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Raw Dog Food—is it right for Your Dog?

Let your dog decide

Feeding your dog raw food is a fairly new concept based on what dogs ate naturally in the wild. Modern technology changes much faster than anatomy, which may take many hundreds of years to adapt to dietary changes. Dog eating

This trend to feed natural foods based on a dogs ancestral diet is similar to people going back to natural foods after more than a half century of eating a processed diet that contributed to many illnesses.

If you are like me, you grew up with your parents feeding the family dog dry kibble purchased at the grocery store. My dog gobbled it up, but years later developed skin allergies and cancer.

When my mom grew up in the 1940s, she fed her dog table scraps. Most of her dogs didn’t survive even a decade, possibly from their diet or the lack of veterinary care back in those days.

What is a raw dog food diet?

We can’t let our dogs kill the neighborhood squirrels and rabbits, so what should we feed them—uncooked meat? No. Although dogs are carnivores they won’t get enough nutrition from eating just meat. Carnivores, like wolves and coyotes usually eat their kill’s organs first to get the nutrients they need to survive.

It’s critical to offer a balanced diet when feeding raw food. The right balance of meat, nutrients, and yes, even vegetables. Grains however, are not part of the ancestral dog’s diet.

Types of raw dog foods include frozen, freeze-dried or dehydrated. These allow for easy storage and prolong their shelf life.

Benefits of a raw food diet

Many people report the following benefits from feeding a raw food diet.

  • Shinier coat
  • Fewer trips to the vet and better overall health
  • More energy
  • Fresher breath
  • Firmer and fewer stools
  • Healthier weight

Is it safe?

One of the biggest concerns with a raw food diet is bacteria. Raw food can contain Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria that we frequently hear about in recalls. Cooking destroys these pathogens, but also reduces the nutrients.

So does raw food contain bacteria? It can. Since food preparation should be in a sanitary environment with fresh meat, it’s best to leave this to the professionals. That’s one reason it is best to buy a name brand raw dog food.

Now you can buy freeze-dried or dehydrated forms of raw dog food that are convenient and have a stable shelf life. Just add water.

Did I try it?

I received a few free packets of Welly Chef Premium Raw Dog Food at the recent BlogPaws Conference. My two cocker spaniels ate them up when I used the dehydrated food as a topper  over their regular food.

Welly Chef package

Welly Chef ingredients

 

 

Pleased with how my dogs loved their food, I contacted Welly Chef and asked about their affiliate program. I received a box of the Turkey Recipe, and will receive some compensation if you order using the link to Welly Tails below or to the right.

Welly Chef Premium Raw Dog Food uses low temperature dehydration to provide maximum nutrients. It also…

  • uses USDA inspected US farm raised turkeys
  • contains all natural ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, green cabbage, lentils, tomatoes, and the list goes on. The ingredients are real foods, not chemicals.
  • contains the superfood chia seed
  • contains kale, kelp, pumpkin, blueberries and more.
  • it has added vitamins and minerals
  • it has higher protein concentrations and lower carbohydrate

It’s easy to make, just add warm water, stir, and wait 5 – 10 minutes to rehydrate.

raw dog food as a topper

Welly Chef raw dog food added as a topper

It’s best to gradually transition your dog’s food to a raw diet, since some dogs may get an upset stomach. Use it as a topper over their regular food for a few weeks as you increase the amount.

Buffy, my 8-year-old cocker loves it and gobbled it up as a topper to her regular food.

Chipper, my twelve-year-old cocker has a more sensitive digestive tract. After introducing the raw dog food to him, he was fine for several days, but then got the runs, so I stopped giving it to him. A few weeks later, I tried again, thinking maybe he’d gotten sick from something he ate outside. But again, after a few days of only having a half teaspoon full of raw dog food on top of his regular food, he became ill. After twelve years of eating commercial kibble, I think his digestive tract cannot adjust to raw food.

This may happen. Raw food is healthier for your dog, but it may not be appropriate for all dogs or at all stages of their lives.

I recommend starting out with a small amount and trying it for a few weeks. See if your dog tolerates it and, over time, increase the amount.

This post contains my own opinion and experience using the Welly Chef Turkey Recipe.

For more information about a raw food diet, I recommend reading the articles below.

Have you tried raw dog food? What was your experience?

 

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=3134

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/04/15/raw-food-diet-part-3.aspx

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks#1

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