By Honor Tarpenning, NextDayPets.com Staff
More and more people are switching their dogs over to a raw diet. Eating fresh, raw, organic, whole foods provides a host of health benefits to your dog and puts him in a position of optimum performance. It is not unhealthy to feed your dog premium, high-quality, commercially produced kibble; but a raw diet is believed by many to be a great way to ensure a healthy diet for your dog. Before you make any major changes to your dog’s diet, however, you should consult your vet.
An inadequate diet can lead to all kinds of health problems, including weakness, fatigue, skin and coat disorders, arthritis, allergies, weight problems, immune deficiencies, low energy level and more. Furthermore, low-grade, commercial, cereal-style dog foods can actually contain hair, feathers, hooves, tumorous growths, and contaminated blood. Preparing your dog’s food at home from fresh, organic ingredients is one way to know exactly what your dog is eating.
In the wild, a dog or wolf will eat the stomach contents of his kill. This means wild dogs receive vegetables and grains as well as meat and bones, and are thus physiologically built to live off that diet. A proper raw diet should consist of at least fifty percent lean meat and bone. Dogs can eat raw chicken (and even the bones, but NEVER cooked bones), turkey, tripe, pork neck bones, lamb, beef heart, whole mackerel and various other meat products. These meats can be fed whole and will, without a doubt, put a smile on your pooch’s snout.
Veggies are harder to digest due to dogs’ short small intestine. The best way to feed your dog veggies and ensure they get the full benefit of their nutrients is to juice or puree them. This juice or puree can then be mixed with oats and served with whole meat, or mixed with ground meat. Carrots are especially appetizing and beneficial to your dog, as they contain vitamins A, B, C, D, E, G, and K, as well as potassium and calcium. Other fruits and veggies that are great for your dog include apples, kale, Swiss chard, parsley, celery, beets and alfalfa sprouts.
Your dog’s raw diet should also include a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement and flaxseed oil. Following this diet with the addition of supplements is sure to provide your dog with the most complete nutrition possible.
Benefits of a Raw Diet
Although there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the raw food issue, and only you and your vet can decide what’s right for your dog, these are the supposed benefits of feeding raw meat, bones and veggies to your dog.
-Smaller, less odorous waste.
-Mirrors how dogs eat in the wild, and thus what they are built to eat.
-More energy, less lethargy.
-Fewer food allergies.
-Better management of pregnancies.
-Higher survival rate for new puppies.
-Lowered incidence of diabetes.
-No preservatives or fillers.
-Only “good” carbs.
-Healthier skin and coat.
-Reduced “dog smell”.
-Improved anal gland issues.
-Stronger immune system.