Is raw feeding for dogs the best path to optimal health?
Raw feeding for dogs. It’s a lot to think about.
What is raw feeding? What constitutes raw pet food? And what are your alternatives to a raw food diet for dogs to ensure your pup is in optimum health?
Just as we aim to EAT well to BE well, we want our pets to be as healthy and happy as possible. A proper canine diet is essential fuel.
We want our pets to be vivacious, full of life, active, and in great overall health! A balanced & nutritious diet is key for getting your pet to their optimal health. @bailey_theminidoodle
Raw Dog Food Pros & Cons
Over the past few years, raw feeding for dogs, or BARF diets – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or bones, has increased in popularity for owners eager to test the benefits of raw food for dogs.
Processed kibble sounds...and looks...unnatural. At Kafka’s, we believe in minimally processed food, and yes–raw is as minimally processed as it can get!
On the flip side, there are many risks and inconveniences in feeding raw. The raw feeding philosophy is that you’re essentially “bringing your dog back to its natural, wild roots”.
It makes sense in principle. However, it’s important to fully understand what constitutes a raw food diet for dogs, and aspects that may be less than favourable, in addition to posing health risks to your pet and household.
Most of our pups are FAR from the wild canines of nature roaming the forest! New studies show that dogs have evolved to eat a more varied diet than their wolf ancestors 🐺
What is a raw food diet for dogs?
Feeding raw for dogs refers to a diet of raw meat (and associated animal parts), as well as fruits and vegetables. Raw feeding guides direct owners to put together a bowl that contains a natural selection, such as: a variety of raw cuts of meat (think beyond turkey to rabbit, fish, goat, etc.), tendon, heads, feathers, bones, beaks, hair, that would constitute a natural “wild” diet.
Rawfeddogs.org shares this raw feeding breakdown:
80% meat, sinew, ligaments, fat
10% edible bone
5% other organ meat
There are many other important considerations when planning a diet of raw food for dogs, including: phosphorus to calcium ratios, organ meat ratios, consumption of bone with pH as a factor, safe vs. unsafe bones, and more. Rawfeddogs.org has a comprehensive list of considerations.
There are many things to consider when feeding raw to make sure your pup is getting all their nutritional needs met (📸 @positivelyrawsome)
Okay, this all sounds good. What’s the drawback?
A raw food diet, in addition to those nice, meaty cuts and fresh, juicy produce, often contains things that aren’t so edible…..
- Organ meats that can often contain toxins
- Leftover carcass material
- Bone fragments Essentially, raw diets utilize parts of the animal not always cleared as human-grade or restaurant-quality meat
- Harmful bacteria that can be retained in meat and produce even when received frozen – this affects both your dog consuming the raw food, and you handling it
Harmful bacteria can be a safety threat for you, and your pet
This bacteria that can be retained in meat and produce even when received frozen – this affects both your dog consuming the raw food, and you handling it. This potentially disease-causing bacteria in their saliva and feces such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter.
Many veterinarians advise that if there’s anyone at high risk of infection in the home (pregnant, very young, older or immunocompromised), raw pet food feeding is not recommended with the risk of disease from bacteria and pathogens on raw food.
Maintaining safety within the home is tough, as sanitation processes must be adhered to. We know you’ve been cooking raw meat for years and are used to this! However, introducing a pet into the mix makes things much more complicated.
Handling raw food for feeding your dog is different than handling raw meat when cooking for yourself. Think about how often your dog comes over to give you a little lick after eating, or heads straight for the chew toy after meals. Yikes!
Nutrient loss in raw diets
Contrary to popular belief, there are several ways nutrients are actually being depleted from a raw food diet for dogs:
- By deep- freezing raw meat and produce at very low temperatures to prevent bacterial growth, nutrients are lost amid the freezing process
- Calcium from bone fragments can cause variation in the nutrient content of the meal
- High animal fat levels in high-protein diets (most raw food diets are very high in meat & protein), while not being balanced with carbohydrates can be tough on your dog's digestion – when an animal’s diet is lacking in carbs, protein must then be converted into carbs resulting in less protein absorption overall
A long happy life is the goal, but is feeding a raw diet going to get you there?
The intention of raw feeding for dogs is to bring our domesticated fur friends closer to their wild ancestry.
