What Is The Raw Dog Diet?
For as long as dog food as been around, some dog owners are getting very concerned
about the dog food they are buying for their dogs after all of the recalls that have been
issued this past year alone. Unfortunately the food you feed your dog today, could be the
newest recall tomorrow and for some pet owners that is not a risk they are willing to take.
If you look on the internet or join a dog lovers chat room you will find that a new diet is
starting to become bigger and bigger and this is the raw food diet. The raw diet is not a
new trend, though many pet owners think it is. This diet is basically mimicking what
your dog would eat if he were out in the wild. Some people have even called it the
BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods and also for Bones
and Raw Food Diet.
If you are going to try this diet for your dog, remember the food is all raw and so are the
bones. Never, under any circumstances give you dog cooked bones. They can splinter
and cause internal damage. Also, people have stated that it might be easier for your dog
if you switch the food from kibble to BARF with out any transition as long as you start
So what does the diet entail? It is a meal made up of meat, and veggies. That is it. Half
of your dogs meal will be the meat and the remaining ingredients make up the rest. If
you can try and get your meat from a butcher to ensure freshness. Remember all the food
is raw. Start off with just meat for a few days when you are switching your dog. Once
your dog has settled into this you can start adding some bland veggies such as carrots.
You should use a blender or food processor for your veggies. I find it easier to get my
dog to eat his vegetables if I make it liquidity and mix the meat into it. By using a
blender and pureeing it this will break down the cell walls that your dog can not digest
anyway. Once those walls are broken down, your dog will get all the vital nutrients and
enzymes it needs.
After you try your dog on meat and vegetables, you can then start adding richer foods
like eggs or so. Once you have the hang of it start adding different veggies to make sure
they get the best vitamins and nutrients.
The choice of veggies depends on you. You should though mix it up a bit. To make
good choices on the types of veggies, it is good to know what each veggie contains and
can do. Carrots should always be included because of the potassium, calcium and
vitamins that it offers. You add green veggies one day with carrots because green has
vitamins A and C in it. Watercress and mustard greens can help clean out your dogs
intestine. Stay away from broccoli and cabbage as they can increase gas in your dog. I
made the mistake of giving my dog broccoli one night and the effects were disastrous. It
was the middle of winter and I had to sleep with my windows open the smell was so bad.
Also stay away from onions and potatoes. Onions can cause problems in dogs if eaten in
a large quality and have you ever been kissed by a dog that just ate onions? Potatoes
should be avoided because your dog can not digest it well.
Also included in the raw dog diet are raw meaty bones. Examples of these bones are
chicken backs, necks, wings, or turkey necks. They are soft enough for a dog to chew
and eat and they provide and exercise for your dogs jaw and upper body muscle. These
bones are excellent for your dog to eat due to the nutritional value they have. If you
have a dog that tends to inhale their bones or an older dog whose teeth are not that good,
you can always grind up the bones and sprinkle it on their food.
You can give some oils such as fish oil or flaxseed because they contain essential fatty
acids such as omega-3. They support the heart and are important for a healthy skin and
coat. They will also help with your dogs blood pressure (yes it does matter!). Some
more benefits of essential fatty acids are less shedding which can be a blessing to owners
of dogs who shed constantly. Essential fatty acids also help your dog with fleas.
Studies have shown that dogs have these fatty acids included in their balanced diet deal
with fewer flees. These are found in fish oils and flaxseed oils. There are a few
benefits though to using fish oil over flaxseed. It is true that flaxseeds contain more
omega-3 than fish oils, it is inactive omega-3. In fish oils the omega-3 is in active form.
Most people recommend sticking with the fish oil especially because dogs can be allergic
to flaxseed oil.
So what are the benefits of having your dog on a raw food diet? Well for starters, you
will notice a big change in their breath. Some people might find this hard to believe
because of the fact you are giving your dog raw food, but this is not true. The raw dog
diet does not contain any unnatural preservatives that can cause bad breath. You will
notice a difference in their teeth also because chewing on the raw meat bones clean your
dogs teeth naturally.
You will also see an improvement in your dogs skin and coat. Skin problems will
disappear and you will see a change in their coat. Their coat could become deeply
colored and thick. The raw dog diet also improves the immune system due to a great
balance of fatty acids and pure nutrients. This is also an excellent diet for dogs that are
overweight. The raw food diet can increase your dogs metabolism.
Lastly the raw food diet tends to change a dogs stool. The first few weeks it is not
uncommon for your dog to go through a detox period, where you might see their stools
being a little more mucous then before. However once they get through this detox
period you will notice that your dogs stools are smaller and degrade into the ground.
One thing though that tends to make people very nervous about this diet is the fact that
you are giving your dog raw meat. When you think of raw meat, like raw chicken,
words like salmonella poisoning and E Coli probably come to mind. Some think that
following the raw dog diet is worse for your dog, then the brand name dog foods out
there. Keep in mind though that the raw food you give to your dog should be perfectly
safe for them as long as you handle it properly. You should make sure you defrost it
properly and keep it in the fridge for the appropriate time. Clean all utensils and surfaces
that you used to prepare the food. Wash your hands thoroughly also handling the meat.
This will keep the bacteria down not only on your dog’s food but also in your
environment and will keep your family safe too. Remember also that a dog has a shorter
digestive tract than we do, so the raw food moves out of their systems much more
quickly. The less time it spends in the digestive tract, the less likely it will form bacteria.
Another reason why some people are afraid of using this diet is because of the old wives
tale that the raw food will turn their otherwise calm and mellow dogs into the blood
thirsty hounds you might see in a scary comic book. The term for this is called blooding
your dog and possibly making it want even human meat. This is not true. You will not
be programming your dog to be a killer in anyway shape or form.
Now how do you choose if you want to raw feed your dog or bag him? Well for starters
do you research. On the internet you will find people pro dog food and pro raw food.
Read up as much as you can to gather information. Read more about the benefits of a
raw diet. Read more about dog food. This might be a better choice for you due to the
icky factor of having to prepare raw food for your dog. Though lately now there have
been more and more companies who have been developing food that is part of the raw
food diet that can be delivered to you already prepared.
You can also talk to your vet regarding this but keep in mind not all vets are familiar with
the raw food diet or at least they were not taught about it in school. They were taught
which brand of prepared dry dog food is best and they might not be able to give you an
One thing you might want to consider doing is joining a forum for dogs lovers.
Chatevo.com offers a lot of forums based on specific dog breeds, diet and nutrition. You
will be able to get opinions from people who have been there and done that. Sometimes
talking to other people who share the same love of dogs as you do, makes things a lot
more clearer and you might be able to understand better than if you were to talk to a
No one should bully you into picking what kind of dog food you should use for your dog.
Nor should anyone scare by saying things like dry food causes more problems or that the
raw food can cause e coli. You just have to look at all the benefits to decide if you will at
least try it for your dog.
The raw food diet is not for everyone nor is it for every dog. Some dogs will thrive on it,
while others do not. It may not be the answer for you or your dog, but the benefits that
come from it are worth a try and there really is no harm in it.