What are the Advantages of Feeding Raw? Our readers said: 1) Greater vitality, 2) better behavior, 3) health issue improvements, 4) fewer vet visits, 5) lower stool odor & volume, and 6) longer life.
Greater Vitality – Of all dog parents’ responses, the number one benefit mentioned was improvement in their companions’ overall vitality. Common observations were improvements in skin & coat, brighter or clearer eyes, and improved muscle tone. We’re often so accustomed to seeing dull coats, glassy eyes and listless appearance in our adult dogs that we forget that healthy wild canines retain their youthful appearance until quite late in life. When your dog starts a highly digestible, nutrient-rich raw diet, the benefits may be obvious in a matter of days!
Better Behavior – Many guardians also noted improvements in their dogs’ demeanor, finding their dogs to be more energetic and playful, more cooperative and more friendly with other pets. Healthy dogs are happy dogs, and animals can’t tell us when their diet is making them feel sick, out of sorts, or crabby. Once nutritional deficits are addressed and toxic elements are removed from your dog’s diet, their increased energy and well-being can bring out their natural joy and allow them to re-engage happily with you, other pets and family members.
Health Issue Improvements – People often turn to “alternative health” strategies when conventional methods fail, and many readers said that they tried raw food to help resolve specific health issues – very often with excellent results! Allergies were the most cited health issue resolved with a raw diet. Other health issues guardians saw improvement with included urinary tract and bladder problems, digestive issues, and liver problems. Many dogs on recurrent or long-term conventional medical regimens like steroids or antibiotics were finally able to recover once their diet was upgraded to raw food.
Fewer Vet Visits – Less time at the vet’s office (with fewer dental cleanings!) was a commonly reported benefit of raw diets. Dogs with chronic or recurrent health issues got better (see above) and dogs got sick less often with occasional issues like digestive problems or viruses. Teeth stayed cleaner – even in breeds prone to dental problems (like Yorkies and Shi-Tzus). As many pet parents pointed out (and we agree), it makes sense to calculate the cost of medications and vet visits into the cost of your dog’s food. Cheap food creates poor health, meaning it often costs less in the end to feed a high quality diet.
Reduced Stool Volume/Odor – Less smell and smaller stool volume improves overall quality of life for many dog parents feeding raw diets. Guardians say waste is easier to pick up and the yard is less messy and smelly. This is a common benefit with dogs on raw food diets, which makes perfect sense. Easy-to-assimilate raw foods have no fillers or toxic ingredients, which means your dog’s body digests and uses the nutrients with less effort and much less (stinky) metabolic waste is produced in the process.
Longer Lives – While no diet can be a magical “fountain of youth” for a dog, the raw diet comes the closest. Many dog parents report that they chose raw food after losing a past companion to poor health they believed was caused by a conventional diet. They said that their dogs eating raw food look and act younger than their years, and were alive and vital, living many years longer than their previous companions that had succumbed to poor health.
Ultimately, people who choose a raw diet for their dog say that they want the best for their canine, and know that diet is most often what makes or breaks an animal’s health. Many guardians spent time researching the truth about conventional pet food (See our article, “What You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Food,” for more details.). Their research helped them recognize that raw diets provide what no conventional dog food can – the vital minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and many other nutrients that no other food delivers as well as raw.
Raw diets also present challenges to dog parents, and we got plenty of feedback on these as well. This report continues further below with the Challenges of Raw Food Diets, with tips from readers and our suggestions on how to overcome them.