Do you give your dog raw food?
What and how you feed your pet is as much down to personal choice as to how it fits in with your lifestyle and financial situation.
With raw diets becoming increasingly popular for both dogs and cats we run through some of the pros and cons.
What is a raw food diet?
A raw pet food diet means uncooked fresh or frozen meat or fish, bones, and offal – plus vegetables and other ingredients. This is sometimes referred to as a BARF diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. You can either prepare it yourself or buy it ready-made from a commercial raw pet food supplier.
What are the benefits of raw food for your pet?
Owners who feed their pets raw food say it contributes to a glossy coat, healthier teeth, better body condition, and improved energy levels.
However, these things are not exclusive to a diet of raw food as your pet can receive all the nutrition they need from a commercially sold nutritionally complete pet food.
What are the drawbacks of raw pet food?
Unlike commercial feeds, raw-meat products are not heat-treated or freeze-dried to pasteurise their content and eliminate bacteria.
Daniella Dos Santos, from the British Veterinary Association, says: “Pet owners who choose to feed a raw food diet should be aware of the potential health risks and take full precautions while storing and handling the food.”
- Raw meat should be kept frozen until used
- Thaw at a maximum of 10C
- Handle separately from human food, with separate kitchen equipment (or the same equipment washed thoroughly after use)
- Bacteria in raw juices can splash and spread to other foods and surfaces
- Don’t let your pet lick you after it has just eaten raw meat
- Animals in families with infants, elderly people or immunocompromised individuals should not be fed raw meat
If you do decide to feed raw and are not prepared to put the time and effort into preparing it yourself then choose a responsible, regulated company: and make sure it is a member of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association.
So, the jury is out on which is best but whichever way you choose to feed your pet, the key is to ensure it receives the correct balance of nutrients for each stage of its life.
Do you feed your dog raw food? If so, do you prepare it yourself at home or buy a ready prepared complete raw food? Perhaps you feed a dry mix and add the occasional raw food? Or possibly you’re against the idea of feeding raw food altogether?
What are your views?
We'd love to hear your comments
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