Are you on the fence about whether to feed your dog raw food or not? Too much confusing and conflicting information out there?
Let me simplify. Here are 3 layman’s terms pro’s and con’s to feeding your dog raw food.
Pro #1: Your Dog Will Be Healthier
There are 3 basic reasons your dog will be healthier:
1. When dogs are fed raw meat and bones they salivate. That saliva is thick, mucusy and packed full of enzymes. Their body needs to create this in order to aid in digestion and immunity. When they are not fed raw their body does not create the same saliva, leaving them vulnerable to parasites, colds, allergies, the list goes on and on.
2. Their organs will function better due to the natural hydration from the raw meat.
3. Raw food only takes about 4 hours to digest, kibble takes 24. It’s so hard for a dog’s digestive system to be constantly working. That’s why some dogs will occasionally go on ‘hunger strikes’. They know their bodies need a break. With raw, since it digests so quickly, their bodies are not constantly using all their energy to digest.
Pro #2: Your Dog Will Shed Less, Poop Less, Have Cleaner Teeth and Fresher Breath
Because there are no preservatives in raw food there is less waste, simple as that!
They will also have cleaner teeth, healthier gums and fresher breath. Chewing a bone for a dog is like brushing teeth for us. They chew those raw bones and it naturally scrapes the plaque off their teeth. Cleaner teeth means fresher breath and overall better health.
Pro #3: Your Dog Will Be Happier
Dogs live for 3 things; their pack, their jobs and their food. One third of their lives is food. They love it!
Can you imagine what it must be like for a dog to eat nothing but the same dry, flavorless kibble every day of their lives? How dull and boring is that?
Now imagine a dog who is fed a variety of juicy meats and interesting flavors. An entire third of their lives is filled with excitement and anticipation!
Con #1: It’s More Work
Yes, there is some forethought that comes with raw feeding. At the very least you have to remember to take it out of the freezer everyday. You also have to make sure you are feeding a weekly balanced diet. Since most raw foods are not a complete meal you really do need to add some oils, bones and possibly some supplements.
Con #2: Most Vets Do Not Support It
It’s not always easy finding a vet who supports raw feeding. So your vet may criticize you and point out what, in their opinion, is wrong with your choice to feed raw. However those same vets will also present you with their own brand of food to buy for your dog. They will endorse their vet food and they might even sound convincing. But ask yourself this; is it not a conflict of interest? I mean do you buy your groceries from your family doctor? Remember, veterinarians are not nutritionists. There is little to no nutrition education in the vet school’s. When it comes to nutritional needs, contact a nutritionist, not a veterinarian.
Con #3: You Need to Learn More
There is definitely some educating to be done on your part. When it comes to raw feeding, variety is the key. You need to learn about different proteins, oils, supplements, bones and organs. If you do not feed a proper balance you might be doing more harm then good.
Brenda McBurnie is a professional certified dog trainer and behavior expert who has always had a deep love for dogs. She opened a dog daycare/health food store for dogs in 2002, but has recently sold her successful dog business in exchange for dog blogging.
Her blog, doggiebloggie.ca focuses on positive reinforcement dog training and dog health & nutrition. She completed her small animal natural nutrition certification and has used that along with all her years of experience working with dogs to create an educational, easy to read blog about dogs.