Over the past few years, people have become obsessed with raw food diets. #Raw has been posted over eight million times on Instagram. Youtube is filled with vloggers like Fully Raw Kristina, NaturalVita, and Raw Alignment. There are even raw vegan celebrities on Twitter! Raw Vegan Queen has over 26,000 followers, and Santino Rice has almost 90,000.

But why should humans have all the fun? Our animals deserve some amazing fuel, too. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you learn about the pros and cons of raw nutrition, and why your furry friend’s current diet might be hurting more than helping.

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Source: http://gph.is/1fhcwFD

Wait… What’s Wrong With Normal Pet Food?

Right now, it’s standard practice to buy your dog or cat kibble at a chain like Petsmart or Target. But have you ever looked at the ingredients? Just like packaged food for people, bagged pet food is full of funky, artificial ingredients.

According to Dogs Naturally magazine, dog food may contain “4-D” meat: “meat from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals.” Not gross enough for you? Well, mill floor sweepings and corn contaminated with pesticides can find their way in there, too. Yeah, that’s right… floor sweepings.

Source: http://gph.is/17SBtxI
Source: http://gph.is/17SBtxI

But that’s not all. When you continually feed your pet the same packaged food, they get the same nutrients day after day. As a result, they can become nutritionally deficient. This is definitely the case if your pet food involves corn– if you can call it that. The corn included in pet food can be anything that resembles food: feed corn for cattle, feed corn remnants, even corn dust counts. And who wants to eat dust of any kind, corn or otherwise?

The standard American diet, also known as SAD, has such a negative image because it’s nutritionally deficient, and leads to obesity, cancer, and heart disease. The same goes for packaged pet food. Do you really want to hurt your furry friend?

What Is Raw Pet Food?

Traditional pet food comes in bags, boxes, and cans. Which begs the question– what does raw food look like? Essentially, it’s any human recipe that doesn’t involve cooking.

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Source: http://gph.is/2bu14aQ

As dietician Barbara Laino says in an interview with The Bark, “There’s a lot of pressure from veterinarians. They pretend that feeding a dog is a complex thing to do. When I first started making my own food, I felt cornered,” Laino said. “I felt like I had to have all these numbers — milligrams of calcium, percentage of protein … Since then, I’ve realized that it’s really common sense. Feeding a dog is no more difficult than feeding a child.”

Where Can I Find Recipes?

A great resource for learning about pet nutrition can be found here. The page includes this recipe for pet food, as well as the nutritional breakdown:

Source http://www.makeusknow.com/categories/animals&pets/what-can-dogs-eat-vs-what-should-dogs-eat.html
Source http://www.makeusknow.com/categories/animals&pets/what-can-dogs-eat-vs-what-should-dogs-eat.html

 

The website, NJ Boxers, gives a great example of a daily raw food diet for a golden retriever:

  • 12 chicken necks, or 8 chicken wings, or 2 beef ribs plus an egg or yogurt.
  • Occasionally (like once every 2 weeks), substitute fish – either canned mackerel or sardines

Simple, right? But if you’re stretched for time, you don’t need to prepare an entire recipe for your pet. Instead, buy organic food and pair it with something else. A great brand is Life’s Abundance, which is 100% all natural and holistic foods for dogs and cats, made of 100% all natural, human-grade ingredients. You can also try a holistic pre-mix food like Dr. Harvey’s, or a prepared raw diet like Oma’s Pride. There are even dehydrated holistic dog food lines, like Verve, Force, and Embark.

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Source: http://gph.is/VxqOX7

 

“You can take a scoop of good kibble and combine it with carrots, honey or a whole egg,” Laino says in The Bark. “Another one is canned salmon, which is super-easy and convenient. If you do nothing else, add a little canned salmon to your dog’s kibble every day. It’s one of the healthiest things you can do.”

As dietician Barbara Laino says in an interview with The Bark, “There’s a lot of pressure from veterinarians. They pretend that feeding a dog is a complex thing to do. When I first started making my own food, I felt cornered,” Laino said. “I felt like I had to have all these numbers — milligrams of calcium, percentage of protein … Since then, I’ve realized that it’s really common sense. Feeding a dog is no more difficult than feeding a child.”

The Pros Of A Raw Pet Diet

Not sure if you want to put your pet on a raw diet? Here are some reasons why you should:

  • Foods like raw bones will naturally clean your pet’s teeth, which eliminates gum disease
  • As your dog chews a raw meaty bone, their stomach has adequate time to get acids
  • Your pet will produce less stool
  • Your pet’s coat will improve in appearance
  • You’ll make less frequent trips to the vet– which means less money spent!
  • You’ll save money on commercial dog food

The Cons of a Raw Pet Diet

Of course, every diet has its downsides. For journalistic integrity, here are some potential pitfalls of a raw food diet for your pet:

  • Bacterial and parasitic contamination is possible, yet remains a point of contention.
  • While laws minimize contamination of meat for human consumption, they don’t protect meat or eggs intended for pet consumption. As a result, owners need to choose their food carefully.
  • Chewing on raw bones can fracture your pet’s teeth

So, should you feed your pet a raw food diet? That’s up to you. The biggest lesson to take away is that your pet deserves food that is healthier than the kibble that’s sold in standard pet stores. As long as you steer clear of that stuff, you’re already on the right path.

If you’ve made the switch, please share your experience. Now… who’s hungry?

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