The Pros and Cons of Raw Dog Food
Advantages of Raw Dog Food
Proponents of raw dog food claim it gives dogs a shiny healthy coat, a sure sign of a healthy dog. They also claim raw dog food clears up medical issues and leads to a longer life. This is certainly backed up by the fact that since World War II when processed dog food was introduced, dogs have had a much shorter life expectancy.
Raw dog food gives better digestion as it is much easier and more natural for a dog to digest. It is said to give increased energy and improves a dog’s disposition, both claims that are hard to quantify. Raw dog food also leads to fresher breath and weight control, as it contains no fatty grains.
Chewing bones is a natural pleasure for dogs and gives them cleaner teeth and gums. Raw dog food is also low in carbohydrates compared to rice and grain-based dry dog food, which has been subjected to high levels of heat, which kills many enzymes needed for digestion and absorption.
Fresh meat has no chemicals, preservatives, sweeteners, fillers or artificial additives making it the natural choice for dog lovers. It also offers the chance to control exactly what your dog is eating.
Disadvantages of Raw Dog Food
Those against raw dog food say that there is little scientific evidence of any benefit of feeding dogs raw food. Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli and a raw food diet can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and severe diarrhea in some animals.
Choking on bones is a risk as they may obstruct the airways, cause intestinal perforations or bowel obstruction.
Raw dog food must be bought fresh and kept chilled – no buying it a month in advance and storing in the garage like other dog food. After all that effort, it also works out more expensive than dry or canned dog food.
What to Avoid in Processed Dog Food
For most people the advantages of dry dog food outweigh the advantages of raw dog food, but there are some ways to compromise.
Check the label and make sure the first two ingredients are high quality proteins such as duck and chicken. The remaining ingredients should be high-quality fruits and vegetables. Grains are not necessary and corn and other by-products should be avoided.
The terms “poultry meal” and “animal by-products” cover dead, dying or diseased animals which, although banned from human consumption are permitted in animal foods. The term “meal” means the ingredients have been rendered – leftover body parts have been boiled down and used as broth. The high temperatures kill bacteria and parasites but also destroy proteins and natural enzymes making it almost worthless. Brewers rice is another item used to bulk out pet food and has no nutritional value according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
To give your dog the very best diet, use pet supplements such as Dr Carol’s Dog Probiotic which supports a healthy digestive track with a blend of good bacteria. PAAWS Dog Vitamin Complex is also an ideal supplement, whether your dog is on a raw dog food diet or not.