If you're anything like most pet owners, chances are you've already heard about raw food diets for dogs and the health benefits they are purported to have. You've come to the right place. We've put together this blog post to highlight the top beneficial effects of raw food and how it can help improve your pet's health.
Besides giving you a quick rundown of the top benefits of raw foods for dogs (aka "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food" or BARF diet), we'll also get you in on some useful information about giving your canine best friend the complete and balanced nutrition he truly deserves.
In fact, the great things about raw diets are confirmed by most pet health experts and veterinary medicine practitioners. How about we start things off with some awesome potential benefits of switching to raw when it comes to your dog's diet?
Just A Few Positive Effects of A Raw Dog Food Diet
While this may sound surprising, switching your dog's meal to raw isn't something new at all. Ask any animal nutritionist or pet health expert and you will find out that raw diets do not just provide your pooch with proper nourishment, but will also help support his overall quality of life.
Below are just some of the positive effects that a raw food diet for dogs (this also goes for the freeze-dried options) can bring about. These aren't just applicable to your pup's meal, but also to juvenile and even much older fur babies. Remember, these are only a few of the great things about switching to raw diets:
Benefits of raw dog food
Healthier skin and coat
Healthier gum, better teeth, and breath
Boost the immune system
Prevent diabetes and arthritis
Give a better physique
Why Raw Food Diet is the Way to Go
We cannot write about the ultimate beginner’s guide to raw dog food without brushing up on the benefits this type of diet brings for your fur kid. Furthermore, we want to share with you why switching your pooch to the raw food diet is one of the best decisions you can make for your pet!
Oh yeah! The raw dog food diet or the ancestral diet has so many benefits, it will knock your socks off! Touted by many as the "miracle" diet for dogs, especially for those with a lot of ailments, the raw dog food diet works because it is the most "normal" diet for our four-legged woofers.
Consuming raw food is in your dog's DNA
Why? Dogs evolved by eating the raw dog food diet. They are not "designed" to eat corn and wheat, which comprise about half of what is in commercial kibbles and canned pet foods. These are the usual ingredients you will find in most processed foods (i.e. dry dog food, wet food, and canned food) available commercially nowadays. Let's say not all of these choices are created equal.
Yes, as we’ve mentioned in an earlier article about the truths regarding manufactured pet food for cats and dogs, there’s just so much mislabeling going on with manufactured pet foods, that you’ll end up not knowing what really goes inside each bag. Believe it or not, your dog's food may have a few "surprising" ingredients here and there.
Feeding your pooch raw means you will be in complete control of everything, just like the control you have over the food you eat or serve to your family. Doesn’t your fur kid deserve the same level of care other family members get?
Does A Raw Diet Have Risks, Too?
Akin to all things that have to do with the food or diet of your dog, there are also risks involved when it comes to biologically appropriate raw food—particularly when it's not prepared the right way. If you're thinking about joining the growing number of dog owners who have become raw feeders worldwide, here are the hazards that you should take note of:
Bacterial contamination occurs when BARF diet ingredients like raw eggs, muscle meat, raw meat proteins, organ meats, and similar ingredients lack proper handling. Harmful bacteria can get in the picture and won't just cause problems with your dog's digestive system, but can also possibly affect your dog's health in a significant way. Proper handling will help eliminate pathogens.
Dental and oral health issues can take place when the meaty bones (take note: real bone) used in raw food diets are cut too sharply or have really uneven sides. Apart from having the tendency to break teeth, these can also nick the gums, tongue, inner cheeks, and throat, which can lead to other diseases if not immediately taken care of. Using ground bone or bone meal can help curb this risk. Some pet owners even use cooked bones.
Reduced nutritional content in raw diets happens when your pooch does not get the required amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other beneficial components to have a healthy life. It is important to remember that a dog's diet should still be composed of a balanced meal when you switch to raw food. Besides problems with maintaining ideal body weight, the lapses in your dog's nutritional needs can lead to a weakened overall immune health.
We'd just like to emphasize that these risks associated with a raw diet will only emerge if there is a lack of appropriate handling and storage, as well as a thorough selection of ingredients like meaty bones, ground meat or similar animal source protein like freeze-dried organ meat. So long as you keep a close eye on these factors when you make the diet change to raw food, you'll be on the right track.
How Much Raw Food Does Your Dog Need?
