The Benefits of Feeding Your Pets Raw & Fresh Food (And How to Transition Their Diet)
by Simply Natural Chews by Homescape Pets
The conversation around feeding pets a raw diet tends to be decisive. Most pet parents are either for it or against it. Like with most things in life, there are a lot of different kinds of information and opinions out there to sway the public in one direction or the other. But one thing pet parents can agree on is wanting the absolute best for their fur-babies. Simply Natural Chews and Homescape Pets wants the best for your pets, too!
We’re not here to tell you what to do or scare you into making one specific choice. Our goal is to share what we know about pet care and wellness and help you make the best and most informed decisions for your pets. If you’re currently on the fence about feeding your pets raw and fresh foods, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll not only talk about some of the benefits of feeding your pets (even a little bit of) raw and fresh foods, but we’ll help you get started with transitioning their diets to support a healthier lifestyle.
Note: Of course, always consult your vet before making any major changes to your pets’ diets!
Here are some benefits of feeding raw and fresh food to your pet:
Most dry dog & cat food (kibble) is like cereal: low in actual nutrients like protein, and high in carbs and other fillers. So when you know that 40% of the protein your pets ingest goes straight to their skin and fur, it’s easy to see how a raw diet, not kibble, would improve their coat! Raw foods are high in protein and healthy fats, which will work in tandem to maintain their shiny, healthy coat.
Many pet wellness professionals and experts will tell you that dogs are natural carnivores, and it’s one of the biggest arguments to advocate for a raw lifestyle. Although dogs have evolved into domestic animals, they are still creatures of ancestral habit. Chewing is an act of dental hygiene just as much now as it was back then! Raw bones, especially, help curb your pup’s plaque. Chewing and gnawing also exercise their jaw muscles and increase mental stimulation. And, if nothing else, you’ll benefit from less stinky dog breath!
Picking up after your dog or cat is one of the least enjoyable aspects of pet parenting… and yes, we’re talking about their stools! It can be incredibly unpleasant when your pet is suffering from tummy trouble and discharging loose stools. Those pets who are fed fresh foods or are on raw diets tend to have smaller, firmer, and all-around healthier stools. Raw and fresh foods are rich in enzymes that help break down nutrients and make them easier to digest. Additionally, dry food contains a lot more salt which is processed by the kidneys and can contribute to kidney disease in dogs. Raw food contains both the salt and the hydration your pet needs for balanced intestinal health. Your pup or kitty will thank you for having fewer tummy troubles, and your wallet will thank you for the infrequent trips to the vet!
For many dogs and for all cats, wheat and corn are no-nos. Unfortunately, dry food is packed with them! There is so much agonizing guess-work when it comes to food and sensitive pets. Oftentimes, pet parents will find themselves going through different kinds of kibble trying to find the source of their pet’s issues. By switching to raw and fresh foods, you (and your pet) will be saved a lot of hassle and drama. And your companion may just exhibit a lot fewer symptoms from allergies!
You will be hard-pressed to find an obese cat or dog who is on a 100% raw, natural, and fresh food diet. Unsurprisingly, raw foods are almost always filler-free. The same factors that contribute to weight gain and weight issues in humans can be applied to pets and their food. You won’t find much success toning your own body if your diet was consistently rich in processed carbohydrates and low in proteins. It’s also worth mentioning that for pets, raw and fresh foods will increase their energy—an active pet is a leaner pet!
Pet parents who transition their pets to raw and fresh foods will often see improvement in their pets’ behavior. Kibble is high in carbs which contributes to high blood sugar and high insulin levels and low in vitamin B which is important for your dog’s cognitive health.
What About Cats?
Yes, many of the above-mentioned benefits of a raw diet can be applied to cats, too! In fact, cats are “obligate carnivores,” meaning they absolutely must have meat and protein in their diets. Not only that, but they really don’t need carbohydrates at all and can only tolerate them in small amounts. Your cat needs moisture-rich foods in her diet, which is much easier to accomplish with raw and fresh foods.
How to Transition Your Pet’s Diet to Incorporate Raw and Fresh Food
Realistically, there are entire books written on the subject of raw diets for pets and how to transition. There are also numerous strategies that are all dependent on varying factors: your pet’s existing digestive health, you and your pup’s present lifestyle, and more. We don’t have to tell you that your pet isn’t just like any other pet! Each cat and dog is unique in his or her needs and preferences.
The safe option for almost all pets, however, is to take it slow and transition gradually. For many dogs and cats, this could be a 1-2 week period, and for others, it can mean transitioning over the course of several weeks—even months. Consult your veterinarian and see what’s right for your pet. No matter what you decide, it is important to keep a note of your pets’ stool. Their excrement is one of the biggest indicators of good and bad health.
Here are some other tips for a slow transition to raw food:
- Using raw and fresh foods as a treat, and increase the number of raw treats over the course of several days (or weeks)
- Begin replacing very small portions of his current diet with raw food. Maybe do this by increasing fractions over the course of several days or weeks. You can even start with some other healthy snacks you already have in your fridge (see our recommendations on ones to feed and ones to avoid)
If you’re looking to incorporate more raw and natural foods into your pet’s diet, you’ll be delighted to know that our chews and treats are air-dried, single-ingredient (all protein) and raw.
When formulating our chews, we had all the benefits of a raw and fresh lifestyle in mind: rich in nutrients and protein, easy to chew and digest, and great for cognitive and behavioral health! We’re also excited about this release because it’s great for dogs and cats!