Some people insist that the Paleolithic (“Paleo”) diet, based on the kinds of foods eaten by our prehistoric ancestors, is the healthiest diet in the modern world. The Paleo diet consists of grass-fed protein from a free-range environment and fruits and vegetables, with no grains. In similar fashion, some pet parents are beginning to insist on a similar raw food diet for their dogs. Their rationales are the same: we should eat like we did before processed food began to make us overweight and prone to lifestyle diseases. Organizations such as the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), which consists of veterinary healthcare professionals, monitor the trend of animal obesity and how it is affecting the overall health. Just like with their human counterparts, the rate of overweight animals has grown and APOP estimates that 54% of all dogs are either overweight or obese in the U.S.
The inventor of dry dog food, an American in London, got the idea for his product by watching sailors feed dogs leftover biscuits. He concocted a recipe of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot and meat, cooked it into a kind of biscuit, and touted its balanced nutrition. Commercial dog food, when it was first invented in the 19th century, was thought to be an improvement over the table scraps and leftovers enjoyed by earlier dogs. Its earliest adopters were wealthy Englishmen who fed it to their hunting dogs.
Only now, it’s not table scraps that are accused of being nutritionally lacking, but the prepared food itself. Scandals over recalled pet food from potential poisoned contaminants in China have fueled the trend away from processed food that has become laced with fillers and preservatives, and back to what people fed their dogs hundreds of years ago. The debate is an old one and much like many other dog related items, even the veterinary community debates for both sides.
Proponents of raw food point to the fact that racing dogs and sled dogs have always eaten raw diets and thrived as athletes. They believe that feeding raw produces shinier coats, fewer allergies, more energy, and cleaner teeth. Most raw diets consist of bones or meat with muscles (chicken, beef, venison, duck, pork), raw eggs, and a variety of vegetables.
On the other hand, veterinarians and pet parents that prefer to feed cooked dog food (home cooked or commercially available kibble), say that raw meat brings an increased risk of potentially deadly bacteria such as Salmonella or Listeria. They also argue that some raw diets are potentially unbalanced, and deprive the dog of necessary nutrients. Last, they believe raw bones can be dangerous and may puncture the dog’s intestines. The veterinary community as a whole agrees that cooked bones are very dangerous for this reason and should be avoided.
At Dogtopia we see healthy dogs eating many different kinds of diets and a wide variety of foods. We encourage pet parents to seek veterinary advice and we are happy to accommodate all the dietary needs of our four legged clients.
If you need help getting your dog more active or introducing them to some new friends, we here at Dogtopia can help. We offer a safe and fun-filled environment with an action-packed daily schedule to ensure your furry friend gets plenty of exercise and socialization while you are at work or running errands during the day. Learn more about our dog daycare services here or contact us for more information.