Frozen Dog Food Diets Examined

A number of dog owners are choosing to move their dogs to frozen dog food, due to the claims that frozen dog food is all natural and primarily protein, like the foods wild dogs eat. The industry has developed an acronym, BARF (Bones And Raw Food) to designate foods in this class.

The frozen foods allow dog owners who want to feed their dogs raw food products the opportunity to do so without all the food preparation required for the home prepared diets. While this might seem to be the ideal way to feed your dog, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding whether frozen dog food diets are as healthy as the various manufacturers claim.

The Pros of Feeding a Frozen Dog Food Diet

People who support feeding the frozen dog food diet to their dogs lead off with the statement that raw food diets more closely approximate the diet of wild dogs and therefore must be more beneficial to their dog than dry or canned dog food. They also point to the following benefits as reason to feed frozen dog food.

  • Dogs who eat the frozen diet tend to have a higher energy level.
  • Dogs fed the frozen diet tend to be a normal weight, rather than gaining weight from overeating or lack of exercise.
  • Dogs eating a frozen food diet tend to have healthier teeth.
  • A frozen food diet often leads to better skin and coat condition with less shedding.
  • Dogs fed the frozen diet also tend to have less allergic skin conditions.
  • Because there is no filler or bulk foods in the frozen diet, dogs eating this way tend to have firmer, more compact feces.

The Cons of the Frozen Dog Food Diet

While the frozen food diet may seem to be the optimal way to feed your dog, there are some health concerns that must be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not you should feed your dog this diet.

Raw foods have a higher risk of containing elevated levels of bacteria. A study conducted by the University of Colorado in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), showed that of the 21 different raw food diets tested, over 50% were contaminated with E.coli and 5% were contaminated with Salmonella. Both of these bacteria can cause severe intestinal disorders in both people and dogs. The study also showed that 99% of the raw foods contained some sort of contaminant that would be potentially harmful if consumed.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends that anyone feeding their dog the frozen food diets take special precautions when handling the food. Their recommendations include wearing rubber gloves when handling the food, all dishes, utensils and surfaces be cleaned and disinfected after food preparation to avoid possible contamination and spread to human and canine family members.

It is up to the individual dog owner to weigh the pros and cons of the frozen raw dog food diet and determine whether or not this type of diet will be beneficial to their dog. Some may feel the nutritional and overall health benefits outweigh the risk of intestinal disorders or other health problems. The best advice is to educate yourself about both sides of the debate and then make a decision.