It’s all over Tik Tok! Have you come across those videos where pet owners are feeding their canines all sorts of raw meat infused with quail eggs, chicken claws, liver, omega seeds, and what not! Don’t believe me? Here’s an ASMR video of a Raw Food Diet for dogs.
Is it even safe for dogs to devour the flesh right off the bone?
The RFD or Raw Food Diet trend has become fairly popular. Pet owners have resorted to supplementing raw meat for their dogs to mimic the eating habits that they would have had on the streets.
Sounds legitimate. But is it a good practice? Guess we’ll just have to find out!
What is a Raw Food Diet
In recent years, raw food diets have been popularized for canines, but what is a ‘Raw Food Diet’ anyways?
From homemade meals to commercially prepared feeds, RFDs incorporate uncooked meat, animal organs (such as liver, brain, kidney, etc.), and bones from various sources such as poultry and fish.
Although it is predominantly a meat diet, it also includes raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk, grains, and eggs.
For wild animals, this sounds like a regular diet but can our domesticated doggies stomach this? Let’s find out.
Benefits of Feeding Raw Meat To Your Dog
A raw meat diet is typically what dogs were eating before we domesticated and tamed them. The digestive system of dogs is naturally adapted for this sort of diet as they have stronger stomach acids and enzymes to safely stomach food that humans cannot.
Raw meat is beneficial for several reasons:
It contains essential proteins
Protein is needed for muscles, ligaments, and cell sustenance. It contains essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 & 6, needed for a better fur coat and skin.
It naturally contains vitamin E and zinc, which most dog food manufacturers add to their synthetic products to help pups achieve a shinier coat.
It is good for oral hygiene
The canine and incisor teeth are naturally designed to tear apart meat.
A study confirms the theory that most dental problems in dogs stem from eating a soft diet which results in insufficient dental activity.
Hence, a raw meat diet with bone fragments would cater to enhanced salivation, rapid flushing of food contents, and of course, good oral hygiene.
A raw meat diet stays in the gut for 1-2 hours compared to dog food which persists for 7-9 hours.
This means raw meat is easily digested, and as a result, your dog would have less frequent and less pungent stools.
Low Carb Diet
Dogs have little to no salivary amylase (an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates); therefore, a diet with fewer carbohydrates is preferred.
Promotes General Health and Well Being
Many sources claim that a raw meat diet helps your canine with other medical conditions such as diabetes.
Although further research is required on whether it improves medical conditions, it is a known fact that proteins are a keystone in the maintenance of lean mass and a healthy weight.
Risks & Health Hazards of Raw Food Diet
Can dogs eat raw meat? Absolutely!
But whether or not dogs should have an RFD diet ONLY is what stirs the debate.
Raw meat diet consisting of only raw meat may not provide your dog with the full nutritional benefits, especially for a growing pup.
Commercially prepared diets are usually fortified with various vitamins and minerals essential for the dog’s health, something that a raw meat diet cannot fulfill. However, a raw food diet that includes raw fruits and vegetables can act as a source of such essential nutrients.
It is essential to acknowledge that not all raw meat is equal, especially beef.
Beef can be of two types: grass-fed or grain-fed; only grass-fed is suitable for your canine friend as it contains the essential fatty acids that dogs cannot produce on their own.
The most considerable risk with feeding raw meat is the bacteria and pathogens involved, such as Salmonella.
Young dogs or immuno-compromised dogs can become subject to harmful infections; therefore dog owners should be careful before adding raw meat to their dog’s dinner serving.
Even if your dog doesn’t end up getting sick from the ingestion of raw meat (along with the associated pathogens), it can still act as a carrier and harbor these pathogens in the body. Your dog may pass these harmful entities to the children in the family, thus posing a dire situation in the household.
How can one reduce the risks of a raw meat diet? Here’s all you need to know!
Maintaining Quality & Hygiene
Always feed your dog meat that looks fresh and has not been out for long.
The Federal Drug Administration suggests that one should freeze the meat until ready for use, keep it separate from cooked meat, use soap and hot water to clean preparatory surfaces and food bowls, and wash hands before handling the meat.
Caution With Bones
Avoid feeding dogs cooked or small bones as they can splinter and cause a choking hazard or puncture the intestines. Uncooked, large bones are softer and do not pose a choking threat.
Avoid Denatured Meat
Denatured meat is also referred to as 3D or 4D meat, and it is dyed to indicate that it is not fit for human consumption.
So is it safe for our dogs?
Denatured meat comes from dying, dead or diseased animals. This meat ends up in processed dog food after it gets chemically treated. This type of meat is cheaper than fresh meat but comes with health risks.
The chemicals used in the process can be harmful to your dog’s health and some amount of it may still carry some harmful bacteria or pathogen.
The decision to add raw meat to your dog’s diet is ultimately yours but keeping in view the above pros and cons, you can make a more calculated decision to benefit your canine’s health. Always do your research and consult your vet to ensure a healthy outcome for your pet.
Ask Away: The FAQ Section
Can all dog breeds consume raw meat safely?
Yes, all dog breeds can consume raw meat safely as long as you choose the right-sized bones to avoid any choking hazards.
Is a raw meat diet expensive?
Processed dog food costs more than a raw meat diet, especially if you’re preparing it yourself. Buying cheaper cuts of meat from your local grocery store can save you a lot of bucks.
Does a raw meat diet cause behavior changes in dogs?
No, a raw meat diet is like any other diet and does not cause any behavior changes. As long as your dog is well trained, no diet can be linked to behavior or mood changes.