Benefits of Raw Diets
What are the benefits of raw food? Well you are probably here because you have heard the gossip about raw diets and have some really intense friend that swears by their dogs raw diet and can’t believe you don’t already feed a raw diet too.
Welcome! I have to start by saying I love a raw diet for our pets for a variety of reasons, a few main ones are very selfish and really impact me as a dog owner.
For starters: when my husband and I switched our dogs over to a raw diet back in the day, I had been doing most of the research on raw and decided ‘it was time’. So I transition my puppers over and let my hubby know what to feed each dog (if I don’t write it down for him he “wings” it) after 2 days Jeremy says to me
“I have been waiting for the dogs to poop all day and no one has gone yet and I haven’t had to refill the water bowl all day let so I think the dogs are sick.”
BUT nerdy ole’ me already knew what to expect from raw feeding, I just forgot to tell my other half. So I tell him (keep in mind this is ACTUALLY what happened)
“Our dogs aren’t sick, that is perfectly normal on a raw diet, they will only poop once every other day or so – once a day if we feed them extra food after a big workout. They are drinking less because the meat they are eating is made up of over 60% water so they stay very hydrated and don’t need the extra water intake. Kibble is dry so it would be like humans eating crackers instead freshly cut fruit.”
As the pooper-scooper of our house, he was BEYOND happy that our three dogs that used poop 2 times a day were now only pooping once a day or once every other day. Another day passes and our dogs pass their food, Jeremy is scooping poop CALLS ME OUTSIDE to show me how little their poops were and how you don’t even notice the poop smell! Which I thought was disgustingly cute because its poop, but also because he was so happy it was so easy to do that chore now!
So the poop of my raw fed dogs, which vary in size from 50 to 90lbs all have poops the size of a thumb, plus or minus a little bit depending on the size of the dog and have little to no odor. I swear its true! Why? Because your dog has little to no waste product on a raw diet, they absorb most of the nutrition and expel very little waste.
Now, on to the real medical benefits of raw feeding. Staying on the topic of hydration, for cats especially this is a HUGE medical benefit. Cats typically do not drink a lot of water – if you have a cat you may already know this. They get most of their water from their food intake, so when we feed our cats and dogs dry food we are causing harm to their liver (the same goes with humans and being dehydrated) in cats this means liver disease, kidney disease.
MY firsthand experience, my mom’s cat died of kidney disease and liver failure associated with diabetes at 6 years old. That is shockingly young for a cat, interestingly enough my parents have sibling cats one is a boy and one is a girl and they were fed the exact same thing. BUT while our girl stayed within our porch or perched on our couch, our boy liked to hunt, kill and eat mice, birds, squirrels, literally anything he could catch out in the yard. He contrarily has fully functioning kidneys, no diabetes, and no liver problems; he is healthier than his sister was even though he was eating wild animals. Coincidence? I think not. While I am not saying go let your cat out to hunt and kill, the added water from raw meat and the added nutrients from his self-made raw diet seems to have done him well.
Hydration is a huge benefit to raw feeding and certainly not the only benefit. Raw feeding will change your dog’s body composition in as little as 2 weeks; you will have a leaner, healthier dog. For large dog breeds like the Great Dane, German Shepard, that is a huge benefit, as these breeds are already known for hip and joint problems. But this is also a really important piece of info for smaller stocky breeds, like bulldogs. These problems can be mitigated with a proper diet that does not contain fillers of starch and grain that are highly inflammatory for all species, as that will cause added stress on joints and hips, in addition raw diets contain tons of cartilage and joint aiding properties that has been reported to alleviate joint pain caused by arthritis.
A raw diet has also been proven to improve digestion and G.I. health and allergies. An independent study reference below showed after only 2 weeks the feces of raw versus kibble diets showed to have a larger variety of good bacteria as well as a higher count of good bacteria than kibble eaters.
Now allergies, they can ruin our dogs coat, skin and cause a serious damper in their quality of life not to mention cause hefty bills including, but not limited to, things like steroid injections, new prescription kibble that I haven’t noticed is helping very much and steroid cream that seems to make my dog lick more. Take a look at the transformation of this poor pupper after switching to HALF RAW (complete & balanced) for one month! He went from a popular brand of kibble for all meals, to a holistic kibble in the morning and half complete and balanced raw in the evenings! This is a very typical story for dogs riddled with allergies. This photo was submitted to me by someone I do not personally know and who does not shop at Running On Raw, but wanted to share their positive story to a fellow raw lover.
Now on to teeth! Check out this 4yr old’s teeth before and after only 2 weeks on raw. No brushing just raw eating.
Finally, one of the most important benefits, in my opinion, of a raw diet is dental health, a raw diet keeps teeth clean gums healthy and that keeps a healthy gut. 75% of dogs have gum disease by age 5, this affects the guts bacteria and their immune health and overall longevity. Raw diets can save their human owners expensive dental bills, including cleaning, extractions and simple infections that our elder dogs should be able to fight off.
Don’t believe my experience or rantings! Check out these articles below!
GI Health Improvement
Overall Improved Health
Debunk Raw Myths & Kibble Truths
Why aren’t there a ton of scientific studies on raw food? Amy Marshall wraps it up better than I can
Independent Raw Diet Study IN PROGRESS – Year 17 out of 30.