Facts About RAW Dog Food
RAW pet food is a scary subject for some people and a completely foreign idea to others. When I first heard about raw feeding, my initial reaction was “Sick!” But this health topic intrigued me so I researched for months and months to get to the bottom of it. We’ll go over some facts about raw dog food that a lot of people don’t know!
With several months of research and a couple raw classes under my belt, I bring to you all of the information so you have a ruff idea of what raw feeding is, without being overwhelmed. (I am in NO way an expert, just a firm believer in raw feeding.) I will break the information down into several different raw posts, all with different subjects.
For our first RAW post, we’re going to play a game of Myth Busters!
Myth #1: Dogs are omnivores.
Sometimes dogs will search for fruits and vegetables, but they need animal protein and fat to maintain optimal health. I mean, look at their teeth… They are carnivore teeth! No question about it.
Myth #2: Dogs live longer lives thanks to improved kibble foods.
Canine lifespan was not researched in the old days so when pet food companies tell you to buy their product because “Our food helps animals live longer.” I think, “Longer? Longer compared to what surveys and research?” It doesn’t make sense because there’s not ample research to compare it to.
**COOL STORY: The oldest dog ever recorded was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey. He herded sheep for 20… Yes, TWENTY YEARS. He lived on a diet of kangaroos and emus! Bluey was born on June 7, 1910 and lived for… get this… 29 years, 5 months, and 7 days. *GASP* That is insane, y’all. Raw food FTW!**
Myth #3: Dogs aren’t like their wolf ancestors.
Yes, we’ve changed their appearance and temperaments but we haven’t changed their anatomy and physiology. The domesticated dog is still a very close relative of the gray wolf (the DNA in their mitochondria is only off by 0.2%!). This information can be found in one (probably more) of my college Biology books. “The domestic dog is a domesticated wolf by scientific standard and evolutionary history.
Myth #4: Salmonella in raw foods will hurt my dog (and me!).
Dogs naturally have salmonella and other bacteria in their digestive tract. These bacteria pass through their short systems quickly enough that they do not have time to cause illness. Healthy dogs do not become sick or die from salmonella in their food. However, pet parents should practice safe food handling techniques when feeding ANY pet food, whether raw or cooked.
**NOTE: There is no known incident of humans being infected with salmonella by raw-fed dogs. Majority of human salmonella cases are acquired through ingestion or handling of contaminated dry pet foods and treats – not raw meat.**
Myth #4: Raw meat will make my dog blood thirsty.
Herding breeds have peacefully coexisted with the animals they herd, without savagely killing them, even while being fed raw meat and bones from the very kind of animals they were guarding. Dogs, by nature (wolves = predator), will chase other animals because it is hard-wired into them! Not because they are bloodthirsty or have tasted meat.
Feeding raw does not change this! However, if your dog eats an excessive amount of carbohydrates, all sorts of behavioral/psychological issues are known to occur. So if your dog has behavioral issues, it may be fixed by eliminating carbs (kibble) from his/her diet.
Myth #5: Bones are dangerous.
It’s true, cooked bones can be dangerous for your pup. Some cooked bones are known to splinter and if you feed your dog too small of a bone, they can choke on it, and if you feed your dog too large of a bone, they can chip or even break a tooth. Raw bones rarely splinter, are fully digestible, and are a major source of calcium and phosphorus. Yes, problems can occur with raw bones but problems can also occur with kibble (bloat, choking, telescoping bowel, aspirated kibble leading to pneumonia).
**REMEMBER: A raw diet is free from the bad carbs that stick to the teeth and allow bacterial growth. You mean I don’t have to brush my dog’s teeth as often? SWEET!**
Myth #6: Home-made, cooked diets are better and safer than raw diets.
The act of cooking alters the proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals in food. Cooking can even alter fats to the point of being toxic and carcinogenic! Heat causes a change in molecular bonding and leads to enzyme depletion, diminished nutritional content, and denatures the food. 100% of enzymes are lost when food is cooked. This is why many pets show signs of digestive issues around 6-8 years old.
If your dog’s food is always cooked, he/she is getting ZERO enzyme replenishment and their body will start to have trouble with it. Dogs need enzymes to help with digestion.Don’t compensate for these vitamin and mineral deficiencies by adding vegetables, grains, and dairy products to your dog’s diet. Our carnivore pups should not have an omnivorous diet forced upon them in order to obtain all the necessary nutrition.
Raw feeding doesn’t always mean you have to touch ooey gooey organs, blood, and bones. You can choose a freeze dried food like Fresh is Best, TruDog, or Vital Essentials. Or you can choose frozen like BARF, Tucker’s, or Primal. Some of these companies even offer both options! If converting to raw food is scary for you, maybe try raw treats first! Dr. Dalton’s offers great treats in addition to some of the companies listed above. Abbie is a HUGE fan of raw dog treats and I’m sure your pup will be a fan too!
There are many, many more RAW dog food companies out there. We will dive into each one over the next few months. Let us know your initial thoughts and questions below!