Raw Food Diet For Dogs

Raw dog food diet has gained a lot of popularity recently, and people continue to discuss its many pros and cons. It’s not surprising that this type of diet is now gaining ground. If you think about it, wild animals are really used to eating raw food as they prey upon their game and eat it right after killing it. The same can be said of sled dogs as well as greyhounds which are both closely related to dogs. In these modern times, the raw dog food diet is largely attributed to the pioneering of Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst.

The main proposition for eating raw dog food is that this process would allow canines to evolve as naturally as their predecessors did. It is assumed that they would also be able to function much better as they do when fully domesticated as household pets and made to eat processed food just as humans do. According to Billinghurst, these commercialized dog food offered in the market today may do more harm for our beloved dogs.

Benefits Of Feeding Your Dog The Raw Diet

There are also lots of known positive results that emerge from allowing dogs to eat raw food. Among them is a recognizable change in their coat which becomes shinier as compared when they are made to eat commercialized or cooked food. Their skin also becomes noticeably healthier. A cleaner set of teeth that is likewise stronger is also said to be achieved by canines that eat raw dog food.

Improves oral health

When you feed your dog the raw diet he will have less tartar build-up and healthier teeth. His oral health will improve without you having to brush his teeth or take him to the veterinarian to clean his teeth. You will also notice that your dog’s breath is much fresher.

Dogs that are given a grain-based food or a commercial diet usually suffer from periodontal disease. But dogs that are fed a raw diet rarely suffer from periodontal disease.

Develops a healthy coat

If your dog has previously suffered from skin conditions such as dry skin, irritated skin or any other skin problems, you probably used antibiotics or medicated washes to treat the conditions. Perhaps you took your dog to the veterinarian for evaluation of the conditions and got medical treatment for your dog.

However, dogs that are fed the raw diet quickly develop a healthy coat and a much healthier skin. Therefore, it would no longer be necessary for you to take your dog to the veterinarian because of any dry, irritated skin or other skin problems. Soon you will discover the benefits that your dog is getting from the raw food. And, of course, you will appreciate the results of those benefits.

In case you didn’t make a switch to raw diet for your dog yet and he is experiencing skin issues, then you may want to read tips on how to prevent skin allergies in dogs.

Improves digestion

Dogs that eat a commercial diet may have problems with their digestive system. However, dogs that are fed a raw diet will ultimately have an improved digestive system and will suffer less digestive ailments. They will be able to absorb the nutrients much better since they are considered living enzymes. You will notice that your dog is producing less stool that is less odorous than when he was fed a grain-based commercial diet.

Will help you financially

People who feed their dogs the raw diet may notice that they spend more money buying raw meat and bones for their dogs than feeding them a commercial diet. However, they will also notice a reduction in their veterinarian bills. The reason for this would be that their dogs are less sickly and have fewer problems that would require medical attention and medication. Therefore, it would not be necessary to be visiting the veterinarian too often.

Actually, you will realize that the increased health benefits that your dog gets from eating a raw diet far exceeds any disadvantages that you may encounter. The bottom line is that by feeding your dog the raw diet overall you end up saving money.

Switching to raw food diet for dogs

There are two different ways to go about switching your dog’s food over to the raw diet. There is a fast way of doing it and there is a slow way. But many people believe that when we want to change a dog’s diet to a different food we should do it gradually. Is it because that’s what we have always been told to do? Anyway, this is not the case with the raw diet.

Most dogs would have no problem switching over from kibble to a cold turkey meal. They may have no problem switching over from any other food to a raw diet. For younger dogs or even for older dogs that do not have digestive problems the fast switch would be ideal. However, there are certain dogs that require the slower version of changing their food to the raw diet.

The fast switch

Many raw diet experts and advocates prefer the fast switch. It is the simplest method to implement and the one that your dog will welcome. To initiate this switch, begin to feed your dog the raw diet in the morning. Thereafter, you can decide how many meals you want to feed your dog for the day. Two meals a day would be ideal, the first one in the morning and the other meal at night. Just make sure that you feed him the raw meal regularly.

When you switch your dog’s food the fast way, do not mix kibble with the raw diet. This can upset your dog’s stomach. Depending on your dog, the mixture could cause severe intestinal problems such as bloating, diarrhea and vomiting. Just go ahead and switch to the raw diet. If your dog has a good appetite and a strong constitution, you won’t have any difficulty to switch his food.

