Raw Dog Food Benefits
Date: February 9th, 2017
When dog and cat owners are approached about the benefits of feeding raw diets, the parallels between their pet's ancestors diets in the wild and a raw diet are immediately obvious. Most people could list off the top of their heads without doing any research what they believe the benefits are- increased nutrient intake, higher energy levels, better dental health, and easier digestion. Yet, few people take the leap and follow through to feeding their dog or cat raw. Let's dive in deeper and take a look at the benefits- and the risks- associated with feeding raw foods.
Raw Diet- What is it?
Initially made popular by a book written by Ian Billinghurst, Give Your Dog A Bone, raw diets have become a hot topic for pet parents looking to give their dog or cat as healthy and happy a life as they possibly can.
There are many different opinions on what a complete raw diet includes, but they are generally accepted to include the following in some combination:
• Raw meat on or off bone
• Bones that have been ground or in full
• Raw vegetables
• Some raw fruits
• Organ meats- liver, kidney, heart, etc.
• Rice (cooked)
The key with a raw diet is consulting your veterinarian before starting an exclusively raw diet- many well-meaning pet parents can overlook nutritional groups accidentally, and create deficiencies that can cause more health problems than they are solving. Feeding a nutritionally balanced raw diet has been reported as showing increased skin and coat health, as well as improved dental health and energy levels.
Risks Associated With Raw Diets
As virtually every diet no matter the species has, there are debates over the safety and effectiveness of raw diets for your pets. One of the largest concerns is bacterial contamination- like all raw foods for humans and pets, uncooked foods bring the level of bacterial infection risks up significantly, and need to be taken seriously. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance whenever dealing with food, but especially in handling and feeding raw diets. As mentioned above, another major issue to be aware of is nutritional deficiencies. Many pet owners unknowingly limit key nutrients in a raw diet and end up causing health issues that would be avoided if they were feeding a nutritionally-complete commercial diet.
The Bottom Line
It's a not a surprise- consult your veterinarian before changing your pet's diet. A raw diet can be an excellent way to feed your pet protein sources that they would have eaten in the wild- like rabbit, lamb, duck, venison, and goose, but is not a "simple switch" to healthy living for your pet. Do your research, consult your veterinarian, and decide if a raw diet is right for you and your pet.