As a dog owner, you probably want the best for your dog, including the healthiest food. But choosing the right food isn’t always an easy choice. Your local pet store is filled with hundreds of options. There’s kibble and canned food, organic and natural options, and fresh food. If you are looking at more niche dog food manufacturers or considering making your own, there are even more choices.
Raw diets are one of the newer feeding options for dogs. This diet is designed to imitate what a dog or wolf in the wild might eat. Rather than cooked or processed food, it consists of raw meats, bones, vegetables and fruits, raw eggs, dairy, and vitamins. Raw food is often made at home by the dog’s owner, but there are options for commercially available raw food as well.
Whether or not raw diets are the healthiest choice for dogs, or if they are healthy at all, is debated between veterinarians and dog owners. Many owners have used it and seen advantages, while others note potential health concerns or debate the diet’s usefulness. Consider the pros and cons to determine if it might be right for your dog.
The initial idea behind the raw diet was that modern, processed grain based dog food is unhealthy for dogs. Recent dog food recalls after toxins were found in some brands furthered the popularity of feeding raw food. Proponents say that raw food more closely resembles a biologically accurate diet and is a more natural option.
Those who feed their dogs a raw diet have noted changes in their dogs such as healthier skin, better looking coats, improved teeth, and more energy. Some dog owners have found raw food helps mitigate some health challenges.
Raw diets are controversial for reasons ranging from the science behind them possibly being inaccurate to the potential risks. For example, raw meat has a high risk of carrying E. coli and Salmonella, which can make your dog sick. The bones in many diets can cause an obstruction or pierce the intestinal tract.
Like with all dog food diets, quality is important. A low quality raw food or improperly balanced diet, commercial or homemade, results in your dog not getting the nutrients he needs. But even with the highest quality raw diets, there are more practical concerns to keep in mind. These include:
If you are thinking about switching your dog to a raw food diet, know that it is a big change. It is recommended that you consult with your vet about whether this feeding plan is right for your particular pet. They can ensure that you are making the healthiest choice for your dog, whether or not you make the switch.