What are the common concerns of feeding raw food to your dog?
There are concerns with so much food we eat ourselves - contains too much sugar, raw food like sushi or blue steak! But when we are aware of the risks we are able to decide if we can manage them.
With this thought, we wanted to make ourselves aware of the concerns to see if they outweigh the positives and if they are bad enough to not make the change to raw for our French bulldog Yianni.
In this blog, we are going to go through the most reported concerns or questions that people raise with raw diets.
We will start with the bones. Bones are reported to cause injury to the dog’s mouth and digestive system. This was a concern for us when we looked at raw diets – how can our little Frenchie break and swallow bones without choking or hurting himself?! The biggest cause of injuries for dogs eating bones are cooked bones, as they tend to splinter after they are softened in the cooking process. Dog’s are fully equipped to deal with raw meaty bones as their entire dental structure is designed for this reason. They use their front teeth to tear away the meat from the bone and their back teeth to crunch and break it.
We gave Yianni his first beef rib bone and he loved it! He strutted out to the garden and chewed away while catching some rays. He was as happy as a dog with a bone as we sat like worried parents not taking our eyes off him to check he was okay!
We have never had a problem but would never suggest leaving your dog unsupervised with a bone as you never know, they may have a moment where they think they can conquer the whole bone in one go! We have expanded into other raw meaty bones and every time we are amazed at how Yianni handles them and the excitement he has to have it
Bacteria was another worry. To be fair when is this not a concern whether you are preparing raw chicken and meat for yourself, eating sashimi or sushi!
We were surprised to find out that dogs bodies process bacteria differently to humans. A dog’s digestive tract is much shorter than a human and is designed specifically to process meat and bone together. We look back now and don’t know why we were surprised; of course, they are different to humans they are a different species!
The below image is an explanation of the dog's body and how it is designed to digest fresh raw foods:
Bacteria is also another reason that you need to make sure the product you use is from a reputable supplier (butchers, farm shop etc.) and is handled in the correct way as if you were preparing food for yourself.
If you opt to order from a raw food company instead of making it yourself, don’t be afraid to ask them questions - where they resource their produce and the grade of products they use, it may be human grade but what does their version of human grade mean?
Our final thoughts on bacteria are, if we look at all of the food we eat, the bacteria and effects it could have we would probably never eat! It is all about using our common sense and being careful with the produce and cleaning of areas/equipment we use for the food. Also to be aware of where our dog is eating their food – if you give them a raw meaty bone, make sure that they eat it in an area that you can clean afterwards. We also use dog-friendly wipes to wipe Yianni’s mouth and paws when he has finished his bone, to make sure if there is any bacteria/food on his body it is cleaned away.
Another concern we found for people was the lack of scientific research. We looked into research papers and found the instigators of them were processed food companies. Not such an unbiased source to conduct the research! We tend to go by raw advocate experts and people that have been feeding their dog raw for years rather than research (unless the research is completely unarguable).
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 aim to give you all the information we can on raw diets in one place and as there is a rise in people changing their pets to this diet, new information is always being shared! So we will be keeping our ears to the ground and updating you with that information!
Love from the Aurora Pets family x