First, let us start out by saying: Yes, raw food is safe and healthy for dogs.
A raw dog food diet is made up of fresh, whole foods that are uncooked and minimally processed. The principle behind feeding dogs raw food, also referred to as the B.A.R.F diet, is to feed dogs the diet they evolved to eat. In fact, it’s what canines in the wild still eat—a raw diet composed of meats and greens that are fresh, uncooked and wild.
Dogs and cats are designed to digest raw meat, and their stronger stomach acids can handle bacteria that ours can’t. Fun fact: Humans are actually the only known species to cook their food - further validating the safety of raw food for our furry friends.
The raw diet is high in protein, moderate in fat, has minimal amounts of carbohydrates and consists of:
- Muscle meat
- Raw meaty bones
- Organ meat
- Vegetables and fruits
All of these ingredients are perfectly safe and healthy for your dog to consume daily.
Benefits of a Raw Diet for Dogs
Raw food is more easily absorbed and contains vital naturally occurring enzymes and vitamins that cooking destroys. This provides your dog with health benefits such as:
- Leaner, more muscular build
- Skin and coat improvements
- Cleaner teeth and fresher breath
- Less odor
- Vibrant, calm energy
The benefits don’t stop at health; environmental advantages come from feeding raw. This diet lowers our ecological footprint. A raw diet is more fully utilized by dogs’ and cats’ bodies, which equates to smaller stools and cleaner litter boxes.
It also uses animal parts like organ meats that, while safe for us to eat, are usually avoided by humans. Using these parts of the meat reduces waste.
How to Handle Raw Dog Food Safely
1. Choose 100% grass-fed and pasture raised meats as well as organic fruits and vegetables.
2. For commercial raw foods, make sure they are made in a safe, clean commercial kitchen / facility.
3. Store and handle with care like you would any meat. Follow a common-sense approach to safety and handling including:
- Keep frozen until ready to feed
- Thaw the next day's portion in the refrigerator.
- Wash your hands and any utensils or work surfaces that come into contact with raw meats with hot, soapy water.
Whichever option you choose, know that if you’re handling the raw food with care and using a prepared food made responsibly, you’re making a safe, and very healthy choice for your dog.