One of the biggest controversies in pet care today is raw food, mostly because “we’ve done it this way for years” is the standard model of thought. Which leads to a lot of confusion and questioning with questions like…
Should I give my dog a raw dog food diet? Is a raw foods diet safe for dogs? What’s wrong with commercial pet food? What’s really best for my dog? The choices can leave your head spinning.
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Raw Dog Food?
But We’ve ALWAYS Done it This Way!
“We’ve always fed our dogs this way!” is a common argument in deciding what to feed your dog. What’s wrong with traditional commercial dog food?
More and more dogs are getting cancer and autoimmune disorders than ever before, forcing many pet parents to take a hard, honest look at the pet food industry. Maybe the way we’ve always done it isn’t really what’s best for the dogs- maybe it’s what’s best for the humans.
You see, the pet food industry has turned a lucrative profit using up leftovers and scraps deemed “unusable” for human consumption. What could be better than making money off something you’d normally be forced to put in the garbage, right?
Pet foods are traditionally made from highly processed 4D meats (dead, dying, diseased, and disabled). That dog food nugget is likely made from cancerous tumors, aborted animal fetuses, beaks, ears, trimmings and animals not fit for sale in any other “usable” form. Some reports have even found the chemical commonly used to euthanize pets INSIDE commercial pet food!
Just think about that for a minute….
Some pet food companies purchase the bodies of euthanized pets to be used in their dog food.
The Kibble Making Process
By all accounts, what little nutrition found in these inferior ” 4D meats” is most often leached out through high heat processing, leaving behind a nutritionally bankrupt pet food that requires flavor enhancement and artificially added vitamins and minerals to entice dogs to consume this so-called food.
They have to add back artificial vitamins and flavors to trick dogs into thinking what’s in the bowl is actually food.
Today, pet parents aren’t content to settle for “scraps and lips and beaks”. We don’t want to feed our fur babies fast-food leftovers enhanced to pass bare-minimum nutritional requirements. The worst part is, not only are most commercial pet foods devoid of essential nutrients, they’re often infused with known carcinogens like BHA and aflatoxins!
For pet parents looking for a better, healthier, natural way to feed their dogs, research often leads to a biologically appropriate, raw foods diet. Here’s why.
Ten Reasons to Start a Raw Dog Food Diet
1. Your Dog is a Wolf.
Well, kind of. The furry bundle of energy that knocks you from your feet the moment you set foot through the door to lick your face and demand tummy rubs may not spend its evenings howling at the moon in the local forest, but your best friend shares DNA – and a digestive system – with this species.
Do you see wolves chomping down on processed kibble in the wild? Unless you live somewhere very strange indeed, we’d suggest not; wolves hunt and eat fresh meat for all the nutrition they need, and domestic dogs will gain the same benefits from farm-fresh raw food, without all that messy hunting business that would seriously cut into their schedule of snoozing and playing.
2. Raw Food Tastes Better.
There’s a time and a place for fast food in everybody’s life, but it’s hardly something that you’ll want to live off for every meal – even the novelty of a Sausage and Egg McMuffin wears off eventually. Ask yourself this – if you were offered a takeaway burger from a venue of your choice or a perfectly prepared steak, which would you choose (sorry vegans – you can insert your own analogy of your choosing).
Wet food or kibble may contain traces of a taste akin to raw food, but there is no substitute for the real thing. What’s more, many commercial pet foods are created from off-cuts of meat deemed unfit for human consumption, oftentimes from sick animals. Do you really want your fur baby munching on potentially tumorous entrails? I thought not.
3. Raw Food Means One Ingredient.
Take a look at the list of ingredients that a processed doggy dinner packs into it’s creation – sure, a chicken dinner may contain chicken, that poultry was potentially weak and sick to begin with, and the remains have been re-heated and treated to the point that all nutrients will be gone. In addition, this meal will contain all kinds of additives, preservatives, sugars and who knows what else in an attempt at making it palatable to a discerning doggy diner. If you find that Fido has a mad five minutes after meal times, this will be why – his internal organs are dancing a can-can as they attempt to process all of these foreign elements making their way through his digestive tract. Raw food means that you’ll be feeding your hound just one, raw ingredient, and they’ll gain everything they need from that. In the case of raw feeding, chicken means chicken – not chickenish.
4. Kibble Damages the Doggy Digestive System – Raw Food Enhances it.
On a similar note, think back to all the dietary information that you have read about human biology. Have you been told that carbohydrates are the root of all evil? That may be an exaggeration for humans, but the carbs contained in kibble are certainly bad for Fido.
