Top Dog Tips - Raw Dog Food Diet

The Let's Talk is our new weekly column published where Top Dog Tips editors will bring interesting topics for discussion.

This allows our team a chance to throw around some great tips, tricks, and information that we've all picked up in our years of being dog owners.

Missed our first Let's Talk column? Check it out here!

In this topic, we will talk about the transition to a raw dog food diet, its effects on your pooch, and how to do the switch as properly as you can. However, our editor has just started the raw dog food transition and updates are still in progress.

Have you been thinking about switching your dog to a new dog food diet? You may relate well to one of our editors:

“Our family recently lost one of our boxers, Maddie, to lymphoma and that has gotten me thinking about the importance of the dog foods that we feed our pets.”

Raw Dog Food Diet: Why Dog Owners Make the Switch

When it comes to dog food, there are so many options on the market right now. There are a lot of popular homemade recipes floating around as well, so what’s the best option?

You should hear the story of our editors on what made her make the switch to a raw food diet for dogs:

“I’ve had dogs my entire life, and when I was younger all of our family dogs were fed traditional commercial dog food.

It wasn’t the bottom of the barrel cheap stuff, but it was just your average dog food. No special ingredients and it had fillers, preservatives, and additives, I’m sure.

When I got my first dog on my own, a boxer named Roxy, I began feeding her the same type of dog food.”

Raw Dog Food Diet
Raw Dog Food vs Regular Dog Food

Raw Dog Food: Starting the Healthy Diet Change for Your Dog

Most pet owners would think about starting a healthy diet for their dogs just as they practice it themselves. You may be aware of the junk foods that people eat and later ruin our health in the long run.

The case is the same when it comes to heavily processed dog food that is packed with preservatives. Because of this, our editor has decided to give a raw diet for dogs as a healthier option for her pooch.

“This was a few years back when the push for healthier human food was beginning to take off. Everyone was looking for all-natural products, organic foods, and healthier options. There were constantly articles in the newspaper and segments on the nightly news about certain chemicals causing cancer and other human diseases. Like many people at the time, I began to slightly change my own diet.”

“I certainly don’t eat healthy and I do eat processed foods from time to time, but I’ve cut out a lot of the junk that I used to eat and I began thinking that it may be wise to do the same thing for my dogs. Now I feed them a higher quality food with no wheat, no corn, and no soy fillers. Real protein is the number one ingredient in their dog food, and I can certainly notice a difference.”

“They eat less, poop less, their coats are healthier, and they’ve lost weight. Until recently I thought that this food was good enough, but lately I’ve been wondering if we should switch to a raw food diet.”

Raw Meat for Dog Food? Why Not Choose Healthy, Organic Kibbles Instead?

Dogs descend from wild animals that would not be happy eating a diet consisting of dry kibble and a few dog treats every now and then. They crave whole foods, vegetables, and nutrients that are not found in most commercial dog food.

Raw Food Diet
Photo: Larry Hoffman

“Yes, I did think about just switching them to an even healthier dry kibble, but if I’m going to spend the money on top of the line dog food, why not just go raw? I know the risks of salmonella and I’ve read about the other risks as well, but it just seems to me that the positive effects of the raw food diet drastically outweigh the risks.

“I am a firm believer that it is the toxins, chemicals, and junk in our foods that is leading to the drastic increase in human diseases and I believe the same to be true for dogs as well. Going back to a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein seems like the best option to me. So, like any good dog owner, before I switch to anything new I do the research.”

Is Raw Dog Food Healthy and Safe?

That’s where it gets tricky. About the only consistent thing in all the research done on raw food diets for dogs is the overwhelming amount of conflicting information. Likewise, the raw dog food diet is fairly new in the pet industry.

There isn’t a lot of research to back up any of the positive or negative information claimed about the diet. Dog owners don’t want to switch their pet’s diet based on an assumption by many leading researchers.

Yes, these people are experts in their field, and they certainly know a lot more about canine nutrition, but it pays to do more research.

You may want to see 100% proven to be true facts showing which diet is best for your dog. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen just yet.

All dogs are different and they all have their own individual dietary needs, so it is up to pet owners to do as much research to select the diet believed will best meet those needs.

Of course, our veterinarians are here to help us with this quest. But with all their advice and expertise, the buying decision still boils down to the dog owners such as yourself.

