However, you may still beg the question, what makes a good raw dog food? What do brands have to offer? Is a cheaper raw food better than a higher costing alternative? Should I consult my veterinarian to give me better options? Luckily for you, we’re here to help answer your questions and teach you how to choose the best commercial food.
7 Things To Look For In Raw Food for Your Personal Protection Dogs
1. Quality of the Meat
One of the most obvious components of raw food is the massive meat quantity, in addition to added raw bones. However, it’s important to note the total amount of lean muscle meat found in the food you’re looking at since it will offer your dog a better meal.
Since some companies use smaller amounts of muscle meat, it’s important to check a brand’s nutritional analysis to make sure your protection dog is getting the best food for him/her. While checking the analysis, the fat content should be from 2-13 percent, any lower than that and it is a lower class of feat such as trim that may not be as beneficial to your dog.
Trim meat is a secondary cut of meat after the main cuts have been made such as lean and human grade. The easiest way to recognize it as the trim is the greasy residue it can leave in your canine’s dog bowl. If you notice your dog’s food consists of trim you may want to switch since it is a poor long term food solution and can lead to liver and pancreatic problems.
When choosing the best commercial raw dog food, always make sure the food you select has a base diet of lean muscle meat, plus bones, since it can offer a wide variety of health benefits.
Unfortunately, some brands don’t offer a nutritional analysis, in this case, it’s best to avoid the brand altogether. After all, it’s impossible to work out a good diet for your protection dog if you don’t know what the food is composed of in the first place.
Organs are another important component of raw dog food. In fact, the protein content should add up to 14-19 percent of your protection dog’s diet.
When selecting a raw food choice, make sure the brand uses whole animal choices, this way the more important organs that are more beneficial to your dog are still kept in the food.
The main types of organ meat are composed of the heart, liver, and kidneys. These organs support different types of vitamin and minerals in their most pure and natural form. However, heart meat should make up the organ meat majority (10-15 percent) of your protection dog’s diet, while the rest (liver and kidneys) should only make up about 5-10 percent.
It’s important to maintain a balance of meat and bone in your protection dog’s diet. Luckily, if the food you’re looking at is a raw food-based company, your dog’s diet will be equally balanced. Versus a company who uses non-whole animals, where there may be small imbalances of meat and bone content.
As we talked about protein content earlier with organ meat, combining bone into your dog’s diet is just as important to include. However, some raw brands use too much bone content to cut costs that can have consequences on your protection dog’s health such as constipation or powdery, white stools. You can also easily notice this is if the ingredients on the bag indicate the poultry is made from carcass or frame instead of actual whole turkey or chickens. Due to this alteration of the whole to the frame, there is much less lean muscle meat which means your protection dog won’t be eating enough in their diet, even if the food is overall cheaper.
Since some pre-made raw diets can be boneless, your dog might end up getting certain deficiencies such as calcium and minerals. The easiest way to balance it out is to add whole raw meat bones to your dog’s food in addition to the boneless raw food formula.
However, no matter what raw food formula you consider, always keep in mind the balance between lean muscle meat and bone content.
There are two types of fat to be on the lookout for, saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are found in meat and poultry skin. Unsaturated fats are also present in meat. They can also be found in vegetables and other plants.
Normally, the fat content will be below 15%. However, if you choose to feed your protection dog duck, it will naturally have a higher percentage of fat content. Too much fat can be a problem for some dogs and increase their chances of becoming sick.
5. Vegetables and Carbohydrates
Vegetables provide a number of health benefits for protection dogs. They contain antioxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and ber, which helps to regulate blood sugar. Check the ingredients list to see what vegetables are included in the food. This way you can stay away from any that your dog is allergic to. Look for foods with a variety of both root and green veggies in them.
You should also look at the food and see if you can see the vegetables in it. When vegetables are ground up completely, they are easier for your protection dog to digest and absorb the nutrients. When the vegetables are in large, visible chunks, your dog may have a hard time digesting them. If the food does not contain any vegetables, you may choose to add your own. Make sure you steam or puree the veggies before adding them.
The number of carbs should be low, especially if there are vegetables in the food. Stay away from any raw food that contains grains. Dogs are unable to digest grains when they are raw and this may cause digestive problems.
There are some raw food formulas that include supplements. Stay away from ones that contain synthetic minerals and vitamins. These supplements will have names that sound like chemicals. Instead, try to look for whole food-based supplements.
Some of the most common of these good supplements are apple cider vinegar, essential fatty acid oils, kelp, and spirulina. All of these added supplements are healthy for your protection dog, unless, of course, they have allergies.
You can also add apple cider vinegar and essential fatty acid oils to the food yourself. Though doing this is more of a hassle, it will ensure that your protection dog is getting the most nutrition out of the food.
7. Price Point
Raw dog food is not usually the cheapest option. It will often be much more expensive per pound than the other dog foods you will find at the store, especially if the food contains an uncommon protein.
Keeping this in mind, if the price seems like it is too good to be true, there is probably a catch. Compare food brands and ingredients lists to determine why the price is what it is. A great place to start your comparison is the fat content. If the percentage is high, it probably means that meat trimming or frames are the main ingredients. This is why the price is low.
Though the price may look good now, it may cost your protection dog dearly later on. Try to stay away from the lowest price and instead find the best value product. Keep in mind, too, that since this is such a high-quality food, you will not need to feed your family protection dogs as much of it.
No matter what raw food you decide to feed your dog, be sure you are doing your research and keeping these factors in mind. Raw feeding takes a bit of extra work for you, but it will be worth it for your pup. If you are interested in purchasing family protection dogs, check out our personal protection dogs for sale.