Benefits of a Raw Dog Food Diet (Guest Post Written by Valerie Johnson)
The Benefits of Switching Your Dog to a Raw Dog Food Diet
For many pet owners, dogs are more than pets. They are companions, protectors, and even fellow workers. Some research indicates that the key to promoting optimum health for man’s best friend begins with tailoring his diet to suit his nature.
While dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, their natural instincts remain intact. Interestingly, despite so many years of entrusting their feeding to human guardians, the canine digestive system has remained virtually unchanged. Some experts point to the short digestive tract of both modern and ancestral dogs as evidence that domesticated dogs benefit from consuming the raw foods their predecessors enjoyed.
Raw Food Diets
Owners who serve raw foods incorporate uncooked meats, vegetables, and fruits into their dogs’ diets. Most proponents of this feeding style recommend a completely raw diet but assert that even raw supplementation is beneficial. Some experts advise pet guardians to incorporate bones and viscera into the meal in order to promote optimal dental and musculoskeletal health.
Returning a domesticated dog to a natural diet yields physical benefits. Dogs who consume raw foods may experience improvements in gastrointestinal health, dental health, degenerative diseases, and immune function. Other issues that may be addressed with a raw diet include flea infestation, allergies, and shedding.
In addition to physical benefits, dogs who consume raw foods may experience improved mental health. Many people consider a raw food diet a necessary component of environmental enrichment for domesticated animals. These experts assert that this feeding style taps into a dog’s natural instincts and promotes mental stimulation. In this way, a raw diet may fight off the boredom and anxiety that often lead to troublesome behaviors.
Drawbacks of Traditional Diets
When considering a dietary switch, it is important to consider the ingredients in traditional dog food. Commercial dog foods are often grain-based and thus tax the reserves of the canine digestive system. These manufacturers also incorporate rendered and contaminated protein sources. The production process itself utilizes high heat that damages the nutrients that are available in the food.
Dogs who consume a traditional diet may need support during the transition to a raw food diet. Since much of the dog’s natural flora may be depleted due to the consumption of processed food, experts recommend supplementing his diet with digestive enzymes and probiotics during the transition.
Most dogs can transition to a raw food diet over two weeks. The human guardian can first acclimate the dog to receiving meals once or twice a day prior to incorporating raw foods. Each meal should include the dog’s accustomed food mixed with a portion of raw food. Small breed dogs often start by consuming only a teaspoon of raw food, and large dogs can start with a tablespoon. During the transition, the owner slowly shifts the proportions of the meal until the dog is consuming only raw food.
The role of the domestic dog in the lives of human guardians is one of collaboration and companionship. Returning a modern pet to a diet that supports his best health and well-being is one way to say thank you for the myriad ways that dogs enrich their owners’ lives.
Valerie Johnson is an animal care provider who writes on keeping pets healthy. She recommends Darwins natural pet food.
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Filed under: Dog Treats and Dog Food
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