We are raw food evangelists, so consider that the disclaimer before you read this. We switched our dogs over to a raw food diet a few years ago and have seen massive changes in their health ever since. There are a number of benefits to switching your dog to raw food from changes that you can see on the outside in just a few weeks to changes on the inside. We could go on and on about the benefits of raw food, but here are our 5 favorites.
- A softer, shinier coat - Because of the high fat content in raw meat and organ meat found in a raw food diet, your dog is getting all of the good fat they need for a softer, shinier coat. Similar to the push for incorporating healthy fats into our own diets (such as avocado, coconut oil, nuts, etc.), your dog will reap the same soft and shiny benefits for their coat. Raw food is also an extremely high protein diet and 30% of the protein your dog eats goes into maintaining a healthy coat. It's the perfect combination of healthy fat and high protein.
- Healthier skin - A lot of the skin issues that dogs face such as hot spots, itchiness, redness, etc. are often caused by inflammation and allergic responses to food. We've talked a lot about leaky gut syndrome in the past, but basically, highly processed and low nutrient foods (aka kibble) decay your dog's gut, which leads to toxings seeping into the bloodstream. The end result is inflammation and allergies that you see on the skin. Raw food is nutrient rich and made with whole foods, which help repair the balance of good bacteria in your dog's gut and repair the lining of their intestines. All of those changes on the inside lead to healthier skin on the outside.
- Dental hygiene and fresh breath - Raw food contains the naturally occuring enzymes that help protect your dog's teeth and gums. Raw food is also low in starch and will not stick to your dog's teeth and cause buildup. Most kibbles are made with starches and sugars that hurt the balance of healthy bacteria in your dog's mouth. A raw food diet contains none of those starches and is made with meat, bones and fresh foods that are high in nutrients to maintain a healthy balance of oral bacteria.
- Smaller, less odorous bathroom breaks - When your dog goes to the bathroom, they are expelling any excess waste that wasn't able to be digested. Raw food is made with lean meats and vegetables that are easily digested and high in nutrients. A lot of commercial kibbles are made with indigestible carbohydrates and your dog is not able to absorb the nutrients from their food, which leads an upset stomach and to bathroom breaks that are pretty smelly. Switching to raw food, which is high in nutrients and easily digestible, means less waste.
- More energy - Commercial kibble is made with mostly starches and carbohydrats (fillers) that leave your dog's energy levels depleted. Kibble is also cooked at almost 900 degrees fahrenheit, which sucks out any remaining moisture from the food and can leave your dog chronically dehydrated. That combination of high carb and low moisture foods can lead to big energy drops. One thing that we hear repeatedly when people switch over to a raw food diet for their dog is that their energy has skyrocketed. Raw food contains all of the moisture from the meat and greens, and therefore, all of the water. It's also extremely low in carbs, so it won't slow your dog down and make them lethargic. You'll see a boost in energy levels in no time, which means more fun for the two of you.