Raw food 101: a beginner’s guide to feeding your pet a natural diet
As pet parents, we’re always trying to do right by our furry companions, and that often means doing some research to figure out how we can improve their health. That’s why, in recent years, raw pet food has gained popularity as more people learn about the benefits of a natural, biologically appropriate diet for their animals.
If you’re interested in transitioning your fur baby to raw pet food but don’t know where to start, keep reading. In this blog post, we’re going over the fundamentals of raw nutrition, the benefits you can expect from this kind of natural diet, and important tips to keep in mind when switching your animal to raw pet food.
What is raw feeding?
Raw feeding, also known as the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet, is a feeding approach that mimics what wild dogs and cats ate in their natural habitats. Raw pet food consists of unprocessed and uncooked ingredients, including muscle meat, organ meat, bones, and sometimes vegetables or fruits.
Pet parents make the switch to raw pet food because they believe that, in the same way dietary guidelines for humans stress the importance of whole foods and variety, other animals also thrive on a more natural and balanced diet. It’s also known that cooking meat denatures some of its components and changes its nutritional value, so raw food is believed to include higher concentrations of the vitamins and minerals pets need.
The benefits of raw pet food
The best part about putting your animal on a raw pet food diet is being able to see their health improve in visible ways. Many pet parents who have gotten used to noticing subtle signs of illness in their pet—like stinky breath or yeasty paws—see their symptoms improve in as little as a few weeks.
Increased energy levels
One of the most common changes pet parents report is an increase in their pet’s energy levels after switching them to a raw pet food diet. With boosted stamina, your fur baby is likely to play more and get more daily exercise, leading to a positive feedback loop of good health.
Better weight management
Commercial dog and cat food is heavy in carbohydrates and fillers that can lead to weight gain. Raw pet food, on the other hand, is low in carbs but packed with protein, so your pet is more likely to feel satiated and not overeat.
Improved dental health
Pet parents often report an improvement in their animal’s breath and general dental health after switching to raw pet food. This is especially the case with dogs who are given raw meaty bones to chew on, as these can help remove plaque and stimulate saliva production.
If your dog or cat has frequent rashes or irregular bowel movements, these may be signs that they’re suffering from a food allergy. A raw pet food diet centered around raw meat can be a solution in many cases, since animals are often allergic to grains or other fillers present in kibble.
Making the switch
Switching your pet to a natural, raw diet is a lot easier than most people think. There are just a few things you should keep in mind in order to ensure a successful transition.
Test for allergies
Whenever you change your pet’s diet, you should do it gradually. Incorporate new ingredients one at a time and observe your pet closely to see if they have any adverse reactions. Find a step-by-step guide to allergy testing here.
Feed a varied diet
Once you’ve tested your pet for allergies, you can incorporate a wide variety of nutritious raw foods into their meals. We recommend a diet that includes muscle meat, organ meat, bones, and a small amount of certain fruits and vegetables.
Handle food properly
When handling raw pet food, follow the same safety guidelines that apply to all raw meat. Sanitize knives, cutting boards, countertops, and any other products or surfaces right after they come into contact with raw meat.
Consult with a vet
If you have any questions about your pet’s specific case and whether a raw diet is right for them, reach out to your veterinarian. They’ll be able to give you personalized suggestions based on your pet’s age, pre-existing conditions, and more.
Any other questions?
For any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!