It’s obvious many people have a secret love affair with processed foods. You may not agree, but unconsciously we are drawn towards that salty packet of chips, those glistering candies, pizzas and many more. Those of us who live a more conscious life recognize the inherent dangers of consuming too many processed foods and have made the conscious decision to switch to a healthier whole food diet.
But what about your dog?
Why shouldn’t your pooch enjoy a more wholesome, simpler diet? Phylogenetically, they have only evolved from their ancestral diet of raw meat and foraged edibles at around 30,000 years ago, that isn’t long enough for any animal to survive on the ultra-processed, synthetic, grain-based food we feed our doggies every day.
Health-conscious dog owners are beginning to realize this and have started taking the shift towards a more simple and trusted form of canine eating; specifically, raw meat.
It is worthy of note that dogs seem to literally come alive after a switch to raw meat, not considering the associated disease, and stubborn health problems such as inflammation, the debate as to whether raw meat is the best (and only) thing for our furry friends to be eating rages on.
The argument against raw meat for dogs
Recently, a lot of evidence has been springing up not supporting the recent move back to raw meat. Some studies conducted don’t portend a promising future for the pro-raw meat dog diet.
In a study published last year, the concerns about feeding raw meats to dogs were raised, E. coli was found in about 28 of 35 commercial frozen meat products. The laboratory analyses also found a high count of S. tenella, Listeria, S. cruzi, and salmonella, in a large percentage of raw meat products intended for dogs.
Another research suggests that there are minimal nutritional benefits of raw meat diet for dogs, it further highlighted that many raw meat products are deficient in important nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
There exists another argument that today’s dog can clearly survive on mixed diets that are very similar to what modern human eat. Another study went a step further to prove that the street dog, who share similar lineage to the early dogs of our ancestors, can easily live off waste products.
The problem with anti-raw-meat campaigns
Surviving is one thing, thriving is a different ball game altogether. The dogs we have today (including those that freely roam the streets in many third-world cities) suffers from a wide range of health problems including and not limited to arthritis, allergic dermatitis, cancer, lipoma, cardiovascular complications and spinal disease. A study in which over 30,000 dogs were examined by veterinarians, revealed only seven percent were healthy.
This figure clearly shows our doggies are not doing quite well on this current diet of grains, synthetic vitamins, and unrecognizable processed meats. This shows one has to question the credibility of the studies that paint a poor picture of feeding raw meat to dogs. One thing is obvious, the dog food industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and therefore dog food giants can fund studies discouraging dog owners from switching their pooches to a raw food diet.
This is a clear pointer as to why there are plenty of studies painting in negative light raw meats for dogs and very few on the potential positive effects of making the switch to raw meat. The processed dog food industry is big money, while there is not a lot of money to be made from selling raw meat to health-savvy dog owners.
Furthermore, there are studies regarding the bacteriological safety of raw meat-based dog food, driven by an anthropogenic fear of food-borne pathogens. But dogs are not susceptible to these disease causal organisms (pathogens) as humans are, and in fact, they are better designed physiologically to process raw meats more efficiently than our own. Why should a dog worry about E.coli or Salmonella in their meat, when these pathogens don’t make them sick?
Reasons to make the switch to raw meat
There is a truckload of anecdotal evidence which proves that switching over to a raw meat-based diet is highly beneficial to your dog’s health. These are some of the benefits people often report after making the switch.
• Healthier weight
• Improved teeth and gums
• More energy
• Shinier coat
• Fewer allergies
• Less joint pain and inflammation
• More relaxed behavior
• Poop that doesn’t smell as bad!
How to introduce raw meat
Please note that moving your dog over to a raw meat diet shouldn’t take place overnight. A sudden switch from a processed food to raw meat diet could cause a shock to a dog’s digestive system and would leave your carpet looking a bit worse for wear (if you know what I mean!). you need to gradually introduce more raw meat into your dog diet say for about a week or two and see how they respond.
How to source the best meats
Ensure the meat is from trusted meat brands, or you can get fresh, completely uncooked meat from the supermarket or butcher. The fresher the meat, the less the chance of contamination and the higher the nutrient content.
In feeding raw meat-based diet to your doggie, variation is key. Change the types of meat you feed you dod daily, and ensure you feed your dog nutrient-rich organ meats and offal on regular basis.
Perhaps, this is based on my personal preference, but if you are looking to make the switch to raw meat, you should also consider supplementing their diet with nutritious non-meat foods.
I supplement my dog’s diet with nutrient-dense foods such as bone broth, berries, occasional whole apple or carrot and pastured eggs. There is still a lot of work to be done on these dog foods and the jury is still out, but I find my own pooch responds very well to them.
Experiment, observe and if in doubt, talk to your vet!