It has been proven that a raw diet can be more nutritionally valuable to dogs than the standard kibble or canned food options. Studies show that, while owners have to pay more attention while their dog is eating, a raw food diet can extend a dog’s life.
The Types of Dog Diet Plans
When you first adopt a dog you will be faced with a series of decisions to make based on how you want to provide for and raise your new family member. With so many pet options out there, you may be asking yourself questions like: Should I put my dog through training? What type of leash or harness is best for my dog? What type of food should I feed my dog? Is a raw diet better for dogs than other diet plans? And, when it comes to dog food, there are many options and research available on the various dog food diet plans. Some of the most common dog diets include:
- Raw Food Diet
- Kibble (Dry food)
- Canned Food (Wet food)
- Homemade Dog Food
- Dehydrated Dog Food
- Freeze Dried Dog Food
With so many dog diet food plans available, it is vital for you to look into every option and weigh the pros and cons before making this important decision for your pup.
Raw Food Dog Diet Plan Pros and Cons
You can view the raw food dog diet as the first original diet for dogs, because it includes items dogs would naturally eat if they were not domesticated. These foods primarily include raw bones, meat, and organs such as liver and kidneys. Other important ingredients in a raw food dog diet are cracked eggs as well as pet-safe fruits and vegetables. There is a long list of fruits and vegetables that are considered safe for dogs. Some of the more popular fruits and vegetables for the Raw Dog Diet include:
- Green beans
On the surface, a raw food dog diet appears to be a purely beneficial and nutrient-dense menu for your dog. However, there are some controversial aspects to this type of plan. It is worth educating yourself on the topic so you can make a well-informed decision.
Briefly, some of the pros of the raw food dog diet are that it includes health benefits that cannot be found in all other dog diets. In addition, it can be easier on your dog’s digestive tract compared to some of the mass produced types of foods. This diet does come with a few cons. The raw food diet includes bones, which could be a choking hazard if owners are not attentive while their dog is eating. In addition, this diet can be pretty costly!
Scientific Research of the Raw Food Diet
One of the main draws to the raw food dog diet is that it feels natural and healthy to feed dogs what they normally would seek out if they were living in the wild. Feeding your dog a raw diet allows you to avoid possible contaminants such as preservatives often found in processed dog food. In addition, inedible items such as plastic shards can sometimes be found in dog food that is manufactured in bulk such as kibble and canned food items.
While nutrients in mass produced products can be diminished through various processes, raw food diets guarantee that the dog is consuming all of the indented nutrients the food has to offer. These nutrients from raw foods can result in a reduced chance of allergies, cleaner teeth, healthier fur, and more energy.
In addition, the raw food diet has been proven to extend the life of dogs. In an article titled “Raw Feeding Extends Dog Longevity”, it was discussed how two researchers “examined more than 500 dogs over a period spanning five years” and concluded that the Raw Food Dog Diet “potentially adding up to 32 months to a dog’s life.” Who wouldn’t want to extend the duration of their dog’s life?
Sure, the Raw Food Dog Diet has many undeniable benefits with the biggest attraction being that it provides your dog with foods it would naturally eat in the wild. But, if you think about it, dogs often live a lot longer in captivity than they do when they are out on their own. There are many factors that can impact this statistic, but one major reason dogs live longer in captivity is largely due to their diets.
A few drawbacks to the raw food dog diet is the potential choking hazard, broken teeth, and stomach upsets that your pooch faces when they begin chowing down on their bowl of meat, vegetables, fruits, organs, and bones. It is advised by PetMD to put “the bones through a meat grinder; it eliminates the risk for choking hazards, broken teeth, as well as any GI tract and digestive issues that may arise from sharp edges.” So, can the raw diet kill your dog? Yes, if you are not willing to supervise and provide your dog with small enough bone particles to chew, swallow, and digest there could be fatal consequences.
In addition to the possible listed side effects, the raw food dog diet is known to be quite costly and time consuming for the owner compared to the other options available to feed your dog. Purchasing raw meat, vegetables, and fruits to prepare each night for your dog is sure to eat up your money as well as your time. This factor will depend on the owner and their preference for how much time and money they are willing to spend on dog food.
Kibble and Canned Food Diets Pros and Cons
Kibble and canned, referring to dry and wet dog food, is probably the most cost effective way to feed your dog. Compared to other dog diets, these mass manufactured goods are cheap and many brands claim to provide a balanced diet for your pup. The FDA does regulate kibble and canned dog food in the United States, but many brands still include preservatives and high-allergy ingredients such as Wheat. Many dogs react to these ingredients by developing skin rashes or chronic symptoms such as throwing up and diarrhea.
Homemade Dog Diet Plans Pros and Cons
As you can imagine, cooking for your dog each day or week can become time consuming. And, depending on the ingredients you purchase, it could also add up to be way more expensive than the store-bought kibble and canned food items. However, cooking for your dog can have many nutritional benefits and health benefits!
On akc.org (American Kennel Club), Dr. Bartges stated, “think of it as [humans] eating the same highly processed food for every meal, day after day, for years,” when discussing processed dog food. He also makes the point that we, as humans, often try not to eat a constant diet of processed foods as we know it isn’t good for our bodies. So, why would we expect our dogs to eat this way? While making homemade dog food can be time consuming and expensive, it definitely has doctor-backed nutritional benefits. It is cautioned that owners should do their research before they begin cooking to ensure they are, in fact, providing a nutrient dense diet rather than food they think could be nutritional.
Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Dog Food Pros and Cons
While this category is the lesser known of the dog food diet options, dehydrated and freeze dried dog food provide many of the same promised nutrients as the raw food dog diet. Dehydrated and freeze dried dog food not only has a longer shelf life than raw dog food, but it’s also less messy for the owners!
If you are very conscious of what your dog eats this could be a great option, but keep in mind that these food types are not as easily found as the kibble or canned food options. Large stores that specialize in pet supplies and food will almost always carry dehydrated or freeze dried dog food, but local grocery stores have limited to no options in this category. Dehydrated and freeze dried dog food also has a much higher price tag than kibble, canned food, or even homemade dog food diets.
It is important to weigh all options before making this important and life-changing decision for your dog. If you are unsure of what diet to choose, it could be helpful to slowly introduce your dog to different types of diets to test which works best for their body. In an article titled “Changing it Up: Benefits of Rotation Feeding For Your Dog”, it is suggested that “changing your dog’s diet should be done over the course of a week” to ensure they acclimate well to the food and do not get sick. Including small portions of the raw diet or even dehydrated food into your dog’s normal routine is a great way to test the waters before you fully commit. Whatever diet you choose for your dog should be nutritionally beneficial for your pooch but also financially sustainable for you and your family.