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Unlocking the Benefits: A Guide to Raw Diets for Dogs

June 10, 2024 - 4 minute read by Alexis McCagh

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There are various ways to feed our dogs and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. At Dr. Harvey’s, we understand that every dog is different with different requirements influenced by factors like genetics and activity level. That’s why we highly encourage every pet parent to feed the dog in front of them based on their individual needs. The purpose of this specific blog is to discuss the numerous benefits of a raw diet. While feeding a raw diet might not be for everyone, it’s important to highlight its advantages.

A dog eating a bowl of food

Benefits of a Raw Diet for Dogs:

  1. Improved Digestive Health
    Raw diets can lead to improved digestive health as they contain natural enzymes that lead to better nutrient absorption. Dogs have short digestive tracts with high levels of hydrochloric acid in their stomachs so digesting raw protein is usually very easy for them to process.

  2. Healthier Skin & Coat
    Raw diets are full of essential fatty acids which contribute to a healthier skin and coat. Supplementing with fish oil can also help promote healthy skin and a rich coat.

  3. Enhanced Dental Health
    As mentioned above, raw food contains natural enzymes and these enzymes also help with dental hygiene. Commercial diets that are high in starches and sugars are actually what cause poor dental hygiene. Feeding raw meaty bones, brushing your teeth regularly, and taking your do in for their regular vet visits are all important to keep your dog’s teeth sparking clean.

    A bowl of food

  4. Increased Energy & Vitality
    Raw food is full of bioavailable nutrients that dogs can easily absorb which can lead to increased energy and vitality. Raw diets also have fewer additives and preservatives that can sometimes lead to behavioral issues.

  5. Weight Management
    There are less carbohydrates and filler ingredients in fresh and raw diets compared to commercially available dog foods. This makes them a much better option for dogs that need help managing their weight.

  6. Stronger Immune System
    A balanced raw diet will be rich in essential nutrients that will help support a dog’s immune system. A strong immune system will help prevent health concerns.

  7. Better Overall Health
    Feeding a raw diet resembles what a dog’s diet would be in the wild, leading to better overall health and longevity. Raw food has the ability to improve a dog’s overall wellbeing by improving their digestive system, dental health, weight, immune system, and more.

A cat eating from a bowl

Dr. Harvey’s base mixes can all supplement a raw diet. Raw Vibrance, in particular, is designed for raw feeders and helps take the guesswork and prepwork out of feeding a raw diet. You can pair Raw Vibrance with your choice of raw or lightly cooked protein. There are pet parents that also use companies that prepare raw meat intended to be fed to dogs.

I have personally had a lot of success with feeding my dog, Larry, Raw Vibrance mixed with protein from We Feed Raw (which contains muscle meat, organs, and bones). He absolutely loves meal time and I’ve seen how it has improved his immune system.

Check out Dr. Harvey’s President, Wendy Shankin-Cohen discuss feeding a raw diet and its benefits with Amy Zalneraitis, CBO of We Feed Raw here.

A dog with a plate of food

How to feed a dog a raw diet?

You’ll want to slowly transition your dog over to a raw diet. You can learn how to do so here.

Are there any risks of feeding a dog a raw diet?

Most dogs tolerate raw diets very well since they have short digestive tracts with high levels of hydrochloric intended to properly process raw meat. As with any new food, it is advisable to do your own research and consult your holistic veterinarian about what is best for your dog based on their needs. As a safety precaution, you will want to make sure you are always washing your hands before and after preparing your dog’s meals.

Can I add healthy extras to my dog’s raw diet?

Yes, of course! Some healthy extras that we encourage pet parent’s to add into a raw diet are: organ meats, oysters (with shell removed), canned mackerel, canned sardines, kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, raw goat’s milk, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, etc.

About The Author

Alexis McCagh

Alexis McCagh, who holds a Masters of Science in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University, passionately fulfills the role of Dr. Harvey’s Influencer/Community Manager. Alexis holds Pet Food Nutrition and Canine Nutrition certifications from the Feed Real Institute and dedicates herself to enlightening others about animal nutrition. Through her insightful blog, Love + Tail Wags, she shares a wealth of knowledge to foster a community nurtured with understanding and love for animal wellbeing. Visit Love + Tail Wags!

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