Exploring the Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Raw Food Makes a Healthy Dog

Veterinarian Examines Healthy Dog
Veterinarian Examines Healthy Dog

What Do We Mean by "Raw Food"?

As the raw food diet for humans gains popularity, many pet owners or pet guardians are wondering about the raw food diet for dogs. Is it really the preferred method of promoting canine health and longevity?

What do we Mean by Raw Food?

As the name suggests, the raw food diet advocates eating only foods that are uncooked and unprocessed

This approach is based on the opinion that food nutrients are destroyed when we cook, heat or otherwise process the food. Advocates of this food plan make the point that within the animal kingdom, only humans eat food that we have cooked, processed, dried or preserved. All other animals eat their food raw, unless trained by humans to eat cooked food.

Supporters of the raw food diet maintain that poor nutrition and poor diet are at the root of many diseases found in both animals and humans. Many pet owners claim that their ill or diseased dogs have experienced a fast recovery once they are given a raw food diet.

The Natural Canine

Canine Howls at the Moon
Canine Howls at the Moon

Rationale for Giving Dogs a Raw Food Diet

The explanation is that domesticated canines have developed eating habits and a lifestyle similar to that of their owners. In the process, they have begun developing diseases and veterinary conditions that replicate those of humans. We often hear of dogs developing heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and obesity, for example. While dogs may live longer, thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, their lives, and the quality of their lives, are impacted by these diet-related conditions.

Raw food advocates point out that commercial dog food is typically processed and cooked. It has a high meat content but falls short of the mark when it comes to nutrition.

On the other hand, opponents to the raw food diet for dogs point out that dogs are by nature carnivores or meat eaters. Therefore, it makes sense to feed them meat. The counter-argument to this is that when wild carnivores hunt, they typically eat the contents of their prey’s stomach before eating the other parts of the animal.

Pet owners that have put their dogs on a raw food diet report other benefits beyond the health issues discussed earlier. They claim that when a dog eats only raw food, the breath odor improves, the coat becomes glossier and shinier and the stools show improvement as well.

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Tips for the Raw Food Diet for Canines

While humans have problems digesting raw meats, dogs do not have this problem. Their digestive system is better designed to handle this type of food. Red meats are the raw food of choice. Meat from chicken, turkey and other poultry is likely to have tiny bones that could choke your animal.

Advocates of the raw food diet for dogs do not recommend feeding your dog an exclusive diet of raw meat. Instead, they advocate that raw meat should encompass only a small percentage of the daily diet. The rest of the diet should be in the form of fruits, seeds and vegetables.

Giving your dog a raw food diet may entail a little more work on your behalf than does feeding canned or dried dog foods. However, it is possible to buy frozen dog foods in large amounts. Freezing food safeguards the nutrition, so there is no problem using this food source

Thaw the food before serving. Some pet owners cook the food before serving. Although this does not strictly qualify as the raw food diet, and although some of the nutrition will be destroyed while cooking, advocates maintain that this food is still a healthier choice than canned or died dog food.

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Comments 3 comments

Allen Garcia 4 years ago

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David Stone 2 years ago from New York City

We have cats, but the arguments are similar. The two main drawbacks to raw food diets are 1) preparation time - most people don't find the time to prepare their own foods, let alone their dogs, and 2) the care required to make sure the food is prepared carefully and safely. One of the benefits of cookings is that cooking kills bacteria and other potential contaminants. Raw food is basically unprotected food.

Even so, some of the most reliable experts are firmly in favor of raw food diets, as long as they are carefully prepared.


junecampbell profile image

junecampbell 2 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Excellent points. The whole idea is to optimize our pet's health, not harm it. I am a cat owner myself. I used to have a dog, but no more. Pet owners in my city are fortunate in that we have a couple of pet stores that provide raw food which has been prepared properly and is safe to eat (or so we have been assured).

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