces or 1 oz. cubes.
Chubs are another popular option for raw food. This option seems convenient because you can slice off sections, and their packaging typically has measurements to help you avoid overfeeding.
The challenge with larger, bulky formats like this is that the whole package needs to be defrosted at once, forcing you to use the entire chub within 2-3 days, and risk having to throw out the rest.
They are ideal for larger breeds and multi-pet households but may be too large for cats and smaller breed dogs.
What Is So Special About Raw Food For Dogs
According to raw food advocates, the best thing about a raw food diet is the fact that it is species-appropriate. In other words, its the natural diet for dogs. This suggests that dogs will be happier and healthier eating this particular diet.
In fact, according to Raw Feeding Veterinary Society RFVS, dogs who are fed a raw diet tend to have:
- Plenty of energy
- Optimal gut microbiome this makes the dogs poop firmer and less smelly. It can also cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- A shiny coat
- No atopic dermatitis
- Optimal dental health
We consider obesity, a dull coat, and bad breath to be somewhat normal in dogs. But perhaps their cooked diet is causing these health problems. This would explain why a raw diet appears to fix these issues.
Nevertheless, its important to keep an open mind. Raw food is not necessarily the best option for all dogs. Added to which, some people dispute the claims made by the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society.
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Top Best Answers To The Question Do Dogs Prefer Raw Or Cooked Meat
For those dogs, lightly cooking the food is the best approach. Surveys from Darwin’s customers indicate that about a third cook their meals for their pets, and two-thirds feed raw. Both groups see dramatic improvements versus commercial kibble, and neither group reports any health problems resulting from their choice.
And still, other dogs who just prefer their meals cooked, for whatever reason. For those dogs, lightly cooking the food is the best approach. Surveys from Darwin’s customers indicate that about a third cook their meals for their pets, and two-thirds feed raw.
Those who are looking for an answer to the question «Do dogs prefer raw or cooked meat?» often ask the followingquestions: