Many websites for pet lovers encourage switching to a raw foods diet for your fur babies, especially dogs. That being said, they also recommend providing a balanced diet where you purchase or prepare the raw meals in your own kitchen and provide plenty of premium grain-free kibble. You may also choose to give your dog supplements, yet, if they are getting all the nutrition they need from their diet, you might be able to skip this step.
The Raw and the Cooked
We suggest conducting as much research as you can on the benefits (and possible pitfalls) of switching your animals to a raw foods diet, and of course, talk to your dog’s veterinarian before you make any changes. Since this choice also will depend on the age and health of your dog, discussing it with your vet, who knows your dog’s history, can really help.
Most people worry about potential pathogens in raw foods and how they may affect their dogs. Ironically, we humans and our pets are all potential carriers of pathogens no matter what we eat! Pets and humans are covered and loaded with good and bad bacteria for our own survival.
If you choose to prepare raw food in your home in an effort to minimize contamination of surfaces and silverware, we recommend you use common sense and practice careful cleaning measures. Just act as though you were handling raw food for your human family. While manufacturers use techniques such as high heat or High Pressure Processing to eliminate pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, more than likely, you will simply have to be extra diligent in your home.
What Should Go Into Homemade Dogfood
- Lean ground beef
- Hempseeds or hempseed oil
- Cod liver oil or sardines
- One egg and half a shell
- Veggies, like bell peppers, green beans, and leafy spinach
Using a food processor, chop the above ingredients into a mush. (Split it in two if you’d like to serve it later.) Eggshells provide much needed calcium, and bell peppers provide Vitamin C. You may serve this meal cooked or raw. Your dogs will love it!
If You Want to Give Your Dogs a Special Meal (Recipe #1)
- Fresh cut green beans
- Skin-on sweet potatoes (cut into squares)
- Skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into squares
- Olive oil
Using a deep fry pan, and leaving the skin on the sweet potatoes, (skin provides Vitamin B and fiber) boil them until they are soft but not mushy.
Heat the olive oil.
Leaving the fat (not the skin) on the chicken, fry the squares until they are white. (Chicken fat is good for dogs, but the skin is unnecessary fat. Cooked bones can be deadly to your dogs, so avoid those!)
After the chicken and potatoes are cooked, feel free to add turmeric (good for your dog’s joints) and cinnamon.
Avoid most other spices.
What Should NOT Go Into Homemade Dogfood?
- Grains provide dogs no nutritional value and should be avoided
- Citrus fruits
- Chocolate in excess can kill a dog
And while the following foods are not on the avoid list, they’re not necessarily good for your dogs: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and tomatoes.
Preparing Your Dog a Nutritious Omelet (Recipe #2)
- Warm coconut oil in a fry pan
- Crack a couple of eggs (more or fewer depending on your dog’s size) and set the shells aside
- In the pan, scramble the eggs, and crumble the shells before adding them in
- Add in chopped bell peppers
- Add in your protein, for example, cooked turkey
An omelet not only provides a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast, it’s inexpensive and easy. This can be split into more than one meal. The two-egg omelet will feed a 30-40 pound dog.
What’s the Difference Between Raw and Cooked Dog Food?
According to Dr. Jean Dodd’s Pet Health site for pets who can tolerate the raw foods diet, they suggest it is a nutritionally sound plan when balanced with plenty of grain-free kibble. Bear in mind, it’s becoming more common for comfort dogs and therapy animals who eat a raw foods diet not to be allowed into hospitals and nursing homes, or wherever the community has a compromised immune system.
Obviously, changing to a raw foods diet is an individual decision. While some pets may benefit enormously from the switch, especially if they’re suffering from illnesses like cancer or pancreatitis, some animals may be unable to tolerate a raw foods diet, especially if they have a history of severe gastrointestinal problems. In addition, older dogs, or dogs with damaged or temperamental GI tracts, may only be able to tolerate cooked food until they’re healed. When your dog suffers diarrhea or vomiting, or inflammatory bowel disease, a bland diet of plain cooked meat will be beneficial until they feel better.
Advantages of Homemade Dogfood
If you make your own dogfood, you know what goes in it. The more colorful the veggies, the more added nutritional value. And a variety of veggies, like the sweet potatoes, even offer antioxidants. The homemade food you create depends on your dog’s preferences, and your vet may recommend supplements. Another benefit of homemade with its fewer and wholesome ingredients is that your dog’s less likely to have or develop allergies.
If you purchase raw food from a manufacturer, practice due diligence and make sure the food is free from pathogens. Raw food manufacturers test each amount of pet food before they are allowed to send it out. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) purports a zero-pathogen policy in all pet foods (this includes raw). In other words, unless the products test negative for pathogens, they are shelved. Raw food manufacturers who release food with known pathogens are in violation of the FDA. Keep in mind, however, smaller businesses might not follow FDA guidelines.
Feel free to visit Dr. Tobias’ Blog and learn more about dog food nutrition.
If you want more in depth information on the benefits of a raw food diet, visit Food Fur Life.