Despite the fact that almost every dog we have worked with eats our meals with relish, one of the most common questions prospective customers ask us is will their dogs accept and like eating raw food? Given that feeding a raw dog food diet is currently less common and well-recognised than more traditional dog foods, it is also to be expected that potential customers may be reluctant to switch to a type of food when they believe that their dog has enjoyed dry or tinned food for a number of years. We have also found that a degree of squeamishness can hold prospective customers back. A large part of this can be due to the perception and apprehension surrounding handling raw meat and offal. However, in our experience, we have found both of these doubts to be unfounded. It is extremely rare to find a dog that does not enjoy a natural, species appropriate raw diet, which visually resemble mincemeat more than anything else. As such, owner squeamishness is rarely a valid barrier against feeding your dog a raw diet. In fact, we have many vegetarian and vegan customers who recognise the best diet for their dog and are able to purchase and handle our products without any problems whatsoever. Raw diets do not pose a risk to dogs…
Another common reservation against making the switch to raw food is a misconception that doing so will be unhygienic, and conducive to spreading disease and bacteria. It has been suggested that feeding a dog a raw diet is likely to increase its risk of suffering from worms or other bugs, which is simply untrue. Dogs’ stomach acids are considerably stronger than those found in humans (canine stomach acid is actually of equivalent strength to batteries), which give them an outstanding first line of defence against bacteria and other pathogens. Feral dogs and wolves have even been known to eat decomposing meat with few negative side effects. The British Farm approved, human-consumption grade meat used by a premium supplier such as ProDog Raw, poses little to no risk to them.
…and neither do they pose a risk to humans
Raw diets do not pose a risk to humans either as long as usual hygiene precautions are taken. Canine saliva contains a strong natural antibacterial enzyme called lysozyme, and feeding your dog a raw diet will not compromise this ability. All quality raw foods are frozen prior to sale, which has the effect of killing off any potential bacteria before the products are consumed, dramatically increasing how safe they are. Using a DEFRA approved supplier like ProDog Raw also ensures top standards of hygiene and safety are met and that each batch of food is tested for Salmonella and E. coli as a ‘belts and braces’ measure.
A dog will almost always prefer the raw option
Dogs are famously indiscriminating feeders, and will try to eat everything from raw steaks through to pizza, chocolate, and even household rubbish if given the opportunity. This is because their strongest sense is that of smell, and appealing smells are more often than not what leads them to wanting to eat certain foods. A very good example of this is how so many dogs like cheese. While dogs have not evolved to eat and digest dairy products, cheese’s strong and distinct smell is nevertheless extremely appealing to them. Most dogs will find the scent of raw meat – which is what our feeds are primarily based on – almost irresistible. Based on this premise, it is highly unlikely that any dog will not like our products solely based on how they smell. Just because a dog eats something does not that it actually particularly likes it. We have found that when offered a choice between raw products and kibble, the dog will almost always naturally select to eat the raw meat.
Switching to a raw diet for dogs
Much like humans, dogs can appear to be fussy eaters. It is not unheard of for certain dogs to completely reject food they are not used to, or only eat food that has been prepared in a certain way. Sudden changes in diet can sometimes cause issue, such as upset stomachs in breeds prone to gastroenteritis. However, this is not a reason not to feed your dog a raw diet. Dogs can and often do change diets, but this process should not be rushed.
Slow vs rapid switch
To achieve a successful change to a raw dog food diet over the course of approximately one to four weeks (known as a “slow switch”, and usually takes between seven and ten days to work), all one has to do is gradually mix the old and the new feed. Starting with a relatively small percentage of the new food to allow your dog to become accustomed to it. Gradually increase this until it accepts a whole portion of the new food. Even if your dog readily accepts this change of diet, it is still important to only gradually institute the new food, or risk causing an upset stomach and other digestive problems. The reason a ‘slow switch’ may be more appropriate, especially for older dogs who have been kibble fed for a number of years, is due to the fact that a slower approach allows a proper establishment of enzymes in their guts, which are needed to help digest raw meat. Some dogs can be given a “rapid” switch. This involves a day of fasting, then introducing the new foodstuff. However, the fast switch is more suitable for young dogs or those with a normal gastrointestinal system. It is also not ideal to mix dry feed with raw in the same meal due to different digestion periods, so leave this option as a last resort.
Try natural treats as a starting point
If you are interested in switching to a raw diet in principle, but are feeling somewhat reticent, then we would suggest using our dehydrated raw treat range as a starting point. In addition to complete main meals, complimentary feeds, and supplements, we also produce a number of natural treats that dogs will find to be highly appealing. These include dried ostrich meat, sprats, salmon and venison sticks, dried roast beef and lamb, rabbit ears, chicken feet, and assorted bones and dried offal. These products tend to be appropriate for more squeamish potential customers, and offer a softer entry into the world of raw food.
Scientifically proven health benefits
While changing a dog’s diet to a new raw feeding routine may need a little more thought and effort initially, we have found that it is well worth the endeavour. The scientifically proven health benefits of raw dog food diets are so significant compared to kibble and mainstream tinned foods that we feel that it is the most responsible way to feed your dog. Our products contain a blend of premium quality meat, fresh vegetables, ground bone and fur, offal, and a range of other nutrients which are all too often absent in more common processed dog foods. These key ingredients replicate what dogs’ natural ancestors would select to eat and what the modern domesticated dogs’ body is still now designed to eat and digest. We often receive emails and messages from delighted customers telling us how much more energetic, happy, and healthy their dogs appear after switching to our products. Going raw is easy. Try it for yourself and see!