Benefits of the raw food diet for dogs and puppies

Last week I posted a blog entitled “What should I feed my puppy?” in which I spoke about the raw food diet and gave a few brief pros and cons. Since then I’ve received a number of requests for more information about feeding dogs on the raw food diet, so thought it best to share some more facts and features of the raw food plan.

What is the raw food diet?
As I touched on last week, the raw food diet is simply taking your dog’s diet back to nature and feeding them the same foods that their carnivorous instincts would usually crave. This can include chicken, pork, lamb, beef and other animal meats, including bones. Even though this can seem unsavoury, it is completely natural for dogs, as descendants from wolves, to consume the meat, bones and organs of an animal.

What are the benefits of the raw food diet?
As dogs are not given the genetic dispositions to consume carbohydrates very easily, the raw food diet is said to lead to increased overall health and wellbeing. Dogs on the raw food diet are generally believed to have:

– firmer stools
– improved digestion
– healthier skin
– shiner coats
– reduced allergy symptoms
– better weight management
– reduced health conditions

And what are the downsides of the raw food diet?
There are three main downsides to the raw food diet – convenience, cost and contamination. Put simply, raw food simply can’t compete when it comes to the convenience of dry biscuits and even wet food. There is more preparation and storage involved with raw food, and in most cases a shorter use by date too. Unless you have a chest freezer or two, it can be tricky to keep a large dog fed on raw food without frequent trips to the shop!

Delilah dog eating

The second main downside is of course cost. With biscuits available from around £1.50 per kilogram, raw food is undeniably more expensive than many dry food options. Having said that, a rise in pricey dry food plans means if your pup is already treated to these you might not notice the difference.

The final downside, which may not always be as immediately apparent as the other two, is the risk of bacterial infection in the meat you feed your dogs. Germs such as salmonella and e.coli always pose a risk in raw meat, and though not as much for dogs as humans, this should still be considered. What’s more if feeding your dog raw food, you too must be cautious when handling and preparing the meat so as to ensure you don’t subject yourself to this risk.

How much should I feed my dog on the raw food diet?
Good question! Raw food is not as easy to weigh as biscuits and wet food, and as such it’s harder to suggest the ideal portion size. In general it is agreed that any dog should eat around 2 to 3% of their own weight in raw food per day. Therefore for a 10 kilogram dog, you would be expected to feed them around 200-300 grams per day.

When it comes to what the meat should be made up of, below is a rough guide to what your dog’s raw food diet should contain. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t need to be exact each day, but should even out over a period of a month or so.

– 80% muscle meat with average fat amounts
– no more than 10% organs
– no more than 10% meaty bones

I hope the above blog has helped you when considering the raw food diet for your dog. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, comments and questions below!

5 thoughts on “Benefits of the raw food diet for dogs and puppies

  1. “Even though this can seem unsavoury, it is completely natural for dogs, as descendants from wolves, to consume the meat, bones and organs of an animal.”

    Dogs aren’t direct descendants of wolves, they share a common ancestor (ref: Dr & Mrs Coppinger “Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behaviour, and Evolution”); the ancestor of dogs was (as dogs still are) an opportunistic scavenger, their ‘food’ therefore consisted almost entirely of human waste – both food waste (“leftovers”, inedible food, etc) and excrement. Not something I particularly would want to feed my own dogs, but it’s certainly worth keeping this in mind when claiming dogs primarily ate animal flesh before and/or during their domestication.

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