Raw food diets are extremely popular right now with many dog owners. Proponents of the diet claim that a raw diet gives owners greater control over what their animals are consuming, helps them avoid many of the less desirable ingredients in common dog foods such as grains and grain-based fillers, and results in better overall health. Detractors of the diet claim that raw food diets can be dangerous, due to toxins and contamination that is found in raw meat. Many also argue that raw diets, if not properly configured, do not provide all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed by your dog for a healthy life. This article will take a look at one of the core components of a raw diet, raw meat. It’ll outline whether it is safe for dogs to eat raw meat, and why some may consider transitioning to a raw diet.
Is Raw Meat Safe for Dogs?
In general, if you are feeding your dog raw meat that is of a grade meant for human consumption they should be safe. Still, raw meat carries with it an increased risk of sickness from bacteria or other contaminants on the meat. Worms also found in raw meat can cause serious negative health effects in your dog. Because the raw diet is so new, there is a lack of data concerning how often dogs actually get sick from raw meat. Many proponents of the raw diet claim that they have fed their dogs raw food for years, or even decades, without a single problem. Still, one common concern that is seen is the risk of contracting salmonella or listeria from raw meat. This risk exists for both the human preparing the food and for the dog, although many would argue that the human preparing the food is more at risk of getting sick.
Some meats are generally recognized as more dangerous than others, especially when prepared raw. At the top of this list is chicken, which has high rates of salmonella and listeria even in chicken that is meant for human consumption. Although the grade of meat, and freshness, can minimize some of the risk of contracting salmonella, it cannot eliminate it completely. Humans who are preparing raw food for their animals must remember to wash their hands thoroughly, clean their preparation area meticulously, and be mindful of the freshness of the meat they are feeding their dog.
Benefits of Raw Meat for Dogs
You may be asking yourself, why would anyone want to feed their dog raw meat? In general, most people feed their dog raw meat as part of a complete raw diet. Raw diets typically include meat, vegetables, fruits, and fish in proportions to provide complete nutrition for their dog. One of the primary arguments in favor of a diet based around raw meat is that the process of cooking meat, and other components commonly found in dog food, reduces the number of essential vitamins and minerals in the meat. By feeding raw, proponents argue, dogs are able to get a more complete and balanced diet that is rich in essential fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. At the same time, a well-crafted raw diet will avoid many of the negative components of commercial foods. Foremost among these is the presence of grains and grain-based fillers in many dog foods, which fail to provide satiety and can cause negative health effects such as skin and coat issues, and lead to inflammation.
Although raw meat is relatively safe for dogs to consume, there are a number of issues that one should consider before deciding to feed their dog raw meat. The first is that a raw diet does not simply consist of raw meat. Rather, a raw diet must be crafted to provide total nutritional value to your dog. Often raw diets will include various types of meat, including organ meats that contain essential vitamins and minerals, as well as vegetables, fruits, and some types of fish. Before placing your dog on a raw diet, it is recommended that you consult with a veterinarian first. Some veterinarians specialize in raw diets and may be able to guide you towards the best resources that can help you. If you are going to feed your dog raw meat, be sure to feed them human grade meat that remains frozen until consumption. As always, when handling raw meat be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward and clean any preparation surfaces immediately.