There is much controversy surrounding whether feeding your dog raw food is the best option for their health. In some circles it is believed that a diet based on what canines ate before they became domestic animals is most beneficial while veterinarians and the Food and Drug Administration disagree with this idea. There is much documented evidence pertaining to both sides of the argument and some of them will be examined in this article.
What Are the Benefits of A Raw Food Diet?
Based on what was put forward in 1993 by a veterinarian from Australia named Ian Billinghurst, a raw food diet for your dog would comprise raw meat with or without the bones, whole or ground bones, uncooked eggs, innards, vegetables and fruit. He dubbed it the BARF diet which means Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
He proposed that if dogs are fed in this way they benefit by having more healthy skin, vibrant coats, cleaner and healthier teeth, increased levels of energy, fresh breath, weight control, better digestion, stronger immunity and small easier to pass stool. Finally it is more financially feasible for pet owners since you will be able to feed your dog appropriately from your family’s supply of food.
Raw Food versus Dry Food
How does raw food compare to the usual dry dog food? For starters dry dog food is processed. For humans we know that processed foods came about mainly out of convenience and are not the healthiest nutritional options, with all the preservatives that have been added in. The same is true with dry food for dogs.
This is evidenced by many of the illnesses which dogs have been developing in recent years which were not issues years ago. Some of these include cancer, dental problems, food allergies and even becoming overweight.
Whereas dry processed food is marketed as nutritionally balanced, the same can be achieved with a raw food diet for dogs but without the harmful preservatives. Dry dog food does not contain the digestive enzymes dogs need to aid with digestion, as they would have been destroyed with processing.
Raw food contains these enzymes in live form so dogs can easily tolerate and assimilate their raw meals. Because dry foods generally contain grains and carbohydrates that are not very compatible a dog’s anatomy, they result in large volumes of high smelling stools.
In contrast a raw food diet for your dog will reduce the amount, size and smell of the stool as your dog will be able to use up most of the food they have consumed. The proportion of meat proteins in dry food required for dogs is not usually sufficient to satisfy the dog’s daily dietary needs. This results in deficiency related illnesses.
With a raw food diet, this can simply be solved by nutritional planning to ensure that your canine enjoys a well balanced diet.
Organic Raw Food Versus Non-Organic Raw Food
Organic produce is food which has been cultivated without the use of harmful pesticides, genetically modified organisms, chemical and synthetic fertilizers, sludge from sewage and radiation procedures. Regarding animal food sources, these have been reared and grown without the use of growth factors and antibiotics.
Organic raw foods given to dogs are naturally the healthiest option and contribute to their optimal health. Natural means would have been used to tend produce during the growth cycle and to raise animals for the highest nutritional value.
Conversely, non-organic raw foods present several issues. The meats from non-organically raised animals may contain growth hormones as well as antibiotics. These would have been added to boost the growth rate of these animals as well as protect them from infections. Unfortunately these components would be passed through the meat to the animal or anyone consuming them.
The same scenario exists with non-organically grown produce. In many cases the effects of these additives is cumulative and pose a greater risk to the end user than to the produce itself. These methods also lower the nutritional quality of the food.
A spin off from these practices is that not only do non-organically raised animals contain antibiotics and growth hormones, but they also feed on non-organically raised produce and commercially produced feeds which contain a host of other harmful ingredients. These are the same ingredients that dog owners who feed their dogs with raw food aim to avoid.
Some of these non-organically produced meats would have been from sources containing traces of diseased animals also. The harmful possibilities of substances which can taint and devalue the food are numerous.
Proper research is important in making the best decision on how to care for your beloved dog(s). When transitioning your dog from commercially produced feeds to a raw food diet, it is best to do so over time since their system will take time to readjust to what it ought to be.
Taking the time to educate yourself on the nutritional requirements and the appropriate proportions will ensure that your dog will thrive on a raw food diet.