Dog Nutrition: Raw Dog Food Diet Becoming More and More Popular
By J. Hale
Many of us share our lives with dogs and cats who have become absolute loves – our beloved friends and our faithful companions. Of course, we desire to provide them with the absolute best care so that they live long, happy, healthy lives.
Unfortunately, we are losing our pets in ever increasing numbers to cancer, heart, kidney, and liver failure, dental problems, allergic reactions, failing immune systems, and urinary tract disorders. This is but a few of the miseries that plague our pets these days.
Many of these issues have backgrounds or roots in the nutrition of the pet, or rather, the lack of it. By disregarding the basic nature of dogs and cats and feeding them food that they were never intended to eat, pet food corporations have set a stage for health problems. The fact that many animals can live long, healthy lives eating these foods, has less to do with the quality of the food, than the animals’ ability to survive on less than good nutrition. After all, until around the mid-1920’s, dogs and cats ate as nature intended… a raw food diet that they mostly caught for themselves.
Nature designed dogs and cats as carnivores – eaters of raw meat. Their internal systems were designed to extract the maximum benefits from meat in its raw state. Cats were hunters of mice and birds, dogs were meat-eaters, too, (in a less cat-and-mouse-game form)…
Feeding a raw diet to your dog has many benefits you might not be aware of. The popularity of raw frozen dog food diets, which emphasize raw meat, fruits, bones and veggies, is definitely on the rise. According to WebMD, racing greyhounds and sled dogs have been eating raw food diets for decades… Extending those feeding practices to the family pet however, is a more recent idea.
Likely benefits of raw dog food diets include: shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels, and smaller stools.
A raw dog food diet typically consists of:
- Muscle meat, often still on the bone
- Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
- Bones, either whole or ground
- Raw eggs
- Apples or other fruit
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
- Some dairy, such as yogurt
Raw products are now one of the fastest-growing segments of the pet food industry, and sales of raw pet foods have climbed 15 percent annually for the past three years and are projected to keep up the fast-paced growth, according to David Lummis, the senior pet-industry analyst for Packaged Facts, a market research company, according to a recent article in the NY Times.
Some pet owners have turned to feeding raw frozen dog food products due to the growing number of recalls of processed pet foods, particularly the epidemic of pet food recalls in 2007 linked to Chinese ingredient suppliers. Others complain of salmonella.
Makers of raw pet foods say their products allow cats and dogs to eat a more natural diet, similar to the way animals in the wild hunt prey and eat it raw. Cooking pet foods, they claim, kills a wide assortment of vitamins and enzymes. And pet digestive systems, advocates say, did not evolve to handle the corn, grains, flour and other fillers often added to highly processed pet foods.
Raw diets, in conclusion, deliver complete nutrition for every stage of your dog’s life. Most raw frozen pet foods are prepared with whole meats, fruits and vegetables to create a well-rounded meal. Through cold process pasteurization, they’re able to retain the natural nutrients that are beneficial in a healthy lifestyle.