The Raw Diet: 5 Reasons to Make the Switch for Your Dog
As a member of your family, your dog deserves nothing but the best. But what if I told you that, despite your best intentions, by feeding conventional wet and dry dog food you may be doing more harm than good? If you change only one thing in your dog’s life—switching their food to a raw diet, you can drastically improve your dog’s overall health and even increase life expectancy by several years.
Sound like a bold assertion? Not if you have all the facts…
Let’s find out why a raw diet isn’t such a crazy idea after all.
1 – We’re Amidst a Canine Health Crisis
What many dog parents may not realize is that today, we’re already amidst a canine health crisis. Despite countless so-called “healthy” pet food options on the market, the best in medical care and technology, plus endless information at our fingertips, the average dog is sicker and living a considerably shorter life than he was only 10 years ago.
Today, dogs share the same diseases as humans, such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and more. It’s increasingly being recognized that these diseases are primarily caused by diet and other lifestyle factors, like lack of physical activity. In fact, 90% of all cancers are a result of diet and lifestyle factors.
The best archaeological evidence shows us time and time again that these “lifestyle diseases” weren’t present in our ancestors, and still aren’t present in modern-day hunter-gatherers or other non-westernized populations.
And it’s the same for the dogs we cohabitate with.
The same lifestyle diseases are not found among wolves and other wild dogs, but they’re present in domesticated dogs living a sedentary, western lifestyle with us. In the last 150 years, once dogs began eating processed convenience foods and spending more time indoors, the domestic dog has seen a steady decline in health and life expectancy.
In fact, in only the last 10 years, canine obesity has risen 98%, canine diabetes has increased 69%, and canine cancer is up 84%. Heartbreakingly, one in two dogs today will succumb to cancer, making dogs of all animals in the world– the species with the highest rate of cancer.
While it seems grim, there is a silver lining. By making changes in your dog’s diet and their activity level, you can greatly decrease their chances for disease and put them on a path to a longer and healthier life.
2- Raw Diets are Species Appropriate
Forget the latest diet name, trends, or buzzwords. One thing we know for certain is that ancestral health is here to stay. And for good reason. If our ancestors didn’t develop the inflammatory, chronic diseases we are plagued with today, this means an ancestral approach to nutrition can improve our overall health. We know this. But have you ever stopped to think that the principles of ancestral nutrition could also apply to your dog?
I’d argue they’re even more important in canine nutrition than human nutrition because the modern dog’s diet has strayed the furthest from its naturally designed origins. Your dog shares 99.9% of their DNA with wolves. Scientifically speaking, your dog is a domesticated wolf (or a subspecies of the wolf), not a different species altogether.
Given this, shouldn’t we be feeding dogs a diet more suited to what their ancestors ate in the wild? Wolves and other wild dogs are scavenging carnivores. In nature, they eat a diet that is primarily meat-based with a small percentage consisting of plant material like fruits and grasses.
So, when you feed conventional pet food, despite the enticing pictures of wolves and the great outdoors on the packaging, you’re not feeding your dog like a dog. You’re feeding your dog more like a factory-farmed cow.
Pet food is packed with large quantities of ingredients your dog would not come across in nature. Take starchy, low-quality carbohydrates for example. They make up 45-75% of the average bag of kibble. Why? Because it’s cheap, convenient, and helps turn a profit.
Here’s the crazy part:
As a carnivore, your dog doesn’t even have a nutritional requirement for carbohydrates. So then, why are we feeding a diet so high in low-quality carbs? We could talk for hours about the ingredients in processed pet food and how a majority of them aren’t ideal, but the main takeaway is all animals on earth were designed to each a specific type of diet and the simple truth is this:
When we deviate from the foods animals were built to digest, over time this can result in poor health and eventually, disease.
3- Processed Food is Bad for Dogs Too
You know processed food is bad for you. But have you ever thought to yourself, “Is processed food also bad for my dog?” How can we universally know processed food has a negative impact on our health but not think twice when serving it to the family dog? Not to mention, dogs eat a lower quality processed food than we do (food that’s not legal for human consumption) and they eat it every single day of their lives.