Properly portioning your dog's food when having a raw diet is crucial since he may be prone to malnutrition and other health concerns before you know it. Making the switch to raw meat and other BARF diet mainstays is not just about getting your hands on muscle meat, bones, and organ meats. It is primarily about tailoring the raw diet to your dog's nutritional needs.
A serving of raw food for a Chihuahua is not going to be sufficient for a German Shepherd. It is even recommended to consult with a pet wellness expert or a veterinary medicine practitioner to maximize the benefits of a raw diet. Choosing a reliable raw dog food company while you're at it is also a must.
The Risks of Poor Nutrition in Dogs
Exposing your dog to an unbalanced diet will make him vulnerable to more than just an unsatisfied appetite. Below are the major risks that dogs will be in for if they're not getting the ideal nutrition their bodies require:
Malnutrition is the very first health concern that your pet will be prone to if he is not getting the right diet for dogs. If you're anything like most pooch parents, you probably already know that dogs love to eat. Should your pet display any strange behavior—like not chowing down his food the moment you serve it, weakness, and sudden lethargy—chances are he could be suffering from malnutrition.
Loss of lean muscle mass
Problems with body weight are another indication that a dog is not getting his ideal nutritional needs. The lack of proteins like those found in raw diet staples like organ meat, which are the building blocks of muscle, can affect your pet's ideal weight sooner or later. Sufficient levels of protein also contribute to a shinier coat.
Joint, bone, and cartilage issues
An improper diet for dogs can have a negative effect on their joint, cartilage, and bone health. Besides making them prone to stiffness and sudden bouts of pain, this can also be a cause of joint degeneration and conditions like arthritis in the long run. Even freeze-dried raw food can provide a lot of beneficial nutrients to combat these health issues.
Proper nutrition is all about nourishment. This also translates to being physically full and satisfied. A dog that's getting the right nutrients usually has more energy compared to one that is poorly fed. The latter tends to display stressful behavior and may even develop anxiety if this problem is not corrected immediately.
The lack of essential nutrients can disrupt the ideal function of organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. What's really alarming is this can affect your pet's overall quality of life almost instantaneously. It is crucial to take note that organ disorders can have fatal consequences if not dealt with the right way.
The Top 10 Raw Food Diet Benefits for Dogs
Now we've got all the preliminary information covered, let's check out the top benefits of a raw diet for dogs. We'd just like to reiterate that this concept isn't something new and it's also verified by pet health experts as well as veterinary medicine practitioners.
#1. Firm, baby, firm!
How would you like for your fur baby to have firmer stools? No more messy pick-up for you, right? No one wants to clean up a dog’s liquid stools. It is just eww! By feeding your dog raw food (even freeze-dried still counts) and perhaps supplementing with probiotics, you’ll kiss that problem goodbye.
#2. Gases be gone!
How does an overall improved digestion sound to you? Have you ever noticed that some dogs get a lot of gas and look like they are having some digestive discomfort at the same time? Ever had a dog throw up after a "hearty" meal of manufactured dog food or kibble? Things like that are almost never a problem with the raw dog food diet (like a recipe of muscle meat mixed with a bit of coconut oil), so you might want to try it!
#3. A key benefit—raw dog food helps give your pet a beautiful coat.
Okay, maybe you’re someone who goes for looks, we’ve got just the thing for you! Notice how wild dogs (not strays) and wolves always look like they’ve just been to the groomer? Surely they don’t have some hidden doggy salon in the woods, right? It’s all about the raw food diet they have!
The raw dog food diet gives dogs healthier skin and coats because their dietary needs are fully taken care of. No need to give extra fish oil or add a ton of supplements, just let nature do what it is supposed to do.
#4. No more allergies.
Do you know that the top food allergens for dogs are wheat and corn? By eliminating them from your dog’s diet, you’ll end up with a healthier pooch to spend time with. No more allergy drama and piling-up of vet bills—just a happy, healthy four-legged baby, like you've always dreamed of.
If your dog’s breed is particularly prone to allergies or if your dog simply cannot escape from allergens, especially in the spring and summer, then you can also try homeopathic products specifically designed for your dog’s symptoms and condition.
A custom product for your dog might just do the trick, too. Remember that there are no contraindications to feeding your dog raw meat and it can also be used alongside conventional treatments!
#5. Say hello to pearly whites!
