Although far from new, the?raw diet for dogs trend is skyrocketing in popularity as of late, with proponents claiming that dogs benefit most from eating the types of food their ancestors consumed long before domestication. Skeptics, however, believe that the diet exposes dogs and their human companions to far too much risk to justify its purported benefits (which, according to critics, can be achieved through safer means). Read on for a thorough overview of both sides of the argument, and insight into how a raw diet could impact your four-legged friend.
Raw Diet for Dogs: To Give or Not to Give
What Does a Raw Diet For Dogs Include?
Raw diets emphasize natural foods dogs ate long before humans entered the picture. Raw meat forms the basis of this approach. Proponents believe that dogs should consume ample muscle meat, ideally still on the bone. The diet also includes either whole or ground bones, plus organ meat and, occasionally, raw eggs. Dogs of the past are not believed to have consisted purely of meat, however, so raw diet enthusiasts also recommend including small amounts of vegetables such as celery or spinach.
How Could a Raw Diet Benefit Dogs?
Proponents claim that dogs benefit both physically and mentally from eating the same food as their ancestors. Purported benefits include the following:
- Greater energy
- Shinier coats
- Cleaner teeth
- Healthier skin
- Improved behavior
Those who have succeeded with the raw food diet claim that their dogs showed a marked improvement within just a few days of abandoning traditional dog food.
Risks Associated with the Raw Diet for Dogs
The benefits of the raw diet may be significant, but the risks are as well. Skeptics worry that the bacteria found in raw meat may harm both dogs and humans. Risks are greatest for children, seniors, and those with compromised immune system function.
Also alarming, whole bones in the raw meat served to diet adherents could prove a major risk factor, potentially choking dogs or puncturing them internally. Critics also believe that raw diets can prove risky in the long-term, in part because pet owners are simply not likely to provide the well-rounded nutritional profile that dogs would otherwise receive in high-quality commercial foods. Some mistakenly assume that merely throwing a pound of raw meat in a bowl constitutes a healthy diet. The result? Harmful deficiencies that could promote the opposite of the raw diet’s intended effects.
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What the Research Says
Viewpoints regarding the raw food diet vary significantly even within veterinary circles. Experts largely appear skeptical about this approach to canine nutrition. A notable evaluation headed by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine professor Lisa M. Freeman cautions owners against most raw diets. Freeman believes that most of the benefits falsely attributed to this diet actually result from higher fat?consumption, which can be achieved without relying on some of the raw diet’s more controversial tactics. She believes that high-fat commercial foods or supplements may prove a better option than risky meat-on-the-bone diets.
Freeman’s assessment is backed up by a study from the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. Conducted between 2010 and 2012,?this study highlighted significant risks for canine participants and their owners. According to CVM Office of Research?veterinarian?Renate Reimschuessel, the study?”identified a potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling the product.”
Determining the Right Approach For Your Dog
? Daniel Schulof (@danielschulof) December 14, 2017
Once you’ve thoroughly examined the research surrounding raw diets and made yourself aware of the risks, you can make an informed decision on your dog’s behalf. Remember, you don’t need to absorb every tenet of the raw food diet in order to benefit your dog. A middle ground may be available. For example, if you’re not comfortable feeding your dog meat straight off the bone, at least aim for a grain-free, high-fat diet. A few small changes can spark a huge difference in your dog’s health.
Seek guidance from a trusted veterinarian before you impose any significant changes to your dog’s daily diet. Aim for a slow and carefully monitored transition, rather than suddenly changing everything about your dog’s menu.
Learn more about raw food diet for your pooch in this video from snorable:
Your decisions as an owner can have?a huge impact on?your dog’s short and long-term health. Don’t give in to scare tactics; carefully weigh the pros and cons of various diets, and observe how your dog responds to different types of food.
Have you tried switching to raw food diet to your dog? Please let us know your thoughts by leaving your comments below.