However…. Did you know wild canines typically only live 5 - 7 years? Even with pretty drastic differences due to size, small dogs may live 11 years or more, while medium to large dogs may live up to about 11 years. That’s a whole lot more playtime than our pup’s wild ancestors.
Thanks to care and diet, your pup's lifetime is much longer than their wild ancestors. 📸 Marvin Meyer.
A top-quality, safe, raw food diet for dogs is expensive. It’s dangerous to cut corners with sub-par ingredients. Think you may be supporting #zerowaste practices by buying overstocked supermarket meat and produce? Before you snag the grocery leftovers consider these have been deemed inedible for sale standards, without any measures in place to ensure safety for consumption.
What do vets say?
PDSA, leading UK veterinary charity vets recommend a complete & balanced pet diet that provides all the nutrients your pet needs for their weight and age to make sure they stay healthy.
Please remember: Always speak to your vet before changing your pet’s diet.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) released a position statement in July 2018 regarding raw meat-based diets:
“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) accepts the evidence for potential health risks to pets fed raw meat-based diets (RMBDs), and to humans who are in contact with RMBDs, or with pets fed RMBDs. The CVMA holds that the documented scientific evidence of potential animal and public health risks in feeding RMBDs outweighs any perceived benefits of this feeding practice.”
Amanda Boag, group referrals director for IVC, said: “While this is a decision for individual pet owners, we would urge caution.
“It’s very unlikely that a raw food diet will be nutritionally balanced — to achieve this, you would need to feed your pet all the pieces of an animal including their liver, heart, lungs and bones as well as supplements. In addition, feeding pets bones can put them at risk of gastrointestinal damage. I have witnessed dogs dying after getting septic peritonitis from being fed a bone that then leads to perforation of their gut.”
Many vets don't recommend raw feeding because of the safety risks when handling raw meat for pets in households, and the difficulty in balancing raw diets for nutritional adequacy over a long period of time.
A minimally processed alternative to raw feeding
Want to learn more about an alternative to raw food for dogs that provides your pup with REAL, WHOLE ingredients while ensuring a balanced and safe diet? Let’s talk Fresh Food.
Research shows that even adding a handful of fresh leafy greens to a pet’s diet can improve their health. Just like with humans, variety, freshness and a balanced nutritional profile helps our pets stay healthy and happy.
At Kafka’s Organic, we provide Fresh Dog Food delivery in Vancouver for pets using locally sourced whole ingredients to create high-quality food 🥩🥬🥕
All dog food formulations are vet-recommended and approved by a board-certified vet nutritionist for AFFCO standards and created using natural supplements like Omega-3 fish oil, Organic Safflower Oil and Organic Kelp for balanced nutrition. Plus, Kafka’s fresh dog food is super tasty & delish! 😋
Fresh food recipes are formulated with carefully selected superfoods and whole food ingredients like kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, bone broth & Omega-3 fish oil to pack a punch of immune-boosting nutrition. Gently cooked at low temperature to retain nutrients while making it easy to feed.
- Whole ingredients
- Picky-eater approved
- Locally sourced
Whole, organic, local ingredients make the best hypoallergenic dog food to help you get rid of those dog food allergy symptoms like itchy skin and coat, redness, and hives which make your dog less happy than they could be.
Kafka's fresh meals are made in a human-grade kitchen facility in Vancouver, BC. We do all we can to reduce waste in our procurement process and source from local farms and businesses. We are proud to be a 100% Canadian family-owned pet food brand.
Still thinking over a raw food diet? Here are some unbiased resources that you may find helpful when researching the risks & benefits of raw feeding and making your decision on whether or not to feed a raw diet for your pet
Info & Guides:
Canadian Veterinarians Association Guide
AAHA Raw Proteins Guide
Guide to Balancing Raw Diets
Bacterial Species in Raw Diets for Pets
Raw Diets Review
Whatever you choose to feed your pet, we are always here to help and answer any questions you may have. Happy mealtimes friends!
About Kafka’s Organic
Kafka’s Organic is a fresh pet food company based in Vancouver, BC which provides home delivery of minimally processed fresh meals for cats and dogs. All Kafka’s Organic recipes are made with locally-sourced high quality ingredients without any preservatives or additives. They are frozen to keep fresh & suitable for pets with allergies, sensitive tummies, and picky eaters. Learn more.
Leave a comment