Few people really know what is in that dried dog food that we give our pets. The package says it contains all the required nutrients, but we may be overlooking the quality of foods used in dried dog food. Sometimes the meat that's in the dry food, if it's not just protein supplement, isn't fit for human consumption. Just like people, implementing a raw or natural foods diet will help to increase the health of our animals. Once you've decided to use a natural food diet for your pet, do research first and then introduce the diet gradually so as not to overwhelm the animal.
Benefits and Theories
Jane Anderson of the Raw Learning website says a dog's food should never be cooked, but raw, as nature intended. Cooking food reduces its nutritional content. When dogs chew on meaty bones, it aids in dental hygiene by naturally cleaning their teeth, and dogs should have access to raw bones. Many commercial brands of dry dog food contain mostly corn and grains. Dogs need a lot of protein in their diet and should have less carbohydrates. A natural-food diet for your pet can increase energy, reduce overeating, mirror a natural diet and even reduce money spent on veterinary bills.
Dogs need meat. They are carnivorous animals and should have plenty of varieties of protein. Raw and cooked meats are healthy for dogs, and you don't have to worry about bacteria. Dogs' and cats' stomachs are designed for digesting raw meats; this is why they can live through eating a rotten fish or chicken. A variety of meats should be part of the diet, since certain proteins are high in different vitamins. A good balance of turkey, beef, chicken, rabbit and fish, among just about any variety of meat out there, is recommended by The Dog Guide.
Grains are a controversial subject. Most commercial dry dog foods contain mostly grains or cereals. Grains are high in carbohydrates and do little for the nutrition of your dog; they are added as fillers. They can be harmful and cause dogs to overeat, just as they do for people. They are also attributed to allergies in pets. However, some natural feeders, such as PetSynergy, suggest a diet with grains, and even up to half grains. Oats and rice are commonly used grains in homemade dog food and are softened to make them easier to chew.
Some vegetables are important in a dog's diet. In the wild, dogs would get vegetables and other nutrients from ingesting the partially digested stomach contents of their prey. This can be imitated by juicing fruits and vegetables before adding them to your pet food. The PetSynergy website states that 25 percent of a dog's diet should be vegetables, including carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, zucchini and Brussels sprouts, among many others. Other natural additions are eggs, cooked or raw, which dogs often would have eaten in the wild.
Because it is impossible to completely imitate the diet of a wild dog, it is important to keep a well maintained balance of nutrients. Sometimes there is no better way of doing this than adding supplements. PetSynergy recommends natural supplements such as ground bone meal, kelp powder, nutritional yeast, flaxseed oil and vitamin E oil.