Raw diet has become popular over the years. Many people have been advocating for the feeding of a raw diet to dogs, especially on social media. You might have been carried away by their influence and arguments that dogs were living in the wild long before domestication and they used to hunt their food. They mostly argue that dogs like a raw diet more than their normal kibbles and that it is more nutritious. So, went ahead and fed a raw diet to your dog but the outcomes were not as expected, you ended up losing your dog. Receive my heartfelt condolences for your loss.
In this article, I will discuss everything about feeding a raw diet to dogs so that you can have an understanding of what might have gone wrong and avoid similar incidences.
Raw diet killed my dog?
You cannot conclude that raw food killed your dog if the vet has not approved it to be the cause. Many factors can contribute to the death of a dog after consuming a raw diet. Some of the factors include;
1. Lack of Nutrient Balance
Both homemade and store-bought raw dog food diets run the danger of not being well-balanced for a dog’s dietary needs. Feeding a meal with too much muscle meat and not enough of the other “parts” that establish nutritional balance can result in nutrient deficiencies and diseases.
This may result in an imbalance of important nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus. This may result in organ damage and problems with bone density.
2. Risk of Bacterial Contamination
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered that raw pet food is more likely to include bacteria, such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes that cause food-related illnesses, than other forms of pet food in two-year research from 2010 to 2012. Because processing plants have a significant possibility for cross-contamination, this danger is greater with commercially produced raw meat diets and meat purchased from a grocery store as opposed to a corpse consumed by a dog in the wild. This study made the FDA issued a warning regarding the risks of feeding pets raw food to the public. Additionally, veterinary associations like the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also formally advise against feeding dogs meals made primarily of raw meat.
3. Risk of Choking
Obstruction from bones or other solid objects that are not thoroughly removed from the food is another concern with raw diets. These could result in your dog choking or suffering intestinal damage.
A dog who has recently switched to a raw diet may also experience pancreatic attacks.
Although this is a degenerative illness, a pancreatic attack may result from the transitional effects of a diet change. An imbalance in the enzymes required for animal protein compared to foods with lots of carbs can result in a pancreatic attack. Pancreatitis is a life-threatening condition.
Why Veterinarians Are Against Feeding Of Raw Diet
1. Possible Nutritional Imbalances
The majority of canine raw diets lack nutritional AAFCO analysis results and food trials. This puts them at high risk for nutritional imbalances, which can have negative consequences on any dog, but young, growing puppies are more vulnerable.
Essential macrominerals like calcium and trace minerals like iodine, selenium, copper, and zinc are nutrients that are frequently deficient. These diets also had insufficient amounts of the vitamins E, D, and B12 and lacked important omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, and arachidonic acid.
Such nutritional inadequacies in dogs may result in serious problems like poor skin and coat, persistent diarrhea, pansteatitis, osteopenia, skeletal deformities, rickets, fractured bones, and anemia.
2. Risk for Blockages
Several people feel that feeding bones to animals as part of their raw diets has many advantages, like healthier teeth and mental stimulation. Given that raw bones are less prone to splinter than cooked bones are, it is generally accepted that raw bones do not injure as much as cooked bones do. However, veterinarians have a different account of the events and frequently observe issues with bones.
A piece of bone that becomes stuck inside a dog’s esophagus can cause pain, regurgitation just after eating, and difficulty swallowing.
Additionally, even if bones pass through without issue, dogs may still have problems passing bone fragments with their feces, which could result in discomfort, constipation, and bleeding from the rectum.
3. Lack of evidence demonstrating the benefits of raw diets
Research into the actual advantages of feeding dogs raw food is still in its early stages. Dog owners who fed raw meals frequently mention a connection between raw feeding and increased health. This includes notions that raw food will improve a dog’s coat, strengthen its muscles, and keep its teeth clean. To come to firm conclusions, though would require more rigorous scientific approaches.
4. The Risks of Salmonella to People and pets
Infections brought on by bacteria found in raw meat can result in hospitalization, death, and diarrhea in both humans and animals. Even though it sometimes seems like cats and dogs can carry dangerous bacteria without displaying any symptoms, they can still transmit the bacteria to the people they live with. It has been proven that bacteria that are harmful and resistant to antibiotics are shed in canine and feline droppings.
5. Pre-existing health conditions
A raw diet may make pre-existing medical issues or immune system deficiencies in your dog worse. Before making any dietary changes for your dog, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian.
6. Risks for Teeth Fractures
Raw or cooked bones can lead to teeth fracture. Dogs who are afflicted might not always exhibit symptoms of discomfort or infection, and their appetites might not change. However damaged teeth can cause complications such as chronic discomfort, pulpitis, face swelling, and tooth loss if left untreated.
Is raw food good or bad for dogs?
Raw diet mainly consists of unprocessed meats, bones, and organs. Some advocates of feeding dogs raw argue that it more clearly resembles their natural diet and has several health advantages, including better coat quality, stronger teeth and bones, and more energy.
However, feeding dogs a raw food diet has several potential risks as well. The possibility of bacterial contamination is one issue, as raw meat may carry dangerous microorganisms like Salmonella and E. coli. If adequate handling and sanitation procedures are not used, this could result in major health problems for both humans and canines.