A dog’s stomach simply doesn’t know what to do with these ingredients, leaving their mouths working overtime in terms of saliva generation just to deal with the complex carbs – Fido’s mouth isn’t watering in anticipation of more sub-standard chow, he’s just attempting to get the food into his system. The upshot of this is that your pooch will need to drink lots more water to quench their thirst after all that – meaning more trips out into the wind and rain to empty their bladder – and a great deal of the food you’re buying will be rejected and end up in your pooper scooper.
Raw food is what your dog’s stomach expects and needs, and will thus satisfy and fill their adorable bellies much faster. A dog fed a raw foods diet eats less, poops less, and feels satiated.
5. Raw Food Freshens Breath and Cultivates Healthy Teeth.
Another unpleasant side effect of the carbs and additives found in processed foods is a thick paste that forms in Fido’s mouth as the food mixes with saliva – a gunky paste that sticks to your pooches teeth. Now, we all know that dogs are much smarter than many people give them credit for, but unfortunately they still haven’t managed to work out how to grasp a toothbrush or dental floss in their little paws. This waste will rot, leaving your hound with stained teeth and breath that’s far from sweet – not ideal for you when all your pooch wants to do is shower you with kisses.
6. Raw Food Keeps Fido’s Coat Shiny and Healthy.
It’s no secret that when we eat healthily as humans, it benefits our hair, teeth and nails. The same goes for our furry friends – the nutrients that they’ll obtain from munching on raw food will transfer to their coats, ensuring that they shine and smell considerably better. What’s more, raw food can even reverse damage done – if you have rescued your best friend from a shelter and find that they have bare patches of fur, eating right can help that fuzz grow back in no time at all- thick, shiny, and healthy!
7. Freeze Dried Raw Food Does Not Spoil.
One of the greatest things about feeding Fido using TruDog’s freeze-dried packages, is that these meals do not spoil. It remains shelf-stable without refrigeration.
How many times have you opened half a tin of dog food and either tossed the rest away as it would not stay fresh, or given Fido a double-serving just so it wouldn’t go to waste? How many times have you had to throw a third of a bag of kibble into the garbage because it had gone stale before it could be finished? In addition to taking up next to no space in your cupboards or pantry, the bespoke packaging of TruDog’s freeze-dried raw food ensures that it’s virtually spoil-proof and will remain fresh for as long as you need it to.
8. Supplements Can Be Added to Raw Food.
The fact that raw food gives your pooch everything they may need from a meal is obviously the biggest selling point of all, but there is never any harm in adding some extra goodness – after all, even the healthiest of humans supplement their nutrition-rich diets with vitamins. Doggy supplements come in all different shapes and tastes and provided different services, from joint health to calming nervous temperaments, and will only do more to assist with the already-impressive impact of a raw food diet,
9. Raw Food Will Help Your Dog Live Longer.
We’ve established that dogs are basically adorable domesticated wolves, and some of the latter have been known to live for over twenty years in the wild thanks to their diet of raw food. The fact is, many health issues that tend to afflict our beloved furballs as they start to age, like creaking joints that lead to pain and immobility and problems with internal organs such as the heart disease and kidney failure, can be combated just by feeding them the right diet. Your average dog will not have any bad habits relating to drinking and smoking, so combating health issues through diet is over half of the battle to good health.
10. Raw Food Will Save You Money!
You can’t put a price on love, but it’s one of the biggest myths out there that feeding your dog a raw diet is a fast-track to bankruptcy – it’s actually one of the most cost effective ways of keeping Fido fed. When you feed raw, you feed far less food because it’s more nutrient dense and efficient for your dog’s digestive system.
Investing in your dog’s nutrition saves you money on future veterinarian bills. Prevention really is worth a pound of cure when it comes to mealtime for your dog. If you’ve even had a dog that required regular medication to combat a health condition, you know how quickly expenses can multiply. Investing in raw foods saves you money and saves your dog from suffering with healthy struggles.
Raw Food BARF Basics for Dog Owners
Yes, the abbreviation for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods Diet is BARF, but I’m guessing you can get over that since you have probably cleaned up your fair share of poo, pee, BARF, and other doggie unmentionables- all in the name of puppy love. Overlook the acronym, because the BARF diet is really what your dog is designed to eat.
Science says your dog shares over 99.9% of his or her DNA with wolves, and guess what they eat? Yep, they eat prey animals- raw.
Wolves survive on the raw meat and organs of prey animals they catch in the wild. They may also eat the bones and stomach lining later after the meat has been consumed. In dire situations, wolves may forage for grains, vegetables, or other naturally occurring food sources like berries, but they’re definitely not the first menu choice- they’re more of a backup plan for when prey is scarce to keep from starving. Yet, commercial dog food is often filled to the brim with these secondary nutrients and severely lacking in the fresh meat and organ department. Check the ingredients label of pet foods and you’ll find meat meal listed along with vegetable proteins instead of whole vegetables, and fillers like grains and starches.