However, if you are concerned that a fast switch of your dog’s diet may affect him, you can have him fast for a day or two to allow sufficient time for your dog to pass the commercial and processed food from his stomach. This will also give enough time for his body to prepare for the change from no commercial food to no food. And then to the richer raw food diet. It will also get him so hungry that he will readily accept the new raw dietary change. So, if you decide to fast your dog before you switch him over to the raw diet, feed him three to four small meals a day of the raw diet for a couple of days.

When you first switch your dog over to the raw diet, whether you want to start him the fast way or the slow way, you can give him the blander version of the raw diet. This will allow time for his intestinal tract to adjust.

The Slow Switch

Certain dogs would prefer to switch over to the raw diet using the slow way. Some dog owners may also prefer to make the switch the slow way because it makes them feel more comfortable.

If your dog falls within one of the following groups, it would be best to switch him over the slow way.

  • dog is very old
  • he has been fed only kibble and is more than 3 to 4 years old
  • pup has digestive problems

Whenever you are ready to implement the slow switch to the raw diet for your dog, follow the general recommendations that veterinarians provide for switching dogs to any new diet. Some of these recommendations are listed below to help you make the switch.

  • Start feeding your dog a meal that contains 75 percent of the meal that you usually give him. Mix it with 25 percent of the raw diet
  • Feed your dog at least two meals of the 75 percent normal food with 25 percent of the raw food. Thereafter, feed him a meal with a mixture of 50 percent of the raw diet and 50 percent of his normal diet
  • If your dog is not handling the 50/50 percent switch well, continue to give him the 50/50 mix for a few days or a few weeks. However, if he is accepting the change well give him the 50/50 mix just for a meal or two. Then move on to the next step
  • You can now provide your dog with a meal or two that contains 75 percent raw food and 25 percent commercial food. If necessary, continue to feed him this 75/25 mixture for a few days more

Some dogs do accept the slow switch to the raw diet. However, there are many dogs that cannot tolerate a mixture of commercial food with the raw diet. If your dog cannot tolerate the mixture, simply switch him over to 100 percent of the raw food.

Complications that can arise

A raw diet is not recommended for dogs that have problems with their immune system. Instead, cook a “raw” diet for your dog either by boiling or sauteing the food in a pan. Even though a raw diet is very safe for most dogs, the live enzymes in the raw food could cause problems for dogs that have issues with their immune system.

Raw Diet For Dogs FAQ

There are many dog owners who are ready to feed their dogs the raw diet but would like to ask some questions before they switch over to it. So, I will address some of the common questions asked when feeding the raw diet to your dog.

Your veterinarian might be the best person to answer some of your questions. He might not be well versed in the particulars of the raw diet but more than likely he could give you some tips or make some suggestions about it. He might also be able to give you some ideas on how you can make sure that your dog’s diet is well balanced. Below we will address some of the basic questions usually asked.

Would my dog be at risk from salmonella?

Since your dog will be eating raw meat, running the risk of salmonella is a cause for concern. However, it has been proven that dogs run very little risk of catching salmonella.

Although some studies show that most dogs are not at risk from salmonella, there are those experts who say that dogs can be at risk. However, dogs rarely, if ever, get very sick from salmonella.

The greater risk from salmonella seems to come from your dog’s feces as a result of eating a raw diet. So be very careful when you are cleaning the areas where your dog has dropped feces.

Also, when you are preparing food for your dog, make sure that all surfaces are clean and that you wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. As long as you take these basic precautions your dog should stay healthy.

How can I afford to feed my dog the raw diet?

It is much more expensive to feed your dog the raw diet than feeding him the usual kibble. Think about it, you are feeding him fresh natural foods. However, if you plan ahead, there are certain things that you can do to cut costs. And some of these are discussed below.

Many raw’ers take food from family meals to feed their dogs. For instance, if the family is having a whole chicken for dinner, save the neck and innards for your dog. Likewise, if the family is having burgers, save a few ounces for your dog.

You can also cut costs by buying parts and pieces from your local grocer’s butcher from whom you can buy it at a very low price or even get it free. Just ask him to save some raw bones for your dog. Furthermore, buy vegetables that you and your family usually eat and save some of it for your dog. Also, whatever food you put aside for your dog taken from food that the family eats, make sure that you feed it to him raw.

If I always travel with my dog, how do I feed him a raw diet?

You can feed your dog a raw diet while on the road but it is a bit more difficult than when you are at home. Below we provide you with some options of what you can do to feed your dog when you are traveling.