What Happens During the Transition to Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Here's a personal account of our editor who has started a raw food diet for their dogs:

Raw Food Diet
Photo: Personal Creations

“As I mentioned earlier, we lost one of our boxers a couple of months back. We have another boxer, Chloe (who you may recognize from last week’s column), and she is very lonely. Boxers are a very social breed who enjoy the companionship of humans and form strong bonds with other dogs. We have decided to bring a puppy into our family to help Chloe deal with the loss of her sister. I want to begin feeding a raw food diet when the puppy comes on the first of September.

“I will be spending the next three weeks slowly transitioning Chloe to a raw food diet and by the time the puppy gets here she should be eating 100% raw. Due to the excessive amount of dog food recalls in the past few months, I will be making my own homemade dog food. As I mentioned last week, Chloe has a heart condition so she will be eating a heart healthy diet with most of her protein coming from fish and chicken.

I will use a lot of the same ingredients for the puppy’s food although she will need a differently balanced puppy diet than Chloe. I’m interested to see how our new puppy does with the diet. I wonder if her overall health will be better than others dogs that we’ve had that ate commercial dog food? Chloe is relatively healthy, other than her heart condition of course, but I’m hoping that the raw food diet will increase her energy level and add to her overall health and wellbeing as well.”

Is a Raw Dog Food Diet Good for Dogs with Diseases?

Wondering if a raw food diet for dogs could be safe for your pooch? Our editor has a puppy with several previous illnesses that started a raw diet.

“Chloe has had eye infections, urinary tract infections, and digestive health issues in the past. So, I’m curious to see how she will do on the raw food diet. I’ve consulted with our veterinarian extensively on this. She believes that this new diet will be better for both Chloe and our new puppy.

However, she did caution me to make sure that I stick to reputable recipes to make sure that both Chloe and the puppy are getting the nutrients they need.

We’ve discussed the recommended daily allowances for both dogs. Obviously, while the puppy is young and growing, her food will need to be rich in the nutrients that will help her grow.

Chloe will need a little different diet because she is middle-aged. If you’re considering any change in diet, especially to a raw dog food diet, you should consult your vet.

That way, you'll find out the recommended daily allowances for your pet. One of the biggest risks with this diet is nutritional deficiencies.

I understand the risks of diseases like salmonella and e coli, but we will make sure our meat is fresh and organic.”

What is the B.A.R.F. Diet?

This abbreviation may have two meanings, but this refers to a raw food diet for dogs. The principle starts with feeding raw dog food that is composed of healthy, raw, lean meat. 

The B.A.R.F. diet is not entirely made of meat, but there's a mix of high protein and lesser contents of fat and carbohydrates.

The raw food diet for dogs may include:

  • Raw, lean meat
  • Bones with meat
  • Organ meat
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Supplements and vitamins

How Much Raw Dog Food Should You Feed?

Before starting a new raw diet for dogs, you need to consult with your vet first. In most cases, it would depend on the dog's weight and age. 

Raw dog food is packed with protein and nutrients. But remember that even when you're starting a raw diet for dogs, make sure to keep them hydrated at all times.

Benefits of Raw Food Diet

Most pet owners are hesitant about a raw dog food diet for their dogs because of the risk of salmonella. However, there are many benefits of feeding raw dog food. 

For instance, starting a raw food diet for dogs will result in:

  • Better development of lean muscles (when fed in good proportions)
  • More vibrant energy
  • Improve the dog's skin and coat
  • Cleaner teeth and breath

Aside from the benefits of raw food diet for your dogs, it has a good effect on the environment. It lessens the amount of food waste, and a raw food diet also prompts less animal waste.

Raw Dog Food Diet: Making the First Step!

Have you been thinking about switching your pooch to a raw dog food diet?  Despite the controversial information and hesitations, you'd be surprised at the benefits of a raw food diet for dogs.

The best thing about a raw diet for dogs is that you can choose different versions. For instance, you can opt for freeze-dried dog food that has raw ingredients.

Your dog will develop leaner muscles given the high protein and fewer carbohydrate contents of raw dog food. It's also organic so you don't have to worry about preservatives or heavily processed meat ingredients.

What are your thoughts on raw dog food diets? Do you have any experiences to share? Any tips, pros, and cons of using a raw dog food diet with your own pooch? Let me know and let's talk!

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