Raw Diet for Dogs: Pluses and Minuses

A raw diet for dogs consists of raw meats, uncooked bones and sometimes pulverized fruits and vegetables. Proponents of raw food diets for dogs point out that it is the same diet dogs ate in the wild, before they became our pets. However, some people feel that there are increased risks in feeding a raw food diet to your dog.

Raw Food Diets

Feeding your dog a raw food diet means feeding your dog only raw, uncooked ingredients. These include meat and uncooked bones. Never feed your dog cooked bones, as they can splinter and injury your dog internally.

Meats that can form a part of your dog's raw food diet include chicken, turkey, beef, pork, rabbit, fish, and quail. Organ meat should also form a part of your dog's raw food diet; 10% of the diet should consist of organs such as the liver or kidneys. When you begin a raw food diet, introduce one new protein source at a time, for a week at a time. Once you have introduced all protein sources and you're assured your dog has no protein allergies, you can begin to vary the meats from day to day.

When feeding your dog a raw food diet, it's important to have an affordable source of quality meats and bones, and it's also important to store and handle them properly in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Benefits of Raw Food Diets

Raw food diets can have many health benefits for dogs. These include:

* Healthier skin * Fresher breath * Improved digestion * Improved allergy symptoms * Less shedding * Increased energy * Firmer, smaller stools

Drawbacks of Raw Food Diets

Foodborne illnesses such as e. coli and salmonella can contaminate raw meats and bones. To minimize the risk of foodborne illness, purchase quality meats and bones for your dog. Store them properly in the refrigerator and use them before three days have passed. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling meat and bones for your dog's raw food diet.

When feeding bones as part of a raw food diet, there is a choking risk. You can minimize this by grinding up meat and bones into a hamburger-like consistency.

Nutritional deficiencies can also be a concern when feeding your dog a raw food diet. Do your research before beginning a raw food diet, to ensure that your dog will get adequate nutrition.

The high cost of a raw food diet is another concern. A local butcher or farmer can give you the best prices on large quantities of quality meats and bones.