Many people are excited about adopting a raw diet for their dogs. However, some are still skeptical. This is mainly due to a few myths about raw feeding. These myths continue to circulate despite evidence showing that raw foods lead to numerous health benefits, ranging from better digestion to fewer allergies.
To put your mind at ease, we have compiled a list of the most common myths and demonstrated how they are untrue.
1. Raw Feeding Lacks Essential Nutrients
The myth that raw feeding leads to an unbalanced diet comes from a misunderstanding as to what a raw diet is. High-quality commercial raw diets always contain much more than raw meat and bones. They may include vegetables, fruits, herbs, or even fish oil. The combination of ingredients provides your dog with the exact quantities he needs, which ensures that he receives a full range of nutrients to stay healthy.
2. Dogs Live Longer When They Eat Kibble
Dogs evolved to eat uncooked foods. In their natural environment, they would never eat grains or many of the other ingredients you find in abundance in kibble.
In fact, it is obvious that dogs do not live longer on a cooked diet — you only have to look at the number of pets with chronic conditions like cancer and periodontal disease to see that. There are also the many health problems related to obesity, which is often caused by the high carbohydrate content of kibble.
3. Raw Bones Are Dangerous
Some types of bones are dangerous for dogs. This includes all types of cooked bones, which can splint and cause injury to the mouth, esophagus, or gut. Similarly, some kinds of raw bones do pose a risk, such as pork bones and rib bones.
However, other types of raw bones are completely safe. Beef marrow, knucklebones, and lamb femurs are particularly excellent choices, as they are hard enough for your dog to gnaw on for hours. This cleans his teeth, keeps his jaw strong, and helps him feel relaxed. Also, unlike cooked bones, they are a great source of nutrients like calcium and phosphorus.
4. Raw Feeding Is Time Consuming
One of the reasons kibble has become popular is because of convenience. It is much faster to pour out some dry food than to prepare a meal for your dog. Actually, raw feeding can be just as convenient. There are companies selling raw foods that you serve straight into a dog bowl, just like kibble.
Some dog owners have the idea that raw feeding is only suitable for large dogs with strong jaws, such as working dogs. They worry that a raw diet would be unsuitable, or even unsafe, for small dogs.
Whereas certain raw foods are more appropriate for large dogs, it is possible to adopt a raw diet for any size of the dog. Knucklebones are large and especially hard, meaning they are a good option for medium to giant dogs, but small dogs can eat most other types of safe raw bones without a problem.
When it comes to meat, vegetables, and other ingredients, the size of the dog doesn’t make a difference — all dogs can gain the nutritional benefits from these raw foods.
6. Raw Foods Are Dangerous
Dogs are far better at fighting bacteria than humans. Just think of what your dog sniffs, licks, and eats on a typical walk — and he rarely shows even the slightest sign of discomfort after.
This is because dogs have natural defenses against all sorts of microbes. For starters, dogs’ saliva contains the bacteria-fighting enzyme lysozyme. Dogs also have highly-acidic stomachs, which destroy pathogens before they pass further into the body. Finally, the short digestive tract means that any bacteria is ejected from a dog’s body fast.
If you purchase a raw diet from a trusted source and store the food correctly, there is no risk of your dog becoming sick from salmonella or any other bacteria.
You should also remember that there is no guarantee that kibble is safe. In fact, brands are frequently recalled for contamination with mold and for other issues.
7. Vets Warn Against Raw Diets
Although some vets may voice their concerns over raw diets, this is mainly because it is a new trend. Vets may have heard anecdotes about dogs suffering from problems. Usually, though, these are cases of a dog eating an unbalanced raw diet, such as with too many bones. If you follow the proper guidelines, your dog will be much healthier than before.
8. Dogs Become Aggressive with Raw Feeding
On the surface, this seems like one of the strangest myths. Could giving your dog food that he would eat in the wild really make him aggressive? Digging a little deeper, we can discover where this myth originates.
When dogs enjoy what they are eating, they become more protective of their food. As raw foods are far tastier than kibble, there is a greater chance that dogs will exhibit defensive behaviors. This is because they are concerned that people approaching want to take their food away. It does not mean that the dog’s personality has changed; it is only his attitude around food.
If your dog does show signs of aggression, it is important to correct his behavior with appropriate training. This will teach him that there is no need to become territorial around his food. At the same time, you need to respect his space while he is eating. This way, your dog will learn to eat raw foods just the same as he did with kibble.
It is true that some raw diets are little better than kibble, they do lack the nutrition dogs need, and they may even put dogs at risk of health problems. For this reason, you need to choose carefully what you include in your dog’s raw diet. The best option is to purchase from a reputable brand that has your dog’s best interests in mind.