Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat? You Be The Judge
Domesticated dogs descended from wolves over thousands of years. They are man’s best friend and considered loving members of the family. Does this mean since wolves hunt down their prey and eat it raw, can dogs eat raw meat as well?
BARF – It’s What’s For Dinner
Depending on whom you’re speaking with, BARF either stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’ or ‘Bones And Raw Food’. At its core, it supports feeding your dog a complete raw diet, whether you buy it or prepare it yourself.
Raw diet supporters allude to such benefits as smaller stools, healthier teeth, and overall better health if a dog returns to a natural, organic diet. For many dog owners, it’s the answer that makes sense to buying traditional store-bought dog food.
So, is feeding your dog raw meat okay?
Veterinarians agree the answer is no, for a couple of reasons. First of all, raw meat has something that fully cooked meat does not – the risk of infection and disease.
Second, preparing a nutritionally-sound, well-balanced diet is beyond the scope and knowledge of most dog owners. Therefore, vets tend to advocate feeding your dog the right commercial dog food is simply much easier and more effective to ensure they’re getting all the necessary nutrients in their diet.
BARF Advocates vs. Mainstream Veterinarians
For the most part, advocates of raw food diets (BARF) disagree with mainstream veterinarians. They point out that a dog’s stomach is very different than that of a human’s and therefore able to digest raw meat and anything else that comes its way.
They also conclude that mainstream veterinarians do not support raw food diets because of the nutritional values they’ve been taught by the commercial dog food industry. Vets suggest that feeding raw means you are allowing the risk for meat contamination and also putting the health of your dog in jeopardy as well.
Raw Meat Differences Between Domestic Dogs and Wild Wolves
Feeding raw meat to your family dog is much different than what a wolf eats in the wild. When a wolf makes a kill in the wild, it’s clean.
The wolf is eating a fresh animal carcass, not a filthy piece of meat from regulated USDA slaughterhouse. The ongoing debate stems from the quality of meat rather than the ability of a dog to process it.
If you choose to feed your dog a raw diet, be prepared to provide him with the highest quality meat available.
Want to Feed Your Dog Raw Meat? Here’s what you need to know:
– Only get your meat from a trusted, high-quality, local butcher that incorporates the regulation, monitoring, and sanitation of the meat he sells. This will substantially diminish the risk of parasites and/or infection.
– In addition to meat (raw or cooked), your dog needs a complete, balanced diet including vegetables and supplements.
– Be aware of advertising lingo. Some dog food companies market their product as “human grade”, which literally means nothing. From a legal standpoint, they aren’t obligated to adhere to their claims in any way. “Human grade” looks good and sounds good in terms of marketing, but it’s not a guarantee their product is any safer than a raw meat diet.
Keep in mind though, there are risks associated with commercial dog foods as well. Most go through extensive processing and contain many additives and chemicals that not only are not beneficial for your dog, but may ultimately make them sickly and cause them to die earlier than they should.
So, Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat or Not?
The short answer is yes. However, does that mean they should? The answer depends on how much your dog will benefit by eating a raw meat diet. It’s up to you, the dog’s owner/parent, to weigh the pros and cons and determine what’s best for your particular dog.