If you are a dog owner, you already know the difficulties of switching to a raw food diet for your dogs. It is not as easy as transitioning to raw dog food when you feel like it because there are a lot of things to consider before you make a decision.
Most of you started with commercial dog foods. Dry kibbles and wet dog foods from cans are considered delicacies by dogs and it would be a bit difficult to switch from this type of food to a raw food diet.
In this article, we will talk about the simple rules of switching to a raw dog food diet and the best raw dog foods currently available in the market.
Simple Tips For the Best Raw Dog Food Diet
Before you continue reading, make sure that you are 100% sure that you are planning to switch to a raw dog food diet. It will be extremely difficult in the beginning, but it is worth it in the long run. If you think that this is the right diet for your dog, we will list down the best tips to follow for a raw dog food diet.
1. Add Calcium in the Diet
Dogs and growing puppies require calcium. You probably know about this, but you failed to understand that not all dog foods contain calcium. They are high in protein, but meat is high in phosphorous but very low in calcium. Your dogs need both calcium and phosphorous.
It is not advisable to make an all-meat diet for your dogs. We understand that they need a lot of protein coming from the meat, but they also need support for their bone and nervous system. So what is the best thing to do?
Add bone to your dog’s diet.
Your dog’s diet will require about 12 to 15 percent bone in order to get the calcium that they need. You can add chicken wings, necks, thighs and legs on the diet or just turkey necks. Beef tail bones can be a good choice for larger dogs.
Whole animals can also be a good choice like whole fish, rabbits, and poultry.
2. Add Organs
Another mistake done by dog owners is that they don’t include organs in their dog’s diet. The most nutrient-rich parts of animals would be their organs so if you don’t feed organs to your dogs, they are definitely missing important vitamins in their body.
You would want to add about 10 to 30 percent organ meats on their diet, but it will still depend on how much you can get. While these organs can definitely provide the required vitamins and minerals to your dogs, it is not a good idea to focus on these parts so 10 to 30 percent would be a good measurement already.
Also, make sure that you feed them with different organs. If you can only find the liver, then just go for 10%. If you can find different parts, you can add them all to the diet.
You can include liver, kidney, pancreas, thymus, spleen, lungs, brain, and testicles.
3. Lean Meat
So basically, the meaty bones would be a maximum of 15% and the organs should be 30%. The remaining 55% of the dog’s diet should all be lean meat. This is the protein-rich part of the dog’s diet and this is also the most important vitamin that they need. Protein is needed to build strong tissues and it will support the enzymes and hormones.
For lean meat, go for ground beef, stewing beef, and cheek meat. You can also go for ground bison, stewing bison meat, ground turkey, boneless thigh, tenderloin, breast meat, ground lamb, shoulder or breast meat, pork shoulder, boneless rib meat, loin, chicken breast meat, and boneless thighs.
4. Watch out for the Fat
Adding some fat on your dog’s diet is not a bad idea, but too much is not advisable as well. Your dogs need fat as it helps with their immune and nerve functions and it is also important for skin health. However, like humans, fat can be harmful if you feed them too much. Fat contains about twice the calories as protein and it doesn’t contain a lot of vitamins and minerals.
A high-fat diet can also lead to a lot of long term health issues for your dog. The reason why dogs usually eat a lot of fat is that cheap meats contain tons of fat. If you only buy cheap meats, you can expect that your dogs would have issues regarding their diet.
Here are some of the parts of animals that you have to avoid:
- Chicken neck with skin
- Ground beef
- Domestic duck
- Pork belly
5. Fruits and Vegetables?
Some of you are probably asking why we did not include any fruits or vegetables on the raw dog food diet. It is because all the foods mentioned above already contain all of the necessary nutrients that your dog needs.
However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to add fruits and vegetables. You can add them if you want. These fruits and vegetables contain unique benefits that your dogs can’t get from animal products. In the wild, the dogs know the nutrients that their body needs and you can often see them eating berries and grasses.
We will list down some of the vitamins and minerals that your dog won’t be able to get from meat.
- Prebiotics: These are plant fibers that feed the important bugs that live in your dog’s gut.
- Chlorophyll: This is the green pigment usually found on greens that can make your dog’s cells healthy.
- Carotenoids: These are antioxidants that would help protect your dogs from diseases and aging.
