Feeding a raw food diet to dogs has become increasingly popular with some dog owners in the last 20-30 years, among others, wrote books dealing with the subject. After the serious pet food recalls that affected so many dogs and consumers in 2007, even more pet owners became interested in feeding their dogs raw foods because they are less processed and owners can choose high quality foods instead of relying on pet food companies.
But, is it safe to feed your dog a raw food diet? Is this something you should be doing for your dog?
Pros and Cons
Like most things, there are pros and cons to feeding your dog a raw food diet. Advocates for raw food diets say that their dogs enjoy the following benefits:
- Raw foods are closer to a dog’s natural diet; dogs (and wolves) don’t eat processed foods in the wild.
- Raw foods include lots of raw meaty bones so they have more meat protein which is good for dogs; they don’t rely on corn and other grains which are sometimes found in excessive amounts in commercial pet foods..
- The bones in a raw food diet are good for a dog’s teeth and gums and help promote better dental hygiene. People who feed these diets say their dogs have beautiful white teeth without plaque and tartar or other dental problems..
- Advocates say that a raw food diet is good for a dog with allergies. It’s true that with a raw food diet you can carefully choose the foods you feed your dog, use the highest quality ingredients, and you know exactly what your dog is eating. This is not usually true with commercial dog foods..
- Advocates make many other claims, many of which cannot be substantiated, such as that their dogs are healthier and live longer than dogs that are fed commercial pet food diets..
On the other hand, there are drawbacks to feeding a raw food diet.
- Feeding a raw food diet can be expensive, especially if you choose organic foods or you use the same foods that you would feed your own family to feed your dog. For example, if you have a large dog, it’s not cheap to feed him lots of meat a couple of times per day. And if you have multiple large dogs, you’re looking at a sizable expenditure.
- Feeding a raw food diet can be time consuming. There is more to preparing the food than simply tossing your dog a big turkey leg. A proper diet needs to be planned. You have to spend time shopping, buying, and storing the food, as well as preparing it. The raw food usually includes meat, a few veggies, some dairy such as yogurt, some organ meats, and even a little fruit now and then. Some owners add supplements to make sure their dog is having all of his nutritional needs met. Many owners save money by buying meats in bulk which can mean stowing away 40 pounds of chicken in a deep freezer, for example. It takes time to do these things.
- It can be tricky to make sure your dog’s nutritional needs are consistently met. Most people strive for balanced nutrition over time, which means that an individual meal probably won’t have all of the nutrients your dog needs but, over the course of a week or so, your dog will be getting everything he needs when you feed him different things. Human meals aren’t usually totally balanced either. When you eat pizza for dinner, it won’t contain all of the vitamins and minerals you need to survive but when you look at a combination of your meals, you should be eating a healthy diet (we hope).
These are some of the pros and cons of the raw diet for dogs. However, from a safety viewpoint, the biggest risk is to the people in the home and it comes from Salmonella. Your dog has strong stomach acids and he can easily eat meat that carries some bacteria, although we don’t want to feed our dogs anything bad.
But when you are preparing and handling raw foods in the kitchen, they are more dangerous to you. Humans are not nearly as capable of shrugging off bacteria from contaminated meat and other foods as dogs are. If a raw meat carries Salmonella, you can get sick from it, especially if you do not follow proper food handling procedures.
Good Food Handling Hygiene.
Whenever you are handling raw meat and other foods in the kitchen you should follow good food handling procedures.
- Do not leave meat lying out on the counter.
- Clean and sanitize your counters in between each food you handle.
- Clean and sanitize your utensils before using them on another food item.
- Wash your hands often in warm, soapy water.
- When keeping raw meat in the refrigerator, put it on a plate and do not allow the juices to come in contact with other foods
- Keep your refrigerator set at 40 degrees
- If you do not plan to use meats within a couple of days, freeze them
- Do not thaw meats on the counter; thaw meats in the refrigerator
If you will follow these safe food handling procedures then it will be much safer for you to feed your dog a raw food diet.
Below are some of the most asked questions around the raw diet.
What is the best raw dog food on the market?
- Answers Detailed Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)
- Aunt Jeni’s Home Made Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)
- BARF Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)
- Bravo Homestyle Complete Dog Food Review (Freeze-Dried)
- Dr. …
- Fresh Is Best Dog Food Review (Freeze-Dried)
- Genesis RAW Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)
Is raw dog food safe?
Is raw dog food good for dogs?
Can you feed raw and dry dog food?
What is the best natural dog food?
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food.
- Purina Beyond Grain Free Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food. …
- Organix Castor & Pollux Dry Dog Food. …
- BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food. …
- Castor & Pollux Pristine Wild-Caught. …
- Purina Beyond WILD Turkey & Lentil Recipe. …
Is freshpet raw?
How do you handle raw dog food?
- Keep frozen until ready to use.
- Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods.
- Wash working surfaces, utensils (including cutting boards, preparation and feeding bowls), hands, and any other items that touch or contact raw meat or poultry with hot soapy water.
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately.
Can you cook raw dog food?
How often should a dog poop on a raw diet?
What can I feed my dog instead of dog food?
- Lean chicken or turkey, skinless and boneless.
- Beef, ground or cubed.
- Liver, raw or cooked (no more than once a week to avoid a vitamin A toxicity build- up)
- Most fish, including tuna and salmon.
- Whole (cooked) grains, like brown rice, wheat, couscous, oatmeal, and quinoa.
- Boiled pasta (without sauce)
What are the benefits of a raw diet for dogs?
Can a dog get sick from eating raw chicken?
Is kibble or raw food better for dogs?
Can you feed raw and kibble at the same time?
How much raw should I feed my dog?
What’s the healthiest dog food?
- Ollie’s Healthy Turkey Fare. …
- Pet Plate Chompin’ Chicken. …
- Fromm Gold. …
- Merrick Grain Free Dog Food. …
- Taste of the Wild. …
- Blue Buffalo. …
- Canidae Grain Free Pure. …
- Wellness Core Natural Grain Free.
What is the best and healthiest dog food?
- Instinct Original with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food.
- Wellness Core Original Turkey, Turkey Meal, and Chicken Meal.
- I and Love and You Naked Essentials with Lamb and Bison.
- Nulo Freestyle Adult Turkey and Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food.
- Go! …
- Canidae Pure Real Salmon and Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food.
What is the best dog food recommended by vets?
- Hill’s Science Diet. Topping my list of vet recommended dog food brands is Hill’s Science Diet. …
- Royal Canin. …
- Purina ProPlan. …
- Orijen. …
- Wellness Natural Food for Dogs. …
- Castor & Pollux. …
- Iams/Eukanuba. …
- Nutro Ultra.