- Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN
Why Switch To Raw Food | Benefits of Raw Dog Food
Updated: Oct 20, 2022
If you’re wondering, “what’s so good about the fresh food diet?” you’re not alone. Every year, more and more pet parents are switching to fresh food - for good reason! The benefits of fresh food are the same for our animals as they are for us humans. Take a look below if you’re considering the switch for your pet.
What Is A Raw Diet?
The raw pet food diet consists of raw muscle meat, organs, bone, and supplements. A fresh diet allows the animal to have optimal nutritional health and thrive on fresh whole foods.
Improved Digestion & Gut Health
A balanced and healthy gut microbiome is essential as it aids in regulating the immune system, and protects against pathogens, metabolism, and more. The community of microorganisms is influenced by genetics, environment, and diet. Nourishing the gut microbiome with food creates a diverse and resilient GI tract that will provide essential health benefits. A dysregulation of healthy flora in the microbial gut can be seen through disorders such as dysbiosis, skin issues, poor stool, and so on. With raw having such a significant macronutrient profile difference (more moisture, fat, and fewer carbohydrates), diet’s impact on gut health can be considerably seen.
A study by BCM Veterinary Research showed that dogs fed a raw diet had a more diverse gut flora than kibble-fed dogs. The raw diet “promoted a more balanced growth of bacterial communities and positive gut functions than [the] kibble diet.” Another study found that raw-fed dogs have a richer and more diverse microbiome than the kibble-fed-control group. It showed that clostridium perfrongens and fusobacterium barium were “more abundant,” while capronaccilus f was less abundant in the raw diet group.
As a raw diet is absent of heavy carbs, there are no starchy carbs in the diet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show stages of gum disease by age 3. Feeding whole edible bone and chunks of meat act as a natural toothbrush to scrape plaque and tartar. And with proper dental hygiene and maintenance, clean pearly whites can be feasibly achieved.
Skin & Coat
Proper nutrition means a shinier and healthier coat along with healthy skin. Many owners report that their dog's allergies subsided when put on a raw diet from the absence of starchy carbs and appropriate nutrition. The University of Helsinki DogRisk research program showed that diet and the environment directly impacted atopic dermatitis (environmental allergies) in adult dogs. They found that a raw diet significantly decreased the chances of allergies as an adult. However, this study was a questionnaire versus a controlled environment. Hopefully, more detailed studies can be conducted!
A case study in Sweden amongst boxers, bull terriers, and West Highland terriers discovered that when fed a fresh food diet during lactation, the puppies were protected against canine atopic dermatitis (CAD), also known as skin allergies. And the odds of developing CAD “were twice as high” when the mother was fed a commercial diet.
There is less filler in the dog’s diet, and less waste will be excreted. Raw food is better suited for carnivores, so the nutrients are more bioavailable. Owners often will notice smaller, harder, less smelly poos as proper digestion can occur.
With a DIY raw food diet, you have control of everything that goes into your pet’s bowl. This means this diet is highly customizable to your dog’s individual needs.
Fresh food can be powerful when done correctly. Discuss with your veterinarian team to ensure you are supplying a balanced diet. And finally, a reminder, food is not a one-size-fits-all. The best indicator is the individual dog in front of you. Even if you cannot feed 100% raw, any amount of fresh food is better than none. Adding Kibble Boosters is a great middle point if you are uncomfortable or cannot provide a fresh diet.