With so many different kinds of dog food available now, how do you know what is best for your pet’s needs? One of the biggest ‘debates’ our there is raw food vs. cooked? What is best for your pup. We looked at both of these types of foods to learn the truth.
What is raw dog food?
Simply put, raw food is a combination of raw meat and fish. Sometimes it is sold fresh and others are frozen or freeze-dried for convenience. Raw food diets often contain meat that is still on the bone, organ meats, and even raw eggs. Some pet owners will also include a source of dairy like yogurt and some fresh fruit or vegetables.
What are the benefits and risks?
While supporters of the raw food diets say that it gives their dogs a shinier coat, cleaner teeth, smaller stool, and more energy, The American Veterinary Medical Association takes a different position.
Their official statement begins: “The AVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans. Cooking or pasteurization through the application of heat until the protein reaches an internal temperature adequate to destroy pathogenic organisms has been the traditional method used to eliminate pathogens in animal-source protein, although the AVMA recognizes that newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented.”
If that wasn’t enough to convince you of the drawbacks when compiling this position, the CDC sent the following to the AVMA: “Raw diets, especially raw meat diets, are not recommended because of the risk for salmonellosis and other infections that can affect pets and their owners.”
The FDA, The American College of Veterinary Nutritionists (ACVN), and American Animal Hospital Association have also spoken out against raw food diets. The risk of foodborne illness is too great. Not only for your dog but also for you and other members of your household. This is especially true for young children and those who are immunocompromised.
If your pup is a therapy dog, you might actually not be able to feed raw. Dogs wishing to participate in the Gerald B. Shreiber Pet Therapy Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have to eat cooked food. Per their guidelines: “The Dog cannot be on a raw foods diet at any time during their participation in the program. Raw food diets present an increased risk of pathologic bacterial and protozoal shedding and infection that can compromise the health of our patients.”
What is cooked dog food?
In contrast to raw food, cooked doog food is food that has been cooked to an internal temperature that is safe for consumption. Cooked food could be fresh, wet or dry food. The important thing here is that it is handled correctly and cooked and stored at the propper internal temperature to kill any pathogens.
What are the benefits and risks of cooked food?
One benefit of cooked food is the significant reduction in the risk of foodborne illnesses. If wet or fresh food is stored improperly, it can still cause foodborne illness so remember to read the package carefully for storage instructions. Open packages of fresh or wet food will most likely need to be refrigerated.
Cooked food will provide adequate nutrition for your dog as long as it is complete and balanced. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials , AAFCO “Complete” means the product contains all the nutrients required. “Balanced” means the nutrients are present in the correct ratios.”
In addition to balanced and complete food, you want to ensure that whatever you are feeding is approved for your dog’s life stage. AAFCO recognizes foods that are approved for:
- All life stages
Why is cooked dog food better?
Cooked food is easier to store and prepare than raw food. That is, unless you are doing some home cooking for your pet, which can be more time consuming and expensive. (Note that this is not recommeded as you can cause nutrient deficiencies or imbalances since home cooked food is not regulated by the FDA or AAFCO.)
At Ollie, we believe that our gently cooked food is best. We worked with a veterinary nutritionist to develop four delicious and nutritious recipes that are approved for all life stages.
Our recipes feature gently cooked human-grade proteins, fruit, vegetables, grains and fats. These ingredients are selected and carefully cooked in perfect ratios in small batches. We do this to ensure our food is fresh, safe and easy for your pup to absorb all of the nutrients they need.
While we encourage pet parents to work with their vet to choose a food that is best for their pup’s unique needs we welome you to try Ollie. Your pup will thank you!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.