Should your dog eat a raw diet?
Diet trends aren’t just for people anymore. The latest diet trend is aimed at what you feed your dog. Specifically the trend is towards feeding your dog a raw diet as opposed to the traditional dry dog kibble.
Those in support of the raw food diet say that it is healthy, safe and a more natural way for your pet to get its nutrition. Those opposed to the raw food diet say that it is unhealthy, inconvenient and may even encourage aggression in your dog.
When deciding to put your pet on raw food diet, you may conjure up images of tossing a raw steak into the yard and watching your dog devour it like feeding time in the tiger pen at your local zoo. This isn’t exactly how it works.
Raw food diets for dogs are commercially available in various forms. The most common raw food for dogs comes frozen and may be packaged in bricks, loaves or disks. The food is thawed and portioned out accordingly to your dog’s age and weight. There are also some companies producing dehydrated raw food diets for dogs that are more convenient for use when you are not at home. When using these products be careful to follow the rehydrating instructions exactly to ensure that your dog is getting the required amount of moisture needed for digestion.
Alternatively, you can make your own raw food for your dogs in your own kitchen with a minimal initial investment of a heavy duty meat grinder and a vacuum sealer. If you do decide to make your own, be sure to use only high quality ingredients and ensure that you properly educate yourself to ensure that you are compiling the right proportions of proteins, organ meat and vegetables. When dealing with raw meat, the risk of bacterial contamination is increased, so you will also need to take steps to ensure that you are exercising proper food safe procedures.
Those in favour of a raw food diet for dogs say that one of the key advantages is knowing exactly what is in the product and that it is in its natural state. Most commercially produced raw food diets have a minimal number of ingredients, specifically meat (beef, venison, and buffalo), poultry, vegetables (primarily greens), fruits and organs. Some also contain ground bone. There are minimal additives, and some manufacturers may add salmon or other fish oils. Alternatively, when you look at the ingredient list on a traditional dry dog kibble you probably won’t be able to pronounce the items on the list let alone know what they are.
There is no evidence to suggest that eating raw meat increases aggression and or predatory behaviour in dogs, this is simply a myth. Some dogs are natural hunters and feeding them a raw food diet will neither diminish nor enhance their in borne traits. This raw food diet for dogs may just be the answer.
Interview with Savannah Honey – a happy healthy American Eskimo/Golden Retriever living life at breakneck speed
Thank you for agreeing to discuss the raw food diet for dogs with us today Savannah.
Thank you, Tiggy & Holly, for doing this article, and bringing awareness to raw diets.
How long have you been on a raw diet?
I was adopted at 6 months old, and was immediately started on it. As you should when switching foods, the change was gradual. Raw was added to the kibble I was accustomed to eating over the course of a few weeks, until it I was eventually eating all raw and no kibble.
Please tell us the pros and cons of the diet?
Well I think one of the biggest pros is knowing how truly healthy it is. It’s the way nature intended dogs to eat. My teeth and coat look wonderful. I have tons of energy. I maintain my weight easily, and have lots of lean muscle. Plus, meals are always exciting! I actually feel bad for my friends that get a bowl of dried kibble every night. Bleeech. How tasty could that be to eat day in and day out? We’re dogs, we are suppose to chew on bones. REAL marrow bones, with raw meat still attached, not some man made dried up piece of leather shaped into a bone!
Cons, well, I don’t know. You tell me what cons there are to fresh meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, and real bones to keep your teeth clean and provide nutritional benefits at the same time. I don’t see any!
Do you only eat raw or do you sometimes eat scraps or kibble or dog biscuits?
I don’t eat kibble, but I do get some homemade biscuits in limited quantities. We use to get them from a local baker, but Mom has since experimented with making them at home. She only uses whole wheat flour and organic ingredients. My Mom eats a pretty healthy diet too, so I get bits of things from her like fruits and veggies. I love bananas, apples, broccoli and cauliflower florets. There are also times where she makes a bison roast and shreds it, then I eat that mixed with fresh shredded veggies like squash and zucchini. I also get some fresh homemade unsweetened yogurt and blueberries every day.
Please ask your human to respond to these ones:
Is it more expensive than dry food?
I would say it’s more expensive than most dry food brands you can pick up at a grocery or pet store. If you compare it to a high end, grain free dry food you would buy at a speciality pet food store, the price is about the same.
Is it easy to manage? Is it messy? What process do you follow? (do you that several days supply at one time?)
It can take a bit of planning, but it isn’t really difficult. I usually make a few large batches at one time, and then freeze that into daily portions. Depending on what my organic meat supplier has available, I may make enough for a single month, or several months in one afternoon. As far as it being messy, it’s no more so than say multiple batch cookie making. I just cover my table in butcher paper, start my steps and then assemble.
If someone was to feel intimidated by preparing it themselves, there are several premade frozen choices available. When I started feeding raw, I used Nature’s Variety medallions. They are so easy to use. You just store them in the freezer, take out the amount you need, and thaw it in the refrigerator over night. The premade was really a great option for me when I worked full time. You can’t beat the ease of it.
What are the disadvantages?
Honestly, I don’t think there are any disadvantages.
I live by two simple rules. You only get one body, so you need to take good care of it, and the other being that you are what you eat. I guess I place a high value on health and nutrition. That isn’t to say we don’t occasionally indulge on our favorite BBQ, but I don’t allow things like McDonalds or Burger King in my own body, so why would I feed it to my dog. To me, most commercial dry dog food is the equivalent of fast people food. It may be quick, cheap and easy, but because of that, it’s loaded chemicals, preservatives and other things that make you fat and damage your health. This is especially true for the less costly brands that use 4D meat. That’s meat not fit for human consumption. Unfortunately, I think people have been lulled into this false sense of well being by the multi-billion dollar pet food industry. They have been sold this idea that everything their pet needs nutritionally is right there in easy to store, easy to serve, dried up pieces of meal. Just throw a few scoops in a bowl every night and you’re good to go. While a dog may survive eating that way, I don’t think they are thriving. To see proof of that, you need only look at the ever increasing cancer rates in pets.
Thank you again, Tiggy and Holly, for allowing us to talk about our experiences with a raw food diet. We would hope that after reading this people will at least stop and really think about what they feed the pets they love so dearly.
Look at every ingredient listed and then ask yourself:
Would you feed that to your family?
Would YOU consume the things listed on that bag?
Would a raw food diet for dogs benefit your pet?
If your pet is a loved member of your family, don’t they deserve that much?
Wow, that was very informative. Thank you so much.
If readers would like to know more about Savannah Honey and see some real evidence about just how healthy and active she is;
Blonde and fun, living life at breakneck speed!
visit her on her blog at: http://www.honey-tales.blogspot.com