There are various diet options that you can adopt for your dog. While giving them their regular dog food should suffice, some pet owners prefer to feed their dogs raw food as their new diet plan. While this might be unconventional and out of the ordinary, raw food can provide plenty of amazing health benefits, allowing your dog to grow stronger and healthier.
As you adopt raw food into your dog’s diet, you need to learn what you can and cannot do to allow for a smooth and steady transition. While you might already be eyeing good weekly raw dog food subscriptions, it’s best to think it over first and fully understand how a raw diet for dogs works.
Before you feed your dog a raw diet, you should learn what you need to do to make the transition a success. To help you out, below are some things you need to do when you’re practicing a raw dog diet:
- Always Monitor Your Dog
Since your dog has been eating dog food their whole life, they might have a hard time adjusting to a raw diet. During their first few days, they might experience upset stomach and other issues. During your dog’s transition, you should constantly monitor their progress and see if this would be a good option for their lifestyle and health.
As you monitor your dog, you should keep an eye on their energy levels and mood. Moreover, you should also track their fur and skin conditions, as raw food might cause an allergic reaction.
If you’re feeding your dog raw bones, you should monitor their eating habits to prevent any choking hazards. While raw bones are generally safe for dogs, there’s nothing wrong with making sure.
- Prioritize Food Safety
Since you’re handling uncooked meat, you need to take extra precautions when it comes to safety and cleanliness. One small piece of dirt can cause bacteria to build up, which can be detrimental to your dog’s health.
As you prepare your raw meats, you must maintain a clean and safe preparation area. This includes your chopping board, knife, and dog bowls. After serving your dog with their meal, thoroughly wash your hands using antibacterial soap.
- Consider Using Lean Meat
Raw meat is usually high in fat, which can negatively affect your dog’s health, especially if taken in large amounts. To ensure that your dog is getting the right amount of protein and fat they need from raw meat, you should consider using lean meat for the majority of their diet.
In most cases, lean meat contains less than 10% fat, which would be your dog’s healthiest and best option. Lean meat can be beef, lamb, pork, veal, and chicken breasts.
- Continue To Give Fruits And Vegetables
When you transition your dog to a raw diet, it doesn’t automatically mean they can only eat raw meat for the rest of their lives. To help provide your dog with the right nutrients they need to keep themselves healthy and strong, you should continue to give them fruits and vegetables.
You can add at least 15% of their meals with fruits and vegetables and allow the rest to be raw meat. However, you should be careful about what kinds of fruits and vegetables are safe and dangerous for your dog to eat.
As you educate yourself about how to feed your dog with raw food, it’s important that you learn the things you need to avoid to keep them in their best shape. To guarantee a smooth and healthy transition to a raw diet, listed below are the things you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t Switch Immediately
After deciding to switch your dog to a raw diet, you need to make the transition as smooth as possible. You shouldn’t be serving them their regular food today and completely raw meats the next day. This can cause digestive issues as their body hasn’t been fully prepared for the transition.
Ideally, you should gradually mix their old and new diet before switching to a fully raw diet. For example, their first three days should include 20% raw meat mixed with 80% dog food. For the next three days, continue to increase raw meat by 20% until they’re comfortable going 100%. This should be enough to allow their stomach to gradually adjust to their new diet.
- Don’t Feed Non-Raw Bones
Giving bones to your dog is a great way to serve them treats or to give them something to chew on instead of ruining your furniture. However, you need to be careful about what kinds of bones you’ll be giving to your dog. Ideally, you should only give raw bones as they’re softer and with less chance of splints, which can cause accidents or an emergency trip to the vet.
Moreover, you shouldn’t give cooked bones, machine-cut bones, or weight-bearing bones to your dog as they can severely puncture their digestive tract.
- Don’t Forget To Freeze Certain Meats
Unfortunately, you can’t serve every raw meat to your dog, thinking it should be safe for them to consume. You can’t just give them the excess raw meat from the dish you’re serving for dinner. There are some meats that’ll require freezing for a certain period of time. Through freezing, you can kill bacteria and ensure that you keep your dog’s gut healthy.
Meats that you need to freeze include fish and meats from wild animals. Moreover, it’s highly encouraged that you freeze them for at least one to two months before serving.
- Don’t Skip Dog Supplements
Even if you’re already serving your dog fruits and vegetables, you shouldn’t skip giving them supplements, as they need every nutrient they can get to guarantee their health and safety. Ideally, you should give your dog probiotics, calcium and phosphorus, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.
You can ask your vet about their recommended supplements that best fit dogs who are on a raw diet. This way, you can be a responsible pet owner, giving your dog everything they need to remain healthy.
Switching your dog to a raw diet can be tricky, as there are plenty of things you need to look into. These include their safety and comfort while adjusting to a new diet. But with the tips above, you should be able to determine the things you need to do and shouldn’t do to keep your dog in shape. While some might require you to exert more effort, the benefits they’ll bring your dog would be all worth it.