It can be difficult to decide what to feed your dog to take care of all your dietary needs. If you don’t give your dog the nutrients he needs, you can risk him developing a lot of illnesses in the future. While dogs love gnawing on bones, it can be a struggle to decide whether or not to feed your dog raw meat. If you’re concerned about this too, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve brought you the answer to can a dog eat raw meat?
Can a Dog Eat Raw Meat?
The true answer is yes. Your dog can eat raw meat without a problem, however, it’s not the best diet to give them. Feeding your dog raw meat once in a while is okay, but a diet consisting of raw meat only can be problematic. This is because dogs have complex dietary needs, and raw meat alone cannot fulfill their nutrient requirements.
Dogs, especially puppies and older dogs have complex nutrition needs. Puppies need a lot of nutrients because they are constantly growing. Older dogs have weakened digestive, and immune systems which means these dogs can’t digest raw meat properly.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to feeding your dog raw meat. We will be discussing both of these below.
Why Should You Cook Your Meat Before Giving It to Your Dog?
When you cook the meat, the heat breaks down the complex peptide chains in the protein. This means when dogs eat it, they can easily digest the meat and can use the nutrients more effectively in their body. Cooking the meat also means that any microorganisms on the outside of the meat are also killed, which protects dogs with weaker immune systems.
Since the strong bonds in the protein are broken, dogs that have troubled digestive systems will have no problems either. Large organizations like the U.S Food and Drug Association and CDC have both spoken about this problem at large. Raw meat can have bacteria like Salmonella and E.Coli. These types of bacteria can cause your dog to fall ill. Diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps are some very harmful effects of these types of bacteria.
Not only for the dogs, but these bacteria are also harmful to your family. If any member of your family comes in contact with the raw meat, or food, or utensils in your house get cross-contaminated there are chances of food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.
In some cases, you should avoid meat in a dog’s diet altogether. This is common for dogs that have allergies to particular types of meat, like chicken meat or beef. You can either substitute the meat for other types or skip it altogether. Processed dog food has a majority of the nutrients raw meat provides, due to the advancement in science.
Why Should You Feed Your Dog Raw Meat?
While raw meat has its own risk, there are some pretty solid reasons why a dog can eat raw meat.
A Healthier Coat
A raw meat diet is easier for dogs to digest, and because of the influx of proteins and other nutrients it has, raw meat gives the dogs’ coats a lot of shine. The coat also gets softer when dogs eat raw meat when compared to kibble or other cereal. Kibble has a lot of carbohydrates and additional sugar, while raw meat has an abundance of protein, fat, Vitamins, and Zinc. Dog food manufacturers add zinc and Vitamin E separately to the kibble to make it beneficial for the dogs.
Raw Met Provides More Exercise to the Jaw
Raw meat takes more effort to chew than kibble or other formula-based wet dog foods do. While this may be a problem for older dogs, it is beneficial for dogs too. If the dogs are kept on a primary diet of wet food, their teeth and jaws go out of practice. When they are fed raw meat, the exercise the meat gives their jaws promotes oral health. Raw meat has pieces of bone that keep a dog’s canines sharp.
What if I Don’t Feed My Dog Meat?
We recommend you feed your dog meat, whether raw or cooked. Meat is good for their digestion, and body. However, if you don’t feed your dog meat, you can still feed them a healthy diet, and promote a healthy lifestyle. Dogs are descendants of wolves, however, centuries of domestication have led them to be able to digest food other than meat perfectly. Dogs can have starchy foods for energy, and dog food is made to give the animal all the nutrients it needs.
How to Make Raw Meat Safer for You and Your Dog?
Take Proper Care of Hygiene
Keep your dog food safely stored in plastic or other closed containers. Don’t buy the meat that’s been lying on the counter for too long.
While it may seem like you can feed an animal anything, quality is very important for dogs too. You need to feed your dog good quality, fresh meat to prevent the chances of microorganism contamination.
You should keep your meat stores in a plastic bag, and keep it completely frozen till you’re ready to give it to your dog. Once you need to give it to him, let the meat melt at room temperature. If you heat frozen meat to make it melt faster, it will go bad. Clean the surfaces that come in contact with the meat and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Raw meat has both its advantages and disadvantages for dogs. However, to maximize benefits and minimize risks, you need to take proper care of hygiene, and quality. If you skimp in these two places, you can create health hazards for not only your dogs but your family too. Hopefully, you will find the answer to the question- can a dog eat raw meat?