Typically dogs are considered carnivores that create a food chain, and ultimately food web. However, their food preferences have changed, and now dogs are omnivores. They eat different foods like meat, fruits, vegetables, and dog food. It adds a wide variety of nutrients to their diet, including proteins and carbs. So, the first thought comes that raw meat should be fine for dogs as they have survived as carnivores. But is raw meat good for dogs? Keep reading to find out!
Trends change frequently, and people started giving packaged dog food to their pet dogs to provide them with a nutritional diet and protect overall health. However, as the world is moving towards an organic approach again, pet owners realize that they can feed meat and meat products to their dogs.
Dogs can eat raw meat, but it is not the most recommended food for dogs by vets.
Pet parents are offering raw food diets to their dogs in the form of raw meat and bone. These food choices also include muscle meat, bones, organs, poultry, and fish. Some dog owners may also opt for organic vegetables, fruits, eggs, and unpasteurized milk. The main purpose behind giving an uncooked raw diet to dogs is to mimic what their ancestors ate.
But you must remember that dogs in the wild do not live for as long as domestic ones. Their prolonged life expectancy is because of their controlled, healthy diet.
How to Give Raw Meat to the Dog?
If you have decided to try the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet for your pet, you must ensure that the bacteria on the meat do not reach other surfaces. Take extra care and disinfect all surfaces where you placed the raw meat and avoid playing with your pet immediately after they have had their food. It is even more important to keep your dog away from young children and adults during that time as their immunity is not as good.
CDC suggests freezing the meat in small batches per consumption needs and thawing them in the feed instead of the counter. Take it out when the meat is thawed and place it in the food bowl directly. It prevents the transfer of bacteria and parasites from one surface to another.
Possible Benefits of Giving Raw Meat to the Dog
Most experts suggest avoiding a raw meat diet for your dog, but a few benefits of the BARF diet influence pet parents to follow the diet.
Everyone knows that organic food is better than packaged food. But did you know that it is the same for pet food?
According to research by the University of California, raw meat diet is easier to digest by dogs and improves absorption in their intestines. Raw meat takes a lot less time to digest than kibble, keeping the GI tract healthy and less-smelly poop.
Kibble may contain chemicals that impact the bodily systems and may lead to rapid weight gain in some cases. On the other hand, a raw diet helps maintain a healthy weight and lean mass.
A meat-based diet produces a shinier and softer coat than dogs who take a cereal-based diet. It is attributed to the fact that raw meat contains almost no carbohydrates, but a high amount of proteins and is also a rich source of vitamin E and Zinc. Both these vitamins and minerals are associated with healthy hair. Many processed dog foods also contain these supplements to boost fur growth in dogs.
Risks of Raw Meat for Dogs
When finding the answer to “is raw meat good for dogs,” it is also important to see if it is safe. You might want to follow a raw diet for your pet baby to give them all the necessary nutrients, but it is not the best choice.
Growing pets require a wide variety of nutrients to keep the dog in good health. While you might think that raw meat provides all the nutrients, meat is only rich in proteins. Thus, your pet needs other foods to replenish its carbs and fats for normal body functioning.
Raw meat is not the safest food option for your dog or you.
Raw meat is more likely to carry disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have warned about the dangers of feeding raw meat to dogs. When you feed your dog raw meat, and they later lick you or other objects in the house, it increases the risk of infection.
Can You Give Cooked Meat to Dogs?
While uncooked meat is not the most suitable choice for dogs, you can serve them cooked meat. Cooking meat at an appropriate temperature kills harmful bacteria and viruses (if any). So, you can cook the meat to a safe temperature to ensure that the meat does not contain any disease-causing antigens or pathogens and is safe for consumption.
Is it Fine for My Pet to Consume Denatured Meat?
While you wonder if raw meat is good for dogs and opt for processed meat instead, you must understand that not all meat is good for your pet. Denatured meat is the meat of diseased, dying, or dead animals and is not considered suitable for human consumption. Eventually, it becomes a part of pet food. Various chemicals are used to process the food and make it appropriate for animal consumption. It is legal, but you must keep your dog from denatured or 3D or 4D meat as a pet parent. It may lead to infections and diseases if not properly processed.
Consult Your Veterinarian
Now that you know the possible benefits and risks of giving raw meat to your pet, it is important to take your vet’s opinion. Most vets suggest not opting for a complete meat-based diet as it does not provide all essential nutrients. But, if you want to follow the BARF diet for your pet, the veterinarian can guide you through it properly. Talk to them about everything regarding feeding raw meat to your pet. Get thorough information about the storage, thawing, feeding, and washing of the food bowl.
The Bottom Line
Dogs have been carnivores, but now they have become omnivores since their pet parents feed them various foods. Considering the inclination towards organic living, pet parents opt for a more organic diet for their dogs, such as the BARF diet. Raw meat is thought to improve digestion, coat, and skin, and maintain lean mass among dogs. However, giving uncooked meat also increases the chances of bacterial infection from Salmonella, Listeria, E. Coli, etc. You may consult a veterinarian to ask about your dog’s diet and nutrition needs.
Is it OK to give dogs raw meat?
Nutrition experts do not recommend giving raw meat to dogs as it does not give all nutrients required by the dogs for adequate growth. Besides nutritional deficiency, it also increases the risk of listeria and salmonella infection.
Which raw meat is best for dogs?
If you want to give a raw meat diet to your pet, doctors suggest adding beef and pork to their diet. Chicken and turkey can also be good source of protein for your pet. Make sure to provide a balanced diet by providing nutrients through other sources as well.
Do dogs prefer cooked or raw meat?
Dogs may eat cooked or raw meat depending on what you get them accustomed to. Many dogs prefer canned meat over fresh meat as it is often less dry. However, the preference may depend on what they have been eating for a long time.
Meet me; I am Paulina Zaniewska, who’s more hooked on providing the best health blog. I’ve always been so determined to compete as a nutritionist, and here I am, done with a Master’s in food technology. My brilliant performance throughout encouraged me to help people.