Have you ever wondered if you can give your dog a raw diet?
Would it be safe for them?
How should you prepare it?
These are the common questions that keep puzzling most dog owners whether or not they should feed raw food to their home buddies.
The basic raw dog food diet typically consists of:
- Muscle meat, usually with the bone intact
- Whole or ground bones
- Organ meats, usually liver and kidney
- Whole eggs
- Vegetables like carrots and spinach
- Fruits like apples and bananas
- Dairy products like yogurt and milk
Raw dog food diets have been a controversial topic for a long time. Most people before wouldn’t allow their dogs to have raw food because of the risks and dangers it poses. However, time is constantly changing, and so are the minds of the people.
Some people believe that raw foods made with natural and real ingredients can have a significant impact on your dog’s overall well-being. Other potential benefits include:
- Healthier-looking skin
- Shinier coats
- Higher energy levels
Tips for a raw diet for dogs
If you’re curious how you can start incorporating raw food into your dog’s meal, here are some tips you can consider from the get-go:
1. Determine The Type Of Food
Choose the type of raw food that’s best for your dogs. There are plenty of raw food varieties to choose from, but it’s important to choose meat that’s sourced and raised as grass-fed, free-range, and pasture-range. Also, make sure that the raw meat has never been injected with antibiotics nor additional hormones, making the food better for the environment and for your dogs.
Here are other factors to consider when choosing raw food for your dogs:
- Check if the food is formulated according to your dog’s age: This is crucial to make sure your dog is getting all the nutrients they need. For puppy size, consider foods with a good amount of protein to support growth and muscle building. For adult size, consider using personalized dog food to help them maintain a healthy weight while doing their usual activities.
- Check if the food is suitable for your dog’s size: Different sizes of dogs use different eating methods. For example, a small breed dog wouldn’t be able to ingest nor digest the food made for large breed dogs properly. Bite-sized kibbles would be good for small breed dogs and regular dog food for large breed dogs.
- Determine your dog’s activity level: Check if your dog burns more or fewer calories based on their daily activities. Is your dog athletic and mostly prefers to play and run every day? If yes, then choose nutrient-dense food. If not, consider feeding them foods that are ideal for their body weight and condition.
- Check Their Fruits And Veggies It’s essential to ensure that your dogs aren’t exposed to harmful pesticides and glyphosates. Also, choose fruits and vegetables that are certified organic and GMO-free as much as possible. Remember, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your dogs to consume. These may damage their organs, cause breathing problems, diarrhea, and many unwanted medical conditions.
Some fruits and vegetables to watch out for are:
- Grapes and raisins – cause irreversible kidney damage and failure.
- Mushrooms – cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness, which could make them unable to walk or stand up.
- Unripe tomatoes – cause damage to their nervous system, kidneys, and digestive tract.
- Onions and garlic – cause severe toxicity and may destroy your dog’s red blood cells. It doesn’t matter whether they’re cooked or not. Just don’t let them go near your dogs.
- Potatoes – cause diarrhea and vomiting to your dogs.
- Nuts – cause different symptoms depending on the type of nut ingested. Some could be fatal, so keep them away from your dogs.
Also, consult your veterinarian if you don’t know what fruits and vegetables would be suitable for your dog’s diet.
2. Keep The Transition Slow
If your dogs are new to this system, it would be best to make the transition slowly. Like humans, dogs would appreciate it if you let them change their diet steadily. Usually, a complete transition to raw food takes only a week.
Here’s a timeline of transition based on the size of the dog:
- For puppies: Complete transition could be done in a few days because their digestive system is healthier than adult dogs.
- For adult dogs: Complete transition usually takes a week, but that depends on their age. The older the dogs, the longer dietary change it’ll take.
Begin the transition by fasting your dog for a half or full day to make sure that they have a good appetite. Then, feed them a small portion and see how they’ll react or handle the food. If there’s no problem, gradually replace their usual meal with raw dog treats.
Also, if you found your dog’s stool is loose, stop the transition, and continue when the stool becomes firm.
3. Determine How Often You Should Feed Your Dog
Are you feeding them with the right amount? Usually, the amount of food you should give to your dogs ranges from 2-4% per body weight. But why does it matter? It’s not healthy if you feed them too much or too little. If you feed them too little, they may experience nutrient deficiencies. On the other hand, if you feed them too much, they may experience these dangerous medical conditions:
- Musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis and ligament ruptures
- Heart failure
- Difficulty in breathing
- Shortened lifespan
- Various skin disorders
A daily portion of your dog’s meal should be separated between morning and night. Here are the basic guidelines to follow:
- For a 10lb. dog required food should be 2-2.5 lbs. per week, roughly 10 lbs. per month
- For a 25lb. dog, required food should be 5 lbs. per week, roughly 20 lbs. per month
- For a 50lb. dog, required food should be 8 lbs. per week, roughly 32 lbs. per month
- For a 75lb. dog, required food should be 10.5 lbs. per week, roughly 42 lbs. per month
- For a 100lb. dog, required food should be 13.5 lbs. per week, roughly 54 lbs. per month
Moreover, this is only a guide and shouldn’t be used as a final basis. You should assess your dog’s activity, age, breed, metabolic rate, and other essential factors. If you have problems feeding your dog properly, consult your trusted veterinarian to get proper advice.
The BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) system in dogs is continuously gaining attraction to many dog owners. However, not all raw food is good for them. You should only buy raw food meals from a trusted shop and make sure that everything is safe and properly handled.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not an intended or implied substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All texts, links, and graphics contained are for general information purposes.