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There are many different brands of dog food in the world. Some are wet and some are dry, but there is also another option when it comes to dog food. Domestic dogs are descended from wolves, which hunt their prey in the wild and eat it raw, which is where the raw food diet comes from. Some people might balk at the idea of feeding raw meat to their dogs, but it is actually one of the most natural diets a dog could have.
Over the last few years, the raw food diet has grown in popularity and some brands that specialise in it are even stocked in pet stores. Read on to find out more about the raw food diet and the benefits associated with it.
The raw food diet is exactly what it sounds like. It is a diet made up of raw ingredients that are given to your dog instead of the traditionally cooked food that comes in biscuit form. These raw diets can include a wide variety of ingredients such as:
This raw meat is often paired with vegetables like broccoli, spinach or carrots, as well as fruit such as apples. Some people even decide to mix some yoghurt into the food to give their dogs dairy. Including these healthy ingredients helps to add balance to the raw food diet and allow dogs to have the nutrients they might not get from a dog biscuit diet.
With raw food, what you see is what you get. This isn’t always the case with kibble or traditional dog food, which can contain a lot of starch or filler ingredients that provide no nutritional benefits. The process of cooking to create biscuits or kibble often destroys nutrients, as opposed to raw food where they remain intact.
People often decide to put their dog on a raw food diet because they see it as a more natural option than the traditional food sold in pet stores. In fact, some breeds such as racing greyhounds and sled dogs have eaten raw food for generations. This led pet owners to adopting the raw food diet for their dogs.
There are many benefits to a dog eating raw food, some of which are more noticeable than others.
Better Coat Condition
One of the top benefits of a raw food diet is that your dog’s coat will become shinier and healthier over time. It will feel softer when you stroke them and the reason for this is that raw food contains nutrients such as zinc, which aren’t in dry pet food. Another thing that traditional pet food lacks is fresh fat, which will have oils that can improve the condition of a dog’s coat.
Protein itself is often hailed as something that can improve a dog’s coat, as hair is made up of protein. 30% of the protein that your dog consumes in a day goes towards maintaining their skin and coat. However, when a dog eats a dry food diet that has less protein in it, they won’t get the nutrients they need. This is why a raw food diet is preferred to help dogs have the best coat and skin, often ridding them of any skin conditions they have too.
Better Dental Hygiene
Ever noticed that your dog has bad breath? Sometimes that is caused by gum disease and other times they can develop dental problems because of the food they eat. If a dog is fed raw meat on the bone, they it will help their teeth to stay strong. Their mouth also won’t be in contact with ingredients that shouldn’t be in food such as sugars, which can cause tooth loss. Eating raw meat will help to keep their teeth clean and give them something to chew on as well.
Better Muscle Tone
It is a well-known fact that a lean dog will live longer than one that carries extra weight. They will suffer less from inflammation and arthritis and be able to run for longer distances. Eating a raw food diet will give them everything they need to keep their form lean and their muscles strong. If you look at canines in the wild, they are never overweight and survive on a raw diet. There is no need for a dog to have carbohydrates in their diet, which is often included in traditional dog food. A high protein, lean diet will keep your dog at a healthy weight and improve their muscle tone.
Some other benefits of a dog eating a raw diet include:
As with most things, there are also some risks associated with the raw food diet. There can potentially be bones in some meat which an animal could choke on. There is also the risk that their teeth might break if they crunch down on a bone too hard. However, this can be avoided by making sure the meat you feed your dog is bone free.
It is important to make sure the raw diet is balanced with a mixture of fruit and vegetables. That way the diet isn’t unbalanced as too much meat could make your dog gain weight. There is also the risk of certain bacteria being present in the raw meat, just as there is a risk for humans sometimes. It is important that you get quality meat for your dog to eat.
Are you considering switching to a raw food diet for your dog? Are you still on the fence about whether you should stick with commercial dog food?
Some people compare bagged dog food such as kibble to the fast food that humans eat. Commercial dog food is often cheaper to buy and easier to give to dogs. Just a single scoop into their bowl and they are ready to eat. However, the dog food seen in the pet store is often made from by-products, meaning it isn’t fresh or healthy. The meat in the product can even come from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals.
Grain or corn can feature in commercial dog food as well, which isn’t healthy for dogs. They don’t need to eat carbohydrates and it can even contribute to weight gain in the long run. While some brands will say their food offers a balanced diet and contains nutrients, not all dog food is created equal. It is important to always look at the packaging to check the ingredients.
Dogs enjoy food and they know what tastes good to them. Some will outright refuse to eat commercial dog food if they think it smells bad. On the other hand, some dog food can smell good and cause them to overeat if they are able to get into the food supply.
BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding. It is about giving your dog food that is right for its species. The diet is based on what wolves would have eaten, which are the predecessors of the domestic dogs we know and love today. The BARF diet features food that is easy for dogs to digest and will benefit them in a number of ways.
Some people have compared the BARF diet to the 80:10:10 diet. The latter involves giving dogs 80% meat, 10% organ meat and 10% bones. However, the BARF diet involves giving dogs more than just this to help them thrive. There is also the fact that newer breeds may not be able to eat a high quantity of bones, such as the French Bulldog.
Most people wouldn’t think of giving vegetables to their dogs, but they can benefit from the addition of vegetables to their diet. There is even some evidence to show that people believe dogs will live longer when they eat their greens. This is because of three main reasons and they are:
Vegetables help to give extra nutrients to dogs that aren’t found in meat or bones. The fibre in food is the good kind and can help to aid with digestion so dogs don’t have to struggle when going to the toilet.
The antioxidants work in a dog the same way they do in humans. They help to slow the ageing process and help dogs become more resistant to diseases and illness. Soluble fibre is present in vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and kale. They help maintain regular bowel movements and escort unwanted toxins from the body. Finally, the microbiome are bacteria that live in the intestinal tract of your dog. They protect it from pathogens such as fungi, bad bacteria and mould.
If you are wanting to switch your dog from commercial food to raw food, there is no time like the present. Most dogs find the transition to be easy and hassle-free. Sometimes the swap can even be made straight away without having to slowly introduce the raw dog food diet.
A straight swap can keep things simple and easy for you. Simply give your dog the last meal of their old food at night and in the morning, you can make the swap to raw food. They will hardly notice the difference.
The other way to make the switch is to phase it in. Some dogs find it hard to adjust to change straight away. By phasing the raw food in slowly and mixing it with the kibble, you are making it easier. After a few days increase the raw food and decrease the commercial food while monitoring how your dog reacts to it.
As you can see, there are many benefits for your dog when they eat a raw food diet. Not only is it more natural and similar to what their ancestors ate, it is also healthier for them. There are more pros than cons for the raw food diet and your dog is sure to love it.