Food is an important part of both people’s and dogs’ daily lives. Dogs, on the other hand, do not get to pick what they eat. We chose what we believe is ideal for our canine companions’ health, energy level, and happiness. With the growing popularity of freshly prepared raw dog food, it is important to question what is best for your dog.
One of the most discussed and controversial topics when it comes to pet health and nutrition is, Should you feed your dog a raw food diet or kibble? Is raw food better for dogs than dry food?
What is a Raw Dog Food Diet?
Raw feeding means just what it says, feeding your domestic dog a diet that is primarily made up of raw meat, edible bones, and organs.
A raw meat diet consists of organ meats and muscle meat, bones, and other animal parts that a dog is able to consume. Dogs that consume a raw food diet commonly eat raw eggs, minimal dairy, and fruits and vegetables that are safe for them to consume. This diet can do wonders for the overall health of the dog as it promotes heart health, increases energy level, makes the dog’s coat shiny, and makes the dog’s breath smell better. This is because the diet closely resembles what the dog would be consuming if it were in the wild as it contains real ingredients and animal-source protein.
However, cooking for your dog is a time-consuming process that requires careful planning and consideration to ensure that you are providing your dog with all of the essential nutrients that it needs for a healthy life. If you wish to begin feeding your dog a raw food diet, you should consult with your vet or prepare a diet that is cooked using recipes formulated by a veterinary nutritionist.
There are a few pet food delivery services that work closely with canine nutritionists to develop diets that consider all of the nutrients that your dog needs for a long and happy life. These diets consider the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs for healthy bones and organ function.
What is a Kibble Diet?
Kibble is typically made using grains, various animal protein sources, fruits, vegetables, and various starches. Kibble is usually supplemented with various vitamins and minerals as well to ensure that your dog is receiving the necessary nutrients that it needs for a healthy life. Typically, the higher quality kibble brands use a formulation that is higher in protein and contains less starch. Many high-quality kibble brands refrain from using grain as some dogs are allergic to grain.
Most dog owners opt to feed their dog a diet that is purely made up of kibble as it is less time-consuming, and they do not have to wonder if their dog is receiving the proper vitamins and minerals. While this is often the easiest option, you may be harming your dog’s health unknowingly.
There are pros and cons when it comes to a raw dog food diet and a kibble diet. Below, we will discuss some of these pros and cons and allow you to make an informed decision on what diet is best for your dog.
Should Dogs Eat Like Wolves?
All domestic dogs today are descended from one common ancestor, wolves. Does that mean that you should be feeding your dog a diet that resembles what his ancestors ate? The answer is not as simple as it may appear. Wolves are not able to digest certain grains like dogs and shouldn’t live off of a diet of kibble.
However, domesticated dogs are far removed from their wild ancestor, which means they have different dietary requirements compared to wolves. While your dog does not need starch in its diet, they do have genes that allow them to process and use grains and cereals, unlike wolves. This means that domesticated dogs can survive off of a diet that includes both plants and meats.
Many people argue that the primary nutritional source for dogs should be raw meat and protein. But they can survive off of plants. However, there is a big difference between just surviving and being in optimal health. So, that leads us to the question, should you be feeding your dog a raw meat-only diet? Should you feed your dog a raw diet, or should you go with kibble instead?
Health Benefits of a Raw Diet For Dogs
Do the raw diet benefits outweigh the risks? People that regularly feed their dogs a diet made up of raw food claim that they notice their dogs have more energy, healthier fur, and skin, and have better dental hygiene. Raw food advocates often cite these health benefits:
Joint and Bone Health
There’s no better way to support bones than by using them! Calcium, phosphate, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and marrow are all found in crushed genuine bone. All of these factors contribute to healthy puppy development as well as good joint and bone health.
Immune System Support
The immune system is the body’s first line of defense against illness. To help our dogs’ immune systems thrive, we must provide complete and balanced nourishment. The nutrition found in all-natural ingredients has the extra benefit of being highly digestible for your dog. This increased immune function often leads to shinier coats as well.
