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Cooked vs. Raw Dog Foods

We are not opposed to raw meat dog food diets in theory, however, not being bought into the notion that "my dog is a wolf", we know that the benefits of cooking outweigh those of a raw meat diet; and particularly when we are making foods for dogs that may have impaired immune systems. The argument in a nutshell is simply that raw meat provides more enzymes and is therefore more digestible. Fortunately, our pups are extremely efficient at digesting protein and that doesn't just simply go away when it's cooked. Heavily processed "meat meals" are a whole other story but that is also not what we advocate. We are talking about USDA human grade meats, preferably organic, cooked at home just as you would for your family. Dogs have been eating cooked foods for as long as humans and dogs have walked the earth together. Some estimates put that figure at some 15,000 years ago. The argument that raw is biologically appropriate for a dog because they descended from the carnivorous wolf has also been dis-proven in more recent studies. The human / dog co-evolution has been significant on the current day domestic dog; even altering it's digestive make up from something more carnivorous like (from an ancient dog like creature that predated the current day grey wolf and dog) to an omnivore, just like us humans, who need a variety of foods to fulfill our nutritional requirements. Simply put, cooked foods are safer, they are higher in protein density (meaning less water) so they contain more calories and nutrients, they are safer to consume and handle for us humans and quite frankly, after more than a decade of designing diets for dogs... more of them prefer the smell and texture of cooked foods! The fact is that if we all still lived on a farm raising our own meats in healthier environments and chose to feed that meat raw to our dogs, I wouldn't be so much worried about feeding it raw but I would still cook it because my dog would get more nutrients from it that way. We all know that commercial meats are anything but safe to feed raw. Search "meat recalls" if you don't believe me.

In addition to meat quality concerns, what few people know is that many raw dog foods on the market today do not contain the necessary vitamins, minerals or fatty acids your dog needs. You can be assured of this unfortunate but true fact if your dogs current raw dog food doesn't contain a carbohydrate source such as vegetables, oils, vitamins E & D, a mineral supplement and a calcium source. Without these key ingredients, your dogs diet is nutritionally deficient in essential nutrients that they must get from their diet. Don't accept "ground bone" as a complete or sufficient mineral source for your dog. It's primarily just fat and insoluble chunks of dense material with a small amount of digestible calcium and phosphorus. Dogs have very high calcium requirements that can not be met this way. Additionally, it does not contain the broad spectrum of minerals your dog needs, leaving them at risk for seizures and other life threatening disorders. There is frequently such a high concentration of ground bone and cartilage in today's raw foods, that unhealthy levels of fat make up the bulk of the calories in the food; calories that should come from quality lean muscle meats. Even so, keeping your raw fed dog's weight within healthy ranges is very difficult with these diets. Between the excessive fat and bone content, many dogs suffer from severe intestinal problems that result on chronic vomiting and rotational constipation and diarrhea. There is never enough Vitamin D & E in a solely meat and veggie based diet, cooked or raw, so these two vitamins are also supplemented in a truly balanced diet. Meat fats and essential fatty acids are not necessarily the same and unless your dog is eating an unusually large (possibly unhealthy amount) of chicken fat, it's unlikely they are getting enough Linoleic fatty acid; an essential fatty acid that your dog must also get from their food. Lastly, buying a raw diet and then cooking it is also not a good strategy. Bones in the diet will become hard and potentially lethal if large enough and sharp enough, and any added nutrients to balance the diet are sure to be destroyed by the heat.

Don't buy into the marketing deception. Feeding your dog the healthiest dog food ever is quick and easy with Paws Complete Core Diets, Paws Complete RX Diets and K9 Food Balancer kits. A cooked whole food balanced diet is always the best way to meet all of your dogs needs.