To feed raw or not to feed raw?

The debate over which type of diet is best for dogs and other pets – raw meat-based or cooked meat-based – often stirs strong emotions and polarizes people into taking “sides”, often with no room for acceptance of the other viewpoint.

Proponents of raw food diets cite numerous benefits, including:

  • More closely mirrors the evolutionary diet of wolves and wild dogs.
  • Dogs are carnivores designed to consume raw meat, bones, and viscera.
  • Dog guardian controls the ingredient selection and sourcing (with home-prepared raw diets).
  • Higher in enzymes, vitamins, and minerals than cooked foods. • Greater nutrient availability than cooked foods.
  • Improved skin and coat.
  • Reduced or eliminated ear infections.
  • Improved breath.
  • Fewer, less bulky, less foul-smelling stools.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Reduced incidences of chronic disease.
  • Enhanced immune function and overall optimum health.

Opponents of raw food diets cite negatives, including:

  • May expose humans to higher levels of bacterial contamination.
  • Lack of studies showing that raw-fed dogs live healthier, longer lives.
  • Exposes vulnerable dogs to dangerous bacteria.
  • Home-prepared raw meat-based diets are often unbalanced, with deficiencies and/or excesses of certain nutrients.
  • Unbalanced raw diets are of particular concern with regard to growing puppies.
  • Bones, even raw, pose the risk of obstruction and perforation.

Proponents of fresh, home-cooked diets cite numerous benefits, including:

  • Dog guardian controls the ingredient selection and sourcing.
  • Fresh, whole foods provide higher levels of nutrients than processed commercial foods.
  • Nutrients contained in fresh foods are more bio-available than those contained in processed commercial foods.
  • Fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables are more species-appropriate than commercial foods, especially kibble.
  • Improved skin and coat.
  • Reduced or eliminated ear infections.
  • Improved breath.
  • Fewer, less bulky, less foul-smelling stools than with commercial foods.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Reduced incidences of chronic disease.
  • Enhanced immune function and overall optimum health.

Opponents of fresh, home-cooked diets cite numerous negatives, including:

  • The main negative cited by opponents of home-cooked diets is that they are nutritionally unbalanced and can contribute to long-term vitamin/mineral deficiencies.
  • Opponents are commonly those invested in the mass-market commercial pet food industry.
  • Many mainstream veterinarians are also opposed to home-prepared diets. Raw vs. Cooked Food Diets and Bacteria Concerns
  • We believe the vast majority mean well and are basing their beliefs on information provided by the commercial pet food industry.

The main objection veterinarians typically raise regarding raw meat-based diets has more to do with human food safety issues than the validity of the diet for the animal. It goes without saying that proper food handling and safety techniques should be used when feeding a raw meat-based diet, just as they should when handling raw meat prior to cooking. In addition, vulnerable individuals, such as young children, the elderly, sick or immune-impaired people, young puppies or ill dogs should not be exposed to raw meat due to potential health risks. Common-sense precautions can greatly minimize the potential of bacterial contamination from raw food.

What does Big Mack Bully Ranch say?

In our view, neither a raw or cooked diet is inherently “better” than the other. We work with many dogs that thrive on raw food diets, and others that do not do well on raw foods but thrive on freshly prepared cooked foods. As we keep coming back to, every dog is an individual, and we believe that individual needs should outweigh a devotion to any one way of feeding.

It is our philosophy that you should feed the best possible foods or combination of foods that you can afford. Not all dogs have the same nutritional needs.

Bones, even raw, pose the risk of obstruction and perforation.

BMB Ranch does not recommend feeding your dog cooked bones!

No matter what your decision is, we recommend always monitoring your dog while eating any bones.

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