Today I would like to talk about dog food. And I would like to discuss raw dog food in particular. But before we get to that let's talk about the different kinds of dog foods on the market.
You've all seen the different kinds of canned dog food and dog food bags that are available at your local grocery store, your local discount store or any of the multiple pet stores that you see a lot more frequently these days. There are literally thousands of kinds of dog foods to choose from - making it very hard to decide what is best for you dog.
And another thing about the commercial dog food is that you'll never know if one of these is going to be the next dog food on recall. So all of this together can make it really hard to decide exactly what kind of food to feed your dog. And that is exactly why a lot of owners now think their dogs a raw diet.
So what is a raw dog food diet? Basically what you're trying to do in a raw dog food diet is to mimic what a wild canine would eat. Just think about it for a second, what kind of food does a wolf eat out in the forest? Well, wolves do not eat canned dog food or kibble right out of a bag, I can assure you of that.
Wolves eat raw meat and bones from prey that they have caught. Their meals are not cooked or prepared in any other manner - they are completely raw. And this kind of raw dog food diet is often called the BARF diet by many people and the word BARF in this case stands for Bones and Raw Food. I have also heard it referred to as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
So if you want to put your dog on this kind of diet just keep in mind that all the foods are completely raw! Even the bones are raw. So if this kind of diet does not sound good to you then you may want to go another way because with a BARF diet you will be feeding your dog entirely raw meat and bones. And many people are very uncomfortable about that.
Also keep in mind that you never ever want to feed your dog cooked bones, especially fowl bones, because they could easily splinter and cause internal damage to your dog. And concerning bones from fowl such as chicken, turkey and the like, you can make up your mind yourself about giving your dog these, but for myself I would not give my dog bones from a bird. And it's basically because they splinter so easily.
But that's just me - so you can choose for yourself whether or not you want to take the chance on an expensive veterinarian bill and an injured dog by feeding your dog these while offering raw dog food to your pet. I won't do it, however I do often use pork or beef bones with my own dogs.
So if you're interested in knowing more about a raw dog food diet I can assure you that basically is a meal that includes meat and also certain kinds of vegetables, supplements and bones. And nothing is cooked. So you save time cooking the food - but there is more prep time involved because you have to put it together for the dog.
One way to think of it is to fill about half of the meal using meats and the rest including vegetables and bones. And there are loads of vegetables that you can include. For example, you can include carrots which provide many potassium and other vitamins your dog, and Sweet Potatoes are good choice and other things that you might want to add more green vegetables like some kind of mustard green or maybe watercress.
There are many vegetables to avoid feeding your dog, and if you're ever unsure whether or not you should feed your dog any individual vegetable please consult your veterinarian first. For example, do not feed your dog onions, or broccoli, or nuts just to be safe. Some kinds of vegetables are toxic to dogs while others will really give them terrible gas and stomach upset and no one wants to deal with that either. So be safe and if you're unsure ,don't feed it to them.
And probably the dog's favorite part of the raw dog food diet to include are raw "meaty" bones such as Necks, backs or tails. These often include additional tissue on the bones that the dog truly enjoys to chew and they are soft enough to often eat the entire thing. And the best part is that they really give plenty of exercise to the dogs jaws. Plus, raw bones are excellent ways to enhance your dogs nutritional intake.
Additionally, you can add to your dogs diet, supplements such as fish oil are really good for the dogs heart as well as their skin and coat. Flaxseed oil is an alternative that is equally as good as fish oil. Both of these are essential fatty acids. And really pay attention to the "essential" part of that phrase because that means they are needed every day. But if you're uncomfortable or unsure about adding this to your dog's diet then talk to your vet first.
Some things to keep aware of if you do decide to change your dog to a raw dog food diet is that you will notice changes. You'll probably notice an improvement in their coat and fur and if they had skin problems before hand, they would probably be better too.
Other benefits are that this raw food diet is very good with their immune system and also it often raises their metabolism so that they might even lose a few pounds if they are overweight.
But here's the thing you will notice right away and that will be a change in your dogs poops. Understandably this is a very big change from being fed a canned food or a kibble-based diet. And you'll notice it right away in your dog's poops as it goes through a kind of detox. Once they get past the initial change however you will probably noticed that the stools are smaller and better formed.
The biggest thing I can tell you to be careful of is mainly in the preparation of a raw food diet for your dog - unless you decide to use something like a freeze dried patty or maybe even a raw frozen diet. You want to make sure that you keep your dogs raw foods refrigerated properly and you want to make sure that you also clean all your utensils, counter tops and the like very carefully every time you handle raw meat. Wash your hands carefully and very thoroughly to remove any kind of bacteria that might be present.
Remember your dog has a very different kind of digestive system than we do so raw foods move out of their system much quicker then they do with us. But talk with your veterinarian about this if you're interested in changing your dog over to a more raw based meal. In fact there are many companies now offering a kind of commercial raw diet and you can often find these in the refrigerated section of your local pet store.
And even if you don't want to do this raw dog food method full-time, you couldn't choose a better treat than by giving your dog a piece of raw meat or one of those meaty bones like an ox tail or neck bones.
You'll be providing your dog a wonderful nutritional treat that they
don't often get. Plus, dogs love them - and don't you want to make your
" Cowardly dogs bark loudest" -- John Webster
Sign up for promotions, news, discounts, and the chance to win prizes for you and your German Shepherd