A Guide to a Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Published: April 22, 2024
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Your four-legged family members are some of the most important ones in your life. Naturally, you want to do what you can to take care of them and help them live long and happy lives. Part of properly taking care of your dogs is ensuring you provide them with the right nutrition to keep them happy and healthy. Many people find that feeding their dogs a raw food diet is best for their health. If you're considering raw food for your pet, use this guide to help you get started.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Experts agree there are many benefits to switching your dogs to a raw food diet. Raw food tends to lead to healthier coats for your dogs. It also improves skin health, ensures healthier dental records, increases energy, and improves any digestive issues your dogs may be subject to. Raw food also helps your dogs enjoy their food more, can build better concentration when listening to commands, makes it easier to keep your dogs at healthy weights, and even provides more mental stimulation while they're eating.

It's important to note, though, that a raw food diet is not for every type of dog. If you have young children or if anyone in the home has a compromised immune system, raw food may not be a good idea. A raw food diet is also not a good idea for dogs that have pancreatitis or cancer. Puppies should have cooked food as well. You can also talk to your dogs' veterinarian to determine if raw food is a good idea for them.

Raw Feeding Guidelines

There are a few key points to remember if you want to feed your dogs a raw food diet. First, think about balance over time. One meal should have more bone while the other should have more meat and organ content. Overall, aim for the following:

      80% meat, sinew, fat, and ligaments

      10% edible bone

      5% liver

      5% other organ meat

Focus on the meat and bone first. When you use 80% meat and 10% bone, you create the rations of calcium to phosphorus that your dogs need. Food with the right ration includes whole prey, eggs, fish, and tripe. You can also try supplementing your dogs' raw food diet with items like Stella & Chewy's Duck Duck Goose Meal Mixers Dog Food Topper. Toppers provide additional ingredients to ensure your dogs' diets are well-balanced and what they need to thrive.

Starting the Raw Food Diet

The key to starting a raw food diet for your dogs is to do so gently. It is a misconception that dogs who begin raw foods will have diarrhea and constipation for a few days. This only happens if the pet owner tries to introduce new diets too quickly. It's important to take your time instead.

First, choose what meat you'd like to start your dog on. Chicken is excellent since it's readily available and most dogs like it. However, keep in mind that only two types of meat work well for dogs that need a hypoallergenic diet. These meats are venison and rabbit. Introduce whichever meat you choose a little at a time, waiting a few days to see how your pet's stomach takes on the new change before adding a new element to the diet. In the meantime, you can add something such as Stella & Chewy's Solutions Immune Boost Dinner Morsels Dog Food in Lamb. This keeps your pups' immune systems healthy while they're getting acclimated to their new diets.

Create Variety in Your Dogs' Diets

Like humans, dogs prefer variety in their food. Beyond keeping them interested, variety provides a more well-rounded nutrition profile to ensure your dogs get everything they need to stay happy and healthy. For example, raw bones provide a variety of balanced minerals, including zinc, iron, iodine, and magnesium, among others. On the other hand, meaty raw bones, such as those from chicken or lamb, they'll get even more nutrition.

Stick to items a dog could realistically hunt in the wild, though. Your dog likely couldn't take down a cow in the wild, which means his teeth likely can't handle cow bones. Other options to think about include raw muscle meat, raw fat, and raw fish. An easy way to feed your dog a raw diet without getting your own hands messy is to purchase a premade option, such as Bravo! Homestyle Complete Natural Dog Food in Beef Dinner.

Getting Your Dogs Interested in Their New Food

Some dogs, especially older ones who are "set in their ways," may turn their nose up at new food options at first. You can help entice them by introducing it a little at a time in combination with their current food. It also helps to add toppers that they'll find delicious and may entice them. One popular one is The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Woof Manuka Honey Dog Treat and Food Topper.

Convenience For You

Most pet parents don't have time to prepare raw food meals on their own twice a day. If this is the case for you, consider freeze-dried options like Steve's Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nugget Dog Food. Available in a wide variety of flavors, it will keep your job easy and your dogs' tummies happy.

Remember, changing your dog's diet should be a gradual process that takes a few weeks. Don't change everything at once, unless you want to risk pups with upset stomachs. Always talk to your veterinarian about your pet's food changes, especially if they have medical conditions. When you're ready, BaxterBoo has everything you need to transition your pets to a raw food diet.

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