There are quite a few fads in the dog food world these days, all claiming to be the very best for your dog. Freeze-dried, grain-free, organic ingredients; the buzzwords are all over the place, and it can be difficult to find something that stands out for you and your pet.
Raw dog food diets have been steadily growing in popularity, but they still aren’t anywhere as mainstream as the traditional baked kibble diets. There are many who claim raw diets have exponential health benefits for their dogs, from the skin and coat improvements to eradicating digestive issues.
While not every claim can be proven, the interest in raw diets is here to stay. If you are one of the many considering switching your dog onto a raw-based meal plan, here are three things you should think about before making up your mind.
1. What IS Raw Dog Food?
Many people have the misconception that feeding their dogs raw means they can run to the store, grab some ground beef, and call it a day. Some do take it a little further and think that they need to grind up the bones as well, but even then there is a lot more to a raw diet than just the meat.
Dogs can’t receive all of the necessary nutrients and vitamins from meat alone, so raw diets also incorporate raw fruits, veggies, eggs, and occasionally dairy products. Many raw-feeders rely on added supplements as well, to ensure their dogs are getting everything they need.
2. What Does Your Dog Need?
So what exactly is needed in a balanced dog diet? There’s a lot of different literature one can read up on, and it is always best to discuss your particular dog with your veterinarian. Small lap dogs are going to require different diets than an active sporting hound, for instance, and young and elderly pups need different needs met, as well.
Protein is important, but as ultra high-protein foods are gaining in popularity, keep in mind that not all dogs require such a protein-heavy diet. If your dog isn’t a highly active working or sporting dog, it probably doesn’t need such rich food.
Carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are all important to your dog’s diet as well. These are all achieved through various vegetables, fruits, animal byproducts, and occasionally supplements. Due research should be done alongside a veterinarian to analyze the balance of a raw diet.
3. Know Your Source
You should be very critical about where you get your raw food from, or if you’re making it on your own, you should be very wary of where your products and ingredients come from. Feeding products from places with unknown or unsafe handling practices can lead to cross-contamination, bacterial infections, and one seriously sick pooch.
Do your homework when you’re considering switching to raw, and make sure you’re really grilling the safety standards of each potential source. Starting a new food is already a test of patience and gradual progress – you don’t need to throw it off by introducing an avoidable, hazardous illness.