Many dog owners are turning away from highly-processed commercial pet foods and are preparing home-cooked meals for their dogs. But what about bypassing the cooking altogether and switching your dog to a raw food diet? Should pet parents be concerned about issues like food safety and their pups getting adequate nutrition? And what’s the difference between feeding your dog meat from the butcher vs. commercial raw dog food? An informative article by two nutritionists in Modern Dog magazine outlines the benefits and risks of a raw food diet. Here’s a brief summary:
Homemade vs. Commercial Raw Food
A raw food diet prepared by you at home usually consists of a combination of raw meat, bones, grains, fruits and vegetables, and added supplements. You will have to do your homework to make sure your dog is getting all of her nutritional requirements. Commercial raw food comes either fresh or frozen, and is nutritionally-balanced.
Raw Food Diet Pros
A homemade raw food diet means you don’t have to be concerned about the long list of commercial pet food recalls. You are able to control the components of your individual dog’s diet, such as eliminating allergens and adding extra moisture, when you prepare meals yourself. Both homemade and frozen commercial raw diets are free from added preservatives.
Raw Food Diet Cons
The biggest concern about raw diets is bacterial contamination from things like Salmonella and E-coli. They can pose a risk not just to your dog’s health, but to exposed humans as well (especially those with weakened immune systems). Different types of raw meats and fish contain different pathogens that dog owners need to be aware of.
Your dog can become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals if his diet is not properly balanced. You’ll also need a fair amount of time to prepare your dog’s meals on a homemade raw diet. And don’t forget to think about what your dog will eat at doggy day care and the boarding kennel when you are away.
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