The raw food diet for dogs is an alternative to eating a diet that mainly consists of dry or canned dog food. This diet consists of various bones and raw meats, supplements and vegetables. Many dog owners provide this type of expensive diet because of the many benefits it offers such as better digestion, improved energy for training and health, stronger immune system, and more muscle mass.
How The Raw Food Diet Can Prolong Your Dog’s Life
So, you’ve decided to go raw for your four legged friend but you don’t know where to begin. Start by determining the correct serving size based on their breed, weight, and size of your pet. Plan on serving two raw meals per day. One meal in the morning and the last meal at dinner time. Keep in mind that a skinny dog may need more food in order to put on weight and increase muscle mass. This diet is approved for dogs three months and older.
Because dogs tend to have sensitive digestive systems, it’s important to slowly transition them to this way of eating. You may notice an increase in gas or stomach upset when you switch dry dog food brands and the same issues can occur if you switch to the raw diet without a slow transition.
For the first day, you must hold all food, providing only water. The second day of the transition you can give your pup a quarter of the serving size. On the fourth day, your pup can have ¾, followed by an increase on the fifth day of the full suggested serving size.
The True Cost of the Canine Raw Diet
Many people hesitate to make the switch to the raw diet simply because they worry it’ll cost too much per week to feed their pup and it can, depending on the size of your dog. But when you break it down, the cost of the raw diet is comparable to feeding your dog premium dry dog food.
The cost of premium dry food is around $2.20 per day, while the cost of raw food is around $2.80 per day.
Raw meat makes up almost sixty percent of this diet and is the most expensive part of the diet plan. Meat bone options include lamb neck or flap, meaty chicken frames, chicken necks, whole chicken backs, beef cuts, liver, brains and chicken wings. Lamb is the most expensive option. If you purchase meat bones in bulk from your local butcher you can usually bring the cost down quite a bit.
When your dog is following the raw diet, experts recommend that you use it as their only source of food. Do not mix raw food with cheap dry dog food. The raw diet should contain everything a dog needs in order to thrive. There are some high quality kibble dog foods that you can supplement with to offset the costs, but make sure you are reading labels and are providing a strong nutritional option.
Essential Supplements for the Raw Dog Diet
Another big reason pet owners are reluctant to make the switch to a raw diet is the fear that their pet won’t get enough nutrients. Many others will feed vegetables and plant matter for added vitamins and minerals. But if you don’t want to deal with mincing veggies or you don’t want your dog eating that many veggies, here is a list of the essential vitamins you’ll need to add to your dog’s everyday diet.
While it may be hard to improve on a natural, fresh diet, you may have a pup who needs some extra nutrition. Fortunately, there are a number of nutritional herbs you can provide to give your dog an added boost without needing any veggies. And unlike synthetic vitamins and minerals, these meat sources and herbs will provide important nutrients that are needed to make healthy changes in your pet.
Let’s start with vitamins. Vitamin A can prevent eye problems, enhance immunity and naturally treat skin disorders. It can also slow the aging process and protects against infections and colds. Good sources of vitamin A include salmon, eggs, pork, tuna, kidneys, liver, sardines, and halibut.
Excellent herbal options include alfalfa, oat straw, nettle, peppermint, watercress, sage, rose hips, hops, and paprika.
Thiamine helps to improve mental attitude, promotes growth, helps to strengthen the immune system and reduces stress.
Great meat sources include sardines, halibut, salmon, eggs, beef, ostrich, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, rabbit, turkey, and liver.
Herbal sources include catnip, alfalfa, chickweed, chamomile, cayenne, fenugreek, sage, and fennel seeds.
Vitamin B2 aids in reproduction and growth, cell formation, and promotes nail, skin and hair growth. It can also work as a natural treatment of cataracts. Meat sources include kidneys, hearts, pork, chicken, lamb, buffalo, beef, and eggs. Herbal sources include raspberry leaves, oat straw, nettle, ginseng, and chickweed.
Vitamin C helps iron and calcium formation while helping to prevent cancer. It also aids in anti-stress hormone production and enhances immunity. Good meat sources include kidneys, liver, and fish. Herbal sources include red clover, paprika, kelp, fenugreek, alfalfa, violet leaves, plantains, and fennel seeds.
Now, let’s discuss minerals.
Calcium protects and builds teeth and bones while helping to maintain a regular heartbeat. It can also prevent muscle cramping. Good meat sources include turkey, rabbit, ostrich, chicken, buffalo, salmon, and beef. Herbal sources include fennel seeds, cayenne, oat straw, and lemongrass.
Iodine is necessary in trace amounts for healthy thyroid function. It also helps the body to metabolize excess fats. Eggs, seafood, and salmon are all great choices. Herbal sources include tarragon leaves and calendula.
Dog Food Safety during Meal Prep
When you prepare raw meals correctly, a dog is at a very low risk of contracting any foodborne illness. People are actually at a greater risk of contracting foodborne illnesses while preparing and handling raw meals. But with good sanitation practices, the risk can be greatly reduced.
When serving or preparing raw dog food, disinfect and clean anything the food touches, including cutting boards, knives, counters, and dog food bowls.
Pay close attention to meal preparation instructions and freeze any bones or meats that you won’t be using for the current week. In raw food diet for dogs, you can meal prep and store up to seven days’ worth of meals in the fridge at a time.