Benefits of Feeding Raw Foods to Your Pet
• Improved dental health
• Decreased bad breath and gum disease
• Improved digestion
• Healthier skin and coat
• Decreased ear and skin yeast infections
• Decreased shedding and hair balls
• Reduced tear stains
• Decreased stool amount and odor
Dogs and cats are carnivores, requiring meat protein in order to maintain optimal health. Raw meat-based pet foods offer the greatest nutritional value and are the most biologically appropriate diet for dogs and cats.
If you cannot feed a 100% raw diet, consider a rotational diet in which a raw meal replaces a kibble meal 3-7 times per week. Here are some of the benefits of feeding a raw diet:
Dental Health: According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop gum disease by the age of three years. This can be painful for your pet and very costly to you. Dogs and cats have naturally acidic saliva which reduces plaque, harmful bacteria, tarter accumulation and gum disease. The live enzymes in raw foods help maintain healthy oral flora. Starches in kibble pet food turn to sugars in the pet’s mouth, resulting in plaque formation and gum disease. When feeding raw foods, the absence of grains and low levels of starch limit the amount of plaque buildup on the teeth, making it difficult for bacteria to grow and reducing the risk of gum disease. Chewing on raw bones provides additional enzymes to clean teeth, so offer these as a treat for your pet.
Unlike humans, dogs and cats do not normally produce digestive enzymes (amylase) in their saliva. Because of this, the process of digestion begins in the stomach and not in the mouth. Their strong stomach acid facilitates and accelerates the digestive process. Carnivores are not designed to break down grains in their mouth; they are designed to eat diets high in meat protein.
Digestion: A dog’s stomach is very acidic when meat is present, allowing meat and bones to be easily digested. When eating kibble, the stomach acid is lowered, making it more difficult to digest the food. This concentrated stomach acid also aids in controlling bacteria the pet consumes, making it understandable that pets can eat raw foods that humans cannot.
Dogs and cats have large elastic stomachs followed by a short intestinal tract. Food transit time from ingestion to defecation is approximately twelve hours. If they are fed a diet high in starch, that starch moves through the intestinal tract in a partial state of digestion, causing bad breath, gas, runny stool and excess stool volume. Because raw foods are biologically correct, they are digested almost completely, maintaining a healthy gut and resulting in less gas a small compact stool.
In cats, raw food also aids digestion. When cats consume kibble, undigested particles end up fermenting in the cat’s stomach, causing smelly stool. With raw food, stool has little to no odor. Additionally, there are fewer toxins in the cat’s urine so odor will also be reduced.
Skin and Body: Many chronic ear infections in pets are yeast based. Yeast feeds off of the sugars in starch and thrive in environments that are not acidic. Pets fed raw food maintain optimal body acidity which reduces the incidence of yeast-based infections. Some raw foods have added coconut oil which is a powerful antifungal agent, helping reduce ear infections and yeast infections of the skin. Tear stains are also a by-product of yeast and consuming raw foods helps to reduce tear stains.
Raw foods contain natural oils to maintain healthy skin from the inside out. Raw foods also have a natural flea control quality. Look for Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids which nourish hair follicles from the inside, reducing shedding and improving skin and coat. In cats, this will also result in fewer hairballs.