Raw and freeze dried diets are becoming increasingly popular for the average family dog. Owners may have mixed feelings about the idea, with some believing that dogs should be fed as nature intended with raw food, whilst others feel it is a risky option and that cooked meal choices are the best.
Some dogs, such as those who are bred for racing, have been reared on a raw diet for years. It was only in 1993 that an Australian vet called Ian Billinghurst, recommended that a diet based on raw and freeze dried foods would be beneficial for pets closer to home. He called this type of diet the BARF diet, which stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. We have taken a closer look at what this type of diet can offer the family dog, to see if the pros really do outweigh the cons.
The first thing you may notice is that your dog produces smaller stools. This is a clear sign that their digestion has improved, without the addition of grains and other fillers which can unsettle with the stomach. Nature’s Menu Free Flow Raw Chicken Mince is a great example of an easy to prepare raw meal.
A raw food diet will offer more opportunities for chewing. This is great for dental health, exercising the jaw and resulting in cleaner teeth. It will also help to leave a dogs breath fresher, without additives and sugars that can often cause problems in the mouth.
This diet is ideal for owners who want to better control the weight of their dogs. The all natural ingredients are balanced and rich, which will not only give your dog more energy, but will not give their bodies the extra grains and salt that can often be implicated in weight gain.
Healthier skin and a shiny coat are welcome results from eating raw food. Up to 40% of protein from food goes to those areas, so with processed cooked foods this is often drastically reduced.
As with humans, some foods can encourage allergies to flare up, in particular grains. A raw diet will help to eliminate such risks.
Raw and freeze dried foods are rich in natural fatty acids, which are perfect for creating an immune boosting diet. You will soon see the results in your dog, who will be more energetic, will appear to have a stronger digestion and will seem less lethargic.
Behaviour issues and aggression are said to be improved if you switch your dog to a raw food diet. This is thought to be because of the nutrients that are present, which in cooked foods are in the form of easily digested carbs that fuel high blood sugar and insulin.
There are some that feel this evolutionary diet is concerning. It has been proven that raw food can breed bacteria, but if prepared properly in the same way as we would with human grade food, this risk can be greatly reduced. Ensure that your preparation area is clean and hygienic, washing your hands regularly to avoid any cross contamination. Another risk is of choking on bones that have not been removed from the raw food mixture. Again some care and attention in the preparation stages will help to eliminate this risk, removing anything that you think will cause an obstruction. Finally, make sure that your dog’s diet is well balanced and don’t give the same thing repeatedly.
A raw and freeze dried diet will ensure that your dog has food which is full of natural goodness and flavour, with a lesser salt content and no additives. Processed foods, although improved in recent years, are still an unnatural convenience food, with the cooking process resulting in the removal of many of the nutrients that dogs require to thrive. Freeze dried foods also have a longer shelf life due to the preservation process, which can save you money and ensure that the food is still fresh and safe to eat.