If your dog is an animal, shouldn’t they eat like one?
Let’s uncover the truth behind whether raw or cooked meat for dogs is best.
As dog owners, you have a lot of options when it comes to pet food. And as the industry keeps growing, so do your choices.
One of the latest trends is raw dog food. But is uncooked meat really the best thing for your furry friend?
At Rick’s Dog Deli, we’re familiar with just about every dog feeding trend out there, and we do our best to separate fact from fiction. In this article, we’re discussing whether raw or cooked meat for dogs is the best option for a complete and balanced meal.
Raw Diet For Dogs: Is It Good For Them?
Supporters of raw dog food believe that a healthy dog’s diet should be as close as possible to what their ancestors ate.
While it’s true that dogs originally ate a raw diet, dogs are not wild anymore. Humans have selectively bred dogs to be the perfect domestic companions. And much of this process involved feeding dogs the food that we eat—not only meat (cooked and raw), but bones, organ meats, vegetables, and prepared grains.
Think about how different dietary needs are within dog breeds. One breed needs more protein, another needs more fat. If a Chihuahua and a Husky don’t require the same diet, wouldn’t dogs and wild wolves have different dietary needs, too?
The Risks Behind Raw Dog Food Recipes
If we lived on this planet a few hundred years ago, a raw diet for dogs would probably do them no harm. Unfortunately, the way food is processed today, cooked food is necessary in order to effectively remove toxins.
For example, chicken is commonly washed with a chlorine solution during processing (yes, even among organic chicken producers). Since chlorine evaporates when heated, chicken is perfectly safe to eat as long as it is cooked to the proper temperature. But if you feed the raw meat to your dog, s/he is being exposed to unsafe levels of chlorine.
Also, there is a chance that contaminated raw food can cross-contaminate your home, exposing everyone to harmful bacteria. This is especially a problem when someone or another pet in the home has a compromised immune system.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Beef?
Okay, so the chicken is out. But what about raw beef, lamb, and other forms of protein? Can those be eaten raw?
Yes, some dogs do fine after eating raw ground beef, liver, or a steak. Many of them heartily enjoy it! But just because they can handle raw food doesn’t mean they should.
Dogs run the same risks as humans do whenever they eat steak tartare: namely, salmonella, e. coli, listeria, and other harmful bacteria. If you take the time to make sure your food is cooked to the proper temperature, shouldn’t you do the same for your dog?
Food Poisoning Symptoms in Dogs
If your dog has consumed raw meat, you’ll want to watch out for symptoms of food poisoning.
Many of the symptoms of food poisoning in dogs are the same as the ones humans experience, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of coordination
If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms, call your vet.
Raw Food Dogs Can Eat
Are there any raw foods that a dog can safely eat? Yes!
Raw fruits and vegetables are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet and many people find that their canine companions wholeheartedly adore them!
Some great options for your dog to eat raw:
- Bell Peppers
- Green Beans
Raw or Cooked Meat For Dogs?
We have run side-by-side nutritional studies comparing raw and cooked proteins and have found that there is little to no nutritional loss when you lightly cook food in a proper manner. So why are we still debating over raw or cooked meat for dogs?
Many dogs seem to “come to life” after switching from kibble to a raw meat diet. But this is probably because they stopped eating kibble—not because they started eating raw meat. If you compare raw dog food vs. dry, processed kibble, of course raw food is going to look like the hero.
The quality of the ingredients is far more important than their temperature. If you want to give your dog the best possible diet, opt for a diet made with wholesome, USDA-inspected ingredients that have been formulated with your dog’s nutritional needs in mind.
The Best of Both Worlds
At Rick’s Dog Deli, it is our job to navigate the food chain for you and your pet. We work with our suppliers to get the best possible ingredients at the best possible price.
We take a balanced approach to species-appropriate feeding and believe that—as omnivores—dogs need to eat from the entire food pyramid.
With raw dog food, your dog will probably get an unbalanced diet, as it will be very meat-heavy and lacking in certain nutrients. But with Rick’s Dog Deli, your dog will get the proper ratio of meat, vegetables, and grains across all our prepared meals.
We prepare all food with USDA-inspected ingredients in our open-concept kitchen, using commercial equipment which is sanitized following the equipment manufacturer and HACCP standards. Proteins are kept separate to avoid any cross-contamination for our allergy-sensitive dogs.
After foods are prepared, they are frozen to lock in all the vitamins and nutrients. Simply thaw and serve. We guarantee it’ll become your dog’s new favorite food!
As always, if you need any advice or help switching from raw to cooked dog food, give us a call. We are happy to help.