For many of us, what we eat is extremely important and we are always looking for ways to clean up our own diets but what about when it comes to our canine companions and the benefits of a natural raw dog food diet? While we are keen to make sure that we eat as well as possible including organic produce, fresh ingredients and only the best foods (with no chemicals, additives or other nasties), we often don’t give as much thought or consideration to our beloved animal’s diets. For those of you that want to make sure you are giving your dog the very best then let’s talk raw dog food!
What is a natural raw dog food diet?
When we say natural raw dog food diet we mean a diet that contains none of the following:
NO processed foods
NO poor meat derivatives
NO hidden ingredients
Raw dog food is what nature intended and what they would eat in the wild. While our canine friends may have become domesticated over the years, their anatomical makeup and digestive system is still that of their ancestors and dogs were designed to eat the food that they hunted. From their teeth, which are used to rip apart and chew their food, to their digestive system and how it works, they are built to eat raw dog food! In the wild they catch and kill their prey, usually small animals that eat a plant based diet. They will eat the raw flesh and the stomach contents which usually contain plant matter. Nothing is cooked and absolutely nothing is added.
What are the benefits of natural raw dog food?
A natural dog food diet is fantastic for a dogs health, happiness and behaviour. A more stable temperament and overall contentment is often noted within days if not weeks. Remove refined carbohydrates, poor quality processed protein, synthetic nutrients, additives and chemicals as found in a tinned/kibble based diet and this is the result. Disease prevention along with the age defying benefits of a fresh, natural raw dog food diet rich with nutrients and antioxidants are also a vital benefit. They say; ‘you are what you eat’ and this applies to a dog too!
This is a big reason for owners to switch to a raw dog food diet. The digestion promoted is much different to that with foods such as kibble. The PH levels of the stomach are designed to break down the proteins and bone in a raw dog food diet – not the carbohydrates and intensively refined ingredients in processed foods. With a natural raw dog food diet, you achieve a clean, clear and healthy gut.
Improved skin and coat condition
The natural ingredients in raw dog food will transform a dull and lack lustre coat into a glossy, shiny, healthy coat and the skin can also show noticeable signs of improvement, especially in dogs that suffer with skin irritations. These are often the result of yeast infections caused by a kibble which is high in refined carbohydrates.
Increased vitality and energy
A raw dog food diet is great for a dogs general well-being leading to increased vitality. Dogs don’t have the sugar spikes and dips they often experience from kibble therefore their energy is much more consistent and stable. Dogs thrive with plenty of drive and once they are fed a natural raw dog food diet without all the additives and preservatives as found in processed food, this is in a much manageable way. Improved cognitive function can help with focus too.
Boosted immune system
As you would expect, if you are ingesting a better quality of food, the benefits are both external and internal. If a dog is eating what nature intended, then their immune system and internal organ function will be boosted by all of the wholesome and natural ingredients containing the vitamins and minerals which are vital for growth, repair and development. You are essentially conditioning your dog from the inside out!
A dogs weight is often the reason that an owner will switch to a raw dog food diet as alternatives can lead to unnecessary weight gain and bloating. The main ingredients in many processed foods are almost always calorie loaded carbohydrate fillers often enhanced with additives to make the dog crave more. A raw dog food diet is a much better way to manage weight without all of the unnecessary waste. Biologically appropriate raw dog food (BARF) is of such quality the dog absorbs almost all of the nutrients and goodness rather than passing it out as waste.
Leading on from the point above, because there is significantly less waste with a natural food diet, the obvious side effect is smaller stools. Raw feeders report a noticeable drop in the amount their dog produces and that they consequently have to pick up in the garden. Alongside this stool are firmer meaning anal gland function is promoted naturally and there is usually zero flatulence!
Less allergies and irritations
The natural properties of a raw dog food diet will clean up a dogs system inside and out and lead to less irritations such as itching and flaking of the skin and reduced allergies including stomach and digestive issues. Ear, nose and eye problems often clear up quickly once a natural dog food diet is adopted and processed, refined, synthetic ingredients removed.
The ingredients of a natural raw dog food diet
The range of fresh, natural ingredients included in a raw dog food diet offer many benefits and combined, ensure that your dog is getting all of the vital nutrients they need for digestion, skin and coat condition, immunity, organ function, body composition plus all of the other amazing factors mentioned above.
The main element of a raw based, natural raw dog food diet is protein or raw meat. Meats that can be given include chicken, beef, turkey, duck, tripe and salmon. Other elements that are important are raw bone (not cooked) and offal. Each of these have different properties with specific benefits. The bone for example helps with digestion and regulates the PH levels of the stomach as well as being great for keeping teeth clean and breath fresh.
While the main ingredient in a natural raw dog food diet for dogs is meat, and in some cases, all that some owners will feed their dogs, there are additional ingredients which have a positive impact. Carrots are loaded with carotenoids, are high in fibre, vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium, most B vitamins and phosphorous. Broccoli is another excellent source of fibre and kale is a superfood which contains an abundance of vitamins and calcium meaning that your dog is getting all of the nutrients they need in their diet.
Natural oils in small quantities also have excellent nutritional properties which aid in promoting joint mobility and flexibility. Cod liver oil is high in vitamin A for an efficient metabolism, flax seed oil is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 and promotes a healthy skin and glossy coat while coconut oil contains antibacterial properties which boosts the immune system and helps to prevent infection as well as being another great coat conditioner. You will also find a trace of seaweed which is another source of protein, vitamins C, E, and the full B vitamin complex alongside zinc and copper.
Switching to a natural food diet
If, after reading this, you are keen to switch to a raw dog food diet, you may be wondering how to make the transition. There are two ways you can change their diet. Either simply stop feeding them one food and start feeding them raw dog food, or you can make a slower switch. Feed one meal a day of kibble (or whatever else they have been eating) and one of raw dog food. Gradually reduce the previous food until they are only eating their new food.
Within a few days to a few weeks of your dog eating a natural raw dog food diet, you should start noticing the difference and some, if not all, of the benefits we mentioned above. We are confident that your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner.