Is it risky feeding a raw dog food to your dog?According to Dr. Geoff Johnson, a homeopathic veterinarian from Cambridge University, United Kingdom, “If raw meat and raw bones killed dogs, then they wouldn’t exist because there would be no wolves and foxes. They would have died out millions of years ago.”
“… And my argument people is that you can’t run a Ferrari on paraffin. Why do we expect to grow good healthy bodies on poor quality ingredients?” Dr. Jane Keogh, a homeopathic veterinarian from The University of Bristol, United Kingdom.
Benefits of Raw Dog Food
Healthy Teeth, Gums and Strong Jaw
Raw dog food diets provide a natural way to brush dog’s teeth and allow them to fully utilize their teeth as a tool by which it is meant to be. Chewing raw meat and bones strengthen the jaw and teeth. The raw meaty bones act as a scraper, keeping the enamel of the teeth clean and remove plaques. Tearing of the meat and connective tissue in between teeth serves as floss, keeping the gum line clean as well.
Improved Energy Level and Muscle Conformation
It is noticeable that dogs that are raw fed have increased energy level. Red meat and fish are natural source of creatine monohydrate. This chain of amino acid can rapidly release the energy stored in your dog’s body, helps gain more muscle mass and good muscle tone.
Strong Immune System
Raw meat contains natural sources of protein, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids, which serves as fuel to the body and help the immune system function properly.
Improved Coat Condition and Healthy Skin
40% of the proteins a dog eat goes into their skin and coat. Thus, this protein helps maintain the collagen and keratin needed for healthy skin and shiny coat. In general, raw diets have high digestible protein and moisture compared to kibbles.
Better Digestion and Stool Quality
Raw dog food stimulates the digestive system to release more gastric juice, which helps in proper digestion of meat and bones. Raw vegetables and fruits also give the quintessential fiber needed for smooth digestion, which can be observed by the small amount of stool. Smaller stool indicates high absorption rate of food intake.
Less Doggy Odour and Fresh Breath
By far the most common cause of doggy odour and bad breath is the lack of fresh ingredients in the diet. Processed food such as kibble contains high amounts of preservative to maintain a long shelf life and added chemicals to make up for the loss of nutritional content through the high-temperature cooking process. Dogs on a fresh, high quality raw diet have much less odour in comparison
Risks of Raw Dog Food
Threats to Humans and Dog Health
Raw foods can could be contaminated with bacteria that can cause “foodborne illness”,if the raw food has been frozen for quite a while, improper storage, if the utensils being used to cut the meat and other materials are not disinfected properly. Raw meat may contain intestinal parasites that can harm both dogs and humans. Proper handling of raw meat is essential.
A balanced diet for a healthy dog should contain 75 – 80 percent meat/organs/bones and 20 – 25 percent veggies/fruit. The amount of vegetables can be lowered if green tripe is provided in the diet. This will mimic the GI contents of prey, providing fiber and antioxidants as well
Fresh, whole food provides the majority of nutrients pets need, and a micro nutrient vitamin/mineral mix takes care of the deficiencies that do exist, namely iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, vitamin D, folic acid, taurine and Biotin (for cats).
Keep in mind that just because nutritional deficiencies aren’t obvious in your pet doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Health issues caused by nutritional deficiencies can take years before they show any symptoms.
Bones Can Choke
Dr. Karen Becker has a great article on which bones are suitable and which aren’t, you can read the article here.
In summary, the best type of bone to feed are hollow, non weight-bearing bones of birds (typically chicken wings and chicken necks).
They are soft, pliable and do not contain marrow.
Undoubtedly, feeding raw food diet has pros and cons. For all the threat that this so-called “contaminants” posses, it is worth remembering that many human food products pose a much worst threat than raw foods.
The guidelines on food hygiene for preparing and storing food for human consumption applies to raw foods for dogs.
Proper handling, hygiene, caring for your dog should drastically minimize the risks. And remember, Dr. Theo Raynor once said, “the benefits should outweigh the risks”.
May this article guides you in your quest of natural and holistic diet for your beloved dogs.