Health benefits of raw feeding
Raw food diets for pets are becoming increasingly popular. Many people choose to feed a raw diet because it’s more natural and less processed than most commercial pet diets currently available. Others feed their pets a raw food diet because it makes sense that if they feed themselves and their family a healthy balanced diet, then it’s logical to feed their pets in the same way. Others simply feed raw because their dogs love it! There are many health benefits that come with feeding pets a raw food diet, including:
Superior joint and bone health
There is no better way to support bones than with bones! Crushed real bone is a natural source of calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and marrow. All of these components result in healthy growth in puppies as well as maintaining great joint and bone health for your dog throughout their life. (1)
Strengthened immune system
The immune system is the first defence for fighting off infection, which is why it’s so important to keep it in tip-top shape. Providing complete and balanced nutrition is essential to help our dogs’ immune systems thrive and the nutrition in all-natural ingredients have the added benefit of being highly digestible for your dog. Some examples of natural immune boosting ingredients can include:
Meat – Is a fundamental component of a dog’s diet and, raw muscle meats provide high quality and easily digestible protein - the building blocks of good health and immunity. As well as this, an array of essential fats, vitamins and minerals can be found in raw meat proteins which unlike heavily processed sources of meat products, are not diminished through the cooking process. Providing your pup with a variety of different fresh meat proteins also ensures they have access to a range of micronutrients, benefitting their overall health.
Fruits and vegetables – A variety of fruits and vegetables contain a naturally complete and balanced package of vitamins and minerals. (2) In addition to this, raw fruits and vegetables that haven’t yet been damaged by the cooking process still contain an abundance of antioxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes all beneficial to the health of our pets. For example, citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, carrots are a source of vitamin A and leafy greens contain high amounts of vitamin K.
Superfoods – Superfoods such as wheatgrass (3), kelp (4) and garlic (5) also have positive impacts on your pups overall diet. Full of amino acids, enzymes and vitamins, these superfoods can help detox your dog from any nasties that may find their way into their digestive system as well as improve overall immunity.
Improved skin and softer, shinier coat
Raw diets contain many ingredients that support skin and coat health, one of the most notable and researched being omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy omega fats play a large role in supporting healthy skin and a soft coat as well as providing anti-inflammatory benefits, perfect for dogs with allergies or inflammatory skin diseases.
Ingredients that provide essential omega-3 fatty acids can include salmon (6), chia seeds (7) and flax seeds (8).
Superior dental health
Poor dental hygiene can, in some instances, be attributed to a poor diet, especially those that are heavily processed or high in carbohydrates. Raw, meaty bones are well-known as being nature’s tooth brush for our pups, helping to get into those tricky places between their teeth and assist with the removal of plaque (9). For fresh breath, a diet rich in healthy natural ingredients like celery (10) and occasionally even peppermint can be used to freshen up your dogs’ breath.
Reduced stool volume and odour
An effect of having a diet made up of highly digestible ingredients for your pet is that more of what goes in, is absorbed and utilised so less comes out the other end. The digestive system of our pups is designed to extract as many good nutrients from their diet as possible. Carbohydrates and filler ingredients such as soy, potato, corn and rice take longer to digest and are not fully absorbed by your dog. These ingredients act as fillers and can bulk out your pups stool and leading to a larger amount of stool volume with a heavy odour. As most raw diets contain no fillers and are low in carbohydrates (11) it’s often a result that their stools are smaller as there is less waste passing through.
Enhanced reproductive health
In a 2009 study, working with the Queensland Guide Dogs, we monitored the impacts of a 100% raw food diet on their colony numbers. During this time Guide Dogs Australia reported an increased number of dogs per litter, healthier pups and increased health in both the brood bitches and stud dogs.
Reduced Body Odour
While there hasn’t yet been any formal clinical research done a diet and odour, this is something we commonly hear a lot from our customers and the raw feeding community at large.
Hank was on a dry food diet we purchased from the supermarket for the first 8 months of his life. We’d always intended to have Hank at work with us but we found this a bit more difficult to manage than we initially thought because he was pretty smelly and kept leaving offensive, liquid “accidents” around the workplace.
We had a friend rave about the effects of Big Dog on their dogs’ stools so we switched Hank over to a Big Dog raw food diet. We couldn’t believe the change and he never left another accident around the office ever again. We assumed he must’ve had an upset tummy so frequently on his previous diet that he didn’t have proper control over his bowl movements.
Hank is now 3.5 years old, he’s never had an accident inside since and he is lucky to get a bath every few months as his coat and skin are in such great condition and he doesn’t smell like dog, it’s amazing!
These are just some of the benefits that we’re lucky enough to hear about from pet-parents every day and even see as raw feeders ourselves. If you had any questions about the health benefits of a raw food diet, are interested into transitioning to a raw food diet or had any questions in between, feel free to get in touch with us here: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll answer them as best we can.
If you're keen to get started on a raw food diet, you can get prepared with our transitioning guide here.
If you liked this article, sign up to our Big Dog Fam Mail to receive more great pet health and happiness advice.
If you liked this article, please share on Facebook.
- Becker, K. (2020). The Importance of Raw Bones for Dogs and Cats. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Editors, T. (2020). Important Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Zikmund, Q. (2020). Pet Grass (Wheatgrass) Benefits for Dogs & Cats. Retrieved 4 August 2020
- Rose Lic, L. (2020). Sea Vegetables and Their Health Benefits for Dogs | Dogs Naturally. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Hogan, R. (2020). Can Dogs Eat Garlic? The Bottom Line| Dogs Naturally. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Villanueva, Q. (2020). Chia For Pets | Dogs Naturally. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Biagi, Giacomo & Mordenti, Attilio & Cocchi, Massimo. (2004). The role of dietary omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in the nutrition of dogs and cats: A review. Progress in Nutrition. 6. 0-0.
- Kam, K. (2020). Dog Nutrition for a Healthy Coat. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Grieves, D. (2020). Healthy Foods Checklist: Flaxseed for Dogs. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Brady, C. (2020). Bad Breath in Dogs, The Simple Solution- Dogs First Ireland Raw Dog Food. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Burke, A. (2020). Can Dogs Eat Celery? – American Kennel Club. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
- Partee, A. (2020). The Poop On Dog Diet And Digestion. Retrieved 4 August 2020.