What are the benefits of raw feeding for dogs?
We originally looked to switch Yianni (our french bulldog) to a raw fed diet because he was suffering from skin issues (a commonly reported issue that can arise with little Frenchies).
We took him to the vet and tried so many different medications and approaches to try and help him but they only really worked for a day or two or not at all. We were struggling so much on what to do for him as we didn't want him to suffer and continue being put through tests and medications.
So we looked into alternative options as the vets could not find a solution. We were very lucky to find an ointment which we could apply to Yianni and this stopped the irritation, but it did not solve what was causing it.
The search continued! There were so many reports that raw diets can be a big help and so that was where Yianni’s raw food adventure began and we have never looked back! Not only has his skin irritation improved but the other benefits are amazing too! You may find that so many people have changed their dogs to raw because of health scares, making them consider alternative ways to give them an improved, longer life.
We have put together a list of the benefits we have seen in Yianni, that others have reported and that raw feeding experts back up:
- Reduced risk of degenerative disease - Simply adding the right fresh ingredients to your dogs kibble diet will have a huge positive boost to their health. It has also been proven that replacing as little as 20% of your dogs' dry food diet with fresh ingredients will reduce their risk of cancer and degenerative disease.
- Reduced risk of obesity and diabetes - Most commercially manufactured dog food cannot be produced without using starch (aka sugar). The amount of starch in food can be up to 40-49%. Our dogs' bodies convert this starch into sugar which is partly the reason for dog dental health being so poor and the increase in mouth disease in dogs.
- Healthier and glossier coat – your dog is getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need from the natural ingredients and this will reflect very quickly in the skin and coat. When you make the switch you may find that your dog will shed a little more to allow for his softer shinier coat. This is the dog's body is going through detox for the first 2-3 months. Once this process has ended you may find your dog sheds less than they previously did.
- Fewer trips to the vets (if any) – So many people report that since turning to raw diets their beloved pets have not needed to go to the vets as all of the other points we have reported here stop any health issues arising.
- Clean and healthy teeth – A diet of processed foods will cause plaque and tartar to build upon the teeth. It can then be made worse by giving the dog “dental sticks”, as they can contain even more cereals, additives and preservatives. Feeding a raw meaty bone is not only great for cleaning their teeth but has other benefits as you will read.
- Better breath – This is helped by the bones in their diet and keeping their teeth clean, so there is not a build-up of plaque. Also, certain ingredients that you can use in the food like basil and parsley help.
- Hydrated – This was not something we had heard about when we looked into changing Yianni’s diet, so it was a little worrying when we made the change as he would drink so much before. We found that it is because they’re eating a moisture-rich meal, so the less water they need to drink.
- Energy levels consistent - This is due to their food not containing unnatural sugars and artificial colours that cause hyperactivity. You will find your dog more content, relaxed and less hyper. This does not mean that they will not want to play anymore or go out for their daily walks; he/she will likely just be tranquil in between these times. Yianni’s love of toys and walks has not changed at all and if anything he can walk for long as his body is healthier than before.
- Healthier/Leaner looking dog – With a naturally balanced diet you can have more control over their weight and shape. It is very easy to monitor their food intake so that you can reduce, maintain or increase weight easily. When a dog eats a raw meaty bone they will get a bit of a workout and this helps develop muscle tone and reduce fat. They will look healthier and have a more defined shape, providing you follow the simple feeding rules and balance this with adequate exercise.
- Less flatulence, stools are solid, smaller and little/no odour - A raw diet for dogs means less wastage inside the dog’s digestive system, so the stools are firmer, smaller, and with less smell. Great for them and for us owners, especially if you are trying to get your kids involved with the responsibility of also picking up after their dog!
- Enjoyment of food and brain stimulation – Obviously your dog can’t tell you this with words but when we give Yianni his food and treats he looks so excited and we can also tell by the puddle of drool on the floor while he waits for his food! When you give your dog a raw meaty bone you will see the effort and concentration they have to it! Amazing to see how they break a bone in one bite when we would need a hammer to accomplish the same task.
- Breed-specific diet – Different breeds suffer from different health issues. With a raw food diet, you can concentrate on the common health issues that arise with your breed and adapt their diet to try and prevent the issue arising. This can be hard if you are buying ready raw food meals from a company as they will only provide set menus (understandable as they could not cover every breed!). We will be creating recipes for certain health issues soon, so keep watch for those!
- Natural treats – You can now give them carrots, apples or other fruits and vegetables for treats. Yianni gets more excited for a carrot than he ever did for a processed treat! Just be careful to keep their diet balanced and not overfeed them on any one food type. In a future blog, we will go through the fruits and vegetables you can give to your dog.
We do like to add if your dog is dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end-stage cancers, animals on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would recommend you get expert help prior to beginning the transition to a raw diet.
We hope this has been helpful to you in knowing the benefits of a raw diet for your dog! We will be releasing further in-depth blogs on raw feeding including a beginner's guide on how to make it yourself, recipes and many more! To keep updated on the blogs please subscribe to our email!
Love from the Aurora Pets family x