Raw Diet for Dogs
Many people believe that a raw diet is the healthiest choice for their dog. For thousands of years raw food provided all the nutrients a dog needed. Most raw food diets are based on raw meat and bones. Included are smaller amounts of raw vegetables, grains and supplements. Basically, this type of diet is composed of the same foods you eat only nothing is cooked.
Proponents of feeding raw food cite benefits including increased resistance to disease, decreased allergies and arthritis, healthier teeth and gums, fewer parasites (including fleas), and decreased doggie odor. Cooking foods can destroy vital nutrients.
Those opposed to following this type of diet focus on concerns about dietary imbalances, bacteria and potential danger from bones. Most holistic vets will agree that there are some risks associated with feeding raw meat and bones.
Slaughter house meat and factory farmed eggs are often contaminated with bacteria including e.coli and salmonella. Dogs are more resistant to this type of food poisoning due to a shorter digestive tract, however this risk is still real especially for senior dogs, puppies and those in poor health.
Thinking about switching to a raw diet for your dog? The first thing to do is talk with your veterinarian, and get a few good books on the subject. There are many opinions about what’s good and what’s not. Books that we recommend include:
Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative
Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy for You and Your Dog
Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
When feeding raw food it is important to follow good food safety practices to keep both your family and canine companion healthy.
- Be sure to wash you hands, bowls, utensils, counter and your dogs bowl after contact with any raw meat.
- Never leave food down for more than 15 - 20 minutes.
- Any leftovers should be thrown out or stored in the refrigerator then cooked for the next meal.
A growing number of companies are offering frozen and freeze dried raw diets. When researching these prepared foods do your homework and read the labels carefully. It is important to remember that raw just means uncooked. It doesn’t necessarily imply quality or balanced nutrition.
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