Feeding your pet is always a major concern amongst new pet parents. How much of what is good for your dog is a topic that is heavily discussed in discussion forums on the internet.
How Much Raw Food to Feed Dog? - However, every dog has its unique tastes that make these sources unreliable.
Raw food is one such controversial food that almost all dogs enjoy but is known to cause major issues such as bacterial infections and handling troubles. Keep reading to know how much raw food to feed dog.
Generally, the amount of raw food to include in your dog's diet differs depending on its activity, age and weight. In most cases, 2 to 4 % of your dog's body weight can be eaten by your dog daily. Different weighted and active dogs require a varied amount of raw food.
Raw dog food diets are making a comeback. This diet includes feeding your pet vegetables, raw meat and bones.
This is to keep the intake of grains to a minimum, as it is known to not sit well with dogs.
However, you must ensure that safe practices and good quality meat are undertaken to keep your dog healthy and safe.
Feeding your raw dog food is a highly debated topic that brings along with it several benefits.
However, it must be provided in appropriate quantities to prevent it from causing side effects in your dog.
Why Should You Include Raw Dog Food in Your Dog’s Diet?
Meat is an excellent source of protein known to help build muscle and maintain a well-developed physique.
Dogs are playful animals that enjoy being outdoors and are always up for physical exertion. Feeding your dog scraps of unseasoned cooked meat is not hazardous.
Raw food can help add a new component to its diet, but it requires a lot of care to keep your dog safe from the issues it brings.
Benefits of Feeding Dogs Raw Food
Raw meat can help improve dogs' physical appearance and increase their energy levels. While raw meat is cautioned against, its consumption by pets has several benefits.
A shiny coat results from a well-fed dog that consumes a well-balanced diet and ample protein that helps in hair regeneration and keeps hair shiny.
A healthy coat of hair is bound to have healthy skin underneath. Raw food is known to have collagen, which helps keep skin healthy.
Improved Dental Health
Not only do the pathogens get killed by cooking food, but the texture also softens, making it easier to chew.
Raw food is tougher in texture and requires more chewing to help ingestion. Your dog's dental hygiene improves by chewing more on bones and meat.
Some dog owners even claim that introducing raw food has made their dog's breath smell better.
Raw food breaks down significantly faster than cooked food. The lesser the energy spent on digestion, the more energy your dog has left to do other tasks and be energetic.
The nutrients from raw food are absorbed more easily, leading to faster digestion and staying full for longer. Since absorption is enhanced, dogs tend to produce fewer faeces on a raw food diet.
These claimed benefits are not scientifically backed. A study showed that these results may be due to the consumption of a higher fat diet and may not necessarily be traced back to the raw meat.
When Shouldn't You Feed Your Pet Raw Dog Food?
Before making any major changes in your dog's diet, it is a must to take advice from your veterinarian. Some dogs respond well to raw foods, whereas some don't work due to any medical issues they are dealing with.
When Housing is Shared with Children
Children develop immune symptoms that can be under attack due to the pathogens from raw meat. This situation can sometimes be fatal.
Housing Shared with Immunocompromised Patients
If your pet has a weak immune system, it is more likely to be easily affected by any spread of bacteria that lives on raw food which hasn't been handled with precaution.
Disease Carrying Dogs
Dogs that suffer from previous illnesses like cancer, pancreatitis, etc., are better off eating cooked food to keep their digestive system free of stress.
Puppies do not have fully developed immune systems that can fight off bacterial infection, making them easy victims.
With your vet's advice, it is best to keep puppies away from raw food until they mature and slowly introduce it into their diet.
Any animal’s body begins to lose effectiveness in old age. Hence it is better to keep older dogs on a diet inclusive of easy-to-digest foods to make digestion easy and prevent any immune system attacks as the immune system also grows weaker with age.
Troubles with Adding Raw Meat to Your Dog’s Diet
The American Veterinary Medical Association discourages feeding pets raw food as it hasn't been treated to eliminate the threat of pathogens that are known to exist on raw cuts of meat. Any illness due to untreated meat consumption poses a threat not only to the pets themselves but also to humans.
Risk of Pathogens
Any kind of raw food contains various pathogens that live on them. Cooking subjects them to heat, killing them instantly. Raw meat can make your house a breeding ground for bacteria and pose a threat to all house residents.
Excessive raw food that is tough in texture can make it difficult on dogs' gums, causing them to bleed.
Immune System Attacks
A breeding ground for pathogens is an invitation for the threat to immunocompromised persons and animals. Such bacteria can spread through faeces when they attach to the skin and hair of dogs, etc.
Difficult to Store
Raw food needs to be sealed tightly and stored in freezers to prevent contamination with other food products and the build-up of bacteria. This makes raw foods difficult to store.
Risk of spoilage
The chances of spoilage increase as long as any food item is raw. At the same time, cooked food items last longer than their raw state.
Raw food includes bones, which may cause your pet to choke or break its teeth if chewed on improperly. If fragments of bones enter your dog’s body, they may cause blockages or punctures in internal organs.
How Much Raw Food to Feed Dog?
Moderation is key to keeping trouble at bay. Following the recommended guidelines, you can minimize the threat to your pet’s life while giving it raw food in appropriate amounts.
Based on Adult Dogs' Body Weight
Depending on your dog's weight and activity levels, you can determine the amount of raw meat and bones that is considered a healthy consumption range.
To do this, you must have accurate information regarding the weight of your dog and the amount of exercise it engages in daily.
For Underweight/ Highly Active Dogs
Energetic dogs that enjoy daily walks over an hour-long can be considered highly active. Such dogs can be fed up to 4% of their weight in raw daily feed.
For Healthy/ Active Dogs
Dogs that enjoy daily walks that last from 30 minutes to an hour fall under this category and should be fed 3 % of their body weight in raw food to help maintain their physique.
For Overweight/ Sedentary Dogs
Dogs that are sedentary and have little to no exercise outdoors should be fed 2% of their body weight in raw foods. Your dog needs active physical stimulation more than raw food at this stage.
For Extremely Active/ Work Dogs
Dogs that are used to heavy exercise in the form of herding, cattle dogs or living as strays on the street can be fed 5% of their body weight in raw food.
Necessary Precautions to Pay Heed to While Feeding Raw Food
Dealing with raw food is best left to professionals trained to do the same. However, in your pet's best interest, you may take up the activity by strictly following the below-stated precautions to keep you and your pet safe.
Supervise Your Dog When it is Fed Raw Dood
Supervise your pet during and after feeding times to make sure you take immediate notice of any choking.
Human-Grade Meat for Dogs
Use human-grade meat to keep artificially added preservatives to the minimum that may be added to pet-catered raw meat products.
Impeccable Hygiene Measures While Handling Raw Food
Keep the surface, knives and any other apparatus in your kitchen used to deal with raw meat always clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and keep you and your pets from catching diseases like campylobacter or salmonella.
Keep Your Vet in the Loop
Always keep your vet informed of any changes in your pet's diet. The information in this article gives general guidelines. Your vet can provide insight into better-suited practices specifically catered to your dog based on age, medical history and nutritional requirements.
Although veterinarians advise keeping the consumption of raw food to the minimum recommended amount, with proper knowledge of how much raw food to feed a dog and safe practices while handling and acquiring good quality meat and bones, your pet can be saved from any risks that it poses.