Sunday, December 4, 2011

To Raw or Not to Raw

Proper nutrition is essential to a happy, healthy pet.  But how do we provide the best nutrition possible?  There is still debate on that - likely there always will be.  While some things are fairly certain (grocery brands are usually inferior quality, corn is bad, red dye is bad, etc.), the benefit from feeding a raw diet is still unclear. 

Raw food is just what it sounds like - feeding your dog a mixture of raw meats, bones, eggs, vegetables and other ingredients that amount to a nutritionally sound meal.  Feeding raw diets used to be a cumbersome, expensive and even gruesome process as the dog owner had to buy ingredients and chop, grind and blend them into something their dog could eat.  It was an easy excuse not to feed a raw diet!

Today raw food is available in many pet stores and can be purchased in pre-packaged easy-to-feed nuggets or patties.  All you need to do is thaw a few days worth of food in your fridge, then dole it out at meal time.  Your dog gets a nutritious (and well enjoyed!) dinner.

But what about the expense, and what if you are traveling or just can't prepare a raw meal one night?  Although raw food has come down in price, it is still an expensive option.  However, raw food is highly digestible (as compared to some of that nasty grocery store food that is mostly cheap filler ingredients like corn - not that I'm biased or anything).  And the more food your dog digests, the less of your money gets, well, pooped out in the back yard!

One way to bring down the price is to feed a mixture of raw and kibble.  That's what I do, for many reasons, including expense and convenience.  For example, Apple eats 2/3 a cup of dry kibble mixed with two nuggets of Primal Canine Chicken Formula (you guessed it, raw is also available for kitties!).  It doesn't cost me as much as feeding exclusively raw, and if there's a night where I just can't manage to feed raw, she can eat kibble without any issues.  And Apple loves her meals - there's never a scrap left behind!

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