Does your dog eat raw food? This subject is debatable.
Some recommended that adult dogs would grow well on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated.
Nevertheless, many veterinarians differ, as does the FDA. The risks of raw diets have been acknowledged in numerous studies published in veterinary journals.
What is a raw food diet?
A raw dog food diet classically consists of muscle meat, often still on the bone; bones; organ meats such as livers and kidneys; raw eggs; vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery; apples (read the article: Can Dogs Eat Apples?) or other fruit and some dairy, such as yogurt.
What are the types of raw diets?
There are two main types of raw diets are:
- Commercial raw diets (fresh or frozen) are normally in a meat patty form.
- Home-prepared raw diets usually include raw meat and bones, with veggies, fruits, supplements, and added grains. These diets may not meet the dog’s requirements over the long term.
What does BARF diet mean?
BARF is the acronym for a raw food diet. BARF is an acronym to Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food.
What are the main benefits of a raw food diet?
Raw diets can be prepared not including foods that your dog is allergic to and can be made to meet your dog’s specific nutrimental requirements.
Eating raw food needs some work of the jaws and teeth to hack away at fleshy fibers and bones, and this takes some time.
This time is important to activate gastric juices, so when the food arrives on the stomach it is properly digested.
Feeding commercial encourages speedy swallowing because it requires no effort or time to consume.
Raw foods are freshly prepared and has not been processed or had preservatives added.
Thus, it is frequently considered a healthier choice.
Commercial raw diets are usually frozen and they don’t require added preservatives.
The bones included in a raw diet are anecdotally considered to be good for dental hygiene, which can be good for general health.
Feeding a raw diet may help to improve overall behavior.
The psychological challenge of “attacking” large raw meaty bones is priceless for the dog’s general pleasure.
Feeding raw food, particularly large pieces, gives our dogs the chance to get a mentally interesting experience.
Eating raw dog food induces the production of firm stools which are important for normal anal sac emptying.
In addition, the stool odor is not so bad either.
What are the main risks of a raw food diet?
Raw diets have been found to contain Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, and Staphylococcus aureus.
All these bacteria are human and canine pathogens.
In addition to dog gastrointestinal disease (e.g. vomit, diarrhea, nausea, fever) these bacteria are shed in dog stools and may be transferred to carpets and furniture.
This is a very important reflection if you are feeding a raw diet to your dog and have people in risk groups (elderly, children, immunocompromised) living in your home.
There is also a potential risk to dogs to get certain pathogens found in raw foods, such as Neospora caninum, Nanophyetus salmincola, and Trichinella spiralis.
All of these pathogens can make your dog ill and are potentially deadly.
Another concern is feeding bones can cause choking, intestinal obstruction or perforations, and chipped or broken teeth.
Additionally, when feeding a raw diet nutritional deficiencies, particularly in vitamins and minerals, are a substantial possibility.
Some nutritional deficiencies take months to appear and you may not see the problems with feeding a particular diet until the animal has been eating it for months or years.
The majority of the nutrients in raw vegetables are more available when they are lightly cooked.
So raw vegetables are poorly digested by dogs.
How to store and prepare raw dog food?
You should place the raw food in secure packaging and store it in the freezer.
This will stop bacterial growth and decrease spoiling.
Keeping a raw food frozen at a constant temperature of 0°F will prevent the growth of microbes.
To refrigerate the raw dog food, it must be maintained at a temperature that is consistently 40°F or below.
If the food is at a temperature of 40°F or above for two hours or more, you should reject it because there is a strong probability that pathogenic bacteria (Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, etc.) will grow.
You should take care when handling raw dog food.
Any surface the raw food contacts, such as kitchen counters, cutting boards, knives, food bowls, or your hands, may become contaminated if the food contains a pathogenic organism.
Use metallic bowls.
Guidelines for handling raw dog food:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or before and after handling food
- Put cutting boards and utensils through the dishwasher or wash them in hot soapy water after each use
- Keep countertops clean by washing them with hot soapy water after preparing food
- When you need to serve a raw food, it should be taken out of the freezer and refrigerated or left at room temperature just for a time enough for defrosting. Additionally, only the portion for one meal should be defrosted.
The main challenge in deciding whether to feed a raw diet is the vast amount of contradictory information.
When selecting how and what to feed your dog, you need balanced facts.
I mean information that outlines both the virtuous and bad so that an assertive choice can be made.
Check out these raw dog food reviews: