Raw food diets for dogs are controversial. However, the popularity of these such diets, which give emphasis to raw meat, bones, fruits and vegetables is on the rise.
What is a Raw Food Diet for Dogs?
A raw food diet for dogs includes:
- Muscle meat that is still on the bone;
- Bones, whole or ground;
- Organ meats. These include livers and kidneys;
- Raw Eggs;
- Vegetables such as kale, carrot
- Apples or other fruit;
- Some yoghurt.
Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst suggests that adult dogs thrive on a diet of raw food. He calls it an evolutionary diet. This means that a diet based on raw, meaty bones and vegetables scraps is what canines ate before they became domesticated. He goes on to say that some grain based commercial pet foods may be harmful to a dog’s health.
However, many mainstream veterinarians disagree with Billinghurst’s findings. The potential risks of a raw food diet for dogs has been documented and published in veterinary journals.
These risks include:
- Threats to dogs posed by bacterial found in raw meat;
- An unbalanced diet;
- Potential for the dog to choke on whole bones, break teeth or cause an internal organ puncture.
Potential benefits of the raw food dog diet:
- Shiny coats;
- Healthy skin;
- Healthy teeth;
- Balanced energy levels;
- Healthy and smaller stools.
What the Evidence Suggests:
Dr Lisa M Freeman, (DVM, PhD) evaluated raw food diets. Her findings were published in the Journal of American Veterinary in 2001. She concludes that many people are putting their dogs onto a raw food diet without much research and with the false knowledge that all commercial food is unhealthy.
She says that for pet owners who want to avoid commercial food, the best advice is to cook their own meals that are designed by an animal nutrition expert, or purchase their food from a respected and certified company with knowledge in animal nutrition.
Freeman’s findings say that a diet based on raw food has many benefits for the dog. This includes a shiner coat.