Any veterinarian will tell you the two things that will cure almost every problem a dog has are “exercise and diet.” If you feed your dog the proper diet and get them the right amount of exercise from the day you get them, you’ll eliminate most of their health issues for their entire life. Depending on the breed you have, your dog may experience genetic issues. However, even those symptoms can be reduced with diet, and exercise. I have another post on exercise, but let’s talk about diet today, beginning with the raw dog food diet.
I know some vegetarian owners may not like the thought of handling or feeding their dog raw meat. The good news is there are commercially available raw foods available so you don’t have to. Whatever your diet is, if you love your dog you’ll at least change to a commercial product with meat in it. Dogs’ digestive systems are not ‘designed’ to eat corn and wheat, the two primary products in commercial kibbles and canned pet foods. Dogs are, by nature, carnivores and scavengers. They have a short digestive tract that’s not equipped to process an exclusive vegetable and grain diet. Properly prepared a small amount of vegetables and fruit can be beneficial. The key words are “small” and “properly prepared.”
Dogs are however, extremely good at eating garbage, raw meat, dead animals and other food because of the strong stomach acids they have. Those acids are what protect them from getting sick from the bacteria on raw food like chicken, or garbage. They also help them process nutrients from the meat they do eat. One of the best diets for your dog, whatever their breed, is the “raw dog food diet.”
The raw dog food diet is also known as the “ancestral diet,” or the “BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet. Raw food diets are touted by many trainers and vets as a ‘miracle’ diet for dogs, especially for those with a lot of ailments. Is it a miracle diet? It’s not a miracle diet, but it works because it’s the most ‘normal’ and healthy diet for our four-legged friends. Imagine if you were living on fast food, carbs, and sugar and switched to a Mediterranean or other healthy diet. The diet might seem like a miracle, but it’s just a matter of feeding the body what it is designed to properly process and use.
If you start your pet’s life with the raw dog food diet the only thing you notice is they don’t get sick very often. If your dog is currently on a standard diet of commercial grade dog food, the change once they start eating healthy will be very obvious. In addition to having more energy, stamina, and being happier, they will also have:
- Cleaner teeth and fresh breath
- Better weight control
- Improved digestion
- Shinier, healthier skin and coat
- Reduction of allergy symptoms
- Harder, smaller, less smelly stools
- Increased mobility in older animals
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
- Savings due to less trips to the vet
You control what goes into your body. Don’t you want to do the same with your dog’s diet?
Of course you do! As I tell my clients, one of the best side effects of a happier, healthier dog is that they are easier to train as well. They’re calmer, more content, focused, and able to pay attention. It’s tough for us as humans to learn if we aren’t feeling 100 percent. It’s not much different for our pets. Whether it’s an injury, illness, or a disease, not feeling good will distract your dog from learning or enjoying their training too. It just makes sense. A healthy dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog is easier to train.
Here are some resources to get you started!
Pet Fooled by Kohl Harrington, a documentary on Raw Food Diets and your dog.
Raw Feeding Made Simple, Julia Ann Lee
Raw Feeding Primer, Dana Scott
Make Raw Feeding Simple, Julia Henriques
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet for Your Dog