There has been a lot of buzz about raw dog food diets lately. Many people, including veterinarians, swear by raw dog foods. If you are considering feeding your dog a raw dog food diet, you need to understand what ingredients to consider adding to the food that is healthy for your dog. There are tons of great recipes out there for raw dog food that use a variety of ingredients that you can use to make your own dog food.
However, if you do not understand the nutritional value of ingredients, you may not be giving your dog the full nutrient profile they need.
So here is a guide to some of the raw food ingredients to consider adding to your dog’s raw foods diet.
Dr. Karen Becker Discusses A Raw Food Diet For Dogs
Talk To Your Veterinarian About Raw Food Ingredients For Dogs First
Before we get into the raw food ingredients for dogs, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially a drastic change like switching from kibble to raw dog food. Speak to your veterinarian for tips and advice, and then you can begin transitioning your dog to a new food. Under veterinarian supervision, you can ensure that you are making the healthiest dietary choice for your dog.
The Best Raw Food Ingredients For Dogs
These are some of the more nutritious raw food ingredients for dogs you can consider adding to your dog’s raw foods diet. Each of these ingredients adds a range of significant nutritional benefits that can help your dog live a happy, healthy life.
Whole Meat: Dogs are obligate carnivores, so the first ingredient should be meat. You can feed your dog any meat based on their taste preferences from fish to livestock to game meats. However, since meat can often contain biological hazards like bacteria and parasites, it is recommended that you freeze the meat before feeding to make sure that it does not contain these contaminants. You can also cook the meat if you are concerned; however, that isn’t typically part of the raw foods diet.
Organ Meat: Another ingredient to add is organ meat. Organs like liver, kidneys, and tripe are delicious to dogs and also provide a range of healthy nutrients like amino acids, trace minerals, and B vitamins. Organ meats, however, should not compromise more than 15% of the diet because they can lead to digestion issues like diarrhea and weight fluctuations.
Bones: Bones are essential to a raw foods diet. However, it is crucial you never feed your dog cooked bones. Cooked bones are hardened and can break into slivers that can cut your dog’s throat and digestive tract. Raw bones, however, are flexible and soft so your dog can eat them without worry. Also, make sure when you feed your dog bones, you always do so under supervision because they can present a choking hazard. Bones get loaded with calcium and magnesium. Bones also support healthy digestion.
Eggs: Raw eggs are a great addition to any raw foods diet, just make sure you get them from a trustworthy source since they can often carry harmful bacteria. Raw eggs including the shell are an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain vitamins A, E, and B6 which help support a healthy skin and coat as well as extra energy.
Vegetables: Vegetables can be added to a raw foods diet to provide a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some owners choose to stick to feeding dogs a meat-only raw foods diet because they are obligate carnivores. However, dogs can benefit from a variety of vegetables including:
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Green beans
However, make sure that you never add the following vegetables to your dog’s raw food diet because they can make them very sick:
Fruits: There is also a variety of fruits that you can include in your dog’s raw foods diet. These fruits, like vegetables, are not included by every dog owner but can offer a variety of nutrition. Just make sure that you only feed them fruits in small doses. Some fruits to consider including are:
- Apples (do not feed them the core)
- However, never add the following fruits because they can cause digestion issues:
- Grapes & Raisins
Grains: Grains are a much discussed dog food ingredient. Many dogs have grain intolerances, so you should have your dog tested for allergies before including grains into their diet. However, grains can benefit some dogs, especially dogs that need a little more carbohydrate energy like senior dogs. If you decide to add grains, make sure to only add whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and barley.
Dairy: For the most part, you want to avoid adding dairy to your dog’s diet because they have a hard time digesting it. However, yogurt and cheese are okay in small doses because they can add calcium for bone health and Lacto-bacteria for digestive health. Just make sure that they do not have any added sugars or flavors and are low in sodium.
Raw Foods Base Mixes
Another great option to consider when switching your dog to a raw foods diet is a raw foods base mix that you can add raw food ingredients for dogs. Raw foods base mixes are an easier way to ensure your dog is getting all the nutrition they need. You simply add your dog’s favorite meat to the mixture, and it provides all the nutrition your dog needs to stay healthy and balanced. So before diving in consider checking out these mixes:
Switching your dog to a raw dog food diet requires a lot of research and finding the appropriate raw food ingredients for dogs can be a bit challenging. To learn more check out some of our articles on raw dog food at Dog Food Insider so you can ensure you are making the healthiest choice for your pooch.