As pet owners in the 21st century, we want what's best for Fido. Let's be honest: some people treat their dog as if they were a child by buying them outfits, giving them special treats and even taking them to the spa. And that standard doesn't stop with what we feed them, either. At one point in time, the only chow options pet owners had for their pups were dry kibble or canned wet food from the pet store. We've all heard about raw food diets being all the rage for our dog, but are they really better for your four-legged friend than what you can buy in the store? Let's compare:
The raw food diet is a diet which gives priority to raw meats, vegetables, fruit and broth, over processed dog food. Common ingredients in the raw food diet include: muscle and organ meat, whole or ground bones, raw eggs, vegetables like broccoli or sweet potato, and fruits like apple and pumpkin.
Potential benefits of feeding your dog raw food are that he'll have a shinier coat, cleaner teeth, and higher energy levels. Some pet owners even report that they have a longer, happier quality of life as they get older compared with other dogs they've had that were only fed store bought food.
There are a lot of different options you can choose from for a raw diet, including buying raw meat on sale and crafting your pup's meals by hand, and some even being shipped right to your front door!
Compared to store-bought dog food, this method is typically more expensive and time consuming. There are inherent risks of feeding your dog this type of diet, one of the biggest being potential infection due to bacteria or other pathogens on the raw meat. If you do choose to feed your dog a raw diet, research a brand that does work to eliminate pathogens from their raw food, thus making a safer product for you to handle, and a safer meal for your pet.
Being primarily grain-based, the criticism against dry kibble is that it is adverse for a dog's health. But just because it is grain-based doesn't mean it lacks the proper nutrients your dog needs. Most kibble includes a protein source like beef, poultry, fish or eggs, grains or cereals, and added antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Advocates of dry dog food say that their dogs experience fewer dental problems and healthier gums on this diet. There are a variety of brands you can get ranging from your local grocery store to amazon that have premium ingredients included, and some that are even grain-free, if that is a problem for your pup.
Just remember: if the dog food you normally buy has a label that reads "complete and balanced" that means that it contains the right amount and proportion of every nutrient your dog needs to be healthy. It all depends on what works best for you, your budget and what your dog needs to thrive. Talk with your veterinarian if you think that your dog needs a change to his diet.
Remember, at the end of the day, you know your dog best and if a certain dietary regimen isn't working for him, then look into what's causing the problem! Always consult your vet if you have questions and don't jump on the bandwagon of a trend just because it's popular.