Raw diets for dogs, also known as raw feeding, have been gaining popularity among pet owners in recent years. Supporters of raw diets claim that they offer numerous benefits for dogs, providing a more natural and biologically appropriate way of eating. In this blog, we will explore the potential benefits of raw diets for dogs and how they can contribute to their overall health and well-being. Research has shown that dogs are living approximately 2 to 3 years longer and with less health issues when they have been fed raw food from a puppy.
1. IMPROVED DIGESTIVE HEALTH
One of the primary benefits of raw diets for dogs is improved digestive health. This means the body is better utilising the nutritious content through easier digestion. Raw diets typically consist of uncooked meat, bones, organs, and sometimes fruits and vegetables. This raw and minimally processed food is rich in enzymes and natural probiotics that aid in the breakdown and digestion of nutrients. As a result, dogs on raw diets may experience reduced instances of gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. For the human, it results in less waste matter being passed (we’re talking poo) and a lot less smelly too!
2. SHINIER COAT AND HEALTHIER SKIN
Advocates of raw feeding often report that dogs on raw diets tend to have shinier coats and healthier skin. Raw diets are typically rich in high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6. These nutrients promote skin health, reduce itching and inflammation, and contribute to a glossy coat. The natural oils found in raw foods can also help alleviate dry, flaky skin commonly seen in some dogs.
3. CLEANER TEETH AND IMPROVED DENTAL HEALTH
Chewing on raw meaty bones is a characteristic part of raw feeding and can have positive effects on a dog's dental health. The act of gnawing on suitable bones (another area to research and understand) helps remove plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of periodontal disease and promoting healthier teeth and gums. Additionally, the mechanical action of chewing on raw bones can provide mental stimulation and help alleviate boredom. Raw means raw, so NEVER feed a cooked bone to your dog.
4. ENHANCED ENERGY AND VITALITY
Fans of raw diets often report that dogs fed a raw diet display increased energy levels and vitality. Raw diets typically provide dogs with a higher nutrient density compared to processed kibble. With a more natural source of nutrition, dogs may experience improved overall health, increased stamina, and greater mental alertness. This can greatly benefit working dogs, high-energy breeds, and active dogs.
5. REDUCED FOOD ALLERGIES AND SENSITIVITIES
Processed commercial dog foods often contain additives, fillers, and allergenic ingredients that can trigger food allergies or sensitivities in some dogs. Raw diets, consisting of simple, biologically appropriate ingredients, can help mitigate these issues. By eliminating potentially allergenic ingredients and focusing on whole foods, raw feeding may help reduce the occurrence of allergies and sensitivities in dogs.
While the raw diet for dogs continues to grow in popularity, it's essential to note that raw feeding comes with potential risks, such as bacterial contamination if not handled properly with attention to cleaning appropriately after handling, and possible nutritional imbalances. Consulting with a nutrition expert is advisable when considering a raw diet for your dog. They can guide you in providing a balanced and safe raw diet plan tailored to your dog's specific needs.
Whilst the benefits of raw diets for dogs are clear to see, it's important to research the nutritional balance and to make an informed decision based on your dog's individual health and dietary requirements, as some illnesses may better benefit from a lightly cooked diet, or without the addition of some veg.