Fresh v Raw food diet – Which is best for your dog?

The debate between feeding dogs a raw food diet (often referred to as a "BARF" diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) versus a cooked food diet is a complex and controversial topic among pet owners, veterinarians, and animal nutritionists. Both approaches have their own potential benefits and risks, so it's important to carefully consider each option and consult with a veterinarian before making a decision.

Raw Food Diet: Advocates of a raw food diet for dogs argue that it closely mimics the diet of their wild ancestors and provides a more natural and biologically appropriate source of nutrients. Raw diets typically consist of raw meat, bones, organs, vegetables, and occasionally fruits. Some potential benefits that proponents claim include healthier skin and coat, improved digestion, and increased energy.

However, there are also potential risks associated with a raw food diet:

  1. Bacterial Contamination: Raw meat can be contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can pose health risks to both dogs and humans.
  2. Nutritional Imbalance: It can be challenging to create a balanced raw diet that provides all the necessary nutrients in the right proportions, including essential vitamins and minerals.
  3. Bone Hazards: Some veterinarians caution against feeding dogs raw bones, as they can splinter and cause choking, gastrointestinal blockages, or dental issues.

Cooked Fresh Food: Cooking food for your dog can help eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination and make it easier to control the nutritional content of their diet. Cooking can also help break down some of the tougher components of food, making certain nutrients more accessible. Balanced cooked diets can include lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and supplements.

However, cooking can also lead to nutrient losses due to heat sensitivity. Some nutrients are more easily degraded by heat, so ensuring that the cooked diet remains nutritionally balanced can be a challenge.

To overcome this most reputable fresh food manufacturers will cook on a low heat to maintain essential vitamins and minerals.

LilFood source all local fresh produce which is human-grade and of the highest quality to maintain the our quality standards whilst adding in select superfoods (Quinoa, Turmeric, Omega oils, Kelp) to supplement our all natural ingredients.

Key Considerations:

  1. Nutritional Balance: Regardless of whether the diet is raw or cooked, it's crucial to ensure that your dog's diet is nutritionally complete and balanced. This might require consulting with a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to develop a proper diet plan or using commercial diets that meet nutritional standards.
  2. Quality of Ingredients: Whether feeding raw or cooked, the quality of ingredients matters. Choose high-quality, human-grade ingredients to provide the best nutrition for your dog.
  3. Individual Health Needs: Every dog is unique and might have specific dietary requirements based on their age, breed, size, activity level, and health status. A one-size-fits-all approach might not be suitable.
  4. Consult a Veterinarian: Before making any significant changes to your dog's diet, it's important to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide guidance based on your dog's individual needs and health considerations.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether a raw or cooked diet is better for dogs. At LilFood we prioritise your dog's health and well-being and our approach is to use the freshest ingredients cooked on a low heat to maintain the essential vitamins and minerals in our foods.  We also add ‘superfoods and key supplements’ to ensure your dog has a balanced meal.


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