Feeding Your Dog Raw Food Vs. Commercial Food

on Nov 29 in Dog News

Choosing the right diet for you canine can be challenging and the determining factor of longevity and quality of life. Many pet owners are concerned about the food intake of their beloved dogs, cats or other household pets. Most dog food producers seem to use unhealthy, unnatural ingredients in their products. Many people are steered away from pet food when the first ingredient is “chicken meal”, that is never promising. Some people turn towards feeding their dogs a raw diet, because that is what they would have eaten in the wild so it must be safe. Others say that feeding your dog a commercial food is taking the lazy way out, while the pet food companies claim that if you don’t buy their food you don’t love your dog. Separate the truth from the marketing, which one is really safe and better for your dog?

Feeding raw food to your dog comes with it’s own set of challenges. One argument is, that a raw food diet would have been close to their diet in the wild. Yes, this is true, but dogs in the wild do not live very long. There is no  research out there that proves eating raw meat to be a health benefit. However, a raw food diet is recommended to dogs with some medical problems such as immune problems, or skin conditions. This is not because the “raw factor” is healthy, but simply because the ingredients that pets are sensitive to are eliminated in a raw food diet. It is broken down to the basics..meat. Food allergies cause itchy skin in dogs. The most common ingredients that cause food allergies are corn, soy, chicken, beef, lamb, egg and dairy products and raw or not, they are still going to be allergic to them. Feeding your dog raw food can also put them at risk for parasitism and food poisoning.

Similar to people food, the tastier the food, the worse it probably is for your dog. The fattier, tastier foods can lead to dog obesity which leads to very serious health problems and even death. Time wise, commercial dog food seems to be the better option since preparing raw chicken can be time consuming. There are high-quality commercial dog foods available that use high quality meat instead of meat byproducts. These types of foods are created and designed by nutritionists to lengthen your dog’s life and improve the quality overall.  Even though it can be more pricey then other commercial options, you don’t have to fill your dog’s bowl up  with as much of it because it’s of higher density.

If your dog has skin problems then you can still get away with buying commercial food. If your dog is allergic to chicken, then pick a food that is high quality and doesn’t have chicken in it, has vitamins and supplementation of fatty acids (fish oils). There are prescription foods available for dogs with allergies or special dietary needs, the prices aren’t usually much more expensive then over the counter pet store brands. Don’t get me wrong, commercial foods have their risks and can be unhealthy for your dog’s consumption, but with the proper educated choice you can get a great food. Keep in mind who makes the food and always ask an educated nutritional dog food advocate, which does not include the pet store employees. Stick to asking your veterinarian or a nutritionist the best diet for your dog as an individual and you will receive the best dietary results.

In conclusion, raw food may seem to be healthier for your pet but it comes with it’s risks. There is not enough research to provide evidence that a raw diet is actually better for your pet’s health. Your best option is to stick to commercial food, but only the best! Be cautious next time you are in the pet food aisle and steer away from products that contain “chicken meal” or “beef byproducts” as the first ingredient (that means there is mostly that ingredient in the food). A high quality, vitamin filled food, preferably prescription that is recommended by your veterinarian is the best and most educated choice you can make.

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