Raw dog food pros and cons
Pros of raw diet include;
1. Weight management
A raw diet can help your dog maintain a healthy weight if he tends to gain weight easily. For weight loss or increase, as required and advised by your veterinarian, it is also simple to modify your dog’s diet and have complete control over what your pet consumes.
2. Health benefits
Your dog’s energy levels, skin quality, and dental health can all improve with a raw diet. Dogs’ dental health and poor breath can both be improved by serving them meat on the bone. A raw food diet’s high protein content can also aid in your dog’s muscle growth.
3. Shiny coat
By feeding your dog a raw diet, you can help your dog’s coat grow shiny and healthy. The majority of raw food diets’ increased fat content encourages healthy skin and fur. Therefore, by feeding your dog a raw diet rich in fatty meat, you may notice improvements in the condition of his coat.
4. Natural digestion
Raw dog food is designed to imitate the diet of wolves, from which domestic dogs descended. As a result, it is simpler for dogs to digest and may lessen their risk of experiencing digestive problems including bloating and constipation.
The cons of raw diet include;
5. Time and money
It can take a lot of time to prepare 100% raw feed for your dog at home. Additionally, it costs more than purchasing kibble from the shop. A day’s supply of dry dog chow can cost about $1, however, raw chicken might cost anywhere from $2.50 to $5. A raw diet might not be the greatest option if your family is on a tight budget.
Raw dog food should be kept in a freezer in an airtight container, much like you would with ground beef or chicken breasts. Your dog’s food will be safe to thaw, spoon, and serve as long as the raw food is kept frozen to stop bacteria from forming. Unfortunately, to some pet owners, this may be inconvenient.
Common Myths About Raw Dog Food Diets
Myth: Freezing raw diets kills bacteria
Fact: Most bacteria identified in diets containing raw meat may easily survive freezing. Bacteria multiplication stops when food is frozen but it does not kill them completely.
Myth: Raw bones are b harmless
Fact: Both raw and cooked bones have the potential to break a dog or cat’s teeth. The esophagus, stomach, and intestine can all be blocked or torn by bone.
Myth: Since wild dogs consume raw food, is okay for domestic dogs too
Fact: Although wild dogs, including wolves, eat raw food, this does not imply that they are in good health. The body of your dog is distinct from a wolf’s. Domestic dogs are accustomed to existing in a special setting where they are not required to go on the hunt for food. Wild dogs frequently have shorter lifespans than domestic animals because they lack access to nutritious food and medical care.
Myth: Their benefits are proven
Fact: Bacteria in raw meat can be extremely toxic to your dog, other pets, and people living in the same home. Salmonella and other infections that are easily spread from dogs to people through their feces can infect them. Salmonella can potentially be spread to people if the meat is not handled properly.
Myth: Dogs can’t get an infection from bacteria found in raw
Fact: Benefits of raw diets have not been proven by scientific studies. Their popularity is built on recommendations, endorsements, and alleged advantages. For instance, because raw food diets tend to be high in fat and digestibility, they may create shiny coats and tiny stools. However, these same qualities can be obtained through commercially prepared cooked diets without the dangers of raw foods.
Myth: Raw food diet ingredients are human grade
Fact: Buying “human grade” meat does not shield your dog from the health concerns of raw meats. Even meats purchased at the best supermarkets for humans might contain hazardous bacteria. It’s also crucial to remember that the term “human grade” for pet food has no legal definition.
Myth: Cooking kills the digestive enzymes
Fact: The digestive system already has all the digestive enzymes that people, dogs, and cats need. As a result, additional food-derived enzymes are not needed for digestion.
What Is The Best Alternative To Raw Food For Dogs?
Similar to dehydrated food, freeze-dried food is produced by freezing the ingredients and then sublimating them to remove moisture. Although this kind of food is frequently more expensive than other options, dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies may find it to be a good choice.
Canned food can still be a good substitute for raw food for some dogs, despite no longer being common. Compared to other options, canned food is frequently more inexpensive and convenient to store. Additionally, it’s a fantastic choice for dogs who have trouble eating or swallowing.
Consider making meals for your dog if you’re seeking an alternative. By doing this, you can manage the ingredients and make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet. You can even use the same foods, including chicken, vegetables, and grains, that you prepare for your meals.
To preserve the nutrition and flavor of the components, this sort of meal is prepared by removing the moisture from them. Food that has been dehydrated can be easily stored and reconstituted with water before serving. It’s also a wonderful alternative for dogs who have allergies or sensitivities to particular substances.
Some businesses sell prepared meals for dogs that are made to satisfy all of their dietary requirements. These meals are typically prepared with premium ingredients and are designed to satisfy particular dietary needs. For busy dog owners who want to give their pups a nutritious diet without the trouble of cooking, pre-made meals can be a smarter choice.
Raw food delivery service
Finally, if you wish to follow a raw food diet but lack the time or money to prepare it yourself, you might want to think about using a raw food delivery service. These businesses will send different types of raw food to your house, including fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried options.
While many dog owners have claimed that their dog’s health has improved after taking a raw diet, this method might not work for every dog. Therefore, you need to take extra caution when introducing a raw diet to your dog.
Despite the many alleged benefits, there are many vet-proven risks associated with feeding dogs a raw diet. There are many safe meals that you can give to your dog and they can offer all the required nutrients in a dog’s body.