What is the best diet for dogs? It may seem like a complicated question, but really, the healthiest food for your dog is what nature intended. Their bodies are designed to get nutrients from meat, bones and fat, just like in the wild.
Processed commercial food is packed with sugar, carbs and other fillers that are less than stellar, and we know from our diet that the closer our food is to its natural state, the better it is for us to consume. The same goes for your dog.
Are you interested in starting your dog on a raw diet? It doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Here is how to feed your dogs raw food.
1. Start a slow transition to raw food diet.
Their digestion has adapted if your dog eats regular kibble or canned food. You need to make a gradual change so they can begin processing this higher-quality food. The good news is, they will love the raw dog food!
For a puppy, it’s easier because of their strong digestive systems, so the transition should only take a few days. For an older dog, span it over about a week. Start by fasting them for a day before introducing their first raw meal mixed with their commercial food, and then see how they handle it. If they have loose stools, wait until they firm up before continuing.
2. Use raw food ingredients.
The bulk of your raw food will be in the form of meat. This protein is extremely healthy for your dog, and they need the amino acids for many metabolic processes and energy.
Fat is also vital and gives them energy and lots of calories. Fat and protein give your dog the essential nutrients they require. Bones are healthy for them and are packed with nutrients as well. Carbohydrates aren’t necessary for your pet, but there are beneficial vegetables you can include to give them more vitamins and minerals.
3. Pick the best proteins.
If you can afford it, choose 100% grass-fed meat. We all should consume this, so buy the best meat your budget can afford.
Protein should be muscle meat or still on the bone and includes:
Organ meat is also beneficial; tripe and eggs are the perfect protein. Make sure the fat content in their raw diet is around 5%.
4. Add some vegetables and fruit.
Your dog will benefit from vegetables, which are best lightly cooked or steamed and have a lower starch content. This way, they can more easily absorb the nutrients because their digestion doesn’t start in the mouth as ours does.
Broccoli, celery, spinach, carrots and leafy greens are great and nutrient-rich, and fruit like apples, blueberries, and cranberries are perfect.
5. Handle the raw dog food carefully.
Because you are dealing with raw meat, you must ensure it is handled properly. Keep your meat frozen until you need it, and defrost in the fridge in an airtight container. This will allow for gradual defrosting without spreading any harmful bacteria.
Most portions should defrost overnight and be ready to go the next day. If you forget and need to thaw quickly, fill a large bowl with room temperature water and submerge the food for a 1/2 hour or so until it is ready to be eaten.
6. Make your own or buy raw meals.
Producing your dog’s food takes some dedication, but it isn’t that hard to do. You will need to source your meat, organs and bone as well as a selection of veggies and fruit and make individual portions ready for each meal.
If that seems a little daunting or you don’t have the time, great companies are dedicated to providing your dog with raw food. They ensure you have the highest quality ingredients, tested for nutritional value and package meals perfectly so you can feed your dog without hassle.
7. Feed raw dog food on a schedule.
Keeping your dog’s routine is important, especially when changing his diet. They are used to their feeding times and look forward to it, so whether you give your dog a meal once a day or twice a day, keep it the same with raw food.
On days of increased activity, like hiking or playing with other dogs, they may need a boost of more food to keep up their energy. Just add a little extra food like a protein snack, bones or even an egg on top of their meal.
8. Keep with the raw dog food diet.
As your dog transitions, they may have some symptoms associated with detox from commercial to raw food. Know that anything like itchiness or a duller coat is only temporary. Dogs are meant to eat and digest meat, organs and bone, and their bodies will thrive on this carnivore diet.
9. Witness the health benefits of raw dog food.
This is the exciting part. You get a front-row seat to watch the positive changes in your dog. They will love the fresh food and benefit from all the nutrients it provides. Their energy will increase along with their overall health.
You can easily transition your dog to a raw diet. Use this as a guide during the change, and take pride in knowing you are giving your pet the most appropriate food for their body.