5 Benefits of Fresh Food for Dogs
- by Rufus and Coco
Raw and fresh diets for dogs have become more and more popular over the years, and the primary reason is that many commercial dog foods nowadays contain a lot of additives and other chemicals that aren’t exactly healthy for pets.
In this article, we look at several science-backed reasons why fresh food is a better option for your pooch's diet. As well as the potential risks involved should you choose to go for the raw food diet.
Why Fresh Food is Good for Your Dog’s Diet
You know all the ingredients
This one is perhaps the most significant reason why you should consider switching to fresh food rather than sticking to the same old commercial dog food your pet has been having for the longest time.
It is true that kibble and wet dog food are convenient as they allow you to practice free-feeding. However, free-feeding comes with its own share of risks since pets nowadays have fewer opportunities to exercise, so they are more likely to end up being overweight.
Whether you opt for a fresh or raw diet, the truth is that when making the recipe, you will know exactly what you add to it. Ground meat, supplement powders like our Anxiety Aid, Omega fatty acids, and fresh fruit and vegetables are some of the best ingredients.
Your homemade dog meals will not contain potentially problematic ingredients such as grains – which dogs are supposed to have as little of as possible. They will also be free of preservatives, artificial colours, or any other nasty chemicals, many of which have been linked to canine cancer.
Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Fresh food contains higher amounts of all of these. Naturally, dogs aren’t crazy about some types of fruit or veggies, and some might even be dangerous for them (such as garlic and onion, grapes, or unripe tomatoes).
But if you do your research and also ask your vet what ‘human food’ you should never add to your dog’s diet, you will be able to provide your pet with healthy and wholesome nutrients that simply can’t be found in heavily processed canine food.
Puppies might still have to be given vitamin and mineral supplements just because they need to develop a strong immune system, especially in the first 12 to 18 months of their life.
Even so, you can create the perfect balance by adding raw fruit and veggies to your dog’s food. If you don’t cook the ingredients, they will retain more of the nutrients that they contain.
Great for gut health
Even though grains are somewhat effective when it comes to regulating your dog’s transit, the truth is that they can also cause a variety of complications.
Some dogs can experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, or vomiting, especially if they’re sensitive to grains, in general.
But if they get the fibre they need from greens and veggies instead of grains, they will be able to pass regular stools without exhibiting any of these symptoms. High-fibre foods such as pumpkin and sweet potatoes are also safe for dogs, so they are a common ingredient of fresh or raw diets.
If you feed your dog the same food every single day, at one point, they will develop some type of food intolerance. These days, it’s quite common for dogs to have chicken or beef intolerances because they do not have varied diets.
However, if you switch between protein sources and diversify your dog’s diet with some legumes, fruit, or vegetables, your pet is less likely to develop an allergy.
Of course, making your own dog food at home calls for a bit of time and effort, but once you get the hang of it, you will find out that it is quite easy. You can freeze batches of food so that you have ready meals that can be thawed and lightly warmed in the oven or on the stove (without cooking the ingredients per se).
If, however, you can't squeeze preparing the food yourself, you can always consider fresh pet food subscriptions which have been gaining popularity in the recent years. You can order meals good for a fortnight and they are delivered fresh right to your doorstep.
Great for skin and eye health
The nutrients in fresh food can make it possible for your dog to benefit from extended skin and eye health. Dogs that are given heavily processed foods can develop allergies and, as a consequence, dermatitis.
As your dog ages, they will become more likely to develop conditions characteristic for a senior. Therefore, it should be your goal to give your pup wholesome food containing ingredients that can protect their sight, osteomuscular system, and central nervous system.
Some diseases that can be prevented with a fresh diet are dementia, light forms of arthritis, and blindness.
What Are the Risks of Feeding Your Dog Raw Food?
Fresh and raw diets are somewhat problematic when it comes to the stability of the ingredients you use, at least from a microbiological standpoint.
For example, raw meat needs to be managed and stored properly to prevent food poisoning. You also have to get it fresh (and therefore, not from the supermarket), which can be a true challenge.
If you feel wary about giving your dog raw meat, you can cook it and then mix it with fresh shredded veggies and add some vitamins, minerals, and Omega fatty acids to the recipe.
We also suggest consulting your veterinarian or asking them to recommend a pet nutritionist who can create the best recipe for your dog’s age, breed, and health conditions.
Not all dogs have the same diet necessities, so it is of utmost importance that you keep this in mind.
Preliminary assessment of the risk of Salmonella infection in dogs fed raw chicken diets, Daniel J. Joffe et al, The Canadian Veterinary journal, 2002 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC339295/
Responses of dogs with food allergies to single-ingredient dietary provocation, J. G. Jeffers et al, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 1996 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8755979/
Toxicology of food dyes, Sarah Kobylewski et al, Int. J. Occup. Environ. Health, 2012 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23026007/