Top 7 Reasons dog owners give for feeding raw MEAT to their dogs – and why healthy dog treats are the safe alternative!
As a dog owner you want the best health and diet for your dog, but it can be confusing at times. Fast food franchises continue to offer more vegan offerings for humans, which is fine for an omnivore. But MANY dog owners have long suspected that an almost vegetarian diet for their carnivore dog isn’t providing the best most natural option for them.
Dog food companies love to put misinformation out there about a dog’s meat requirement, because meat costs money. So its hard to know what to believe. Too many options and opinions mean that owners by default go on the best (most expensive) commercial dog food diet that they can afford. And unfortunately the vast majority of these still provide well under 50% meat (including poor quality by-product products).
Many dog owners suspect that the ridiculously low 18% minimum protein requirement (affco guidelines) dog food manufactures is ridiculously low. They know instinctually that their dogs enjoy meat and animal products more, but are told that raw meat diets are dangerous – that you cant possibly improve on what a multinational conjures up in the lab.
All of that is of course false (read our many other articles in the nutrtion section) .. but lets just consider your options if you want to continue to feed your dog a mainly commercial dog food diet (pellets or wet food).
This is why we are using the results of a survey of “Raw meat-based diets for dogs: survey of owners’ motivations, attitudes and practices“ to see why getting quality meat, any way you can, into your dog is so vital.
I have long prepared a raw meat based diet for my dog Archie, but realize how much effort, analysis and time it can take to do so. And that not everyone is as confident in their convictions. So why not find out exactly what people who feed their dogs a raw based dog food diet and what they consider the benefits to be? And better still, if you are at all concerned about any of the potential safety hazards of raw product that the multinationals have contracted studies for to make us all afraid of our own abilities to feed our dogs, why not consider the next best thing ? Healthy dog treats (meat based of course).
For you see, healthy meat based dog treats, single ingredient, are simply raw based diets, DRIED. No additives, colorings or preservatives. Because they are correctly cooked and dried, this takes care of any potential dangerous bacterial loads while providing all of the benefits that meat, bone and offal can bring to your dog.
The best way to view this is for us to understand the benefits actual owners say they receive from raw based meat diets, and for us to look at how meat based treats can fulfil those same benefits.
In this study the authors say that of the 218 participants the owners feel that “ feeding dogs a more natural and healthier diet was the main reason behind owners’ interest in (raw meat based diets (RMBDs). About 80% of the participants completely abandoned commercial pet food and showed marked distrust especially towards the lack of clarity on the ingredients used (n = 169). The vast majority of owners interviewed (94%) believed RMBDs to be absolutely safe for dogs, and shinier coat, muscle mass gain, and cleaner teeth were the principal improvements seen on their pets.”
Top SEVEN reasons for feeding Healthy dog treats (and meat in general)
Shinier Coat/ skin improvement
179 our of 218 dog owners gave this as their reason for feeding dogs a raw meat based diet. On my daily dog walks I hear owners tell me how their naturopath has told them to steer clear of certain meats in their dog’s diet. But the truth is that it is often just the protein that the dog’s digestions is struggling with. And that can be any meat or grain or general vegetable protein, just as much as any colouring, additive or preservative.
If you really want to test what a dog is allergic to, the most rigorous method is a stringent exclusion diet under your vets guidance. Do that for 6 to 8 weeks, strictly, and you will get a more thorough understanding of what is making your dog sick (vomiting or loose stools etc).
Shiner coat usually just means that a dog food as oil in it, any kind of oil will do this, but not all oils are healthy. The two oils that you really want to pay attention to is the amount of Omega 6 and Omega 3, as well as the sources of these so they are in the right chemical form to be used immediately, and that they are in the right ratio. Most dogs get sufficient Omega 6 in their commercial dog food, but a massive undersupply of Omega 3. Ironically its not even suggested amounts in the affco guidelines ! But more of this under the section “cleaner Ears” below.
Suffice to say that Shiny coat is nice, but its just the addition of random oil by random dog food companies, and its something pretty on the outside, it does NOT mean your dogs innards are healthy at all. Skin improvement usually means removing a chemical that your dog is allergic to. If you know a specific grain or meat or additive, removing that will bring your dogs itchiness and blotchiness under control. Again, often exclusion diets are required.
The reason that owners feeding raw meat diets are reporting this as a major benefit, is that the raw meat is a single ingredient, and as the dog isn’t allergic to the protein in that specific meat, their skins get the major benefit of bio available protein AND don’t risk additives or colourings muddying the waters as to what the dog is reacting to.
YOU can do exactly the same for your dog by giving them SINGLE INGREDIENT MEAT dog treats (any of our jerky or offal offerings. Without the wet meat handling concerns.
Muscle mass gain – and why healthy dog treats
Commercial puppy food is often overloaded with KJ from oil or the amount you give them, to ensure that they grow. A dog growing too fast can cause poor bone development. Since meat is the original natural food that dogs evolved to eat, it makes sense that this is the PERFECT food for them to continue eating, even as our pets.
It is possible that the muscle mass gain that these respondents are talking about is when a dog is ill and needs to recover weight, and more specifically muscle rather than fat. The reason that MEAT is ideal for doing this is that the protein is bio available to their systems, they do not have to struggle with converting the amino acids into muscle mass or energy.
You should also note that as the affco minimum protein requirement is only 18%, unscrupulous manufacturers tend to make the majority of the proteins source from CHEAP plant ingredients rather than appropriate MEAT proteins sources. Because plant/ grain protein is typically not as bio-available as MEAT protein, and up to 70-80% of commercial dog foods can be plant based, they are getting a lot of low quality plant protein making up that minimum protein requirement and can have a protein deficient in their diet. Particularly if they are young, old, active have an illness etc.