Pet food uses low quality (and potentially toxic ingredients). Plus, it’s processed so heavily that most of the nutrition in the food is essentially destroyed. This is why synthetic vitamins and minerals need to be added back into pet food, otherwise, that bag of dog food you just bought would have little to no real nutritional value.
In other words, when you’re feeding conventional wet and dry dog food, you’re essentially feeding a bowl full of dead food with a side of synthetic nutrition.
Last I checked, all animals need REAL food to thrive.
4 – Raw Foods are Nutrient Dense
Continuing from the point above, if processed pet foods are “dead” because much of the nutrition has been destroyed by heating and cooking, then what’s the opposite? Food in its natural state, or raw.
Of the 1.6 million species identified here on earth, only one species cooks their food – humans. All the others eat a raw diet. Well, all the others except domesticated animals.
Pet parents often forget what we now know that dogs share much of their anatomy and physiology with their wild ancestors. This means they are perfectly capable of eating their food raw.
In fact, they’re meant to. We all know that cooking food can affect nutrients and antioxidants to some degree. And sure, all cooking methods are different with some worse than the others. But I’m not talking about the minute differences between boiling a carrot or eating it raw. I’m comparing highly processed pet foods not even suitable for human consumption, to food in its natural state.
Dead or fresh? Synthetic or whole? Which would you rather eat?
5 – It’s Hard to Deny the Health Benefits
Ask anyone that’s switched their dog to a raw diet or any person that switched to fresh foods from processed – the results speak for themselves. I urge you to speak to dog owners that feed raw. Ask them why they switched and why they continue to feed raw. No matter their individual circumstances or their dog’s, a common theme emerges:
Their dogs are healthier on raw.
Some of the most common benefits of a raw diet include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Increased stamina and energy
- Cleaner teeth
- Healthy skin and shiny coat
- A better smell (breath and coat)
- Improved digestion and a healthier gut
- Reduced allergies
- Better mobility
- A reduction in disease and overall visits to the vet
- Increased longevity
It almost sounds too good to be true, I know. It may be hard to believe, but it is even harder to deny. Studies like this one prove it time and time again. But most importantly, dogs all over the world prove it time and time again. And your dog could be one of them. We wouldn’t have a rapidly growing raw pet food industry if raw diets weren’t helping to make dogs healthier.
In fact, pet owners are increasingly demanding healthier options for their pets. Raw pet food sales have tripled in the last 5 years with far more projected growth in the years to come. This data proves that we’re moving into a new era. An era where cheap, convenience foods are on their way out and REAL, quality foods are taking their place. I couldn’t be more excited to see dogs join us in this health movement.
Feeding a raw diet made up of fresh, REAL foods isn’t just the healthier option, it’s the healthiest option for pet parents that want their dogs not just to survive, but to thrive.
Scratching the Surface
All the points mentioned in this article are a mere snapshot of the reasons to consider feeding your dog a raw diet. Overwhelmed already? I understand.
At first glance, feeding raw can sound confusing, intimidating, and maybe even a little crazy. I was in the exact same boat when I first started looking into healthier options for my dog. I spent countless hours reading and researching until I decided I had to share this vital information with as many dog lovers as possible.
That’s when I wrote my book on Why You Need to Feed Your Dog a Raw Food Diet.
Whether you need more convincing, or you’re hooked and hungry for more info, this book will help. I’ll break down every detail of just how scary processed pet food really is, and hopefully, be able to answer any of your lingering questions on the importance of the raw diet. If you’re like me, you would do practically anything to nurture and protect your dog. They deserve it.
We all want to keep our dogs around as long as humanly possible. And that’s the thing. It is humanly possible to do better. It’s up to you to give your dog the best chance for the long and healthy life they deserve.
Change what’s in your dog’s bowl and you’ll change both of your lives forever.
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About the Author:
Amy Marshall is a raw dog food blogger and author. She teaches health-conscious dog owners how to feed a raw diet for a happier, healthier, and longer-lived dog at PrimalPooch.com.
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