Is a Raw Food Diet for Dogs Actually Beneficial?
It isn’t uncommon to see people walking their pets along sidewalks or in parks. Some may even be carrying bags full of treats while others might have their hands free so they can pet or nuzzle up to their favorite furry friend. But what if you had another option one where walking became optional because your dog enjoyed a healthier life?
Although we’re not talking about some sort of futuristic utopia where humans and animals exist side-by-side peacefully, we do mean an alternative form of feeding our dogs. In this article, we’ll take a look at what exactly a raw diet entails, as well as whether it’s really good for your pooch. We’ll also explore its pros and cons.
So let’s start by looking at how a raw diet works.
What Is the Raw Diet For Dogs?
When most people think of raw foods, they probably picture steak tartare or sushi. While these are certainly options, there are many other types of food out there that fall into the category of raw diets. The key here is that all of them contain ingredients that haven’t been cooked. This means no boiling, grilling, baking or frying. Instead, dogs eat things like fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, bones, skin, organ meats, eggs and dairy products.
These foods aren’t necessarily eaten whole either. They can come in chunks or pieces, such as slices, cubes, etc. Also, a lot of raw diets use supplements to replace missing nutrients. These include vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Dogs on raw diets don’t need to be fed exclusively raw food. Many vets recommend supplementing their diets with canned food (which has been cooked) and/or regular dry kibble (which has been processed). However, some experts believe that eating strictly raw food is best since it allows the digestive system time to heal itself.
As previously mentioned, though, there are many different varieties of raw diets available. There are ones based around specific health issues, such as allergies or cancer prevention. Others cater to older dogs who have trouble chewing certain foods. And then there are those meant for overweight pups and puppies. So, before deciding which type would work best for your dog, make sure to consult your vet first.
The Pros of Raw Diet
There are several reasons why someone might want to feed their dog a raw diet. One reason could be that it helps improve overall health and wellness. By doing so, you reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases in both yourself and your dog.
One study published in 2006 found that dogs given a raw diet were less likely to develop cancer than those on traditional diets.
Researchers believe the difference comes from the fact that raw diets allow more antioxidants to get absorbed into the body. Another study showed that dogs given a raw diet lived significantly longer than those on other diets.
While some scientists still debate the issue, researchers believe that when you consume more dietary fiber, you prevent bacteria from forming in the stomach. Without bacteria, your stomach doesn’t produce enough acid to digest food properly. Therefore, without the assistance of bacteria, your digestion suffers, leading to diarrhea, constipation and possibly gas.
Another benefit of having a raw diet is that it provides a much lower glycemic index than a standard diet. Having a low GI means you won’t experience spikes in blood sugar levels after consuming carbohydrates. Additionally, the presence of healthy fats and proteins will keep your dog feeling fuller and satisfied for longer periods of time. Finally, it should be noted that raw diets may provide a slightly higher amount of protein per serving compared to other diets, especially over long periods of time.
The Cons of a Raw Dog Food Diet
Perhaps the biggest drawback of a raw diet is the lack of variety. Because the food is uncooked, it lacks the nutrients typically provided by animal fat, muscle tissue and connective tissues.
As a result, a raw diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies, particularly in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. It can also cause problems with dental hygiene. Since a raw diet contains little or no oil, brushing your dog’s teeth becomes nearly impossible.
Additionally, some vets argue that a raw diet may be harmful if consumed over long periods of time, due to possible contamination with pesticides and chemicals from fertilizers. If your dog eats only raw food for a prolonged period, he or she may suffer from vitamin deficiency. Vitamin C is known to be destroyed during cooking, so it’s often added back into commercial diets once again. When taken together, these factors can potentially shorten a dog’s lifespan.
Finally, some veterinarians claim that a raw diet is too difficult to maintain for long periods of time. This is mainly due to the fact that it requires a high level of focus, discipline and commitment from the owner. If you’re unable to offer this kind of attention, it’s recommended that you seek professional help.
Just remember that every dog is unique. Although raw diets tend to be very beneficial for some breeds, they may not be right for all. Before making a decision, always consult with your veterinarian first. He or she knows your particular dog best and can give you advice tailored specifically for your pup!
For more information on raw diets and related topics, visit the next page.
Many advocates say that the best way to ensure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients is to avoid giving him or her table scraps. You can encourage this behavior by keeping leftovers away from your dog. That way, he or she can’t access it easily.