Commercial Dog Food Vs. Raw Dog Food
When it comes to our dogs, we only want the best for them. We work hard to give them the appropriate amount of exercise and stimulation. We also work to make sure their diet is just right.
When comparing commercial dog food vs raw food, there are a lot of considerations to make. That’s why we put together this article to help you compare foods. Educating yourself on what’s available is the best way to make sure your dog is getting everything they need.
Read below about how commercial dog food compares to a raw food diet.
What is Raw Dog Food?
Raw dog food is just what it sounds like. Raw food is food that is uncooked.
You might be asking why you would want to feed your dog a raw diet. The answer is somewhat complicated, however. There is some debate as to whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores.
Dogs do have sharp teeth that would be used to rip flesh when eating. So many people think that dogs would live off a meat diet. The argument makes sense, but here is the complicated part. Dogs are part of the order Carnivora, as are cats, raccoons, and bears.
We know that cats need a meat-based diet to supply the necessary taurine as their bodies cannot produce it. A dog can produce their own taurine though. We also know that bears and raccoons will forage for other foods like fruit, plants and even insects. Even the dog’s ancestor, the wolf, would forage for fruits or vegetables when it could.
Panda bears have a digestive system that is designed to handle exclusively meat, yet they mainly eat bamboo. Why does that matter?
It matters because animals’ diets are a tricky thing. There are foods they might seem designed to eat but will not. There are some foods they maybe shouldn’t seem to want but will eat as much as they can.
The point is that what an animal eats depends on what the species was used to eating and what’s available. If your dog’s ancestor was used to eating meat, times have changed and that’s not all they have to eat anymore. Likewise, many people have the ability to feed their dog a raw diet so why shouldn’t they?
As long as your dog is getting all the nutrients they need, either diet can work.
What Is A Raw Diet Made Of?
Overall, a raw diet is made of uncooked food. This can be meat, bones, fruit, veggies, grain, and supplements in pretty much any order. While any dog owner is welcome to go buy these ingredients from a regular grocer, there are also commercially available raw foods available at many pet stores.
These commercially available foods are either frozen or freeze-dried to help with shelf stability. They are also carefully balanced with vitamins and minerals. Many of these raw foods are also available in grain-free formulas.
Comparing Commercial Dog Food VS Raw Food
If you want to commercial dog food vs raw food, you will likely take a look at the actual ingredients.
A raw diet consists of:
- Organ meat
- Muscle meat
- Both ground or whole bones
- Fruit and vegetables that are safe for dogs
- Small amount of dairy
Typical commercial dog food comes in kibble form and usually is made of:
- Protein from beef, poultry, fish or eggs
- Vitamins and minerals
In most cases, the typical commercial food needs to add vitamins and minerals. A raw diet is specially formulated to already have all the needed minerals.
Proponents of a raw diet say that it is healthier for dogs. This diet allows you to remove certain foods your dog might have an allergy to. This is easy to monitor as well because you know exactly what is in the food. Providing animal bones also allows a dog to release a lot of energy by giving them something to chew on for a longer time. The chewing action also provides healthier teeth overall.
One of the negatives of a raw diet is that you will be feeding your dog food that has not been cooked, and so you cannot guarantee it is free from bacteria. This shouldn’t be too much of a concern, though your dog has the possibility of getting sick. Likewise, when your dog passes bacteria in their stools, they can then track that bacteria back into your home. This poses a serious threat if you live with anyone who is very young, elderly or immuno-compromised.
Commercial kibble might not seem like the most appetizing thing to eat, but the convenience cannot be beaten. Commercial food has a much longer shelf life than raw food and is simply easier to use. Rather than carefully measuring multiple raw foods, you can take out a measuring cup and give your dog the correct amount of kibble in just a few seconds.
While the convenience of commercially available dog food cannot be beaten, many people choose to give their dog a raw diet. While there are pluses and negatives to both commercial dog food and raw food, what you use should depend on your dog. You should make sure your dog is getting a properly balanced diet and that they maintain a proper weight and seem healthy.
Also, don’t forget that there is also a middle ground. You can feed your dog a commercial diet and supplement with raw foods when needed.