When it comes to feeding your furry family member, we all want to select the very best. During your search for the right pet food, you’ve likely noticed that there are many pet food options. How can you narrow down your choices to make sure you choose a fitting diet for your beloved pet?
Understanding the nutritional benefits of each option is key to making the best choice for overall health and wellness. There has been much conflicting information about feeding raw. Should you switch to raw? What are the benefits of raw dog food?
It goes without saying, but your dog’s diet is the sole source of their nutrition. That’s why your dog’s diet must be complete and balanced to deliver the nutrients they need, consistent with the guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials or AAFCO.
AAFCO’s profiles outline essential nutrient standards to ensure that dogs receive the proper nutrients for their age and stage. Like any other dog food, the raw food diet must meet the AAFCO nutritional standards. As a pet owner, you should be cognizant of these guidelines when choosing a healthy diet for your pet. By keeping the AAFCO guidelines in mind, you can compare how a raw dog food diet compares to other choices.
To make the healthiest selection for your dog, let’s take a closer look at raw dog food pros and cons. Keep reading to learn about the raw dog food diet, the benefits it can offer and more.
What is Raw Dog Food?
A raw dog food diet consists of raw meat (chicken, beef, turkey), edible ground bones, organs (heart, liver), fruits (apples, blueberries) and vegetables (carrots, green beans, spinach, kale) that can be homemade or bought commercially.
In addition to raw dog food, there is another healthy option that locks in the raw nutrients but is shelf-stable—freeze dried dog food. Freeze dried, as the name suggests, is the process of freeze drying dog food, which is a gentle process of dehydrating whole food ingredients, resulting in nearly 100% nutrient retention and shelf stability. Other cooking processes, such as those used in kibble dog food, do not provide the same level of nutrient retention as that found in freeze dried food.
Neutral, Food, Freeze Dried Dog Food
Freeze Dried Neutral Beef + Duck Patties – (12 count)
Neutral, Food, Freeze Dried Dog Food
Freeze Dried Neutral Beef + Salmon Patties – (12 count)
Warming, Food, Freeze Dried Dog Food
Freeze Dried Warming Chicken + Fish Patties – (12 count)
Raw Dog Food Diet: Pros and Cons
Learn more about raw dog food diet pros and cons and why switching to a freeze dried dog food diet may be a healthier, time-saving and more economical alternative.
Pros of Raw Dog Food Diet
A raw food diet is a healthful way to feed your dog. Learn about the ways you can treat your dog.
Nourishing Whole-Food Ingredients
One of the most important raw dog food pros is the ingredients.
Raw food diets consist of whole food ingredients that you can easily recognize and trust —no unpronounceable additives or mystery fillers. This offers you transparency, making it easy for you to examine what’s in your dog’s diet. In comparison, dog food options, such as kibble, tend to use processed, artificial ingredients and additives.
A whole-food ingredient diet is also better for digestion as it is easier to digest and also improves the health of your dog’s digestive tract.
Ability to Customize Your Pet’s Diet
With a homemade raw dog food diet, you can customize your pet’s food! This makes personalizing their diet easy.
Customizing your pet’s diet is especially important if they have particular health conditions or allergies. A recent study found that 0.2%, or more than 150,000 dogs, suffer from food allergies, which can exacerbate other health issues. Health starts from within, and a healthy diet for your pet can be a crucial first step to improving some health conditions.
The needs of your pet are unique, so their diet should be too! With a homemade raw dog food diet, you can add or remove ingredients to create a balanced meal for your pet.
Cons of Raw Dog Food Diet
Raw food is actually the best way to feed most dogs, but there are a few matters that you should keep top of mind if you do or are planning to feed your dog raw.
Potential for Bacterial Contamination
Bacterial contamination is a major concern, and the risk-reward component should be appropriately scrutinized before feeding your pet a raw dog food diet.
Bacterial contamination is the introduction of bacteria, mold and other microbes into food, which can cause food-borne illness. In addition, the potential for bacteria contamination on kitchen surfaces should also be carefully addressed. Dogs with food-borne illnesses may experience vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and more.
Meat ingredients in raw food diets are more likely than cooked and freeze dried food to introduce contamination. Alternatively, freeze dried dog food is a safer option for your dog that offers similar health benefits to a raw food diet.
Another disadvantage of a raw dog food diet is shelf-stability. Food is considered shelf-stable when it can safely be stored at room temperature.
Raw dog food is composed of raw meats, organs and other uncooked ingredients that must be stored properly in the fridge or freezer to prevent spoilage. This disadvantage and the short shelf life may be a dealbreaker for you. You may find you prefer dehydrated or freeze dried food because they are shelf-stable and stay fresh longer.
Complete & Balanced
It can be challenging to meet complete and balanced nutrition standards through home preparation. Key nutrients, such as taurine, which is essential to the long-term health and wellbeing of dogs, are found in heart meat. Therefore, the inclusion of organ meat in your pet’s diet is critical, and access to such ingredients can be challenging. In addition, ground bone for its calcium properties is another key area to achieve.
Feed Your Pets Right With Side by Side
The raw dog food diet is advantageous for many dogs, and there’s a great option for your pet that eliminates the challenges and concerns—freeze dried food. Side by Side offers raw food nutrition in a shelf-stable, gently freeze dried format.
When making any freeze dried dog food, Side by Side always starts with high-quality whole-food ingredients. Plus, Side by Side’s recipes are vet formulated, including species-appropriate organ meats, and are all complete and balanced to meet the guidelines established by AAFCO for adult dogs. Side by Side’s freeze dried recipes are a delicious and nutritious meal that keeps your pet healthy and happy for years to come!