Okay, your dog’s teeth may not turn literally pearly white, but it will definitely be a lot better than when your pooch is fed the commercial stuff. It’s not just the teeth, though. Gums will be a lot healthier and bad breath is addressed as well. Your pooch would be as kissable as can be and you won’t feel the need to try to not get "licked" by your fur baby anymore. Even freeze-dried raw dog food and meat can get the job done for this application.
#6. More energy for your pooch.
Ever felt that your canine companion has either too much energy or sometimes not enough energy? What your fur baby eats has a lot of effect on behavior as well as energy levels. A surge of carbs from kibbles can give your dog an energy spike making him or her super restless. As a consequence, the drop makes them feel tired.
Additionally, additives in commercial food can make your pooch almost lethargic at times and a bundle of loose wires the next. Dog parents who’ve placed their Jekyll and Hyde fur babies on the raw dog food diet report a stabilizing of the crazy energy level highs and lows. Wouldn’t you want the same too?
#7. Gimme some challenge!
What would your dog do without kongs and plush toys? Here's the thing. A dog fed with raw meat, particularly those with big bones still attached has no need for these things! They get all their fun from the added physical and mental challenge of having to tackle "large" prey. Bonus points? This also keeps their teeth shiny and strong. And no dog will want to pass up on tasty meat, too!
#8. Expect a boosted immune system.
Why is it that wild dogs and wolves seem to have fewer diseases and health problems compared to our domestic pooches? One factor is definitely their diet. Eating raw meat and food on a frequent basis seems to make them harder than their pampered counterparts. The raw dog food diet menu also features a lot of fatty acids and other immune-boosting nutrients. Not only that but serving raw food reduces the incidence of inflammatory conditions significantly.
#9. It helps keep diabetes and arthritis at bay.
The fatter and older your pet gets, the more prone he or she is to diabetes and arthritis. And of course, no dog parent wants that. By going for raw feeding, you’ll minimize the possibility of having a diabetic pooch by preventing your pooch from having spikes in blood sugar. Moreover, the decreased possibility of inflammatory conditions while boosting immune health helps curb arthritis in the process.
#10. A raw diet helps promote a better physique.
Have you noticed how beautiful wild dogs and wolves are? How beautiful their muscle tone is and how none of them seem to be struggling with weight issues aka dog obesity? It’s because they are on the raw dog food diet! They just don't have the freeze-dried version, but it's still all good!
Just the added challenge of ripping and chewing raw meat is an exercise in itself. Sure your pet may not become automatically buff, but this will surely lead to a better posture and appearance. Now, we just wish this worked for humans too! And speaking of humans…
Raw Dog Food Benefits for Pet Parents
Hey, although this article is about the benefits of raw dog food for dogs, we can’t help being a little bit selfish and sneak in some treats for fellow pet parents, too! We all deserve a pat on the back for at least thinking of feeding our pooches raw as an alternative to commercialized dog food.
So sit back and continue reading to savor the small guilty pleasures we can enjoy from switching to raw feeding. Here are some more awesome things about the raw dog food regimen:
No more guessing and worrying about pet food recalls.
Are you one of those types who get so scared whenever there is a pet food recall? Then the raw dog food diet is your friend. Especially since you’ll be able to eliminate the primary culprit of pet food recalls and contamination in the form of grain!
Contaminated corn (corn with mold on it, that is), expired wheat and nasty chemicals like melamine are the most common reasons why there have been dog food recalls in the past. The worry and the possibility of losing your fur kid due to some company’s negligence is just too much! No one needs that kind of issue in their life, right?
Thankfully, you’re reading this article and you’re most likely thinking of starting your pet on the raw dog food diet. Even with all the time you will have to spend on getting things ready for your dog, it’s well worth it. What about us? Would we spend some extra time at the grocery store shopping for your dog’s raw menu for overall peace of mind? You bet we would and we hope you consider doing it too.
Save on vet bills in the long run.
It’s no secret that pet parents spend a lot on vet bills especially if they're dealing with a senior dog or a sickly one. By going for the raw dog food diet, you can drastically decrease your time and money spent on the vet because your pet will be healthier for longer. Isn’t that great!?
Chances are you’re already doing this for your pet and are just looking for extra resource materials. Or perhaps you’re a complete newbie to raw feeding. No matter where you are in your raw feeding journey, we’d love to hear from you!
The comment section below is just awaiting what you have to share, who knows? It might help someone else too! Feel free to connect with us on Facebook or shoot us a message below.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.
Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.
Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.