We spend a lot of time thinking about what's best to put into our bodies to fuel us properly. Should we buy organic, pastured, grass-fed, is wheat bad for us? For some people, the quest for a healthy diet can take up most of our free time, between researching, shopping, and preparing food, it's a big part of our lives. But, do we put as much thought into the diet of our pets?
Most of us go to the grocery store and purchase a big bag of kibble, or maybe you're a bit more discerning and purchase your dog food at a specialty pet store. Perhaps you're like me and take it even further by feeding your dog foods that they would have "traditionally" eaten.Did you know that dogs are still 99% genetically similar to wolves? Domestic dogs are simply wolves that turned to scavenging off of human refuse rather than hunting. It's only recently that dogs have begun eating kibble.
Dogs are our best friends. They are completely dependent on us for their health and well being, and we also rely on them to help keep us healthy (from walks to stress relief). So why not take a little bit of extra time and research the best diet for your dog, whether it's switching to a different brand if kibble that has better ingredients, upgrading to a specialty kibble, or even going raw.
What's my dog's healthy diet?
For me personally, I have a large breed dog and have found that I can feed her raw even on my limited budget by sticking to buying eggs in bulk, finding bargains on meat, and feeding her some of our unwanted veggie scraps. We usually spend anywhere from $0.99 to $1.30 per pound on her meat and try to stock up when there's a sale (we buy a lot of turkeys at Thanksgiving). And no, we do not feed her pastured meats and organic veggies... we can't even afford to feed ourselves that well all the time. But I have found that feeding her the best we can on our budget has improved her teeth, coat, and even her demeanor.
Two things to note
If you're worried about feeding your dog raw because you've heard that bones splinter and can choke your dog, please note that cooked bones splinter, raw bones do not. Dogs should never be fed any bones that have been cooked. Chloe gets raw meat and bones. Just be sure to not feed any weight bearing bones from large animals as they are too thick for a dog to break through with their teeth.
A lot of people are also worried about the chances of their dog getting salmonella or some other food borne illness from consuming raw meat. This is not a concern. Dog's digestive systems are a lot tougher than ours. They can handle raw meat and even meat that has gone a bit bad (this is actually my dog's favorite pieces of meat). We've been known to give our dog a cut of meat that we didn't cook in time before it turned a bit bad. Pretty much nothing goes to waste in our house.
Take a look at Chloe enjoying her morning snack of a raw egg:
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Photograph by Peter Booth
from the Vetta Collection