Beginning a raw food diet can be messy, controversial, and confusing for some pet owners. If you are still unsure of starting a raw diet, think of the benefits! Many of the leading causes of dietary-related diseases are linked to feeding our pets high-carbohydrate, low-moisture commercial pet foods long-term. These processed diets are cooked at high temperatures, making them void of any nutritional value. Under AAFCO standards, pet food manufacturers designed their diets as complete and balanced by adding in synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements. Think of this like fortified cereal--you could survive eating this alone for the rest of your life, but can your body fully thrive?
This is how raw food plays an important part of your pet’s overall wellbeing. Prepared raw food diets (frozen or freeze-dried) avoid using synthetics because each carefully chosen ingredient is left whole and uncooked. Muscle meats, bones, organs, vegetables, and fruits all the provide necessary vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and enzymes that your dog or cat needs for optimal health.
The easiest way to distinguish a raw diet from an extruded kibble or wet food is the pyramid model. Raw, the pinnacle of nutrition, is at the very top. It not only goes through the least processing, it retains 100% nutritional value, and provides the least amount of inflammation in the body. Other benefits include proper hydration for organ function, smaller stools, and shinier skin or coat. Anatomically, dogs and cats have a very acidic, rapid, and short digestive tract designed to safely ingest raw meat and bones. Their carnivorous jaws cannot grind side-to-side like their grass-eating ruminant prey, but rather move up-and-down to rip and tear through meat. This is why raw-meat based diets are considered to be the ideal “species-appropriate” diet.
Even just supplementing raw meat or bones 2-3 times a week can make a big difference in the lives of our pets. Certain companies take the hassle out of preparing raw through a process called freeze-drying. The raw ingredients are freezed and the water in the food evaporates without ever being thawed or cooked. Simply rehydrate these meals with filtered water or even raw goat’s milk and bone broth for more a nutritional boost!
(Myths on Raw Food - the Digestive Tract & Salmonella)
(Dr. Becker’s 3-Part Video Series on the Basics of a Raw Food Diet & Dietary-Related Disease)