Give your dog the choice between a bowl of potatoes and bread, a bowl of fruits and veggies, and big raw steak topped with chicken livers and which do you think he’ll gobble first? The meat! Your dog’s instinct is to seek out and consume raw meats.
We often make the mistake of thinking our dogs’ digestive systems are like our own, but this simply isn’t true. Your dog’s teeth are designed for ripping and tearing flesh, and his digestive system has naturally occurring special enzymes that allow him to safely eat raw meats- unlike humans.
In short, your dog is made to eat raw meat as his primary food source.
What Are The Drawbacks of Raw Foods for Dogs?
I’ll be honest, some people aren’t cut out for the raw foods life.
It’s often labor-intensive to shop for and safely prepare a raw meat diet for your dog every day. It can also be hard on your wallet, especially if you’re comparing it to the price of a “pieces and parts” fast food commercial pet food diet.
Plus, some people are just grossed out by raw meat. Your dog isn’t, though, just the opposite, but it can be a factor for some humans.
If you can stomach the rawness and the cost and the extra work, a raw food diet really is the most wholesome diet you can feed your dog. It’s a sacrifice more and more pet parents are making to help their dogs live healthier.
How to Feed Raw Foods to Dogs
Most BARF proponents add in fresh fruits and veggies alongside the meat and organs for added taste and variety, and some even allow for “cheat days” where pups get a pizza crust or grilled burger from time to time. The key is to make raw species appropriate food the main component of your dog’s diet.
You’ll read research on adding in crushed eggshells for calcium, OMEGA oils for digestion, Vitamin E oil, prebiotics, probiotics, coconut oil, and other “supplements” to ensure your dog is getting the optimal nutrition, but basically, upgrading to a raw meat and organ-filled diet is going to be such an improvement over commercial pet food, your dog will show huge signs of improved health without all those additives. Supplementing a BARF diet long term with nutritional add-ins and doggie supplements is generally the best practice to reach an even higher level of optimal nutrition for your pooch.
To start, you really just need raw, organic meats, organs, and maybe a little fish oil to help your dog digest his new food. Bite size pieces usually work best and transitioning to a raw diet SLOWLY is a must.
Imagine if you’d only eaten fast food your entire life then someone hands you a plate of fresh veggies. It’s likely going to make you sick at first, even though it’s better for your body. The body needs time to adjust to the “richness” of wholesome dog food after a steady diet of nutrition-less fast foods.
If your dog will allow, mix in a little raw food with his regular food every day and slowly increase the amount of raw while decreasing the other food. If your dog vomits or develops digestive issues, back off on the raw portion sizes and try again. It may take a couple of weeks to transition fully.
Some dogs, however, will have nothing to do with transitioning and pick out the raw food, leaving the inferior food in the bowl. If this happens, it’s sometimes best to just “go with it” and listen to your dog. He’s obviously telling you his personal preference is for the raw.
” I have an adorable Cavalier Cocker Spaniel named Marlee. When I received our first order of FEED ME Turkey, I read the directions on slowly combining her old food with the new freeze dried to where she would eventually only be eating the freeze dried. So, I just put a little bit of the Turkey in with her regular food — and that’s all she would eat!! She wouldn’t eat her “old” food. I tried to explain to her that she needed to change slowly but she would not listen! She “gobbled” down the FEED ME Turkey and looked up at me for more!! So, I guess Marlee would give her new food 5 stars!!” says Annie from North Carolina.
Safety Precautions for Feeding Raw Foods
Remember, you’re dealing with raw meat. Always follow proper kitchen protocol for handling raw meat and wash your hands and preparation surfaces after feeding your dog. Treat your dog’s bowls just as you would any other dishes used to prepare meat for humans. If you’re concerned about your dog transferring any raw meat “germs” by licking people or objects after meals, consider using a dental care spray after meals or brush his teeth. Provide fresh water after meals and wash water bowls often as well just to be safe.
Not only is it POSSIBLE to safely feed your dog a raw foods diet, it’s not that difficult. I’ve fed raw food to my dogs with small children in my home, with other animals present, and in close quarters, and have never had an occurrence of cross contamination occur. Common sense and safe food handling are necessary but are not cumbersome.
What Raw Foods Do for Your Dog
Is feeding a raw foods diet really worth it? You betcha!
I’ve seen a dog-lice infested, underweight puppy full of skin sores transform into a beautiful creature in just four weeks with medical treatment and a raw food diet. Her coat became shiny and lush, her sores healed in record time. She gained immense energy and vitality in a few short days, and her chronic diarrhea never returned. She lost that horrible “doggie smell” that was so bad we had to ride home with her that first day with all the windows down.
