Is raw feeding better for dogs? The Ultimate Guide

What to Look For in Fresh Food

Most fresh food services are offered by subscription and delivered to your door. The best ones work with veterinary nutritionists to formulate a plan customized for your dog. They offer options in recipe choices, portion size, and frequency of delivery. They also provide easy-to-understand information about ingredients, feeding schedules, and how to keep the food fresh.

Raw dog food can be homemade, store-bought, freeze-dried, or dehydrated. A raw diet usually includes organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables, and a dairy product such as yogurt. Advocates of raw food diets site these benefits: shinier coats, healthier skin, improved dental health, increased energy, and smaller stools.

Some veterinarians warn that raw diets are not appropriate for dogs who share their homes with young children or people with compromised immune systems. Meticulous care is required in the handling, preparation, and sanitation of raw food. Dogs with pancreatitis, cancer, or other diseases may require cooked food. Puppies are also better off having cooked food.

The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the unregulated feeding of raw foods and discourages “the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens, because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs, as well as humans.”

What Is a Raw Food Diet for Dogs?

Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s cover what exactly a raw diet is.

Raw food diets for dogs are nothing new. Originally, they were reserved for sled dogs and racing greyhounds. The idea to bring the raw food diet home was first proposed in 1993 by veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. Termed the BARF diet, or “Bones and Raw Food” diet, Billinghurst argued that dogs would benefit from a diet based on the eating habits of their evolutionary ancestors. He suggested that raw, meaty bones and vegetables were the natural foodstuffs of canines, while grain-based commercial foods were insufficient and actively harmful.

The raw food diet has its supporters and its detractors. Advocates say it has the potential to greatly improve your dog’s health, but critics argue that without proper guidance, a raw food diet could easily become harmful.

Shinier coat

Your dog’s coat can become shiny and healthy by following a raw diet. The higher-fat content of most raw food diets promotes healthy skin as well as fur. So through following a raw diet that’s heavy in fatty meat, you may see improvements in the quality of your dog’s coat.

Are Organic or Raw Food Diets Better for Your Pet? – Ask A Vet

Are raw food diets for dogs an ideal meal plan or a dangerous fad? Experts weigh in.

Raw dog food diets are controversial. But the popularity of the diets — which emphasize raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables — is rising.

Racing greyhounds and sled dogs have long eaten raw food diets. Extending those feeding practices to the family pet is an idea proposed in 1993 by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. He called his feeding suggestions the BARF diet, an acronym that stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

Billinghurst suggested that adult dogs would thrive on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated: Raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps. Grain-based commercial pet foods, he contended, were harmful to a dog’s health.

Many mainstream veterinarians disagree, as does the FDA. The risks of raw diets have been documented in several studies published in veterinary journals.

Since Billinghurst’s book,Give Your Dog a Bone, was published, several other types of raw dog food diets have emerged, including commercially processed raw food diets that are frozen or freeze-dried and combination diets that use blends of grains, vegetables, and vitamins that are mixed with raw meat purchased by the owner at the grocery store.