I’ll admit, when my boyfriend first told me he wanted to put our dogs on a raw food diet, I balked. As humans, the words “raw meat” directly translate to salmonella, food poising, illness – something along the lines of unpleasant. Our bodies aren’t equipped to handle a cold cut of meat. Dogs, however, have not evolved as exponentially as humans have. Their diets, for the most part, have remained the same.
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of domesticated dogs as far back as the Paleolithic Era (roughly 20,000 years ago). We can absolutely know for sure that dog kibble did not exist in those days. In fact, the first dog food created specifically for dogs was released in the mid-1800s. So, for 19,800 years, dogs lived on the same diet of meat and table scraps. 200 years just isn’t enough time to allow a whole species to evolve to the point of needing a different diet. After coming to this realization, I thought that perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
And, of course, the dogs loved it. What dog WOULDN’T? Raw steak every morning and every night? They were in heaven.
We tend to think of dogs as garbage disposals. They rarely refuse human food. We do have to be careful what we feed them, though. Of late, more and more dogs are showing signs of gluten and corn allergies. A lot of cheaper brand dog foods contain lots of grain and corn products, which, if your dog is allergic, will most likely induce skin allergies and lots of itching and scratching. Dobermans have thin hair and generally have sensitive skin, which means cheap dog foods are a no-no. Since having mine, I’ve done a lot of research through trial-and-error as far as dog foods go. I have also found that foods that are chicken-based cause allergies and dandruff as well. Think about the life of a chicken – they are scavengers, they’ll eat ANYTHING. People that raise chickens to kill and sell, though, probably feed them mostly grains. Grains = allergies. Chicken = allergies. The best meat to give your dog if you’re considering a raw diet is steak.
Yes, steak is expensive – the raw diet is expensive! Take heed.
The great thing about dogs, though, is that they are not picky about the type of steak you feed them. Obviously, you don’t want to give them rotten meat, but the cheapest cut you can find will do. As a suggestion, WinCo was the best place I found for inexpensive steaks. They usually have a cut at $2.30 a pound, or somewhere in that ballpark. The other thing you need to think about if you’re considering the raw diet for your dogs is the fat aspect. Meats are chalk full of protein, but if you don’t exercise your dog, this may not be the best diet. Protein-based foods are best for growing or active dogs, who will be either storing the protein for bulk, or burning it off in exercise. Raw meat also doesn’t contain 100% of your dogs dietary necessities, so you will need to consider how you’re going to supply your pet with a well-rounded diet. There are wet foods that contain mostly liver, which is great for dogs on a raw diet. For my Dobies, they got a cup or two a day of Taste of the Wild Puppy formula (a mid-range priced dog food that contains no grains or corn).
In the end, I ended up taking my girls off the raw diet. It became extremely time-consuming (cutting up the food, keeping it refrigerated, going to the store every other day for fresh meat – you get the idea), and, of course, it cost me a pretty penny. If you have the time and expense to do this for your dogs, though, I highly recommend it.
*If you don’t want to do the raw diet, but you are concerned about your dog having food allergies, I recommend Taste of the Wild Salmon or Orijen Salmon. Both foods contain no grains or corn and the salmon is great for dogs – it also doesn’t hurt that it makes their coats soft and beautiful. My dogs have had both and they have produced the same results. They are on the more expensive side, as far as dog foods go, so if you’re on a budget, visit your local feed store and ask them what they recommend for a similar formula but a lower price. If you live near a Western Feed, I would try there first. The employees are knowledgeable and won’t try and sell you something you don’t need.