Feeding a complete raw meat diet to your dog is the best way to provide an easily digestible, balanced diet that mimics the way his ancestors naturally eat in the wild. However, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about feeding a raw food diet to dogs. This can be confusing and discouraging for dog owners looking to do the right thing for their dogs.
As advocates for raw feeding, we hear these myths all the time, so we want to tackle these misconceptions head-on and give you the full story about feeding your dog a raw food diet. Get the facts … here’s the truth behind 7 of the most common myths about a raw meat diet for dogs.
Myth #1: A Raw Meat Diet Isn’t A Balanced Diet
One of the main myths that big pet food spreads when it comes to discouraging dog owners from feeding a raw diet is that it isn’t balanced, and doesn’t provide for all of your dog’s nutritional requirements.
It’s true that just feeding your dog a juicy steak won’t provide all of the nutrients he needs to thrive, but this isn’t what a commercially prepared raw diet or a proper homemade diet is about.
Feeding a raw diet to your dog is about much more than just meat. Dogs fed a raw diet require variety in their meals to provide all of the vitamins and minerals they need for optimum nutrition. You also need to add bones, essential fatty acids and crucial supporting vitamins and minerals to make a balanced diet that will keep your dog fit for life.
Myth #2: Feeding Raw Meat Places Your Dog At Risk Of Salmonella
Various well-publicized health scares over the last couple of decades have made consumers very wary of the threat of salmonella and other bacterial nasties. What’s ironic with these reports is that no one seems to make a big deal when commercial kibbles are recalled due to contamination.
Ideally your dog’s digestive system can handle bacteria in the gut without a problem. Dogs’ bodies are built to prevent harmful bacteria like salmonella from invading the body and upsetting the healthy balance of intestinal flora. Dogs have highly acidic stomachs as well as natural digestive enzymes and bile that help them process Salmonella and other bacteria without becoming ill.
It’s when dogs are fed kibble that things become an issue. Kibble doesn’t contain those live enzymes, so your dog’s digestive system can become overrun.
You can further avoid bacterial contamination if you choose, store and prepare your dog’s meals with good hygiene protocols in mind and get his meat from reputable suppliers.
Myth #3: Feeding A Raw Meat Diet Is Time Consuming And Complicated
If you’re planning to go out with a bow and arrow and hunt down prey before dragging it home and preparing it for your dog from scratch then sure, that’s probably going to take up most of your time.
However, choosing and buying the right ingredients to make up a complete raw meat diet for your dog is no more time consuming than shopping for yourself, and you don’t need a degree in canine nutrition to get things right![Related: We’ve made raw feeding easy. Read the simple rules here]
Myth #4: Most Dog Owners Can’t Afford To Feed Raw
If you’re transitioning your dog from a low cost, generic store-bought dog food brand to a raw meat diet, chances are it’s going to cost you more to provide each of your dog’s meals.
However, feeding a raw diet may be less costly than you think. Good quality but cheaper cuts of meat, bones and organs don’t have to cost a lot. Source out a local butcher or farm to save and look for cheaper cuts of meat that will provide just as much nutrition. If you’re concerned about your dog’s nutrition and want to feed a good quality diet, you’re probably already paying a premium for good quality kibble or commercial food.
Myth #5: A Raw Diet Will Make Your Dog Aggressive
This is one of the biggest myths surrounding feeding a raw meat diet to dogs, and perhaps the one that has done the most damage. The thought that feeding your dog a healthy, complete raw diet will turn him into a slathering beast with insatiable bloodlust is common, but based on nothing but fear.
Feeding a raw meat diet won’t make your dog aggressive, but as with any food that your dog really enjoys, some dogs may be defensive or territorial when eating and won’t want to share! Teaching your dog good manners and polite behaviour around food is essential, regardless of the type of diet he eats. A raw meat diet won’t cause or worsen any behavioural problems in your dog, nor turn him into an aggressive monster.
Myth #6: It’s Dangerous To Give Bones To Your Dog
It’s a fact that not all bones are suitable for dogs. Small, fine bones that may splinter and cooked bones that are brittle can pose a hazard to your dog’s health. However, any proponent of raw feeding will tell you that bones of those types aren’t included in a raw meat diet for dogs.
Wild dogs and wolves gnaw on raw bones to get essential calcium and to help to keep their teeth clean and strong. Providing that you choose dog-safe bones and prepare them correctly to match your dog’s size and life stage, they make up an essential, healthy, highly palatable addition to your dog’s diet.[Related: Bones are good for both regular meals and to beat boredom. Here are the best ones]
Myth #7: A Raw Meat Diet Isn’t Suitable For Small And Toy Dog Breeds
Many people think of a raw meat diet as something that is suitable exclusively for large, robust working dog breeds, and that you shouldn’t feed raw to small and toy dogs safely and efficiently.
This myth arose from a fear of choking on bones, which we’ve covered in myth number 6 above. There is no reason at all why your pint-sized pooch can’t enjoy a raw meat diet alongside their larger cousins, as long as the diet is planned and served up in the right way to meet the needs of your own individual dog. Bones that are good picks for smaller dogs include chicken or duck necks and wings, and lamb riblets.
So … Why Choose Raw?
Ok, so raw feeding is good, but why bother? There are several reasons, including:
- Commercial kibble is full of mycotoxins – toxic substances produced by fungus that can cause everything from allergies to digestive upset to cancer.
- Kibble can also include lot of plant based protein which is not as beneficial for your dog.
- Most kibbles contain between 25% and 45% carbohydrates, which have no dogs have no nutritional need for whatsoever.
- In order to meet the standards of AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials), kibble manufacturers also have to add synthetic vitamins and minerals because of nutrients that are lost when the food is cooked at high temperatures.
- Kibble is dead food so it’s missing those essential enzymes your dog needs for a healthy gut.
- Raw feeding is not only better for your dog’s digestive and immune system, it’s also great for healthy teeth, skin and coat.
Your dog relies on you for a lot. If you want to give him the best chance at a healthy life, raw is the way to go. Fresh, whole foods can provide your dog with everything he needs to be healthy.