The Meaty Truth Behind Raw Dog Food
Author: Amanda Brahlek
We think you’ll agree that what winds up in your dog’s bowl matters. Your dog’s diet is the basis for their health. Luckily, the pet food industry has come leaps and bounds from where bagged dog kibble began. For many pet parents, even the best bagged kibble doesn’t go far enough when it comes to nutritional and natural health benefits for their dog. This is where raw dog food diets arose. Raw dog food offers pup parents a better alternative to commercially produced dry dog food.
Is Raw Dog Food Better Than Kibble?
Kibble Often Falls Short.
The dog food industry is relatively new. Kibble was invented in the 1890s as a convenient way to provide dogs with dinner. This was long before animal scientists and veterinary nutritionists even existed. Now, we know that dogs need balanced diets with specific needs, including 50 vital nutrients like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins.
These vital nutrients were used to develop the AAFCO guidelines, which outline the bare minimum nutritional values that dogs need to thrive. Unfortunately, these guidelines do not give owners the outline for the best diet for their dogs.
As so many pet owners have found, large commercial pet food companies often favor profits over quality. They also use artificial preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene, which have been connected to health problems, including cancer. These chemicals allow dry dog food to last for months, even years on the shelf.
How Does Raw Dog Food Benefit Dogs?
Most raw dog foods do not need chemical preservatives, since they’re frozen or refrigerated. Raw dog food also offers dogs a diet that reflects their natural diet.
If you think about it, dogs have been eating raw diets for centuries. Before dogs became domesticated, they would catch and consume prey. Dogs also wouldn’t just eat their prey’s muscle. They’d consume the iron-rich, nutrient-dense organs along with some bone. This is why you’ll often find raw dog food recipes take a whole-prey approach, including organ meat and ground bone.
Furthermore, most raw dog diets use a biologically-appropriate raw food approach, by including fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Why veggies, berries, and herbs? Dogs are not strict carnivores. They’re omnivores that primarily eat meat. In fact, these ingredients provide dogs with a natural source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Why Not Cook A Dog’s Food?
Cooking food is uniquely human. Our bodies aren’t adapted to destroy microbes like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. So, we heat our food to kill these bacteria that can make us sick. Dogs, on the other hand, have enzymes in their bodies and high levels of acid made to destroy harmful microbes and breakdown raw meat.
Additionally, heating ingredients reduces their nutritional value, including the density of the fatty acids. Raw foods contain all the micronutrients in meat and the other ingredients.
Why A Whole Prey Approach is Better
Furthermore, a complete prey approach provides dogs with the vital nutrients they need to engage in an active life and maintain optimal brain function. Ground bones provide dogs with a rich source of calcium phosphate. Bones are also a source of healthy enzymes that help dogs better digest food. As unsavory as it sounds, bone and high fiber can also provide your dog with better digestive help and prevent impacted anal glands.
Feeding dogs organ meat gives them a boost of vitamins and minerals. Some of the most healthful vitamins and nutrients in organs include vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, thiamin, and folate.
Other Benefits of Raw Feeding
Raw food also offers dogs other unique benefits including:
- Limited ingredients: Making it easy to know what your dog is consuming.
- Single-proteins: Perfect for dogs with allergies.
- Real whole meat. Most raw foods avoid “meal” versions of animal proteins.
- Ethically sourced ingredients that are easy to trace.
- Rich, full flavor that dogs love.
- A shiny coat and healthy skin.
Are There Safety Concerns Related to Raw Dog Foods?
Raw dog foods have come a long way since they first arrived on the market. Most raw food companies have veterinary nutritionists check their recipes before releasing their food to the market. Always check to make sure your dog’s food manufacturer is reputable.
The biggest concern when it comes to raw dog food is how it’s handled by the dog owner. Raw foods do contain microorganisms that may be harmful to people. So, always wash your hands and any surfaces that touch raw foods thoroughly.
What Exactly Is a Raw Dog Food Diet?
Raw dog foods come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most use similar approaches and recipes. When selecting a raw food, you will notice that most raw food producers will label the levels of muscle, organs, and bone. Check with your vet regarding what ratio works best for your dog (most dogs need at least 50% muscle, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat).
You will also find that raw dog foods include vegetables, eggs, legumes, fruits, herbs, and supplemental vitamins and minerals.
Many raw foods come in patties or individual servings, making it easy to freeze then thaw when needed. This also makes handling the raw product easier.
Is Raw Food Right For Your Dog?
If you’re considering switching to a raw food diet, remember to slowly transition your dog’s diet. It takes some time for dogs to rebuild the enzymes they need to thoroughly breakdown raw meat. Once your dog has adjusted to a raw diet, you can expect your dog to dive into their bowl without hesitation.
Are you looking for a tasty way to supplement your dog’s diet with healthy organ meat? Try Natural Farm’s beef gullet treats.