Dangle a piece of raw meat in front of Fido and he’s likely to devour without question. You may even see a wilder more carnal side emerge.
But as we humans know, just because something tastes good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nutritionally sound. In fact, variety is the best way to achieve a broad spectrum of nutrients. So what do the critics and proponents say about putting your dog on a raw food diet? Is raw feeding dangerous for dogs or is it a potential health mecca?
Just like in your dog’s diet, balance is important. Here’s a look at both sides of the coin on the raw dog food diet debate.
The Great Divide
There seems to be vastly divergent opinions about the safety of raw food diets for dogs. What’s more, everyone has strong feelings. Still, there’s little anecdotal evidence to definitively support one way or another.
However, there are several facts to consider. When weighing your options, take note of these valid pros and cons of feeding your pet raw foods.
Pro: You can make food to meet your dog’s dietary specifications.
If your fur baby has an aversion to certain ingredients, preparing your dog’s food at home is a great way to ensure they won’t experience digestive upset.
Con: Raw meats contain several strands of bacteria and potentially dangerous pathogens.
While it’s true dogs have stronger stomachs than humans, they’re not immune to some of the worst offenders. Before meat and bones are subject to high heats, they carry significant amounts of Salmonella, e-coli, botulinium, and more. As your dog eats, he or she may even carry the bacteria on their person and into different parts of the house. Even if they can stomach the pathogens, there’s no way to guarantee it won’t get passed to you or your family.
Pros: The labor intensive chewing on raw bones could help curve some behavioral issues.
In addition to the good dental hygiene habits formed by bone chewing, the extra work and focus could save your shoes and furniture from disaster.
Cons: Chewing raw bones can damage teeth unexpectedly.
Bones do present a choking hazard and have been known to chip or break teeth on occasion. Some smaller bone types can also create dangerous intestinal perforations or lead to painful blockages in the digestive tract.
Pros: Raw diets are closer to the food sources dogs would get in the wild.
All of Fido’s ancestors ate a raw food diet. Even the most all natural dog food brands typically have some preservatives to lengthen their shelf life. Conversely, raw diets are entirely free of processed foods, which some claim is much better for their systems.
Cons: Preparing and feeding your dog a diet of raw foods is inconvenient and time consuming.
If you work from home and have large swaths of unspoken for time, a raw food diet may not create any interference. For most of us who live busy lives, the expense and level of preparation required to maintain a raw food diet simply isn’t practical.
While the science behind raw food diets may be lacking or holey at best, the opinions are plentiful. Sit with these pros and cons to decide if feeding your dog some raw food will help her achieve peak health.
When in doubt, stick with all natural, high quality dog food and treats, and always consult your vet before making sweeping changes to your dog’s diet.