I think we all understand the core concept here - uncooked or raw food. However, it’s more than just raw ingredients. It’s the idea of feeding your pet the way their ancestors ate. The way that they are anatomically designed to eat.
Domesticated or not, dogs (and cats) are full of carnivore traits. From teeth to tail, they are built for digesting animal flesh and bone.
It’s a common misunderstanding that raw food is just meat. That’s a large part of it, but a raw dog food diet must contain all of their essential nutrients, so muscle meat, organs, bones, and even a little vegetation may be required to help them thrive.
You can’t feed your dog a raw steak and call it a day; you have to ensure that the diet is nutritionally balanced. Incomplete or unbalanced diets can cause lifelong problems from deficiencies or malnutrition.
Allergies, obesity, diabetes, and cancer are more common than ever, and your pet’s diet may have a lot to do with that. The rise in these life-threatening diseases has pushed us to dig deeper and find ways to prevent and treat our dogs naturally.
Feeding your dog a raw diet will positively affect many aspects of their health, but before you get started, it's important to understand how and why a raw food diet might be right for your dog.
Here are 6 reasons you should trust raw diets to reliably and effectively improve your dog's health:
1. Cut the JunkJunk food, sugars, heavily processed ingredients, and the pollutants and chemicals that come hand-in-hand with mass-produced food are getting harder to avoid, especially in pet food. A growing desire to get back to nature, cut out the junk, and improve our pets’ health has started to push us towards specialty pet foods.
We look for diets that use ingredients that are easy to digest and support our pets’ long-term health, but in many heavily-processed diets, like kibble, there is still a huge blind spot for pet owners when it comes to knowing what's really in your dog's food.
Feeding raw lets you take back control of your dog's nutrition by cutting out the mystery ingredients and synthetic additives and replacing them with highly digestible nutrients from fresh, real foods.
Better nutrition leads to better skin and coat, healthier joints, improved digestion, and better weight management.
`kick the Kibble; your dog will be a pooping machine on dried processed food.
Imagine eating dried processed food every day like emergency mountain food. Its the same for dogs. why anyone feeds kibble is still beyond me with so many fresh dog food options.
f you own a dog, then you are familiar with the worst parts of dog ownership: the clean-up. Whether you are bagging a fresh poop on a walk, scooping the landmines from your yard, or dealing with a sudden digestive surprise on the carpet, no one likes hovering over a fresh one.
There's no need to sugarcoat that poop is gross; I think we are all nauseatingly aware. A raw diet can reduce the volume and odour of their stool to a more manageable and tolerable level. Raw poops, as they are playfully called, resemble large rabbit poop.
It will also improve the consistency and frequency of their bowel movements so you can plan your dog's routine around their bathroom needs.
The nutrients’ minimal ingredients and high bioavailability allow your dog to digest and use almost all the food’s nutrients efficiently. Without the indigestible fibre content and the excessive carbs of a kibble diet, raw poop will be firmer, which benefits the health of their anal glands.
Dogs are Scavenging Carnivores
Even though dogs are technically classified as omnivores, meaning they can survive on both meat and/or plants, their history and bodies tell us a different story. We argue that dogs are scavenging carnivores.
Unlike an obligate carnivore that must eat meat to survive, like cats, scavenging carnivores can adapt to the nutrients around them. They roam for food and eat what is available. Dogs can survive on plant materials and minimal animal protein if they have to, but they will thrive on a meat-rich diet.
Sticking closer to their carnivorous roots can prevent common problems like diabetes, obesity and other life-threatening diseases linked to inappropriate diets and poor quality ingredients.
4. Your Dog Eats Like a Carnivore
To help you better understand the benefits of feeding a raw diet to your dog, you need to know how your dog digests food. Here are some physical features that support the idea that dogs are carnivores by nature:
Transitioning to Raw Dog Food
Making the switch to raw dog food is different for every dog. Some easily swap from one diet to the next with no adverse effects, while others need a slower and softer transition.
You understand your dog better than anyone. How you transition should reflect what you know of your dog's eating habits and sensitivities. Their feeding routine should also suit your daily schedule.
Start by determining how much to feed your dog. This will make it easier to be consistent during the transition and track changes and issues in their digestion, appearance, and energy.
Once you've found the food or recipe you want to feed, you'll need to decide how to introduce your dog’s new food. There are many different ways to transition your dog to raw food, but here are the three most common methods:
3 Common Methods to Transition Your Dog to a Raw Diet
This decision should be based on past dietary changes, current health, and your daily routine. Slower transitions take more time. If your dog is known to have a sensitive stomach, then make sure you will be able to monitor your pet during the change.
1. Cold TurkeyThis method is preferred by many pet owners who are comfortable with their dog's digestive health. If you think your dog has an iron stomach, then you will likely find success with this method. Simply fast your dog for 12 hours and switch entirely to a raw diet.
2. Cautious Approach
For those of you that aren't as trusting of your dog's ability to handle food changes, try to slow-roll the transition. Cut up some of the raw diet into medium to large treat-sized pieces, and feed as treats over 2-3 days.
If your dog seems to be handling the raw pieces well, fast him for 12 hours and replace one meal with raw, keeping the other meal as their original diet. Try to keep the meals 8-10 hours apart.
Once you're sure your dog is digesting the food well, then it's time for a complete switch. Most pets can handle this transition with no issues, but give each step a few days before moving on to monitor stool quality and eating habits.
3. Baby Steps
If your dog has a history of poor digestion or issues when changing diets, you may be considering an even slower transition to reduce the chances of a digestive reaction. You can extend the steps to make smaller changes while you gradually introduce the new diet.
Start treating your dog with just plain raw meat - ground beef, chicken breast, or whatever protein you intend to introduce into his diet. Remember, baby steps, so start with small pieces and slowly increase the size.
If your dog tolerates the raw meat well, you can start feeding treat-sized pieces of a full raw diet instead. Do this for a couple of days, or until you are comfortable moving on.
When you are ready, fast your dog for 12 hours, and switch one meal over to raw, for a week, then fully into a complete raw diet. Using digestive aids, like probiotics, pumpkin, tripe, or goat’s milk, is a good idea during the transition and for a few weeks after.
Though this method seems like it would help reduce digestive reactions, that’s not the case for all dogs. Depending on what type and quality of diet they are switching from, raw may be a difficult change no matter how fast or slow you try to transition them.
Sometimes it’s best to rip off the band-aid and deal with the consequences for a day or two. This is why digestive aids can be a lifesaver. They can improve nutrient absorption and reduce the severity of digestive reactions.
Choosing the Best Method for Your Dog
There is no one correct method for transitioning all dogs to raw. The style you choose should be based on your dog’s health and your own personal preference.
Nine times out of ten, I recommend the cold turkey method, but special circumstances may warrant a more cautious approach. Connect with your vet to determine the most suitable options for supporting your dog’s digestive system during dietary changes.
You Are Raw Ready
With the right knowledge, choosing a raw diet should feel much less daunting. The results will help you provide the best life for your dog so that they can continue to bring joy to your home.
Give raw a chance. Your dog will thank you, and with the money, you’ll save on vet bills, so will your wallet. Best of all, your dog will live their absolute best and healthiest life.
Don't take it from us! Try it for yourself. You won't be disappointed.