What is RAW feeding, and what are the real benefits for dogs?

When you think of raw feeding do you picture putting slabs of uncooked steak down in front of your dog and just letting them go at it? Maybe you have some kind of cartoon like picture in your mind of a fridge crammed full of raw meat just waiting for you dog, and to go with it a shopping bill that contains far too many digits to actually be real. Are you having nightmares about the sheer amount of meat you are going to handle or just how well you will get to know your butcher if you decide to switch to raw feeding your dog? 

Don’t worry, I completely get it. Before you do your research and start to understand what raw feeding truly means it’s only natural for you to have lots of misconceptions and they might be putting you off making the switch. We do what we know, and for most of us that means either feeding our dogs dry kibble or wet food from a can, with perhaps some cooked chicken every so often as a treat or because we have heard it can settle an upset stomach. I’m not here to judge or to make you feel bad about the choices that you have been making up till now. Instead, I’m here to help you to see what the alternatives are and how they can help your dog to lead a long and healthy life. 

Raw feeding simplified. In the simplest terms raw feeding is exactly what it sounds like, feeding your dog on a diet of raw, uncooked, unprocessed, natural foods. This can range from meat to vegetables and right through to some fruits. In most cases a good, well planned, and nutritious diet will involve all three elements in a balanced way to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients that they need to live a happy healthy life. 

Just like people, dogs like to eat a variety of different foods. This helps to keep them interested in mealtimes and ensure that they are getting everything they need from their diet. A raw fed diet containing a good variety of foods can be a great way to achieve a healthy balanced diet that fulfils your dog’s nutritional needs but also gives them enjoyment. 

What is the purpose of raw feeding? Raw feeding has become increasingly popular amongst pet owners over the last two decades, many pet owners have chosen this approach as they feel it is a more natural way for their dog to eat and more closely mimics the diets their wild ancestors would have had. 

If you take a look at the ingredients on the back of most commercially produced dry, or wet food, you will see that cereals, salt and sugar, along with a variety of additives and preservatives, are high on the ingredient list. These are not the things that we want to be feeding our dogs in high quantities and yet they are a major ingredient in many of the top brands even when they claim to be ‘healthy’. A switch to raw feeding can help you to minimise many of those unnecessary ingredients. 

What are the benefits of raw feeding? 

This is one that could be debated all day and all night as most evidence is currently anecdotal, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t valid or that you shouldn’t take note of what owners who are currently raw feeding are saying. We so often listen to the thoughts and opinions of others when it comes to good restaurants to eat out at so why shouldn’t we listen to the feedback of other pet owners who already have raw feeding experience? There is lots of anecdotal evidence to be found on the benefits of raw feeding, there are still very few detailed scientific studies that have been conducted in this area. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend you make any decisions or changes based on this alone, it is good to see what others have reported. 

Common benefits as sited by Conor Brady include: 

– A shinier and healthier looking coat 

– Increased dental hygiene 

– Better muscle tone – largely due to a higher proportion of protein being fed 

– Better behaviour – more focussed but also more settled and relaxed in their environment 

– Less waste – as the food is easier for the dog’s body to process and digest there is less for them to excrete as urine or faeces. 

How can you get started? 

Raw feeding can form part or all of your dog’s daily food intake, including treats. How much, or how little you feed ‘raw’ is entirely up to you but the main consideration should always be the overall health and wellbeing of the animals and ensuring that they are getting a complete and balanced diet. 

If you are going to start feeding a raw diet then you should ensure that you are armed with all the correct information on what to feed, how much to feed, where to source the food, and how to store and prepare it correctly. Your vet will be able to provide you with some support and guidance as will a pet nutritionist. The next stage in your journey will be finding a trustworthy and reliable supplier for all of your needs, whether you are looking for natural treats or a full change to your dogs diet here at Pet Nanny Boutique we have just what you are looking for and are more than happy to answer any questions that you might have. We pride ourselves on providing only the best for your best friend.