Raw Food & Some Alternatives
Hold on!!! I have received tons of email complaining that a raw diet is too inconvenient to keep up. I understand that people who travel with their dogs could find themselves in a quandary when it comes time to feed a raw diet on the go. I have made a breakdown of what types of food provide optimal nutrition for dogs. This will make it easier for you to understand what options are available. Raw, freeze-dried, and dehydrated food is essential to a dog’s well-being. To read more about the dangers of most other types of food, read the following articles: Why a Raw Diet is Vital and Shocking Dog Food Research Study to start. To understand why I am so strongly against other types of food. I have written many articles about the commercial pet food industry. An article that you MUST read is What’s REALLY in Dog Food. Dogs are not biologically designed to live off of highly processed food that has no nutrition. That is why vitamin premixes must be added. Many of which include supplements from China, but that’s a whole other can of worms. I have not included lightly cooking fresh food in this list as my blog is mainly focused on raw nutrition, but lightly cooked food (if properly balanced which is a VERY complicated task in itself), would come in right after dehydrated food.
Four food types starting with the most nutritious biologically appropriate:
1. Prey from the wild
The optimal food is natural hunted prey found in the wild. It retains the most nutrients. Of course this is generally not feasible.
2. A raw BARF diet
A raw diet is also known as a BARF diet. BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. This is similar to hunted prey in that it is not processed. It is just plain raw. This is my favorite food for the raw food beginner who wants a convenient formula that doesn’t require the preparation needed when you put raw ingredients together yourself. It is certainly more convenient than hunting for prey. Raw is best because it mimics the natural diet for dogs. Buying a raw diet is the closest to hunted prey as you can get.
I have used the Barfworld diet for my dogs. Taking on the task of creating my own raw diet for my dogs is a daunting task. It requires balancing proportions and percentages of various nutrients and ingredients. That is way too complicated for many people.
I wrote an article called, The BEST Dog Food for Beginners. It goes into detail about the diet.
Barfworld and essentiallydogs has teamed up to give my readers a special promotion. You receive a 3-month membership to Barfworld fee of charge. This entitles you to free shipping for 3 months. Just mention Janie Lerner or essentiallydogs.com if you call them. Their phone number is 1-866-282-2273 (BARF).
For more advanced raw feeders I recommend Raw Paws. You can read more about their food in my article The BEST Dog Food for the Advanced. In that article, I discuss the Raw Paws diet. Although their meals don’t contain fruits and veggies as Barfworld does, they take care of the brain work by having an appropriate balance of muscle meat and organ meat in their food. Therefore, I add supplements to their Raw Paws food to compensate. The Raw Paws patties and chunks are easiest to serve, but they are more costly. Raw Paws comes in large tubes and tubs so they must be cut down into portions and placed into plastic bags. I then take a portion out and weigh each serving. Some of their raw products come in patties, but the cost is higher than buying in bulk. Barfworld is sold in the form of patties and nuggets which makes things much easier.
3. The next best is freeze-dried food.
The moisture is removed from the food while keeping it frozen. This allows the food to remain uncooked and raw. It retains more nutritional value than dehydrated because of the manner in which the moisture is removed. If I would choose a freeze-dried food for my dogs, I would go for Primal Freeze-Dried Formula. It comes in five formulas (beef, chicken, duck, lamb, and turkey).
Freeze-dried can be pricey, but I found one that is not as costly as most of the others. It is Only Natural Pet Raw Nibs. What I don’t like about this product is that it is the store’s private label so you don’t actually know who is making it. I like that it doesn’t have an extensive vitamin list. This means that the actual food itself is nutritious.
4. The following option is Dehydrated Food
The dehydration process is performed through the use of a temperature below 200 degrees at a low pressure for a long period of time. The food is not fully raw because it is lightly cooked, but it still retains much of its nutritional value. If I had to choose a brand I would go with NRG. NRG Maxim Grainless comes in four varieties – Beef, Chicken, Buffalo, and Salmon. The 1.7 pound size comes in pouches. The 10 pound size comes in boxes. The NRG Maxim Grainless is superior to Optimum Blend. Having grains in dog food is not natural to a dog’s ancestral diet. Naked oats is the fourth ingredient Optimum Blend is naked oats. Therefore it doesn’t qualify to be a favorite of mine as I gravitate toward species appropriate diets.
As I mentioned above, Barfworld and essentiallydogs has teamed up to give my readers a special promotion. You receive a 3 month membership to Barfworld fee of charge. This entitles you to free shipping for 3 months. Just mention Janie Lerner or essentiallydogs.com if you call them. Their phone number is 1-866-282-2273 (BARF). Please feel free to read more about Barfworld in the following articles: What I Feed My Own Dogs and The BEST Dog Food.
As you can see, there are alternatives to raw food. I will not discuss canned or dry food because they don’t meet up to my standards. Those foods are highly processed and filled with many additives (including tons of synthetic vitamins and ingredients created in labs). They don’t provide the real nutrition that is based on the biological needs of dogs (i.e., raw meat).