Raw dog food is essentially uncooked meat, soft bones, and other raw ingredients fed to dogs. The diet aims to mimic what domesticated dogs would eat if they were wild, which is a diet similar to that of dingos and wolves. This type of animal food is either prepared by the pet owner or purchased refrigerated or frozen at a pet store. Many people believe that feeding their pets an all-natural diet rather than a highly processed one is better for the animals' overall health. The studies on this subject have yielded mixed results, and feeding raw food to both cats and dogs remains somewhat controversial.
Pet owners can cook or purchase many types of meat for their dogs to eat on a raw food diet. Beef, chicken, and turkey are common, but generally quail, duck, and rabbit are also available. While the main ingredient in raw dog food is usually meat, vegetables and fruits are often added to give them a balanced diet with the appropriate vitamins. Apples, cranberries, and broccoli are some non-meat ingredients that are routinely added to raw dog food. In addition, ground bones, egg shells, and organs are also common, but there are a lot of combinations that should suit even the pickiest pet, especially if the pet owner is preparing the meal herself.
At one point, it was rare to see raw dog food in stores. Popularity grew after the contaminated cooked pet food recall that affected Europe, North America, and South Africa in 2007. The tainted food caused kidney failure in at least 500 pets, resulting in the deaths of about one-fifth of them. Some unofficial databases show that thousands of pets died. Many pet owners began making their own raw food diets at home or purchasing frozen raw food from the few companies that offered them.
There is a lot of conflicting information regarding whether raw dog food or even raw cat food is healthier than a cooked diet. Some studies show positive health results from raw food diets, and other studies show that humans can pick up infections such as salmonella food poisoning from their pets’ stools. Raw dog food is likely a good option for dogs that are allergic to an ingredient standard in cooked dog food. Other than specific health concerns such as allergies, the best diet is usually what works well for the dog.