Benefits of Raw Dog Food Diets + Making Your Own at Home!

Posted by Megan Swinney

With raw food diets increasing in popularity, we take a look at the health benefits for your pup. 

Raw dog food manufacturers claim that the benefits of raw dog food outweigh the cost-effectiveness of traditional kibble, even the most high-quality. The switch to raw dog food may seem strange since pet food has long centered around dry foods. However, many dog owners are seriously considering the benefits, especially if their pup is having health problems.

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

A raw food diet for dogs is similar to a raw food diet for their owners, with one big difference, a pups' diet includes raw meat. The diet focuses on meats, vegetables, fruits, and bones that are all freshly prepared.

While the popular trend may seem newer, it actually has been around for quite some time. According to WebMD, Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst brought up the idea of feeding pets what he called the BARF diet in 1993. The Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet took the practice that was already being used with greyhounds and sled dogs and applied it to house pets.

He based his thought process on the fact that dogs were originally carnivores before they became domesticated animals. Overall the grain-based commercial pet foods did not have benefits for dog's health. He believed that in the long term, it would actually harm dogs' digestive systems and that they need more of a balanced diet.

Benefits Of A Raw Food Diet

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Besides having a fantastic flavor and not having to wonder what is in your pup's food, raw dog food can have many health benefits for your pooch. For example, if your dog is having problems with obesity, a raw food diet may help with weight loss. According to WebMD's Pets section, some of the health benefits of a raw dog food diet are:

  • Healthier skin
  • Shinier coats
  • Better dental health
  • High energy levels
  • Smaller stool

I mean, really? What pet owner doesn't want their pup to have smaller poops? Beyond that, having cleaner teeth lends to your dog's overall health and improves their immune systems. Life is much better when all those fillers and additives are not in their food, taking up space.

Drawbacks of a Raw Food Diet

If you are a big user of dry dog food, one of the more significant drawbacks for dog owners is that it may not be as convenient to use raw food as it is to have kibble. However, many raw pet food manufacturers have made it easier on pet parents. Instead of making a homemade meal, you can buy it in a packet for your pup. There are also freeze-dried packs that you can purchase too.

Pet owners genuinely care about their pups' well-being and what their dog really needs. Some things to watch out for with raw feeding are:

  • Increase in salmonella chances. 
  • ?Possible e. Coli 
  • L. monocytogenes
  • Possible Listera

Many of these health issues can arise with homemade diets and prepackaged raw foods. Since there are no preservatives, it is possible for the pathogens that cause these bacterias to get into the raw dog food. However, buying quality ingredients and having careful handling and proper food preparation can also help reduce the chance of your pup picking up one of these bacterias. The FDA has frequently cautioned against the raw dog food diet doing many studies point out these issues. However, even dry dog food has gone through recalls due to some of these same issues or high metal levels or Aflatoxin levels.  Currently, the FDA does not recommend a raw dog food diet for pups and does not believe it has any wellness benefits.

How To Make Raw Food Bowls

If you prefer to make your own raw dog food, then you want to make sure you have all of the ingredients that your dog needs for healthy skin, gut, and bones. In addition, raw foods optimize the antioxidants that your pup gets making the food healthier.

Unlike humans, dogs can have raw meat to eat and eat both organ and muscle meat. They also enjoy meaty bones every now and then. The AKC says that your dog should probably not eat raw eggs since they are some bacterial risks, but many people do use that option. Eggs have many health benefits for your pup, like fatty acids, iron, protein, and a whole host of vitamins.

You also need to make sure they are getting enough phosphorus and calcium in their diet to ensure they stay healthy. You can also consult a veterinary nutritionist to ensure your pup is getting the right proportions of meat, organs, fruits, and vegetables.

For more follow our Wide Open Pets Facebook page. 

READ MORE: The Health Benefits of High-Fiber Dog Food in Your Pet's Diet

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Benefits of Raw Dog Food Diets + Making Your Own at Home!