In some cases, poor oral hygiene can be traced back to a bad diet, particularly one that is extensively processed or high in carbs. Raw, meaty bones are well-known for being nature’s toothbrush for our dogs, assisting with plaque clearance and getting into those hard-to-reach spaces between their teeth. Fresh breath can be achieved by feeding your dog a diet full of healthy natural elements such as celery and, on rare occasions, peppermint.
Even though the raw diet comes with many health benefits, there are some dangers that you need to be aware of.
Dangers of Feeding Your Dog a Raw Food Diet
What are the problems with raw feeding? Feeding your dog a raw diet is very time-consuming and requires careful planning on your part to ensure that your canine companion receives the proper nutrients and does not develop a nutritional deficiency. It’s difficult to fulfill your pet’s nutritional needs with a raw diet and often requires a veterinary consultation.
There are many differing opinions when it comes to feeding your dog a raw diet and the ideal makeup of what the raw diet should contain. Many veterinarians also recognize that a raw dog food diet is not suitable for all dogs.
A raw diet is very high in protein and is not suitable for dogs with late-stage kidney failure or severe liver failure as it requires the dog’s body to work harder. Many vets recommend starting your dog on a cooked, homemade diet before switching to a completely raw food diet. This allows the dog time to adjust to the raw diet instead of switching completely from kibble to raw food.
It is always best to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. Your vet will know what is best for your dog and help guide you to make the best decision for your dog’s health and wellbeing; ensuring your dog receives a well-balanced diet. Making sure that your dog is receiving the minimum requirements for every nutrient without overdoing others is a challenge.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Kibble
There is a reason why commercial kibble has become so popular among pet owners around the world. Kibble is very convenient and does not leave you wondering if your dog is receiving the proper vitamins and minerals. Kibble is easy to store, has a long shelf life, and requires no preparation beforehand. It is often more cost-friendly compared to feeding your dog a raw food diet.
Kibble is often formulated to ensure your dog is receiving the nutrients that it needs for a healthy life. However, when it comes to kibble, you should check the label and ensure that protein is the first ingredient. Oftentimes, kibble brands use fillers in their kibble, which can be harmful to your dog’s health. One of the kibble brands that is most recommended by vets around the world is Royal Canin Dog Food. Their kibble is backed by immense amounts of research and food trials. This brand is often referenced when searching for the best dry dog food for sensitive stomachs.
Is Kibble Bad for Dogs?
Even though kibble is a convenient dry food option, it may not be what is best for your dog. Oftentimes, the ingredients that go into kibble are not completely known, which can pose various health risks to your dog.
In an interview with the former head of the AAFCO, it was stated that there is no definitive way to determine what is going into the pet food. In the interview, the former head stated that there is no way to determine what is behind vague names such as “meat” and “bone meal”. These could be coming from sources that are harmful to your dog’s health.
This does not necessarily mean that you should stop feeding your dog kibble. It means that you should purchase brands that are trusted and have clear ingredient labels from trusted pet food companies. When choosing a kibble for your dog, always read the ingredient label and ensure that every ingredient is clearly listed. High-quality kibble will also not contain any filler ingredients such as rice. You should always avoid feeding your dog starches like grains, rice, peas, and potatoes. These are often found as filler ingredients in commercial dog food. These ingredients can cause your dog to produce excess insulin leading to diabetes or obesity.
Additionally, there have been numerous pet food recalls within the pet food industry. These recalls have mainly been in relation to dry kibble and disease-causing bacteria found within the dry food.
Should you Choose a Raw Diet or Kibble Diet?
As we have discussed, both diets come with their pros and cons. In the end, it comes down to what is best for your dog and finding a brand that you trust. If you have the time and resources to prepare your dog a raw diet, it may be the best decision.
If you are thinking about switching to a raw diet, consult with your vet to ensure your dog receives the necessary nutrients. Follow the recommended feeding guidelines to avoid any potential risk of illness. It is best to gradually make this change, sudden changes in diet can cause an upset stomach.
If you do not have the time to prepare a raw food diet, dog kibble may be the best option. This way, you do not have to worry if your dog is receiving all of the proper nutrition. However, that does not mean you can not occasionally provide them with a raw or cooked meal. In the end, it is entirely up to you and what you believe is best for your dog.