Raw Food Diet for Dogs
Raw Food Diet for Dogs
Why dog food matters?
Food is the most important factor in your dog’s life. Through their diet, they have to get everything their body needs: from the energy needed to chase those balls to the nutrients needed to keep their organs functioning.
From weaning right through to old age, it is diet more than any other factor that will determine the quality and the length of your dog’s life. But with such a variety of foods out there on the market, which one do you choose?
Unfortunately, there is no one answer. Different dogs do better on different diets. Firstly, you will need to choose which category of food you would prefer to feed: wet, dry, raw, complete foods, or complementary. Raw diets have become very popular over the last few years as have ‘cold pressed’ diets due to their benefits and increased protein for your dog.
Different types of food
Complete foods are by far the most popular choice for dog owners in the UK. In order to be ‘complete’ they must contain every nutrient required by a dog to keep the dog healthy. Complete foods can be dry, wet or raw.
Complementary foods are usually wet or raw foods that don’t contain the full range of nutrients required by a dog. For this reason other foods need to be added to the diet.
Raw food diet
Raw feeding is regarded by many as the most natural way to feed your dog and over the past few years it has become increasingly popular.
Many owners prepare their own raw diets for their dogs but a number of companies including ‘Natural Instinct’ have developed pre-prepared complete raw foods in the form of frozen blocks or nuggets. These provide all of the benefits of raw feeding with the convenience of a dry dog food. A raw diet is high in protein, as is based mainly on feeding raw meat. Feeding a raw diet has many benefits to your dog including improved digestion, healthier skin and coat and reduced allergy symptoms.
The majority of dogs are fed on dry complete foods. Their popularity is most likely due to their convenience, easy to prepare and to store.
Dry foods are made from dried and ground ingredients and can be cooked in a number of ways. Cold pressing is a new technique that does not use high temperature cooking or steam. In cold pressed dog foods the fresh ingredients including fresh meat are gently mixed together, pressed into kibble pellets and then very quickly heated at 40-75°C. The use of cooler temperatures in the production allows a lot more of the essential nutrients in the ingredients to remain intact, producing a more ‘Natural’ product. This means that the quality of the proteins is better than in standard dry dog food, and more of the vitamins and minerals are preserved. An example of a cold pressed diet is ‘Gentle cold pressed dog food’.
Effect of diet on the effectiveness of Dog Rocks
Dog Rocks purify the water that the dog drinks by removing some nitrates, ammonia and harmful trace elements in the water. This lowers the amount of nitrates found in their diet thereby lowering the amount that is expelled in their urine. An overload of nitrates in urine will cause lawns to burn.
The digestion of protein creates nitrogenous waste, primarily in the form of urea in the dog’s urine. If a dog is fed a diet with a high protein diet then it will have an effect on the effectiveness of Dog Rocks. However it is not the total amount of protein in a food but rather the quality of the protein, how much is used by the body and how much becomes waste (nitrates).
High quality protein creates less nitrogen for the kidneys to have to filter (and thus less in the urine). Therefore both raw and cold-pressed diets which have a higher protein quality will mean that fewer nitrates are expelled in the dog’s urine.