Mixing both raw and cooked dog food has many health benefits. Raw and cooked food both have their pros and cons. Combining the two is a great way to ensure your dog gets the best of both worlds. Just be sure to put in the work to create a well-balanced diet.
Several people have moved away from kibble and manufactured dog food and have opted to put their dogs on a homemade diet.
You may have heard of the raw food diet, or maybe you have heard of people cooking their dog’s meals instead of giving them kibble. There are many pros and cons to each diet, but can these two diets be mixed?
We will discuss whether you can combine raw and cooked food and the possible benefits.
Why Feed Your Dog Raw or Cooked Food?
Some dogs are picky or fussy eaters. Have you ever accidentally purchased a different brand of food for your dog and noticed your dog made a fuss about eating this strange food?
For some dogs, being picky and fussy is not a once-in-a-while thing. Having the ability to make their meals yourself may be easier than convincing them to eat the dry kibble they don’t like.
Fussy pets can also mean sensitivity to certain ingredients, and choosing what your dog eats can be beneficial to their overall health and well-being.
Another reason for switching from dry kibble to raw or cooked food is because of the potential health benefits.
As stated in the previous section, some fussy pets have particular sensitivities to certain ingredients. With Homemade food, you can keep those ingredients out.
However, even if your dog doesn’t have a sensitivity to a few of the common ingredients, a homemade diet also has general health benefits since they do not have the typical preservatives seen in dog kibble.
Unfortunately, most (if not all dog kibble) have preservatives that lengthen the shelf life of the food. These ingredients are not the best for your dog. A move to raw and cooked food will solve this issue.
Aside from preservatives, other ingredients found in some of the popular dry kibble brands aren’t great for dogs.
Some brands include cheap alternatives to other ingredients that do not have any nutritional value and are not nutritionally balanced. For example, several commercial dog foods are now mostly grained-based (which is not beneficial for dogs).
The Benefits of Raw Food
A raw food diet consists of uncooked muscle attached to the bone, organs like the liver and kidney, raw eggs, green vegetables, fruit, and some dairy. As you noticed, these food items are in their original form. There is no cooking and definitely no seasoning.
There are many health benefits offered by a raw food diet, which is a big reason dog owners are making the switch. Some benefits include a shinier coat, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, healthier stool, and a boost to the immune system.
These health benefits can help your dog not only live to old age, but that it does so in good health.
Another benefit related to the raw food diet is increased energy levels. A definite plus for older dogs! Raw food diets have been shown to increase energy levels even in older adults who are more sedentary.
Risks of the Raw Food
Even though there are several benefits, we should also mention potential risks for having your dog on a raw food diet.
The most significant risk of feeding your dog a raw food diet is nutritional deficiency. Although there are a lot of fillers in dry kibble, one of the biggest benefits to dry kibble is that it’s nutritionally balanced.
A raw food diet can lead to several health issues if not balanced correctly. Some consequences of an imbalanced raw food diet are dull coats, bad skin, and weak bones. This can be due to the lack of calcium and phosphorus in your dog’s diet, one of the main minerals for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Another risk for dogs on the raw food diet is worsening present health issues such as kidney or liver problems. This high protein diet is unsuitable for dogs with these conditions and may worsen their current health condition.
Lastly, there is also a health concern for you, the owner. Due to the handling of raw meat, there is a higher risk of exposure to salmonella. This can be easily avoided through appropriate cleaning methods.
The Benefits of cooked food
Similar to raw foods, there are many benefits dogs can get from being on a cooked food diet. For example, as previously mentioned, sensitivity to certain ingredients is a reason for choosing cooked or raw food diets. Cooking your pet’s food allows owners to avoid any allergens a pet may have.
Another benefit to the cooked food diet is the freedom to cater to your dog’s specific needs if they have certain health conditions. There can be a lot involved in caring for a dog with a health condition, and spending the energy picking apart dry kibble brands can be avoided with this type of diet.
A final benefit to giving your dog cooked food is knowing the quality of the food. You get to decide what your dog eats, where you get the ingredients, and how you prepare the food. There is no mystery to this process, and for many owners, it can be a way to make sure that they are caring for their dog in the best way possible.
Risks of Cooked Food
The risks of feeding your dog homemade cooked food are the same risks associated with the raw diet. Again, dry kibble has plenty of cons, but at least you know it’s nutritionally balanced. When cooking food for your dog, you might miss out on key ingredients essential for their health.
Is it Safe to Mix Raw and Cooked Food?
Combining raw and cooked food is safe as long as you put in the work to create a well-balanced diet.
With that said, before feeding your dog a homemade diet, consider your dog’s age. It is best to wait until your puppy has reached adulthood before starting them on a diet that includes raw meat, as they may be more sensitive to bacteria and infections.
Example of How to Combine Raw Food With Cooked Food
A safe combination for your pet can include a small portion of boiled chicken or lamb (without bones to avoid possible choking). In combination with the protein, you can include cooked pumpkin or raw grated carrots to improve digestion. Adding a grain, such as rice (cooked in water), is also an excellent option for your pet.
Remember to Balance The Meals
The biggest benefit is that you can control what your dog is eating. Whether for health concerns or just mindfulness about what is being put into your dog’s body. Remember, always refer to a vet or do thorough research to make sure the meal is correctly balanced to get the most benefits out of a combination diet!
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.