If you’re anything like me, you pay attention to what you put in your body and know that proper nutrition is the basis for good health.
I, myself, am a vegetarian, and I always try to eat natural foods to fuel my body.
But when it comes to our dogs, we don’t always think like that. We head over to the supermarket and buy processed kibble that’s far from natural. It might be convenient, but it’s actually not very good for your dog.
Even the “premium” brands of kibble aren’t the healthiest option for your four-legged friend.
I’ve been doing a lot of research lately into the raw-dog-food diet and, believe me, I was shocked at the things I learned about feeding kibble.
I’ve even talked with some experts on my podcast show about this topic.
That’s when I discovered all of the benefits to feeding your dog a raw diet.
And I was convinced.
Because I have been feeding my own dogs a combination of raw dog food and kibble for quite some time.
But knowing what I know now, I’m working toward a completely raw-food diet for all of my dogs.
Should you do the same?
Let me share a little bit about what I know along with helpful resources so you can make the best decision for your dog.
What’s Wrong with Kibble?
Kibble is often the default dog food, and I get why.
It’s easy, convenient, clean… and your dog certainly seems to like it.
But the truth is that kibble is processed, and not highly digestible.
Many of the nutrients that you see on the label of your dog’s food are not naturally occurring nutrients. Most of the vitamins and minerals are created synthetically.
To top it off, commercial kibble is filled with mycotoxins, or toxic substances that can cause allergies and even cancer. And it’s missing those valuable enzymes that your dog NEEDS for a healthy gut.
And while your dog is surely a part of your family, they are still an animal, and they are CARNIVORES! It’s in their nature to want to eat real food and not man-made dog food.
They’re just not built to thrive on fillers and other synthetic nutrients and flavorings.
But you might be thinking…
“Doggy Dan, my vet recommended my dog’s food. How can it possibly be bad?”
While your vet is great at providing emergency care, running tests, and performing surgery, they are astonishingly taught very little about nutrition in vet school. And a majority of the training they receive is (GASP!) provided by pet food companies.
So it comes as no surprise that they would recommend food made by those very pet food companies.
If your dog struggles with allergies, weight issues, digestive problems, or any other common conditions, feeding them kibble isn’t doing them any favors. But a raw-food diet might just be the solution to your dog’s issues.
What Are the Benefits to a Raw Diet?
Before we talk about the benefits, I want to be very clear on what a raw dog diet means.
A raw dog diet consists of organ meats, muscle meats, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, and dog-friendly fruits and vegetables. Some dairy products like yogurt can also be included.
What exactly does that mean? It means things like raw chicken (on or off the bone), grass-fed beef, animal liver or kidneys, raw eggs, broccoli, spinach or apples.
The key to a raw diet is to make sure that the food is fresh and uncooked. Be sure that you’re purchasing from a reputable source, so you don’t get meat from a sick animal.
There are even subscription services that can deliver raw dog food to your door consistently, which means less work for you!
Advocates of the raw-food diet for dogs cite healthier skin, shinier coats, increased energy, and improved dental health as just a few benefits.
More importantly, many report that a raw-dog-food diet can improve health ailments and digestive issues. Common issues like allergies and gastrointestinal problems can benefit greatly by eating a diet of raw meat, organs, and bones.
That’s because raw food is easily digestible by dogs!
And a raw diet removes a lot of the artificial allergens that might have been introduced to the kibble you’ve been feeding your pup.
When you continue to treat issues like allergies with medication, you’re not addressing the root cause of your dog’s reaction. A raw-food diet gets to the bottom of the issue, while eliminating the use of pills or other treatments.
It might seem dangerous to have raw meat sitting out for other members of your family to come in contact with. But if you take proper precautions and wash your hands after handling raw meat and keep your dog’s feeding area clean, you shouldn’t see any problems.
But, you might be thinking, how are the bones safe to eat? Won’t my dog choke on them?
As long as the bones are raw and uncooked, they aren’t harmful to your dog and do not pose a choking hazard. Cooked bones can create shards of bone that can cause inflammation and damage throughout the digestive tract.
So it’s important that you’re feeding them RAW meat, bones, and organs.
Are you ready to start feeding your dog a raw diet? Here’s what to do next…
How to Start a Raw Diet for Your Dog
Making the switch to raw dog food doesn’t need to be intimidating! And, thankfully, there are various options you can choose from if you decide to go raw!
Even more important to remember is that a little change can go a long way!
If you’re ready to take the big leap, you can find 100% raw diets provided by holistic vets. Simply follow the recipe and get the ingredients you need from your local butcher!
If this route is intimidating to you, you can always buy pre-packaged raw meals. You can find some options in your local pet store or, an even better option, is finding food delivery services online.
Finally, freeze-dried raw food can be found in many specialty pet food stores. This is a great option because freeze-dried food isn’t messy, doesn’t expire quickly, and is simple to feed. All you have to do is let the freeze dried bits soak in some warm water 10 minutes prior to feeding!
Best of all, if you’re not ready to make the full commitment to feeding a 100% raw food diet to your dog, you can add some raw food into your dog’s kibble to give them some of the naturally occurring nutrients.
How easy is that?
*If you are ready to make the switch to a fully raw diet, you should get rid of the kibble and fast your dog for 12 hours before serving up the raw foods.*
Be prepared – at first your dog may not react well to the raw foods. This is because they don’t yet have the digestive enzymes they need to break down the raw food. If you want to slowly wean your dog you can try serving cooked meat first (no bones!) so their body can have a chance to adjust.
Learn even more about the raw dog food diet on my podcast, where I talk to experts who know A LOT more than I do! Here are some of my current favorite episodes regarding the topic…
Links related on this topic:
- DeDe Murcer Moffett: Raw Food Diets for Dogs – Should You Make the Switch?
- Beating Cancer With Healthy Dog Food Recipes, with Ryan Alarid
- Dr. Conor Brady: The Amazing Benefits of Raw Food for Dogs
- Pet Food or Pet Fooled? A Look Inside a Questionable Industry
- Dr. Karen Becker: Zoopharmacognosy & The Science Behind Healthy Dog Diets
~ Doggy Dan