Now, there’s no doggie smell at all in our home. None. Her bedding and her fur are fresh and sweet smelling like the hay fields she loves to romp in. The veterinarian declared we’d “done a wonderful job” in raising her at her last checkup and called her the fittest dog seen all day. She’s maintained an ideal weight, her teeth are gleaming, and she’s energetic and happy.
That’s the biggest change- she’s happy- happy at mealtimes, happy to play, happy to enjoy her life.
I’ve heard of dogs needing surgery who were able to recover on their own after starting a raw foods diet. Dogs who could barely walk gaining full use of their joints and legs, and dogs coming from abusive situations making miraculous recoveries with the help of the reliable nutrition provided by a raw foods diet.
Fat doggies get thinner and thin doggies achieve a healthy weight with raw foods.
But most of all, dogs simply live longer with a raw foods diet. Take Bluey for example, an Australian cattle dog living in the outback who hunted down most of his own food. He lived to be 29 years old! Or Maggie, another Australian outback dog who lived to be 30! If you compare the diets of the oldest dogs known in history, I’m betting you’ll find they ate a mostly raw food diet- not commercial dog foods!
Common sense tells you- if you feed your dog better, they’ll live longer, happier lives.
If you’re looking for an easy, healthy alternative to commercial pet food, freeze dried raw dog food could be the answer.
What About Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food?
Shelf stable, freeze-dried raw dog food can be stored in your pantry. It weighs less because the majority of the water has been removed during the freeze-drying process. It looks and smells like real meat because it’s made with real meat.
In a high-quality freeze-dried raw dog food like TruDog’s FEED ME, meat is sourced from organic, humanely-run family farms in the U.S.A. Quality cuts of meat are hand-deboned and flash freeze-dried without extra processing, making it the closest to fresh raw meat you can purchase in a ready-to-eat form. Free from chemicals, additives, grains, and fillers, your dog gets quality cuts of meat, organ meats, and a little herring oil to aid in digestion to provide an AAFCO approved, veterinarian recommended, balanced diet based on the Alpha Prey BARF model.
Feeding a filler-free food means your dog eats less of this nutritionally-dense pet food. It also means less waste in the backyard and fewer allergies and digestive issues.
Both of my companions, a rescued Toy Poodle and an Australian Cattle Dog eagerly await being fed their morning & evening portions of the Crunchy Munchy Beef Bonanza. Once they start, neither stops until their bowls are empty. I enjoy feeding this product for many reasons: Storage is simple without fear of spoilage nor needing refrigeration after opening; it is light weight and can easily be taken along on a day trip or extended vacation; smaller portions are served due to its meat content; and, poop-scooping is almost non-existent due to almost 100% assimilation.” says Brenda from Florida about FEED ME.
To feed, just add a little water to reconstitute and serve. It’s that simple.
Your dog gets the quality raw nutrition his body needs, and you get the convenience of a ready-to-eat kibble.
From Debbie Jesse-Kellogg Roeder:
We have three rescue dogs who are such a part of our family. I recently discovered TruDog while searching for the best possible food for one of my little guys who developed a nasty form of cancer; squamous cell carcinoma. It’s in his sinus cavity, nasal passages, his throat and inside his mouth. Nasty stuff. I started with Boost Me and our Rusty just loves it. Of course, the other two were highly jealous that Rusty was getting special treatment, so I started giving them the Boost Me with their food. A few weeks later I started using the Feed Me food for my other two dogs, Riley and Bailey. They love it! I did an experiment with them where I added the Feed Me and the Boost Me to their regular dog food. When I checked their bowls all that was left in the bowl was their regular dog food! They picked out every bite of the TruDog foods and left the other food behind! Last week I started Rusty on the Raw food Beef and Carrots along with Boost Me and the Comfort Me and Protect Me products. Our last visit to the oncologist for Rusty was some very good news. The mass in his mouth had shrunk enough that it was no longer there! I have been giving him other anti-cancer supplements, however, I feel that the improvement in Rusty’s food is the major reason he’s doing better. His compromised immune system is getting a lot of help and I can’t help but think this is what is making him stronger. Thank you, TruDog for caring about our furbabies!! Riley is our Scottie Terrier/Cairn Terrier mix, Bailey is a full-blooded Chinese Crested Powder Puff and a true clown and pictured below is our sweet baby Rusty. He’s a Cairn/Yorkie mix. He’s almost 9 years old and spent the first 6 months of his tiny life being abused. Since we’ve had him he’s been spoiled rotten and deserves it!