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The Pros and Cons of Raw Food for Dogs

It seems like everywhere you look these days, there's a new food trend. So it stands to reason that while we navigate keto and gluten free food trends, there would be a few for our dogs too. Raw food is one of the biggest dog food trends out there, but is it the right choice for you and your dog? Is it healthier?

We were wondering too, so we did a little research, and here's what we discovered.

What Is the Raw Food Diet for Dogs?

Humans have raw food diets too, but they're usually vegan. In the case of raw food diets for dogs, they are anything but.

Raw food for dogs is usually a mixture of meat, bones and organs, in various preparations, with some produce added into the mix. Basically, according to those who advocate for it, it's the same diet your dog would have eaten centuries ago, if he was a wolf living off the land.

The Benefits of Raw Food for Dogs

Let's start with the good things about a raw food diet for your dog:

  1. You know exactly what they are eating. Commercial foods are a bit of a mystery, but when you feed raw, it's easier to tell what's in the food. IF you make your dog's food yourself, but that can be tricky and time consuming.
  2. If you are making your own raw food, you can also vary and customize what your dog eats.
  3. According to fans of the diet, there are health benefits. Everything from better coats to cancer prevention.

The Downside to Raw Food for Dogs

Raw can be great, but there are some negatives to consider:

  1. It's expensive. Whether you feed your dog home made or purchase it, expect to pay a lot more than you would for commercial pet foods.
  2. Nearly everything you feed your dog could carry contagions. Whether it's prions, parasites or bacteria, there are a lot of potentially harmful things in and on raw food products (especially meat) that could be dangerous or even deadly.
  3. It's very hard to get the balance just right. Dogs are omnivores, which means they need meat, vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates - albeit in different proportions to us. But just like us, when you get this wrong, you can cause potentially dangerous deficiencies.
  4. It's difficult. You're going to spend a lot of time preparing food, and you're going to need freezer space. A LOT of freezer space.

How Do You Feed a Raw Food Diet?

As you can see, there are great things as well as challenges when it comes to raw food. But there are a few tips we can give you if you want to give it a try.

  1. Speak to your veterinarian about the choice. They will be able to give you great tips when it comes to balancing a raw food diet!
  2. Find suppliers you trust. You're going to have to be buying high grade meat products and produce if you want to safely feed your dog raw, so find suppliers you trust.
  3. If you don't have the time to try home made raw food, look for a raw food supplier in your area. Many large cities have companies that supply raw food products.
  4. Remember that major dietary changes can cause havoc in your dog's digestive system, so start slowly. Feed a little bit at at time, mixed with his current food, so that you can ease him into it.
  5. Make sure your dogs vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date.

As far as raw food goes, we're pretty neutral, and there's not enough evidence either way to make a definitive decision. If your dog is healthy, your vet is okay with it, and you have the time and money to, give it a try! And if you have something to say about raw food that we haven't mentioned here, log in and add your comment below!

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