  • Freeze daily portions of raw bones and meat. When you are ready to travel put them in a cooler and take them with you.
  • If you are unable to take a cooler with you, you can go shopping for RMB when you reach your destination. However, this could cost you a lot more than if you buy it at home beforehand.
  • On the other hand, you can always feed your dog a simple meal of RMB. You can take with you canned fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna. You can also take along foods like cottage cheese, natural applesauce, and canned vegetables. Any of these are good to feed your dog.

When you are on the road stick to the basics of your dog’s raw diet. Do not feed him any canned dog food or kibble. Remember that your dog’s diet is not just for a day or two but rather for over a period of time. So, you should never worry about how your dog will eat when traveling.

Does feeding my dog raw bones and meat make him blood thirsty and mean?

There is no evidence to show that if a dog eats the raw diet it will make him bloodthirsty and mean. In reality, most of the evidence provided shows that some dogs are more prey driven than others. Likewise, some dogs are more aggressive than others. It is very rare that a dog would become bloodthirsty and mean because of the food that he is fed.

Long before kibble was invented and became the food of choice for dogs, their regular diet was raw meat, bones, and vegetables. They were also fed their owners’ leftovers. If this diet made them bloodthirsty and mean they would not be considered the domestic pet that they are today. In reality, kibble was never the regular way to feed dogs.

It is important for you to understand that some people socialize their dogs just so they can be more aggressive, train them to be more aggressive or their dogs are just naturally aggressive. But aggressiveness or the tendency to be bloodthirsty may have nothing to do with what a dog eats.

How can I switch my older dog to the raw diet?

When you are switching your older dog over from kibble to the raw diet, it is very important that you make the switch slowly. You can start feeding him some bland and low-fat foods slowly adding new foods until your dog completely adjusts to the new diet.

Some people suggest that you add probiotics to his new diet to help fight bad bacteria and increase his immunity. You can do this by feeding him yogurt which contains live cultures or you can add a probiotic supplement to his diet.

However, the best advice that we can give for the switch over is to do it slowly and blandly each time adding more of the new food and less of the old food and see how well your dog tolerates the change.

Can I feed my dog kibble and still feed him a raw diet?

You cannot feed your dog both kibble and a raw diet. Switching his diet back and forth from one to the other can terribly upset his stomach. So you have to decide whether you really want to stick to the raw diet or not.

If for any reason you must combine some kibble into your dog’s raw diet, make sure that you feed him raw meat and bones meal or a veggie meal one day and a kibble meal the next day.

Most people who are passionate about feeding their dog the raw diet will argue that you should never feed your dog kibble while giving them the raw diet and we agree with them. So, if you have decided to feed your dog the raw diet, make sure that you stick to it. However, if you have any doubts about the raw diet, it’s best you research it properly before you switch your dog over to it.

Where can I get raw meaty bones?

You can get raw meaty bones for your dog at the grocery store but these can be very expensive. Try to locate a local butcher who may be able to provide you with raw meaty bones at a much cheaper price. Or you can use the yellow pages to look up butchers or wholesale distributors from whom you can also get raw meaty bones.

If you prefer to buy raw meaty bones in bulk, you may be able to get them at a fairly good discount. However, you may need to purchase a standalone freezer in which to stock the raw meaty bones.

Will my dog have stomach problems?

When you start feeding your dog the raw diet, the main concern would be if your dog would become constipated. If you notice that he is straining or is passing very hard stool, reduce the amount of RMB meals and increase the number of veggie meals. Dogs need fiber to have a good bowel movement.

Should my dog fast?

Dogs in the wild don’t usually eat every day and many of them will fast when necessary. Likewise, many raw’ers will fast their dogs on stressful days, for instance on a day that they will travel or perhaps a day when they are taking their dog to the veterinarian. Also, if you choose, you can fast your dog once a week.

Many people recommend that you fast your dog for a couple of days before you start him on the raw diet. This is to allow his body sufficient time to expel the “old” food before you switch him over to the new food.

Final Thoughts

You know your dog better than anyone else. And you will have a better idea as to what works best for him. However, if you can make a rapid switch from commercial dog food to the raw diet without any problems, we recommend that you do so immediately. It will be best for you and your dog. In this way, you get to move forward with a new food plan for your dog. On top, your dog starts getting the immediate benefits of a new and higher quality diet which he was not getting before.

Leave a Comment