Is Raw Or Cooked Dog Food A Better Choice For Your Pet?

.tags Feeding dogs raw food is a topic that has been hotly debated a great deal by its advocates and critics. The real issue that needs to be the topic of conversation is processed versus fresh food for dogs and not so much whether the food is raw or cooked.

But because of the unique qualities that characterize each of our pets, there are probably as many distinct nutritional requirements as there are dogs on the planet. With that said, I believe that pet nutrition, in order to keep your dog healthy, should be based on some common sense principles.

Principle #1: Only feed your dog ingredients that are packed with nutrients of the highest quality.

Principle #2: Your dog’s meals should be prepared in accordance with a precise formula so that the nutrition it provides is balanced and complete.

Principle #3: To retain as much of the nutrient value of the food as possible so that the nutrients are readily absorbed by your dog’s body, serve it food that is processed as little as possible.

Principle #4: Another way to preserve the food’s nutrient value and keep it from spoiling is to feed your dog immediately after the food is prepared.

I would really like to hear an explanation from anyone who does not agree with these common sense principles.

The degree to which your dog’s food is processed (Principle #3) is at the heart of the matter. The main reason why fresh food advocates like myself dislike processed dog food so much, whether it is canned or dry, is that the high temperatures required to manufacture commercial dog food destroys the nutrients in it. To rectify this problem, dog food manufacturers add synthetic vitamins to the food, artificial chemicals that a dog’s body has a hard time absorbing. “Organic” or “natural” kibble to me is an oxymoron, and I have a good laugh whenever I see those words on a dog food package because all of the valuable nutrients one would expect to find in organic or natural dog food are destroyed by the processing required to create commercial kibble.

Individuals who feed their dogs only raw food argue that any kind of processing, including light cooking, jeopardizes the food’s nutritional value. On the other hand, critics of the raw food diet would argue that dogs who eat it are more likely to consume pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella that are often found in uncooked meat. There is probably some value to each argument, but when deciding which way to go, you have to consider what you are going to give up by choosing one diet over the other.

The digestive system of a dog, according to trustworthy experts I have spoken with, is quite capable of handling the normal quantities of bacteria that may be found in uncooked meat. On the other hand, a lot of those same experts will tell you that only a small amount of damage occurs to nutrients that are the most sensitive to heat when meals are cooked lightly enough to get rid of any harmful pathogens.

Therefore, you really don’t have to make a choice between the two approaches. Each pet owners has to decide on his or her own what to feed their dogs.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to feed your dog food that has been processed as little as possible. Most dogs can handle eating raw food that has been subjected to no processing whatsoever.

But there are a few dogs who need to be fed cooked food because their sensitive digestive systems simply cannot break down raw food very easily. Nor should dogs that have a high risk of getting sick from pathogens be fed raw food, and this would include dogs whose immune systems are in a weakened state or who live with people who have weak immune systems. And then you have those finicky dogs who insist on eating only cooked food. The best way to go with these dogs is to serve them food that has been lightly cooked.

Approximately two thirds of our customers whom we surveyed report that they feed their dogs raw food, while a third of them serve cooked meals to their dogs. Not only did neither group report that their dogs suffered any health complications, but they also saw significant improvements in the health of their pets compared to when they were fed dry dog food.

Working up a lather over whether you should feed your dog cooked or raw food is unnecessary. It’s absolutely okay if you feel more at ease serving your dog food that you have lightly cooked. Do your best to avoid highly processed dry dog food and, instead, serve your pets fresh food, whether you cook it lightly or feed it to them raw.