Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat ?
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When considering feeding your dog raw meat, it is important to approach the transition with a little knowledge. Every dog is unique, and their dietary needs can vary. Factors such as age, breed, size, activity level, and health conditions should be considered when determining the appropriate raw meat diet. But to answer your question, yes, dogs can eat raw meat when done right.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before starting a raw meat diet for your dog. If you still have questions, then it’s best to consult your veterinarian, who can provide guidance, assess your dog’s specific needs, and address any of your concerns.
Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Raw Meat
As dog parents, we want to make sure that our four-legged friend gets a healthy, balanced diet. While there are hundreds of kibble and wet dog food options, many owners have started investigating diets that are based on raw meat for dogs.
- Weight Control: Packed full of carbohydrates that dogs can’t properly digest, kibble is one of the leading causes of the pet obesity crisis—more than half of all dogs and cats are overweight or obese—and obesity causes many of the same health issues in animals as it does in people. Switching to a raw diet and cutting out certain treats may help your dog lose excess weight and maintain a healthy figure. 90% of our customers said their dogs maintained a healthy weight after switching to We Feed Raw.
- Better Skin and Coat Health: A lot of raw meat proponents contend that this diet can give your dog healthier skin and a glossier coat than regular dry food. This is based on the idea that because raw meat is easier to digest than dry food, it releases nutrients more quickly and effectively. Additionally, it is thought that raw food contains less filler than processed dog food, making it richer in vitamins, protein, zinc, and fat—all of which must be artificially added to many kibble brands.
- Reduced Allergies: Commercial pet foods frequently include a wide range of components that dogs were not designed to digest and that can cause allergic reactions. Raw food is less likely to cause allergies in dogs because it only uses animal parts and bones that are appropriate for the species being consumed.
- Improved Digestion: Dogs can digest raw meat more quickly than kibble, which is another argument in favor of it. A meal of raw meat must be digested for about two hours. Kibble, in contrast, can stay in your dog’s stomach for up to 7 hours, which can result in foul-smelling stools and poor digestive health.
- Fresh Breath and Oral Health: Dogs’ soft food diets, which are one of the most common causes of dental issues in canines, result in insufficient dental activity. Those who favor raw meat contend that switching to raw meat will help your dog’s teeth function more effectively and maintain better dental health. A key component of excellent canine oral wellness is providing raw bones for them to chew.
- Smaller, Firmer Stool: Your dog will have smaller, firmer stools on a raw diet because raw dog food is not loaded with fillers, grains, or other indigestible ingredients. This is because less food waste is produced because your dog is actually digesting and absorbing more of their food.
Offer Your Dog a Variety of Raw Meat
A variety of muscle meats, including beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish, should be consumed. These meats offer important amino acids and are high in protein. To provide a variety of nutrients, rotate various types of muscle meat.
Dogs benefit greatly from organ meats like the liver, kidney, heart, and spleen. They are a source of necessary vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Organ meats should make up about 10% of the overall diet.
What Kind of Raw Meat Should I Give My Dog?
Select meat from reliable sources that place an emphasis on quality and security. Find trustworthy vendors, neighborhood farmers, or butchers who sell meat fit for human consumption. Making sure the meat comes from trustworthy sources lowers the possibility of contamination or subpar goods.
To maintain nutritional value and reduce the chance of bacterial growth, choose fresh meats. Before buying, examine the meat’s appearance, smell, and expiration date. Select meats that have recently been butchered or that have been frozen right away after processing, if at all possible.
Choose human-grade meats over pet- or feed-grade meats whenever possible. Human-grade meats are held to a higher standard of safety and nutritional quality thanks to stricter rules and quality control procedures.
Pick meats that were raised naturally without the use of antibiotics, hormones, or other growth-promoting agents whenever possible. These additives can potentially have adverse effects on your dog’s health.
Because they are produced without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), organic meats may be a better option. Remember that organic certification only applies to farming methods and does not imply higher nutritional quality.
How to Transition Your Dog to Raw Meat
Start by adding a small amount of raw meat to your dog’s current diet. Start with a mixture of approximately 75% cooked food and 25% raw meat. According to your dog’s tolerance and digestion, keep an eye on how they respond and adjust the ratio.
To provide a wider range of nutrients and prevent food sensitivities or allergies, introduce a variety of raw meats. To ensure dietary diversity, alternate between various proteins like beef, poultry, lamb, fish, and game meats.
Over a period of 1-2 weeks, gradually increase the proportion of raw meat while decreasing the amount of their previous food. Try to reach a ratio of 100% raw meat by the end of the transition period.
Keep an eye on your dog’s energy level, stool quality, and general health as the transition takes place. If you notice any digestive issues, such as loose stools or gastrointestinal upset, slow down the transition process and give their system more time to adapt.
Your veterinarian may suggest adding particular supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, or minerals, depending on the particular requirements of your dog, to ensure a complete and balanced diet.
Potential Risks of Giving Your Dog Raw Meat
Diets high in raw meat may put your pup at risk for bacterial contamination (like Salmonella or E. coli) and nutrient imbalances. It is important that you are aware of these risks and take the necessary safety precautions.
In addition, when giving your dog raw meat with bones, keep an eye on them to make sure they chew and eat them safely. During any transition period, keep an eye out for any negative reactions or dietary imbalances and monitor their health and digestion, as mentioned above.
Keep up with routine vet visits to assess your dog’s overall health, including their diet. It is possible to make adjustments or modifications as needed through routine monitoring to satisfy their nutritional needs.
Is Raw Dog Food Better Than Cooked Homemade Dog Food?
If you enjoy cooking for your family, you may already be cooking for your dog, or at least be curious to try. While cooking for your dog is a much better option than serving them highly processed kibble, the best diet you can give them is raw.
Additionally, cooking meat significantly reduces its nutritional value, which must then be replaced. Feed your dog what nature intended; they are designed to receive the most nutrition from raw food.
Remember that choosing to give your dog a raw meat diet should be based on a little research, professional advice, and consideration of your dog’s individual needs.
Always use good hygiene when handling raw meat to avoid cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses, as well as to keep raw meat fresh and stop bacterial growth by storing it properly.