February 22, 2012

Raw Food Diet for Dogs: a Good Idea?

Filed under: dog not eating — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:10 am

Pet owners have recently embraced the best ingredients for their dog’s pet food, meaning that there has been a boom in the high-end prepared dog food industry. Another new option for dogs is raw food.

canine teeth careThe trend has particularly taken off in New York City. It consists of specially prepared foods like uncooked lamb livers, bison, alfalfa sprouts, and kale. Yet, raw food diets are not a new initiative; many dogs were fed uncooked meat before kibble was introduced in the 1950s.

The advocates of the raw food diet give multiple anecdotes as evidence of raw food diet benefits. Below is a list of the pros and cons of the raw food diet. Be an informed pet owner and make a decision on whether the raw food diet is right for you pet.

Pros:

  1. Raw food acts as a natural tooth brush.
  2. The time it takes a dog to chew a raw meaty bone gives their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving (aka you don’t need to worry about your dog being unable to digest it).
  3. Advocates argue that sluggish dogs become completely new dogs once they have begun the new raw food diet.
  4. Raw bones are safer than cooked bones, because they don’t splinter.
  5. Your dog will have better breath.
  6. Raw food diets are ideal for dogs that need to lose weight – they contain fewer calories and more energy than regular kibble – or for dogs with other diet related diseases, such as diabetes
  7.  No chemicals, preservatives, sweeteners, fillers and additives.
  8. Better digestion – natural raw food passes through easier.

raw food diet

Cons:

  1. On the other hand, there are many risks associated with the raw food diet, including sanitary concerns (the food carries microbes that could harm the pet and the household) and the possibility that the diet is not nutritionally balanced.
  2. Modern dogs have been domesticated for centuries (or thousands of years), so they may not be able to properly digest raw food.
  3. Some dogs with allergies can’t stomach raw food diets.
  4. The benefits aren’t proven; they’re anecdotal.
  5. Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.
  6. They are time-intensive: as an owner, you will have to take the time to figure out what raw meat is the best for your dog, and this will take time. Additionally, you need to be present when the dog is eating they’re bone – you don’t want them to swallow a bone!
  7. Raw food diets are more expensive.

Warning to all: before starting a raw food diet, you should consult with your veterinarian, that way he or she will know what to watch for in future visits. And if a raw food diet isn’t right for your dog, but you are looking to increase the nutritional value of your dog’s meals, consider a nutritional supplement.

About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

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