The raw diet menu for dogs is one that these furry pets enjoy, perhaps because it matches what their ancestors ate in the wild. Many pet owners have switched from giving their dogs conventional food (store-bought dry and wet foods) to feeding them raw food diets. One of their main reasons for doing so involves the many health and behavioral benefits that are purported to result from this diet, including better energy levels, fewer allergies, healthier teeth, improved digestion and healthier skin.
Meats and Protein
The cornerstones of most simple raw diets for dogs are various uncooked meats and proteins. According to Raw Feeding, chicken makes up the biggest part of most raw diets. Other common items are raw meaty bones, organs, whole fish, beef, turkey, pork and whole raw eggs. Owners give dogs whole animals, such as a whole chicken, or parts. Dogs also consume raw bones; proponents say this is safe, although critics have questioned whether dogs can choke on bones.
Some raw diet advocates believe that vegetables and fruits were part of dogs' traditional diet and that they are beneficial, while others believe that dogs can get adequate nutrition without these. For those who feed fruits and vegetables, items include carrots, apples, greens, celery and beets. Some people also advocate including raw vegetable juices. Garlic, kelp, alfalfa and flax seeds are other items that are sometimes on the raw menu for dogs.
Grains are not included in the raw diet for dogs, because dogs' ancestors did not eat these foods, and their digestive systems are not designed to assimilate these. Raw diet proponents believe that ingesting grains leads to many of the health problems that dogs have. Additives and artificial ingredients are also not included in dogs' raw diets.
When switching over from a diet of commercial dog food to a raw diet, it is best to do it abruptly, rather than gradually phasing in raw food and phasing out store-bought food, according to Raw Fed Dogs, as this will help to avoid any potential digestive problems. Also according to Raw Fed Dogs it makes sense to start a raw diet with one protein source, such as chicken, and give the dog only that before introducing additional foods. Eventually, according to The Dog Guide, rotating different protein sources can help to ensure that a dog receives a range of nutritional benefits from eating a variety of foods.
The owner needs to gauge how much food the dog needs, based on monitoring issues, such as the dog's weight, but generally a dog needs about 2 to 4 percent of his body weight in raw food weight per day, according to The Dog Guide. Dogs eating raw diets usually eat once per day, but the owner can determine feeding frequency and decide whether feeding twice per day works better.