You might also like to note that dried meat jerky is over 50% MEAT protein by mass, so this is the PERFECT WAY of adding more useable safe protein to any dog’s diet to assist in body maintenance functions as well as making muscle gain easier.
Cleaner teeth – the healthy dog treat specialty.
The reason that many dogs have bad breath is that the wet commercial food or even crumbs from pellets stick on a dogs teeth after eating. If that food is 70% plant based, then its also a massive amount of CARBS (ie sugars) in that food. So not only will commercial dog food often cause more expensive cavities, it will continue to affect gum health.
If you feed your dog meat jerkies made from continuous slabs of meat, these will work like dental floss as they bite down on the treat. For the more adventurous our roo tail pieces and chunks will clean these teeth even more. And they are so much more natural than commercial ‘dental stix’ in fact they are SINGLE ingredient and actually provide nutrition, not just distraction.
Vitality (for your dog)
How might healthy dog treats or a RAW meat based diet provide this panacea? Vitality can occur when a dogs nutritional needs are satisfied safely without all of the additives and non-essential chemicals that they need to dispose of.
If your dog has less bloat, and smaller stools (meat provides much smaller stools than grain) … then yes, your dog is likely to be happier and more vital.
Don’t take our word for it, 69 out of 218 dog owner respondents reported just that.
Odorless breath (the dogs)
This comes back to the ‘cleaner teeth’ response named previously. So if 91 out of 218 respondents claim cleaner teeth and 41 claim odorless breath … then you can see that owners see this as a major benefit.
The main reasons for this is that the meat (or in our case meat jerkies) clean the teeth as they rip the meat apart. They don’t stick to the teeth and gums, they actually properly naturally exercise the gums so the dogs get less chance of developing gingivitis or halitosis.
Also since Meat has NO CARBS (sugars) in them, and sugars are what bacteria use to breed up population and cause cavities, you wont be smelling either the stink of decaying soy or grains on the dogs teeth, or the waste products of bacteria feeding on the sugars left on the teeth.
A dogs breath is rarely completely odorless, but a dog eating healthy dog treats, or raw meat can often have much better smelling mouth once it has consumed the meat (during the eating process it might of course smell a little more)
Why might 34 people out of 218 have this response? Owning a spoodle I can tell you that I have become quite the authority on bad smelling ears that frequently required vet visits in my dogs earlier years until I found the solution.
And the reason that this number is relatively low (34/ 218) is that many people own dogs that have erect ears. Ears that are long and flop over the ear canal are most prone to having ongoing infections that can be so bad they can cause removal of ear drums.
If a dog eats a lot of rubbish (including all of the additives in many commercial dog foods or plant-based dog treats) then they can have a lot of waste products to expel. But worse than that as mentioned before, many commercial dog foods don’t have sufficient Omega 3 in the right chemical composition to be used by your dog. I will provide a link here to a more detailed Omega 3 article on the matter, but here is a quick summary of how meat-based dog treats can actually assist keeping dogs ears clean.
Research has shown that a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 or about 7 is adequate for dog’s bodies. However most commercial dog food companies get their Omega 3 from Flax seed which has its omega 3 in the form before that found in Fish Oil (and some meats) – the EPA and DHA formats.
By the time Flax is converted into these chemicals then converted down several times more in the dogs body before the Omega 3 can act as a catalyst for Omega 6, well it just means that there is not enough Omega 3 to go round. And that means that the ratio rises from the idealized 7 to 50, 80 or higher (and yes it’s a similar problem with many human diets).
The problem for dogs is that without a sufficient Omega 3 amount they can use for the whole of the body, what little can be converted is used internally first. This means that Omega 3 can’t be used for glossy coats OR their paws or inside your dog’s ears. They might have a glossy coat from commercial dog food, but that can be sunflower oil or similar providing omega 6 and coat glossiness, NOT omega 3.
If your dog has brown feet from licking, it’s a good first sign that the feet are itchy, and can be caused by a food allergy, and environmental cause or lack of oil barrier protection on the skin, allowing bacterial and fungal populations to get out of control. Once that happens inside of a dark, moist, hair filled ear vets usually call in the cortisone treatment which might take a few weeks or few visits to get under control.
So how do healthy meat-based dog treats or raw meat help with “Cleaner Ears” simply by not adding dangerous or pointless additives and things that the body expels AND providing things like OMEGA 3, in animal form, that can be used in the ear to maintain a healthy skin environment and keep fungal and bacterial infections at bay.
That is why I use both fish treats and kangaroo meat treats with my spoodle AND give him six fish oil capsules daily – and why he hasn’t had an ear issue requiring vet intervention in a long time.
This is a very subjective term, but for most people should be bundled together with the respondent answers of improved muscle gain and general vitality.
If you have a working dog or dog doing a specific task that you can measure, you might be much more aware of how adding a few meat-based treats to their regular diet can help daily. And if you can observe physically that they are performing better, imagine how much their cognitive health and general mental well being and happiness is improving (things that are not as easy to measure for a pet owner).
If you are new to the wonderful world of single ingredient meat-based treats, the above information might be a lot for you to digest. But as you can see, they are a LOT easier for your dog to digest.
There are so many benefits that were not highlighted in this raw meat diet research project of owners perceived benefits, but since meat is apparently out of favour with fast food multi-nationals and some pockets of social media, we are hoping that articles like this might open some dog owners eyes to the fact that meat is actually the preferred and healthiest natural food for your dogs.
It should not be an alternative or just used as a treat, but if you use commercial dog food mainly, you can see how just adding a little more meat-based dog treats to your dogs life, can improve things incredibly for them and you.
Good luck on your journey.