One of the factors that dog owners dislike about feeding raw foods to their dogs is the danger posed by the presence of parasites and bacteria in the raw meat, vegetables, eggs, and other dairy products. However, if you take in to account that dogs and their wild ancestors were able to deal with bacteria found in their prey, you will see that the design of their digestive system enables them to move ingested food through rapidly so that bacteria have no chance to multiply and cause any serious health issues. You would be surprised to know that even healthy dogs would have bacteria in their digestive system. Bacteria can indeed affect the health of dogs but it is rather unusual for one in excellent health to develop health problems with the bacteria present in raw meat. There are some parasites that could cause health problems but they could be destroyed by freezing.
A. Facts about the Raw Food Diet
While the concern about bacteria and parasites are real, they can be dealt with adequately by observing proper hygiene when preparing raw foods for your dog. However, it is understandable that some dog owners would still be adamant in feeding raw food because of other equally important factors. Here are some of them that you could consider in helping you decide to start giving raw food to your dog.
Preparing raw food requires more time. Chopping meaty bones, organ meats and vegetables is in fact messier. Taking a scoop of kibble from a bag is so much easier and your dog might also find it more convenient to eat. But if you believe that raw diet can benefit your dog more than processed food, then all the efforts you will put on getting the best raw meat (and vegetables) for your dog is worth it. The overall health of your dog is enough reward.
Dogs are built to chew on meat. Their physical attributes, from their jaw and neck muscles to their digestive system, are meant to process meat. They have evolved through thousands of years in the wild feeding on raw meat, and being domesticated has not changed this fact. Their stomach acids are much more powerful and their digestive tracts shorter, which mean bacteria will not thrive and cause problems.
Raw meat must be handled properly and safely. Those with immune system problems should not be allowed to handle raw meat. You should have a designated place, especially for feeding. You should not thaw meat for more than 1 or 2. Remember to wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water before and after handling raw meat. Use only kitchen objects that are specifically for your dog and wash them after use. Allow your dog some time to eat. Never save leftovers for later; throw them away. Always wash feeding bowls using soap and hot water after each meal. Remember to wash your dog’s water bowl too.
B. Can Dogs Tolerate Raw Meat?
It is quite possible for us to get sick after eating raw meat but our canine friends are well and able to tolerate them. However, you should not feed raw foods to dogs with immune system problems since they may not be able to deal with bacteria. Dogs have short digestive tracts and strong stomach acids that can safely digest any bacteria and parasites that may have been in the raw meat they consumed. Dogs are meant to survive on raw meat and can withstand any bacterial attack. The short period of domestication has not altered the fact that their bodies have evolved in the wild where they had to eat wild prey, with meat, bones and fur or feathers. It doesn’t matter where they live – they can thrive quite well in your house or in the forest.
C. Is Raw Meat Safe as Part of a Dog’s Diet?
Nutritionists have long acknowledged that raw food, including meat, vegetables, and fruits contain and preserve more nutrients than those food items that have been cooked.
were living in the wild as long as 10,000 years before. Even partially cooking dog food can eliminate the important and critical nutrients needed by your dog so that the dog doesn’t get a healthy and balanced diet. A dog that doesn’t eat a balanced diet provided by raw food will not be able to resist common diseases and will more likely have a shorter life span.
Commercial food manufacturers insist that there is a possibility of bacterial contamination which can result in diseases when you feed raw meat to your dogs. They say that dogs’ teeth and the gastrointestinal system can be harmed as well. Contaminations can occur during transport, distribution, and selling. While these may be real threats, the pathogens raw meat opponents say are present in the meat are not an actually intrinsic part of any meat products. As mentioned, they are contaminants that are introduced into the meat due to improper livestock production and handling processes. The source animals themselves are fed processed food and given antibiotics.
Dogs have evolved as carnivores, as meat-eating animals in the wild. Their teeth are designed to chew on bones and meat, and it is possible for their system to deal with a certain quantity of bacteria. Did you know that dogs besides being predators are also scavengers? They are used to eating decaying, rotten meat in the wild. This shows that indeed they can handle bacteria and other pathogens in amounts that could kill a human being.
There is no need, nor are dogs evolutionary prepared to consume cooked meat or commercially prepared kibble. It is totally unnatural for dogs to eat such type of food. They will not benefit from it. Risks of contamination can be eliminated by proper practices during transport, storage, and selling.
One key question remains – Is raw meat feeding a safe alternative? The genuine answer is it’s not risk-free. A raw meat diet does present a small risk to a dog. This fact cannot be denied. However, the benefits to your animal of a raw meat diet far outweigh the ris.