With the growing amount of pawrents who want to provide the very best for their dogs, Kohepets staff are often questioned on the topic of Raw Dog Food Diets.
At the plea of my colleagues who are currently overwhelmed with enquiries through the non-stop ringing of phones, endless walls of emails and through instant messaging apps – I have decided to comply with their request for an article to help the many pawrents out there who want to know more about raw dog food diets.
Let’s start with what you need to know.
The RAW-est Of Diets
A growing controversial trend among dog owners is the introduction of raw foods into their pet’s diet. This diet is based on the theory that dogs would thrive on a diet similar to the ones their undomesticated ancestors. This diet incorporates a combination of raw meats, fruits, vegetables and bones are used as the main ingredients.
The practice of feeding dogs raw foods originates from the feeding practices of racing greyhound and sled dogs. The idea to extend the raw food diet to our pets was suggested in 1993 by Ian Billinghurst, an Australian veterinarian. He named this diet the BARF diet, an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
The BARF diet theory was met with lots of debate arguing that dogs are not omnivores and do not require vegetables and fruits in their diets.
When compared to the diets of dog’s natural cousins – wolves, the results points out inaccuracies in the BARF diet methods. Arguments that the amount of bones and vegetables suggested by the BARF diet is highly inaccurate and redundant.
The one thing we can agree on is that our dogs
Love need meat. Most manufacturers provide freeze dried raw foods that mainly focuses on meats as the main ingredient with minor amounts of certain vegetables added in. The vegetables added in may provide slight benefits as flavouring or even certain vitamins and minerals in small quantities.
Readily Available Raw Meat
The idea of feeding your dog raw food is not as simple as buying raw chunks of meat and tossing them on the floor. In fact, some people consider raw food diets quite pricy and troublesome to prepare compared to the usual dry foods/kibble they use.
However, others swear by it and highly encourage fellow pawrents to adopt the same diets for their dogs. There are numerous claims that the raw food diet promotes a healthier lifestyle for your dogs.
To avoid the hassle of going to the butcher or supermarkets often to stock up on meats used to prepare your dog’s meal, many pet food manufacturers provide raw dog food in freeze dried or dehydrated forms – all done for ease of purchase and use! Besides being readily available, freeze dried or dehydrated dog food also has a much longer shelf-life!
Before we get into the facts let us first understand what types and forms of raw foods are out there.
The Raw Meat Diet – Just Raw Meat
One of the first diets consists of literally feeding your dog raw, fresh and uncooked animal meats. This method of preparing your dog’s meal requires you to purchase fresh meats from your local butcher and feeding it to your dog in a mixture.
One such example is a mix of :
- Muscle meat that is preferably on the bone.
- Ground or entire bones.
- Internal Organs from animals. (eg. Kidneys, liver..)
- Raw eggs.
- A mixture of certain vegetables.
- A mixture of fruits.
It is highly important that you use only the freshest ingredients. Decaying or rancid food may cause harm to your dogs when consumed. If not preparing the dog’s meal immediately, refrigerate or freeze the meats until the need to use.
Dehydrated Dog Food
Another form of raw dog food is dehydrated dog food. Just like human foods, dehydrated dog food is produced when moisture is removed from the ingredients through various methods. All you have to do is add water into the dehydrated dog food mixture and presto! a proper meal for your dog in a few minutes.
One method of producing dehydrated dog food is by using heat or warm air to slowly evaporate the moisture found in the selected ingredients.
The temperature is warm enough to allow evaporation to occur but not warm enough to totally cook the ingredients. This theoretically preserves the nutrients normally lost during cooking.
Although ingredients may be partially cooked, some people still consider dehydrated dog food to be raw.
Brands like Addiction and The Honest Kitchen offer a wide range of dehydrated dog foods available in a variety of flavours. The Honest Kitchen and Grandma Lucy’s also offer base mixes and pre-mixes for those who wish to feed raw meat, but want a quick and easy way to add some fibre and supplements.
Freeze Dried Dog Food
Freeze drying is a common method used in preparing commercial raw dog food. This method employs a technique whereby low temperatures and pressures are used to remove moisture from the ingredients.
The ingredients are treated in a vacuum chamber with below freezing temperatures. Slowly as the pressure and temperature is altered, instead of being allowed to return to liquid form, the ice found in the ingredients are forced to vaporise.
There is very minimal effect on the structure of the cells found in the food ingredients due to freeze drying effect of ice turning directly into vapour.
Freeze dried raw dog foods have picked up popularity in recent years. They make excellent treats and meal toppers on top of the fact that they can provide a convenient and complete meal for your furkid. Even Kohepet’s #WestieTheIntern can’t get enough of them!
What Are Some Of The Benefits?
Do take note that getting your dog on a raw dog food diet is going to prove slightly more pricey as earlier mentioned. But the benefits may far outweigh the trouble of obtaining raw dog food.
Some owners observed that their dogs had shinier coats of fur after switching to the raw dog food diet. Others noticed an increase in their dog’s energy levels along with dogs having healthier skin and cleaner teeth.
From a human’s perspective, we can see how feeding raw dog food in dehydrated or freeze dried forms have proven quite beneficial.
Imagine, all the benefits of a raw dog food diet squeezed into a convenient (and likely resealable) bag that ready for your furkid’s consumption. Little or no preparation is needed! Wow! Isn’t technology amazing?
With our busy lives, which pawrent wouldn’t appreciate the hassle-free preparation and storage of dehydrated or freeze dried dog food? No more having burdens of having to freeze and thaw the raw meats kept in the freezer hours before preparing your furkid’s meal.
A popular reason why many of our customers purchase freeze dried or dehydrated dog food from us is to use them as meal-toppers! Yes, these raw dog foods make great additional treats and can also be used to add variety and flavour to your furkid’s meal. A wonderful solution for that picky eater.
Things To Look Out For!
While the benefits are great, there are some guidelines and warnings one should take heed if you are planning on switching your dog to a raw food diet.
Be clean – If you intend to use meat from the butcher and prepare homemade raw dog food, please ensure that proper precautions are taken so that your dog doesn’t end up eating tainted or rancid meat that will hurt him/her!
Unbalanced nutrition – Unlike store-bought freeze dried or dehydrated dog foods prepared by dog food manufacturers, home prepared raw versions do not have professional nutritionists to inspect and calculate the right amounts of nutrients the serving of food should have. This could lead to overfeeding or malnutrition.
Gastrointestinal distress – Some dogs with sensitive intestinal tracts tend to get diarrhoea when first introduced to a raw diet. This is normal and one solution is to slowly introduce the new raw diet slowly while mixing it with the current diet.
A Final Word
If you’re interested in giving raw food diets a try, it comes down to you as a responsible dog owner to decide which form of raw meat diet you want your dog to enjoy.
If you would like to prepare a mixture of fresh raw meats from the butcher, you might want to consider doing much more intensive research in how to prepare your dog’s meal and how much or what types of ingredients to use.
However if you would like to try some hassle-free freeze dried versions of raw meat diets, below are some links to products that we carry. You can consider purchasing some to try as a treat, meal topper or just as an entire meal for your furkid! I hope that I was able to shed a little light on this frequently enquired topic on raw dog food diets. See you in the next article!