- Lycopene: This is an important antioxidant that can prevent and slow cancer. Yes, your dogs can also develop cancer.
- Lutein: It is also an antioxidant that can protect the eyes, skin, and heart of your dogs.
- Flavonoids: They are responsible for the regulation of cell signaling.
6. Avoid Starch
There is a reason why dog foods are often high in meat and you are always advised to prevent grains, peas, and potatoes. Dogs can digest grain content so it is fine to have small amounts of grains on treats, but it is better to limit their consumption. Starchy foods can actually cause your dog to produce a hormone called insulin.
Because of this, the dog will start storing food as fat. This is the reason why a lot of dogs right now are obese. This may also lead to insulin resistance as well as diabetes.
Best Raw Dog Food
Now that you already have an idea of the best raw dog food diet for your dogs, it is time to look for raw dog foods in the market that would help you. You can always create your own, but if you don’t have the time for it, you should just buy ready-made raw dog foods. Here are some of the best in the market.
1. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for Dogs
This is raw dog food for adult dogs and it is suitable for small, medium and large breeds. Basically, you can feed this to any type of dog. The first 5 ingredients are the following:
- Chicken with ground bone
- Chicken liver
- Chicken gizzard
- Pumpkin seed
- Organic cranberries
This raw dog food is free from any type of grain so you don’t need to worry about your dogs getting fat for eating too much. It also contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
The Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for Dogs is made from 100% organic vegetables and fruits as well as cage-free meat. As you can see, this dog food is made from chicken parts and all of the required parts for a raw dog food diet are already here with a bonus of organic cranberries.
2. Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Chicken Formula
The Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Chicken Formula is another adult formula for dogs. It is also one of the most popular raw dog foods available in the market right now because of its contents. This particular formula is made for all types of dogs.
Here are the top ingredients of this raw dog food formula:
- Chicken Necks
- Chicken Gizzards
- Organic Kale
- Organic Carrots
This formula is grain-free as well and it contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Although this dog food formula contains two specific vegetables (Kale and Carrots), it is still a top dog food in the market. It is a little bit high in fat, but it is made to help provide more energy to active dogs. If your dog is always lying inside your house and not exercising, this is not a good diet for him.
This dog food diet contains protein coming from fresh chicken and it contains essential fatty acids, amino acids as well as high levels of calcium that would promote stronger teeth and bones.
3. Instinct Raw Boost Natural Dry Dog Food
The Instinct Raw Boost Natural Dry Dog Food is a top choice for dog owners and a lot of dogs love its taste. This is a raw dry dog food formula made for adult dogs and it is suitable for all types of dogs.
It has a protein content of 37%, fat is 20.5%, fiber with 4% and moisture is 9%. The top 5 ingredients are the following:
- Chicken Meal
- Chicken Fat
It is grain-free and it contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids like the other raw dog food formulas on this list. The only issue is that this dog food formula contains peas, which is a source of starch. It is not a problem though because the content is not too much and the dogs will be able to turn them into energy.
4. Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Red Meat Recipe
The Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Red Meat Recipe is a personal favorite on this list and many dog owners buy this if they want something different. This is a red meat recipe that contains real meat from different sources. It is a formula made for adult dogs and it is suitable for small, medium and large breeds.
Here are the top ingredients of this raw dog food formula:
- Pork Meal
- Lamb Meal
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dried Potatoes
One of the reasons why this is a popular choice is because of the beef, pork and lamb contents. However, sweet and dried potatoes might not be a good pick. Some people don’t want to add potatoes in their dog’s diet. You don’t need to worry because the amount is just enough to provide the nutrients that your dog needs.
5. Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets
The Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets is a great choice if you want your dogs to enjoy something different. This dog food formula is freeze-dried and it is in the form of nuggets. You don’t have to keep it frozen and it is very easy to feed your dogs.
It is very easy to break apart and you can even use them as treats when you are training your dogs. This dog food formula is for adult and it can be used for many types and breeds of dogs. It can also be a good choice as a nutritional meal or supplement for injured pets.
Switching to a raw dog food diet is definitely a hard decision to make for dog owners. If you don’t have any idea how to create a raw dog food diet, it is better to not try it all because if you make a mistake, your dog will lose a lot of important nutrients to help them grow strong and healthy.
It is a good thing that we have ready-made raw dog foods that can help you switch with ease. You won’t need to create your own as they already have all the ingredients that you need.